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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Locally Writ: ‘Summer Stories’ series to be published as anthology

Inspired by a project the Minneapolis Star had planned in 2013, the original idea for “Summer Stories” was to run a serialized novel in Sunday’s Today section of The Spokesman-Review. When several local authors started releasing short-story collections around the same time, Carolyn Lamberson, then the features editor, had another idea.

Summer Stories: ‘What Rises Beneath’ by Jess Walter

It was quiet for 140 years. Then, in March, the mountain began to rumble: earthquakes, bursts of steam, blue flame, ash clouds that sparked 2-mile bolts of lightning. All spring, the volcano seethed, spewed and shuddered, magma bubbling up its throat and pushing the north flank out 5 feet a day.

Summer Stories: ‘Ashes to Ashes’ by Julia Sweeney

It was a Sunday morning in May, and Ben had just left Angela’s dilapidated Seattle apartment building in good spirits. After a year of flirting, yearning and maneuvering (and with the aid of some Jack Daniels added to the espresso they sipped while playing chess at Last Exit on Brooklyn the night before), he’d finally gotten Angela to invite him home.

Summer Stories: ‘Hope’ by Dan Gemeinhart

As a matter of fact, I never wanted to kill my neighbor's cat. But sometimes things happen, and sometimes one thing leads to another, and sometimes you're just kind of swept along in a landslide, and then all of a sudden you're trying to hide a dead cat. It happens.

Summer Stories: ‘Saint Helen and the Spokanites’ by Samuel Ligon

Paw Paw said it was just hippies on the mountain got smote. And fornicators. “Nary a Christian among them,” he said. “What about my Grandpa Murphy’s camp,” I said. “Closed,” Paw-Paw said. “And they was Catholic anyway – not Christian.” “Catholic is Christian,” my mother said. “And it’s not just hippies up there.”

Summer Stories: ‘Bandits’ by Sharma Shields

When Mom fell in love with the man of ash, we tried, at first, to be happy for her. We vacuumed, we mopped, we sang. We swept up the ashes without complaint. Even then the thin film of him settled beneath our fingernails or whirled up at us from a plumped cushion, catching in our eyelashes.

Summer Stories: ‘Red Zone’ by Ben Goldfarb

Hank went down to the dock before dawn. Dirty spring snow lingered along the cobble path that led from cabin to lakeshore. The mist hung so thick that he heard the canoe before he saw it, the rhythmic clunk of aluminum on wood. 

Summer Stories: ‘Waffle Hut” by Neal Thompson

I saw my twin sister working at the Waffle Hut outside Kid Valley, her hair longer and grayer since we last spoke. That was nine years back, when mom died. An aneurysm seemed to have been waiting and waiting for just the right moment, and then POP! Mom’s gone. Sixty-seven and healthier than either of us, knocked to the ground by a tiny gremlin, right there outside the Goodwill.

Summer Stories: ‘Mayday’ by Bruce Holbert

College hadn’t worked out for Yeller: He had not even learned to drink well. By spring, his second sophomore year at Eastern Washington University, Yeller was an Eagle and a fairly lost bird.

Summer Stories: ‘Rumblings’ by Beth Piatote

If it weren’t for my daughter’s fever, I might never have talked to Susanna. But we live in a world of rules, and the rule at preschool was no preschool if your kid has a fever. And that’s where it started, this strange set of events.

Summer Stories: The Thick Darkness by Shawn Vestal

It came as Father said it would come, a shroud over the sun, a night in the day, a black pall upon the earthly coffin of the wicked. At the campground, the Forest Service man came and asked for $16.

Jess Walter’s ‘Magnificent Desolation’ gets ‘Selected Shorts’ treatment with Bobby Cannavale

Long before works of short fiction read by talented actors are broadcast into our homes, cars and assorted listening devices by Spokane Public Radio, they begin life in a live performance setting. Since 1985, “Selected Shorts” has been performed before enthusiastic audiences on stage at New York City’s Symphony Space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, “Selected Shorts” organizers, like many other artist groups, have pivoted to virtual. The first “Virtual Selected Shorts” program debuted on the Symphony Space YouTube channel on Wednesday night.

Summer Stories: ‘Magnificent Desolation’ by Jess Walter

In the final installment of the 2019 Summer Stories series, Jess Walter tells the tale of a teacher dealing with the parents of his worst student. Revisit previous entries in the Summer Stories series at spokesman.com/summer-stories.

Summer Stories: ‘Summer of Love’ by Thom Caraway

“You know what the problem is, don’t you?” Paul leaned forward. It had been a sunny day, but evening settled in cool. It smelled like grass and hot concrete. Al knew this look, the tone. “Geez, Paul, can’t you wait until we start drinking?” He poured the scotch.

Summer Stories: ‘Many Crowns’ by S.M. Hulse

In the final month of her final summer working at Dairy Palace, Debbie Baker’s boss asked her to be the Dairy Princess in the end-of-summer parade. After three-and-a-half years of wearing a black-and-white cowhide-patterned paper crown while dispensing cone after cone of soft-serve every afternoon, it was finally her turn to wear a glittering tiara.