Note: I actually nuked this post the day I wrote it (May 9th), but before I did, something told me to save it as a word document, just in case....
Since I'm hip deep in doing the....yeech...editing of my manuscript and thus really don't have the brain cells to comp up with an original short story idea (well, yeah, I do have the brain cells, they're just occupied with other pleasantries at the moment), I thought I would make an attempt at rewriting one of my old short stories for FSG.
I took it out, dusted off the footprints and shooed away the dust bunnies, and began reading it, with the faint hope of trying to figure out what the hell I wrote.
Boy am I in trouble.
First off, let me say this: Charles, your student's bad/atrocious/lazy writing ain't got nothing on this twenty page collection of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, misplaced and non-existent grammar that came from my pen in 2006. I dare say your class would have a field day in finding all of the atrocious errors contained in this story and hard pressed to find something good.
Secondly, while I may have had an inkling as to what the plot was when I wrote it four years ago, that inkling has all but vanished. Clueless in Connecticut one might say.
However, the news isn't all doom and gloom (cliched I know, so sue me) because I did manage to find a few small seedlings poking their collective heads up through the muck and filth.;
While the prose is indeed horrific, this story did contain rudimentary elements that were to become prevalent themes throughout much of my story writing.
1} Soul music. I became a decent fan of 70's soul/funk music quite late in my life. I say late, because I never fully appreciated that music until I got serious about writing. I started using soul & funk as scene settings because I found that it played the whole emotional spectrum of Love like no other.
While this story refers to Donny Hathaway, other stories make use of artists like the Chi-Lites, E.W.F. and Minnie Riperton. What it boils down to is that to me, soul & funk are one of the tools that I try to use to make that particular emotional aspect of my writing (Love) come alive.
2} Sex. This story features my first decent attempt at using sex in a non-hardcore way. Because I decided to use soul music as a scene setting, I wanted to have the characters do something that would compliment the music. So this story features the first appearance of the sensual massage. Even though it came off incredibly clunky, at the very least it gave me a decent alternative to the "wham, bam, thank you ma'am." that my writing was featuring at that time.
3) Interracial. By now, most of you have probably been able to figure out from reading Flashing Georgie's Shorts, that the majority of the male/female and female/female couplings, along with the singular female in those stories, feature women of color. I'm not really sure on how that came about, other than probably the women that I do know and that I respect, and ones that I'm friends with, are of color. Because I found these women to be the total package of today's modern woman, they became from the get-go, my steady role models for nearly all of the female characters that I've written in the past four years.
Overall, reading this story was a fascinating trip through time, simply because I was able to see the rudimentary beginnings of what were going to be the major components of my writing. Even though the initial attempts at using those elements in this story were clunky, with practice and patience, I grew more comfortable in not only using those basic elements, but expanding on those basic elements as well.
One last point: I said earlier that I had no inkling on what the plot was for this story. After giving it some careful thought (and re-reading the story ten times), I still have no clue on what the thing was about. However, while sitting outside on break at work on a cold windy day last week contemplating just exactly what this story was about, I spied a small note on the first page that said, retitle Casual Conversation (original title is Taxi!). So I'm gonna take that particular nugget and pound on it until it screams and hopefully, it will turn out to be something that I would be proud to admit to ownership off.
Because quite frankly, I don't want to admit ownership to this story as it currently stands.