Season 3 Episode 39: Sally Cronin on Short Stories and Reading “A New Beginning”

Life is Like a Mosaic – Random Fragments in Harmony, Poetry by Sally Cronin
Our Legacy

Writers
seek to inspire
those of us not yet great
to leave behind a legacy
of worth.
Fame and fortune are not required
if we are remembered
for our acts of
kindness.
Sally Cronin “Life is Like a Mosaic: Random Fragments in Harmony

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

Bookstores, libraries, and coffee shops are great places for book readings. There is something extraordinary about hearing the voice of an author reading their stories. Their voice and intonation are nuanced by the many hours of effort putting pen to paper.  They created the characters, structured the plot, and lived every twist and turn that creates bumps in the storyline. 

Living in the reality of Covid-19 for the past months, book readings at public libraries and bookstores have been curtailed.  We are learning to embrace technology in new ways.  Welcome the podcast series, “Authors Reading their Books”, which will recreate the reading spaces in a virtual venue.  I invite you to put the kettle on and join the conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia. I am your host Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

I am thrilled to introduce Sally Cronin who has graciously agreed to be our guest author reading her short story “A New Beginning” from her book “Flights of Fancy.”   Sally is a storyteller.  As a child, she used poetry, song lyrics and short stories to bring narratives to life.  She is an indie author and proud to be one. Her greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy her take on health, characters, and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.  Sally’s support and encouragement of the indie community is legendary.

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting event on Tea Toast & Trivia.

I invite you to meet up with Sally on her blog Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, on her Anchor Podcast and on her Soundcloud Channel.  Sally discusses a wide number of topics to chat about. It is a place that welcomes lively conversations and fresh perspectives.

Until next time, dear friends, keep safe, keep reading and be well.

Sally Cronin on Short Stories and Reading “A New Beginning” Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

81 Replies to “Season 3 Episode 39: Sally Cronin on Short Stories and Reading “A New Beginning””

    1. Sally – thank you so much for sharing your insights on short stories. As I mentioned to Dave, I have become very interested in short stories this past year. When I read a short story, I feel the pressure of thinking. Every word, sentence, and paragraph are reduced to essentials. This is not an easy task to achieve. “A New Beginning” reminded me that beginnings are all around us, some we plan, some come to us unexpectedly. I especially appreciated how you connected two stories together. With poignancy and compassion, you captured us.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Thank you Rebecca.. I doubt I will write a full length novel again.. one of my projects is linked stories which is proving interesting to write… we shall see. Enjoy the rest of the week.. we are down to 2 degrees tomorrow night!! Heating is on… hugsxx♥

        Liked by 3 people

  1. A wonderful conversation, Rebecca and Sally! Interesting to hear about why the short-story format is so attractive — and to hear the reading of Sally’s intensely moving tale “A New Beginning.” Very impressed with Sally’s writing and with how helpful she is to other writers.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I have been very interested in short stories of late, Dave. They may be short, but they are not easy to write and many times, not that easy to read because they present challenges to readers with speed and agility. Remember O. Henry “The Gift of the Magi” or Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” or “To Build a Fire” by Jack London. When I read “To Build a Fire” I lived in Northern Manitoba where this was reality. I walked to school 3/4 mile in 40 below weather. Sally is a stellar storyteller. When I first listened to “A New Beginning” I was reminded that beginnings come, even when they are unanticipated. Thank you for listening in and for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 7 people

  2. How wonderful to see our friend and amazing supporter, Sally Cronin, here. I enjoy reading her books and found listening to her read the story added another dimension. Her reading voice makes the story come alive. I would suggest she create audio books of some of her work, with her reading them. I know, she is busy enough already, but it is worth a thought. A wonderful podcast. Thanks, Rebecca and Sally. xo

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Darlene. You are a wonderful support and encouragement of these conversations. Don is working on an exciting series on our Mudge Island connection. Stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Rebecca, for hosting Sally and inviting her to read her story and to tell her story. Hearing a story, the way the author understands it is so interesting. “A New Beginning” is a lovely story, sad and uplifting.

    I hadn’t thought about how short stories, or sharing stories fit with our busy schedules. I enjoy hearing people tell their stories.

