Once again I can’t wait until Friday to post. I’m absolutely thrilled to have my short story, “A Merit to the Soul,” published in the print literary magazine, The First Day. It’s rare that I can say I have a story that’s only available in print. (Though digital copies of the print journal ARE available for $5.00)
By the way, I also love the quality of the online essays on The First Day Blog. They take submissions there too so look at what they want if you’re a writer with something to say about faith, art, culture, and practice. (Any faith by the way. This is not a Jewish magazine.)
The journal and the website are labors of love for publishers and editors Jana and Mike Llewellyn. I admire their dedication to every word they print, and I really enjoyed the back and forth I had with Jana over certain words and phrases in my story (many of them Jewish/Hebrew ones that she fairly thought needed English instead). It was Jana who changed my previous blah title “The Morning Minyan” to “A Merit to the Soul,” which is really closer to the heart of my story.
Before I tell you about my story, let me tell you about this beautiful magazine, which is best described in their own words:
The First Day is both a quarterly print journal and online magazine featuring fiction, nonfiction, visual arts, and poetry that highlights the individual experience of beauty, faith, journey, and growth. Our mission is to break down walls between faith traditions and cultural backgrounds to form a common space to share personal stories of spiritual struggle and triumph. . .
This project emerges from the Quaker tradition, and as publishers we are guided by the principles and values of Quaker faith, which include finding spiritual growth through silent reflection, acting with integrity, practicing nonviolence, and believing there is “that of God” in every human being. However, we are not interested in converting anyone or expressing a creed-based theology. We know that there are many paths to the divine. We want to hear your stories of hope, inspiration, journey, and discovery, whether you’re Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Agnostic, or Confused.
My story is about a Jewish woman in her early thirties, who after ignoring the Jewish rituals for mourning a parent, decides to try attending a service at a nearby synagogue where she can say the Mourner’s Kaddish. She meets an interesting cast of characters and accepts certain elements of her life will have to change if she’s ever going to move forward.
And yes, I’ve noticed that my short stories are filled with lots of Jews. I can’t help it. This particular story continues one of my first stories ever published called “Fresh Living,” which was published in the print journal Midwestern Gothic. So I guess this particular group of characters does not want to live online. What can I say? It happens!
You can buy a single print issue of The First Day Journal, subscribe to all four issues in a year, or a buy a single digital copy. All those choices are on their website (use the drop down menu when you get there for all the options).
Wishing you all a great week!