The Library's interwoven towers stretched far beyond the clouds. The books it held were said to be endless in their multitude. This fabled treasure trove drew pilgrims from all over the world. Those who entered the Library seeking truth were permanently lost to its vastness.
Priya dreamed of the Library long before she ever stepped inside. She came from a superstitious village. Arranged marriage. Divorce by fire.
Her journey across oceans took her to the Library's gates. Ready, at long last, to find salvation in the endless knowledge within.
She took a breath and entered.
The short Finding Yourself was inspired by the town of Hampi, India.
Hampi sits near a world heritage archeological area full of ancient temples and holy sites. It is also home to a backpacker nest and all of the associated ecology that entails. Mostly that's just weird Indian dudes mumbling "hashish, mushrooms" as you walk down the street. My personal favorite was a man with soft lips who approached me and whispered, "Would you like me to train your ears?"
"Excuse me? Train my ears?"
He grinned and produced a small notebook full of handwritten, uh, reviews I suppose. After he repeated his sales pitch a few more times I realized he was saying "drain your ears" and his gig was ear candling.
I’ve been trying a couple new things lately.
Might as well make it three.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing small companion articles for some of my shorts. They will explain the experiences or real world inspirations for the stories. Not entirely sure what the format will be yet, I plan on playing it by ear.
There are a lot of ways this could go wrong. I could ruin the “magic” or whatever. Someone could groundlessly sue me for libel because I used their likeness. Ugh. Speaking of, I’m going to go ahead and state this for posterity:
All of my short stories are fiction. Even when characters may appear to resemble living people they are amalgams of inspiration and my own creative process.
I can’t remember if it was by Blaise Cendrars or Louis Céline but a while back I read a line about who we as authors write about. To paraphrase: There is only one subject—humanity; and there is only one human—the author.
When all is said and done stories are reflections of their author’s mind. Even if they’re about something else, they’re really about the author.
CF. “On Exactitude in Science” by Borges and the map/territory relation.
I wrote a thing this week. It’s a new short story called “Explorer” and I really enjoyed putting it together. It’s set in the world that I created for Petifleur and The Colored City. Since it will be quite a while before Petifleur sees the light of day I figured why not start setting some of my short pieces there.
I did another thing this week! (That makes two.) I set up a Patreon account for people who want to support my writing. Basically:
- Patreon allows you to support my writing by chipping in as little as $1/month
- For the price of a shitty cup of coffee you get early access (30 days ahead) to all of my short stories—that’s at least four stories per month
- Some of those stories may get accepted to literary magazines before the month is up, meaning that it will be much longer before non-supporters can read them
- Your support puts the pressure on me to keep producing top quality content for you, the most awesome reader in the world
- If I reach $100/month in pledges I’ll start recording audio for one of my stories each month
After my shorts have been on Patreon for one month, if they have not been accepted to any literary magazines, they will be made available to the public on my blog, so you will still have access even if you didn’t throw any sawbucks my way.
Also, it’s my birthday in like two days so signing up would be a super nice present 🖤
What I’m reading this week
Lots of great stuff.
- Just finished Fevre Dream which is about vampires on the Mississippi River in the 1800s and written by George R.R. Martin. Interesting idea that probably wasn’t worth a whole novel, but GRRM is a hell of a writer and he kept me around until the end.
- Halfway through The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and it’s amazing so far. No wonder John La Carre is such a legend.
- Finished up (and promptly started re-reading) Secrets of Story. If you write, do yourself a favor and pick this up. I’m affiliate linking to it because dammit, it’s a good recco. It’s written by the guy behind cockeyed caravan which is one of the best writing blogs on the interwebs.
Salt spray stung Michaela Khoarn’s cheeks. She leaned into the wind, prayed that her eyes weren’t playing tricks. A lone island peeked between the swells. Right where the islanders had (reluctantly) told her it would be.
Didja like that clickbait headline? Fanastic! Anyway, last month I decided to write a series of flash fiction shorts in order to get my writing brain limbered up for some big novel edits.
Twelfth in a series of Flash Fiction shorts that I’m writing while in Thailand. I’m allowing myself a maximum of two hours per story so please forgive the rough edges. Cheers!
“There’s work.” That’s what Grady said on the phone. Driving three thousand miles for work was nuts, but it was better than sticking around in Denver.
Better than school. Better than all those disappointed looks from teachers and concerned answering machine messages from classmates.
Eleventh in a series of Flash Fiction shorts that I’m writing while in Thailand. I’m allowing myself a maximum of two hours per story so please forgive the rough edges. Cheers!
The subway brakes shrieked as the train came to a stop. Morgan engaged in a power struggle with the urge to slap her hands over her ears. She still had the self conscious bravado that comes with being new to New York. The kind of bravado that you have before you realize that nobody really cares what you do with your hands and ears on a late train to Bushwick.
Tenth in a series of Flash Fiction shorts that I’m writing while in Thailand. I’m allowing myself a maximum of two hours per story so please forgive the rough edges. Cheers!
Raging fires burned across the continent. From one edge of the known world to the other, the cries of men rose into the sky. Great and ancient cities fell, scoured from the land by an unrelenting and angry god.
Ninth in a series of Flash Fiction shorts that I’m writing while in Thailand. I’m allowing myself a maximum of two hours per story so please forgive the rough edges. Cheers!
Sweat, fire, and blood. Those were real, at least.
Njall looked over the battlefield in horror. Peasant bodies writhed in pain, screaming long enough for his fellow warriors to silence them with the hard points of their swords.
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