I’m super excited and frankly stunned to learn that I’m the winner of the Sherman Chaddlesone Flash Fiction Contest. My story, “Kerry Was in the Kitchen, Cooking” will appear in the next issue of the New Plains Review. It’s a great honor, only my second fiction publication, and the cash prize doesn’t hurt right now either.
It took my protagonist, Kerry, a while to get here. In fact, I wrote this 1000-word vignette 25 years ago. Maybe 26. As far as I can recall, only one other person ever read this story till now. Maybe two. I’m a little hazy on the details.
Anyhow, I’m sure glad I recovered that file from the Brother WP500 diskette on which it languished for so long.
There’s a lot more where Kerry came from…
Photo by Jeremey Keith, licensed under Creative Commons.
I’m holding in my hot little hands the Spring 2015 issue (#35) of the Red Rock Review, a literary journal from the College of Southern Nevada. Red Rock Review is notable for publishing such luminaries as Marge Piercy and now yours truly. Check it out, page 71, “Dreams,” a short piece of what might be called fiction. Long-time readers of this blog may be intrigued to know this story/essay had its genesis back in 2006, during a two-week inner vacation which I wrote about in somewhat vague and mysterious terms. It took over eight years to bear fruit, a long gestation. This is my first time in print, I think, and certainly in a literary journal of this caliber. I’ve also got work coming out in a couple anthologies later this year. The question remains, how best to leverage this into something more? What next?
I think it was four years ago or so. Definitely pre-Katrina. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I was sitting up at the computer and I googled my name. I came across my entry on the IMDb which I hadn’t looked at for a while.
It puzzled me to notice I had a 2002 story credit for a flick called Toss of the Coin. What could that be? Some more clicking around and I discovered that an old buddy of mine, Patrick Steele, had made a short film based on a story I wrote in high school.
He sent me a copy on DVD, and I was knocked out. The quality of the production was high, but more than that, it was like I’d had a dream many years ago and suddenly that dream was made real. So strange, and definitely one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me.
I just discovered yesterday that Toss of the Coin is now online. If you’ve got twelve minutes to spare, check it out:
I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding my last post. I’ll try to answer them here.
It’s been incredibly frustrating trying to find specific information. I don’t even know its common name, much less the scientific one. People just call it “the fungus.” Most people don’t seem to know much about it, or even care — except for the people who actually grow the stuff, but they contradict one another wildly.
In fact, Dortmund (a German guy who’s pretty big into the whole scene here) assures me that it isn’t even really a fungus at all. But he won’t be more specific.
It is usually edible, even the glowing parts. I’ve heard that it might be mildly toxic, but that you’d have to eat a truckload to get sick. Dortmund, on the other hand, says that it’s not only non-toxic, it’s actually nutritious. He claims to eat nothing but. And he looks pretty healthy. He says that this stuff was the original and only food of humankind, before we were corrupted by the plow.
But I’m not sure I can trust Dortmund. He seems a little unstable — he’s homeless — but he can grow fungus like nobody’s business. He helped me with my first batch, showed me how to rig up the swabs and how to fix the poles on our decaying rooftop. You have to stay up with the poles all night and sway them back and forth through the night air. Dortmund spent the whole night with me on the roof, laughing at odd intervals and telling me jokes in German, and I swear you could actually see the spores accumulating on the swab. (Not really, but it seemed that way.) Those were the spores that gave me that first spectacular batch, and I’ve often wondered if Dortmund’s influence had something to do with it. He continues to drift on from rooftop to rooftop, and fantastic growth seems to follow him wherever he goes.
Meanwhile I bumble on. I’ve spent many a sleepless night up on the roof, swaying the poles; I’ve spent a fortune on growth medium; and no results. I’m beginning to suspect that I’ve been played the fool.