Art By Yorozuya Yohaku and Ramona du Houx
Polar Bear & Company, 2019
101 pages, $22
An author’s advice to unknown writers: “Writing is easy. Just write a bunch of words, then cross out the ones that don’t fit.” Easy, right? However, the real challenge for unknown writers is getting someone to notice you. Fortunately, the Solon Center for Research and Publishing has solved that problem for 17 previously unknown writers.
The SCRP recently held a writing contest and the 28 stories collected here are the finalists from among all the entries. Centered around Rockland and its coastal area, and in conjunction with the Fukurou Gallery, the stories and their accompanying photo art evoke mystery, wonder, warmth, memory, fantasy, dreams and hopes.
The featured writers have real talent, conveying convincing emotion, vivid imagery and thoughtful imagination. Lynn Smith’s story “Every Light Casts a Shadow” finds a young granddaughter discovering a long-lost pocket watch and unwittingly solving a curious lighthouse death and a long-held secret.
The creepiest story is Rosemarie Nervelle’s “The Ship Osprey,” which pits a wife waiting for her husband to return from the sea with a ghost ship, a kindly captain and a strange epitaph. The best story is “Slipstream of the Moon” by Ed Peele, a beautifully told, fanciful tale of a couple’s nighttime charter boat sail from the sea to the moon and the stars, and their boat captain who wisely cautions: “We do not start all voyages where we think we should.” And he’s not kidding.
Other stories include a man sailing alone fondly remembering his boyhood with his brother; a young girl recalls all those beach outings with her lively, fun-loving family; a teenager’s lakeside romance with a midnight cruise; the drudge of working in a smelly sardine factory; and a man’s interesting conversations with his pal, the moon.
Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.