Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Amy, Her City

No news from St Thomas. Still in a freeze here. But:

I recently had a new short story appear in the virtual pages of The Matador Review. It's called "Amy, Her City" and is about cities and stalkers and dreams. I have to thank Ms. Grassi (whom I first met indirectly when my story "How You Sleep at Night" appeared in issue #20 of The Puritan alongside her "Air Show"), who not only helped me revise the piece, but actually catalyzed it by humoring me when I texted her some months ago to ask her to toss a writing prompt my way. As it happens, the finished story doesn't much resemble the two-sentence zygote from which it mitosed—but as the analogy implies, that's just natural.

Anyway, you can read the story here. I think you'll like it.


  1. Replies
    1. Ah! Sorry, I didn't receive any sort of notification as to your reply, and thus didn't notice it until just now. I came back to post my thoughts on your story. Due to the busy schedule of my work week, I was unable to at last complete my reading until just now, but now that it is complete, I felt it apt to express myself, as your recent commentary indicates a seeming ennui over people not paying attention.
      In short, I liked it, quite a bit. You are a very referential writer, not only in the sense that you reference multiple other forms of media, but also in the sense that you make extensive use of metaphor and simile. This is always a tricky path to navigate, writing-wise, however you seem to understand the most important principle of references, that being how a reader should be able to understand and enjoy the gist of your jib even if they don’t get the specific thing to which you are referring. I myself only “got” about half of the references you made, but nonetheless my comprehension of the story did not suffer for it.
      The manner in which you framed dialogue and point-of-view was very interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story that did such a thing as you did. Your idea of telepathy was also interesting, as were its unexpected consequences. The ending, where I at last begins to go after You (with seeming intent to kill on sight) seemed slightly jarring, but after thinking about it I suppose it fits with the idea of obsession slowly creeping up on someone. I also liked how you managed to subvert our expectations of the manic pixie dream girl archetype (a character I find myself growing increasingly tired of as the years go on) and even going so far as to openly mock them before proceeding with said subversions.
      In the end, I found your story reminiscent of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, The Demolished Man, and The Scarlet Letter (see, I can make references too), yet at once a unique creature, standing apart from each of them. I suppose then, with all that said, my purpose here is done, and I ought to mosey. However, as I mentioned previously, my motivation for commenting here, as opposed to simply reading your story and moving on, stemmed from your recently expressed enervation. Since I have you now (my pretty), I think I ought to make an attempt at dispelling that disillusionment.
      Amy, Her City is the first work of fiction of yours that I have read. My first exposure to you was through your Pitchfork account, where you wrote hilarious reviews of Final Fantasy games. I was never any good at RPG’s, but through your reviews I was able to not only play them vicariously but have a ripping good time in the process. I also hope to become a full-time writer someday, although my only “success” thus far has been a self-published novel on Amazon, which has netted me an impressive sum of just over twenty dollars (huzzah!). However, my dream has not died, despite this obstacle, and there is one story in particular, that, when I write it, I wish to preface with a dedication reading “To Pitchfork, for putting the crazy idea in my head in the first place”. Writing is an arduous task, as I myself am already familiar with, and so even if you feel this short story appearing in a magazine is merely small potatoes, I assure you it is something to be admired and applauded.

    2. However, I am getting off-topic. The main reason your sexy socks were so significant to me largely had to do with the point in my life in which I found them. Well, two points. You see, I found you, then couldn’t find you again for two years, before TV Tropes swallowed me up and spat me back out in front of your doorstep by pure happenstance. However, in both these occasions, it was the summer before my leaving for Japan. The first time it was simply for studying abroad. My nerves were starting to get to me, but a mild chuckle, as provided by you, was enough to calm them to a manageable degree. The second time, this year, in fact, I needed far more than a mild chuckle.
      This time, I wasn’t simply going to Japan to study abroad. This time, I was going there to live and work, with a company that would pull away their job offerings immediately after my arrival in Mito. With no job, no house, and no real funds to get back home, I was left in a mad scramble to find a job before September, when most job offerings would be ending. I applied to one-hundred-and-twenty-four jobs in a single weekend, and while one of them did at last bite, in the interim I needed far, far more than a mild chuckle. I recall an earlier article of yours, on this Beyond Easy site, discussing how fiction feeds our need for distraction from everyday turmoils. With respect I must disagree. You see, while laughing about the making of FF8 or cringing at “The Tube” certainly helped me get out of bed every morning, I would not say they distracted me per se. Rather, they lent me a degree of perspective.
      To laugh made me relax. To relax made me go on. To go on at last made me reach my current location, where am happily teaching Middle School in a small town in Saitama. I’m writing and learning Japanese, at a snail’s pace to be sure, but a steady pace nonetheless. And I’m far happier now than I was when I needed your Final Fantasy reviews. However, I continued to follow you, all the way to your blog here, simply because I enjoy reading you and what you have to say. And that, I feel, is something you needed to hear.
      My chaotic journey here to Japan was full of strangers who lent me strength and comfort. From the Russian couple who drove me to the station after my luggage wheels broke, to the man and his daughter who helped me find a hostel, to the staff of that hostel, to the immigration office workers, to the members of the Botan ramen shop in Asakusa, to the countless friends I made along the way, and to you and your silly Pitchfork account. It’s like that song, from YuYu Hakusho, “It’s all because of kindness that I feel, from people I don’t even know”. You don’t know me. You have never met me. And yet when I saw you feeling down, as though your blog did not matter, I simply had to object. Your blog, and your writing, matters very much. You must know that. It is vital for you to know that.
      I do not know your current circumstances beyond what you have told me. There is little I can offer you, besides compulsory thoughts and prayers. But I truly do hope she is found again, and I truly do hope you realize the positive impact you have had on those who read you. My apologies for the long-windedness of this comment, and for anything I may have said that was out of line. But you seemed to need some positive words, and I hope I have been able to provide them.

    3. Thanks for telling me your story, and thanks for reading mine. I think most writers (or a lot of them anyway) write and put stuff out there not necessarily for the sake of self-assertion or exhibitionism, but because they want to be there for other people in a way that our harried, atomistic societies tend to inhibit. Any statement of personal motivation is basically speculation, but I'd like to believe that's the main reason why I do what I do. I'm glad to have been taken along with you.

      (Sorry for not answering much sooner. I've been avoiding this place lately, but I'm going to try to start posting again.)

    4. Ah! Holy crap! I didn't get any sort of notification for this about you replying to me! Shoot, now I'm sorry for not responding sooner.
      But yeah, take your time with this blog. You're working on a novel after all, and I know first-hand what that's like. Also, may I give you a fist-bump for having Shade the Changing Man on your Twitter cover art? It's always nice to meet someone else who knows who that is.

  2. I don't post much but I been reading your stuff for years. Sorry about your friend, I hope they found her and I hope things get less tense so you can think about less stressful things again, best of luck man.

    1. Thanks for reading. Sorry for not replying sooner. I haven't been around here much lately. Gonna try to start reengaging, though.