COVER: "Micah's Tree" / Scott Charles Ross / oil on linen
2007 (Volume 19)
We found one thread throughout many of this year's works — the theme of letting go. Melody Beattie in The Language of Letting Go writes, "Letting go is a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical process, a sometimes mysterious metaphysical process of releasing to God and the Universe that which we are clinging to so tightly."
There's a real letting go in our prize-winning story, "A Brief Swell of Twilight," by Scott H. Andrews. When the hurricane approaches, Lorraine and Todd try to save the boat that's symbolic of her dead brother. But Todd calls out as she's going under water, "You don't need it anymore. Let it go."
Our nonfiction winner this year is "Confessions and Odes" by Melita Schaum. Her essay is about picking up her old addiction, which felt safe and secure, and letting go of it. "My husband has started smoking again and I'm furious." She writes about smelling the smoke on his jacket. She lights up her first cigarette in July and "by October, I was back ... smoking a pack and a half a day."
Our prize-winning poem, "Mother Incarnate," by Deborah DeNicola is of an aging woman and her daughter and how they are preparing to let go. "My mother at ninety [is] asleep on the chaise with the moving water adjacent." The poem speaks of this woman who cheerfully waits to die each night: "Like anyone, she would prefer to pass over in her sleep."