Wednesday, October 22, 2008
It was dry that summer, as it had been for several years in California. Dry and hot. I remember sitting in church the first Sunday after I returned from college. The air was still, and though it was an evening service, you never would have known it the way the sun was gleaming through the stained-glass windows of the sanctuary. The pastor wasn't there, because the congregation was going to vote on whether or not to keep him.
This was in Big Valley, near Clear Lake. The church was Conservative Baptist — a white clapboard building with a bell tower and a cross on top. A local radio station carried the morning service each Sunday. Not that I ever heard the broadcast. I was always there. At least I was until I went off to college. But I always came back in the summer, and now I was back for, well, whatever.
The story, now appearing in the Blue Mesa Review, is called "Pray for Rain." It's my fourth work of fiction to be published and the first to win a prize.
"Based on plot, complexity, character development and interesting story-lines, 'Pray For Rain' stood out from the rest," wrote judge Alexis Hurley of Inkwell Management. "Al Riske is playing with themes of religion, youth and sexuality in very adept and thoughtful ways."
If any of that sounds interesting, why not support the good folks at the Blue Mesa and order a copy of Issue 21.
(You can also order by phone at 1-800-249-7737.)