Over the years I’ve published more than thirty short stories in newspapers, literary journals, and anthologies. Here are some of my favorites:

Rita Lafferty’s Lucky Summer
PEN Syndicated Fiction Project: Arizona Republic, Newsday, Miami Herald. Summer 1983. Reprinted in the Available Press/PEN Short Story Collection, 1985.

This story is connected thematically with the novels I was writing at the time, set in working-class Somerville, Massachusetts. It’s narrated by a sixteen-year-old girl who, while working at a summer job in a bakery, observes the surprising romance between an old maid co-worker and her unreliable boyfriend. Subsequent to its publication, this story was made into a short film by the independent filmmaker Abby Freedman. I co-wrote the screenplay and was involved in the shooting over two long weekends in Somerville, which was great fun and gave me insight into the behind-the-scenes of making movies.

Natural Bridge, Spring, 2001

This story is set in the New Jersey suburbs, where I grew up. To write it I drew on some of my experiences as a child and also as a returning adult, shocked to find my childhood home so diminished. The relationship between the protagonist and her old flame is an invented one, but the theme of characters reconnecting with people who were once important to them is one that intrigues me.

Colorado Review, Summer, 2002. Vol. XXII, No. 2.

“Changeling” reflects my experience of living in Athens with a baby while my husband was far away on an archeological dig. Though I’ve imagined the central plot of the story, the protagonist’s sense of isolation and disorientation certainly expresses my state of mind at the time.

Elwood’s Last Job
Nebraska Review, 2003. Vol. 31, No. 2. Reprinted in Contemporary Maine Fiction, ed. McNair, Wesley. Camden, Maine, 2005.

Here is a Maine story, set in the small town in remote Washington County where I lived from 1985 to 2001. The tone is (darkly) comic, with narration from shifting points of view. I enjoyed imagining myself into the lives of these women and exploring their reactions when something completely unexpected and alarming happens to them as they’re doing their wash in a “laundrymat.”

In the Marrow
Night Train, Spring, 2004. Issue III.

This novella, also set in rural Maine, has a very different feel from “Elwood’s Last Job.” Although it uses specific detail for verisimilitude, to me it contains aspects of fairy tale.

Season’s Greetings
Rive Gauche, Fall, 2004. No. 1.

Written in comic monologue form, this little story is about two couples who were friends as young adults in the ’60s and ’70s, but have all long been estranged from one another. An old potato peeler triggers memories of ancient resentments that somehow still fester. In my eighth decade I know that not all is forgiven.

To the Border
Iron Horse Literary Review, June 2014. Vol. 16, No. 3. The Freedom Issue. Order at http://www.ironhorsereview.com/#!back-issues/c1xln.

“To The Border” exemplifies the direction in which my fiction has been heading for the past few years, using verifiable facts of ancestors’ lives and creating stories around them. This one is about the flight out of Russia of two of my husband’s Jewish forbears. The photo shows them on March 20, 1894, soon after their safe arrival in Scotland. They are the little family of four on the left. In the story Liba is pregnant; now her son, born in Glasgow, is on her lap and her daughter and handsome bearded husband are beside her.