Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

Dearest Dying Dahlia Readers and Writers —

DDR will be taking another break.

Why? Well, I think there are many reasons a literary journal/review needs to take a break from time to time.

One reason, the biggest reason, is time.  The work we do at DDR is a labor of love, as cliché as the phrase may be. And like you, we have jobs. Jobs that generate an income or jobs that do not generate an income but are just as important (Talking to all you moms out there!).

And then there is the time we are not at our job. The time for us, the time with our family, the time to just be. The time to let our brains be creative and consider new ideas and come back to DDR with a fresh perspective.  All of us, including you, need to allow ourselves to take breaks. To take in everything, rather than work, work, work and potentially push away any creative ideas the universe might be sending our way that we may be too busy to notice.

So for that reason, my friends, we are taking a break. To refresh and renew. There are some changes that will be made to DDR.  Some reflections that need to be had.  But mostly, DDR does not want to push out just any ole poetry or story or art. We want quality. We want work that moves us.  And we also want to promote our contributors, these women writers to the best of our abilities. And most of all, we want to provide you, the reader, with a review worth reading.

So in order to do that, we have to carve out time to labor for this love, this passion, this purpose. We won’t be silent. We will NOT stop reading your submissions. We love them and look forward to publishing some amazing work by you amazing women very, very soon.

Until then, stick around. Keep submitting. Send us a note. Perhaps a message in a bottle. But above all, keep reading everything and always keep writing.

Much Love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

P.S.  We have a wonderful archive.  Make sure you go back and revisit those beloved poems, flash fiction and art.  All of them are worth a second (and third) read!

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Melina at the Movies – Sarah Valeika

flash fiction

I had an aunt Melina who wept during sad movies. There are plenty of people who review movies and attest to their gravity or appeal by saying things like,

“I cried like a baby!” or praise a film that induces both “laughter and tears,” but nobody cried at movies like Aunt Melina.

It was funny to most of us. To my father, for example, who had married Melina’s youngest sister, this 47-year-old woman with the long, auburn hair, big billowing scarf and mason jar of green tea was just a suburban vignette rife with city-dweller humor. Raised in Chicago himself, having seen a “hell of a lot of women,” he had “never seen anybody who looked more acutely miserable while being entertained as that Aunt Melina of yours.” I never really understood why being from the city made him so wont to laugh at those of us with hearts on streets named after trees, but he liked to think he was jaded, knowing and hardy, so we let him. There were times when he wanted to watch movies with my Aunt Melina simply to watch her reactions, as though they were infinitely more amusing than any fiction could be.

Take “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” He casually asked my mother one day if her sister had ever seen the movie.

“Don’t think so.”

“Don’t you think she should? It’s a classic.” He loosened a slice of pizza from a tupperware and shoved it in his mouth.

“Oh Rod,” Mom sighed, “leave Mel alone!” She snatched the slice out of his hands and finshed it.

“What?” he laughed, that little impish gleam in his eye. “It’s part of her cultural education.”

So, that Friday evening, she came over to watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with us. I sat in a blanket on the floor with the book in my hands, to cross-compare. Mom spent most of the time in and out of the room going to the kitchen to refill Anthony’s water bottle or get Fossie some more popcorn. Fossie and Anthony flopped across their beanbag chairs, and Dad and Aunt Melina sat side by side on the purple sofa. (Funnily, my Aunt Melina had chosen the color—she thought it “suited” Mom’s eyes, so my mom picked it up in a heartbeat. Dad never really saw it that way; after all, he had separately suggested the color to fit the caramel walls, but I can tell even now from the way my mother talks about Melina that it was she, and not Dad, who changed Mom’s mind).

“Look at her eyes,” my aunt whispered, 67 minutes into the film. Audrey Hepburn was gazing at something or other, but I couldn’t see what, too occupied was I in trying to find the page I had lost in the novella.

“What?” my father asked.

“Her eyes, don’t they just look so childlike? So trusting?”

And thus did she proceed to loosen whatever restrained her eyes—faucet, duct tape, nails and screws—who knew what ever kept her composed at all? But with the flick of an eyelash, as it were, she began to cry. My father said nothing, only motioned with his hand as Mom returned to the room, and again he smirked to his wife.

