There were 2,686 other entries competing for the judges' attention, but Astoria writer Tim Hurd's short story, "As Far As I Can See," placed third in the Short Story Award for New Writers competition, run by Glimmer Train Press. The story was also chosen for publication. The Portland-based publishing company presents quarterly fiction publications.
He also staged his story at a local show called "Fathers In Line" with fellow writer John Kulm. As a father, Hurd tries to incorporate his daughter in much of what he does. "I really included my daughter in both the story and the presentation at the theater," he said.
"As Far As I Can See" celebrates his relationship with his late father, Karl Hurd. "It's about a son trying to find a place after his father passes away, and when he finds it, it's the same position for his daughter as his father had for him," said Hurd.
He said his father's death prompted him to write the piece. Hurd used the story as a way to connect and memorialize his father. "I did this because I wanted to create a lasting portrait that was true to the relationship we had."
The story helped him with his own parenting. "Part of my responsibility as a parent is to teach my child to be a better writer" and to appreciate life. Although his father didn't necessarily understand Hurd's writing fiction, "it finally got to a point before he passed away where he would say, 'I don't like that one,' and we developed a dialogue."
Writing is a deep exercise for Hurd. "I try to write stories that are as meaningful as possible on many different levels." This keeps him engaged. "I try to have a purpose in my writing even without publication, or I lose my motivation."
Linda Swanson-Davies, co-editor at Glimmer Train, was impressed by the caliber of the submissions. "It's very rare that we publish more than the first-place winner, but in this case the second- and third-place winners were so outstanding that we have to do it!"
Fellow editor Susan Burmeister-Brown added, "All three needed to be published, which has never happened with the Short Story Award for New Writers."
According to Hurd, Glimmer Train is "the jewel of the short story collection" in a publishing world that is very closed to newcomers. "They are dedicated to the writer and not just the piece they are publishing. They treat writers with respect.
"If I get the job done and find the words, the written result becomes such a true part of me that I can read that story for comfort."