Staff Pick: D.E. Lee’s “The Silence of a Sound (San Marco)”

Lisa Lynn Biggar is the fiction editor of the Little Patuxent Review. In this post, she shares one of her “Staff Picks” from the Summer Issue 2018 (available for purchase at this link).

There is so much to love about D. E. Lee’s story,”The Silence of a Sound (San Marco),” from the most recent issue of Little Patuxent Review (Issue 24, Summer 2018). Starting with the poetic title, the lovely alliteration. Right away I knew this would read more as a prose poem and it did, replete with sensory imagery and lapidary precision in word choice: “Smarty drifted around the oaks, down the sidewalk, and between two cars to a wooden pole with a thousand staples stuck stuck stuck all over it.” All of our senses are awakened in this piece: “We . . . walked from the square beneath a clear night sky to Hendricks Avenue, past the white facade of Southside Baptist, which seemed to us to be the wall of a fortress or monastery, and touched every red-ribboned lamp post we passed.”

San Marco is so alive and so are these two characters who hide in the shadows as if they could stop time for these two short days. It is as if they are on the precipice of time, waiting for something, or nothing, to  happen. When it does happen, when the tension builds to Smarty revealing what is behind her “unfathomable look,” the sound of a passing train obliterates her words: “Her lips moved in ovals, oblongs, and circles and then closed in silence like the vanishing train.” It is the quintessential what-could-have-been moment. Those words gone forever to never be spoken again; those few days never to be relived except in memory. The closeness of these two young characters is palpable, the dialogue, free of quotation marks, so natural, woven in with the narrator’s thoughts: “You didn’t answer my question. I know. You can tell me. Couldn’t she guess?” In the three short pages of this piece we are taken on a journey of playfulness, yearning, passion, and then disappointment and disillusionment: It is reminiscent of Joyce’s “Araby.”

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Meet Lisa, gardener of flowers, words, and love.

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill could have been looking ahead, thinking about Little Patuxent Review’s volunteer staff. Each works tirelessly behind the scenes to read your submissions, edit the draft and design the final printed journal. In other words, it means something to them when your work gets published (almost as much as it does to you). As review continues on the Myth issue submissions, let’s continue to meet our volunteers.

Lisa BiggarLisa Lynn Biggar began reading fiction submissions for Little Patuxent Review in 2013.  She received her MFA in Fiction from Vermont College and is currently marketing her first novel, We Were Here. Her short fiction has appeared in The Dickinson Review, The Main Street Rag, Bluestem Magazine, Roadside Fiction, The Little Patuxent Review, and is forthcoming in The Minnesota Review.  She currently teaches English at Chesapeake College and co-owns and operates a cut flower farm on the eastern shore of Maryland with her husband and four cats.

What’s your process for going through submissions? I give each quality submission an honest read. Sometimes a piece that starts off slow can surprise me in the end.

When you’re reading a submission, what draws you most about a piece? There is no one thing, but I do like character-driven plots, be it realism or magic realism.

What turns you off immediately when you read a submission? Rambling for the sake of rambling, not the story.

Who has informed your reading tastes most? Why? Virginia Woolf and Milan Kundera—such a musical, meandering flow to their work, but nothing beyond the stories at hand.

What’s on your nightstand right now to be read?  One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Are you also a writer/poet? If so, tell us more. If so, tell us more.Yes. I have an MFA in Fiction from VT College and write and publish fiction and poetry. I am currently marketing my first novel, We Were Here.

What’s your Six-Word Memoir: Gardener of flowers, words, and love.

Do you have any superpowers? If not, what do you wish you had? I wish I could jump into the skin of other people and feel what it’s like to be them for just an hour or so.

Online Editor’s Note: You stay abreast of Lisa’s writing, publication, and speaking schedule by visiting her website: www.writinglisa.com. A reminder that LPR’s Summer submission period is “open.” We welcome your creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and art.