There are stories that make me proud I wrote them and there’s this one. Writing sometimes takes me places that aren’t pleasant, with characters who are unlikable, where a scalding shower might be needed to wash off the scum. Fortunately, there are journals like Close To The Bone who love this kind of stuff.
This story was first published in August 2018, nestled within a forest of pieces in The Writers’ Cafe Magazine. Walk quietly or you might frighten it. The theme of Issue 11 was “Into The Woods” and you’ll find an amazing amount of quality poems and stories to read. My story is reprinted below.
by DL Shirey
Trees masked the remains of daylight, the forest floor now darker than the sky. Greens and browns of pine and fir barely colored the cold, gray shadows. It was time to camp, but a distant, interminable howl kept me hiking forward. This was animal sound; a creature’s lament, the last, weak fragments of pain. There was no other noise, not even wind. Nothing but still, feral death.
Went on two trips recently, both lending significant portions to this piece of fiction. The church came from Santa Fe, NM. The musicians came from Austin, TX. Together they formed the backbone of this story. It was published by Wild Musette Journal in their “Vegetable Pulp” issue. Journals are available in paperback and ebook formats. Please support Wild Musette, an independent publisher that focuses on music, dance and storytelling.
David Bowie always fascinated me, so I thought it was about time I worked him into a story. Not that I ever wanted to have sex with Bowie, but that’s the fun of science fiction– if it’s done right, almost anything can happen. This short story appears in issue 14 of Riggwelter, one of my favorite online journals.
There are 35 September additions to my list of journals that specialize in publishing prose with smaller word counts.
The one thing that stood out in the new titles of these journals is the number of words I had to look up. Constellary Tales is a magazine and podcast named in homage to the master work of Geoffrey Chaucer. A similar sounding title, Constellate Literary Journal, references the verb that means to cluster together, as stars do. Occulum seems to be a fabricated word, however the logo is in the form of an eye chart. Hematopoiesis Press uses a term describing the method of creating new blood cells. Finally, Apricity: an obsolete word that describes the feeling of the warmth of the sun in the winter.
Check them all out, plus the many others new to the list.
This piece is less about being a band geek in high school and more about adolescent humor and bad judgement. It stars my pal Charlie Banks and kindly published in July 2018 by Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight.
by DL Shirey
It went like this: Two high school buddies square off in mock confrontation, voices brimming with testosterone. Mine’s longer than yours. No way, mine’s longer. Belts are unbuckled, giving the impression to nearby girls of an imminent comparison of penises. They are whipped out with a flourish–the belts, I mean–and held up to one another to see who wins.
This was foreplay in 1973, when I had no idea what it took to attract the opposite sex. Acting the buffoon was a way to get attention, as was ’70s fashion statements like bell-bottom Levi’s, flower-print shirt and a white belt. I even had a pair of platform shoes, which, thank God, went out of fashion before the year was up.
This Drabble, a story exactly 100 words long, was published by Friday Flash Fiction. It’s a tale of an unnecessary medical procedure. Unnecessary because, well, that would be a spoiler.