This year, Vestal Review celebrates its 10th anniversary.
As writers of fiction, we not only divine the future but also control it. We can’t help it. Such is the nature of writing and of writers. We are like minute gods, each presiding over our own miniscule universes—our blank pages, ours to do with as we see fit. And usually, that means envisioning things as they should have been, the lesson learned perhaps more profound and rattling than what has propped up our daily and very regular lives since then.
Consider this little gem from Year One, Issue One, of Vestal Review—April 2000:
“You are now so happy that you stand alone in your narrow little kitchen, smiling, with your fists raised above your head. You yell, “All right. I am free. I am fucking free.”
“Divorce” by Candy Porrett.
When we write, we are breaking Rule One of sci-fi: you can’t alter the future by screwing with the past. But we literary fiction writers can get away with it because our worlds exist only on the page. There are make-believe, not steeped in code with earth-shattering implications.
In Candy Porrett’s story, there is a dawning realization of hopefulness that, however manic the precursors, life does not always have to end with our failures. There is the future to consider. Thanks to the writer and her ability to divine, if only on paper — this is the moment, the impression, the reader will take away.
As with any good relationship of faith, the unravelling of the mysteries of life, or at least the very short story, seem to come from within ourselves. As with a much-loved child, the guidance and directions are non-invasive, holistic in nature.
From Year Ten, Issue Thirty-five:
“She said her name was Art, and she asked if I wanted to come with her.”
“She understands being raised by a memory of love.”
“Today she imagines herself back there and feels a fist clench in her chest.”
“I am good at this.”
Again, from Issue One:
“A cluster of fruit dangled like three moons from the lemon tree outside my balcony.”
“When I was ten years old the girl down the street moved away.”
“In the spring, they said, work would be there for all.”
Whatever the words, they have to be on the rebound from just having touched the core of someone, so they may float off into space, connecting with other miniscule universes so the whole damn thing seems like one view of a possible million from a Hubble-like telescope radiating out from here, where we live.
“I am good at this.”—Year One
Yes, we are good at this, and it is taxing: even ten long years later, these words still hold true, and are worthwhile, and worthy; however miniscule, their glint catches the eye, the eyes, the soul, someplace worth remembering.
Why We Never Talk About Sugar by Aubrey Hirsch
Boots by Stefanie Freele
Wings by Ben Loory
High Fives and Pitchfork by Jesse Goolsby
Someone Else’s Suitcase* by Lori Huth
A Recursive Love Affair* by Ted Chiles
Mice* by Karen Heuler
My House* by Emile Barrios
Where Her Eyes Swim* by Karen George
*Story is available only in the print issue