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Monday, April 17, 2006

James W. Powell: One Postcard, Endless Possibilities

When I read the message on the back of the postcard Jason posted on Friday (Call for Submissions), I immediately had an image in mind. Although the meaning behind each word was ripe with possibilities, I knew the true story behind the words. It was as clear to me as any documentary in history class.

“Laura was up on Wed all day and is up today.” When I read that phrase, I pictured a young woman who had been sick with the others. Yet just recently, she’d shown signs of life. This chipper young lass was on the mend and would be back to old form in no time, telling jokes and sharing her joy with everyone. That’s the story, and damn it, it’s the only story possible.

Until I read the first story idea that hit our inbox for open submissions. The writer of this particular piece actually read that one line a bit differently. In his eyes, “Laura was up on Wed” meant she was there visiting from out of town.

You know what? I think that might be it. Yeah, I think it is. That’s the real story. No question.

But wait. What about the idea I had already picked out? Wasn’t that the “real” story?

And for me, that’s where the fun of this anthology really shows itself. Every creator has his or her own vision of the events that transpired years ago that led to the mailing of a particular postcard. I’ve soaked in the imagery and the handwriting of each postcard our creators are using, but no matter how many creative ways I come up with to read the message, I’m always surprised at what the writers come up with. It’s always something unexpected, new, and exciting.

I expect nothing less from the stories I’ll be reading in the coming weeks as the submissions come pouring in. Although there’s only one postcard for the telling, there are an infinite number of possible stories. And I can’t wait to read yours, because we all know the real story is the one you’re considering right now, the one you’re developing in your mind as you re-read the postcard for 18th time.

So pick up your pen, drop us a line, and tell us the true story behind the postcard.

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COPYRIGHT 2006 in ASSOCIATION WITH EXIMIOUS PRESS