How are you and Judi and your cats doing during the pandemic?
Thanks for asking. As of this moment, months old by the time these words run, we are suffering no worse than cabin fever, and the three feline children are happily dealing with no worse than that irritating ailment, hyperesthesia.
Living through the COVID-19 pandemic now, although not world-ending, added an extra layer of interest to reading your story: Is there anything you’re observing around you now that surprises you?
At this moment, people are angrily gathering to protest quarantine, blockading hospital emergency rooms and whatnot, and no, while this disgusts me, this does not surprise me.
You reference Chekhov’s Gun, but adhere more scrupulously to the original quote than commonly seen: What’s your favorite advice to writers? Is there advice you commonly flout?
My favorite advice to writers is to wring the emotional reaction from yourself, first. When writing humor, you need to barely stand how witty you’re being; when you’re writing tragedy, you need to weep; when writing horror, you need to be appalled that this monstrous stuff is coming out of you. Hell, if you’re writing a thriller, you need to fear for your characters. Honestly, if you don’t react yourself, if it’s just a technical exercise, no one else is going to care either.
Despite its glowing reviews, I still can’t bring myself to read or listen to the audio version of “The Shallow End of the Pool.” I don’t think I could shake off the horror. How do you resurface after writing horror or a hard subject? Do you find yourself deliberately pivoting to comedy or lighter writing as a mind saver?
Although “Shallow End” shut me down for a few days, and so did “Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs” (available on Lightspeed), the answer is no. Sometimes one horror story leads to the next. Sometimes I have gone a full year or more without writing any. I will sometimes write very short stories as palate cleanser from a long project, but there the factor is length, not subject matter. If I can get a story done in a day while the next one is percolating, that’s just gravy.
Any news or projects you want to tell us about?
I have recently read a few of my older and shorter stories on YouTube, as an aid to distraction during the COVID quarantine. Just do a search via my name.
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