Monday, April 13, 2009

Looking Back: 2005

Continuing the demystification of, here are some comments and notes on stories I published online in 2005.

Imaginary Girl

Imaginary Girl was a character study about a mute and anaemic girl named Anna. I had the idea to only write about Anna for an entire year, but quickly failed to follow through on this concept due to the limitations of the character and the limitations of my abilities at the time. There were three or four stories -- with their own self-contained absurdist plots -- written after this study.

Saccharine: A Sugar Tale

Saccharine was one of those stories. I wrote it for Marisa Williams and attempted to give it an endearing, childlike quality that was nowhere to be found in anything I had written previously. If not for Marisa, there probably would never have been Hana. This story was also my first collaboration with Ramon Sierra, also known as Cocor. While I wrote Saccharine for Marisa to make up for all the bitter and melancholic stories she had read by me, I would later write Respect the Dead and the Battler for Cocor to make up for all the endearing and sentimental stories he illustrated.


Nightingale was inspired by the writings of Zachary Scott Piper -- Bill for short -- and was written to be completely different from anything else I had done previously. Looking back at it now, I can see that it shares many traits with some earlier vignettes. I essentially rewrote this story once I saw Cocor's illustration for it, hoping to at least somewhat match the quality and atmosphere of his art.

Amy Kadmon

A character study and the last appearance in my writings of the titular character. This study was originally the opening to a large fantasy work intended to be a type of picture book produced with Mike Webb. Mike Webb did some drawings for it but soon gave up. At the point were Amy falls asleep in this study, she just as quickly wakes to her entire town flooded, and from there goes on an adventure to another world. I believe I stopped writing at the point where she meets up with a ghost who explains her situation to her.

Judy Bloom

(Comment from Gabrielle Rose's art blog.)

I wrote this story while reading a lot of Nabokov and other decadent writers (Huysmans, Ovid), and had a lot of fun writing it, but I know better than to try something like it again. The story, [as Gabrielle Rose says], is full of floral vocabularly -- with maybe a third of the words being made up -- and that's about all it is. With this story I wanted to force myself to become a better writer and then went off the deep end. Then I went even further with the story I wrote afterwards, but I won't even talk about that. Less is more, indeed.

The story I wrote after this was 12 November 1993.


It's fun to think about all the original intentions for August. It was originally going to be a novella. Then it was going to be the focus of an album of songs by a short-lived band I was part of called The Stories, which consisted of John Wilkins, Dean Cherry, and then myself off in a corner. I think the most effort went into that: I was there for practice sessions, went out to make field recordings with Dean, and fed what little ideas I had about music into it. In the end the story was left as a story, and what was supposed to be the first chapter was broken into three parts and became a short. The depiction of an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister was apparently the most distateful thing I had written at the time, and made it difficult to find an illustrator willing to take on the story.

12 November 1993

A story I regret posting online more than I regret writing. This was the deep end I dove into after completing Judy Bloom, and the end result is perhaps the most unreadable thing I have ever written. It is a vignette attempting to be a story, and the abuse of a thesaurus, endless quotations, direct references to my childhood, and obscure ideas regarding poetry all make it something that, most likely, could only ever be enjoyed by myself. This was my final collaboration with Cassandra Marchman.

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