Oftentimes, I'll begin a story, or a vignette, get a thousand or so words written, then hit a wall. When this happens, the pieces are shelved, and I always mean to get back to them. It just usually never happens. Yesterday, I dusted off a vignette I began on June 10, 2006, almost three years ago, and went back to work on it. It's called "Fish Wife," and I added 1,035 words to it yesterday. I'd actually intended to finish it for Sirenia Digest #41, last month, but then other tales occurred to me, instead. Now, it will appear in #42. On June 11, 2006, I wrote of the story:
"Yesterday, there were words and a very brief hope that I'd found the next vignette. I began something called "Fish Wife," but 1,012 words in, it told me it was a short story, not a vignette, and that it would not be perverted into something it was never meant to be. Which is to say, yes, I wrote yesterday, but what I wrote was of no particular help whatsoever. Which puts me back where I began. 27...no, 28 ideas presently unavailable. Think of something else. Think of something else. Now."
And here it is, wanting to be a very short piece, after all. Surprise.
The following comment was posted to the blog mirror at MySpace, regarding my comments on the difficulty of writing "lost world" stories in this day and age:
I humbly disagree, there are many places left in this world to hide. The deep sea is a mystery as are the caverns of earth...And as far as space, we only look at tiny, tiny pieces at a time, it really would not be hard for something to "slip by" especially if it didn't fit our limited specification of being "life."
I should have made myself clearer. I was speaking strictly of stories involving undiscovered or forgotten terran landmasses above sea level. Yes, of course, deep space is wide open, but hardly the same. As for the deep sea, while much of it remains unexplored, it has been very well mapped. I'm sure very many strange things await discovery beneath the waves, but not things on the order of "lost continents." As for caverns, the best you can hope for there are microenviroments. These can also make for great story fodder, but also weren't what I was speaking of when I spoke of lost worlds. In the time of high-resolution satellite cartography, it's hard to hide so much as a boulder, much less anything even as meager as an island.
And my thanks to sovay for linking to this story, which I'd missed: "Venetia Phair Dies at 90; as a Girl, She Named Pluto."
On Saturday night, we watched a trio of short Asian horror films collectively titled Sam gang yi (2004; marketed in the US as Three Extremes). It includes Fruit Chan's "Dumplings," Chan-wook Park's "Cut," and Takashi Miike's "The Box." Though I enjoyed all three, I was especially impressed by "The Box," a grim sort of adult fairy tale, like something that might have come from Angela Carter's travels in Japan. It left me wanting to see more of Miike's work. Then, last night, we watched the decidedly bland Rise, directed by Sebastian Gutierrez, and starring the usually far more interesting Lucy Lui (and also Michael Chiklis, who's never really interested me). Ace reporter gets vampirized and goes on a suicidal, vengeful vamp-killing spree. How many times have we been treated to this fundamental scenario now, in one permutation or another? Regardless, it really could have been a lot better, even working from such hackneyed material. There were moments, here and there, but nowhere near enough to save the whole.
Yesterday, Spooky drove down to her parent's farm in Saunderstown, and she took some very encouraging photographs of spring, including apple and blueberry blossoms, wild flowers, and Spider cat:
All photos Copyright © 2009 by Kathryn A. Pollnac