Postmortem: “Dust”

Yesterday, I’d posted an old bit of orphaned writing that was never finished, written back in 2006, called Dust, An Introduction. I had stated in the forward that, while I acknowledged my debt as a writer to The Gunslinger, by Stephen King, the first in an epic series about Roland (a gunslinger) seeking the Dark Tower, I hadn’t at the time considered it a direct influence on Dust.

A little mouse I know posted the following comment:

This is good, but it is very close to the gunslinger. The last law like figure chasing a mystical nemesis across an open unforgiving desert.

Original Comment Link

Honestly, without having the context that I have for the story, it is a fair criticism. It certainly looks like a bit of fanboi writing, an ode to Stephen King, on the surface. I certainly won’t deny that the Dark Tower series hasn’t left it’s mark on my own writing — it is perhaps my favorite set of books by King, although I lean more towards the first three or four than I do the latter books. And, as much as I like Wolves of the Calla, even King will admit that it is basically a rip-off of the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven themes. He did his own bit of borrowing for that one. To go back, however to the original point that Dust is a bit too similar for comfort, I feel a valid point was made and it is up to me to defend my original statement that the influence is less than it might seem. As life would have it, I have additional information that I didn’t present in the forward that might modify such criticisms.

But first — let’s go in depth as to the similarities.

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Postmortem: we, wendigo

we, wendigo is an experimental poetry piece (as noted in the tag). Normally, I don’t mind doing these postmortem self-evaluations on prose, but dislike providing too much explanation to poetry because I think that poetry should have some mystique surrounding it and room for the reader’s interpretation.

But, in this case, I think some background is warranted.

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Postmortem: Kissing Kismet.

Curse or boon? I don’t know.

The problem with writing directly into WordPress and posting creative writing pieces as early versions (most of what you read here is hardly ever what I’d call final versions) is that you see the flaws after they are posted. I resist the urge to do more than correct technical issues (spelling, obvious grammar problems, formatting, etc.) after I hit that “post” button. It’s an anal-retentive thing for me, probably colored by my frustration with folks like George Lucas constantly mucking about with the original Star Wars trilogy to reflect his changes in vision over the years. Imagine if old William Shakespeare made appearance for whatever reason and decided he wasn’t quite happy with Hamlet’s “To Be or Not To Be” monologue and changed it up to suit whatever reflections he had in the grave. I suppose he’s not the best, as the playwright probably did more than his fair share of edits between performances, but you get the gist of what I’m saying.

“Kismet” is a bit like that. I wrote it last night and posted it with only minor editorial changes prior to tossing it out into the ethersphere. It’s what I do. But it’s flaws are evident upon waking. Will I change it? Probably not until I get around to publishing a collection of short stories and poems, which is about as likely to happen as me winning the lottery. In fact, I’m probably more likely to win the lottery.

Continue reading “Postmortem: Kissing Kismet.”

Flirting and a short postmortem on “Silver”

If there is anything I really miss by having gone full-on hermit, it’s friendly flirting. You know — the kind that isn’t intended to go anywhere (although it might, provided you are single; or, it might even if you’re not single and that kind of person). It makes you feel good when someone tossing you a wink or says something suggestive, or you catch a double entendre in the air while talking to someone. It adds the fun kind of tension to your life as you wonder how much they meant by what they said. It was probably nothing, but the fact that it was said to you… hmm.

I won’t be winning any beauty pageants. Any good looks I had in my youth have faded and fluffed up. I have no illusions that I’d be tossed a suggestive look or have anything overt directed at me these days in terms of conversation unless I paid for it (which I most assuredly wouldn’t do), so this “missing” is very likely firmly in the realm of fantasy. It’s probably the product of being a cantankerous and dirty old man who misses his wayward youth as one of the few goths in his city “back in the day” (c. mid-80s). So, I won’t be rushing out to change my asocial existence to experience any such thing because I’d be destined for disappointment.

Tangent time. Fasten your seat-belts (apologies to B. Davis).

I’m still thinking about my piece Silver. Though it is flash fiction, I think it warrants a mini-postmortem.

As I started writing it, I envisioned the main character to be more of a baobhan sith (kind of a cross between a succubus and a vampire in Irish/Scottish folklore) than anything else, but realized as I was writing that was just falling into typical tropes. I’m all for subverting tropes when I recognize one rising up in my writing. Girl monsters are always hyper-sexualized vampires and succubi.

So I got to thinking and here is your homework for the day: Why is it that it is so rare for a woman to be a lycanthrope? Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a single female werewolf in literature or movies. It seemed like a rule I could pervert ever so slightly, and so she was a were-kin. But only hinted at.

So why did she allow herself to be taken out on a night she knew she might turn? Maybe she didn’t think about it. Maybe he “abducted” her, promising to drive her home, but taking her to a lake instead. Does it matter? I decided it didn’t matter, as that was not part of the story from the bookend I selected.

Moreover, she knew he was a passing phase. She might be horny, but she had no illusions of love and she was willing to scare him off, knowing he was impermanent. She wasn’t okay with killing him, which suggests ethics and control.

Maybe one of these days I’ll get off my monstrum and fey fixation. Seems unlikely, as I have always been enamored with monsters and dark castles with things that go bump in the night.

Postmortem: “Conspiracy”

I think I’m going to do a little more self-analysis a la Ellison with some of these short bits of fiction. I’m not sure that it matters or that anyone cares, but, as has been popular to say these past few weeks, “It is what it is.”

There’s no reason to bother yourself reading these postmortems — I’ll be honest and say they are more for myself than for any poor soul stumbling onto this site and being inundated with self-analysis. But they might be interesting, if you are into those kinds of things.

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