This has been a brutal spring and summer. My health is less scary than this winter, but I have had to start insulin, and I am worn down from long hours at my day job. As a result, I’ve had less time for hobbies and pleasures and all things creative.
Happily, seeds sown earlier in the year are continuing to bear fruit. Recent writing news includes:
- Sale of “The Web of Perdition” to America the Horrific
- Sale of “Evergreen Nights” to Through the Eyes of the Undead (Vol 2)
- Sale of “A Welcome Sestina…” to Future Lovecraft
As I look back at where these pieces came from, I am struck by how much my writing is a product of a collision of two or more initially unrelated ideas or lines of thinking/research that suddenly suggest a new synthesis.
The Web of Perdition is a historical horror story told by a modern narrator, blending historical events and Angolan and Louisiana folklore/myth/legends. The beginning of the story was a desire to tell a civil war era zombie story building on Nzambi tales. And then, at the same time, I was also researching culturally-bound mental illness for another unrelated project and ran across pedisyon, also known as perdition or arrested pregnancy syndrome. And the story was born…
Evergreen Nights is a historical horror story told by a reanimating man whose story blends medieval Christian folklore and Arthurian legends. The inspiration for this story came from research I was doing for a story that has not yet sold which is a riff on Cinderella and the history of cordwainers (makers of leather shoes). I came across the story of St. Hugh Bones and put it in a blender with a lot of other religious and medieval folklore that had been lurking in my brain from the days when I was an English major with a focus on renaissance and medieval literature. As I was trying to sort through memory, I got two similar saints lives confused and tangled – St. Winifred and St. Hugh (300 AD) and St. Winefride’s Well / Gwenfrewi (660 AD). And then I thought, well, what if they were part of the same story…
A Welcome Sestina… is a poem. This is my first published poem, which is interesting because my formal training (the creative writing half of my college studies) is as a poet, rather than a writer of fiction. As to where this poem came from, it is again the collision of two unrelated pieces of information, in this case, from friends and family. I’d been researching climate change as a possible seed for a near future sci fi story. My Dad mentioned that he had recently spoken at a conference on climate change for the Navy/Coast Guard, and gave me a copy of a very technical set of published reports from that symposium in which the military examined at length what was coming in the near future in relation to climate. There was a wonderful quote about how the arctic shipping lanes are increasingly opening to pleasure and adventure travel, which is now embedded as an epigraph to the poem. Then, my husband and I were at dinner with another couple. We are all serious foodies, and were discussing exotic food. One of our friends referenced ortolan bunting in passing and the fact that you hide your head with a towel when you eat it, to hide your face from God. And I was like – how did I not know about this, and how can I get this into a story? Arctic…Cruise ship…Foodie travel…Ortolan bunting. I started jotting some ideas down on paper and I looked at my notes, and thought, you know what would be really insane? A sestina. If there is a more Lovecraftian verse form, I don’t know what it is.