    I really liked it when Sally reminded us that “people have imaginations.” So much of the media we consume today stifles our imagination. It’s why I prefer reading to watching.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree wholeheartedly , Dan. There is a danger when we allow other people’s imagination to overtake our own. Watching is passive whereas reading is total engagement. Stories, whether long, short on in poetry form – I am there in the middle of the narrative. My heart pumps when I’m in a crime scene, I cry when friends part, and am elated when someone climbs a mountain. Next year, there are plans for a War & Peace Readalong. I know that there is a W&P mini-series with excellent actors, but I will NOT watch it until after I read the book. Sally is an excellent story teller. I just spoke with my mother Frances, again tonight and she again mentioned how much she enjoyed Sally’s reading. Thank you so much for listening in and joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. War and Peace – wow. I haven’t read that since it was assigned in high school. Short of having someone tell you their story in person, reading is the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My daughter and I just finished listening to your conversation with Sally. We were completely mesmerized by her reading of “A New Beginning.” It’s a wonderful story. I was also very interested in Sally’s comments about short story writing, since I learned the craft of short fiction from “The Academy.” Sonia’s verdict on this podcast: “This was a good one!” She particuarly enjoyed Sally’s discussion of the short story form. Sonia also gives kudos to the easily recognized Tea, Toast & Trivia photo. Thank you both for a very enjoyable twenty minutes!!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Thank you, Liz and Sonia for listening in – very much appreciated. I have gone back to revisit the idea of short stories within the context of our current reality of “less if more” philosophy. We live more focused on connection and time, of quick reads and speedy responses. In my experience, short stories have not been a quick read as demonstrated by Sally’s “A New Beginning”. (“The Lottery” resonates with me more now than when I first read it in my early teens) There may be a lower word count than a novel, but the ideas, messages, and calls to action, demand my full attention and participation. Sonia – thank you for your feedback on my TTT photo, which is the fourth “T” – “Tulips” Many thanks to you both for your support and encouragement.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. When I originally read this I thought it incredibly powerful and moving. Now I find Sally’s voice adding a whole new dimension to the story. I have always admired Sally’s ability with words, her creation of warm sympathetic characters with a few well chosen phrases, the way she can play emotions like a gypsy voilinist. As she said, the more work the writer puts into a story the more effortless it appears to the reader. The writer works hard so the reader doesn’t have to. This is something I believe all writers need to remember and practice as assiduously, as she does.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you for listening in, Paul, and for adding to this conversation. Your thoughts about “the writer works hard so the reader doesn’t have to,” sparked a thought. What is the responsibility of the reader? Writers give us stories – what do we do with these stories? How do we integrate them into our personal experiences? Will these stories nuance the way we participate in a wider community? Without doubt, stories build community and resilience. Thank you for your thoughtful response, which I will carry forward this week.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Thank you Paul.. I am grateful that I manage to pull that off. I am still finding my way but I feel that I have found the area of writing that I can continue to work on and hone in coming years. As I approach my 70s I am so grateful I am doing something I love and hopefully for a long time to come. hugsx

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Oh Sally, that was as dynamic as any short story could ever be.
    You are brilliant! The story is full of heart.
    I adored hearing you read it.
    Rebecca, thank you for showcasing Sally on your Podcast. She’s right, you are doing a lot for the/our community.

    I only remember 1 short story. I thinks it’s well known. A travelling salesman shows up to a farmhouse during a storm. The kind family is poor, but shares with him. He sees an old bureau, and recognizes it as an antique, worth a lot of money. He asks to buy it. That old thing? Why would you want that? He replies “for firewood!” and pays them a pittance.
    The next morning he goes to move the bureau into his truck, but doesn’t see it. When he asks the family where it is, they point to a pile of wood. They had kindly chopped it up for him.

    I haven’t remembered that for years.
    Thanks for the short story, and jogging the memory!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That is a brilliant short story, Resa! This is the first time I heard about this story and had to find out more about it. It is called “Parson’s Pleasure” and was written by Roald Dahl. Thank you for the introduction to Roald Dahl’s short stories. I always connect him with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. https://www.roalddahlfans.com/dahls-work/short-stories/parsons-pleasure/#plot

      I agree, Resa! Sally’s short stories are remarkable. I am enjoying her book “Life is like a Bowl of Cherries Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet”. It is a collection of short stories with a sprinkling of poetry, a brilliant combination.

      Thank you for listening in – very much appreciated!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Thank you so much Resa and delighted you enjoyed the story.. I love your moral tale, and I am sure variations of this story were told to children and adults to encourage them to be better humans. A story can make a difference in this world and I still believe that in many cases “the pen is mightier than the sword” hugs

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you, Sally and Clanmother, for this delightful conversation. It is so good to hear from Sally again, and to hear of her new life’s experiences. I especially appreciated her reading of “A New Beginning”. I actually read it several times, not only to listen to the interesting story, but also to see how she chooses and arranges each useful and descriptive word, obvious leaving out the unnecessary! It is vital to the story, I believe, that she ends the sadness in the story with a clever, positive and even a happy ending with a new and enticing character. Truly, very well written.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I am delighted that you enjoyed this podcast conversation and I especially appreciated your comments, Frances. “I believe, that she ends the sadness in the story with a clever, positive and even a happy ending with a new and enticing character.” That is a perfect way to describe Sally’s writing. Sending many hugs – looking forward to coffee tomorrow morning.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks so much Frances and delighted you enjoyed the story. I know that life does not always work out the way we would wish it to but one of the joys of being a writer is that you can create an alternative ending. Not sure if it is a result of getting older, but I find myself avoiding the darkness of both film and television series and some books that do not offer at least a glimmer of hope… Enjoy the rest of your week..hugs xx

