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So far, I've written forty-six stories (one of those was a two-parter, but we'll let that slide), totaling around 106,000 words.
In random order, these are the stories I'm considering for inclusion...
- Sept. 16: The Hookup (A farm family is changed forever when the internet man comes to town) – 435 words
- Mar. 26: Spoiled (An author, depressed over perceived failure in writing and relationship, hallucinates and attempts suicide) – 1,705
- Mar. 11: The Day the Bear Ate Pappy (A tall tale in which brothers go treeplanting to prove their manliness to their father, and end up watching him get ‘et) – 3,245
- Mar. 4: Blackbird Train (A Vonnegut-esque story in which two people make a connection whilst stuck on a train careening toward derailment) – 3,785
- Feb. 25: Red Gold (A young tribal boy dies in a conflict brought about when an oil man impregnates his sister) – 2,384
- Feb. 11: Zaphod (In a Douglas-Adams-esque sci-fi parody, an undercover duck participates in the chicken-takeover of the Universe) – 1,878
- Feb. 4: Love, In a Taxi (Two lovers are re-united in a taxi, only to plunge – with the driver – to their deaths) – 1,410
- Aug. 9: A Thinly-Veiled Grey (A third-culture kid goes to a class reunion hoping to show how much things have changed, and ends in a fistfight after being sucked back into his highschool self’s headspace) – 2,056
- Jul. 29: When Twice Again they Died (The death of a child, told through the eyes of his teddy bear) – 2,157
- Jul. 22: Hydra (A guy who is death-to-automobiles recovers his stolen car, only to watch it ruined – and the thief killed – in a lightning strike) – 2,008
- Jul. 15: The Hunt (After shooting a squirrel, a kid finds that the glories of hunting aren’t all he’d dreamed) – 2,266
- Jul. 8: Plink (An uprooted boy just starting to find joy at his new boarding school is brutally disappointed when the girl he is with has a terrible accident) – 2,223
- Jun. 24: Muted (A man who’s saved his whole life to buy a farm finds his dreams dashed in one, fateful night) – 1,274
- Jun. 17: A Grizzly Bear on Columbia Street (A societal satire in which a marauding grizzly bear is ignored until he diverts his attention from a city’s homeless to one of its wealthier denizens) – 2,356
- May 17: Immortality (A treeplanting superstar saves his brother’s life by sacrificing himself during an encounter with a grizzly) – 4,563
- Oct. 7: The Apple and the Oak (An apple and an oak tree become friends, and then deal in their own ways with the separation entailed by their mortality) – 1,163
- Sept. 30: The Strange Case of Benson T. Hueson and the Morning Paper (Everything gets turned around for Mr. Hueson, until his future-telling paper ceases to prognosticate) – 3,084
- Sept. 9: Bottlecap Billy (An autistic guy, confused about where money comes from, attempts to rob a bank and is tragically killed) – 2,980
- Sept. 3: Vocation (A painter, frustrated at the perceived failure of a show, destroys his own work) – 1,612
- Aug. 26: Perspective (A weird, existentialist experiment in which a guy who’d fantasized about the cowboy life dies from being shot in the gut) – 1,528
- Oct. 21: The Horsefly (A treeplanter eats a horsefly to amuse a young boy, and finds meaning in suffering) –
- Apr. 15: Loyalty (Some hutterite boys learn a lesson about loyalty, grace and forgiveness while shoveling pig manure as punishment) – 3,146
- Apr. 29: Exist (In an existentialist, story-within-a-story experiment, a young man gradually realizes that he is a figment of this author’s imagination) – 2,903
- Oct. 28: Butterball (A streetwise, train-hopping kid returns to his grandparents' house looking for a leg up and instead finds a dog skeleton and a cold reception) – 2,351
- Apr. 8: Extranjero (A kid gets hit with a stone while freeing fish from a net in Peru) – 1,382
- Nov. 25: Parabolic (The Good Samaritan on the beach dies saving a Mexican) – 2,320
- Nov. 10: Sanctuary (A lapsed church attendee walks out of a megachurch for good, after surviving a choking incident) – 1,784
- Nov. 4: Crossing the Border (A guy discovers his own racism when he goes to Mexico and gets a root canal on the wrong tooth.) – 1,858
- Dec. 2: Two-Winter’s Fall (A story of elves, in which a boy and a girl shoot the same bird in a time of hunger) – 3,456
- Dec. 9: Into that Good Night (A high school teacher sacrifices himself to save a student from a shooting) – 2589
- Dec. 16: It Has No Future but Itself (A treeplanter finds hope, while weathering a storm of affliction, through an unexpected vision on a stormy day) – 2,616
- Dec. 30: Sliced in Two (A young boy deals with the agony of discovering that the girl he loved is no longer the person she once was) – 1049
- Jan. 6: The Epiphany (A boy, bored out of his mind in church, gets a welcome reprieve in the form of a whistler, a bat, and an angry bible-swing) – 2,350
