Everything from:short stories

You get your transmissions at your front door and then you get old

I’ve spent a quiet morning reading the news. It was blissful at the time; and then I realized the whole thing had passed, and I hadn’t written a word, and I’d wasted hours of sunlight that I could have been pretending to be a working writer (or at least buying groceries). Self: do better! This is the year of striving. (As if all those other years were not. Still.) I have four more vacation days this winter, and–happy coincidence–four stories I owe myself by the first day of spring. Go forth! […]

Read More…

In which I break my #1 beta reader

My mother (Hi, Mom!) didn’t make it past the first section of “The Last Duellists of the Flanders Park School”. She’s had a rough year; she says she found the story’s opening powerful and upsetting, and decided it would have to wait for another day. In general I love upsetting people with my fiction. Of course, I prefer them to be people other than my Mom, but as a first response for the Pie Story it’s a fine one. My other beta readers have invited me over for dinner, so either they have lots to say, or they’ve decided that anyone so poor a writer must be about to starve! My November efforts, instead of focusing on the Talking Fish Story as I expected, have taken a sudden turn toward the Violence Story. I should know better: the damned thing’s been kicking my ass for months, simultaneously demanding attention and rebuffing all attempts to make it part of a larger whole. I still have no idea what I’m doing with it, and the thing I wrote on the plane probably isn’t any better than any of my other tries, but it appears my subconscious has chosen. I wonder if it […]

Read More…

In which I use my free hour to write–what else?

I managed to finish the Pie Story yesterday with a suggestion of something that actually makes no sense and isn’t possible in the context of the story. In my defense I was already late for a party and bsleek was running about bare-chested with a cucumber in his pants telling me to hurry up. (It was a costume party, just so you don’t think my household is regularly full of half-naked cucumber-wearers.) Today, I finished it again, in a more satisfying fashion, and sent it off to some beta readers who volunteered during the party and will probably regret it now that they’re sober. My story tally from VP onward: September: “Learning the Tongue of Bees” (formerly “A Brief Education in the Decadents”, formerly “Leaving the Laundry Circles, Bound for the Corn and Wine”), 4000 words October: “The Last Duellists of the Flanders Park School”, 4000 words November’s story will likely be the Talking Fish Story, since it still has that appetizing feeling in my brain, meaning there is something there I will enjoy doing. After that I’ll have to go a little further afield to figure out what story to write next. […]

Read More…

Sun goes down, temperature drops

With the turning of the year I’m entering my most productive phase, in my day career, my writing and even in my random personal business. This time is the best time to do all of the things I normally avoid, like making medical appointments, getting my pants hemmed, and painting that bit of trim I never finished during the last reno (okay, I actually still haven’t done that one, but it might happen). A tally of what I get done in a typical day now would seem insurmountable during a day in the opposite phase of the year. Why? Well… it comes down to sleep. When the days get shorter, my circadian rhythm seems to be disrupted, and I adapt by sleeping less, for a while; or at least by feeling more awake during my waking hours. On the weekend, 1028 words on the Pie Story, which still has no name–though it is about to have a sex scene. As interested as I am in writing the sex scene, I’m afraid Thanatos wins out over Eros tonight: I am even more interested in writing a scene for the Not-a-Werewolf book, a scene which came to me in a dream the […]

Read More…

The Pie Story, Continued

575 words on the Pie Story, which, you will be relieved to hear, is not actually going to be titled in Esperanto. Apparently I default to a particular setting for my short stories–this is the fourth or fifth piece I’ve set in the same locale. It does mean something to me, that place. I saw an eclipse there. It’s discomforting to know that all my dark days are so unforgotten. I never think of them, but I write of them often. […]

Read More…

Days grow shorter

So short, in fact, that despite feverish activity all week, I am further behind than ever. And the economy is NOT helping. I will drop all of that at the foot of the stairs of the office, though, and go on lightened of that burden. I will sit myself down at my good crooked harvest table with a glass of stout and a crisp apple, and I will do something new. […]

Read More…

Galvanized

…in the electric sense, not the washtub sense. Although to someone with a greater level of technical knowledge they are probably the same sense. Apparently this energy extends even to things that aren’t writing. In the last 36 hours I’ve stripped the nasty old carpet runner from the hallway, gone to market, gone to work, typed up all my VP notes, got the photoblog up to date, caught up on email, gone for a run, and slept a whole four hours. I keep having ideas for stories, and jotting them down, and then reminding myself all over again that ideas don’t count. They’re like salt in cooking: never at the heart of the dish. At the heart is the person, in the place, with the problem. That’s the thing I used to know and somehow forgot for a decade or so. I don’t expect I’ll forget it again. […]

Read More…

Bound for the corn and wine

For any of you from Envisage365 who are stopping by, here’s a taste of what you’ll receive on my return. (I don’t have email here although I have web access.) This place is full of gorgeousness. Although today’s image was actually quite utilitarian: my manuscript, taped to the wall. I was privileged to read the first few pages of my story for the rest of the workshop attendees today. An important person liked it. Actually, I’m pretty sure more than one important person liked it, particularly when I consider that many people here are likely in a state of potential importance, whether it is to me personally, to the world at large, or something in between. Elizabeth Bear tells us that stories are a loss leader. I wonder if they’re also something like remainders: the revenue per unit is low, but then, so is the cost; and they can entice readers who might not want to commit to something bigger without first having a taste. I’m going to sell this one: my first genre short story in two decades. I’ve been hoping all along that I would figure out how to get back into this part of my creative mind. […]

Read More…

Blogging live from Viable Paradise

…where skunks are having sex outside my window. Yes. Skunks. So far this week has been both hearteningly familiar and inspiringly strange. My face has developed a permanent flush from all the blood feeding my brain. I have not thought so many thoughts all at once since university; nor have I laughed so hard so many times in a day. Our major writing assignment for the week has been a 5000-word dark fantasy story with an American Gothic theme. I have almost completed it and I’ve managed to grow it from a seed planted almost twenty years ago. Big Note to Self: Keep those seed files. And add to them more often. In addition to the length requirement and the theme, I was given a word that must be included in the title. Add to this my seed file idea; a conviction that all of this had something to do with Riley Child-rhymes with Hoosier Pictures, a book which I have not even seen since I was perhaps twelve years old; a few gestures toward Poe and Baudelaire, and the knowledge that the latter had a strange relationship with his mother. Behold: a story. My first genre story in twenty […]

Read More…