Project Manuscript  What happens with a not-quite-right story that yearns to be told – a story that’s even passed the scrutiny of loyal beta readers? No, it’s not destined to join past manuscript discards. Too late for that because the characters have adopted the author. (Plus my beta readers might give up on me forever!)

But not to worry on my account. After months of messing around with alternate settings and plot spinoffs, I’ve finally found the perfect place for it. In its latest version, the original story has found a home within an expanded plot.

Since I can’t reveal further information at this early stage, I’ll redirect your attention to a wonderful anthology of Canadian short stories and another of Canadian poetry.

OUR PLAN TO SAVE THE WORLD and other stories of false starts, dead ends, detours, and determined people looking for their happy ending contains tales by Nancy Kay Clark, Phyllis Humby, Michael Joll, Steve Nelson and Frank T. Sikora (who also spearheaded the work).

Indeed the stories are as tantalizing as the subtitle promises. Each one is a polished gem of exquisite writing encompassing extremes of life and the mundane existence of vulnerable people.

Phyllis Humby

In this review, I’m focusing on the contributions of local author, Phyllis Humby. I’m already a fan of her writing, her hair-raising crime fiction and the astute, often hilarious commentaries of her monthly columns.

The reader will not be disappointed by her inclusions in Our Plan to Save the World. Here, Phyllis’ stories incorporate the insightfulness of her columns and the shock qualities of her crime fiction.

Phyllis has the knack of drawing readers into a characters’ state of mind. In ‘Birds of a Feather’, we enter the isolated and troubled world of a woman seeking her past identity.

‘Delusional Date’ introduces us to the naïve hopefulness of Cindy wearing a dress which “even with alterations, it fit me a tad snug. Baby fat, Momma calls it.”

‘The Final Curtain’ transports us to an ominous gathering of five elderly friends who have in common fading memories of their once famous careers.

In ‘My Heart’s Home’, a middle-aged woman surveys a dilapidated house where “Rust trailed to the drain like dried blood from an open wound.”

Even if you don’t normally seek out short stories, I recommend you read this anthology. The vivid depictions of things past and present in Our Plan to Save the World are guaranteed to deepen or awaken an appreciation of the short story genre.

Lynn Tait

Debbie Okun Hill

A second anthology, this one containing works by local poets, Lynn Tait and Debbie Okun Hill, has entered the literary scene.

Heartwood: Poems For The Love of Trees has been published by the League of Canadian Poets.

You can read about it in Debbie’s informative blog, Kites Without Strings. I’m certainly adding it to my must-read list.