Making Gumbo

My novella “Something that Didn’t Happen” shortlisted by Brain Mill Press

Excited my novella “Something That Didn’t Happen” was shortlisted as one the best of the 2016 Driftless Unsolicited Novella Contest.

 Of late, students of mine have asked me, here and there, “…what will you do when you retire Dr. Nacoste?” And that time does draw nigh.

 But I will have no problems staying busy. I will continue to be an advocate for social justice, speaking and writing, pushing and prodding our nation toward our goal of a more perfect union.

 Although everyone knows I am an activist-scholar, only a few know that I am also a writer of fiction (Logan.

 Not, of course, full time. I am not working on any new fiction right now. But in the past, I have taken a couple of summers to do so and one product is my 150 page novella, “Something That Didn’t Happen.”

  In my novella “Something That Didn’t Happen” Ro-bear travels back to his childhood home of Opelousas, Louisiana to try to recover and understand a vague memory of a mysterious event from his teenage years.

 ’He had a memory of something that didn’t happen.’

 Called back to Opelousas by his old Holy Ghost High School classmate Soothsayer, the memory, the event Ro-bear is traveling to confront occurred in 1965 Louisiana and is the centerpiece of the story; a story within the story.

 In that “story within the story,” we see the world of Louisiana Jim-Crow through the adolescent eyes of “The Seven,” Ro-bear, Ironhorse, Delores, Soothsayer, Dice, Kool-Aid and Ghost.  And we experience an alternate American history where there are actual, physical, giant walls of racial segregation.

 Called to a battle that will determine the direction of civil rights history, we see these seven black teenagers struggle to avoid a coming confrontation with dark supernatural forces that will arrive in the 1965 hurricane named Betsy.  But we also see the Seven helped to face their task by a classroom experience of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, along with Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions’ song “People Get Ready,” and by the guidance of Ro-bear’s grandfather Raphael Malveaux who is a Creole shaman. With that help “The Seven” grow strong enough to come together to fight the dark forces that try to keep people down and keep racial hate alive.

 Last June, I submitted my novella to the Driftless Unsolicited Novella Contest sponsored by Brain Mill Press. In the announcement of the 2016 contest results, Brain Mill Press has shortlisted my novella as one of the best submitted.

 With that strong encouragement, I’ll start looking for a publisher. This leads to me think that in my retirement, when that time does come maybe I will find some small success in writing fiction. Who knows?

 Here is the Brain Mill Press announcement of the winning and shortlisted novellas to 2016 Driftless Unsolicited Novella contest:


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