Issue #1

(Premiere Issue - February 1994)

Mother & baby - #1 Cover

cover drawing by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

(based on a drawing for The Plowman's Tale)

Table of Contents

full or partial text is availablefor highlighted items




(Updated July 9,1996)

© Copyright 1995 EchoesMagazine

All stories, poems, and drawings are protected by copyright andmay not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form, by copyingor by any electronic or mechanical means, without written permissionfrom Echoes Magazine. Individual stories and poems are also copyrightby their authors; drawings are copyright by Echoes Magazine and bythe artists.

Mustang Island

by Dan McAfee

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

. . . The fire crackled in the middle of the circle of people and the light made everyone's face seem eerily alive. Then the fire popped loudly and Chuck spoke, almost at the same time.

"Why don't you tell us about Mustang Island, Laura?"

Laura's head snapped quickly in her brother's direction. I could see the reflection of the fire in her eyes. "Chuck, please. There's nothing to tell."

"Come on, Laura," Chuck said. "Something happened. You've never been the same since you came back from the island that day. I think you owe some of us an explanation. We'd really like to know what happened out there. Come on. Did you see a ghost or what?"

"No, I didn't see a ghost. Really guys, I'd rather not think about it. OK?"

"Please, Laura," I said. "I'd really like to hear it."

I could see her eyes across the fire as she looked at me and I was immediately sorry I'd said anything. She wasn't smiling as she had been a moment ago. She looked at me for what seemed like a long time and then dropped her eyes to the flames. Silence.

Connie placed her hand softly on Laura's shoulder and somewhere far out over the water a seagull's cry split the night. Laura looked fleetingly into Connie's eyes before her glance returned to the black water. Dark clouds caught at the edges of the moon.

"OK, OK I'll try. But I've never told it before. Never put it into words like this. It was a long time ago."

She picked up a small stick from the shadows and pulled it back and forth across the sand as she talked . . .


© 1994 Dan McAfee

Dan McAfee is thirty-five and lives in "the mythical hillseast of Ft. Wayne, Indiana" with his wife, Cindy, and their threechildren. He works in a very technical environment -- computersupport -- and swings wildly between his artistic and technicalsides. At times he won't write for months...until a poem or storyidea attracts his attention. (1/94)

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by Robyn Kehoe

In the beginning
There was the music.
The old Earth-song
Whose tribal cadence
And ritual rhythms resound now
Through, around, inside
The mind, soul, body;
Standing on the edge
Of eternity.
Poised on the cliff of forever,
Looking up, down, all around
Surrounded by the abyss of silence.
Listen to the melody of mother earth.
Terra firma's echoes swirl off
Mountaintop and valley,
Heard by none, some, all of us,
Picking us up,
Lifting our soul with sound.
Free spirits, the music consumes us.
The rhythm of the drums
Beating, moving, pounding
Through us, in us, around us,
Until we stretch, reach with our arms
Out, embracing the Earth, wind and sky.
At one, as peaceful as
The old Earth-song.
In the beginning
There was the music.

© 1994 Robyn Kehoe

Robyn Kehoe is finishing her second year at NorthwesternUniversity, in a combined education and English major. Next year, shewill be completing the English literature portion of her major atOxford. A native of San Francisco, Robyn keeps warm through theChicago winters by writing short stories and poetry, and daydreamingabout a career as a writer. Robyn tells us that she began writing inkindergarten ("starting with the letter a") and no one has been ableto stop her since! (4/95)

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by Gabrielle Houston


Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

I think of when I was young and -- some said -- beautiful, and how I came to be old. The face that I see in the mirror -- seamed, weathered, knowing -- is not the face I would have wanted. But nothing happens as we dream it. Ours is a hard age, an age of hallucination, an age of changes. Before I was fifteen I had begun to grow old.

The direction of a life changes many times; each time something is lost. A life turns a corner. A piece of youth is left behind. We go on because we must; the future still gleams on the narrowed horizon. A young girl dreams of the world as it might be, of motherhood, of writing, of conquering the world, but a woman cannot retrace her steps.

When I went to Oklahoma, I wasn't sixteen. My arms were thin -- sticks really -- and my breasts were small. In those years I knew my mouth was my best feature. When I look at my pictures from those days my underlip dominates the image. It hovers in the photos like a ripening fruit floating beneath that girl's dark, lambent eyes. Those eyes are defiant, certain in the way a child is sure.

The eyes in the mirror are different. There is a light in them, to be sure, but it is changed, harsh as a mother's tears. Unsought knowledge, the knowing that is forced upon everyone who lives, crouches there. These eyes did not change slowly. One day I looked, and they were hard. The dark, pouchy folds came in one short season. Their coming surprised me. One day, after it was over I chanced to look at myself, and all had changed . . .


illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© 1994 Gabrielle Houston

Gabrielle Houston is a practicing cardiologist in DesMoines, Iowa. In addition to a variety of interesting fiction, shewrites for medical and technical journals on subjects ranging fromcomputerized medicine to Parkinson's disease. (1/94)

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Learning the Local Accent

by John N. Miller


Newcomers buy into our village,
boosting its values. Chemists, engineers,
they've heard or read of past New England life
transplanted to Ohio -- sugar maples,
steepled churches, cobblestone streets,
folks with time enough to stop and chat.

