Issue 32 Fiction Introduction by Sam Barnhart

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Few things in life begin and end the same way. Finality is something we desire when we read a story because reality doesn’t have the luxury of punctuation. It’s part of the escape we seek in reading. The pleasure of being tugged away from all the little things that trouble us.

The best stories stick with us. We think about them when we’re done, even if it’s just for a few moments. A good story can be, in my opinion, about any subject and be capable of fascinating the reader. That should be the writer’s intention, especially with fiction. To fascinate the reader, to write something that holds onto the reader in the moments after it’s been read.

These six stories will stick with you.

When Ms. Babcock agreed to let me give this issue a theme, my goal was to think of one that would motivate writers and interest readers. She and I worked at it, polished out the dents and came up with a theme that writers willingly met. I was happy to be challenged by the variety of stories, and the variety of writers.

Each story begins and ends with the same four or five words. The authors featured here, Angela Boswell, Paul Alex Gray, Subo Wijeyeratne, Jason M. Harley, Sara Codair, and Alan Cameron didn’t simply type the same words at the start and finish of their stories. They made those words essential. The ways these authors interpreted the theme were vastly different. They’re unique, and that is what makes these stories worth reading.

Real life is messy and endless. It goes on whether or not we’re paying attention. We can’t be faulted for wanting to read a good story, something with a concrete beginning and ending. It helps us cope. It may even give us hope. Something that can be accomplished by very few things in life.

BIO: Samuel Barnhart’s short stories have appeared in Page and Spine, Theme of Absence, Slink Chunk Press and each of Silver Pen’s online magazines. His poetry has most recently been published by Three Line Poetry, and his short play, “Trapped at Two a.m.” will premiere at the Fillmore’s Jackie Gleason room on March 11th, performed by the Miami Radio Players as part of their “Shoreside” saga. He lives in South Florida.