Each quarter, we award fifty dollars and a complimentary print issue to one or more readers who submit the best feedback on pieces appearing in the current issue of The Summerset Review. The goals of this unique contest are to promote the awareness and visibility of literary magazines in our world and culture, and to get continued assurance that we have indeed connected with our readers.
For information on how to submit your feedback, see our Guidelines page. There is no entry fee. Submissions must be made by June 1, 2010, and comments must pertain to material in this issue. There may be more than one winner.
Our award winner this time is -
Tracy Koretsky of Berkeley, California
As a token of her appreciation, she is allowing Summerset Review readers complimentary eBook downloads of her poetry collection, "Even Before My Own Name." To get your copy, visit www.tracykoretsky.com.
On "Your Freedom and Your Rescue," a short story by Keely S. Kotnik that appeared in our Winter 2010 issue, Tracy writes -
Thank you for this vivid depiction of too-instant acceptance and sudden
flight. It resonated for me on a number of levels. I lost my mother to
cancer when I was twelve—I suppose that's part of it—but that was not what brought me to be traveling all alone in Italy the summer I was
nineteen. There was loss behind my reasons though, recent and still
stinging. I did not have our heroine's language skills and so I'm sure
my experiences were more superficial. Very possibly they were also more
dangerous, because, alas, dangerous they were. But once, on yet another
necessarily sudden flight, I found myself seated on a train next to a
young man who handed me an origami crane. He told me it was his very
own fold; he had registered it with the international origami society.
He told me he was most of the way through a PhD in ornithology but the
government wouldn't let him delay his military obligation any further
and so he was taking this time away from his studies to serve. He was
happy to be on his way home for a little break, looking forward
to seeing his mother and sister and fiancée, and perhaps most of all, his birds.
I took all this in as if I were draped in a net of cynicism. Mother and sister, yeah right. Fiancée, oh sure. So when he asked me to join him, let's say I was not surprised. I resisted and he persisted. His mother would love nothing more that to fuss over an international guest; I would be like a present. He began to get to me somehow, to seep through, until finally he confessed. There was something not quite right about it, he said, something troubling about a girl like myself all alone in the world. And at that fact he had me, and I followed him off the train.
Well, he was everything he said he was: his jolly mama who took me hunting for fresh basil along the seaside, who fussed over me and encouraged me to sleep late; his sister, just two years younger than I, with whom I played the kind of bounce ball game I'd known in grade school, who didn't understand when I told her I was a Jew and needed to be reminded of the Hebrew peoples in the Bible; his yellow-bellied hopping birds, so clearly glad to see him. I have a picture somewhere, standing beneath an olive tree with his fiancée, she in a large brimmed hat with flowers, me shading my eyes with my hand.
Very much like Mireille in Ms. Kotnick's story, they all treated me like I was something special indeed, though they had asked only enough questions to be polite. They did not know me and yet they healed me, in my case just by letting me feel, for a brief sunny respite, safe, unrushed, and without need. When I left for the station, there were tears all around.
We wrote once or twice, the ornithologist and I, but we quickly exhausted everything there was to say. I had not thought of him and his kind family in many years. Thank you, Ms. Kotnick and Summerset Review editors, for bringing that all back, the sweetness of being loved without even being seen, of being loved just for being there, and the strength to know that this is not enough.