Stories, of course, line my family bookcases. On one of the shelves sit my own stories in journals and anthologies. And since that shelf isn’t quite full yet, they’re bracketed by 5 of my literary mentors: Saroyan and Kingsolver, E.B. White and Salinger and Kenneth Roberts (yes, Bradbury and Doig sit above).
I think they’re all up to something. My story Bread, written probably 15 years ago, submitted over 60 times, semi-finalist here, winner there, and finally, in 2018, shortlisted and published, quietly inhabits its lovely forever-home in bosque, issue 8. But somehow it has been still on the move.
At least 5 years ago, I visited the Old-World bakery that inspired the story, told the owner that it had won an award, offered him a photocopy of it. Confused, he waved it away. “No no no.” It was okay. This was entirely in keeping with the place, the story, my one-sentence summary for it:
“The bakery is a shapeshifter, a vertical spin through history; the bread expensive; the baker a quiet mystery.”
Today, I receive an email from him.
I am the baker. If you remember when you came here like 4 years ago and we talked and then you wrote a short novel about me and the bakery ?
If you dont mind can you send me a pdf copy of the short novel ?
Your friend who works with you told me that is a very fascinating story ! Thank you very much !
Have a wonderful day !
It is a fascinating story, gifted by the bakery and clearly eager to get back there. I’m so glad I can do even better than a pdf—bring him my extra issue of bosque, along with a few copies of the story.
A bit of magical realism with your stone-ground wholewheat loaf?