Compiling a collection of 60 short stories about life at Lake Tahoe was the creative idea of Meyers publisher Bona Fide books. It proved to be a good one.
Sifting through the hundreds of submissions was a gargantuan task but at the end of the day "Tahoe Blues: Short Lit On Life At The Lake" has just the right balance. There's something in it for everyone.
Launched in June as part of Lake Tahoe Community College's writers series, "Tahoe Blues" has since been a popular read with Tahoe residents and Tahoe visitors. It showcases our community, its people, culture, challenges and changes. Readers get an inside peek into our little corner of paradise from a variety of vantage points, some more familiar than others. Not every story will appeal to all but the vast majority will entice and intrigue. The unique nature of the stories featured in "Tahoe Blues" is key in providing a multi-dimensional view of lake life, adding interest, substance and style.
There's a lot of talent from Lake Tahoe and beyond wrapped up in 157 pages. Fifty-six writers in all contributed, bringing to the table a not only a variety of colorful topics but also diversity in writing styles. Stories are 500 words or less and are flash fiction or micro-essays. How will you know the difference? The reader will determine fact from fiction. Some subjects have universal appeal. There's love, romance, urban legends, illness, jobs and divorce. Others are rooted deep in the gritty Tahoe lifestyle narrated in vivid, living color and exposing mountain life in all of its glory; waxing skis, swimming in frigid alpine waters, shoveling snow; night skiing in the forest.
Chapters are divided into shades of blue, each one with a unique tone.
"The Angora Monster" (Shawn Huestis) is in cobalt. It demonizes monster flames. "Growing larger the beast stalked trees forbidden from fleeing." "Scraped Clean" (Charlotte Austin) appears in the aquamarine chapter. It's softer in sound and feel, "There's an openness here that I crave, a sense of being scraped clean by the dry blue sky." "Desolation" (John Q. McDonald) shares sightings of meteor showers in midnight, "The summer sky wheeled silently overhead, sparkling with intermittent shooting stars, each one a glint of light always seeming to come from the corner of my eye." And then there's "The Time We Had" (Ryan Row) in slate, a bit darker in mood, "The homeless are also frequent patrons. One took a liking to me. He smelled like dirt and oil, heavy clothes."
Each of the nine chapters in "Tahoe Blues" offers shades of blue to explore. Dive in! There's humor, drama, angst, nostalgia, hope, dogs, bears and, yes, even ghosts. Short biographies of each contributor appear in the back and a beautifully designed cover, an underwater shot looking up to a ray of sun, adds a nice finishing touch.
Read it on the BlueGo bus, pack it in your lunchbox; take it to the beach. It's lightweight, easy to tote and sure to please those who love outdoor living and our beautiful Lake Tahoe.
- Gloria Sinibaldi resides part-time in South Lake Tahoe. Her short story "A Means To Survive" appears in "Tahoe Blues." She's a job coach, trainer and author. She contributes monthly to the business section of the Tahoe Daily Tribune.