detourI’ve paused my research on terrorists for a week while I edit down Igniting the Tinderbox: A Story of Afghanistan to submit to a Press 53 contest. Press 53 is a small, respected N.C. publishing house. (The press publishes poet Joe Mills whose work I encouraged you to read a couple of weeks ago.) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Igniting the Tinderbox will compare favorably to the other contest submissions in its category. If it’s selected – and I won’t know until about June – it would be included in an anthology with the other contest winners. So far, I’ve managed to cut about 2,400 words, and just have another 100 to go – unless the title page and table of contents count, in which case, I have about 200 words to cut. Of course, in shortening it, I’m tightening it, and I have to admit that there are a few places that are better for the editing. Here’s an excerpt from the first chapter:

“Arman shifted, and a rock from the bombed front wall of the ministry building jutted into his ribs, rousing him from sleep. The visions of that carefree summer in 1979 faded into images of dark walls skeletal against the smoky sky, the grim realities of fall 1996. The rat-a-tats came not from the lyrical instruments of Afghanistan’s past but from the music of today, Soviet Kalashnikovs spraying bullets and low-flying rockets tearing into homes and bodies. The sounds of war had been Arman’s lullaby for as long as he could remember.”

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