Story Time: The Penultimate Riddle

Today’s Story Time is from the August, 2005 issue of Realms of Fantasy, “The Penultimate Riddle,” later included in Worshipping Small Gods, my second ever story collection.

“The Penultimate Riddle,” like several of my stories, is a love story at heart. Sort of. Or maybe it’s about someone drawn to a mystery, because aren’t we all? Or maybe something else entirely. Make up your own mind. I’m still working it out myself. Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean I understand it.

As always, today’s story will remain online until next Wednesday, May 2nd. Until then, contemplate the mysteries.

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Story Time: The Fourth Apprentice

This week’s Story Time is a piece of original flash fiction, “The Fourth Apprentice.” Probably the less I say about it, the better. I was feeling a bit fey at the time.

 

As Always, “The Fourth Apprentice” will stay online only until next Wednesday, April 25. Then it will, mercifully, go away.

Story Time: Lord Goji’s Wedding

Today’s Story Time is “Lord Goji’s Wedding” and no, not that Goji. It’s a story  within a story, or an alleged zen parable within a story, or two stories being told at the same time, or something of the sort. It first appeared in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet #15, back in January of 2005.

As always, “Lord Goji’s Wedding” will remain online until next Wednesday, April 18th, when it will be replaced by another Story Time.

Everything’s Conditional

Weird weather yesterday. First it snowed for fifteen minutes to a half hour, then the sun came out and melted the snow, then the clouds came back and it snowed again. Lather, rinse, repeat all day long. It felt something like being back in MS, getting the remnants of whatever latest hurricane had just pounded the coast. What we got further inland (other than wind) were bands of cloud and rain, one after the other until the storm completely dissipated. Substitute snow for rain and you get the same effect.

Speaking of conditions—other than weather—I’m going to talk a little about writing conditions, as in conditions favorable for getting something, anything, done. It’s a bit Captain Obvious to point out that this varies. Some people can work anywhere, such as a bookstore display window, which Harlan Ellison has famously done. Or in crowded, noisy coffee shops, which is so common as to be a cliché, these days. I’ve never needed an ivory tower myself, which is a darn good thing considering the rent. My only real need, however, I have to express as a negative.

I do not need a television screen anywhere within sight of me.

See, I was a TV baby, one of the generation that grew up after the darn things were ubiquitous. My earliest exposure to f/sf was not Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, or Robert Heinlein. Nope. It was (really dating myself even more now) The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Fireball XL-5 (to this day I can still sing that hokey theme song). Books came later, but at least they did arrive, thank goodness, but I never did completely escape the boob tube’s clutches. To this day, if one is on within sight of me it draws my attention, no matter what crap is on. I’m not proud of it, but that’s just the way it is. When I was a kid I would often do homework watching the Adam West Batman or Dark Shadows with no problem at all. However, I’ve tried writing in front of a TV and it’s just impossible. The best I ever managed was, while living in a small apartment, writing with my back turned to it where it functioned more like a radio. In that configuration I could turn it into background noise and get on with working. Anywhere in front of me? Forget about it, and that holds true even today.

There are times when it would be more social and certainly convenient to work in front of one of those things, but it’s just impossible. Which is why I have to keep a library/study room wherever I am with no TV in sight. Computer screen? No problem, even with video streaming available, since it’s not the same thing. A TV?

That would be a “no.”