“Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass” out in Lightspeed Magazine
My latest story is free for reading or listening today over at Lightspeed Magazine. Here’s a small taste:
The silhouette of a centaur beckoned towards the gathering crowd from within the rabbit hole. In a melodious voice, she called out, “Richard! Come quickly. Without your aid, the Inkies destroy everything that is beautiful and good in our world!”
A middle-aged man in a gray business suit laughed and ran forward, the crowd begrudgingly parting before him. “Never fear,” he shouted, stepped through the hole, and pulled the door shut behind him. The lighting in the station returned to normal. The smell of flowers was replaced with the usual smell of stale urine, newsprint, and body odor. A train rumbled in the distance, perhaps soon to arrive, or perhaps not.
I first worked on this story over nine years ago. The idea actually sprung from a character study posted on an early version of my blog. It elicited some useful encouragement and feedback from my friends, so I tried to expand it into a full length story. Tried, but failed. A satisfying ending eluded me for years.
Last year, I was struggling for a new story idea that would hold my interest, so in an attempt to be productive, I looked through my files for something that could use a little tinkering. I found this one, and I realized it still had some promise. A few more drafts later, and I ended up with the version you see now.
What I learned here was that so long as a story still contains a spark, you should keep it around. You might not be capable of writing the story you want to write at this moment, but your future self may. I have always wanted writing to happen faster than it does. Some stories do spring out fully formed (you could call those Athenian stories). But some require hammering on the anvil of Vulcan for years. Maybe even decades.
Taking a longer term outlook is perhaps the prerogative of older people. When I would young, I could barely see past the tip of my nose when it came to looking into the future. Ironic, but not surprising, I guess.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story. If you do, I hope you will subscribe to Lightspeed Magazine, which is a great source of stories every month. I have two more stories with them coming soon, and I hope a few more still as I write them.