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.
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