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Sally – I was speaking with my mother Frances, last night. She was so pleased with “A New Beginning” and believes, like you, that hope is always there and finds some way to reach our hearts.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Thank you, Rebbeca for hosting Sally on your wonderful Tea and Trivia show. To listen to her read A New Beginning is a real treat. I have loved and come to appreciate short stories since I read John Cheever’s collection back in the 80s. Thanks to both of you, again.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for listening in, John. And a big thank you for introducing me to John Cheever, who was unknown to me until you mentioned his name. You had me scurrying around the internet to find out more. I did not know that John William Cheever is sometimes called “the Chekhov of the suburbs”. I just found “The Stories of John Cheever” and have downloaded it on Kindle.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Love listening to Sal. She explained succinctly the breakdown of a short story, that’s her territory for sure. Loved hearing the story told in your voice Sal! Hugs ladies. Always a treat! ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree, Debby – Sally has a brilliant way of breaking down a process that can appear to be overwhelming in complexity. I am so glad that you listened in and join the conversation.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Hi Rebecca, I have read all of Sally’s fictional works and this is a wonderful story. It is great to hear Sally reading it, she has a marvelous voice for podcasts. Sally’s thought about short stories are similar to mine. I think modern readers like short stories because they are always juggling so many things. Writers compete with TV, computer games, and social media and so it is important to make every story and word to count in order to attract potential readers away from their other distractions.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for listening in, Robbie and for your support and encouragement of storytelling and conversations. What I most appreciate about Sally and your writing and poetry is the concept of hope and the examination of living within complexity and uncertainty. I am also exploring how readers have a responsibility to engage with a story with honesty and integrity. As Sally noted, every story counts.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Hi Rebecca, I think we all live continuously in a complex and uncertain environment. The speed at which modern life changes is unbelievable and creates this uncertainty and a need to continuously adapt. It is rather exhausting, I think.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. I agree, Robbie that complexity is continuous and has been the theme of the history of humanity. We seem to know how to speed up, but is seems that slowing down is an acquired habit. I love our conversations.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. I enjoyed Sally’s perspective on short stories and how she approaches the writing process. It was fun to learn the background of the story she read. A beautiful and poignant story, Sally. And I completely agree with you about how writing syllabic poetry is like solving word puzzles. So fun. I look forward to reading more poetry. Thanks Rebecca and Sally. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I love learning about the background of the stories – it adds so much to my enjoyment and understanding. Can you imagine Sally climbing the hills in Wales! What fun she had. I’m excited to learn that you will be reading poetry. You have a great voice for recitation. Thank you for listening in and for joining the conversation. Sending hugs.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’ve gotten to know a little about Sally through her writing and she’s had quite a fascinating life. Always a joy to listen to her too. 😀

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Welcome home! I am so glad that you were able to visit your grandkids – what fun. I know you will enjoy Sally’s reading of A New Beginning. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I loved the truly romantic story of Sally and David finding each other in Wales. Like everyone else here, I’m hugely appreciative of all that Sally does for Indie authors everywhere. She’s ridden to my help many times and is unstinting in her support. I’m a fan of her syllabic poetry and I understand what she means about how it hones her skills so that she can capture the crux of a story so that it has all the impact of a full-length novel but can be appreciated by those with busy lives who don’t have the luxury of time for something longer. I’m really enjoying this series, Rebecca – it showcases talent with the addition of that personal touch that comes when you can actually hear the writer’s own voice. x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for listening in, Alex. Sally is a marvelous support of the indie community and all those who are most fortunate to connect with her. Her breadth of work is inspiring. I call the story of Sally and David – “When Sally met David.” I agree that when we listen to authors read their books/poetry/short stories we experience a greater understanding of the narrative.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s wonderful to see Sally being featured here again for your podcast, Rebecca. The conversation is delightful and enjoyable. I agree with Sally about the short stories. Stephen King feels that more writers should be working on short fiction instead of only penning novels. Writing short stories helps a writer get ready. It’s great to know that he has written 200+ short stories. Some movies are his novellas stringed together. Sally, I agree with you that people are busier these days. Their attention span is shorter because they’re used to immediate gratification from technology and social media. Short stories allow readers to read the entire story within a short amount of time.
    “A New Beginning” is a great example of short stories readers could read and have their emotions touched. A short story ends in a reasonable amount of time with some kind of closure. Sally, your voice adds dimension and emotions to your story.

    Thank you so much for this podcast, Rebecca. I totally enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am delighted that you listened in, Miriam. Thank you for adding depth to this conversation. I did not know that Stephen King has written 200+ short stories. He is a great story teller. And so is Sally. I agree about the author/poet’s voice adding vibrancy to the telling of a story. No matter how old we are, we love to hear a story just as we did when we were children. Many thanks and hugs coming your way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t know either. I quoted someone who gave a short course of writing short stories. Sally is a great story teller. And yes, we do love listening to stories. It’s a lovely episode, Rebecca.

        Liked by 2 people

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