Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TCR Story of the Month for April: "History" by Cezarija Abartis

Cezarija Abartis
The Committee Room is happy to offer "History" by Cezarija Abartis as TCR Story of the Month for April. In this brief yet complex story written with honesty and precision, an American woman carries her troubled personal history to an Old World city that assiduously preserves the glories of its past.

Cezarija Abartis’ Nice Girls and Other Stories was published by New Rivers Press. Her stories have appeared in Per Contra, r.kv.r.y., Waccamaw, and New York Tyrant, among others. Her flash, “The Writer,” was selected by Dan Chaon for Wigleaf’s Top 50 online Fictions of 2012. Recently she completed a novel, a thriller. She teaches at St. Cloud State University.


"History" was published in The Lascaux Review (January 2014).

To read "History" click here

TCR Story of the Month highlights an outstanding work of short fiction published online within the preceding twelve months.

TCR Chats with Author Cezarija Abartis

Nice Girls and Other Stories
by Cezarija Abartis
Q: Where did you get the idea for "History?"
A: I started the story on ShowMeYourLits.com, a writing community that provides weekly prompts. My story was a response to a photograph of a bronze statue of a horse with a street cone on its head. The server was having problems that day, so the story was not posted. Still, I like to give them credit. I wanted to write a story for a press that was putting together an anthology about stories set around the globe. That didn't work out either. I was awarded a week's stay in Sezze, Italy by the New York Tyrant for a story I wrote about Lady Macbeth. The young gentleman who showed my husband and me the place, as he left touched a piece of paper affixed to the wall and said it was in memory of his father, which I found moving. That evening I copied what was written on the piece of paper, but I couldn't find it when I looked for it. I submitted an early draft of the story to Zoetrope.com, an online workshop. “History” came out of all those things that were lost, that didn't work out. But one cause did persist: I'm writing a collection of stories about three friends, and I forced myself to write a story about Caroline's divorce. And I got revising help from Steve Parrish at the magazine and from my husband at home.

Q: How long have you been writing?
A: I started writing seriously when I got tenure, my husband reminded me--1982. somehow, I felt released or secure or both. Before that, I wrote notes about stories I intended to write, complaining diary entries, letters, and an unfinished musical in 5th grade.

Q: Who are some of your favorite classic authors?
A: Homer, Euripides, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Chekhov's stories and plays, James Joyce’s "The Dead," Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, Eric Ambler's A Coffin for Dimitrios, Nabokov’s Lolita, Grace Paley's stories.

Q: Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors?
A:  I'm going to list titles of books. Jo Ann Beard's The Boys of My Youth, Ellen Currie's Available Light, Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, Thom Jones' The Pugilist at Rest, Lorrie Moore's Self Help, Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko novels, Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers, Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, Stephanie Vaughn's Sweet Talk. I will stop now. I expected this compiling to be tedious and effortful, but I find myself smiling as I recall these beautiful books and inspirations.

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