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© 2007 DAVE SMITH

Editors' Note ~

The Return of the Light

First there was darkness . . .

Every creation myth known to humans begins with darkness. Yet in those myths, darkness is also the harbinger of the coming light.

As the Winter Solstice reminds us, every revolution of our planet around the sun re-enacts the birth of light from darkness. Darkness and light are powerful metaphors in our world—not just literally, but figuratively, in the deepest recesses of our bodies, our psyches, our souls. Thus, it is not surprising that such powerful, divergent works would arise from the theme of our first writing contest, “Return of the Light.”

We were awed by the metaphor that Creative Nonfiction category winner Kevin S. Pendleton uses to represent the fight between the darkness of grief and the light of acceptance in his amazing story of “The Boxing Match.”

In the Short Story category, winner Rosemary Jones, in “The Tin Canister,” playfully and most provocatively examines the question of what would happen if all light were locked up and hidden away.

Flash Fiction winner Margaret A. Frey, on the other hand, sends the reader on a breathless roller-coaster ride between dark and light, between physical and metaphysical, in her winning entry, “Riding the Coma.”

Although we designed the contest to choose a single winner from each category, we were so taken by two other entries that we are publishing them as Honorable Mentions in their respective categories. In his Flash Fiction story “Candle,” Buzz Mauro’s characters consider the ramifications of an unexpected candle in their lives. And in the Creative Nonfiction category, we offer Carly Svamvour’s fugue-like story about aging, “This Place, This Time, This Light.”

Overall, we were amazed at the creativity and power of these works of fiction and nonfiction, and we offer the winning writers our thanks and congratulations—as well as a $100 prize for the winner of each category.

We also want to thank every author who submitted an entry to the contest. The quality of your work made our decisions quite difficult, but it also made the reading process most delightful! We appreciate your support very much! Your donations will help Cezanne’s Carrot reach more readers.

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We also received some marvelous “regular” submissions, and we proudly offer our readers these additional works that we believe will entertain you, make you laugh and cry, provoke new thoughts, and perhaps even cause an involuntary “wow!”

For example, don’t look for the usual response from the married woman in G.K. Wuori’s “Divine Request” who receives the call to become a priest. Or from the character in Liesl Jobson’s “Diver’s Flowers” when “King Jesus” interrupts the radio DJ to speak to her. Nor does Catherine Whitney’s surrealistic story “Emperor” follow the trodden path!

Be sure to check the entertaining, yet mysterious and provocative stories by R.E. Hartman (“Adrift”), Bruce Holland Rogers (“With Strings”), and Laurence Levey (“Processional”). And we think you’ll enjoy “First Impressions,” in which Shelly Jasperson explores the downside of being able to read others’ minds.

We are delighted also to offer three profound works of nonfiction. In “Camminando,” JoAnne DeMaio writes about the nonphysical forces (fate? angels?) that watch over and protect us. Shawna Lemay’s poetic “Calm Things” offers a new way of looking at the connections between people and their “things.” And Gregory F. Tague, in “Body, Blood, and Adoption,” tells of the powerful connections between parents and children, set, in part, in the horror of downtown Manhattan on September 11, 2001.

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It’s ironic that while we were reading submissions for our Return of the Light contest, on a personal level, we were experiencing the return to light as more than just a metaphor. Barbara’s mother was diagnosed with brain cancer just before our Summer Solstice issue last June, and after several months of unsuccessful treatment, she made her own transition—her return to the brightest Light of all—on Halloween.

And so we are dedicating this issue of Cezanne’s Carrot to Barbara’s mother, Jean Leskee, a creative, rare, and remarkable woman. We imagine her rising like the phoenix, in the wonderful image by Teresa Dunwell that graces this issue’s cover page. Jean is rising out of the darkness and difficulty of this incarnation and being reborn into the light!

On this Winter Solstice, we wish all of you
the perfect “return of the light” for your own life!

Barbara Jacksha    &     Joan Kremer

Copyright 2007 by Cezanne’s Carrot

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