Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Big Apple

From the Speakers: I STAND ALONE by Godsmack
Just Read: THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST by Stieg Larsson--I think I liked the first one the best, but this one was good. All the revenge involved was VERY satisfying, though.
Reading Now: A CLASH OF KINGS by George R.R. Martin

I spent a good amount of June on vacation in New York. My girlfriend's family lives on Long Island so we spent some time there, and then took the train into the city for the weekend. I had been there once before in high school with a group, but this was the first time I really got to walk around and do what I wanted to do.

And boy, did we do a lot! The first day we hopped on a ferry tour that took us down the Hudson and around the tip of Manhattan, up the East River under the beautiful bridges (pictures, pictures, pictures!), then down south again to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Our tour guide pointed out all kinds of cool things, such as where various actors' penthouses are and where the Titanic was supposed to dock, had it sailed through an iceberg-free sea.

We met up with some friends and ate in Hell's kitchen and checked out some awesome bars and a cool park called the Highline. The next day we spent hours in the Museum of Natural History and still only saw about 1/4 of the stuff there. My inner science fiction and fantasy fan had a great time in the planetarium and dinosaur/evolution sections, though!

And the last day we jumped onto a hop-on/hop-off tour bus and gallivanted all over Lower Manhattan. We saw the 9/11 Memorial (humbling) and the new World Trade Center (awe-inspiring), walked through Chinatown (busy!) and ate pizza in Little Italy (delicious). It was the day of the Puerto Rican parade, so we crossed over 5th avenue (dense) and made our way to Time Square (fun).

We also ran all over every square inch of Long Island, from Queens to Montauk, from Jones Beach to the Long Island Sound. It's a beautiful place, but I'm a southern boy, and I know my girlfriend took me there in the summer so I wouldn't see the feet of snow they get every winter. I wouldn't mind living in NYC for a bit, but I don't think it's a permanent place for me.

Needless to say, not a lot of writing got done that week--500 words. But one of the coolest things I saw was a gigantic poster of Patricia Cornwell and her newest book hanging down a building's face in Times Square. I had to do a double-take. An author and her book? In Times Square?

Oh yeah. That's going to be me one day.

Monday, June 4, 2012

You're in Action

From the Speakers: SAIL by Awolnation
Just Read: THIRD GIRL by Agatha Christie--Awesome! I've been really into detective stories lately, and this one was great. And I saw the end coming! Honest! I did!

You know I really don't like second person very much.

The fine people over at Liquid Imagination published my story DYING AGAIN this week. It's a flash fiction story written in second person about a man at the end of his umpteenth life, remembering back on them all. It's the . . . third second-person flash fiction story I've published. The other two are TEN STORIES UP, TEN YEARS LATER and A SHORT WALK IN THESE HERE WOODS (which was published in print only in Barbaric Yawp).

I took an intermediate level fiction writing class in college, and this girl wrote a story in second person, and man I feel a bit bad but I hated it. I kind of hope she's not reading this (but if you are, leave a comment! You know who you are haha). I thought that it got a bit tiring reading second person for so many pages; it was trying to be too dramatic when it should have just told a story. I got the vibe that the second person aspect was sort of the point of the story rather than the story itself.

My professor didn't agree in the least.

And THEN, a semester or two later, we had this contest called the Mini-Max, for creative writing students to submit flash fiction. I sat down trying to write something for it. Nothing really came. Pondered, pondered, nothing . . . . I started typing aimlessly, no story in mind, just knowing that I wanted it to be in the horror genre. The result turned out to be a second person flash story: A SHORT WALK IN THESE HERE WOODS.

It was the first second person piece I'd ever tried. It didn't change my opinion of second person, but I did enjoy the story. It was short enough that I got through it without getting annoyed.

And the kicker is it placed fourth in the contest! I got to read it in front of a small crowd and got a book of flash fiction as a prize (and an all-important credit--my story placed in a college contest!). It was, as I mentioned, later published.

This brief bit of success led me to try my hand at some other second person flashes, particularly when it's Sunday night and my W1S1 for that week doesn't exist. And now I've published three of them.

Maybe I have something going here?

But just because I seem to be kind of good at it doesn't mean I have to like it. Not saying I won't write another if one occurs to me, but three flash pieces almost adds up to a short story, and that's too much second person, after all.