In This Writing Life Episodes 11 and 12, things are fine–until I have a nightmare, which could result in a great short story that would work for a looming deadline (but only if I can pull myself together).
You can watch both episodes below.
The Caves in Oregon, Benjamin Percy
I first read this tale of a broken marriage a decade ago, and a recent re-read revealed it’s even better than I remembered. In this atmospheric tale, Percy is the master at connecting the geology of the earth with the geology of our complicated emotions and the intangible foundations that form our relationships. Find it in Percy’s debut collection: Refresh, Refresh: Stories https://amzn.com/1555974856
Episode 4 of my sometimes-web series, This Writing Life, is now posted! It’s about creating authentic settings…but I think this might really just be a lot of food porn? Check it out and judge for yourself…watch it here.
I know, it’s been awhile since you’ve heard about This Writing Life. Even though I have a blast doing it, it’s too big a project to do on a weekly basis, so now it’s once a month (or maybe twice — either way that’s great, since I have nine future episodes in the can already and by the time I use those up I should have more).
If you missed any of the prior episodes you can visit here.
My short story “Our Lips Are Sealed” — about a woman who may be having an unusual experience with her wine glass collection — is now available in Sediments Literary-Arts Journal‘s A Haunting issue. It takes its place next to several wonderful ghost stories (I especially loved Adam “Bucho” Rodenberger’s “Welcome to the Fireworks”) and hauntingly beautiful artwork (a favorite of mine is Amanda Bess Allen’s “Sleepy Hollow”).
On a personal note, what’s even cooler is the editor referenced “Our Lips Are Sealed” in her introductory note!
…while I know there’s much to catch up on, here, I’ll start with I’m excited to announce I’ve just enrolled for One Story’s Become Your Own Best Editor: Learning from “The Remains” by Laura Spence-Ash online class, which runs from June 12 – 21. As a writer, I believe continuing education is key to learning and growth, and since my recent trip to AnthoCon has pulled me out of my funk, I figured this would be the best place to begin (after all, I have lots of manuscripts around that need work. This might inspire me to get back to them).
If you’re at all interested in One Story‘s online classes or their other programs, such as workshops, master classes, and one day writing classes, please visit https://www.one-story.com/
Why? We keep everything. Notes for stories, seventeen drafts as a piece went through its critique process, research, books, photographs and other ephemera which may have inspired works, more books, multiple copies and print-outs of magazines, anthologies, and e-zines in which our work has appeared, letters and cards from admirers, notebooks full of advice from workshops, even more books.
Recently, I decided to go through and start lightening my load, and I discovered it’s Read the rest of this entry
I love reading short stories which take place in areas with which I’m familiar; it’s almost like I’m in the story rather than reading it. That’s part of my attraction to the Akashic series of noir collections—among them Bronx Noir, Baltimore Noir, and Miami Noir; all places I’ve been, all places I love.
This winter’s holiday chapbook for friends was “Denigrating David,” and in its introduction, I talked a little bit about how fascinating it is for me to read about where writers get their story ideas—in other words, what specifically inspired a particular piece? I even made an open comment to writer Daniel Pearlman, who’s on my list: ‘But that’s the good stuff. That’s what people really want to know. I’d love to hear the specific roots of Alison Lurie’s “The Pool People” or Daniel Pearlman’s “What Rough Beast.”’
Dan did answer me via e-mail: ‘As to “What Rough Beast,” it was the news report of an attempted interspecies mating (a moose—or was it a New Zealand sea-lion—with a cow?).’
The year before that, the chapbook was “Paisley Surprise.” Which many people really enjoyed—and although several asked me where the story idea came from (and obviously Carl Stephenson’s “Leiningen vs. the Ants” was an inspiration), there was more to it than that: surprisingly, it was not a place where hordes of flesh-eating ants even exist: a small neighborhood near Books on the Square in Providence, Rhode Island—five houses on a tiny cul-de-sac off Angell Street between the Taylor and Wayland Street intersections.
I was on my way to the book store with members of the Newport Round Table for a group reading and signing of our anthology Walls & Bridges in April, 2009. If you live inProvidence, then you know that, just like many cities, parking isn’t always the easiest thing to find. My friend Heather and I parked a few blocks away, and on the walk to the book store, we passed this quaint grouping of five houses or so that I just couldn’t resist photographing, thinking it would make a great setting for a short story.
What’s funny is, the second I was done photographing the place, the entire piece “Paisley Surprise,” from start to finish, with characters and back story and everything, popped into my head.
Because where my stories came from seemed to be of interest to so many people, I thought, just for the heck of it, I’d take you on a tour of the neighborhood and tell you how it figured into the story.
If you’d like to read “Paisley Surprise” first, it’s available in two places: in my website’s store, where you can get a limited-edition copy of the chapbook: https://kristipetersenschoonover.com/store/ …or in Static Movement’s Inner Fears Anthology, available on Amazon here: http://amzn.com/1617060259.
First off, none of these houses are of the architectural styles I describe in the story. I was trying to capture the flavor and feel of this cool little neighborhood, not necessarily its exact look.
 Daniel Pearlman, in e-mail to author, 2 February 2011.
If you’re looking for a short little haunting something to read for Halloween, then don’t miss Michael J. Rosenbaum’s “Finding a Book Under the Bureau You Leave Your Keys On” up now at Read Short Fiction.
I’ve known many people who frown on the use of second person POV. I happen to love it—because when it’s used correctly, as in Carlos Fuentes’ classic horror tale Aura, it has a truly haunting quality which supports the tale. It seems so integral to the piece, in fact, that to even imagine it written in any other POV ruins it. Rosenbaum has absolutely achieved this difficult feat: the second POV here creates a ghostly tone and a voice out of oneself or from the other side of the veil that compliments the existential theme beautifully.
Read this haunting piece here: http://www.readshortfiction.com/2011/09/finding-a-book-under-the-bureau-you-keep-your-keys-on-by-michael-j-rosenbaum/