Short Stories 365/235

“The Faerie Cony-Catcher” by Delia Sherman from So Fey: Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.

This is me, on my feet, clapping madly and yelling “Bravo!”

This story is written in the language of Shakespeare’s time. I’ve mentioned here that my family used to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, every year. We’d see a matinee and an evening performance every day for three days, then journey on to Toronto, except for one year, when we went to Montreal and Quebec instead.

As much as I enjoy stories like this, I can’t imagine trying to write something original this way.

Bravo! Bravo!

Nick is an ambitious young man, a journeyman jeweler and goldsmith. Determined to leave the big city behind and make a name for himself in the country, he strikes out on his own, with all his worldly possessions. Very quickly he meets a maid, Peasecod, who he’s quite taken with, and shortly after that finds himself unexpectedly having an audience with the faerie queen. He manages to keep his wits about him, but leaves the court tasked with a test of sorts. If he passes the test, his future happiness is all but assured. If he doesn’t, it will be disaster for him as well as for Peasecod.

Bravo!

Short Stories 365/234

“Attracting Opposites” by Carl Vaughn Frick from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.

Here is an author who derives an awful lot of joy from words. It’s delightful, and infectious. How can you not be made giddy by passages such as:

Publicly, pixies look down upon imps as backward bumpkins, bumbling in dark and damp domains. Imps see pixies as uppity, giggly snobs, sniffing too many snootfuls of pollen. Both do agree that elves are much worse. Upon the odd dawn when a pixie wakes up next to an imp in some flop of a fen…

Theodore Winkle is yet another type of magical creature, a faerie. He was switched at birth for a human baby, a practice peculiar to faeries and distrusted by pixies and imps.

Thankfully for the main character he ended up with a Unitarian family. Unitarians, the author tells us, “can embrace anything”. Having spent time as a member of a Unitarian congregation and been married by a Unitarian minister, I can vouch for the validity of that statement.

Poor Winkle wanders through his work day feeling out of place because, well, he is. He’s buoyed when he receives an invitation from a friend to come to a “faerie gathering” in a field on the outskirts of town, but it turns out to be nothing but somewhat silly humans cavorting with one another. More distraught than ever, Winkle wanders off from his campsite. Eventually he stumbles into a clearing where he spies someone truly like himself: a pixie named Morning Glory.

This was another story where mid-way through reading it my face began to hurt from smiling so much. It’s not a long story, but all things considered, that was okay. It was just right.

For Becky Cochrane

I miss Runway Monday, btw. Hope your life calms down soon so you can get back to doing the challenges.

For those of you who don’t know, Becky’s been taking on the weekly challenges from Project Runway, dressing up Barbie dolls. You can see her creations as well as read about the books she’s authored, co-authored and edited by visiting BeckyCochrane.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That River

Hopefully, the YouTube link for the song “That River” by Jim Byrnes will actually work. This is “that river”, and I sat awhile looking out at it, thinking of the song.  If you’ve never heard the song, especially if you are in love with New Orleans, stop what you’re doing and listen to it now. And if you’ve never sat by the river being referred to in this song, you should start making plans to remedy that situation, too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Short Stories 365/233

“Touch” by M. Kate Havas from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.

Trinny is attracted to girls and surrounded by straight peers. When the story opens they’re in the woods, engaged in a drunken game of Truth or Dare. Trinny’s about to French kiss a tree rather than risk having someone ask her about her sexuality.

She does, indeed, French kiss the tree, and it turns out to be a very bad idea. It attracts the attention of faery folk, most notably a harsh faery woman. The next thing Trinny knows a week has passed and she barely has any recollection of it, except for the time she spent dancing with her new mistress and the other revelers.

It barely registers with her when her friends tell her she looks like a homeless person. She has bits of twigs and leaves in her hair and bags under her eyes. Her boyfriend Ryan is convinced she’s on drugs. So is her best friend Chelsea. Not that Trinny much cares. She only wants to return to her faery mistress. When Chelsea tries to get her to open up about having a substance abuse problem, Trinny gets the bright idea to bring Chelsea with her into the faery world, so she can see for herself just how wonderful it is.

The thing is, her mistress has forbidden her to even tell anyone about what she’s seen, let alone bring someone into their realm. (If you’ve made it this far into the anthology you should know that it’s not wise to cross one of the fae.)

I enjoyed this story but I was left waiting for a conclusion that was never drawn. Especially after a visibly shaken Chelsea asked, “Trinny, can’t you see what this is?” I wanted to know what it was, precisely, that Chelsea saw. Was the Faery queen really a junkie? A bag lady? An animal? A figment created by a diseased mind? Did Chelsea just see them that way? Was it due to a protective spell Trinny’s mistress cast? At the very least I wanted the girls to talk about it afterward, and compare notes. Wouldn’t you, if you were them?

I did appreciate the happy ending, though. Given that the story was pretty gritty and bleak throughout, I wasn’t expecting that, and it was nice.

Short Stories 365/232

“Isis in Darkness” by Christopher Barzak from So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.

Isis (birth name Iris Smith) has run away to the city to escape a rough home life. Right away she meets Rem, who invites her to the abandoned church where he and two of his friends, Lola and Meph, are squatters. They welcome Isis into their created family without ever pushing her to reveal details about herself.

The thing is, Isis isn’t your typical runaway, and neither are the others. Rem and company style themselves “Orphyns”, one jump from regular street kids because each one has an unusual ability. It’s tempting to say a superpower, but that would be incorrect. None of them can control their unique talent, or even work it to their advantage. They’re more misfit toys that mutants ala Marvel’s X-men. Consequently, they’re living hand-to-mouth, pulling things from dumpsters, begging change, spending what little cash they have at thrift shops, to get what they cannot find for free.

Just at the point when Isis starts to let her guard down with Rem he has a run-in with a member of the group he calls the Nothings. Things go south quickly, and it falls to Isis to try to save him.

This is a great set-up for a much longer work. I’d love to read a novel about these characters and their adventures, or even an entire series of books. Then again, maybe it could be a television series or a movie. That’s not far-fetched. The author’s novel One for Sorrow was just turned into the film Jamie Marks is Dead, featuring Liv Tyler and Judy Greer, among others. I was hoping that film would make it to the Louisville GLBT film festival, happening this weekend, but alas, no dice.

Every Propmaster in the World Knows

…why I felt compelled to take photos of this building.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Give a shout out if you’ve ever ordered breakaway JAX beer bottles for a production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Give a bigger shout out if you did the play during that magical period of time when the breakaway company underwent some disaster, and you had to cast your own JAX beer bottle mold and then heat, pour, and tumble the resin for your own breakaway JAX bottles.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shout louder than that if the people in your campus library called the fire department because of the acrid and toxic fumes seeping through the air handling system. Ah, good times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(If you know someone in technical theatre and they seem a little off, a story or two or ten like this is probably the reason why.)