They greet us heartily by first name,
join our garden club, coach Little League,
in dozed cornfields build colonial
or multi-gabled battleship-gray homes.
Like us old-timers, they debate
new zoning laws, parking problems,
school-board issues, gas and sewer lines.

The men drive home from government defense
contracts through leaf-rich swatches of nostalgia,
their wives ask who will occupy
the condos opened recently despite
a citizens' petition, their kids
want a new shopping mall close by
for VCR's and fast food.
Like us, they learn to live
in a disintegrating myth
of harmony, tradition, and small-town charm.

© 1994 John N. Miller

John N. Miller is "a curmudgeonly old whippersnapper who'sbeen peddling his verse for 3-1/2 decades." He's also a member of theEnglish Department and, since 1986, director of the Creative Writingprogram at Denison University in Granville, Ohio (in "the heart of itall," the license plates proclaim). (1/94)

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Fair Maiden

by Robert Vitalos

If I could pick macaw feathers,
I would make you a cape,
To lay across your shoulders
When the moon kisses the nape
Of your soft neck, as it cools,
In its arc across the skies,
For the sun sends down the heat of love,
When the scarlet macaw flies.

If I could skin the golden elk,
I would make you a fringed dress,
To warm you, under woven wool,
When winter starts its press.
And I'd sew you legged moccasins,
of doeskin, to your knees,
So you could traverse Mother Earth,
Throughout her deepest freeze.

If I could gather wildflowers
To crown your raven hair,
I'd weave the freshest garland,
When spring first scents the air,
And it would attract the hummingbird,
Until its nectar dries,
And from the four directions,
Call sister butterflies.

If I could cut you sweetgrass,
I would bless your kiva fire.
I'd bring you rare obsidian,
If that were your desire.
Or if you craved fresh mollusks,
I would travel to the sea.
But if a love is your request,
Fair maiden, ask for me.

© 1994 Robert Vitalos

wildflower wreath (
illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

Robert F. Vitalos is forty-six years old and has beenwriting poetry for about nine years. He has been published in anumber of journals and magazines, including Feelings, The Dream Shop,Abiko Literary Rag, and The International Beer and Pub PoetryAnthology. His "real job" is working for AT&TMicroelectronics. (1/94)

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Dear Erica

by The Lone Driver


Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

Outside of Moab, Utah, Christmas Eve 1993. I was the only camper at Dead Horse Point. The Ranger locked up and left at noon, before the ice storm hit.

I was looking for something under the seat of my truck, when I found a plain white postcard. The return address was badly smudged, but I could still read it. Holiday Hair Fashions, Main Street, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889. I turned it over and in beautiful handwriting it said, "Thank you for choosing Holiday Hair Fashions. Just a reminder, it's been 4 weeks since your last haircut. Soon time for a trim? Erica." It was dated December 28, 1982. Exactly 11 years ago.

Maybe it was the howl of that cold wind around my truck; maybe it was the fact that I couldn't see the outside world through the ice-glazed windows. Whatever it was, I had hope, a pencil and a grocery bag to write on. I carefully tore the brown paper into little note-sized sheets and began . . .

Lone Driver's Shack-on-Back

illustration by Ferrilyn Sourdiffe

© 1994 The Lone Driver

The Lone Driver's stories are a regular feature of Echoes.Some years ago he gave up his home in suburban New Jersey and took tothe road in a pickup camper, in a continuing search for adventure andknowledge.

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The Plowman's Tale

by Evelyn V. Brodhag

Following is a brief excerpt from thestory:

. . . The men of the assemblage pushed back their chairs and stood up smartly. They arranged the tables in a circular fashion under Mr. Bailey's instruction, while the women placed the chairs. Our host then spoke, "Now, ladies and fine sirs, gather your cups and mix well amongst yourselves. Seek out the company of another, one who has not been your supping mate, and be seated. Be not shy about it. Prioress! Come here, next to the Wife of Bath. Your holiness will not suffer. Guildsmen! Break up your company and sit hither and thither. You see each other often enough. Reeve! The Miller will not bite! His red hair is no threat. See how sweetly he smiles and bids you welcome! Make room! Make room! Let us hear what the Plowman has to tell us." With many a sideward glance, the pilgrims uneasily took their assigned places, gathered their cloaks close about them, and sat down. The Plowman waited patiently until all were quiet, and then began his tale . . .


© 1994 Evelyn V. Brodhag

the cover drawing isderived from an illustration for "The Plowman's Tale"

Evelyn V. Brodhag has been writing since she was eightyears old. After 18 years at work, she returned to college and gother B.A. in English, and now continues as a full-time secretary andpart-time writer. She bases her work primarily on observations of thehuman condition and tries to extract a moral from events she sees andexperiences.

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