Tick tock, folks. Less than five days remain to get your short stories in for the Inlander 2013 Short Fiction Contest. Make sure you've got your i's dotted and t's crossed and get those entries emailed in by 11:59 pm this Friday.
The clock is ticking.
If you need a reminder, the theme for this year's contest is "Bridges," as narrowly or widely interpreted as the writer wishes. Keep your stories shorter than 2,000 words. But feel free to submit more than one entry.
Email your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put "Fiction Contest Entry" in the subject line to help me keep track of them.
Please only submit original stories that have not been previously published elsewhere. We will print our favorite stories in our Dec. 26 fiction issue.
Good luck. We can't wait to read what you come up with.
While on the lookout for bridge-related gems, we noticed this amazingly bad bit of narration from the old mid-90s good Samaritan drama, Early Edition. The main character, Gary Hobson, goes around saving people with help from tomorrow's newspaper headlines and a magic cat.
But after talking a woman down from a bridge, we get this insightful social analysis from show sidekick Chuck Fishman:
"There are lots of bridges in this city. Bridges that span over the river, that take you from one place to another. There are other bridges though, ones we need to cross in order to bring us together as a city, as a community. But the hardest bridge to cross is the one that opens your heart, the one that leads you home."
We know you can do better than that. But if you want to enjoy the full effect, the narration starts at the 3:20 mark.
Jeff Rutherford is a busy guy. Not only does the Gonzaga senior, a creative writing major, have class and homework and eventually graduation taking up his limited time, added to that lately has been the chaos of producing and directing his debut play Frozen Dinner, premiering tonight.
Rutherford, a former Inlander intern and now occasional contributor, started developing his idea for the comedy-drama early this year, submitting it to the Gonzaga Department of Theatre and Dance for consideration as one of select student-written productions performed this year.
Without revealing too much of the storyline, performed by a cast of seven Gonzaga students, Rutherford says, “When I wrote it I was trying to capture a lot of truth in life. It’s really an absurd and silly play, but at the heart of it is a lot of things people feel and experience in life.”
The hourlong play takes a “slice-of-life” approach as it follows main character Joe through one evening in his kitchen, with the rest of the cast rotating in and out of the scene.
"I think I would say it tilts toward comedy, but one of the actors said he thinks it 'uses the absurd to teach a lesson.' It’s still emotional and dense in what it’s saying about people,” Rutherford explains.
Frozen Dinner is one of seven productions being showcased at Gonzaga during the current academic year, but it’s not Rutherford's first foray into producing original stage content. Earlier this fall, he led a new sketch comedy group called the Boone Street Hooligans, who’ve since had a warm reception locally and beyond. The student group recently performed in Seattle, and though Rutherford says its performances here have been inconsistent, there are plans to host more shows in the future. (Follow the group's Facebook page for upcoming show information.)
Admission to Frozen Dinner is a suggested $2 donation, which Rutherford says will be donated to the local nonprofit Cup of Cool Water, which supports homeless youth through outreach and ministry.
Frozen Dinner runs for a limited three nights, starting tonight at 7:30 pm. The show also takes place tomorrow and Saturday, Nov. 15 and 16, at 7:30 pm.
RiverLit, the Spokane-based quarterly magazine of fiction, poetry, essays and art, is looking for your support.
So far they’ve operated on just enough money, from readers, to get it produced and printed. But this coming year will be the publication’s fourth, and they’ve got bigger plans. First, there’s a new residency program for a local writer, poet and artist — selected for their “stellar work and support of the arts community,” editor Keely Honeywell says — whose work will be featured in each issue of the year. The first residents are poet Brooke Matson, artist Austin Stiegemeier and writer (and Inlander alum) Luke Baumgarten.
Second, they want to pay all the magazine’s contributors. As the fundraising campaign page says:
This is where you come in. Meeting our fundraising goal will allow us to support the creative endeavors of the writers and artists whose work we bring to you.
With your support we'll be able to pay each contributor in 2014 a minimum of $10 per published piece of work.
If you’re the type who thinks artists shouldn’t work for free — well, here’s your chance to make a difference. And quickly, because the fundraiser ends tomorrow. The campaign is on indiegogo, which is less ruthless than all-or-nothing Kickstarter, so any amount will help. The minimum donation for swag is $10, which gets you two cute buttons and your name printed in the list of supporters. A $75 donation gets you the buttons and the print copy of each of the four 2014 issues.
(The contributors list so far reads like a Who’s Who of Spokane’s artsy cool kids, so there’s also that.)
If the publication doesn’t reach its goal online, Honeywell says there’s still a chance to meet it with a benefit called Anthology coming up in December at the Barlett, featuring a number of local writers.
In the NBC’s upcoming television production of The Sound of Music Live!, a local face will be onscreen among the singing von Trapp children — Spokane native Sophia Caruso, 12, was chosen to play Brigitta after a nationwide casting search.
It had previously been announced that country/pop star Carrie Underwood will star as Maria, the failed-nun-turned-governess of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The TV special, produced by Universal Television and slated to air on Dec. 5 at 8 pm, is based on the original 1959 Broadway production.
Hundreds of kids auditioned in recent months for the six coveted spots. (The role of Leisl, the eldest of the seven von Trapp children, was cast separately because it’s a larger role with more singing required.) Brigitta is the third-youngest — in the 1965 movie version most people know best, she's the quiet, dark-haired one who comes in reading a book.
We wrote a feature last December about Sophia, then 11, when she left for New York City with Broadway ambitions after a number of starring roles in Spokane:
Sophia promises once she’s famous, she’ll pay back everyone who has helped her get here, including her parents and Spokane Civic Theater.
“I’m getting closer and closer and it’s right above me; I just have to keep jumping for it until I can grab it.”
Submissions have started rolling in for the Inlander's 2013 Short Fiction Contest. So keep those typewriters clacking, Spokane. We're looking forward to reading your stories.
This year's theme is "Bridges" — real, imagined or metaphorical. You can interpret the concept however you want.
Remember, you can submit multiple stories for consideration. Just keep them shorter than 2,000 words each. Send your stories as an attachment to email@example.com. Check out additional guidelines here.
The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 22.
For a little inspiration, here's a list from The Guardian of the Top 10 bridges in literature. They include the Westminster Bridge, the Hixon Whitney Bridge and the Spanish crossing in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
In related news: Short stories often don't receive the respect of novels and larger works, but earlier this month the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature reinforced the power of short stories by honoring Canadian writer Alice Munro as "master of the contemporary short story."
For a little more inspiration, you can read some of Munro's stories in The New Yorker right here.
You can also check out our contest winners from 2010, for which the theme was "Redemption."
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