Stephanie Burgis
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This is a red-letter publishing week, for me. After nearly four months of not publishing any short stories, I found out that my story "Blue Joe" was also published yesterday, in Issue No. 10 of Shimmer. Better yet, in celebration of their tenth issue, Shimmer is giving away copies of the issue as free PDF files. There are lots of fabulous authors in the Table of Contents - including Shweta Narayan and Caroline Yoachim - and it looks like a great issue. You can order a beautiful paper copy (seriously, Shimmer is one of the prettiest magazines out there, with wonderful artwork), or download a free PDF copy if you don't want to wait. My contributor copies are still winging their way to me across the Atlantic, so I downloaded the free PDF last night and am really looking forward to reading it. (You can also read interviews with all the contributors to the issue; my interview is here.)

"Blue Joe" is set mostly in Youngstown, Ohio, in the 1940s, and I wrote it in memory of my beloved Croatian-American grandfather, Emil Bauman, and the family band he played in with his older brothers. It's a story about music, love, and the ties that bind a family together. As I wrote it, I listened to scratchy old recordings of my grandpa and great-uncles playing and singing smooth 40s jazz, which sometimes made me cry because I miss my grandpa, but mostly made me smile because I loved him. The story and characters themselves are pure fiction, but I threaded a lot of family history into this story (just as I pulled in other parts of my family history to write "The Little Tailor", in memory of my Ukrainian-Jewish great-grandfather Moshe Gerschfeld). And one of the biggest inspirations, of course, was my Great-Uncle Rudy's saxophone, which lived in our house as I was growing up and had a lot of stories of its own.

Today I'm going into town with MrD to meet up with other moms and babies from our prenatal group. It's the first time in a month that I've been able to come to the weekly meetup - various scheduling issues have gotten in the way - and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm planning a trip to the library afterwards to stock up on books for the week ahead, and I'm looking forward to the tingle of excitement I always feel walking through downtown Leeds, which is vibrant and packed with people and movement, very different from our quiet, rural neighborhood.

In the background, though, I'll be remembering that my story is finally out, and I'll be thinking about my grandpa.

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