Tag Archives: historical short stories

My Son’s Short Story and Encouraging Creative Writing in Young Adults!

My son, Nassem

My son, Nassem

At the end of this week, we were made excited and proud writing parents when we heard that our son, Nassem Al-Mehairi would be advancing to the District Tournaments for the State of Ohio program called POWER of the PEN!! He had taken part in a school assessment that included observations by his English teacher and his writing based on several writing prompts.

I immediately shouted my pride through a Facebook status and was overwhelmed by the amount of people who were as encouraged as I. Tim and I both feel it’s so very important to encourage writing and literacy skills in young people! Though we’ve known our children to have writing and reading talents, we we’ve been thrilled to see Nassem blossoming on the creative spectrum.

He’ll go next Saturday to Districts and then we’ll see if he’ll move on to Regional and then State Tournaments, where even at State several hundred students compete! Either way, we are very proud of him and so happy they offer such writing programs in our State. If you don’t know what POWER of the PEN is, you can go here:  http://www.powerofthepen.org.

And with that announcement, I thought I’d post below a creative historical short story he wrote for his English class, in which he had to write a suspense story in a limited amount of words. I hope you enjoy, and if you do, please encourage him in the comments!! You can also check out his writing and book reviews and interviews at http://www.nassemalmehairi.wordpress.com.

Congratulations, Nassem! Keep writing!!


Independence is to be Done on this Continent
by Nassem Al-Mehairi

“You are late!” I heard this from outside my windows and got up as quick as a roadrunner, put my ear to the window, and listened.  “I am sorry, William…” That is my brother’s name!  “But General Howe, that son of the devil, would not approve. We are now going rogue.”  William said, as sly as a fox, “I plan to slip across Valley Forge, and when I reach the eastern hill, I shall stab General Washington with, no less, a British-forged knife.”  How could William do this to me?? He knows that I have supplied the cause of freedom!  how the bloody hell could he do this to me?!? I lay back down, feeling my tears roll down like dice across my dark, weary cheeks as I fell asleep.

I awoke the next morning. I walked down the stairs, trying to suppress my emotions from last night.  I first see my father, a Frenchman who owns a merchant’s guild. He once, 16 years ago, got a little “lonely” after his first wife left him like the colonies are leaving England.  He then had a daughter with his slave, and that girl is now me.

“Good Morning, Father.”

“Good Morning, Cecile.  You look as beautiful as the moon, just like your mother.”

This fills me with the frustration that comes with being from two worlds and not belonging to either.  I tell him to have a good day and he promises to bring home my favorite French chocolates.  He always wants to just pamper me instead of having a real relationship. I respond with “thanks” and run up to la salle de Bain to freshen up.  When done, I run into William. I become very stoic, and it takes all my might to not blow up like a cannon at him. He says, “Hello, Cecile. Ca Va?”  I respond simply with “Bien, Merci.” We part ways.

The smells, sounds, and sights of the Philadelphia harbor are beautiful.  But I hardly notice as I follow William across the pier. I crouch behind barrels of French wine as William and the man speak.  “He is to be killed by my hand tomorrow,” said William.  “Oh my God,” I whispered as I ran away back into the crowd. I start to remember the days that he used to defend me from the other people who called me “mulatto” and “a sad accident.”  Now, though, he had been corrupted.  “They will never attempt it again is idle and visionary, we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a year or two undeceived us.” I must kill him.

“You cannot escape your fate, William,” I yell as I chase him across the snow-covered ground that is Valley Forge. He takes out a pistol and fires a blind shot. It goes wide and I keep after him through the burning pain in my legs. I keep inching toward William as Washington’s command tent comes into view.  As the great General walks out, William pulls out the knife and yells “God Save the King!”  But before the assassination, I felt my knife enter William’s back.  He asks, “Why, Cecile?” and I respond, “You became corrupted.  You sought to make all oppressed. I love you, though.”

