Salt Water by Angie Ellis
2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Angie Ellis has made the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Salt Water.
Angie Ellis lives in Duncan on Vancouver Island. She is currently enrolled in the Humber College creative writing program, where she is finishing her first novel. You can find her work in Narrative, Cincinnati Review, Juked, The Lascaux Review and others.
Entry in five-ish words
Reactions to a grieving orca.
The story's source of inspiration
"Last summer, not far from where I live, an orca held her dead calf to the surface of the ocean for 17 days before letting go. People interpreted her actions differently, but all with the same profound sense of sadness.
"I started this story shortly after, and other questions arose as I wrote. What does it mean to be maternal? Or not? And how does the ability to bring life into the world connect to grief when life leaves the world? From that, more questions about being a woman, a feminist, a mother. Again, things we all interpret in our own way. The story of the grieving whale became the thread that connected it all."
Meredith's belly rises, swollen and spherical, from the bubbles. She watches the suds slide away from her navel and waits until something moves beneath her skin, a foot or an elbow. And there it is.
She slips under the water, only her stomach and face showing through the bubbles. Her hair spreads out like seaweed and her arms float. I wonder if this looks artsy, she thinks. A black and white print that defiantly highlights her stretch marks, like they're edgy tattoos. Or maybe an album cover. But only for a band that's trying too hard. The band wouldn't like the stretch marks. Or they would love them. She sits up and traces each one with her finger. The skin is different there, like a burn or a scar.
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.