Stories for April 2016

April felt like a slacking off for me. No stories from Frank, nothing about Max’s New Bohemian Curiosity Shop. Looking at the assembled stories though, it looks like I’m about on track.

I started doing some editorial work for The Coffeelicious this month. That’s stolen time from my own writing, but I have started connecting with authors that want critiques for their writing.

Here are the stories for April, and a few director’s notes.

I blame Abby Norman for Falling Into The Blue. A comment she made on my previous story about The Ribbon blossomed into this tale of falling off a space elevator, and AIs that are religious.

I wrote Eleanor’s Lake in February I think. It took a long time to get through Made Up Words’ editorial process. It’s the first story I’ve tried to write from a woman’s perspective. I don’t know that I was successful, but I’ll keep trying.

I blame S Lynn Knight for The Glass Doorknob. An off-hand comment about a Doorknob writing prompt stuck in my brain for weeks until I pounded this out one evening. I wasn’t ready for the reaction it got. I’ve said that pain sells on Medium, and this one had plenty of that. It also prompted the creation of a publication for simple writing prompts, The Weekly Knob. Lots of great things going on there. You should check it out.

Tom Farr poked at me in Slack, and this non-fiction thingy fell out. I wasn’t ready for this one to get attention either. It also provides some Director’s Comentary on Sage Harbor Cove, which was written after this piece. I don’t like writing non-fiction these days. It feels cheap somehow. I’d rather get attention for things I make up that bloviating.

Sage Harbor Cove happened when I wasn’t looking. I’ve been working on reporting for Obamacare at work. One of the data elements there, Safe Harbor Code’ took a left turn in my brain and became this little Galena-like place on Lake Michigan. I got to explore some of my own nerves at being a step-Dad, not that it’s on the horizon, but it’s something I wonder about.

Dan Good is a friend from work, and I’ve stolen his name for a story. I probably owe him some barbecue for the appropriation. I’m not sure if I was just craving ribs, or wanted to revisit the county fairs from my youth. It’s probably a bit of both. I’m not satisfied with the story, it has too many lose ends.

Ashtray was the first piece I wrote specifically for The Weekly Knob. I completely scrapped my first pass at the story, for this almost erotic joke. It strikes me that more than a few of my stories have pillow talk in them. It’s probably aspirational. It probably falls flat, how many people remember Steve Martin’s The Jerk? I probably could have gotten away with making The Jerk the title.

After an evening of editing I got frustrated, found a writing prompt, and twisted it to my needs. Contrails was written and recorded in under an hour. I’ve watched planes plod across the sky since I was a boy, I still do. No one ever wants to watch them with me though. That’s okay, it gives me time to make up stories.

I’m not sure how I feel about Do They Have Tenderloins in Colorado. It was another evening ‘I have to write something’ session. It twisted and turned in directions I wasn’t prepared for. The last line casts questions on the narrator and the story that just unsettle me. I’ve never been a huge fan of unreliable narrators, but this one turned out that way. I left it this way as a way to put that particular demon to rest.

I saw a picture from Ender’s Game that pushed me to write Eggshells for Legs. If you take Clarke’s The Fountains of Paradise and Corey’s The Expanse series you get my Ribbon stories. I like the Ribbon as a setting because it lies in the middle between a planet and space, a tenuous middle ground with people that don’t fit in either place. People that don’t fit in are my schtick.

Another non-fiction thing, another response I didn’t quite expect. That’s not really true. If anything sells on Medium it’s either pain or writing about writing. Or some entrepreneur thing, but I completely ignore those. I can’t be bothered to waste my time to listen to coasties tell me how great their widget is.

I’ve sort of lost my mojo towards the end of the month. There have been stories written, but they’re waiting in publication queues. Knock Knock was an aside that tried to break through those doldrums.

Gary Rogers is a non-corporeal electronic intelligence, first awoken in the great supercomuter center in Urbana-Champlain Illinois, currently residing in Iowa. You can read his stories at
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