Boy, that sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it. This winter, the living skies have been more than usually lively, and have offered freezing rains followed by the kind of temperatures only Antarctic explorers look upon as acceptable, screeching winds, and the usual crop of parhelions (which I understand some places treat as a rare source of wonder).
I mention this for two reasons. First, I am still labouring along on The Novel, from which no vacation is allowed if it is ever to be finished. Second, there has been another flash-fiction prompt from Chuck Wendig, on the topic of travel woes, which I thought I should pursue to remind myself that something other than The Novel exists.
Thus, Getting There is Half the Fun. Yes, a well worn title. I know. My brain is riddled with the cracks of temperature stress.
Another flash story to prove I still care about this enterprise while I’m typing my fingers the very bone working on possibly-saleable works. Today’s presentation, Valuable Role, stems from a writing prompt mentioned by a friend on a pretty good little story he posted only a couple of days ago. It is about the sort of support a person of exceptional capacities should expect from those around them, and it is lightly horrifying.
The thought process was almost exactly this, in fact: “Pretty good. But not the one I’d write.” Well, isn’t that just like a writer? I’m sure others will check into both our stories, have exactly the same thought, and will produce completely different results. Which is also just like a writer. To continue on the theme, I rather ignored the word limit of the exercise my friend was writing to, because I am very in love with my own voice (and want my readers to feel they have has a satisfying serving, too).
The barrage of submission and rejection continues, by the way. I’m sure I’ll get something over the walls eventually!
The new story, Inner Voice, is another example of me giving into a long-standing stupid notion. At least ten years ago, while I was out walking in the glories of a prairie summer, I got a picture of a composite movie PI in my head, a blending of Humphrey Bogart, Darren McGavin, Robert Montgomery… and a few others, at any rate, involved in a very short scene.
“But what,” said I of a decade past, “can I make of this? Where might it go? I can’t keep that sort of thing up for any length!”
And there it lay at the bottom of my mental pond, until the cement around its feet loosened. I doesn’t have to go anywhere, in this brave world of flash-fiction. It could, I finally realized, go only so far, live out its life as a simple vignette, and bring some joy to others.
I am a fan of Star Wars. It’s something I will freely admit, although the qualifiers necessitated by Episodes I, II, and III, (Dumb, Dumber, and Not Enough and Too Late, respectively) are still called for. I was a huge fan in childhood, I was a nostalgic but not avid fan until the idiot trilogy appeared, I was the kind of fan that harboured some enmity towards Lucas from 1999 until last year, and I’m a happy, nostalgic lightly-scarred fan in the wake of last Christmas’s return to form.
However– the whole “Star Wars Day” thing? That didn’t present itself to me until the period of the Great Embitterment. May 4th? “Run along, sonny,” was my response, “Star Wars is a summer film, not a spring one.” This year, the first May 4th since the cloud lifted, I find that I don’t snarl the way I did, but I still can’t embrace the idea.
However, it being mentioned constantly all that day did get some thoughts passing through my head, and those thoughts were sufficient foundation for the new flash fiction, The Suspension of Disbelief.
It may, I fear, be more of a flash than ever. I realized, as I poked the final period of the story, that the foundation of the last paragraph stands on some slightly soft intellectual property ground. I’m not entirely comfortable that “fair dealing” provides me with full protection in making such long references to Star Wars in a work of fiction (that’s “fair use” to you folks in the US). Probably… but not definitely; it’s a grey area to me. I therefore urge you to glance at it while you may; I well bend like the supple grass should a Disney lawyer as much as clear a Bar-accepted throat in my direction.
I’m sure you’re aware of it by now, too. There’s a lot of advertising money being spent to explain that fact to you, coincidentally attached to suggestions regarding repair. Women are, I discover from these informative commercials, even more broken than men, despite the evident stupidity and incompetence of fathers who blunder into kitchens.
Since human breakage is a nice place to go for horror, the new flash story Exciting New Designer Jeans follows this notion into the exotic lands of reductio ad absurdum. It started life as just a product name, popping into my head from wherever these intrusions spawn, and the story is an attempt to exorcise it.
This weekend, my generally quite North American family will be observing Sinterklaasje (fellow long-time fans of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast will understand what it means to say that some of the background noise of my childhood was in the Dutch language). Our idiosyncratic approach to the day sees a handing of a single small present to each of the kids in the room after a small clue-driven scavenger hunt, while the adults try not to look meaningfully in the direction of the next clue lest Zwaart Piet appear to steal our rum.
Since I’ve already got a bit of a scavenger hunt going, I’m marking the day here by simply posting a very silly little bit of fiction, the short title of which is Two Natural Oddities. A bit of fun and self-flagellation, in keeping with the season.