Stephen A. Roddewig
Award-winning storyteller from Virginia (USA). My work has been featured in Abyss & Apex, ArtAscent, and Bourgeon, as well as the A to Z of Horror: N is for Nautical anthology. When not writing, I enjoy collecting records and running races.
In the Shadow of the Oak
There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. Once, there had been the quiet, pulsing energy of plentiful grass and warm summer evenings. But now, the dragons had come. And that pulse had stuttered into nothing. An inescapable stillness.
- Runner-Up in Ship of Dreams Challenge
Author's Note: I wrote this poem at the end of 2014 after reflecting on how the Vietnam War era that I was learning about in a college history class seemed so much more eventful. Then I realized that the past year had just as much tumult; we just don't have the luxury of reading a neat summary of events in a history book. "2014" is an attempt to capture some of the key moments of that year and to offer some perspective on how we tend to tune out bad news in the age of social media.
Author's Note: This story was written for the Owl Canyon Press Hackathon #4. If you're unfamiliar with these contests, the main premise is that you are given the opening paragraph and closing paragraph and then need to write a story that uses these pieces while following other rules around paragraph length, paragraph count, and so forth.
Sore Limbs and Tunnel Vision
Author's Note: Despite the fact I am 26 and have not had a homework assignment or handout I needed to hold onto for years, I carry around the same accordion folder I've had since 8th grade in my backpack. It seems wrong to get rid of it after all this time.
Author's Note: This is not the first or the last poem I'll write on the subject of the ties that bind us and the numerous ways we lose them. However, unlike most of these poems, I embrace a specific answer to that uniting force: the call. Though I refrain from giving it any tangible characteristics, its central presence in this poem is markedly different from other reflections where I attempt to decipher the meaning of life only to come up empty. Just the fact that I give an answer to that question in this work, however abstract, is remarkable when I look back on it.
The Forgotten Wisdom
Author's Note: This poem can be viewed as the reverse of my previous poem "The Lizard." In this poem, the protagonist goes from the artificial to the natural world, whereas our intrepid lizard follows the changing environment into the garden of Man. I like to think I drew inspiration from Jack London's dueling themes of wilds versus civilization in Call of the Wild and White Fang.
Author's Note: I've always wanted to write an adventure odyssey akin to Homer's epic The Odyssey. On one of my family's many visits to my grandparents in Florida, I took special notice of the tiny lizards who would sun themselves on the sidewalk and scamper out of the way as I approached. Thus the idea and the protagonist of "The Lizard" were decided.
Author's Note: A huge influence on my early writing was Felix Salten's Bambi, a Life in the Woods (which inspired the later Disney movie). I loved the vivid natural scenes Salten painted and the greater themes of life, death, and love drawn between the characters. Not to mention the markedly darker plot of the book versus the movie adaptation. "Lurking Shadows" is just one of many attempts to capture a piece of that inspiration in my own writing. But unlike most of my attempts, I actually finished this poem.
Alternative Author's Note: "Memoria" is the alternative ending to Book 3 of the Echoes series by Marissa Lete. However, Book 3 has yet to be written as of this publish date, thus the subtitle above. As I help her proof Book 2 for publishing, I had already had an idea for the ending of this story that involved three layers of plot devices and a historical focus that I was fairly certain would not make it into the series. So I said, "Hey, I'm a writer. I'll write the fake ending to a book that doesn't even exist yet myself."