- Jan. 14: Conventional (A politician, two dogs, and a stage manager from the sky collide in this story of angry rhetoric and the downfall of western society) – 3,300
- Mar. 18: Supernova (An actor is accidentally put in a coma by an extra, who goes to jail for a crime he didn’t really commit) – 3,070
1. Apr. 1: Fear Itself (A game designer discovers enlightenment after living through a weird alien apocalypse) – 2,822
2. Feb. 18: Obey (A hyper kid is drugged into submission) – 605
3. Jul. 1: Curious George Gets Angry (A satirization of the inaccuracies in children’s literature, based on the characters in the Curious George books) – 729
4. Jun. 3: Pongo (A teenage boy proves himself to his father on a rafting trip in the Amazon) – 6,965
5. May 20: Supernova, chapter 2 (Told from the film star’s perspective as she is waking from her coma) – 1,142
6. May 14: Hoppit: or Just There, Mostly (A mashup of children’s stories, about a rabbit whose wisdom saves his life, but not his brothers’) – 2,892
7. May 6: Cheesecake (Short film script) – 1,519
8. Oct. 14: Shiggles McGee the Biting Tree (A man buys a biting tree to rid himself of squirrels and gets more than he bargained for) – 2,336
9. Aug. 19: Big Fish (A journalist, investigating a shark found in the woods in Maine, uncovers a disturbing story) – 2,524
10. Nov. 18: Open Seating (A server in a restaurant quits because of racist patrons) – 2128
For now, what I'm looking for is fresh eyes in the selection process. Is there a story I'm cutting that you really liked? One I'm thinking of including that you really didn't? If so, please tell me why in the comments. It's hard for me to be objective at this point, so if you can help me out, I surely would appreciate it.
1,5,8,9,15,21,25,26,27,28,29,31 are my favorites. I actually kinda liked 10 (on the cut list). I confess there were a few I never finished reading. I can say more soon, baby was sick all week so am very behind on computer stuff.ReplyDelete
Thanks! I actually waffled on 10, myself, and eventually switched it over, because the only response I got to it was confusion - and I've a weak, easily-influenced personality.ReplyDelete
I'll keep it in mind, and I'd love to hear any other thoughts you might have.
parabolic and the one where the bear killed joben.ReplyDelete
I liked 10 too...ReplyDelete
Hi Josh, the perpetrator :) Am I too late to tell you my favorites? I liked 8,15,26,28,29,30,33. I didn't get to read some of your earlier ones and haven't yet finished reading "Conventional." What happens after you're finished writing all fifty-two?? I'll miss your fiction if it goes away!ReplyDelete
Josh, I had been nursing this hope that your next project would be to pick your top 12 or so stories from this past year and spend the next year editing them up to a high polish - glad to see you are doing something along these lines! :-) I have a specific input on the first story on the list about the internet comes to town - I think fundamentally I'm suspicious of the sharp dichotomy you set up there, because there's a continuum - did this family not have TV? Most rural/farm families I know have had TV forever, often even satellite dish. My grandfather used to fall asleep watching PBS in the evenings. My uncle never misses the 6:00 news because of the weather reports. What is fundamentally different about the internet vs. TV? The pre-internet world you portray looks more to me like a pre-TV world. Just my 2 cents.ReplyDelete
Obviously I don't mean literally "forever," but ever since TV was invented.Delete
Thanks, Leah. In answer to your question... nothing lasts forever (thank God!)ReplyDelete
I'm actually not writing one this week. Grades are due, and I just couldn't swing it. I also decided to stop at the end of the year, rather than going past just to make the 52-mark. I'm sure I'll eventually get back to it, but I'm getting really, really tired of writing them, and I realized that even though I'll have missed a few weeks, I've done as much as I could given the circumstances.
Elizabeth, I appreciate that thought. I'll keep it in mind. I also remember your (correct, I think) hunch that I needed to hack the first paragraph off the beginning of that mexico root canal story. I've got a superb offer of some copy-editing by a couple of professionals, so I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to say.
I'm going to try to hyper-polish a bunch of the stories, then pick my absolute favorites and blitz the journals - maybe this summer - in hopes of getting some publication credits to get some attention maybe for my memoir, or for a collection, or at least an agent for the novel I'll eventually write in between movies. Right now I'm pretty swamped with producing a short film, and studying and writing screenplays.
Plus, I need to be giving more attention to my actual job.
Anyway... thanks for the feedback.
blackbird trains a winnerReplyDelete