You may recall that I’m on a mission to write a short story each month this year. I started in February, and that story was released in March—The Timely Arrival of Barnabas Bead is available here. I know, I know, I’m already running behind, but the next one is finally ready to go. It was written in March and April and not a sentence of it came easy. Like squeezing blood from a stone, I tell you, but such is the work of writing.
This one’s called The Oracle of Philadelphia, and it revolves around an expedition into the Arctic Sea. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fascinated with polar exploration. Annie Dillard’s “Expedition to the Pole” is one of my favorite essays of all time (it’s found in her book Teaching a Stone to Talk). Josh Ritter’s song “Another New World” has some of the most magical lyrics in this or any world, and, like a moth to a flame, I’m drawn to any book or documentary about the Shackleton expedition. Heck, I’ll even thrown in John Carpenter’s The Thing as a reference (that movie scared me to death when I was a kid). So consider this my humble entry into the hoary canon of polar literature. Hope you enjoy it, and I assure you, it’s much lighter fare than any of the aforementioned works.
Special thanks to Daniel Sorensen for providing an illustration for this month’s story. Check out his website. He’s a talented guy.
(Note: the observant reader may spot direct ties between this story and Fiddler’s Green.)