Water. The stuff of life itself. By definition, the hot, sandy desert rarely sees it. Rain, that miracle where life falls to the parched ground, beats its song on the sand, only to dry up again.
The desert has many ways to adapt to the scarcity of rain. Cacti swell with stores, able to live for years between deep draughts of wet earth. Bushes grow thin leaves, grabbing precious sunlight while holding close to even more precious water. Animals live at night, saving moisture by burrowing in the sand to escape the drying rays of the sun.
Some of the desert denizens have learned to avoid the dry completely, and only live in the wet. Seeds nestled in the sand wait for a strong storm, only to burst into life. They are born, grow, flower, and cast their own seeds out in a wet window of days. Insects drawn to the sudden growth feast and flourish, generations living in that short season. Toads, eggs dry and impotent for years, emerge into the swamp created by the deluge of a once in a decade storm. Fighting the clock, they spawn their own eggs in rapidly shrinking pools, birthing offspring they themselves will never live to see.
Predators who daily range far to find food are presented with a buffet. Coyotes and bobcats, scorpions and snakes, feast on the rain spawned creatures.
And the people! The people of the desert pause in their routine. Many give thanks to gods and spirits, named and nameless. Some take the time to dance in the burst of rain, cleansed by nature. Old grudges are soon forgotten, new plans and partnerships laid. Stores and barrels nearly empty and dry are replenished, and celebrations burst forth as quickly as the riot of green that will shortly paint their once dun desert home. The common laborer puts aside their work for a moment of respite. Meanwhile, the witches of the hot desert know that rain means their own work has just begun…
Songs of the occasional rain is an anthology of short stories about the rare, quick, and ephemeral changes brought to the desert by those magical drops of rain, and the lasting impact on the animals and peoples of the sand.
More generally, stories about weather of any kind, and how it causes change, or how people react to it. Do you have a story about a culture with twenty words for “snow”, and the how they came to add a twenty first? Do you have a story about hail falling in a temperate jungle that has never known ice? Do you have a story about a planet where it rains diamonds, but today, it rains sapphire? Send it, I want to read it!
February 14th is not just Valentine’s day, but in Arizona, one of the states that shares in the Sonoran Desert, it is statehood day. This February 14th, 2018, the state has received a surprise spat of rain, wetting the desert. It is thus an auspicious day. Submissions for the anthology open, and will remain open until April 15th, 2018. I hope that April Showers will bring May Flowers, the final lineup of authors and poets will be announced on May First.
Pay will be determined by success of the kickstarter, with a minimum of .06 per word. However, all selected entries will be given a token payment of $10 USD as a placeholder until the fundraising ends. If fundraising is unsuccessful October 1st, 2018, all rights revert to the authors, the token payment theirs to keep. Upon successful funding, The Leaking Pen will purchase exclusive English Language print and internet rights for 1 year from the date of funding, and non-exclusive internet English rights for 4. A sample The Leaking Pen assignment of rights contract will be posted by April 1st on this site. Please direct any questions to TheLeakingPen@TheLeakingPen.com
We are looking for stories in the flash flood (1k or less) to Monsoon Season (3-5k) range, as well as poetry, 12 to 100 lines is ideal. No explicit erotica, please. Genre is wide open, if it fits the theme, though I am hopeful for some good magical realism stories, and animal pov stories. Marginalized writers are especially welcome, and stories with female, non-binary, and POC leads are greatly desired. We do ask that any indigenous points of view are Own Voices.
To submit, please send an email with your work attached as a file to Theleakingpen@theleakingpen.com . .txt or .rtf is preferred, however, .doc or .docx is acceptable, especially if there is formatting you wish to retain. If you have an issue with creating a file , for example, using Google Docs on a device that won’t save files, please email directly for support.
Name the file your legal last name and the title of the work. In the body of the email, please include your legal name, pen name if desired, a brief bio, and the name of your work.
Images are also being sought, if you have an artistic creation that you feel fits the theme, please email details to the address above.
If you do not receive a response to your email within 48 hours, please reach out on social media at https://www.facebook.com/Songs-of-the-Occasional-Rain-1631951480182004/ or to our editor on twitter @Alexanderdsoso .