Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not exactly writing; plus, Jim Shepard's latest

I've long noticed that, when teaching, or simply conversing, I make sharper connections, better metaphors, and more interestingly phrased statements than I do on the first drafts of my fiction. There's something about working with that speed, with an audience, or bouncing off somebody else, that brings out better rhetoric and greater focus. As a consequence, I've considered writing my first draft orally, recording them onto the computer and then typing (and revising) from that. Today I got to try that with a larger story idea (or set of ill-formed ideas, really) that I've been batting around. I think it went well. We'll see whether this leads to something.

"Minotaur," Jim Shepard (from You Think That's Bad)
The cover of Shepard's latest collection of stories features a photo of a contortionist doubled over backwards so that, it must be said, his head is only microns away from being shoved up his butt. It got me to laugh, anyway. I'd thought of ordering this collection, but it was at the library today, so it came home with me. The first story concerns a man who's spent years working in black ops for the military; this night, he reconnects with a colleague who went even deeper underground three years ago. Oh, how he's missed this man. And it's a connection that the protagonist's wife doesn't understand and that she comes to realize is perhaps more significant than the connection she has to her husband. Like the fabled minotaur—and like the mysterious military program of the same name—these relationships involve labyrinths and monsters who stumble about in the dark. Great little tale.

No comments: