Letter from the Editor

dahlia-186450_1920

Dearest Dying Dahlia Readers and Writers —

DDR is off to a fabulous start this year! We have been receiving some wonderful submissions and featuring some great interviews with talented women writers in our newest segment, Women Writers We Love.

Speaking of love, let me share some… Dying Dahlia Review just celebrated its 2nd Birthday! *Hooray! Cake for everyone!* I’ve said it once (or a few dozen times) but let me say it again: thank you all for your love and submissions and contributions and for following along. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to feature creative women at their awesome-est (not a word, but just go with it) and we definitely have.  DDR is around because of all of you. So thank you dearest readers and writers. Continue reading “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!

Melina at the Movies – Sarah Valeika

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

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”)