A few days ago I received a letter in my mental in box. This is what it said:
Have you lost your mind? Seriously. Have you lost your ever-loving mind?
Almost seven weeks ago, we were cruising along writing stories, having a good time. Things couldn’t have gotten much better. Well, you could have gotten a couple more acceptances but other than that, we were doing all right—you and I.
Then you receive this rejection and it was kind of harsh. I’ve never seen you take a rejection so. . . so much to heart. It’s as if it made you actually stop and think. Think. That’s not your job—it’s mine.
So, what did you do? What did you do, man? You kicked me to the curb. ME! What did I ever do but help you create some of the best stories you have ever written? I mean, remember The Woodshed? We sweated and bled and cursed as we wrote that one. Yeah, I know I had a few beers but I work better when I’m a little off kilter. What about Chapiesky? Remember that story? You heard the name but I came up with the story. ME! And how about Sarah’s Playground? Yeah, you didn’t want to write that little piece of semi-erotic horror now did you? Aren’t you glad you listened to me now?
Those were good times, AJ. Good times, I say.
Then you threw it all away and for what? For more technical and fundamental writing? You wanted to try ‘following the rules.’ You have never been a rule follower, why start now? Come on, AJ—when was the last time you listened to even the simplest of rules?
So, tell me, where did it get you? Hmm?
Oh, that’s right. You wrote five stories in almost seven weeks? Really? I’m so proud of you, and if you don’t recognize that—it’s sarcasm.
Five stories? We used to write that many in a week—you and I. Do you remember those days? The days when we sat at the computer taking turns tap-tapping away on the keyboard, discussing characters and settings and emotions and plots and all the other good writerly types of stuff.
AJ, we were meant to be together. Dump your new partner and come back to me. I’ll make you happy. I’ll show you the fun in writing that we used to have—I’m certain all you have done is work at it since you left me at the computer.
Please, come to your senses.
Well, my muse was right about a few things. We sure did have a good time together. The stories we created—I can truly say she was my darker side. So, after nearly seven weeks of being away from her, I wrote her back.
Can you forgive me for my stupidity? I have missed you and the way we connected. You are so much more fun than my other muse—she is a real witch, always making me work while I am writing. I don’t function that way. I hate the new style she is imposing on me. It’s not working out.
Any way, I have a lot of groveling to do. If you will take me back I will be loyal from hear on out. I promise.
Yeah, I know mine was short, but really I am the typical male and my muse knows this. She can call me on any lie and make me feel like crap for even trying.
Just for the record, she and I have gotten back together and have penned two stories in less than a day. It feels good to be back in the saddle and writing with a familiar partner. Sadly, she has obtained a whip since we were last together—and she likes to use it.
Over the last few weeks I did try and experiment with following the rules of writing. I will say that I have never wasted so much time in my life. It was horrible. My creativity left me, the words fled, the thoughts vanished and I stared at a blank screen for hours. It was my first significant bout with Writer’s Block.
After starting on a story recently and getting stuck on it, I said screw it and rewrote the piece using my old style, old voice and just let the story live. Talk about the feeling of freedom.
Be wary—AJ is back…
In other news, you can catch a couple of my stories online now.
First there is my story, “Broken Hearted Savior,” up at Static Movement. Chris Bartholomew has had this e-zine running for a long time and it just keeps getting better. Check out “Broken Hearted Savior” here:
Broken Hearted Savior at Static Movement
While you are at it, check out the other stories there. Drop Chris a line and tell her AJ sent you. No, I won’t get any money or anything, but hopefully Chris will get a little more traffic to her site.
You can also catch my short zombie story, “Staying Dead,” at The House of Horrors. It’s a new online zine that is run by S. E. Cox. She has worked hard at getting this up and running and it shows a lot of promise. Read “Staying Dead” here:
Staying Dead at The House of Horrors
Have you heard of Sonar 4 Publications? Shells Walter has put together a fine company and she is all about helping writers out. She should be commended for her efforts, which seem tireless. They’ve released a handful of collections recently and are on the rise. One of them, From the Mouth, is a collection of flash fiction. There are some great reads in this collection, the least of which is my story, “Rust.” Other writers in this collection include Kevin Wallis, Dawn Allison, LB Goddard, Cassandra Lee among others. You can order a copy of this anthology and the others in the Sonar 4 lineup by going to their website:
Sonar 4 Publications
Other topics of note are:
Check out the folks at Choate Road. Greg Hall runs the 13-block road so be wary of all sorts of things that go bump in the night. There is a cool interview with Louise Bohmer in the Meet the Neighbors section. Check out all of the entertaining pages and catch them on MySpace as well. For their website, go here:
Also, check out the Funky Werepig every Sunday night at 9 EDT on Talk Radio. They constantly have great guests and there is even a chat room where you can party with other listeners. This past Sunday the Sinister Minister himself, Maurice Broaddus showed up as the Werepig’s guest. Don’t worry if you missed previous episodes, you can catch them in the archives. I’ll make it easy for you. Go here for the archives and a listing of the next couple of shows:
The Funky Werepig
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon. Hopefully it won’t be six weeks from now but next week. Until next time, be safe.
I’m AJ and I’m out.