Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Safe Place to Escape

by 2016 Bacopa Managing Editor, Mary W. Bridgman

Two of my pieces have been published in Bacopa Literary Review, "Happy Hunting" (fiction) in 2012 and "Garbage Mass with Class" (creative nonfiction) in 2013. Both of these are humorous. Although I do compose some serious pieces, I prefer to write for entertainment. I like to laugh, and I love to bring a smile to readers' faces. 

In "Garbage Mass with Class," for example, I described lying awake at night "tormented by fears of impeding disaster--an inevitable avalanche of unwanted, unusable, unfashionable, hermetically sealed boxes of chemically preserved wedding gowns.

In "Happy Hunting," stepmother-in-law Rosebud's efforts to help around the house included "a tacky shower curtain, with an image of Elvis Presley, hanging in our bathroom." When a shot in the night awakened everyone: 
"What's goin' on?" she asked. "I heard some loud noises and I figured it might be the Rapture, but I wasn't taken up."

"Must not be the Rapture after all," I said through gritted teeth. It was clear Rosebud didn't expect we would wind up in the same place should the Rapture occur during our mutual lifetime.
Books have been valued companions on my life journey, often an escape from the stresses of everyday living. That's what I want to create for readers: a safe place to escape and relax for a while. I've written a book of short stories, two middle-grade novels, and most recently, a cozy mystery. These haven't been published yet--I'm trying to go the traditional route, seeking a literary agent, which may be an impossible dream. Who knows? It doesn't hurt to try, and it's exciting to have a dream.

Cozy mysteries, my favorite reading pastime, feature amateur sleuths and interesting casts of characters that reappear throughout a series of books, such as Stephanie Plum in Janet Evonovich's well-known series (One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Three to Get Deadly, etc.). Readers gravitate to this genre because the cozy world generally makes sense: in the end, the mystery is solved and justice prevails. And I'm intrigued by the puzzle-solving aspect, trying to figure out Who did it? as I read along. It doesn't matter to me whether I can figure it out or not, as long as I've enjoyed the ride.

So maybe that's a good place to end this post. I'm up for a new challenge as Bacopa's Managing Editor, which is more of an administrative role than a literary one. I'm responsible for monitoring and acknowledging submissions, making sure there's no identifying information, so the genre editors will judge solely on merit. At the end of the day I hope I can say I've learned something new and, in the process, enjoyed the ride! 

(See also: Attorney Puts Retirement in Context; "Christmas Chaos" in From Our Family to Yours--Florida Writer's Association, Vol. 1; Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to my Mom

Submissions open until June 30, 2016

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