Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Anthology Philly

I am super proud of Anthology Philly, a collection of short stories from up and coming Philadelphia Area authors. Here is the intro I wrote and never put into the actual book because I was so excited about it and forgot:

The City of Brotherly Love is known throughout the nation as a place with a depth of historical wealth. Philadelphia is the home to history-making locations such as Independence Hall, and the most famous bell in the country, The Liberty Bell. The “Love” statue in Love Park has become an iconic image of the modern art world. And who can ever forget the William Penn Statue and all of the urban legends surrounding that?

With such a magnitude of meaning, it’s no wonder that Philadelphia has become a cultural epicenter of the United States. The city boasts several arts and events such as First Friday, the Philadelphia Film Festival, the Philly Fringe Festival, and First Person Arts. Philly has recently evolved into one of the great cultural centers of our time.

Anthology Philly showcases work from some of the great new writers of the Philadelphia area. Each story pays homage to The City of Brotherly Love and all of the aspects of our wonderful metropolis. Even through generational changes, Philadelphia continues to touch its residents and visitors in a meaningful way. Some will always remember the Christmas light show at Wanamaker’s while others will think of the same show at Macy’s. Some will reminisce about the days of seeing Sinatra play Convention Hall while others love the memories of standing in line waiting for an R5 show at the Unitarian Church. In either case, the experience of Philadelphia creates memories and sparks creativity across generations.

The richness of Philadelphia’s culture has inspired the stories within this anthology.

We hope you feel the love.

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Market East

Matilda stared out the window of the train as the hissing sounds emitted from underneath. Her belongings were scattered on the seat next to her, both because she was unorganized and trying to keep a stranger from sitting with her. As her eyes focused on the Market East Station sign she jumped up. “Is this Market East?” she yelled in a frantic tone. The ticket collector nodded as she attempted to collect her stuff. The line of departing passengers was long gone and the hissing happened again, warning of the train’s imminent departure. She threw objects into her bag as fast as she could: a book, a newspaper, her iPad, an umbrella. She made it off just in time.

Image by Mike Garde. Click on it for his Flickr.

A List (for Fun)

People Who Shouldn’t Be Texting While Working as I Walked Through the Streets of Philadelphia This Morning

I had quite the eventful walk to work today, and couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of people texting, most of whom were “on the clock” as they say. I compiled it here for your amusement.

The police officer (in the jewelry district).

The cab driver (with a fare).

The bike messenger (for real).

The guy who almost got hit by a (different) cab driver.

The other police officer (who was driving at the time[and yes it’s illegal in Philadelphia]).

The food cart worker (with a long line of people waiting for their morning coffee).

The mom walking her kids to school (not technically work, but probably even more wrong than the others).

I wish I could say I was making most of these up, but sadly, I’m not. An interesting walk to work this morning.

 

 

A Vaudevillian Moment

As far back as I can remember my grandmother reminisced about her days on stage back in the Vaudeville era.  Her and my grandfather were well known, in New York at least, as performers of music, dance, and probably even more so, comedy.

Grandfather, before he died, swore he’d made up Groucho’s famous “Outside of a book, a dog is a man’s best friend.  Inside a dog it’s too dark to read,” line back then on the stage.  It’s true, Groucho did attend one of their performances with his brothers, but regardless, there’s no way to prove that claim.

When I was little I would spend summers at my grandparents’ home in suburban New York, a small property that working the stage had paid for.  Mother considered it an extended visit, a vacation.  I loved it.  Dad, eternally disliked by my grandmother for pulling my mom out of the spotlight and marrying her, hated every moment.  Using work as an excuse, he would drive up from Philadelphia, our hometown, on weekends.

As I got older, after grandfather died, our visits were really all my grandmother looked forward to.  She would have my room all done up with a frilly pink bedspread (something I pretended to love even after I’d outgrown it) and would serve all of my favorite meals.  She would cater to anything I wanted as if I were her own daughter.  Actually, even mom didn’t have it as good as I did in that old house.

And every summer, like clockwork, she would pull out her old prop umbrella, worn out and missing the knob, and we would do one of the skits she loved so much with me playing the straight man.  She’d put on a funny hat and dress and jump right in.

“There are so many ways to understand what a lady is saying just by how she carries her umbrella!  Like if she holds it like this-”

And I would break in, “It means it’s raining?”

“No, no,” she would correct.  “It means she’s married!  And if she holds it like this-”

“She’s single?” I would ask, giggling.

“No!  It means she’s married and her husband is coming.”

“So you run?”

“Of course not.  Then you nod, like so.”

“So apologize?”

“No, stupid!  It means you want to meet her around the corner!”

“But she’s married!”

“Exactly, so you have to wait for the signal from her.”

“Which is?”

My grandmother would then flirtatiously lift her dress a bit to show some leg, usually with dirty work pants and boots underneath since she was always gardening.  This would have me doubled over in laughter by this point, keeping me from finishing the skit.

She would always chuckle along with me, then sit down in the nearest chair and remember the good old days, working the Vaudeville circuits with my grandfather.

