If you missed it, some short fiction of mine was included in Issue No. 12 Fall 2016 of 3Elements Review ("Spoor") and another story was self-published here. If you knew about both of these already and are interested in some notes on these stories, I've included some below. If you're sick of hearing me talk about prose and are wondering when I'm going to get back to comics, I'll try to make it up to you in 2017...
If I'm happy with one thing, it's the title. It makes me think of other cringey words like “spume” and “sparge.” I also like how the word rhymes with “door.” These simple pieces came together in the summer of 2015 and a year later I am happy to say that I am finally free of tinkering with it.
At times it reads like what I've heard described by Anya Groner as a "fuck you" poem—a vivisecting, vindicating narrative addressed to an unspecified you. It contains a wolf, Kishi Bashi, and my typical tendency of taking biblical quotes and placing them into odd contexts.
"The House Call"
Like all the stories I actually manage to finish, "The House Call" was written with a friend in mind. First, I want to credit Adam Whittier with inspiring this tale when he told me of his own twisted retelling in what would become Snake Rapunzel. Such stories are his specialty.
We originally talked of publishing our stories together while visiting Edward Gorey's house on the Cape of Massachusetts (in the summer of 2013). I remember Adam talking to me about studying Garth Williams' illustrations in the various works of E. B. White, laughing together over how Charlotte's Web's Templeton the Rat was such a dastardly, relatable, and oddly memorable character. We also reminisced over the "Fractured Fairy Tales" that used to air in the variety show segments in between the central narrative of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Both of us began work on our own fairy tales shortly thereafter.
Being something of one, Adam managed to craft his own likable curmudgeon. My favorite character by far in Snake Rapunzel is the talking porcupine, Luther—a prickly, cigar-chomping, yet lovable uncle only John Candy could do justice to. You can order a copy of Adam's book here.
“The House Call” was originally written in fall of 2013, but I wasn't quite happy with it until September of 2016. It's also sort of a sister-story to the ongoing Spiderella: the Girl Who Spoke with Spiders that I’m currently serializing with illustrations by Laurel Holden. Both stories were re-worked simultaneously. While Spiderella is intended for children, some may decide this strange little sister is not.
Death plays a very big part in "The House Call." This is my hint for deciphering an anagram hidden somewhere inside the story's confines. It has something to do with what the little girl’s mother is called—her official title. You don't need to find the anagram or decode it to enjoy the story—seeding them here and there is just a little game I play to keep the exercise of writing prose interesting.
I posted it online a little while after entering it into the Fairy Tale Review's 2016 contest for prose. It was not chosen, but just having something to submit made me happy. I went back, made a few revisions, and have decided to publish it myself. The advantage being that I get to do a few illustrations. If you catch a typo while reading it, be sure to tell me, and I'll make a note of it. I'd like to make posting short stories online a regular thing if possible. Among everything else, I'm currently working on another fairy tale interpretation loosely based on Snow White. Hopefully it will be done by the submission date for next year's issue of the Fairy Tale Review, or someday...
Lastly, I forgot to mention this (though I've always intended to). In May of 2013, Adam made this comic about me and my unfortunate iced tea binge habit (at that point, I would drink up to five icy, cold, unsweetened black teas a day). Adam gifted his original to me and I now both treasure and regard it ruefully as a cautionary tale. These days, I've traded my former addiction for three or so cups of decaffeinated hot tea instead. The latter takes considerably longer to drink. It's good for me to be forced to patiently await for my tea to cool each time I make a new cup.