Randall Van Nostrand
Is there anything better than a good story?
A Few Things
I was a shy kid. My parents used to make me do things like dial the operator to ask for a number so I’d get better at talking to people.
My father was a play publisher which meant he saw a lot of plays for work. On nights Mom opted to stay home, he’d take me or one of my sisters. If the play was bad we’d sneak out at intermission to get ice cream sodas. There was a candy store in our neighborhood called Pops that had a counter with red vinyl stools. When Pops- yes, that’s what everyone called him- brought our sodas, Dad would push his hat back on his head like a reporter and grin. I don’t remember talking much, though we may have. I was always a little nervous around him, hoping he’d like me.
Growing up I spent hours tucked behind furniture or hidden in closets reading. There were a lot of, Oh, there you are comments and small surprised sounds. No one ever knew where they’d find me. It was a different time back then. Parenting was looser, kids had more freedom, boredom was a constant possibility.
What scares me now is climate change. If I’m honest, and why wouldn’t I be, it makes a part of me long for a quiet closet with a flashlight and a good book. Of all the challenges facing us today--and there are many--nothing’s more dire. The loss of everything is so big and awful it makes my heart spin. What if we’re the last people to see a polar bear or coral reef? How can we stand by as the planet’s inhabitable spaces grow uninhabitable? How can we let the convenience of plastic wrappers be more important than oceans? If we don't act fast to stem the harm, nothing else will matter. My dad died before we were this aware of what was happening to the planet. I wish he were here now. It would be good to talk with him about it.
The Train, The Rappahannock Review
The Frog Prince, 96th of October
Love's Pressure Valve, HerStry
Carrot Negotiations (Children's story), East of the Web
Tiny Flame, The Blotter, November 2020 (pg 9)
Promises, a winner in Musepaper Contest
Why I Like Pencils, Cafe Lit, UK
One Daughter Weeping, The Rappahannock Review
Helen and the Golden Bee (Children's Story), East of the Web
The Man in the Gray Suit, The Society of Misfit Stories, Bards & Sages Sept. 2019 https://www.bardsandsages.com/literary_offerings/society_of_misfit_stories
Antarctica was selected as a winner in Writing by Writer's 9th annual Short Short Writing Contest
The Party was selected as an Honorable Mention in the 47th New Millennium Writing Contest
Vanquishing the Night Horse
A novel looking for a home
Sophie Campana’s a bit of a loner. As a young tech worker for America Media, she has a good job and a secret desire to do something meaningful with her life. In the hot, overpopulated world of the late 21st century, it’s survival of the fittest and anyone who tries to help others is weak.
All around her wars, terrorist bombings, and dwindling resources have created populations of homeless children. The smartest band together. Kids like Jingles, Doris, Petey, and Bobo-Rae survive on their wits and speed.
When Sophie is asked to head up the development of a radical mind-altering technology, she’s at a crossroads. Saying yes will mean a successful career, saying no will end it. Either choice will have life and possibly world-changing consequences. When on a whim she buys a homeless kid a meal, everything changes.
"Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"