Strangers on a Train

As I sat on the train I noticed the people in the seat directly in front of me. She had a big white knitted hat on as protection from the bitter cold of the early Philadelphia morning. His hat was striped and didn’t look nearly as warm. Her head rested on his shoulder and I could see from my vantage point that she was dead asleep. I wondered how long they had been on the train that her slumber could be so deep. Maybe she was just a good sleeper.

I could hear the pages turning in something he read; it sounded more like a book than a newspaper. They have a much louder sound and longer page-turning time. He seemed so relaxed and content on his morning commute. I assumed they knew each other; people need a certain comfort level to rest their head on another’s shoulder. Or maybe that’s just me. Who knows.

My single-ness was a bit painful after seeing two people so comfortable with each other, so relaxed and close. It ate away at me as I looked down at my boots, toes awkwardly pointed inward just the slightest bit, my tights keeping my legs warm and the gray sweater dress that I painstakingly chose this morning in the hope of seeing that guy I have a secret crush on; I can’t help it, I have a thing for sweater vests, what can I say.

I wonder about these two people in front of me. They seem like nice, kind people, a couple I would love to hang out with. They’re about my age, maybe twenty-four or twenty-five at the oldest. While I am dressed for office work, they look like they could be on vacation or possibly going to work in some new trendy company that not only allows jeans, but expects them. I would love to work in a place like that.

The speaker crackles and someone announces Suburban Station, next stop, Suburban Station and he nudges her gently with his shoulder; she looks up. Lines from his coat mark her face and she smiles as her hand wipes the sleep from her eyes. The train hisses and slows, he smiles at her. She gets up, fixes her soft yellow coat, and kisses him on the cheek.

“See you tonight,” he says with a smile. She smiles back and nods, then turns and exits the train.

Artwork by the always lovely and talented Nadia Lavard.

Cobblestone Streets

The couple walked hand-in-hand through Philadelphia and stopped as Front Street brought them to cobblestone. They looked around and sat on a bench.

“My feet hurt. This is just the break I need.”

A loud sound started coming from around the corner, the sound of a car driving quite quickly on a flat tire. It reverberated off the giant stone statues that made up the monument across the street.

“Sounds like a flat,” he told her knowingly.

“You don’t come to the city enough. It’s just the cobblestone.” He looked at the street and noticed for the first time that it was made of bricks rather than asphalt.

“Oh that’s what you’re always complaining about walking on when you leave work!”

She nodded and snuggled up to him as a cold wind came across Columbus Boulevard from the river.

“But they’re all uneven and messed up. They must be terrible to walk on. I can understand why you’re always breaking shoes.”

“And skinning my knees when I trip.”

“Right.”

The sound of horse hooves came from around the same corner. He watched as the light turned green and a small stream of cars vibrated across the old red bricks. Once the cars were gone the clopping of the horses took control of the environment once again.

The horse and cart rolled by and made less noise against the bumpy road than the cars made only a moment ago.

He watched a guy on his bicycle coming through the park. The biker ignored the red traffic light and flew into the path of an oncoming car that clearly had the right of way. He stopped the bike and started yelling profanities.

“You can tell the cobblestone streets were made for carriages and not cars. I wonder what they’re like for bikes,” he said to her.

“Smart bikers stay away from cobblestone. But sometimes you just can’t avoid it.”

The biker got back onto his bicycle and started on his way only to hit a huge cobblestone brick that was a few inches higher than the rest. The bike tire stopped, throwing the angry biker over the handlebars. He skidded to a halt and sat up, a bit bewildered.

“Try not to laugh,” she said to her boyfriend as he stifled a giggle.

Philadelphia Writers Anthology

Hey all! I’m SO EXCITED to be the judge/editor of an upcoming anthology of Philadelphia area writers. Know anyone from my locale that writes fiction? Then please tell them about this contest.  Here’s the information:

Attention Philadelphia Writers!

WragsInk, a local publisher in the Philadelphia Area, is creating an anthology of the region’s best and brightest authors. How are they doing this? Through a CONTEST. Here’s the deal:

YOU: A writer from the Philadelphia Area, including suburbs.

WHAT: A short story contest. First prize: $50. Two runners-up each get $25.

The skinny: You need to be from the area, and your story has to have something to do with the great city of Philadelphia or the surrounding suburbs. It could be the setting, a main character could be from here, whatever, but it has to have SOMETHING to do with the area. The book will be edited by Dennis Finocchiaro, local author of Capturing a Moment and The Z Word.

The fine print: The three winners will automatically be included in the upcoming anthology, slated to come out at the end of the year. Any other short stories selected to be included in the anthology will receive an author’s copy of the book and will be invited to take part in public readings of your work at some of the many local events run by WragsInk. WragsInk has print and electronic rights to your story for two years, at which point the author may resell the story. WragsInk has the right to use the story in any capacity until the two years are up. By sending your story you are saying that A) It has not been published anywhere else; B) you exclusively own the rights to the story and C) that WragsInk has the right to use the story, if selected, for the next two years.

Also, the subject must say “Fiction Contest Submission” or we will not even read it.

What to send: Send us the story, your name, address and contact information. Please make sure the file is a RTF or Word document.

Where to send the story: Phillyfictioncontest@gmail.com

Deadline: October 31st

Winners will be notified via phone by November 15th.