Pen 2 Paper: The Ones that Got Away

Every year, Pen 2 Paper receives so many entries that we love, but that never make it to the finalist round. This year, we wanted to recognize some of those from 2017, so we present a monthly web feature: The Ones that Got Away. From January through October, P2P co-coordinators Susie and Laura will each post one of our favorite non-finalists from the 2017 contest. Enjoy!

All entries posted with permission, authors retain all rights.

January 22, 2018

Susie's Pick: Karma's Rendezvous Jeffrey G. Roberts

I enjoy reading romantic and feel good stories. Karma's Rendezvous, a short story by Jeffrey Roberts, was definitely one of my favorite P2P entries of 2017. I liked this story for two main reasons. First, it's a love story based on a series of emails between two people who were matched up through a dating website for artists. This use of emails allowed Roberts to give his readers the freedom to independently interpret the feelings and thoughts of his characters rather than telling them directly. Second, Roberts didn't reveal the disability aspect of the story until the very end. By doing this, he demonstrated that people with disabilities are just people—they long to have people to have something in common with and love, plus there's no difference in how they want to live and experience life—a theme that I live by and CTD totally believes in.

Laura's Pick: Dear God, Who Gets on my Nerves Nicole Cortichiato 

Full disclosure: Nicole has been submitting work to P2P and reading at our Lion & Pirate open mics for years. In this time, I've become a big fan of her writing, her friend, and even a co-performer. So, when she submitted the Judy Blume-inspired short story Dear God, Who Gets on My Nerves, it was hard not to be biased! Like much of her work, it alternates being crass and funny and blunt about uncomfortable subjects­­—navigating new friendships or puberty, sometimes complicated by having Muscular dystrophy. I love the observations and random thoughts that drift through narrator Shelby's head, like her toe nail clippings sculpture that starts the story off. These thoughts often ring true to me, not just in themselves, but also the way they pop up, out of nowhere, or almost nowhere. Note that Nicole is not sparing with expletives!