“Taste of Fate” by Will Frost

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Congratulations to Will Frost, whose short story “Taste of Fate” earned an honorable mention in the 11th issue of the Oval!

On his story, Will says, “Sometimes the biggest problems people are faced with every day are the ones disguised as necessity, smacking them in the face with gleeful intention. Most days, the majority goes about life occupied by their jobs, kids, lover, etc. There are some,  though, that are occupied by self-deprecation and abuse; their job is to cause chaos and hate themselves for it. Mix in a romantic core, now that’s a story. Cheers.”

His first line:

“I never liked my grandmother’s old blue house on Elm St.”

Click here to read the full story.


“To the Moon and Back” by Cheyenne Goetz

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Congrats to Cheyenne Goetz on earning an honorable mention for her work of fiction, “To the Moon and Back.”

Cheyenne is a Junior at the University of Montana studying a double major of Computer Science and Creative Writing.  She enjoys writing things that are ever so slightly abnormal.  Cheyenne is originally from Boise, Idaho and therefore likes potatoes an adequate amount. Her other talents include getting lost easily, wearing pajamas for most of the day, spilling/dropping things, and photography.

Her first line:

I flipped the bird in the direction of Saturn.

Click here to read “To the Moon and Back.”

“Wolf with Wings” by John Hooks

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John Hooks, who refers to himself as a “functionally literate Media Arts student from Helena, Montana” earns an honorable mention for his work of fiction, “Wolf with Wings.”

His first paragraph:

           Brayden walked through the yellow brown grass that reached his chest. The stringy bunches at the ends of the tall blades reminded him of how girls braid their hair sometimes. They looked spikey, but when he picked them off and rubbed them in his fingers they were soft and fell apart on to the ground. He asked his dad once if picking the heads off the grass killed it, but his dad said that it needed to be picked, that there are seeds in the head and you help it spread when you drop them at your feet.

Click here to read “Wolf with Wings

“Silent Sounds” by Samuel Forstag

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Congrats to Sam Forstag on earning an honorable mention for his work of fiction, “Silent Sounds.”

Sam is a Senior studying Political Science & Philosophy at the University of Montana. Sam’s favorite novel is Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion,” and his favorite poem is “The Country,” and he is currently serving as President of the Associated Students of the University of Montana (ASUM) and the Montana Associated Students (MAS).

Sam would also like it noted that Sam does not typically talk about himself in the third person.

His first paragraph:

“…The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

            Something feels different. Thank God we did it on a Saturday so that I’d have today to chew it all over – It would have been a serious psychological struggle if I’d had to work at the call center the day after that. Hell, it would’ve been tough just trying to drive back into Argot. I needed to get out of town like a billygoat needs his balance, and I don’t think I could have gotten any farther away with a 30-minute drive.

Click here to continue reading “Silent_Sounds.”

“Year’s Supply” by Miriam Krainacker

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The Oval’s next honorable mention in fiction goes to Miriam Krainacker for “Year’s Supply. She writes, “while I can’t technically say I have Montana roots, I did move to Helena when I was four, and Missoula when I was 18. Double-majoring in sociology and history, I spend a majority of my time drowning in reading, and the rest binge-watching the West Wing. My hopes for post-graduation? Keep up my binge-watching of the West Wing, find a job somewhere in DC that can pay my rent, and slowly take over the world.”

Her story begins:

Samuel Harrison had a yearlong supply of unlimited airplane tickets, curtesy of American Airlines, and all he had to do was almost die. And really, dying isn’t that hard to do. It’s the almost part that’s tricky, because death usually deals in absolutes. But the doctors had been able to patch him up completely, more or less, and the airlines forked over the yearlong travel gift card as an apology. Kind of a shitty apology, if you asked Samuel. He didn’t even like to travel, and wouldn’t have been on that plane if not for the inability of a coworker’s child to stay inside said coworker’s wife until the due date. He wasn’t even first pick to replace the man (and who would pick a junior level employee?) but second in line had declined on the basis that he hated flying.

To continue reading, please click Miriam_Krainacker-Years_Supply

“The Institute” by Rosie Costain 

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Rosie Costain’s work, “The Institute” earned an honorable mention from the 2016 Oval staff. Rosie is from Helena, Montana and came to UM to pursue journalism. She writes that she is “also attempting to be an aspiring writer.”

The fictional piece begins:

The old man attempted to toss back and forth in his sleep, hindered by the overstuffed chair.


Impression, Sunrise, 1873

A dark scene is shown with the rising sun providing a focused point of color above a grey world of boats on the water.

While spending some time abroad in France (that’s where he was for now anyway), the man, who seemed quite boyish still, stood in front of Impression, Sunrise, the painting that named an art revolution. Everyone had said it was a “must-see” in Paris so he decided he must see it. Leaning forward, squinting his eyes, he tried to gain a better understanding of what he thought was nothing more than a dull, blurry picture that he could probably recreate with little effort.

To continue reading, please click Anna_Costain-The_Institute.

“Feral” by Claire Compton 

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Clair Compton earned a honorable mention for her fictional piece, “Feral.” Clair was born and raised in Oakland, CA. She spent years bouncing around; she studied film in New York City, drove a skidsteer for the sugar beet harvest in Minnesota, worked in a nursery in Savannah, and had the unique opportunity to get to know some of the diverse people and landscapes that make up this country. She found herself at home in Missoula. Her first semester at U of M, she participated in the Wilderness and Civilization program and now studies English with a double focus on creative writing and literature and the environment.

“Feral” begins:

The day after my rat, Frank, died, I decided I would tan his pelt. Buck had a week off from the oil fields. Wind spewed sediment as I sat on our bare-wood balcony that had been painted tan in spring. I made the first incision. He was cold and the air was thick. When I found him he looked as though he was dreaming: running, but still. Now he looked like flesh. I leaned over the five-gallon bucket and scooped out his insides. My blue-veined feet framed the bucket so far away. A suffocating wind gathered and scooped me up. I thought this must be what it feels like to drown. Frank had been a present from my partner, Micah, before he left me. Three years and almost two-thousand miles away, all I had left was the rat’s limp, soggy skin. I grabbed a slab of wood, stretched his arms and legs to the corners, and pinned them down to work a butter knife through the squelching flesh.

To continue reading, click Claire_Compton-“Feral”