Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Echoes: Part 3


These are busy days. In addition to finishing the manuscript of Vipers (the followup novel to last year's Veins), I'm looking forward to a fair number of readings and signings. The next event is tomorrow, at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley, PA. After that I plan to finish Vipers and send it off before sending myself to World Fantasy, where, in addition to moderating a panel on rural fantasy, I plan to take part in the debut of Gaslight Grotesque, the new Sherlock Holmes anthology edited by Charles Prepolec and J. R. Campbell. Then its off to more readings in Pennsylvania and Delaware. In short, busy.

With so much happening, there's a good chance I'll be putting this blog on hold for a while, coming back to it when I can. We'll see how things shake out in the days to come, but for now I want to make good on my promise to finish a story about the origins of "Echoes." If you haven't read this week's earlier postings, go take a look. There's no point in reading the ending unless you know the beginning.

For those of you who have been here right along, the story continues:

The morning after she agreed to help my grandmother, my grant aunt told my father to get ready. They were going out for the day. “My boys, too?” my father asked. “Yes. All of you. We’re going out.” And so the five of them, my great aunt, my father, and the three river-builders climbed into a Buick and drove off into the haze of a Pittsburgh morning.

That evening, when the table was being set for dinner, only two returned.

My father looked at the table. “Who are all these plates for?”

“For the boys,” my grandmother said.

“What boys?”

My grandmother looked at my great aunt. My great aunt said nothing.

The boys were gone, never to be heard from again.

Neither my great aunt nor my father ever acknowledged what had happened to those boys, or where they had gone on that long day away from home, and it was in that mystery that I felt the stirrings of a story. In the days that followed, I must have worked out a dozen different plots, but none of them held. I wanted something different, something that hadn’t been done before, and gradually the story began to change and, as is often the case, move away from the spark that had started the kindling.

“Echoes” is about neither my great aunt nor my father, but within it is the sense of mystery that I felt when I first listened to my grandmother’s story twenty-five years ago.

The story has done well for itself, and to this day it reminds me that writers should resist shutting out the world. We must be dedicated to the process of creating stories, but we must nevertheless remain open to the stories that surround us.

And now, if you'll excuse me, that world is calling. I will resume this blog when I can.

Until then, keep the vision.

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