The cultural markers–or lack thereof–in a story are not what makes a piece of writing timeless. We do not transcend time by simply disregarding its march. Even as the diaphragm loses its prevalence and potency, the stories that incorporate it do not because literature was never intended to be generic, was never meant to either speak for one time solely or no time at all.
My uncle killed a man and was proud of it. / Some guy with a knife came at him in Flatbush / and he knocked the fucker to the ground. / The sidewalk finished the job. // By then he’d survived two wives and / a triple bypass. He carried the plastic tubing in his pocket / and would show it to you, to anyone. / He’d unbutton his shirt right there on the street / to show off the scar.
The plan was to torch the rose patch. We could, at this point, see no other way. Flickerdot, our beloved hybrid, was a complete bust. But one couldn’t blame us for being fooled: the first and second generations were so thick with blooms that Jamie could put a book—an Oxford dictionary, no less—on the plant and the dense flowers would hold it up.
Our friends at The Puritan asked if we’d be willing to let our readers know about their upcoming writing contest, The Thomas Morton Memorial Prize in Literary Excellence. We said yes! Entry deadline has been extended to October 10, 2016.
“I suppose I realized I was working toward a book when I asked myself, How close can you get to an extinct bird? And then, I set out to try. My journey of combing through museums and specimen drawers was what ultimately spurred the longer narrative. Once I held an extinct bird skin in my hands, I knew I had to start sounding some alarms about our own environmental crises. And the best way I could do that, I figured, was through stories.”