Commutability, stories about the journey from here to there


Out of stock

A 2010 MSR Short Fiction Anthology

Edited by

David Jack Bell and Molly McCaffrey

Poetry book, 281 pages, $14.95 cover price

ISBN: 978-1-59948-243-9

Released: 2010



Ann Angel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Ann Angel’s recent publications include Janis Joplin: Rise up Singing (Abrams 2010); A Reader’s Guide to Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (Enslow 2010); Amy Tan: Weaver of Asian-American Tales (Enslow 2009); Such A Pretty Face: Short Stories about Beauty (Abrams, 2007). She is also co-editing, along with her daughter Amanda Angel, a collection of essays addressed to birth parents called Silent Embrace, Perspectives on Birth in Adoption. Works in progress include young adult novels and another collection of short stories. When not pushing deadlines, Ann teaches writing at Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She can also be found hanging out around Wisconsin with her husband Jeff and whichever of their four young adults happens to be around. For more on Ann, visit her website:



Joanne Bergbom, Garden City Park, New York
Joanne Bergbom is an English teacher at H. Frank Carey Junior-Senior High School in Franklin Square, NY where she presently teaches Advanced Placement Literature and Composition and Creative Writing and also serves as Director of Student Activities. She was educated at Cornell and Hofstra Universities and is an active member of the Long Island Writing Project. She is the author of several published poems and articles.




K. Biadaszkiewicz, Wyandotte, Michigan
Work by K. Biadaszkiewicz has appeared in the United States, Asia, and Europe including Margie, Mississippi Review, Pacific Coast Journal, Gihon River Review, and Natural Bridge among others. She has also received special recognition and awards from Wayne State University, Tisch School of the Arts, Sumter Opera House, the University of Louisville, the Institute for Southern Studies, and the International Institute for Documentary and Drama in Conflict Transformation.



J.K. Dane, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
J.K. Dane writes fiction and makes art in the book nook of the home she shares with her husband and three children in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Her stories have been published in several anthologies including Main Street Rag’s Big Water and XX Eccentric. Forthcoming in Wisconsin People and Ideas magazine is her award-winning story, “A Certain Change of Light.” When not writing, drawing, baking bread, or bike riding with her children, Dane annoys the neighbors with a multitude of musical offerings.


Darrin Doyle, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Darrin Doyle is the author of the novels Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet: A Love Story (LSU Press) and The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo (St. Martin’s Griffin). His short stories have appeared in such journals as Harpur Palate, Cottonwood, Puerto del Sol, Night Train, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Long Story. He has received fellowships and scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the NY Summer Writers’ Institute and teaches at Central Michigan University.



Lisa Hosokawa Garber, Carrboro, NC
In 2009, Lisa Hosokawa Garber graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, North Carolina, where she served as the associate editor for CAIRN: The New St. Andrews Review. Also in 2009, Garber won the Alan-Bunn Memorial Chapbook Award for her historical fiction manuscript, “Crosswind,” which was published as a chapbook by St. Andrews College Press. Though born and raised in Japan, Garber never appreciated her heritage until meeting the World War II Japanese veterans and Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors whom she interviewed while writing “Crosswind” and its sequel, “The Second Son.” Garber is currently working on a WWII Pacific novel, always with her college sweetheart and their two rescue animals to keep her company.


Eric Goodman, Oxford, Ohio
Eric Goodman is the author of four published novels, including In Days of Awe (Alfred A. Knopf) and Child of My Right Hand(Sourcebooks), which won a 2004 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord Magazine. His work has been awarded fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and residencies at the Headland Center for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation and the MacDowell Colony. Goodman has published more than 150 essays and articles, with work appearing in publications including Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine,GQ, Travel & Leisure, Saveur, and in collections including What I Would Tell Her: 30 Writer Dads on Their Daughters (Harlequin, 2010). For the past decade, Goodman has directed the undergraduate and graduate creative writing program at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His website is:



Ed Gorman, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Ed Gorman has been a full-time writer for nearly thirty years. During that time he has published more than thirty novels in the suspense, horror and western fields. Two of his books have been filmed. Seven collections of his short stories have been published. With his current Sam McCain series, “Gorman has seemed to strike the mother lode,” said Publisher’s Weekly. In November Gorman has a political thriller called Stranglehold coming from St. Martin’s.




Sara Holcombe, Fort Collins, Colorado
Sara Holcombe was born in lower Alabama. She is a full-time photojournalist and part-time writer and freelanced in Asia for a couple of years while trying to decide if photojournalism was all it was cracked up to be. She almost always wishes she was traveling and often wonders if she should go back to school because the economy is so bad. Her hobbies include consuming unique foods (buffalo parts like balls, eyes, and bone marrow), reading unique books (anything Henry Miller, Tom Robbins, Arundhati Roy) and traveling to unique places (Nepal, Thailand and India were the last). She will hopefully be in Peru by mid-2010 learning Spanish, farming and eating unique foods. This is her first published story.