“We may need a little more tea in here, doll… to soothe the nerves!”

 

There was also, of course, the time when my father decided to rent “A Year Without Santa Claus” to show at the family Christmas Eve dinner. After roast beef was served, the family with children groggily headed home, parents a little wine-liberated and children sipping the sweet nectar of anticipation. Those who stayed: Granny, (who was dwindling in the head), Uncle John (passed out) and Aunt Melina.

“Prepare yourself,” Dad said solemnly to the 47-year-old woman with the long auburn hair and the trigger-ready tear ducts and the shallow blue eyes. “This is not a movie easily forgotten.”

“Rod,” my mom chided demurely, picking lint off the floor, “come on now.”

“I think this one is going to bring us closer, even through the pain.”

Fire munched away at itself in the fireplace, and Aunt Melina only smiled that thin, closed-mouth smile of hers.

“Rod,” my mother repeated.

“It’s a movie that speaks to me,” he began, and clapped me on the shoulder, under the weight of which I shuddered (having inherited my mother’s weak frame). “I think I first saw this one with the kids. Maybe Fossie first? The poor little lamb was waiting for smiles on snowmen, I could see it in her eyes, but no such smiles come in the year without Santa. How could they? Without the enchantment of a dream to sustain their feeble little hearts, what are they to do, I ask you?”

Hunkering down beneath our front porch, I could hear the local stray whining, braying at whoever was passing the house. A shadow skipped. A music note, single and sustained, was being played somewhere, I could feel it.

“Just shush,” Mom said quietly, a gentle in-and-up of the chest suggesting some attempt at a laugh.

“C’mon Mel, you’n’I will get through this together,” and he grasped my aunt’s hand and pressed it to his chest. As he did, Melina just sat there and lowered her eyes to the carpet. A single, sustained note was being played somewhere, I did not know where. Not once did anybody cry that night which, in retrospect, was a sad sort of funny.

 

I always wondered how infidelity worked—whether it had to be physical, or whether it was suspected or proven, or whether it was a matter of blame or just bad timing, mutually bad timing. By the age of fourteen, I had learned that it was just a matter of movies. Sad movies, and whether or not you let yourself cry.

Sarah Valeika is a writer whose works have been featured in Eunoia Review, Fem Fiction, Poetry Breakfast, Navigating the Maze and other print and e-journals.

Dying Dahlia Review: Summer 2017

flash fiction, poems

It’s finally here! We are so happy to present the Summer 2017 edition of Dying Dahlia Review!  We are featuring some amazing flash fiction and poetry by some awesome women writers!  And check out that beautiful cover art by Ashley Parker Owens!  Make sure to snag yourself a copy today! Follow the links below to purchase the ebook at your retailer of choice.

DDRsummer2017

Smashwords

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Apple iBooks (Search for “Dying Dahlia Review”)

 

Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

Happy spring everyone!

It’s that time of year again – time for us to take a break from posting so we can hunker down and get through all your beautiful submissions for the summer ebook edition. We will be back in May for more Dying Dahlia weekly goodness!

Though we won’t be posting in the month of April, we will still be accepting submissions for our online post as well as for the ebook. So keep submitting!

Also, we are looking for more art, so please spread the word! If you know a talented female artist, send her our way. We are looking to showcase as much art as possible, and we are still on the lookout for cover art for the ebook.

For guidelines, visit the GUIDELINES page to see how you can submit poems, flash fiction and art to Dying Dahlia.

We shall miss you all but stay tuned! We’ve got some great work coming at you shortly.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

Baby’s Breath – D. Vaisius

flash fiction

Learning someone is like falling. Every moment changing, bringing you closer to something else. A cold, hard ground. But you weren’t the ground. I learned and fell but there was no end. No ground. And so I learned to fly. I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Maybe I’m getting there. Maybe we are so different I’ll never make it. But you will. I look at you and a gentle smile tugs at my insides. There won’t be any yelling this time, or sadness.

You have got my smile and I have a weird thing about your hair. We have fairy lights, candles and nightlights to break up the dark. We have the space we make together through our hands and bodies and voices. We are a knotted mess of pure, experiential love. It sounds like a beautiful secret. I kissed you on the nose. Now rain hits our roof. It’s February and rain is surrounding me. I stain my ears, hoping the sound will not fade away leaving me alone. At least the rain has come. If only for a moment.

