Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Short Story Wednesday.... And A Little News

Like last week, there is not a short story Wednesday review from me today. I have not read anything the last two weeks that would qualify. I also decided not to search for an old repeat of mine as I did not want to take the time. Like always, I will link to other short story reviews as I see them later today.


I did not want to take the time as I have been busy with some things here. Not only was that the Longmire review you saw yesterday, but I have also been writing a new short story.


I recently was gifted a membership to the Sisters in Crime North Dallas Chapter and the National group because a certain wonderful person in the leadership here decided she really wanted me to write something and submit it for the next Dallas anthology. I thought she was wasting her money and tried very hard to talk her out of it.


I have not written anything new since February of 2022 and that tale wound up in the Back Road Bobby and Friends anthology. What you have seen come out in Crimeucopia: Strictly Off The Record and will again in January in another Crimeucopia anthology, have been reprints. I just have not been writing and thought I was pretty much done.


Grief remains a major presence in my life and I struggle almost daily to deal with it. December 1st will mark six years since Sandi passed and I am still having a very hard time with it. Whatever muse I had, tat creative side of things, seemingly died with her as there just has not been any inspiration to do anything.


I tried to explain all this to my benefactor who insisted that she wanted me to have the chance to do something for it and understood that money is a serious issue for me. Money is a huge issue and I have been cancelling things and scaling back as best as I can as what little I have left from my inheritance after my Mom passed is like sand passing through the hourglass. Things are kind of grim.


Anyway, after several back-and-forth emails and Scott pushing me to say yes, I finally agreed, she did, and I became a very grateful member.


I still had no idea at all. I used to easily get ideas, but after Sandi passed, once I came out of the fog about six months later, and I started functioning a bit again and actually taking a daily shower and all the rest of it, the ideas were gone. I had nothing.


Coming up with something for Backroad Bobby and Friends was brutal and it did not happen until very last minute. That time I suddenly had an image in my head one morning and built a story around that image.


This time has been a little better and it has helped that they just moved the deadline back to October 18th.


About a week and half ago, I got up just before dawn to use the bathroom as one must once one gets to that certain age, and then went back to bed. I did not get back to sleep right away and was in that weird state where you are not asleep, but you are not awake. My mind tends to drift when I am like that and I started thinking about the anthology and the fact that I had zero ideas and the clock was ticking. As I laid there, trying to not think so I could go back to sleep, a gem of something drifted through.


A title.


That was it. Just a title for the story. A three word title.


It would not go away.


Instead of going back to sleep, the thing flickered to life like an ember in a cold fireplace. I lay there and mentally poked at it and gradually realized there was something to it. I think I dozed off a couple of times and yet kept walking back up and thinking about it.


Eventually, after about an hour, I gave up and got out of bed. Once I was dressed and had my morning pills in me, I went out on the back wooden deck outside my house with a pen and pad of paper. I do everything longhand whether it be reviews or my own fiction. Then it gets typed. Scott types my reviews, but for the fiction I do it as I edit and tweak as I go once the longhand first draft is written.


Things have fallen cooled off enough here that one can sit out there in the morning before the sun really gets going. That morning I wrote for about an hour and a half before Scott joined me out there. Over the next several days, I sat out there each morning and wrote a bit in the quiet of the morning. The story just unspooled every day. I would make a note or three about what was going to happen at the end of each writing session. The next day I would glance at the notes, though I usually did not need the reminder, and got to work.


It just rolled along as the entire thing came alive in my head with very little thinking effort.


It took about a week and then the rough draft was finished. That was last Friday.


I started typing yesterday afternoon and got a little over 1700 words down (about four pages of my horrible handwriting) before the body screamed enough and my hands started acting up too much to keep going. I hunt and peck so I am slow as it is. Even slower when I tweak things as I go. But, the words are getting down on the page and that is what matters.


So, in a few days, I just might have the second draft done.


I have no idea what this means for my ability to write going forward. Right now, I am just focused on getting this one done and off before deadline.  


And now you know why I am not reading as much as normal. I am writing.




Jerry House said...

Kevin, I'm so glad you are getting back in the saddle, not matter how briefly. Dealing with grief is a painful process and working around that grief is difficult. Perhaps it is time for the creative floodgates to open -- perhaps slowly, perhaps surely. Best wishes to you, my friend.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Although my grief has greatly lessened, my muse has not returned. My husband and I had offices across the hall from each other and it was sort of a dual endeavor. He wrote academic books and I wrote mostly stories but writing was something we shared. I did write a story last fall, which a few readers liked a lot, but EQMM turned it down and probably AHMM will too. I know I should submit it to more places but I have lost that desire again. Anyway. I am happy for you to lean into your writing again and I hope to join you eventually.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thanks, Jerry. One hopes they might be cracking open a little bit.

I have missed out on several projects this summer simply because I had zero ideas.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, Patti. It is so very hard now. I am sorry you also have the same lack of ideas/muse.

TracyK said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I am sorry that your grief lingers but everyone handles it differently. I am happy that you are making efforts toward writing.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thank you, TracyK.

I am trying.

I have always thought it a bit weird it has been so strong and so much worse this year. It wasn't like I did not know for a couple of months what was going to happen. It was not a shock at all, like it is for many.