Tales Worth Dreaming About

Cat & Mouse Press holds the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest

Written by Nick Brandi

Every year for the past seven years, Cat & Mouse Press holds the Rehoboth Beach Reads Short Story Contest. Sponsored by Browseabout Books, the contest invites writers to submit short stories that fit the theme “beach dreams” that also have a connection to Rehoboth Beach. The top three winners of the contest — as determined by a panel of judges that included Tyler Antoine, Stephanie Fowler, Lois Hoffman, Laurel Marshfield, Mary Pauer and Harold O. Wilson — receive prize money in the amounts of $500, $250 and $100, respectively. The judges also selected other stories of merit, which, along with the top-three finishers, were published recently by Cat & Mouse in the book Beach Dreams. The top-three stories for 2019 are:

1st Place
Dear Joan
By Mary Dolan

In this story, a beachcomber in Rehoboth espies an elderly woman who is writing a letter on a portable Royal typewriter that seems as old as the woman herself. Rather than mind her own business and move on down the beach, the story’s narrator perches just close enough to the senescent typist to read over her shoulder. What emerges is a love letter to Joan, an old flame, as she recounts the story of their meeting back in 1948, when the old woman was just 17. She writes of joyful summers in Rehoboth and White Shoulders perfume, of her indifference to young servicemen at USO dances and of a deep-seated love she didn’t understand. Of course, the star-crossed lovers would never be, yet the enduring emotion it engendered would come to shape the rest of the old woman’s life.

Author Mary Dolan lives in Easton with her partner, Judy, and five rescue cats. She is also a photographer and previously ran a marketing communications firm in Philadelphia.

2nd Place
Laura Nelson Selinsky

Shells tells the story of a day at the beach for Ruth and her grandchildren, Sophie and Max. While Sophie is a gregarious young girl, filled with a youthful joy for life, Max is withdrawn and barely speaks. As Sophie goes with her mother, Anna, to bodysurf, Max is assiduously arranging a series of seashells in the sand. With the focused attention of a brain surgeon, Max refuses to be swayed from task, toiling away in silent determination, even as Ruth watches over him, understandably concerned by the inner sanctum of Max’s antisocial world. In the end, coming from diametrically opposite directions, these very unalike siblings have seized the day, each in their own way, experiencing a personal victory in the process.

Laura Nelson Selinsky wrote an opera at age 9. Since then, she has been a naturalist, pastor and a teacher of literature, writing and mythology. She writes both fiction and nonfiction in a variety of genres and, at press time, was scheduled to release her debut novel.

3rd Place
Four Corners
By Chris Jacobsen

The Ukrainian wax-resist method of egg decoration known as pysanky serves as the backdrop of this story, which centers on a young girl, Tasha, and her relationship with her beloved Baba, or grandmother. The creative yet painstaking process of pysanky is explored during Tasha’s summer in Rehoboth, where she got a job she enjoyed at Candy Kitchen. After Tasha experiences her first great personal loss, she uses the craft Baba taught her to pay one last tribute to the woman she cherished.

Author Chris Jacobsen herself practices the craft of pysanky, which she had been taught by a Ukrainian family 35 years earlier. A grandmother of three, Jacobsen works part-time in a veterinarian’s office, hoping to draw inspiration for her upcoming book, Sandy Paws.

Cat & Mouse Press was established to produce books and other materials that are fun, entertaining and of particular interest to residents of and visitors to the Delmarva region. The company publishes a free weekly newspaper for writers, Writing Is a Shore Thing (WritingIsAShoreThing.com).

For more information, visit the company’s website at CatAndMousepress.com.

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