Last week my afternoon took on a whole new texture when I opened an email from the Tallahassee Writers Association (Florida) announcing first place for my short story entry, “The Bull and the Kitten.” The story is about coming to terms with the life you have and finding connections in it. It’s a tale about enduring, about simple joys.
The idea for this tale came from artist Andrew Wyeth’s painting of his friend Christina Olsen and her black kitten. A frequent subject for Wyeth, Olsen is best known in the painting “Christina’s World.” A kitten lies asleep on Olsen’s chest; she is looking down at the small creature. Something about the picture struck a chord with me as I reflected on country living.
I grew up on a farm in north Florida where my daddy owned a registered Hereford bull, M. C. Bacca. We called him Mac for short. He was a handsome bull and occasionally placed in area stock shows. A gentle giant, Mac is unlike the Guernsey bull in my short story. He was easy to manage with a slow lumbering manner.
My short story emerged from the painting, my memories of Mac, and thoughts on the ebb and flow of farm life. My critique group helped me pull it into shape with an eventual submission to the Seven Hills Literary &Penumbra Poetry Contest. This award means publication in the Seven Hills Review 2015. I feel humble and electric.