We fell in love with Charlene Logan Burnett’s mythic “The Fisherman and the Cloak” this year and were lucky enough to find the perfect person to perform it. Many thanks to the talented Ronald Feichtmeir, who made his Play On Words debut on April 11 at Cafe Stritch:
Many thanks to Ronald for capturing the tone and tenor of Charlene’s beautifully written story. To read more of her work, check out “Boardwalk ’62,” published this spring in Blackbird magazine.
Our next Play On Words show will be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience taking place on August 29 at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre. Stay tuned in the next few weeks to learn more!
Sometimes we are drawn to stories because of their premise or pacing; other times we are compelled by a singular and unique voice, one we hadn’t heard before. When we received “The Fisherman and the Cloak” by Charlene Logan Burnett, we were struck by the story’s tone, tenor and unusual, Aesop’s fable-turned-Nordic-fairy-tale rhythm. We look forward to performing this piece a week from today at our New Horizons show at Cafe Stritch.
Charlene Logan Burnett writes fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Witness Magazine, Blackbird, Natural Bridge, RHINO, WomensArts Quarterly, and other magazines and journals. She was a writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony and a Pushcart Nominee. She earned an M.F.A. in Playwriting from the University of California, Davis.
She has been a finalist in a number of short fiction contests, including the 2017 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, sponsored by Nimrod International Journal, the 2017 Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction, sponsored by Colorado Review, and the 2017 Howard Frank Mosher Short Fiction Prize, sponsored by Hunger Mountain.
“The Fisherman and The Cloak,” published in Menacing Hedge, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Charlene graciously shared some insight with us.
What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I had an English professor who used to read from a women’s fiction anthology to our class. It was a magical hour. Often, stories that move me to tears are spoken. The pace is slower. The space feels more intimate than a page. The words seem to penetrate deeper inside me.
Which writers or performers inspire you?
For this particular piece, I would say Angela Carter. Flannery O’Connor remains one of my favorites.
Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
I went back to college as an adult with a small child. I had to take a remedial English class to catch up. The teacher used to read aloud to us from the fiction anthology, Women and Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women. It was my first experience listening to the words of women writers like Grace Paley and Margaret Drabble. They wrote about people I knew. It was in that class I decided to write. The paperback book, although falling apart, is still on my shelf.