Lisa Williams Kline, Mooresville, North Carolina
Lisa Williams Kline has published three novels and one nonfiction book for children. Most recently, she has a collection of short stories for adults with Main Street Rag (Take Me, 2010). Her stories have also appeared in various journals and anthologies. Lisa was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attended Duke University, and has received a Masters’ Degree in Communications from UNC-Chapel Hill and an MFA from Queens University. She lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with her husband, Jeff, who is a veterinarian. Their college-age daughters, Caitlin and Kelsey, visit frequently. Like the characters in many of her stories, Lisa attempts-in both literal and metaphorical ways-to escape the gravity of life.


Jesse Knifley, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Jesse Knifley is born of the lineage of both Abraham Van Helsing and House Atreties. He staked his first space vampire at age nine while investigating the mystery of the haunted county fair with a group of neighborhood kids and his faithful dog, Scruffy. He duel-majored in Accounting and Cryptozoology at Miskatonic University, dropping out after an ill-spent semester abroad in Nepal. He is twenty-five years old, and “True North” is his first published story.


M_Koeneman_PxMolly Koeneman, Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Molly Koeneman grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky with a tight-knit family that remembers when the town was small enough to miss with a blink. She is currently working on a collection of short stories that includes “The Age of Maturity.” This is her first published story.




Nancy McKinley, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Nancy McKinley writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and cultural history. Her story “Night Glow” appeared in the MSR Short Fiction Anthology: Big Water and “Yellow Tape” will appear in MSR Short Fiction Anthology: Coming Home. Her novel, Travels with a Nuclear Whore, won the Thayer Creative Writing Award and seeks publication. Nancy earned her Ph.D. from SUNY-Binghamton, M.A. from Colorado State University, and B.A. from College of the Holy Cross where she was one of the first females at the previously male school. Nancy teaches in the graduate, low-residency creative writing program at Wilkes University and lives with her family in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.


Thomas F. Monteleone, Baltimore, Maryland
Thomas F. Monteleone has published more than one hundred short stories and twenty-five novels including the bestseller and New York Times Notable Book of the Year, The Blood of the Lamb. He’s also written scripts for stage and screen. His fourth collection of short fiction, Fearful Symmetries, won the Bram Stoker Award. His omnibus collection of Cemetery Dance columns about writing, genre publishing, television, film and popular culture entitled The Mothers And Fathers Italian Association from Borderlands Press also won the Stoker for non-fiction. He is also co-editor of the award-winning anthology series of imaginative fiction, Borderlands and the author of the bestselling The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel (now in its second edition). With his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Olivia, he lives in Maryland and likes it a lot. If you like or despise his work, e-mail him at


Faye Moskowitz, Washington, D.C.
Faye Moskowitz is author of A Leak in the Heart; Whoever Finds This: I Love You; And the Bridge is Love, and Peace in the House. She is editor of Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters. Her poems, essays and short stories have been published widely. She is professor of English and creative writing at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.



Brian Nealon, Las Vegas, Nevada
Brian Nealon was invented in Dayton, Ohio, along with lots of useful things such as the airplane, air conditioner, filtered cigarettes, the laser, flexible radiator hoses, airbags, modern beekeeping, the TV talk show (DONAHUE!), and black light. He eventually earned an M.A. in literature and creative writing at Miami University of Ohio after begging for a five-year extension on his thesis and the expungement of an ill-considered attempt at learning German at his own pace. He is currently a high school English teacher in Las Vegas, where he’s lived and worked for four years. When he’s not hacking his way through piles of ungraded papers or learning to draw from snapshots he’s taken of strangers without their permission, he writes, dividing his time between short poems, a detective novel, and a memoir about his two-year teaching stint in China. His work has appeared in Ugly Accent magazine, which is now, sadly, defunct.


Scott Nicholson, Todd, North Carolina
Scott Nicholson is the author of 10 novels, including Drummer Boy, The Skull Ring, and The Red Church, as well as 60 stories, three collections, and the comic books DIRT and GRAVE CONDITIONS. A freelance editor and journalist, he lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His website is




Terese Pampellonne, New York, New York
Terese Pampellonne’s short fiction has appeared in Caprice, Flying Horse, Colorado Review, New Works Review, Wired Art, Thema,Overtime, The Fertile Source, Pedestal Magazine and Ascent. In 2005 her novel, The Unwelcome Child, was published by Kensington Books. Currently she resides in New York City with her husband, two dogs and cat.



