Lance Mason

About Lance Mason

Lance Mason was raised by working parents, products of the Great Depression. His first job was in his brother-in-law’s gas station in Oxnard, California. During school vacations, he picked lemons, packed lima beans, laid fiberglass, sold hot-dogs, and spliced cable for the local phone company where his mother worked. He has taught at UCLA, the National University in Natal, Brazil, and Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand. In addition to overseas teaching, Mason has lived, worked, or traveled in more than 60 countries during a dozen trips around the world. His first publication was a piece in Voices of Survival, (Capra Press, 1986), appearing alongside writers as diverse as William. F. Buckley, Jr., Joan Baez, Indira Gandhi, Arthur C. Clarke, and Carl Sagan. His work has appeared in upstreet, City Works, Sea Spray, The Packing House Review, New Borders, Askew, The Santa Barbara Independent, and Solo Novo, as well as several professional journals. He is nearing completion of his fifth novel, a saga of wealth, power, and perversion in modern China. "No Polish Jokes" won Gold in the Cruise Story Category of the Tenth Annual Solas Awards.

No Polish Jokes


By Lance Mason

An unscripted chapter at sea.

I'd looked forward to this day since the previous New Zealand winter, when I bought the boat ticket in Dunedin. Now it was August again, and I found myself at the Antwerp dockyards about to board a small, rust-encrusted Polish Ocean Lines freighter, the Czaszki, for a two-week voyage to Venezuela, the fabled land of Simón Bolívar, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s “Wages of Fear” (starring Yves Montand), and, in years to come, several Miss Universe winners. It would be our first stop after crossing the Atlantic, and my blood stirred with the thrill and apprehension of the unknown.

No Polish Jokes 2017-04-24T02:31:59-07:00

The Train to Harare


By Lance Mason

A lesson in southern Africa, circa 1988.

In Africa, we are all children. Everything is new, and everything is old. The sapling sprouting among the creepers is new; the forest, old. Though the baby in the kaross sling is new, his tribe is old. The dawn’s breeze swirls the dust over the Magadigadi pans and is gone, but the ancient dust remains, the scorched powder of a continent’s bones.The heat of the Kalahari, thick and mighty across this sweep of gasping desert, has a life-force of its own. Like an animal, it waits, resting, through the African night. But with the day it stirs, and grows with the sun, gathering power like a sky-borne fist.

The Train to Harare 2017-04-24T02:31:59-07:00