Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gringo Tango

Here is another short story of mine, this one set on the coast of Costa Rica where I lived in 1979-1980. (Click on the title to link to The Pedestal Magazine where it was published for the April 2011 issue.) I had written a longer draft of this years ago, sent it around, and didn't get any takers. Teaching my short story class this semester, I became intrigued by man/woman dialogue stories such as Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" and Lessing's "Wine". I dialed back the point of view, cut it down to 1500 words, and used both past and present tense to tell a running backstory simultaneously with the current story. Let me know what you think!

6 comments:

jenny milchman said...

A tense juxtaposition in a short amount of words...I found this story to be like nothing I've ever read before...

SapphireSavvy said...

Sara, I had no idea you were such a globe trotter!

This one hit a funny spot for me: when my mom and stepdad went on their honeymoon, she got so sunburned she couldn't move and stayed in bed. He went out and had fun without her anyway. That kind of sums up their marriage.

I thought this part: "He disappears, swallowed by the walls. She tries to follow. The doors have no knobs, but are turned by ill-fitting keys that dangle in each lock. She can’t manage the key. She repeats the motion, dizzy with darkness, until she realizes she hasn’t left her cot" was incredible. So surreal, so descriptive, so unusual and effective.

I think "quirky" is gonna be your word. :)

ruth said...

You had me there, in the cottage with a fever, needing myself, yet being distant. Thanks for that moment in Costa Rica. Like your poem, being pushed of the cliff by a waiter boy, there is a power in your words. Thanks for sharing.

Reckless said...

Nice job. I like the multiple layers in the dialogue, and I was wishing that the parrot had more lines. In most of the section, I found that--unusual for me--I wanted more details and description. What I got was great, so maybe I was just being greedy. I really liked this one.

Judy Zimmerman said...

Lovely. I was thumbing through Pedastal for a school project and happened on your Tango and before I knew it I was reading the whole thing. I don't usually likenshort stories but this grabbed me and held me an told a complete story with so few words. Love th parrot who speaks for the girl.

Sara Backer said...

Thanks, you guys. The parrot is my favorite character, too--and, guess what: he was real!