My upcoming book of short short stories, Shake Away These Constant Days, originated as a project called Our Band Could Be Your Lit, in which I wrote a story under 1000 words every week. To generate this much content, I based the stories on songs suggested my musicians and writers from around the world. The original idea was 100 songs, 100 stories: find the creative common ground between two mediums and cultivating the virtue found therein.
Until September 25th, I'll be doing a blog post a day about the stories in the book. After that, it's all up to you.
Originally OBCBYL #29. Like I mentioned yesterday, the music of Pink Floyd is hard to separate from the mythology of Pink Floyd. I’m no good at reinventions, and, like with “Smoke On the Water,” I’d known the Wish You Were Here story forever. Some people can take a fairy tale and make it something new. I can barely take a story I invented myself and make it something at all.
The opening image of someone watching the family videos of strangers was something I’d had in mind for awhile. A story like this is why I think prompts are good. If a writer is worth a goddamn, their personality and voice will come out no matter what. Any sort of direction a prompt gives is just that: direction. It ain’t the car.
One of the dumbest things I’ve ever done in my writing is take the line about riding the gravy train and automatically turning it into a reason to set the story at a Thanksgiving dinner.
There’s something about this story that I think is missing, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone who might actually be inclined to read the book, but I think the set-up of the narrator watching those home videos of other people’s lives needs another sentence, two at the most, to really solidify the parallels between him and the man in the Thanksgiving video. I think it works as is—obviously, as it made the book—and maybe it’s just me, but I want a bit of Gary Lutz exposition in there right away.
At 286 words, it’s the shortest story in the book, one of the shortest stories I’ve ever written. Now might be a good time to admit that I never wanted to be a flash fiction writer, but, now that I think about it, maybe not. Why waste the words?
Tomorrow: A story named "--:--" that is based on the song "The Beginning and the End" by ISIS.
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