The Suitcase, on The Margins


Still Life with Suitcase, Paul Coldwell (

‘Our apartment, our home, became an unfamiliar space. We still slept in the same queen bed, but no longer did we speak of upgrading to the capacious king. We could now easily fit two additional people in the valley of the bedsheet between us.’

It’s Fiction Friday at AAWW’s The Margins, and I’m so very proud to have my story up there.  It’s titled “The Suitcase,” and the first decent draft of this story that was sent out to various journals was back in April 12, 2007.  That is not a misprint — this story has been waiting for a home for eight years.  I never gave up on it, rewriting it at least a dozen times.  The original version ran almost 5000 words.  The published one runs around 3500.  I guess I finally figured out how to leave out all the bad parts.

Huge thanks to Anelise Chen, the fiction editor at The Margins, who gave me such great critiques and suggested a new beginning.  Thanks also to Mary Gaitskill, who held a master class at NYU a couple of years back.  Lucky for me, this story was one of the ones she chose to workshop; I still have the manuscript she marked up in my files (tiny print in pencil!).  And finally, thanks to Michael Bahler, who edited an earlier version and helped me reshape it and make it so much better.