I clasped and unclasped my hands anxiously all day. Searching for an anchor in the buzzing hail of nerves that seemed to inexhaustibly fill me. This old house makes bones ache. The silence of the scream in me seems to wrap quieting fingers about my throat and squish. I can hear birds outside. They are twittering away. It’s not quite a hopeful sound yet but it’s one I’ve not heard for a while. The roar of a backhoe as it rips another tree down cuts through. Perhaps that is why the birds seem subdued. I close my eyes and lean back in the rocking chair, breathe in time with you.

D. Vaisius was eight when she first started writing. Since then it has been a quiet, reflective journey through styles and experiences. Writing is probably the only things she doesn’t over think and as such is incredibly important to her happiness.

Letter from the Editor

letter from the editor

January 28, 2017

Dear Readers,

This letter comes a bit delayed and for good reason.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately how I, the editor of a women’s literary journal, would address the current events happening here in the United States.  To not address it would be unfair to you and to myself.

First let me say this: I know there are women who are on both sides of these issues. Those who are strongly against Trump, and those who are with him. There are women who marched (or wanted to) and there were those who had no interest.  I know there are women who are pro life and many who are pro choice.  But let me say this-

The beauty of being a woman (or a human for that matter) is that we get to choose.   And no matter what, the power to choose is one of the greatest powers of all.   But.  If you choose hate or cruelty or discrimination or abuse, be prepared.  Because I believe that women (and again, people in general) are filled with a lot more love and compassion then they are given credit for these days.

Here at Dying Dahlia Review, we welcome all voices with the exception of voices filled with hate and discrimination and cruelty.  We do not have the patience or tolerance for those who choose to spend their lives being cruel to one another.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own thoughts and views.   But being that as it may, we believe in empowering women – hearing their voices and stories and sharing their art.  I wouldn’t have started this journal if I didn’t believe that women’s voices are amazing and unique.

So here is my plea to you:  I want to hear your voice.  More now than ever.  Dying Dahlia Review  wants to hear voices from all women: women of color, women from the LGBTQ community, women from around the world, and above all, women who have something profound to say.

With all that being said, our submissions have opened for our 2nd ebook, the Summer 2017 edition.  So send us your very best poetry, flash fiction and art. Check out our guidelines for complete details.

I’ll leave you with these words by Maya Angelou.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”

Keep love in your heart.  And keep creating.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

Letter from the Editor

news

Here we are.  The year is coming to an end.  And it has been a wonderful year for us, here at Dying Dahlia Review.

I am so grateful for you.  All of you.  The contributors, those who submitted work to us and of course, the readers.

To those who submitted and weren’t accepted, we know your work will find a perfect home.  Don’t stop writing and don’t stop submitting.  The world needs more writers.  Probably more now than ever.

To those who contributed, we are honored to have showcased your work on our site and in the ebook.  Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey.

And to the readers, thank you for subscribing and following along to great work every week.  Without you, there would be no reason to keep going.

We have big plans for 2017, so please, stay tuned.  And keep those submissions coming.  We are taking a break this month (December) from posting any work.   If you haven’t heard already, we published our first ebook collection, the Winter 2017 edition of Dying Dahlia Review.  Click here to find out how to get yourself a copy.  We are really proud to be featuring such great work by some very talented ladies.  We know you’ll like it.  So buy a copy for yourself.  And perhaps another one for a literary lover.  🙂

So from all of us here at Dying Dahlia Review, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.  Please join us next year as we continue to grow and feature great work by women writers and artists.

Much love,

Abbie Copeland
Editor

Extensions – Ginger Pinholster

flash fiction

Extensions

On the day of her release from the looney bin, Dawn waited on the hospital’s circular driveway, blinking in the sunlight until Tonya’s minivan appeared, and off they went to get eyelash extensions. Tonya said it would cheer Dawn up to look in a mirror through a curtain of eyelashes that would make her look like a robotic doll or a cartoon deer. Anyway, it would be an adventure – something to take Dawn’s mind off her divorce and all of the reasons for it, whose names were Rebecca, Shannon, and Jennifer.