The 100-word stories about July’s featured photo were, in a word, amazing. An old car. A brush of snow. A scene so simple that most of us would drive by it without noticing anything noteworthy. But therein lies the story. Banality is like a blank canvas. A car in a driveway has either come from drama or is heading toward it.
We said we’d only publish one story, but in a rare occasion, we exceeded our limit. And we’re presenting a song to boot.
Patrick Williams, who took this photo, recorded a song to it. Listen to Too Much Winter
We went in together to buy a car, all of us saving whatever we could for weeks. Ngor worked parking cars, and the rest of us were stuck at the packing plant. Ngor put in the most, but we were the ones that used the car. The American Blacks looked at us funny when we all piled in, but we didn’t care. We just turned the heat up as hot as we could and sang the old songs from Kakuma. The good life. The American way. Then one day Ngor and the car both disappeared. Now we take the bus.
The last time I went home alone—without the traveling family circus—I went to see Donnie. Ever since he was little he loved cars. He and I used to play cars almost every day—big cars, little cars and in-between cars. Big cars were the 1/20th scale plastic kits; little cars were Matchbox—the old ones with metal wheels that had tread. In-between cars were … in-between. Donnie never learned to read. After the army, so far as I knew, he got by with odd jobs, truck driving, and drinking. The blue Olds was his last car.
—Richard Lodwig is an artist and founder of littlebigspace, an alternative gallery space located in Albany, California (opening Sept 2011).
—Eric Birkholz is a writer whose work has appeared in Antietam Review, Barrow Street, Coe Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and I Have My Own Song for It: Modern Poems of Ohio (U. of Akron Press, 2002).
He took off on foot; the car unlocked. He sought a bar to which he’d toast. He’ll speak to someone sitting next to him of birds. They tend to fly, he’ll say. They tend to go. They tend to take the wind as their very own and go.
—Kate Hill Cantrill published Highway Kind in the first issue of 100 Word Story.
—David Bright is editor of Gemini Magazine.
Photo credit: Patrick Williams