As I got up, I found five Continental soldiers standing with muskets raised.  I was hit three times and as I felt myself fall, I heard the General yell that I had just saved his life. I saw my world fade away, my part and destiny in it finished.  The chocolates, so delicately made, wait for their consumer, who shall never come.

The End


Filed under Children and Family, Feature Articles

Short Story Collection by Delancey Stewart Looks “Through a Dusty Window” to Glimpses at NYC History

Brownstone townhouseWinding down late one night this weekend, I curled up with Delancey Stewart’s short story collection Through a Dusty Window:  New York City Stories 1910-2001.  This compilation of shorts focuses on the lives of many people who all possibly lived in the same brownstone apartment, but at various decades.

When we think about that concept, we ponder what must each of their lives have been like based on what was happening during each segment of history? Her collection gives us fleeting glimpses into this question. Of course it’s the very first story, but I actually liked “1910: The Hidden Legacy” the best.  I loved this one due to the fact that I am very into social justice. I like any stories or books that deal with class distinction and issues stemming from social stigma. This story dealing with a little girl and a doll really touched my heart. I loved the ending to it. It would be great to see this story turning into a longer novella or full-length novel.

I liked some of the other stories too, of course, and their tie-in with historical time periods, though some were terribly sad. I suppose in those cases, the time periods in that New York area was….however, some of the endings of the stories I felt came to an abrupt halt. I suppose maybe I just wanted more to the story and we can’t always have happy endings.  These slices told a day in the life of her characters and captured through their sadness the faults of the world seen through their eyes, or “windows.”

I also liked “The Harbinger: 1953” though probably due to being interested in women of this time period who were actually put in very terrible situations in mental hospitals due to slight depression. Misjudged and ironic as the cases were sometimes, Stewart brings this to light in the story. A slight more lengthy, this one had well-developed characters and she rounded out a thought-provoking ending.

The collection is a very quick read. Perfect for sitting down with a cup of tea for an hour.  I loved how Stewart gave us a bird’s-eye view of each family who passed life in this New York Apartment, then tied it all together in the last story of the collection.  But I don’t want to spoil it for you by sharing how she does it. You should definitely download this short story collection and see for yourself.

Stop by again tomorrow for an exclusive interview with Delancey Stewart where we talk about her stories, history, and women in history. See you then!

Through a Dusty Window: New York City Stories 1910-2001 Synopsis~

Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Paperback; 108p
ISBN-10: 0615731023

It’s impossible to live in a city like New York without feeling the presence of those who have preceded you – on those streets, in those subway cars, in that apartment. The city thrums with vibrations of lives and eras passed, and traces of that history are left imprinted in tangible ways everywhere we look.

Through a Dusty Window is a collection of ten short stories spanning a century of lives inhabiting one New York City brownstone on the Upper West Side. They are the culmination of the author’s experience in that city, during which she wondered constantly who had occupied her apartment before her, and what stories they might have lived.

Ten vignettes offer historical perspective on real events from Prohibition to World War II; the Vietnam-era Summer of Sam killings to John Lennon’s murder.

Through a Dusty Window allows us to be voyeurs, seeing the fascinating lives of others as they experience the history that New Yorkers today hear whispers of around every corner.


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Praise for Through a Dusty Window

“I found this series of short stories to be delightful and read them in one sitting. I was impressed with the author’s free flowing style which captivated me and drew me into the imagery of the book. I was particularly aware of the evolution of the social culture and I felt that the transition between the times of each story was handled well.” – Jean Roberts, Amazon Review

“Every story was very well written (my favorite involved the Hindenberg) and my only complaint is that a few of them, such as the last one, ended too soon. This is a compliment, however, because it means I wanted more, much more.” – John Darling (Author Jack Point) – Amazon Review

Delancey Stewart, Biography~

Delancey StewartDelancey Stewart is a fiction writer living in Southern Maryland. She’s a military spouse and the mother of two small boys. When not writing, she can be found ballet dancing, eating ice cream, playing video games or building with Legos.

For more information, please visit Delancey Stewart’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Stop by the tour for more reviews, giveaways and fun at: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/throughadustywindowvirtualtour/
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