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The Quintet - The Widower and Other Short Stories

February 2018

As best as I can remember, three of these stories were written in the space of 4 days, post mid-January 2018, during a series of cold rainstorms that arrived to end an incredibly warm spell of syrupy weather. Change in the weather . . . change in my writing!

The weather then changed again at the end of the month to very warm. Treacly warm. I wrote the fourth short story one night to end the month right! February rolled around and brought a fifth story during a very efficient episode of cooking a Sunday meal.

The backstory is a busy one for these pieces of fiction:

It was a cold, dank, damp Sunday morning when I wrote my first successful short story, The Widower, in one sitting, at the kitchen table. According to my essay of June 2014, I’d believed I would never be a short story writer.

Never say never!

After writing this first short story, I revised the ending of that essay. I felt quite pleased with myself. Proud in fact. Tickled pink.

A day or so went by, and then that night, around 11:30, just as I was pulling the wonderfully soft cushy comforter up to my chin for beddy-bye, the first line of the next short story emerged in my mind. No sleep for the next hour or so.

When I finished this 2nd short story, Sound of Goodbye had finally been written. I say “finally” because this short story was the tale I’d worked on, laboriously, with dear Professor Claeyssens one summer when I was twenty. The story had to meet a deadline for entry into a short story contest offered by a literary magazine.

It might have been the pressure of working on deadline that inhibited my creativity, but I doubt it. That story was not yet ready to be told! And I was too fledging a fiction writer to even attempt this much artistic compression of the time-space continuum in writing, at least compelling writing.

The first Sound of Goodbye was entered into the contest, at the last minute, literally, as I recall, post-marked to meet the deadline. I received the 2nd place-prize of a free subscription to this literary magazine awarding the prizes.

2nd place: I was not pleased. And now Sound of Goodbye is 2nd in the line-up of my short stories. Somehow, this one short story always places 2nd in a fictional forum!

This version is a condensed, extremely powerful re-telling of the original story, with the character names changed. The ending is also completely different. And, yes, I do recall my fiction from that long ago, especially that short story! Decades ago I shredded the text, of course, but my mentor was smiling down upon me this past January, during that rain-soaked night of writing, and during the next day when I edited the story.

The third short story, Rainy Dreams, was written that same night. The windswept rainstorm probably would have kept me awake anyway so I put the midnight oil to good use. This love story also needed editing the next day, which turned out to be the first sunny day in about a week. The short story spigot got turned off!

The fourth short story, The Highway, was written-typed in one sitting after a day of revising the Western, SHADOW, so that last day in January was a fiction-intensive one for me.

The fifth short story, The Christmas Lunch, emerged in my mind while I was making a wonderful pasta casserole on a crisp, chilly sunny Sunday in mid-February. Cooking and composition are fine friends!

The Widower and Other Stories form a quintet of tales. Each takes place in a completely different era, with very varying settings. All share the themes of love and growth.

And all 5 short stories prove that Debra can, at last, write short stories that are entities until themselves. Those unique moments in time have been conquered by yours truly! With a little help from Above.


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