This story has content that some readers may find distressing.
Under normal circumstances, a tale of a violent, animal abusing prick wouldn’t get far with me. But Alex Sinclair is not the usual writer; nor is Paraffin Lamp a usual story. Alex has the tremendous ability to bring forward the least appealing elements in a character and make them interesting and alive. It lies in his effortless mastery of the language and perfect ear for dialogue.
I selected this story by Louisa Owens as a rerun in 2020. Louisa intelligently and graciously answered my humble questions. But if episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies must be re-aired endlessly until Armeggedon, then perhaps it is just that a small good thing like Short Straw should appear on the site for a third time.
In this impersonal age of cyber friends (like me), witch hunters who never meet in person and gaining the gospel from unholy sources David Henson’s My Powdered Friend is a satire that is uncomfortably close to being true. As in much of David’s work, he takes a bright, keen, even flippant tone, which intensifies the darker themes. And he has the great knack of making you believe just about anything.
Walk a ways with me, here by the Saugus River and the Old Iron Works, where I played as a boy, where arethusa bulbosa (dragon’s mouth orchid or swamp pride) waits for spring and new reeds to hide the young of red-winged blackbirds, where indentured Scot servants worked off their passage, where Captain Kidd brought his treasure to bury on Vinegar Hill (not found yet by boy or man), all leading me to say: The Hour Falling Light Touches Rings of Iron (at the First Iron Works of America, Saugus, MA): You must remember, Pittsburgh is not like this, would never have been found without the rod bending right here, sucked down by the earth. This is not the thick push of the three rivers’ water hard as name calling… the Ohio, Allegheny, and the old Monongahela, though I keep losing the Susquehanna. This is the Saugus River, cut by Captain Kidd’s keel, bore up the ore barge heavy the whole way from Nahant. Mad Atlantic bends its curves to touch our feet, oh anoints. Slag makes a bucket bottom feed iron rings unto water, ferric oxides, clouds of rust. But something here there is pale as dim diviner’s image, a slight knob and knot of pull at a forked and magic willow. You see it when smoke floats a last breath over the river road, the furnace bubbling upward a bare acidic tone for flue. With haze, tonight, the moon crawls out of Vinegar Hill, the slag pile throws eyes a thousand in the shining, charcoal and burnt lime thrust thick as wads up a nose. Sound here’s the moon burning iron again, pale embers of the diviner’s image loose upon the night. Oh, reader, you must remember, Pittsburgh is not like this.
Ah, the brave year of ‘15. No matter the century, I’m certain that someone will claim that she/he walked ten miles uphill through snow both ways to and from school, upon recalling 2015. Time distorts perception and makes exaggerant raconteurs of us all.
Shaming works. I can no longer bear the terrible weight of Hugh pointing out every week how no one ever offers to take on the challenge of suggesting a story for Literally Reruns. I’m going to pull myself out of my narcissistic reverie on my own stories long enough to break the chain. And throw down the gauntlet to the next person. And any other hackneyed phrases that might offend all you literary readers enough to prove that you can do better.
We conclude the weekly version of the Sunday Reruns with the only rerun of a rerun I’ve ever brought back. It’s a high class story by Hugh Cron called The Swans. (The Reruns will return in January as a monthly feature.)
As advertised, our stories come from all over the world. Although most are from the West due mainly to this being an English language site, we are often given sensitive, intelligent glimpses into the mores of various cultures. Still, when you get to it and remove all the traditions, we are all human and hurt much the same.
Jane Houghton‘s LS debut is one of the most complex tales in the archives. The Girl With theFeet features one of the best prolonged suspense scenes I have ever read. You can feel yourself wanting to jump in and advise the Joshua, who is not a very lucky person
Every now and then a story comes by that makes me slap my head and bemoan the fact that I didn’t think of it first. Such is the case with this week’s rerun Watching It Move by Alex Reid. Still, there ain’t a great idea that can stand up to clumsy handling; but Alex timed this perfectly and the result is satisfying as well as a cause of envy.