Story Time: Crows

Today’s Story Time is “Crows,” originally published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination in Summer, 2000, and later collected in Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris and Other Stories in 2011. It’s not exactly an optimistic story, depending on your point of view, but…well, there aren’t really any “buts.”

Sometimes you just have to let the Dark Side out to play.

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Story Time: Drowning My Sorrows

To make up for being so late with Story Time today, I’m uploading a piece of original flash fiction, “Drowning My Sorrows.”*

Also a brief announcement: Two books, Ghost Trouble: The Casefiles of Eli Mothersbaugh and The Collected Tymon the Black are now available through Google Play. I’ll be adding more as time allows.

As always, “Drowning My Sorrows” will only be available until next Wednesday, December 13th, and then the story changes.

 

*Edited to add: Actually, this is the story’s second appearance. I did an earlier version as a blog post some time ago and completely forgot about it. To make up for it, I’ll be adding one more Story Time this week, probably Friday**. I’ll keep both up until next Wednesday, when we’ll start over and try not to repeat that mistake.

**And done. The second Story Time Story is also up now on the same page as the first. This one is “The Queen of Diamonds.”

Story Time: The Beauty of Things Unseen

Today’s Story Time is “The Beauty of Things Unseen,” originally published in 1999 in Quantum SF, edited by Kurt Roth. As I mentioned previously in my post on Katherine Briggs, this was one of the early stories I got from the notion of the “fairy funeral.” Of course, that’s not exactly what the story is about–you can work that out for yourself–but I do come up with at least one suitable theory along the way.

 

 

 

As always with these things, “The Beauty of Things Unseen” will remain up until next Wednesday, December 6th. Until then, I hope, enjoy.

Podsnappery

Podsnappery (n).

Yep. It’s a real word. Not much in vogue these days, but big back in Victorian England and still in the dictionary. Supposedly linked to a character from Dickens’s novel Our Mutual Friend, a Mr. Podsnap, who lived in a state of blissful denial completely unsullied by unpleasant facts, and thus raised a child who grew up with absolutely no understanding of what the world was really like outside her home, and met it unprepared. I think this word is overdue for renewal, seeing as how so many of my fellow citizens seem to be living under its influence, and nothing else serves so well. “Ignorance” and “denial” come close, but neither does the full job.

English as a language is like that, he said, which should be perfectly obvious to anyone paying attention. We invent new words, borrow new words, and the language evolves. Anyone who doubts that, remember the prologue to the Canterbury Tales? That was proper English, once. Now the average English speaker can still sort out what it means, but only to a certain degree of accuracy. Words drop out of use, or gain new usages over time. “Gay” used to mean one thing, and not very long ago. Now it means something else. People stopped arguing over the difference between “affect” and “effect” and simply borrowed “impact” to mean what they used to mean by “affect.” Can’t say I’m in favor, since “impact” still means “hit” so far as I’m concerned, and being hit does affect you, true, and often effects a change, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. Still, I admit the war is over on that one and I think English lost. Some battles are still being fought, however. For instance, do not attempt to use “irregardless” as a real word around First Reader. She will pin your ears back.

It’s right and proper that new words meet some resistance. They need to be tested and proven before they join the language. Regardless, new words enter usage all the time, sometimes driven by technology (how long before “lol” or “afaik” is accepted spoken usage?), sometimes by necessity, as in “We need a word for that!” whatever that may be. I’m in favor of an import from Japanese, “aware.” No, not “ah-ware” but “ah wa re,” the concept that a transient thing is beautiful, not necessarily because it is pleasing to the eye (though it may be), but also because it is ephemeral and will not last. Like a sunset, or a flower in full bloom, or the turn of a leaf in autumn. Fleeting. I’m not holding my breath or anything, but just putting it out there. It’s a favorite word of mine and I’d love to see it come into English usage, but I know the odds are long.

After all, to think otherwise is to be a tad podsnappy.

Story Time: Brillig

This week’s Story Time, with apologies to Lewis Carroll, is “Brillig.”

I’ve always loved the poem “Jabberwocky,” partly because it never made a lot of sense, mostly for the wordplay. Reciting it aloud, which at one time I could do, always struck me as asking for trouble, however. Why? Darned if I know. But I thought it worth thinking about, which is one way a story will manifest–just thinking about something and writing it down. About the same time, Sean Wallace at Prime Books (later publisher of the Yamada series) was putting together a short run of weird fiction chapbooks called, wait for it, Jabberwocky. This one appeared in Jabberwocky #2.