Vielen Dank...Gracias...спасибо ...Dziękują ...Grazie...Mulţumită...
Thank you very much for visiting my Author's Den webpage! I invite you to read through some of my stories and hope you enjoy them.
New stories are coming soon! And coming soon is a new essay called "Shooting High."
Until then, please check out my novella, Eva Galuska and the Christmas Carp. It is a story set in Chicago at Christmastime with an Old World flavor all its own. The story is told by Jozef Mieszko, the son of Polish immigrants who own and operate their own bakery and delicatessen. Jozef feels constant pressure from his father to work in the family business instead working in computer science, which his father calls "blue-screened elektronika."
Jozef is also troubled by some of the Old World holiday customs, particularly serving carp for the traditional Christmas Eve dinner. As he recalls his childhood Christmases he pulls away from the old Polish customs practiced by his parents and attempts to forge his own unique holiday traditions for his wife and two sons.
To complicate matters even further, Jozef has a chance encounter with a seductive older woman at his parents' shop, which becomes not only a test of loyalty, but also a quest for the truth as he unravels a tangled web of secrets, which changes life as he knows it. This is a story of self-discovery with threads of mystery, love, and desire.
This story, rich in folklore, culinary delights, and historical references, makes the perfect Christmas gift for those who enjoy travelling to Old World ethnic neighborhoods from the comfort of their own easy chair.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday--my birthday is three days before Christmas and my grandparents had a Christmas tree farm which always made me feel special, as if I had a special comradery with Santa Claus. Nearly everyone in the family helped with the tree business in some way or another and as a child I remember painting pinecones with my grandmother for Christmas wreaths. We would paint them white or gold and sprinkle them with glitter.
And then, there was Chicago, the "melting pot" of nations. Christmastime in Chicago is my favorite time of year. As I type this, memories flood my mind--the beauty of the city under the falling snow, the great clock near Marshall Field's on State Street, the giant Christmas tree in the walnut Room, the spectacular window displays, and the famous lions in front of the Art Institute decked out for the holidays with red bows around their necks. wherever you are, you are surrounded by people from all over the world and it wasn't uncommon to hear a dozen different languages. By visitng different neighborhoods it was like going to another country for a few hours.
AsIi grew up I wanted nothing more than to learn other languages and embrace the world. When I began writing stories, I discovered how easy it was for me to bring my stories to life and to allow my readers to step into my stories by simply adding layers and layers of sensory images and bits of folklore and history. As a result, I take great care in adding layers of sensory details that bring my stories to life and allow my readers to step into the stories. Many of my characters have foreign ancestry and ethnic experiences. I present glimpses into their worlds as "life happens." Each one of my characters carries a tiny piece of me with them as they face moments of love and joy as well as the sadness that accompanies envy, betrayal, and disappointment.
I was influenced by several greats writers, especially Stuart Dybek, a Chicago writer and poet, Charles Baxter, and Andre Dubus. Ultra-short fiction has become became one of my favorites because there is nothing more challenging than being limited to 1500 words or less and writing a story that is "complete." One of my personal favorites, published in The Binnacle, is my story "Ten Quarters, Five Dimes, Two Nickels, and Five Pennies."
Best Wishes from Kathleen