Sunday, December 15, 2013

CommuterLit Selections, edited by Nancy Kay Clark, reviewed by Charlene Jones

You may be on a bus, streetcar or Go Train, but whatever vehicle of transport you use regularly, there’s good news: Nancy Kay Clark continues to sift reams of fiction and poetry to bring you the best for reading on your commute.

Nancy’s website,, has attracted many dedicated readers and writers. Now some of the best pieces from the on-line site can be hand-held in an old-fashioned printed book. The compilation, called Commuterlit Selections brings you an impressive variety of short stories and poetry.

With writers from distances as great as Australia and as nearby as Main Street in Stouffville, the selection truly represents the whole world. The authors spring from those whose first appearances in print happened in Commuterlit, to those such as John Donlan, poetry editor of the prestigious Brick Books.

Along with such diversity of minds naturally comes diverse subject matter.

Catherine Sword’s skillfully written artistically rendered “Crow Visits” reveals through her careful choice of words the point of view of, yes, a Crow, flying near her backyard. Celynne Grewe-Hinzmann’s sweet offering about mother-daughter relationships and the ironic ways in which life may offer surprise endings, is a feel good piece. Brad Gischia’s “The Hall” does the opposite. A parent's natural end of the day choice of comfort over their child’s irrational fears creates conflict with a surprisingly chilling end.

Poetry by Joan Vinall-Cox also appears in
CommuterLit Selection
The characters springing from such a range of writers compel through their differences. The female protagonist in Gloria Jean Hansen’s amusing “Honour Thy Roots” is a tequila-swilling mama. She stands starkly in contrast with the gifted psychic in Frank T. Sikora’s provocative piece, “Hey Miles, What’s the Plan?” One leads the reader into an increasingly constrained corner, the other out into the vast realm of the human heart.

The poetry reveals an equal consideration of diversity of subjects, from Cassie McDaniel’s quartet of homages to all things computer and techie, to Dianne Korchinski’s ironic articulation of freedom through the Hajib.

Clark is to be commended as well for her choice in set-up. The book keeps to the weekly consistency offered by her online site, as one might expect. What isn’t expected is the opening page for each week with its quote from personalities as diverse as Dale Evans and Tolstoy.

Unexpected, yes, but where Nancy Kay Clark is concerned, a reader quickly learns to expect the unexpected, and is deeply rewarded for it. Get this hand held version of the online site. And make the online site your “go to for those times during the commute when your head needs an interesting escape. You will find no better anywhere. 
For the Christmas season, CommuterLit Selections is on sale at 40% off the regular price. You can buy a copy here. (Psst! lots of other great gift ideas for the writer in your life here.) For information about submitting to CommuterLit, see here.

Quick Brown Fox welcomes reviews of plays, movies, restaurants and especially books. Right now, I’d especially love a review of 
Blood by Lawrence Hill
- A Tap on the Window by Linwood Barclay
The Headmaster’s Wager by Vincent Lamb
For more information or to send me a review, email me at

Charlene Jones has most recently published pieces on Commuterlit. She also writes for her radio program Off the Top with Whistle Radio, 102.7 fm (aired every second Tuesday from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m.) 

You can see Charlene perform her poetry and prose at Linda Stitt's inimitable monthly salon at Portobello Restaurant and Bar the first Saturday every month in Toronto. Charlene blogs at

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Barrie, Brampton, Bolton, Burlington, Caledon, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Stouffville, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Algoma, Halton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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