Meagan Cass is the author of Range of Motion (Magic Helicopter Press). Her fiction has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, DIAGRAM, Washington Square, and Puerto del Sol, among other places. Meagan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she teaches courses in creative writing, publishing, literature, and composition. She founded and is a curator of the Shelterbelt Reading Series at UIS and serves as an assistant editor at Sundress Publications, coordinating fiction for the Best of the Net anthology. Over the last ten years, she has done editorial work for a range of national literary journals, including Stirring, Harpur Palate, and Rougarou, of which she is a founding editor.
THE CHALLENGE: Attack of the Picnic Ants!
The fine china pictured above is the work of German innovator and artist Eveyln Bracklow. One may be quick to assume the china has some tiny arthropod companions. Look closer.
Like the meticulously drawn bugs on the serving ware, we want you to defamiliarize and thereby revitalize the dilemma of ants at a picnic. In as many ways as a colony has legs, the ants of the story can be the kick-starters for a plot gone awry. Or maybe the ants could serve as a collective pivot into a flashback? Who knows?
What can you do with such an old issue? Will you skirt it and/or use it to add tension in subtext? How will you evolve the cute old problem and surprise us? Will you offer up magical realism or just the same old, pissed off couples on red checkerboard blankets? Don’t bore us with missing butter and carrion crumbs. Give us the goods. Give us characters to take back to our underground queen and cherish.
And in honor of the world’s smallest, yet mightiest heroes, all submitted stories should be no longer than 350 words. Make the microscopic details resonate in macroscopic ways.
Send all stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. RTF or DOCX file format preferred. Stories must be submitted by Friday, July 17th at midnight EST!
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- Sundress Reads: Review of Learning to Love a Western Sky - January 17, 2022