Essays — December 9, 2015 11:47 — 0 Comments

Jim Brantingham’s Traveling Light


Hello! Welcome to the announcement for the first book produced by The Monarch Review (available to buy below!). We are thrilled to say we’ve completed the editing, laying out, printing and production of Traveling Light by Seattle author, Jim Brantingham.  You may remember Jim’s work in the first print edition from us, Monarch #1. He was the only author in the anthology to write a piece of fiction and a poem. Jim was also the first fiction writer we published on the Web site some five years ago.

Traveling Light is a beautiful book filled with stories, memories and analysis of life hitchhiking on the west coast, working with dry wall and concrete, being in the army in Germany and chasing love.

Says the author, “Traveling Light is a collection of poems and short stories based on some old memories, some more reliable than others. Over the years memories fade and the poems and stories reflect that. I think of the poems as the backbone of the book, providing support for the stories. These stories are the ‘pebbles and chicken scratch’ – found objects in the bottom of my memory’s pockets and told with a sense of humor.”

The book is available to buy below (just click the picture!)

Traveling Light

James M. Brantingham

Traveling Light Cover

Traveling Light Options

as well in Ravenna Third Place Books. In the coming weeks we’ll announce a release party and reading in Seattle at Ravenna Third Place Books, likely for mid-to-late January. In the mean time, thank you for the support and buy a book (!) after reading this excerpt:

The Magic Red and Blue Pin

I was minding my own business having a quiet beer in a busy tavern. A woman with a strong Russian accent approached me with boxes of jewelry. The jewelry was allegedly made by Russian orphans presumably in Russia. She was an exceptionally beautiful woman with long gorgeous black hair, so I mistakenly engaged her in conversation. I’m a lifelong sucker like that.

I told her that I had no wife and no girlfriend to give the jewelry to so she was wasting her time. She was persistent and continued to show me her boxes of brooches, pins and lockets. I reminded her that I still had no wife and no girlfriend to give the jewelry to. But she would not relent. That, I’m told is a sign of a successful salesperson.

I tried to engage her in conversation about things other than the jewelry in the boxes. I tried to talk about Russia, about which I know nothing. I tried to talk about other customers who might be better prospects. I was struck by her beauty and, no doubt obviously, did not want her to leave—but I didn’t need any jewelry. Her maybe, but the jewelry, no.

At last I noticed a pin or maybe it’s a brooch that looked something like a lady bug, but it was blue with red spots. I told her that it reminded me of a skirt I had picked out for my kids’ mom before we were married—it was blue with red cherries, so we’re close. That was another mistake. She leaped on that ill-conceived statement like a brown bear on spawning salmon. I also made the further mistake of telling her that I was going over to Spokane to see my kids and maybe her the following day. That was her moment of triumph. I could see it in her eyes. She had me. I talk too much.

I’m sure it’s clear by now that I bought the brooch or pin—I really don’t know the nomenclature here. I think I gave her $10 for it. So she made $10/hour for the orphans in Russia. That’s over minimum wage in Washington.

I did drive to Spokane the next day with brooch in pocket. I met one of my kids and his mom at a restaurant in the Spokane Valley. His mom stood up to show me the skirt when I walked in and to my shock and amazement she was wearing that same blue and red skirt—a skirt I hadn’t seen in years.

How did his mom know to wear that skirt, of all her choices? Did the Russian woman know it was to be a birthday gift? I don’t know, but sometimes magic is afoot in this world. And I hope, but doubt, that the Russian orphans got their $10.


Jake Uitti is a founding editor of The Monarch Review.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney