No story this week. No big sexy reason, either, except that I've pretty well cycled through all the good stuff in this last batch, with the exception of one really good story, which I just sold! for actual money! and to which I will link when it's published.
I imagine I'll be posting new fiction again before too long — I'm still committed to the principles of the project, and I've got several that are in various stages of "nearly finished" — but I'm going to need a couple of weeks, at least, to clear the decks from a crush of other commitments.
See you soon. Thanks for reading.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
I don’t have much to say about this week’s story, “Baby Grand,” except that it is probably the dumbest thing I’ve ever written, and that I am exceedingly fond of it; that I felt the spirit of Ray Bradbury very much at my elbow as I wrote it; that three markets have rejected it, all taking their time to do so, as if they kind of wanted to run it but were ultimately put off by how unabashedly dopey it is; and that for a while it was called “Tuesday Night at the 88 Lounge,” as if a more respectable title could save it, but that eventually I just decided to drop the pretense and double down on the stupid. It’s about 4,000 words, and it will go live tomorrow at noon EDT.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
This week’s story is a Neil Gaiman story, essentially, and self-consciously so.
Part of the point of this project is to expand my range a little, and one way to break out of my own formulas is to borrow someone else’s. Something that Neil does brilliantly is to reinterpret traditional stories and fairy tales—things like “Snow, Glass, Apples,” or The Sleeper and the Spindle. That’s something that I haven’t done much at all (not in fiction, anyway; I have written a bunch of songs that riff on folk themes), and I thought it might be a worthwhile exercise to break down the formula and reverse-engineer it. I’d been browsing through Gabriel’s Palace, an anthology of Jewish mystical tales collected and retold by Howard Schwartz, and I came across “The Angel’s Daughter,” a folk story originally told in the Central Asian region of Bukhara (now part of Uzbekistan), which lent itself to the treatment. That it was deep-cut Judaica only made it more Gaimanesque, which amused me.
I’ve also been consciously trying for more gender parity in my writing, trying to write more women characters, and to do so with more empathy and imagination. Along with Gabriel’s Palace, I’d been reading a lot of feminist commentary about negotiating the impossible standards and demands that patriarchy imposes on women, and Shulem Deen’s funny, rueful essays about living—and leaving—his Hasidic faith. As all of these things filtered into the story, it became (I think) something more than a goof or a pastiche. It made me angry as I wrote it, and it made me sad.
I still haven’t found a title that I’m entirely happy with, but in this draft it’s called “Bride of Quiet.” It will be another long one, about 5,000 words, and it will run in this space at noon EDT tomorrow.