For three quarters now, we’ve awarded prize money to selected readers of this magazine. Do you know of our reading contest? Write fifty or more words about a story appearing in the current issue, and a check may soon appear at a mailbox near you. Last December, we sent $50 to a reader is Israel. In June, we sent $150 to a reader in Texas. This month, we are sending $100 to Ontario, Canada. These readers, and others, have also received free copies of our first print volume.

Are we doing this out of the kindness of our hearts? Not exactly. We are trying to inspire more reading. And we intend to keep this contest going quarter after quarter. So read a story, write about what you liked, or what you didn’t like, check our guidelines page on how to submit your entry, and go for it. It's easy.


Our first print issue, collecting a sampling of stories that appeared online from 2002 through 2006, was released early last year. We are happy to announce a second print issue is in the works, collecting a sample from where we left off. We hope to have Volume Two out by late winter. If you have a favorite piece that you've read here, starting with this issue and going back to our Winter 2007 issue, we'd be happy to take your nomination for inclusion in our printed volume. The decisions we need to make are never easy; the pieces we have published the past two years, and every year, every issue, are done passionately, and we'd like to collect all of the stories in Volume Two if we had the means.

Putting our first print issue together did not happen without a few surprises. For one, having little experience in the print industry, we thought extravagant editing and typesetting software was needed for the printing of an entire book. After laying out the money for one such product, and going through great pains on how to use it, we found out all we needed to ship was a simple PDF file. Live and learn.

The second surprise had to do with the artwork which appeared on the cover. Though all the cover art online at The Summerset Review is created ourselves from scratch, for the cover of our print issue, we wanted to contract a worthy artist rather than promote our own little dabblings. We went to several gallery fairs and expositions in New York City, selecting various pieces on display and trying to strike a deal. Unfortunately, the modest payment we were offering caused most people we approached to literally take steps backward and look the other way. We're extremely grateful to the artist Adia Millett, and the staff of Mixed Greens in Chelsea, for believing in our magazine and going with us.


In this issue, we’re giving you not one, but two recommended Lit Picks of the Quarter. The few times we did this in the past, the stories came from the same author. This time we highlight works from different authors, in different literary magazines, linked by a common theme: a tension between a mother and a daughter.

Issue 102 of One Story features the writer and Redivider editor, Laura van den Berg. The piece is entitled, "What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us." It is set in Madagascar and narrated by the daughter of a woman studying the rainforest. Here are a few excerpts -

… lists I started keeping on my own, different from the ones my mother encouraged me to memorize. The one I thought about the most was famous disappearances: Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, Ambrose Bierce. I wonder if the mysteries of their lives would ever be solved, how long someone would look for me before I was added to such a list.

. . .

My mother sat a little straighter in her chair before telling us meaningful scientific research was best done in solitude, that collective thought only diluted the strongest ideas.

. . .

… the five layers of the rainforest: the overstory, the canopy, the understory, the shrub layer, and the forest floor. She said each part had its own little ecosystem, its own little universe. And weren’t people like that too, she continued, worlds onto their own.

The Spring 2008 issue of the literary magazine Lit includes a story by Irina Reyn entitled, "The Firebird." The family in the story are Russian immigrants to the United States, and, in contrast to the above, the piece is narrated by the mother. A few excerpts –

… it felt just like Inna’s first words when she was two-and-a-half. The wonder that something so tiny and unformed had managed to pluck a few words from the dizzying array of language around her. And then, most shocking of all – that she actually used them, spoke them out loud. How brave, I thought then, to make your choices, to be at peace with them.

. . .

It is up to me to break the silence. "I will tell you what I know, Innochka," I begin. To my surprise, with every miserable word I utter, I watch the features of my daughter’s face soften. One story bleeds into another – one man described, the second and then the third. After a while, something truthful begins to take shape before us, mammoth and dangerous, its beauty blinding. And I start laughing nervously, hysterically, because I realize that all I need to do is grab its tail and announce that there is no more need to lie, because I too have seen what I have seen.


The Summerset Review
 
Joseph Levens - Editor
Amy Leigh Owen – Assistant Editor
 
A literary journal released quarterly on the 15th of March, June, September, and December on the Internet, and periodically in print form. Founded in 2002, the journal is 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 grants 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.

The Summerset Review is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, incorporated in New York State.

ISSN 1933-7175

Theme graphics: "Blur of Paradise" Copyright © The Summerset Review, Inc. 2008.