Thursday, June 9, 2011

"My Mother Received a Wound"

I forgot to post this here when I uploaded it a couple weeks ago. This is my first non-student short film:

I love the colors, but film costs too much. This project approached $2,000, a decade ago. All the other projects I've done on digital video, combined, haven't cost nearly that much. If I had the money, though, the quality would be well worth it. Enjoy.

The Home Stretch

I can't count the number of times I have set and reset deadlines, for myself, for the completion of this book. It was essentially publishable when Ravenna Press accepted it back in, oh, 2007. Here I am, four years later, still tinkering to get the words right. Every story has gone through multiple drafts meant to tighten and improve and make consistent the writing style of stories begun as early as 1999 and as recently as 2007. Half the stories are flash fictions that clock in under 1,000 words (with one as short as 150), and half are longer (from 1,000 to about 5,500). I have been tempted to divide the stories into sections based on length: medium first (800-1,800 words), then the short-shorts (150-800 words), and closing with the longer ones. But that would mess things up thematically and prevent me from closing the book with the story I know in my bones belongs at the end.

Choosing the first story is difficult. For several months, I have planned on opening with the book's longest (and probably best) story. Now, though, I think it kinder to the reader to precede that long one with something smaller. As I see it, those first two stories not only have to stand on their own; they must prepare the reader for what's in store in the rest of the book. My stories range from consensus realism to the fantastic. I want to say that some of the stories are lighthearted, but that's true for only one. Most are dark. I make a few departures from reality as we communally agree to understand it, but only a few. And there's a surprising (to me, anyway) and sustained focus on gender, sex, and sexuality. It's a lot for a reader to take in, and the first two stories should give the reader both a sense of focus and a sense of the range contained within the rest of the book. It's a tall order.

And here I am, blogging when I should get back to work on the text. Of twenty stories, I've finished eight (update: fourteen). I'm polishing the flash fictions today, and I hope to go to bed with twelve or thirteen stories done. All my delays were about getting the words right. I probably won't make my current self-imposed deadline (Friday at five), but I have a decent shot at wrapping up this book on Monday or Tuesday.

Don't wish me luck. Wish me focus.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Flash Fiction Publication

Sometimes a story takes forever to find a home. Once in a great while, it happens in just a few days. This one went out last week, and it's up this week: "Old Bells, Young Mountains."