Over the past few months I’ve been writing like a madman, working on a number of different projects. I’m poised now to start publishing like a madman, and I’m really excited to get some of these stories out there.
I can’t say that I’m more excited about one over another, but one of the projects I’ve been working on is pretty near to my heart and has been since 1993.
Some of my friends from college might remember a short story I wrote that year called Iron Curling Ale. I “published” that story on a Xerox machine and left it with copies of MoonCalf Press (who remembers MoonCalf?) down at Oz’s shop in downtown Milledgeville.
A year or so ago one of my friends from college, Donna Lastinger, said she had looked for her old copy of Iron Curling Ale and said she couldn’t find it. It just happened that about a month before that I’d found several old copies, so I went into a big box in my garage and dug through a bunch of old stories I had written in college and found the original Iron Curling Ale and sent it to Donna.
Then I started thinking that maybe I should publish Iron Curling Ale on Kindle just for fun.
But when I started to read it, I was appalled at how awful it was. Twenty-something years later, it wasn’t nearly the masterpiece I remembered it being. So I started rewriting it instead.
I don’t know that it’s any more a masterpiece than it was when I first wrote it, but I’ve put some meat on the bones, changed some things and tried very hard to remember who I was and how I saw the world in 1993 when I wrote the first version of this story. As I rewrote the story, I didn’t want to lose the voice of that 20-year-old.
I’m really pleased with the result. I think I managed to keep the spirit of the original story, but I reworked some of the things that I realized 20 years later didn’t work. I added quite a bit – it went from being about 5,000 words to being 20,000 words. I followed the original story – one does not look completely different from the other – but I fleshed out the parts that were lacking. Oh, and I gave Kim dark hair.
When I first wrote Iron Curling Ale, I thought what I wanted was a short story that felt like a rock song. I wanted my story to have that same emotion of barely restrained aggression that my favorite songs feel like. With that in mind, I broke the story up into sections (chapters, I guess we could call them) that I patterned after the parts of a song. It’s the sort of thing I might have tried to pull off 20 years ago.
I like the way it turned out, and I hope it works for readers.
It’s a pretty rough story with lots of foul language and some mildly graphic sex scenes and some violence and a lot of drinking and drug use and driving while intoxicated. If you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, you’re probably better off reading “Four Things My Wife Hates About Mornings” and ignoring the fact that I’ve written anything else.
As usual, my protagonist is a sort of anti-hero. I don’t know why all of the heroes in my stories have to be awful people. I have many friends with degrees in psychology, and perhaps I should spend some time working through some of these issues with them. Richard Page, Suzanne Bloom … I’m looking specifically at the two of you.
Anyway, I’m releasing Iron Curling Ale on Monday, May 11, but in the meantime I thought I’d post the cover so you can take a look at it and wait with anticipation for the release date of the awesome story behind it.