Of Words and Water - 2013

Rated 4.92/5 based on 13 reviews
Published in support of WaterAid, this delightful selection of short stories and poems has a cohesive theme of water. Donated by an international group of top class authors, there are many styles of writing which will each, in its own way, entertain you.

Song lyrics and a poem were donated by renowned folk singer, musician and activist Peggy Seeger, More
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About Jay Howard

Jay currently lives in Somerset, which she considers to be a gem among English counties. She has lived and worked in many places in England, Wales, Alberta and British Columbia. She describes writing as ‘enormously enjoyable and satisfying, but second only to golf in the level of frustration that must be endured to achieve the desired goal’.

Novels:
Never Too Late (Changes #1)
New Beginnings (Changes #2)

Short story collections:
As The Sun Goes Down
Similar Differences

Editor and contributor to Of Words and Water 2013 and Of Words and Water 2014 (short story and poetry collections published in support of WaterAid)

Learn more about Jay Howard

Videos

The River by Peggy Seeger
Beautifully produced by Richard Clabaugh, a reading by Laurel Clabaugh of this poetic contribution to the anthology. Watch the river in the various stages of its journey to the sea while listening to the lyrical words.

Also in Series: Of Words and Water

Also by Jay Howard

Reviews

The River
Review By: dingbell
By Peggy Seeger excerpt from Of Words and Water 2013
Chris The Story Reading Ape reviewed on Feb. 26, 2014

These high standard short stories covering an autobiographical extract from a Mother, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy and interspersed with poetry are all quite different, even though the common theme is water.

The contributing Authors have successfully showcased their formidable storytelling skills and deemed that all proceeds and donations go to support WaterAid.

I, for one, will be looking out, not only for further such collaborations, but also for the other books written by each of the authors.
(review of free book)
Jim Browning reviewed on Oct. 20, 2013

Of Words and Water is a collection of short stories and poems dedicated to the subject of water. It was put together by Jay Howard with the idea that it would be distributed for free, with encouragement for donations to the WaterAid charity.

Despite all this good works intention, the book stands the test of quality extremely well. It has obviously been meticulously edited and selective in the submissions that were accepted for inclusion. I've enjoyed reading it very much!

It starts out with a short poem called River, followed by the editor's short introduction and a well-known fable about a cracked vase. This is followed by a story called Oreille which has a decidedly French flavour and some wonderful imagery. It is an excerpt from a book, which I may need to read in full.

Formless Like Water by Dax Christoher is next and is described as an "arrhythmic poem". I found it both emotional and chilling, and read it as though the water of the earth was speaking directly to me. This is followed by Battling Waves by Jason Parent, a story of a parent taking his son to the beach and trying to give him some freedom in the water, despite his own near-tragic memories of a close encounter with death in his childhood.

I was thrown off in the next story, A Nice Cup of Tea, by present tense writing. Maybe it's just me but it always seems wrong in a novel or story. Despite that, the story was evocative and well-written. Then a cutesy poem about water sprites follows after which we get the first part of a rather depressing story about a death at a mine and a boy who hates water because his daddy drowned.

From there we move into a fantasy world with mermaids and the heart-wrenching story of what happens when they cross breed with men and get a child who can't live in water with its mother. Le-ina's Sorrow by Jaq D. Hawkins brought tears to my eyes and I don't mind admitting it! The next story, Fortunes by Neel Kay, presents a complete contrast in a tale about a bride completely obsessed with making her wedding perfect, despite a bridesmaid who has suddenly started neurotically avoiding water. The wedding is to occur on a boat.

Next up was my brother, Her husband by Mike Duron. It's a short piece which is explained as an exercise in imagery and is done very well, though it's a little stalkerish. Sea Bright by Ali Isaac follows, a poignant study of motherhood and loss. I admit I got very involved in this story. I've never had such an experience, but I could really feel the anguish of the pregnant mother as she struggled over the decision she had to make. I would have liked a little more information at the ending though.

Prime Directive by Mona Karel appealed to the Trekkie in me. Almost Bradbury-like science fiction with shades of The Man Who Fell To Earth in a plot about ecological balance and alien intervention. Hell Hath Fury was a continuation of Mark Bell's earlier story, Appalachian Spring. I found this series of tales borderline disturbing, but the writing was certainly effective. Lovecraft fans would likely enjoy these.

Next was Love Call Me Home by Peggy Seeger. As there is a chorus it is presumably song lyrics. Without the music it's hard to judge, but luckily the text provides a link to samples on the author's website. The music genre is a little too country for my personal taste, but the lady has a beautiful clear voice and this particular song is rather pleasant. Then we are back to stories with Treading Water by Sylvie Nickels. It's a very well written and heart warming story about a woman who missed her chance at professional swimming as a girl, and a boy who struggles to learn to swim.

