Poe, and some other things.

25 Sep

The sickness continues. This really does stink. I’ve never had something come sit in my chest for this long. Before sitting down to write this, I doubled over and hacked for awhile, and then Zack goes “Dad pretty icky…” So he’s well on his way to becoming a doctor.


What news?

If you go over to SF Signal, you’ll find I was one of a handful of people who answered a Mind Meld question about Star Wars and whether or not it should be rebooted. I can’t find a link at the moment, and the laptop is creaking, but I’ll try to post it shortly.

I sold a short story to the second issue of Basement stories. The story they bought was “The King of High Places,” which was a key story for me. It was the first time I did a major re-write and came away happy, and it was while writing that that I started going “these characters are the true story here….” and figuring out all the things that would catalyze with my next story, “The Dark to End all Nights” which, as I’m sure I’ve talked about, took such a step forward that it sort of crippled me trying to figure out where to go next.

(I’ve worked it out nicely, thanks).

In the delightful Horror Cinema class that I’m taking this semester, we had an option from the teacher: we could take the final exam OR…we  could sign up to write a modernized version of the Edgar Allen Poe story “The Fall of the House of Usher”.

I obviously agreed to the story excitedly, and then was stumped. The fascinating thing about Poe’s stories — actually, I have a lot of fascinating things about Poe stories — is how primal they are, how base. What I mean by that is….it’s very hard to re-write “The Fall of the House of Usher” and do anything new with it, say anything new with it. It’s such a simple, pure story that merely by changing the year it’s happening in and the costumes of the people, you haven’t done anything but ape Poe.

I think that “The Cask of Amontillado” would be easier to re-do, because what you mostly need is a moment of madness and to very strong character personalities.

And I think that “The Pit and the Pendulum” would be absolutely completely impossible to re-write in any fashion, so it feels to me.

Anyway, I’ve been toiling and thinking and plotting and noting and scribbling and trying to figure out what to do with the story and coming up seriously blank. Then, last night, I nailed it. I know my story. Best of all, it’s got very little PLOT, just characters and setting and a single scene that drives the story.

(I tend to feel all of my stories are driven by a single scene, as if it’s a piston engine of big or small size. It’s not always scene one. Usually it’s not. In “Keepers,” it was toward the end. But it’s still the scene that is turning the whole story over and over.)

I like what i’ve got to work with, I think it’ll let me talk about a few interesting things and people I want to talk about (always the point) and, as I said, not too much plot, which is a goal of mine. As little PLOT as possible, as much STORY as possible. Ay-men brudda.

So I’ll be starting writing that soon, but before I do, I REALLY want to finish the last story I’m working on, the lamentably working-titled “Porn & Chicken” (it’s really about big families and the utter loving bonkers chaos of a big family. It’s not something I grew up with, but my wife has a huge Italian family, so I’ve been watching it for years).

And I have a story about a father and a son and a fierce winter field of snow that I want to get to.

I have so many stories. I wish I could write more and faster…but who doesn’t?

Last night, I sat down and read “April 2005: Usher II” by Ray Bradbury. Of course, it’s the reason I elected not to go near SF with my Usher story (although at least one kid in the class is, more fool him). I don’t want to be competing against that amazing, gleeful love song to Poe.

Plus, let’s be honest, I’ve wandered about as far from SF as I possibly can at this point. If I weren’t periodically writing God in the Machine, no one would know I’d ever had any interest in SF in the first place.

Right. Time to go work.

Love & Lady Grey

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Posted by on September 25, 2010 in Uncategorized


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