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Micro-chap preview: Caitlin Scarano’s “Pitcher of Cream”

Caitlin Scarano’s micro-chap, Pitcher of Cream, will be released at the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles. You can get a FREE copy and have it signed by the author at our table (#1238) on Thursday, March 31st from 3:00pm to 4:00pm.

Below, you can see a sneak peak of this 6″ x 6″ micro-chapbook (not so “micro” depending on your definition). Caitlin’s story won our 2015 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce. It was also recently selected for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions 2016 (forthcoming from Queen’s Ferry Press) by guest editor Stuart Dybek.

This micro-chapbook was produced as a limited-run publication. There are only 50 copies available. Each copy will be signed and numbered. We expect these to go fast (as a general rule, people love free stuff), so be sure to show up right at 3:00pm if you want a copy! Find information about all our AWP book signings here.

Book signings at The Conium Review’s AWP Conference table

The Conium Review will be exhibiting at the 2016 AWP Conference, and we’re featuring three signings at our table. We’re located at table number 1238, and we hope you’ll swing by to meet these talented authors. Please share the details invite others to the Facebook event pages for each event. We hope to see you there!

Caitlin Scarano — Thursday, March 31st, 2016, 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Caitlin will be signing copies of her Conium Press micro-chapbook, Pitcher of Cream. This story won our 2015 flash fiction contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce, author of The Luminol Reels and The Museum of Atheism. Pitcher of Cream is also scheduled to be anthologized in the Best Small Fictions 2016 (forthcoming from Queens Ferry Press). Laura Ellen Joyce calls Pitcher of Cream “haunting and beautiful.” Copies of this micro-chapbook are free during the signing! We’ve done a limited-run of just 50 copies, so be sure to snag one for free while supplies last. Find this event on Facebook.

Carmiel Banasky — Friday, April 1st, 2016, 4:15 to 5:00pm

Carmiel Banasky will be signing her Dzanc Books novel, The Suicide of Claire Bishop, directly after The Conium Review‘s innovative fiction panel. Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic, calls Carmiel’s book “Daring, precise, and linguistically acrobatic,” and Publishers Weekly says The Suicide of Claire Bishop is “A memorable, intricate, and inventive debut. . . . both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others.” Find this event on Facebook.

William VanDenBerg — Saturday, April 2nd, 2016, 2:00pm to 3:00pm

William VanDenBerg will be signing copies of Lake of Earth (Caketrain Press) and Apostle Islands (Solar Luxuriance). Brandon Hobson, author of Deep Ellum, says Lake of Earth is “a terrific and daring book, and Michael Kimball, author of Big Ray, says “William VanDenBerg writes so much story into so few lines that it’s easy to get lost in these bright fictions.” Find this event on Facebook.

Congrats to Our Best Small Fictions 2016 Nominees

Best Small Fictions coverLast week, we mailed off our nominees for the Queen’s Ferry Press anthology, Best Small Fiction 2016. We’re proud to officially announce our selections. There were so many good stories to choose from. Congratulations to the five nominees:

About the Nominees:

Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks. This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith’s 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.

Tamara K. Walker dreams of irrealities among typewriter ribbons, stuffed animals and duct tape flower barrettes. She resides near Boulder, Colorado with her wife/life partner and blogs irregularly about writing and literature at http://tamarakwalker.wordpress.com. She may also be found online at http://about.me/tamara.kwalker. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in The Cafe Irreal, A cappella Zoo, Melusine, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Gay Flash Fiction, Identity Theory, a handful of poetry zines, and several themed print anthologies published by Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Ingrid Jendrzejewski studied creative writing and English literature at the University of Evansville before going on to study physics at the University of Cambridge. She has soft spots for go, cryptic crosswords, and the python programming language, but these days spends most of her time trying to keep up with a delightfully energetic toddler. Once in a very great while, she adds a tiny something to www.ingridj.com and tweets at @LunchOnTuesday.

Sarah Mitchell-Jackson is a novelist and a short story writer. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in The Critical Pass Review and Really System. Her debut novel, Ashes, will be out this year published by Blue Moon Publishers. You can read more of her work at www.smitchjack.wordpress.com.

John Englehardt’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, The Stranger, Monkeybicycle, The Monarch Review, and Furlough Magazine. He won the 2014 Wabash Prize in Fiction, as well as The Stranger‘s A&P fiction contest. He’s a recent graduate of University of Arkansas’ MFA program, and now lives and works in Seattle.

 

“Pitcher of Cream,” by Caitlin Scarano

doodle stove and firewood

This winter, I live alone.

