Illustrator Olivia Zhou, 12 for My Father’s Doves by Jenny Li, 11. Published May/June 2013.
A note from William Rubel
Reminder! Midnight, September 30. That is the absolute final deadline for recipes for the December food issue! Get cooking! Get writing! Enough said.
It is a Stone Soup first! As we highlighted in last week’s blog round-up, Stone Soup blogger Lukas Cooke interviewed Patricia Newman, author of Plastic Ahoy!, a book on plastic pollution in the oceans. Those of you who follow Lukas’ blog know that he writes about nature and the environment–the perfect Stone Soup author to interview Ms. Newman. I’d like to congratulate Lukas. You did a really good job! I have been interviewed many times for press and for radio. Everything hinges on the quality of the questions one is asked. You asked good questions. Newsletter readers, if you missed it last week, please check out the interview this week–and leave a comment if you are so inclined.
Lukas is not the only Stone Soup blogger writing about nature. Mia W. published an essay this week, ‘The Atlantic Net Pen Collapse’, that talks about the escape from a fish farm of an immense number of Atlantic salmon into the Salish Sea. Where is the Salish sea? Mia describes it as “a vast body of water, stretching from southwest British Columbia, Canada, to the northwest portion of Washington State, USA.” An informative, well-written essay, with a bibliography, I highly recommend it. The writing by Lukas and Mia, and other bloggers who are posting nonfiction, is broadening our Stone Soup world. Thank you, Mia and Lukas!
I know that many of you write both fiction and nonfiction. While we are keeping fiction writing the main focus of Stone Soup magazine (although there is some great nonfiction in our September Science issue), the website is where we are now offering you an opportunity to write about absolutely anything that interests you. Join Mia and Lukas to write about the natural world, or Vandana R to write about books, or Leo T. Smith who writes about sports–and the list goes on, with wonderful writers on every issue under the sun. Have an interest? Love to write? Want to share your thoughts? If you are under the age of fourteen OR if you are involved in teaching writing, art, or music to kids then become a Stone Soup blogger! Write something up and upload it to the blog section of our online submission form so we can take a look.
Now. For the rest of you! Again, this is regardless of your age, if you are not going to sit down and start working on what you hope will be your first Stone Soup blog entry, then I want you find some time this weekend to sit down and start writing about something that are you are really interested in right now, like today. For me, today, it is pit firing. After years and years of thinking, wouldn’t it be nice to fire pottery in the backyard?, but never doing it, I bought some clay, and with my daughter made two bowls where we hope our finches will make nests, two cooking pots, and two cookie stamps. I made sure the pottery was bone dry by putting it in a low oven this morning, and then I went for it: Cleared some ground in my backyard; built a small fire; when the fire had burned down put the pottery on the embers; and then piled wood over the pots–and lit it! I added a little more wood when the fire was roaring to ensure the pottery would get hot enough to fire; let it all die down; and after the heap was reasonably cool, I uncovered the pieces from the ashes. Miracle! Pottery!
That is what I’d write about.
Until next week
This week’s story and art from the archives
We do encourage you to click through to read the whole of this week’s featured story (as we hope you do every week!). 12-year-old Olivia Zhou’s lovely, detailed drawings, with their calm, understated color-palette complement the beautifully expressed evocation of the past, love and longing in 11-year-old Jenny Li’s story ‘My Father’s Doves’–which is about the father and the doves of the title, and so much more.
Remember, subscribers have full, unlimited access to the whole archive on the Stone Soup website. Non-subscribers can read a limited number of stories, poems and posts.
Highlights from the past week online
Don’t miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at stonesoup.com!
As mentioned above, we published Mia W’s nature and environment piece this week, ‘The Atlantic Net Pen Collapse’.
From Stone Soup
By Jenny Li, 11
Illustrated by Olivia Zhou, 12
Running to the market, my father clutched the bagful of coins to his chest. On the leather bag was sewn “,” horse, in Chinese, the only gift that his father had given him before the war. He hurried across town, walking under the wood sign with the words “Tai City” etched on it and following the path, which he knew by heart. He finally arrived at the center of town, full of street vendors selling fruits and other goods, with gray-uniformed soldiers at every corner. The coins were clanking against each other inside the bag as if clamoring to break free. My father lowered his eyes from the glaring of the men and shuffled to the doves’ area. He spilled the coins onto his calloused, rough hands and spoke to the salesperson.
“Excuse me,” he said in a steady voice, “may I please have those two doves?”
My father pointed to the two slender spotted doves perched inside an angular metal cage—the doves which he had admired for so long.
The man glared suspiciously at him.
“Do you have the money?”
“Yes, sir,” replied my father, trying to look confident despite the fluttering inside his stomach, “here are the four yuan for both of them.”
The salesman quickly grabbed the money out of my father’s hands as if afraid someone would steal it and counted the coins four times. Just as quickly, the salesman shoved the two doves into my father’s arms and dismissively waved his hand for my father to be on his way.
The doves were really his now. He had imagined this moment for quite some time, though in his daydreams, his father would have been there with him, negotiating with the bird seller, cracking jokes with those he knew, and maybe even stopping for a small treat for both of them once the doves were safely in their hands.
But he was alone, and even finally being the owner of two beautiful doves did not lessen the hurt of missing his father. Will I ever see him again? he wondered.
As my father held the doves, he felt the anxiety disappear. He could hear the piping of the magpies fluttering from tree to tree. The sky broadened deeper blue, and the sun’s rays shone among the few trees, whose shadows lightened. The city no longer smelled of failure and sweat, but now of hope and persistence. …/more
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