A cheery fire was burning in the grate, and I sat down before it with a comforting sense of relief. For two hours I sat there, thinking of bygone times; recalling old scenes, and summoning half-forgotten faces out of the mists of the past; listening, in fancy, to voices that long ago grew silent for all time, and to once familiar songs that nobody sings now.
– From “A Ghost Story” by Mark Twain in Sketches New and Old, copyright 1903, Samuel Clemens.
This year I have been writing short story. I don’t need the comfort of a fireplace to see faces from the past or hear voices long silent. They live in my head until I let them speak through my stories.
My story “Working Girl” won third place in the 2008 Women Writing the West short story contest. It will be published in 2009 by Women Out West Magazine. Set in 1918 Denver, it is based on true experiences of my late friend Marie Richey Collins. Researching Denver newspapers of the period gave me new perspective on the years of World War I along with similarities and contrasts to our current era of war. I knew Marie in the last decade of her life. Through writing her story I met the woman of her youth with hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled.