Recently someone told me that her uncle really liked The Monsters’ House, which is the first story in my short story collection, Seasons of Imagination. I told her that I wasn’t too surprised, given how much symbolism there is in the story. I then said that I really don’t use a lot of symbolism in my short stories.
“Why not?” she asked.
She had me there: why not? I think it is because I typically write “flash fiction” instead of “short stories”. My typical story is made for my blog. It is usually very short. Not including the 100-word Friday Fictioneers, my typical story runs about 1,000 words. They tell a simple story. The Monsters’ House is closer to 8,000, maybe 9,000 words. It is complex. The characters have time to breath and grow. There is room for little motives and symbolism.
Still, why not? Why don’t I use more symbolism? I know it does creep into my stories, sometimes intentionally, usually not, i.e., subconsciously. But I rarely sit down and think it through. Continue reading
I walked around the house humming. It wasn’t a song known to anyone, just something I was improvising without thinking. I turned to the dog.
“Are you ready to go out, is that why you do shout? With gnarly little woof, you need to get out, from under the roof?” I sang this improvised ditty and the dog got excited. It knew “Out” and that’s all he cared about. It didn’t matter how awful the words or melody or voice were, there was a walk to be had.
I had been humming and singing for days. At work I had to force myself to talk to coworkers instead of sing. My tendency when I opened my mouth was to sing, so I was very careful. I mean, even if it wasn’t weird, I realize I don’t have the greatest singing voice around.
At last, Friday came. I sat down and started playing the piano as soon as I could. Later, I turned on my electronics and music computer. All of those improvised songs were gone, but it didn’t matter. A new one soon came up. I worked the entire weekend on it and had a finished recording on Sunday evening.
Back at work on Monday, I didn’t even have to think about talking. Singing an answer would have felt so wrong. Right? Continue reading
“He also had a faraway look in his eye, which Elliot always reserved for dunces and dreamers.” – The Fireborn
No matter how suitable you are to receive the ancient sword Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, the biggest requirement is that you are actually someone who can believe that the possibility exists that the Lady of the Lake will give you the sword Excalibur. That is, you need to be able to see far beyond the mundane (a dreamer) or be so stupid that you can’t understand why it is impossible (a dunce).
Or so goes one of themes I’ve often used in my writing.
Dunces and Dreamers, Dreamers and Dunces. As I look in the mirror, both that reflecting my physical image and that reflecting “the real me”, I wonder if the two are so far apart…
Are you and engineer? Do you work at a high end energy company? If so, can you try this for me (it won’t cost too many millions…) and let me know how it works?
Have you ever passed by a windmill farm and noticed several of them not running even thought there was a stiff wind? One problem with wind-power is that it generates electricity when there is wind, not when there is demand. Continue reading
Listen to the wolf. Do you hear what it’s saying? Can you hear the loneliness and the longing? No, really listen. Do you hear it? In its howls it is singing a song, a song to the Moon.
The Moon is for wanting. The Moon is for longing. The wolf knows. Look at her up there, so beautiful but always out of reach. She’s like a long dead lover. She still tugs on your heart but you can feel no warmth from her touch. But then, the sun may touch you with his hot fingers, but he can also burn and torture. You don’t have to worry about being burned by that dead lover, the Moon.
And yet she is so alive, so much in the present, the keeper of time. Her silver fingers tickle your upturned face, her serene beauty tickles your upturned heart. She is always there for you, smiling down for you and you alone. Continue reading
I had lived in New Hampshire for a little over a year. I was having job issues and wasn’t sure what was happening in the near term. I took walks and they became longer and longer every day.
One day as I was walking through the woods I heard an awful, pitiful cry. A large white pine was straight in front of my, the trail turn as it reached it. High above the trail there was a large bird on a branch with another large bird a bit above it on another branch. I couldn’t tell what they were, but my thought was immature bald eagles. They were huge. Between the two birds was a squirrel. The squirrel was screaming at the birds. He obviously wasn’t ready to be bird food quite yet. As i approached one of the birds flew off. Not wanting to upset the balance of nature I quickly walked on. For the next few months I looked for that bird every time I walked by that tree. After two or three months I moved and have never been back to that trail (moved to a different part of the same town). Continue reading
So, why does time flow in one direction only, why doesn’t it go the other way? There is nothing in the equations that describe how the universe works that says time has to have an arrow. Typically what is time’s arrow is justified by cause and effect and by the lack of reversibility.
You drop a plate on the floor and it shatters. The plate hitting the floor is the cause of the shattering, the plate falling is the cause of it hitting the floor and a combination of you dropping it and gravity is the cause of it falling. Cause and effect and the idea that it can’t go backwards gives time its direction. The “flowing backwards” part, you know, the plate spontaneously reassembling and jumping up to your hand, in physics is part of entropy. The universe has a tendency to become more random, less structured. It can be reversed in a location by adding energy, but you can’t add anything to the Universe as a whole, so entropy increases, i.e., time marches on.
But what about those bundles of reverse entropy called “humans”? Continue reading
I decided to join the Throwback Thursday Link Party hosted by Part-Time Monster, Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy and The Qwiet Muse again. The idea is to put up a link to a post that is at least 30 days old. The other times I joined I went back exactly one or two years. My post is from January 4, 2014.
I started my blog to support the book I had written. Because of that, I did a lot of “writer’s resources” types of posts. Actually, most of the posts were about creativity and given a slant towards writing. I’ve reposted a few, but there are still plenty out there. The one I’m using for today’s Throwback Thursday dealt with patterns. I see patterns in everything, including writing. Some patterns are subtle, some are in your face. Take a look at Patterns in the Sand! Oh, BTW, I still haven’t published that first book, or the next one i wrote. I am going to self-publish a book of short stories soon.
Besides just my little blast from the past you should also go look at some others. Go to the linky and ready more or even participate.
Trent was in his second floor study staring at a blank screen. Not quite blank, for he had brought up a picture for inspiration. After a moment’s hesitation his fingers began to fly across the keyboard. Many of his short stories were created in a similar fashion, looking at a blank screen pushing thoughts and ideas through his mind waiting for something to stick. Usually something did come up and a story would write itself.
After a few minutes Trent stopped and frowned. The story was too stiff, too clichéd. Perhaps a rewrite would fix it. He deleted the story and started again. Nope, not right, so he did it again. Then again. No, it just didn’t work, the story was horrid. It was a cool picture, but no good ideas were emanating from it. He had posted forced ideas in the past, but most of the time after the initial spark the story would grow organically, taking a life of its own. Not this time. It seemed like his mind was caught in some type of vortex, swirling around without hitting any real point. Continue reading
A few years back I wrote a handful of strange prog-rock tunes. I had been composing classical music for years and was doing a switch-over to more popular music. I played some tunes for a friend. She gave me a weird look and asked, “Who’s your target audience?” What? I wrote the music I wanted to hear.
“Fine,” she said. “If you want to go on writing music for yourself and playing it for friends and family the rest of your life, OK. If you want to go beyond that you need to define a target audience. You need to study the music they listen to and write something like that.”
The same thing happened when I started cranking out more fiction. Who is the target audience? What genre are you in? OK, after writing The Fireborn, which is an urban fantasy, I read a lot of urban fantasy. Hmm. I like some, some I don’t and some is OK, but none of it is anything like The Fireborn. The Fireborn is sort of like if Douglas Adams decided to write an Indiana Jones story in Dirk Gently’s universe and then had it rewritten by Stephen King. I’m not saying it’s of the caliber of their stories, I’m saying that is where it would fit in the Universe of books. So what is that called and who writes like that? Continue reading