So, I just checked on Round 5 of the NPR Three-Minute Fiction Contest again to see if they had announced a winner yet. I had stopped looking, because a story with a key similarity to mine had emerged on the website and I figured they would not keep two such stories in the running. But, out of curiosity, I continued to check back. And they did announce a winner. Last Sunday.
While announcing the winner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham said, “The one that most thoroughly knocked me out as I read it — over and over and over again — is a beautiful and very unorthodox story called ‘Roosts’ by Zach Brockhouse….It was the only one that involved a haunted birdhouse, for one thing.”
Actually, it wasn’t. It was just the one involving a haunted birdhouse that made it to the short list of stories he read. Because, “Roosts” is the story I saw appear on the site weeks ago that made me think I was out of the running. So, now I’m left with the sensation that my story might have been the other finalist in the Haunted Birdhouse Division and might have won the whole thing if the kind folks at the Iowa Writers Workshop had liked it just a bit more and forwarded it instead.
None of which matters. And none of which is meant to suggest I’m anything other than happy for Zach Brockhouse, because he wrote a fine story and his story came in first out of 5,000 entries and this is his first published work of fiction and he lives in Maine and all of those are things I raise my glass to. (It’s filled with Samuel Adams White Ale at the moment, incidentally.)
As for myself, I have another flash story that I’m very pleased with and will send elsewhere after I remove or alter the first and last lines that were the required frame for the contest entries. My tale is quite different from “Roosts.” Hopefully, it will find a home some day as well.
Because there’s room for more than one haunted birdhouse tale in the world.