Short Stories 366:153 — “September Song,” by Raymond Luczak

coverHappy Pride Month! As is likely clear by now, I have an anthology and collection purchasing problem. I adore short fiction (again, super clear by now) and especially I love finding new voices by reading queer anthologies, and as such there are more than a few queer anthologies and collections on my shelf that I’m going to attempt to highlight this month. And I’m going to start with a circus.

The Myriad Carnival, edited by the fantastic Matthew Bright, opens with Raymond Luczak’s incredibly gentle “September Song.” Written in second person present tense, it’s got an immediacy and emotionality that drew me in right from the get-go, and spins a tale of a son aware of his differences, who watches his family fade into shards and be reforged, loses friends (and first crushes) and finds a life of transience in the form of being a roadie for the titular Myriad Carnival, and ultimately realizes how he’s lived a life a step removed when he has a moment of seeing and being seen.

In someone else’s hands, this story could have felt maudlin, or tipped too far to one side of bittersweet and felt like an ultimately broken story of a life discovered too late, but instead, Luczak evokes enough hope to leave a sense of beginning in the end of the story, and weaves that hope into a pattern just clear enough to grant a hazy vision of possibility. The end result is a warm, welcoming start to the anthology.

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