December 2017: Hope & Resilience of the Human Spirit

Inside This Edition

When in the midst of the hectic holiday season or just dealing with polarizing politics, you may find yourself in need of a way to clear your head. It’s with this in mind that we decided on an uplifting theme for our December issue: Hope and Resilience of the Human Spirit. Here you’ll find a stable of stories ranging from the warm-and-fuzzy, to bright and funny, to dark with glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel. No matter your taste, you’re bound to be entertained—and blissfully distracted from any real-life stress.

The edition gets a dazzling start via Susan Pascal Beran’s The School Stream, a piece about hope and hopelessness, childhood and adulthood, innocence and cynicism. It is a stirring story that will haunt you, and may bring a few tears to your eyes. But Beran balances the weightier bits with a lovely, airy lightness that prevents the darkness from overpowering. The descriptions are transportive, the young protagonist is perfectly captured, and the emotional heart of the story beats loud and clear, particularly when the lives of its two central characters intersect in a flawless arc as the piece reaches its conclusion.

Beyond the Mountains by Walter Inman is a story like none you’ve ever read. With highly stylized writing, it’s a refreshing take on post-apocalyptic tales, offering a chilling—though surprisingly hopeful—look at the life of a man living in despairing circumstances, but who manages to find solace and salvation in an unexpected source. Sharp, funny, sad and sweet, Beyond the Mountains is not the type of piece you’d expect to induce such a wide range of emotions, but indeed it does, all while proving there are still original stories left to tell.

We’re also proud to offer several flash-fiction pieces that make for lightning-quick reads, including the wonderful Advice from a Stranger by Carl Conrad, about finding the strength to go on when all seems hopeless, which clocks in at a brief 92 words yet manages to pack quite a punch all the same. Follow the Sun to My House of Shells by Greg Roensch is also flash fiction, and a deeply humorous, entertaining piece that’s as wonderfully loony as it is amusing. The writing itself is polished and charming, and, at just 334 words, it’s the perfect piece for the busier among us. Lauren Suchenski’s The Season Beyond Speed is another flash work, a love letter to summertime that is so engrossing and well-written, you might just forget you’re in the middle of December.

No matter your interest or preference, this wide-ranging crop of stories will bring a smile to your face and take the edge off the winter chill. Savor these gems over a steaming beverage or beside a raging fire, and you may just be given the extra boost of hope and resilience you need to get through the holidays.