Restitution (A Short Story)

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I’m pleased to share that my short story Restitution will appear in the pending Fall/Winter issue of the Tahoma Literary Review. I believe printed and digital copies will both be available for purchase next week, and meanwhile an audible version of the issue has been uploaded on the TLR Soundcloud page that is freely available.

This was my first foray into making a voice recording of my writing, and I must confess a challenge. I owe a debt of gratitude to my old friend Hariod, who told me with all the British eloquence he could muster that my first version simply wouldn’t do. Suffice to say he encouraged me to keep at it, and this was invaluable. (He also read early drafts of this piece and several of his proposed edits are in the final version.)

I’m not really set up for this sort of thing, so finding a quiet spot in the house in which to work was the first challenge. One night the pitter-patter of a soft rain on the windows put me out of commission. Another evening I shut-off the breaker to the heating system. The town fire alarm went off in the middle of one section, and I realized we have more dogs in the neighborhood than I thought. Eventually I realized the room I had selected for this work possessed the harmonic subtleties of a trash can. By then I could hardly stand to look at the piece anymore.

That was the easy part, though.

Actually keeping sufficient concentration to add inflection and range to the work was all but impossible for me to do for long stretches. And for me, a long stretch was anything over about 3-4 minutes. I had no idea what inflections to even add until I’d been reduced to mumbles at least four or five times per passage. Then something would start to make sense. It was a bit like writing in that regard–only instead of words, it was pitch and inflection that I fumbled in the dark to grasp. I realized the voice in my head, though meaningful to me, is not profoundly theatrical. The process was like learning to dribble a basketball—the timing of my voice and the syllables slapped against one another, and often missed entirely. My hat’s off to professional narrators and seasoned readers.

Each of the contributors was asked to give a little background on the origins of their work, and I thought I’d share that with you here:

This piece began as a reflection on the idea that our woundedness—the unhealed places within us that drive us apart—may ultimately be redeemed. In particular, I was interested in the idea that the process of redemption transcends the individual. The process of making whole not only elides our conscious direction, it touches each of us simultaneously. We are all made whole at once, in essence. This piece was part of a series that I wrote to explore the movement of grace in our lives—to examine those moments when we lose ourselves, only to find ourselves.

Working with TLR was a great experience for me. The team there was professional, courteous and insightful, and I hope that, if you can, you’ll consider supporting their work.

Hope you enjoy!


  1. Congrats Michael to another milestone in your creative journey. I am looking forward to hearing you speak again ( we spoke ages ago, lol!)

    This series sounds awesome. Have you published any of it on your blog?

    blessings, Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Linda, Thank you! I haven’t published any of those stories on my blog because once I publish here it generally cannot be submitted to other venues… But if click on the “Fiction” link, all the stories that have been published, which are listed there, come from this same idea. Several are available to read. And I’m pretty sure I’ve announced them all here when they were published. I probably just never said before that there was an inkling of grace in each one of them for me…

      Happy Holidays, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Much appreciated, Brad. Little by little, the wheel turns! I’m excited about the progress, and hope the same as you. I hope people find something in the writing that is healing, or inspiring, or just enjoyable at some level…



  2. Wow, Michael, Congratulations too you!! I love that story! I think I read an earlier draft, so it is nice to see the finished creation. ❤ The recording sounds great, you could do movie voice overs. 🙂

    Peace and Love,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kristina. I think you probably did read an early draft. It’s taken a little while to see the light of day, but I’m really happy with how it wound up. And thanks for the feedback on the recording!

      Hope you and the family have a great holiday!

      With Love

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D. Riso says

    Well, I’d say you did an absolutely wonderful job on the recording. One of the many jobs I’ve held is voiceover artist, so I am entitled to an opinion. 🙂 And such a long story, too. Very, very tough to do. Congratulations, Michael. Wishing you a holiday filled with love, light, and laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not going to argue, Julie. Haha. Thank you very much for the feedback. Always appreciated. I was fortunate to discover a free piece of software I could download and use to cut all the places where I coughed, or made the floor creak, or just gave up for a moment. And then I could copy in segments that worked better. Without that, I would have been done for. You’re right, it’s a long time to record, but thankfully I could break it up into segments using this software and try to just focus on four or five minute blocks… It was fun in the end!

      Have a great holiday as well, Julie!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Vera! It’s true that the voice is an interesting piece to the writing, isn’t it? It’s nice to get this other sense of people for sure. I’ve enjoyed listening to more audio stories this year myself.

      Best Wishes for a great holiday season…


  4. I’m so happy for you, Michael!
    For me it was special to hear your voice spoken –
    and your voice was not at all what I would “expect.” It’s interesting to know how you worked at it. So glad Hariod is on it! 🙂 I hope to listen again, soon. Your writing is still great, and your story-telling has grown!

    Liked by 1 person

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