CBC Literary Prizes

Because the Fall is in Two Weeks by Traci Skuce

Traci Skuce has made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Because the Fall is in Two Weeks.

2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Traci Skuce is a writer from Cumberland, B.C. (Crystal Chowdhury)

Traci Skuce has made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Because the Fall is In Two Weeks.

About Traci

Traci Skuce lives in Cumberland, B.C. Her stories have been published in several literary journals, including The New Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Grain and Prairie Fire. She was a finalist for the 2015 CBC Nonfiction Prize and has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and one Journey Prize. Her short story collection, Hunger Moon, will be released by NeWest Press in 2020.

Entry in five-ish words

Warnings to a younger self.

The story's source of inspiration

"I wanted to write something 'fun', in a playful voice, and I also still find myself wishing I could warn my younger version not to go into pregnancy so blindly. Though the story is fictional, it plays with that tension of wishing we could redo certain major life decisions. Although, always, when I reach the end, I never wish my son out of existence. He really is the best mistake I ever made."

First lines

It's 5:45. Wake up. You've had a whole summer of early rising, so despite darkness creeping closer and closer to seven, it shouldn't be hard. Plus, you're a light sleeper and your boyfriend's over there, snoring away. Grab your flashlight and shine it on his face. Before he flinches and buries his head, study his dark, stubbled jaw and recognize how little you know him. Don't apologize when the alarm beeps and he moans; simply turn it off and hustle into your long-johns and two pairs of wool socks. Then crawl out of the tent and slide your socked feet into Birkenstocks. Zip up the tent door and head to the converted school bus.

The sky is pure pitch, and if only you'd look up you'd see a silver peppering of stars. Since you insist on keeping your gaze fixed on the flashlight beam, try to recollect the dream you've just surfaced from. The one with the baby boy who came out of you and started running along a riverbank. Your period is over a week late and your breasts are so, so sore. Just because they've been sore before doesn't mean it's nothing. But go ahead — keep telling yourself it is nothing. Then pull the generator cord and watch the lights in the bus flood on.

About the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize

The winner of the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

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