Tuesday, January 8, 2013
This picture is by Arthur Rackham, one of my favorite artists.
My story "Selkie Stories Are for Losers" is now at Strange Horizons. And there's a podcast!
The story starts like this:
I hate selkie stories. They're always about how you went up to the attic to look for a book, and you found a disgusting old coat and brought it downstairs between finger and thumb and said "What's this?", and you never saw your mom again.
"Selkie Stories" is about abandonment and loss and storytelling and love and fear and emigration and working in restaurants and lutefisk. It's set in Madison, Wisconsin, where I live. I actually adore selkie stories, which, according to my main character, makes me a loser. Selkie stories are tragic; they oppose the "happily ever after" of many fairy tales. This is one of the reasons I love them. But, as my main character points out, if your life is going to be a fairy tale, you don't want it to be this kind.
In terms of writerly-crafty stuff, I'm happy with this story. It is the first of three of my stories to use present tense and small blocks of text (the other two aren't finished yet). There was also one before them, but I don't count it because it is HOOOORRRRRIBLE. It will never be published, but stay marooned on my computer where I can look at it and go "EW! I cannot write," which I do quite often--not sure why and not really interested in finding out.
I started using present tense with "Honey Bear," when I got sick of paying attention to this idea I'd picked up somewhere that sf stories should have a "traditional" style. I know, I should never have paid attention to that in the first place. But anyway, "HB" is still pretty linear plot-wise, except for a flashback. The stories I'm writing now are a bit more circular and tangled, and have smaller pieces. They do have plots. I am concerned about losing plot. I think it's because there is something about plot that is not totally congenial to me. But I know that the stories I enjoy have plots, so I am wary of letting them go altogether.
Interested in how I started this by saying "In terms of writerly-crafty stuff..." Why "writerly-crafty"? Why so cute? Why does it have to be like quilting? And then why did I just say quilting? Is this some Mennonite-related reaction where your passion always has to also Do Something, like use up leftover cloth and make a practical object that keeps you warm? Also, quilting is what women do. There is definitely a demure note in "writerly-crafty" that suggests a gendered subtext: don't mind me, I'm just over here in the corner doing my writerly-crafty little project. It sounds like self-deprecation, but it's also a kind of attempt to escape, I think. To escape what? Attention? To escape attention by drawing attention to oneself? Or to draw attention while acting as if one is really trying to escape attention? "My quilt is so beautiful! But never mind, the important thing is that it's perfect for the guest bed!" Why does the subject of writing have to be surrounded by all these maneuvers? What is so shameful about it?
Posted by Sofia at 7:14 PM