Kelcey Parker, South Bend, Indiana
Kelcey Parker is the author of For Sale By Owner, a collection of short stories forthcoming from Kore Press in 2011. Her stories have been published in Bellingham Review, Santa Monica Review, Western Humanities Review,Indiana Review, Redivider, Portland Review, Sycamore Review, and twice in Image Journal, where she was featured as Artist of the Month in November 2009. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and is an assistant professor of English at Indiana University South Bend. Her whole life is an effort to get from here to there.


Norman Prentiss, Baltimore, Maryland
Norman Prentiss recently won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. His first book, Invisible Fences, was published by Cemetery Dance. Other fiction has appeared in Best Horror of the Year, The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, Tales from the Gorezone, Damned Nation, Postscripts, and the Shivers anthology series, and at the Horror Drive-In website. His poetry has appeared in A Sea of Alone: Poems for Alfred Hitchcock, Writer Online, Southern Poetry Review, and Baltimore’s City Paper, with essays on gothic and sensation literature in Victorian Poetry, Colby Quarterly, and The Thomas Hardy Review.


Yelizaveta P. Renfro, Omaha, Nebraska
Yelizaveta P. Renfro’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Glimmer Train Stories, North American Review, Colorado Review,Alaska Quarterly Review, South Dakota Review, Witness, Blue Mesa Review, Fourth River, Untamed Ink, So to Speak, and the anthology A Stranger Among Us: Stories of Cross Cultural Collision and Connection (OV Books/University of Illinois Press, 2008). Her short story collection, A Catalogue of Everything in the World, won the St. Lawrence Book Award and is available from Black Lawrence Press.


Sandra Scofield, Portland, Oregon and Missoula, Montana
Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, a memoir, and a craft book. She has been an NEA Fellow and a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction. She wrote “Dreaming in Italian” after reviewing over one hundred letters returned to her by a friend who had saved them since the sixties. Scofield lives in Portland, Oregon and Missoula, Montana, and is an avid landscape painter.




David Jack Bell and Molly McCaffrey, Bowling Green, Kentucky
David Jack Bell and Molly McCaffrey met at Indiana University twenty years ago and still kind of like each other. They have lived in seven different states together, which is why they were interested in editing a collection of stories about people on the go. They both received Ph.D.s from the University of Cincinnati, and their stories, poems, and essays have been published in numerous books and magazines. Bell has also published two novels, The Girl in the Woods and The Condemned, and McCaffrey documents her life as a non-dieter on I Will Not Diet. They live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where they teach at Western Kentucky University.


From the Latin: com- mutually + mutare to change

We’ve all been on trips, right?

Overnighters, cruises, road trips, walks across Europe, death marches to see the family during the holidays. These trips may begin with great anticipation-our honeymoon!-or dread-not Aunt Mary’s Christmas party! But there’s a sameness to the beginning: We pack the bags, we check the maps. We make sure someone is going to water the plants, and then we either bound out the door like a happy kid or we drag our feet like a man condemned.

It’s safe to say that every trip changes us in some way. We learn something as we travel. We may have a visceral reaction to what we encounter-“I’ll never go to your brother’s house again!”-or an existential one-“When I get back I’m definitely leaving him…” And the relationship between the distance traveled and the magnitude of the revelation need not be direct. A walk to the grocery store or up a long flight of steps can change us just as much as a visit to a foreign country. What matters is that we do change. It’s one of the basic signs of life. Sentient creatures move. Cancer cells grow. Things fall apart.

Which brings us to the title of this anthology: Commutability.

“Commute” and “ability.” But also: Mutability. Prone to or capable of change.

We’ve all had the old fiction writing adages drilled into our heads in writing workshops and literature classrooms. In a story, something must happen. In a story, a character must change.

Despite this, we were not prepared for the variety of journeys the authors in this anthology took us on. Like all travelers, we started with a goal-find good stories that somehow dealt with commuting or moving from place to place. We could not have anticipated the many twists and turns we would encounter: Goats being used as shark bait. Skydiving. Stealing a boat during a zombie apocalypse. A farm where women-not cows-produce the milk. An awkward young man’s fantasy encounter with the B-actress of his dreams. And many, many more.

Suffice to say, dear reader and fellow traveler, your journey is about to begin. The table of contents is your map. The last page your destination. We’ve already been there, and we loved every fork in the road, every odd roadside attraction we pulled over to explore. We reached the end with a trunkful of souvenirs and a desire to do it all over again.

We think you will too.

Enjoy the ride.

–David Jack Bell and Molly McCaffrey


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