A Whale in Paris

In a far, far togetherness, in a bed beneath a slanted roof, Daniel and I once made up a story about a French girl and a whale. Not too long ago, we decided to write it down so we could share it with the world. And the result will be readable as a beautifully illustrated children’s book (10+) in summer 2018!!!

From Publisher’s Marketplace: “Claire Polders and screenwriter Daniel Presley’s debut A WHALE IN PARIS is a hopeful and heroic story about a girl who befriends a whale that appears in the Seine during the Nazi occupation of Paris.”

Thanks to Marie Lamba (& Jennifer DeChiara) for making it all possible, to Reka Simonsen for welcoming us to Atheneum (Simon & Schuster), and to Erin McGuire for the wonderful cover. (Soon to be revealed…)

The picture above is a painting by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.

 

Summer Publications

No, I haven’t stopped writing just because the temperature is rising.
Thanks to many terrific editors and literary magazines, my words have found some lovely homes.

The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review published “On Her Skin.” (If you subscribe and “adopt” me, I receive 60% of the funds.)

Cheap Pop gave “The Spider and I” an audience.

Tears in the Fence chose “Snapshots of Yesterday’s Tomorrow” (print only) as the Third Prize Winner for their annual flash fiction competition. The magazine will be out this summer.

The National Flash Fiction Anthology (UK) included  “Swing State” (print and eBook only).

The National Flash Fiction Day (NZ) chose “Spring Cleaning” (scroll to June 10th) for the long list of their
Micro Madness competition.

Litro published my essay “Con Artists” in their summer issue (print only).

Blink Ink included my tiny “Aurora, Giselle, Jasmine” (print only) in June.

SmokeLong Quarterly asked me to list my favorite flashes on a theme of my choosing. I chose (Dead) Fathers.

 

Winter Publications

Writing a novel is a longterm project. At least, it is for me. I may write a 1,000 words a day, but I’ve never written a novel in three months. I write and read back and rewrite and pause and question and restructure. At the moment, I’m about three quarters of the way with a first draft of my new novel. And to give myself some air, some amusement, some exercise, I write short prose pieces that I send out into the world. This winter, these amazing journals captured some of these pieces on their pages.

TriQuarterly: The Men on the Fence

The Offing: “Papers

New World WritingFour Micro Fictions (“Specialties” + “Meteorological Rest” + “How to Kill a Rose” + “Sunflowers”)

Vestal Review: “Swan Lake” (Readers’ Favorite in the Valentine issue)

Mikrokosmos:“The Alps in Fall Time

Pithead Chapel: “Liabilities

Connotation Press: Three Stories (“Speaking of Ovid” + “The Anxious One” + “The Killer”) (will go live on March 15)

The fiction editor of Connotation Press, Jonathan Cardew, also did an interview with me for this issue.

The Men on the Fence

So proud my writing is featured in TriQuarterly.
The story about empathy and territorial borders is, unfortunately, very relevant today.

From Issue 151 – Winter/Spring 2017, preview of “The Men on the Fence.”

The boy watches them from the outdoor pool, the men on the fence, perched like birds on a wire. They are present every day, from the moment the boy opens his shutters in the morning until his parents send him to bed at night. The chain-link fence is the resort’s southern border, and men are sitting on it everywhere, in clusters of five or more. They balance with both legs on one side or sit as if on a saddle, feet dangling. Although the men are far away, the boy believes he is being watched. A paddling white mouse in a blue box of water. Perhaps they dream of his movements, the freedom of his limbs, how it feels to be submerged, clean and cool.

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Coincidence

How is this for a coincidence?

I take a pocket book with me to the US to read while on the road. It’s an old anthology from TriQuarterly—short stories are great for traveling. In the metro I devour Richard Brautigan. I’m in love with his style. At the airport I reluctantly pause reading John Gardner to check my email right before turning off my phone. In comes an acceptance letter from the editors of TriQuarterly: they want to publish one of my stories!

“Men on the Fence” goes live on January 24, 2017.

Fall Publications

RichardSerraGuggenheim

Thanks to the kind and generous editors of some great magazines, I have several new pieces out since this summer.

In Okey-Panky (Electric Literature)  “Walls” appeared.

In Jellyfish ReviewBrunch” was born.

On Prairie Schooner, my essay “Playing the Sports Fan” got a chance.

My flash “Message from the Forest” flew off in Litro in September.

In Pinball I sketched The Path to the Future.”

And on JMWW, I praised the work of others in a review of “Condensed to Flash.”

It’s back to writing now, I guess. I’m working on a near future novel that is very corporeal, a children’s book set on a remote Dutch island, an essay on my father, a surrealist short story about dancing, and many flash fictions in which my wild voices get a chance to be heard. I love words. Did I ever mention before I love words?

Photo above: Richard Serra at the Guggenheim, illustration by “Walls.”

Animal Puzzle

DenverQuarterly2016My short story “Animal Puzzle” was published in Volume 50, Number 4, Year: 2016 of Denver Quarterly.

NOMINATED FOR A PUSHCART PRIZE.

Preview of “Animal Puzzle”

It all began on Scheveningen beach with the sea rolling toward them in long waves, leaving foam behind and broken shells and plastic scraps and what all not. You’ll see. The sun was out and the wind was in everything, blowing an air of cockles and fake coconut. Nothing reeked of death.

The family of four had arrived in the early morning to beat the coastward traffic and now, in the late afternoon, they were exhausted. Doing nothing is no joke. Mother mostly read with eyes closed, an open book in her hands. Father did something similar, reading the same page of his magazine over and over, his eyes swerving to the legs that passed in front of him. It was dizzying, so many legs there were. Closer to the water, Son and Daughter were in cahoots together building an abstract sand sculpture. Or perhaps they were trying to build a rhinoceros. (The family is a member of Amsterdam’s Artis Zoo, some fifty kilometers North.)

Continue reading? Copies of the magazine can be ordered online.

The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand

GMR-LogoGreen Mountains Review published my essay “The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand.” It’s a personal essay on inexplicable coincidences & the intersection of life and art. It also tells the story of how my husband and I met.

Preview of “The Empty Space in Front of Your Hand”

Michel was an old and charming man as only an old and charming painter in a Parisian atelier can be.  He was our neighbor. Whenever we ran into each other in the courtyard and spoke, I let him touch my hands and in the summer even my bare shoulders. This was a huge thing for me, although I didn’t know at the time whether it meant a compromise or a victory. Michel was also my second novel.

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