A Story With Staying Power


October 28, 1990|By Elizabeth Large

When is a short story not a short story? And is that good o bad? Well, a good example can be found on Page 19: Sue Waterman's moving piece of fiction "Holding On, Letting Go." But it's bad if you want to enter it in a contest with certain ground rules, which she did. While Ms. Waterman's entry made it to the finals of our Summer Short Fiction Contest, it didn't quite adhere to the short story form enough to satisfy our judges. It ended up as an honorable mention.

But Sue Waterman's entry stayed with me, partly because I have a 12-year-old daughter -- and what Ms. Waterman says about first-born daughters is absolutely true -- but mostly because of how Ms. Waterman tells her story. Why not, I decided, publish it in a regular issue of the magazine?

Unfortunately, by this time we had somehow lost the title page that had her address and phone number on it. But by calling every Waterman in the phone book, I got hold of her sister-in-law and managed to persuade her to give me Sue Waterman's unlisted number.

The author agreed to let us use the piece at our regular free-lance rates, and our copy desk was agreeable about not putting in commas and otherwise editing her stream-of-consciousness writing. (Some newspaper copy desks wouldn't be so accommodating.) So here it is; and I hope you like it, with all its quirks, as much as I do.

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