“Respite Room”

My short story “Respite Room” has found a home at Little Patuxent Review. I’ve been shopping this story around for several years, having a few near misses but mostly getting perplexed responses from the editors. Nothing seems to “happen” in the story by the end they say, but to me the change in the protagonist seems obvious. I figured I had a good story that just needed to find the right editor, so I kept it in circulation. And I kept refining it, trying to bring out that change more clearly without giving it away too easily.

It will appear in the “Social Justice” issue of Little Patuxent Review, which is part of what informs my story. I based it on my own experience volunteering in a respite room at a hospital for the last decade. The story was sparked by an offhand comment by one of the room’s managers (since moved on) who said something that crystalized an attitude I’ve sometimes seen. That the less fortunate are lucky to have our help, that they need to ask and they need to show gratitude. That they are moochers and leeches and must be managed or else they will take, take, take. There is something about providing charity that attracts “superior” personalities.

So the “Social Justice” issue of Little Patuxent Review comes out in January. It’s a print edition only (as far as I can tell), so after a suitable time I’ll post the story here.

It’s rainy and cold here in Kansas City today, but all I see is sunshine right now.

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2 Comments on ““Respite Room””

  1. Annam Says:

    Sounds intriguing.

  2. Averil Dean Says:

    Congratulations, Paul. I’ve seen that attitude myself, though like you I’ve never heard it expressed that way. I’m glad you had the fortitude to keep that story circulating and get it out there in the world. I hope I’ll get the chance to read it one day.


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