Life’s Troubled Sea

Passamaquoddy Bay, New Brunswick, Canada. ©2017 Anne Guthrie.

“I’ve had this idea that the amount of suffering in the world is fixed somehow. It doesn’t increase or decrease. It merely moves around. The calculus changes. Sometimes I call it the law of the conservation of suffering.”

Swimming, spoken by Elijah Brooks.

I am excited to have my story “Swimming” published in Issue 6.2 of The Rappahannock Review, an online literary journal published by the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I owe a special thanks to Fiction Editor Sarah Ebsworth and Assistant Fiction Editors Nicholas Morgan and Jon Sinclair whose assistance was invaluable.

In addition to “Swimming,” the Review also published my answers to questions the fiction editors put to me that focused both on the story and my work as a writer in general. I found the questions intriguing. They caused me to think about my writing in ways I haven’t done before. I list them below.

  • The ending of “Swimming” is left open to interpretation. Did you know from the beginning that this was how the story would end up? If not, how did the ending develop throughout your writing process?
  • We understand that you also write poetry. Are there any particular writing practices you carry over from one genre to the other?
  • How has your MA in Philosophy influenced your writing? Are there any philosophers in particular that you feel your work connects with?
  • You’ve touched on similar themes of mental health in your previous work. What motivates you to address these topics?
  • Are there any particular writers who have influenced your writing?

The story’s epigraph is from a gospel song written by the late Audra Czarnikow—“God Walks the Dark Hills.” There are several versions of the song available online. My favorite is the one sung by the great Iris Dement. You can listen to it here.

I highly encourage you to read the entire 6.2 issue. It contains a fascinating collection of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews and beautiful artwork by featured artist Luis David Morán.

Enjoy your week!

Text ©2019 Gershon Ben-Avraham

Author: Gershon Ben-Avraham

Gershon Ben-Avraham is an American-Israeli writer. He lives in Beersheba, Israel, on the edge of the Negev Desert. He and his wife share their lives with a gentle blue-merle long-haired collie. Ben-Avraham earned an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University. His short story, “Yoineh Bodek,” (Image) received “Special Mention” in the Pushcart Prize XLlV: Best of the Small Presses 2020 Edition. Kelsay Books published his chapbook “God’s Memory” in 2021. חב"ד‎

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