I figured today I might continue the trend and go back to the first Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Short Fiction Contest, which was back in 2010. That year, I sent in a story - "Last Call" - which didn't make the cut (though I got some lovely feedback about it). That turned out to be okay, since "Last Call" ended up finding a home in Mortis Operandi much later.
Having a chance to meet and greet most of the authors in the collection was also nice - I think 2010 was the year I got over my nervousness and spoke with Jess Wells (you should do that). That's one of the things I look forward to the most about the festival every year. Chatting with authors is invigorating. It recharges my creative batteries and boosts my confidence that I'm more-or-less on the right path.
"Ondine," by Wayne Lee Gay
This story was the 2010 Short Fiction Contest winner, from the collection Saints + Sinners 2010: New Fiction from the Festival. It's a captivating tale of the intersection between characters and music, desire and repression, and faith, all wonderfully tangled - and untangled - in the space of the story. The individuals involved seemed so real and damaged, and so different from each other, that their slow rhythm toward the end of the tale was absolutely riveting.
The first time I read this story, I remember loving the gentleness of it, and the way I felt led through the tale with the softest of touches. On a re-read, I really noticed the language and cadence of the words. It's obvious Gay worked hard to mimic the music that is such a theme in the tale with the prose. Wonderful.