I collect dolls with marble eyes (ribbon core, oxblood, onionskin) and antler hands. I imagine they have bones and are not just stiff with sawdust. I keep the wood stove humming until the back of my neck is damp with sweat. Each day, I bake a loaf of sourdough, perfecting the ratio of sugar to salt to flour. But there’s no one around to eat it but me – by now, all of my children have gone missing or set out with their little suitcases and weaponless hands.

No matter. I still have all of their shoelaces. The sound of dogs howling from the next homestead over.

But the space between our houses grows while I sleep. The forest around me deepens. The trees fall in love and multiply. The snow an intoxicant. I pray the pines don’t get bolder, that they don’t grow organs and hands.

This winter, the sun only rises on certain days. I record them and carve a chart into my headboard. The townsmen would not believe me if I tried to teach them the patterns I’ve discovered, how things secretly align.

Like the woman I am, I keep to my house, my mule, my tasks.

One day I am out chopping wood and a little boy appears on the edge of my yard. He is not made of skin.

“There’s no one left to play with here. You should carry on your way.” I rest the axe on the splitting stump, but keep a hand on the handle. For some reason, I am afraid.

The boy doesn’t say anything. Against the snow, he is hard to see. He has no coat. I cannot tell if he trembles. I do not turn my back on him. His black eyes follow me. I try not to imagine how many rows of teeth he might have. I pull the axe from the stump and yell, “Git!”

I don’t see him again for four days. When he returns, it is on a day when the sun has not risen. On the edge of the yard, I scoop snow into pails to melt on the woodstove. Behind me I hear a little cough. In the dark, he seems smaller, less frightening. Maybe I imagined him wrong the first time. I invite him into the house but I do not touch him. After lighting the hurricane lanterns, I tell him to sit at the table like a good boy. He hesitates and then climbs into the chair where my husband used to sit. Some boys turn into men.

“Would you like some bread and butter?”

“Yes and cream.”

I keep cream in the blackest pitcher. I pour it into a bowl for him and he licks it as if he were a cat.

“Where are your people?” I ask.

“Will the winter end?” he replies while buttering his second piece of bread. His hands are dirty and rusty with old blood. His voice is so little it seems to get lost in the long corridor of his throat. But he is strong. I can see the tight muscles in his neck, and imagine how he’s come to hunt and scavenge.

“It always did before.”

“Does that make a thing true?”

After dinner, he fingers the hair of my dolls but does not take them down from the shelf to play. I give him my oldest son’s red coat. The buttons are missing so I use a bit of rope to belt it around his waist. In a blue lunch pail, I wrap bread and cheese between strips of cloth. I don’t give him meat. He doesn’t ask to stay. If we are both to survive this season, it will not be because of each other.

At the edge of the yard, he turns back to me, his black eyes inky with moonlight. “Where did they go, your children?” he asks.

“Does that make a thing true?” I reply.

 

About the Author:

Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks. This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith’s 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.

Special Notes:

This story won The Conium Review‘s 2015 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce.  It will also be made into a micro-chap for distribution at the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles, California.

This story was selected for inclusion in the Queen’s Ferry Press anthology, Best Small Fictions 2016, guest edited by Stuart Dybek.

Image Credit: © dule964 / Dollar Photo Club

The 2015 Flash Fiction Contest Winner is Caitlin Scarano!

Caitlin Scarano‘s piece, “Pitcher of Cream,” is the winner of The Conium Review‘s 2015 Flash Fiction Contest, judged by Laura Ellen Joyce! This year’s finalists were Ashley HutsonGary Joshua GarrisonEmily KiernanAri LaurelMarsha McSpadden, and Jan Stinchcomb. An honorable mention goes to Kitsune Hirano.

Laura said that Caitlin’s story “was haunting and beautiful and every word was chosen with care.” She went on to say “The story felt complete: a whole world in a few hundred words. The chilling ambiguity of the missing children and the unreliability of the narrator made this a perfect flash fiction.”

Caitlin Scarano

Caitlin Scarano

Caitlin Scarano is a poet in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee PhD creative writing program. She was a finalist for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology and the winner of the 2015 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Eduardo Corral. She has two poetry chapbooks. This winter, she will be an artist in residence at the Hinge Arts Residency program in Fergus Falls and the Artsmith’s 2016 Artist Residency on Orcas Island.

Caitlin will receive a $300 honorarium for her winning piece and a copy of the judge’s latest book, The Luminol Reels. You’ll get to read Caitlin’s winning flash fiction piece on Saturday, December 19th when it goes “live” on The Conium Review Online Compendium. The story will also be made into a broadside or micro-chapbook for distribution at the 2016 AWP Conference in Los Angeles. Caitlin will be on-site to sign copies for AWP attendees.