Discover more from Soaring Twenties
Letter From The Founder
Spring is finally here which means- I hope- more trips, more excursions and more adventuring for all of us. And when it comes to such fun days out with eating, drinking and merriment I find that a train journey is always involved at some point.
Maybe that’s just me though.
In any case, trains are a great subject for the writer and the artist as this months Symposium shows. Trains have a real romance to them (or at least they can do) and they have a way of really sparking the creative imagination, which is demonstrated by the essay to fiction ration in this months offering. (Although this may reflect the way that the STSC collective is going more generally as more and more people try their hand at storytelling and find that there is no other creative act quite like it).
Trains can be a quotidian part of the daily commute or they can be the means of having a whole new experience and seeing a whole new landscape out of the window. Ordinary and yet extraordinary. An accessible means of contemplation. An often underappreciated aspect of the modern human condition. You can see why we were drawn to this topic.
Soaring Twenties is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
To write something that is exactly 500 words is impressive enough let alone the fact that it makes sense AND is a real pleasure to read. The multi-talented, medium-spanning Trilety (see the painting below) has done it again. Amazing work.
But besides the technological wonder that trains represented (and that we tend to overlook nowadays), there is another kind of specialness to them. When you're on a train, you're exactly where you need to be
Part of the beauty of the essay as a medium is that it can be an excellent vehicle for conveying the sense of wonder that so much of our lives would make us feel if we let go of our jadedness and truly paid attention to the world around us. Vita’s latest has this quality in spades.
I was wondering if anyone was going to tackle David Lean’s train based masterpiece Brief Encounter as part of this months symposium. I was not disappointed. This is an absolutely wonderful piece, so good in fact that I now feel compelled to rewatch Brief Encounter in all of its repressed, unspoken, monochrome romantic glory.
The clattering and screeching of that hulking metal beast as it lumbered through the dark became a lullaby. Somewhere in the night, someone else was awake, guiding that creature. At that moment, we inhabited the same space.
A short but extremely evocative piece, this. You can really hear everything that is being described. Makes it seem easy to write this well.
I AM WRITING THIS IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I FORGOT TO INCLUDE THIS PIECE BY TERRY WHEN I FIRST EMAILED THIS SYMPOSIUM OUT AND SO I FEEL DUTYBOUND TO DO A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA TO DRAW ATTENTION TO IT. HOPEFULLY THIS WILL MAKE YOU READ THIS OULIPIAN TEXT AND SUBSCRIBE TO TERRY’S SUBSTACK AND THEN AMENDS WILL HAVE BEEN MADE. THANK YOU.
As he listened to the lulling clanking of a train, Qzm Qvyd sat next to his father and gazed at his homevillage of Tryvíra retreating into the distance, nestled among the balding knolls, the same knolls where he witnessed his birth and boyhood.
That is about as Vanya an opening sentence as you can get. He has essentially created his own style and genre at this point. And no, I have no idea how you pronounce that name!
Everything about this- the prose, the images, the structure- was an absolute delight to take in. This is up there with Minna’s best work to date, which is saying something.
This tiny story is right up my alley- it’s about nothing and everything, it captures a moment perfectly and in doing so helps us to reflect on all kinds of moments of our own.
Like few writers I have ever encountered Edward is creating whole worlds, a whole universe with his prodigious output. It’s incredible. Quantity and quality both, an extremely rare feat.
Extremely evocative work here from Oleg. He has one of the keenest eyes and feel for the perfect visual detail around. It makes you go back to his stories again and again.
Even without the secret cheat code of referencing Miles Davis and John Coltrane playing on Freddie Freeloader (a step guaranteed to make me be kindly disposed to the writing in question) this is a fantastic story by Clint who is proving himself something of a dark horse in the STSC story writing stakes.
I saw the title. I saw the opening photograph. I had a particular hope for what style and mood this piece would turn out to have. And this story delivered on that and exceeded it. I love it when that happens.
The following story is gross and disturbing.
He’s not lying! But modesty, I suppose, also stopped our man D.B. from mentioning that his contribution is gross, disturbing and very, very good. Another STSC member proves that they have real storytelling chops.
The Pulp Vitalist proves that he is worthy of the name with this intergalactic flash fiction take on the ‘trains’ prompt. He pulls it off and the absolutely fantastic aesthetics and images that accompany the story don’t hurt either.
Art and Poetry
Mixed media on canvas - 24x20" by Trilety Wade
Pipedream | The Orange Line, Portland, Oregon by James Maynard
Even after having read dozens of his sonnets by this point I am still consistently amazed by James’ technical ability, inventiveness and imagery. A remarkable talent.
The bored, reluctantly doing a piece of homework nature of the title made me chuckle. But then the poem itself really caught my attention. Turns out our Jeanne can not only paint and write highly amusing essays and reminiscences but she can also knock out a really good, technically accomplished poem when she is of a mind to. People have a way of surprising you at times.
So that was the STSC symposium on Trains. We hope you enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Thank you for your support with these projects we share, thank you for reading them and thanks for all of your comments, feedback and notes. Thank you for taking the time to share them and pass on the word.
And of course above all thanks to all of the contributors and those who help keep the STSC going via their kind support, especially those who keep a low profile, I hope we will be able to coax more of you into taking the plunge and participating in future issues.