The Ballerina in Battery Park

The building was an older one, just a block from Wall Street in the heart of Manhattan’s Financial District, and its modest ten stories were dwarfed by towering modern skyscrapers.  The rooftop offered an amazing 360-panoramic view of the cavernous buildings that stretched into the clouds.  Their lit windows made checkered patterns against the enclosing walls of the city.  Looking out between the buildings was like gazing into the belly of a deep and narrow cave that stretched back forever into a darkness around the bend.

A grim view from a ferry taken from Jersey City to Manhattan.

About two years ago I made it one of my primary missions to hone my skills working in short fiction.  It was an area I had avoided and feared before (I am “davethenovelist” not “davetheshortstorywriter” afterall) but I decided it could be a welcome change of pace and something I could really dive into between novels.  It’s resulted in many stories and ideas, some of which I’ve now discarded or still linger to be fully fleshed out, others of which I have edited to death and/or submitted in various drafts to select literary magazines in print or online.  Along my journey, I read somewhere that the average writer will make at least 20 submissions before having their first story published.  Well, on the 13th try, I am finally seeing some returns on my investments of time and hard work. 

I am proud to say my short story, “The Ballerina in Battery Park” has been chosen for publication and awarded 3rd place in Scratch’s 2010 Spring Quarterly Contest.  In addition to immediate online publication it will be appearing in print in their annual anthology due out in the Spring of 2011 – stay tuned for details on how to purchase a copy!

This was especially rewarding for me as Scratch is an independent, grass-roots literary endeavor that specifically seeks to promote new talent, and that’s something I have also tried to do here at The Schleicher Spin with my “Spotlight on the Independent Arts” features, which have so far focused on independent films and music acts.  It’s great to be recognized by people who share my values and philosophy on the promotion of the arts.   

This marks my first little success story on this long road towards conquering short fiction, and it was a contest I entered on a whim with a story I had never submitted elsewhere.  This specific story is unique amongst my fiction in that it was inspired by a specific event (passing by a high-profile murder scene) that happened during a weekend visit to NYC last summer that I detailed in blog post called, “Do Not Make Me Stop this Bus!”  To all my friends in New York and elsewhere, please know this is above all a work of fiction — and any characters found therein are at best (or worst) an amalgamation of many people or dreamt up with no one in mind at all.  Thanks for living in such interesting places that constantly inspire the writer in me.  

Meanwhile, I will continue to sharpen my skills, write new stories, revise old ones and submit, submit, submit.  

Written and Photographed by David H. Schleicher

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8 comments on “The Ballerina in Battery Park

  1. Prakash says:

    Hey David,

    Congratulations! Delighted to know about the latest development in your writing career. I read the story online and liked it a lot. I’ve been to NY and could relate to the entire setting. Almost transported to the scene “live” and could feel each inch of the narrator’s mind.

    One thing I must confess though. Maybe because I am conditioned to expecting a “twist” in the end in most short stories, I was expecting one in yours too. And the story did push me on the edge a bit, just hoping to find that “expect it not” twist in the end. Yet, by the time I finished reading it, I realized that the story is sort of redeeming for the narrator and deserves to end the way it did.

    Nice job Dave! Send me more of your work, if possible. This is the first work of fiction of yours I’ve read.

    Thanks! Hmmm…you might enjoy another story I wrote — my “ghost-story-that’s-not-really-a-ghost-story-or-is-it?” — that has quite a twist. I’ve been shopping that one around, but it’s hard to find the right venue for such a tale as it’s not exactly a generic ghost story/mystery, but most uber-literary types would categorize it as that and take a pass. –DHS

  2. John Greco says:

    David,

    First let me offer my sincere congratulations! This is great and exciting news!

    I just read the short story David and I loved it. All the elements were tied together and brought to a satisfactory conclusion for this reader. Your main character seemed prepared to accept and close the recent past and move on with no regrets.

    Thanks, John! –DHS

  3. Boz says:

    Dave,
    That is excellent news! Congratulations! Your story is excellent sir. Its imagery and subtle “you know what’s going on” asides are classic Schleicher elements. I actually felt a kinship with the character as I held onto a long-distance relationship in my past. He and I shared all the thoughts and feelings, almost like I was him. Keep it up!

    Boz, thanks, I do enjoy the “inside jokes for those who know me” aspect of writing. When all pretenses are put aside, I’m really writing to entertain my friends. I’m glad to hear you were able to relate to the narrator. –DHS

  4. Sam Juliano says:

    David: I have not yet read your story, but I definitely will get to it.

    This is an extraordinary honor, and further testament to your excellence as a writer. I offer my deepest congratulations here!

    Thanks, Sam! -DHS

  5. Hi David,
    Congratulations on the award! It’s always nice to see someone’s hard work pay off with recognition and publication (and some cash doesn’t hurt). Now take a break from writing and go see some movies…

    Jason, thanks. Ah, yes…film..the eternal muse. –DHS

  6. UPDATE: The Scratch Anthology Volume 3, featuring my story as well as 11 other winners from their 2010 quarterly contests, is now available to purchase! Follow the link the below:

    http://www.amazon.com/scratch-anthology-Winning-Stories-Poetry/dp/1461129575

  7. Dianne Glave says:

    Congratulations! Very happy for you.

    Dianne

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