We thought to start this issue off by sharing some engaging characteristics of a short story, at least in our humble opinion. We feel a truly great one operates on different levels: There is the overall premise, of course. Then there is an underlying means of carrying the story, a suspension of disbelief or a strong running metaphor, like a mini-story or a place the reader keeps coming back to. Finally, there are simply beautifully-styled sentences or isolated concepts sprinkled throughout the piece, breathing life into it, making it stand tall.

Though we don't want these notes to turn into a writing lesson, we do want to say these elements are all present in a wonderful work we read in the Summer 2005 issue of Hayden's Ferry Review, a story by Liza Kleinman entitled "Trompe L'Oeil." It's the tale of a father whose son is soon to be taken away by his mother. The story is carried by a surreal "game" of sorts the father and son play, transforming the boy's bedroom into a café, the boy a waiter Mario, the father a diner. The sprinkled sentences that pull the reader in come by way of cleverly-acted dialogue, and here is an excerpt:

    "So, Mario, are you new here?"
    "Oh, no, I've been working here forever. I have a family to support." He wiped his hands across the suit jacket, leaving a small smudge of peanut butter.
    A shadow flickered across Mario's face, and then he nodded slowly. "I have a son," he replied. A moment passed. "Vito. That boy is nothing but trouble."

We've decided to release a print issue in 2007. We are not yet sure if this will be a Best Of collection or a combination of previously published pieces as well as new ones. All we know at this point is that we will try our very best to generate a volume of the highest quality literature we are capable of producing, and that everything in the print journal will also be available online. As with this web site, the print issue will be nonprofit. If, by some stroke of good fortune revenue is higher than expected, proceeds will be rolled into sustenance of this journal and then applied toward charitable causes. We are looking for one or a few volunteers to help in this endeavor, having typesetting, printing, distribution and/or marketing experience. Please email us at the address below if interested.

A warm thanks goes out to the faculty, staff, and students of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. The Summerset Review was invited to spend several days there to talk about online literary magazines and the literary world in general, answer students' and faculty members' questions, review students' writing and portfolios, experience the famed Rose O'Neill Literary House, and revel in campus magic inspired by the annual Sophie Kerr Literary Award.

Below is the front view of the Literary House, historically a sanctuary for writers, the place where many a famous author has once read.

In our issue this quarter, Robert Villanueva's lead-off short story, "A Scent Like Daphne," provides some wonderful images. A college professor wants to close his eyes and open them again to something else. He sees hours he spent in the past illuminated with black light, the daylight now a kaleidoscope in his eyes.

"No Tenth Cat," an essay by Phoebe Kate Foster, takes us through a memorable life of a father and his felines. "He's my ninth cat, you know," the father says. "One to mark each decade of my life." There's an endearing father-daughter relationship explored here, as you will see.

Dee Dobson Harper describes a woman who lays a certain claim at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Fifty-fifth Street in Manhattan. Her essay, "The Traffic Lady," visits the condition of homelessness, providing background and color not many of us have had the opportunity to experience.

The protagonist in John Riha's story, "Standing Dead," wants to go parasailing in Bonaire, but his wife doesn't. Perhaps there's a mid-life crisis afoot and an interesting, useful way of working with it.

This issue introduces Amy Greene with her first accepted story for publication, "The Award." A mother wins business recognition, but longs to be somewhere else with her aptly-named daugher, Eden. There's not much dialogue here, but we found the piece nonetheless captivating.

Finally, D. W. Young takes us on a yo-yo route between Pedasi and Playa Venao, where the characters in his essay, "Panama 3-Ball," become inventive with a beat-up pool table. The narrator experiences the perspective of living in the moment, and we felt it resonate as we read the piece.

The Summerset Review
Joseph Levens – Editor
Amy Leigh Owen – Assistant Editor
S. Malkah Cohen – Advisory Editor
A literary journal released quarterly on the 15th of March, June, September, and December. Founded in 2002, the journal is a nonprofit Internet magazine devoted to the review and publication of unsolicited short stories and essays. All correspondence and submissions should be emailed to editor@summersetreview.org. Postal mailing address: 25 Summerset Drive, Smithtown, New York 11787, USA.

This publication is made possible, in part, with a grant from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), supported by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state agency. We are very thankful for the support and encouragement these organizations have given our journal and the literary community.

Theme graphics: "Hang On" Copyright © The Summerset Review 2006.