Synkroniciti is thrilled to announce the winner of our “Broken” short story contest, “The Month of Drowning” by Lissa Staples. This was a wonderful field of short stories and it was a pleasure to select from such a group. Finalists include “Broken” by William Cass and “Crush” by Karen Lea Armstrong but there were many competitive entries. “The Month of Drowning” tells the story of an almost fourteen-year-old girl watching her parent’s marriage implode. It takes place in the French countryside during a sweltering summer and Lissa weaves the smell of camembert and overripe fruit, as well as the languid humidity, into a setting rife with symbolism. Everything here is on the verge of spoiling. We watch the narrator’s innocence crumble as she comes to understand the behavior of the adults who aren’t communicating with her. It’s a rich, fragrant story that wastes no time in weaving its magic. There is a splash of humor provided by the younger brother, which serves to highlight the tragedy that is so poignant and devastating. Lissa’s imagery is evocative and not a word is wasted.
Lissa Staples comes from a long line of coloratura sopranos. She brought her three boys up in Tucson, AZ where she appeared with the Tucson Symphony, the Flagstaff Festival of the Arts, the Sedona Chamber Festival as well as theater, film and cabaret. In 2014, she started taking online classes at The Writers Studio, discovering that writing is a lot like singing and that the real joy lies in digging beneath the surface. Her work can be read in The Stickman Review, Emerge, East by Northeast and Beyond Words among others. She lives now in Golden, Colorado with her husband and three-legged dog, knitting her way through her yarn stash and singing to the elk.