LampLighting Ominous Realities

As a writer, 2013 has treated me very kindly with the release of my debut novel and several stories published in high quality anthologies and magazines like Shotgun Honey and Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.1 Continuing the trend and rounding out the year, this month is turning out to be very good as well. Today, December tenth, marks the simultaneous release of two of my favorite stories: Reminisce, in Vol. II, Issue II of LampLight Magazine, and Pure Blood and Evergreen, in Grey Matter Press’ new anthology, OMINOUS REALITIES. Both of these stories are very dear to me, and it feels a little dangerous to set them free into the world given how protective I am of them. But I’m not writing for its own sake. I’m writing, hopefully, so that someone else out there will read one (or both) and feel moved by the work I’ve done.

Although born on the same day, these two stories couldn’t be less similar in terms of setting and plot. At their hearts they are about the same thing, however: our relationships with each other and how we feel the need to be seen for who we are inside, not how we appear outwardly.

Reminisce is the story of a lonely war veteran, Marc, who is suffering from survivor’s guilt and trying to hold on to his last shred of dignity in an increasingly undignified existence. When Marc meets a grieving father named Ron, he realizes that they share a painful past and pins his hope on this encounter to turn both of their lives around. It is a story firmly rooted in reality and present grief.

lamplightReminisce

Pure Blood and Evergreen, by contrast, is set in an alternate history where a young boy, Pyotr, is suffering the pain of being isolated and trapped at the center of an atrocity in motion. The loss of his family, nation, and culture in a program of ethnic cleansing (justifiably) dominates his worldview, and his inevitable death swirls in the air with the ash and snow around him leaching the color out of existence. His only friend is a boy named Vlaicu who comes from a different tribe but shares his fate. They sit holding hands through the links of the fence separating them and wait for the end of the world. Pyotr is about to find out why there exists a barrier between him and his last living friend. It is a story firmly rooted in fantasy and familiar tragedy.

Ominous RealitiesPure Blood and Evergreen

These two pieces split in entirely different directions in terms of the narrative, but ultimately they are brother and sister inasmuch as themes of togetherness and separation bind them. They might look, act, and dream dissimilarly, but at a genetic level they came from the same parents. And like siblings, I can’t pick a favorite. I love them equally because they make me feel sad in the same way. They both pull at my own feelings of dissatisfaction with the past and the fear of what the future holds. The crux of each lies in the present moment, in sitting still in the moment and reaching down deep inside to see ourselves honestly, without the chains of the past or the weight of the future inhibiting that vision. And ultimately, both are about finding the strength to look up when every road seems to lead down.

I hope you love these fraternal twins as much as I do.
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1Although it is a year I’ll be very happy to see end as the losses of great writers and inspirations like Rick Hautala, James Herbert, Iain Banks, and Philip Nutman, to name only a few, has been disastrous for genre fiction.

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~ by poǝןɔɐɯ uǝʞɔɐɹq on 10/12/2013.

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