The next story is Dreams by Kathryn O'Halloran. This one really blew me away! Right away it hit a discordant note and was at times disturbing, yet it captured the inner thoughts of an artistic mind in a way that was unbelievably expressive. The collection is worth reading if just for the feelings invoked by this story!

FWISH by Mike Duron is next and is an interesting experiment in writing phrases that represent two sentences at the same time so that they can't possibly be read out loud. Oddly, it works. It struck as the sort of thing a child might enjoy reading, sort of on the same level as Dr Suess, yet different.

Another seven excellent entries await the reader in this substantial anthology of above average talent.

As a whole, the writing ranges from good to excellent. It is plain to see that the stories were chosen to meet a certain standard rather than just using whatever was available. Even with making a substantial donation to the charity the collection was compiled to support I think it's better value than many anthologies currently on the market.
(review of free book)
Dean Johnston reviewed on Oct. 7, 2013

Besides raising money for a great cause this book is a very entertaining collection of stories and poems from a vastly different group of authors. The stories range from practical to touching to romantic to humorous, meaning that every reader should be able to find something that strikes their fancy. Very commendable of these authors to donate their time and talent to such an important issue. I highly recommend checking this book out and making a donation at https://www.justgiving.com/Of-Words-And-Water.
(review of free book)
germanio puglio reviewed on Sep. 29, 2013

What a book. An anthology of poems and short stories all related to water. A story about a farmer interested me. Very reminiscent of the past. The siren story was frightening. Good short reads. Many different authors who put a lot of thought and emotions into their stories. Would be nicer in paperback.
(review of free book)
A Fox reviewed on Sep. 8, 2013

This anthology of short stories and poems had me riveted to my chair from the intro. It contains something for everyone from Jason Parent's moving and inspirational story of a man who lost part of himself to the ocean years ago to the emotional and stressful story of Sea Bright by Ali Isaac of a woman going through a difficult pregnancy. Also, the first entry by Mark Bell of Boo and his frog Jasper from the Appalachians tugged at the heart strings and left me wanting for more. I was glad when I discovered two more of his stories later on in the book.

Apart from what I mentioned, there are many stories and poems in this anthology for any reader's taste, whether it be heartfelt stories or suspenseful stories by Anthea Carson or fantasy by K.A. Krisko. So many good writers in this book make it impossible to mention them all.

The book is edited well with just the right amount of different types of short stories and poems to keep the reader actively reading. It opened my eyes to the wonderful talents of authors I had never heard of and, therefore, will read more of their books.
(review of free book)
Moirrey reviewed on Sep. 5, 2013

A fascinating collection of short stories and poetry. Something for everyone. Some stories pose philosophical questions others are simple stories. I liked many, hated one and refused to read one - I don't like tinkering round with the English language and weird punctuation. The stories span all tastes. Give it a try.
(review of free book)
Alex Sky III reviewed on Aug. 31, 2013

A well written collection of work, put together in a great way.
(review of free book)
Alexes Razevich reviewed on Aug. 22, 2013

I have to say, this is the first anthology I've read cover to cover that didn't have a single dog entry. Every one of the stories, poems, and songs in Of Words and Water caught and held my attention. Of course I had favorites--Mark Bell's Boo stories, Patrick de Moss' "Old Waves, New," Peggy Seegar's "Love Call Me Home," and Jay Howard's "A Nice Cup of Tea" among them--but each reader will doubtless find their own. That the money goes to an excellent cause is icing on the cake. Kudos to all the writers and especially to the editor(s) for putting together a thoughtful, often poignant, wonderful collection.
(review of free book)
Sophie Cocks reviewed on Aug. 1, 2013

Great stories, for a great cause. One I am recommending to my family and friends, you should too!
(review of free book)
Annie Harmon reviewed on July 30, 2013

I just finished reading this from cover to cover- so many different voices! I loved reading the stories by American authors because it was close to home, but even better was reading from the European authors, enjoying the flavors of other countries. Personally, I thought all the entries had terrific value but two that stuck with me- really dug in deep- were the stories about Boo, and the story, "Old Waves,New" (I saw my father there). But you'll read it and find your own favorites, I'm sure. Stories tend to reach us not only according to the writer's skill, but also because they touch on our past experiences. The story "House Under Water" reached me in a way that we can all be reached because we all have something we've lost that we haven't been able to admit to, not even to ourselves. The idea for Fortunes was funny and something we can imagine our spunkier friends pulling off, and Le-ina's Sorrow was a story like no other I've read. Who comes up with this amazing stuff?! Well, clearly each author in this book has, and I can't possibly list all of the gems in here so it's up to you to find YOUR new favorites.
(review of free book)
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