Alright, my fellow Space Monkeys. This is it. The final stretch.
If your eyes haven’t given out yet, and you can still read this, then let me start by saying that I’m very impressed with everything you’ve done here. I really lucked out having you all on for the first series.
Let’s pat ourselves on the back for a moment. Let’s ignore the fact that there’s forty-three publication length stories in the Write Club queue with our names on it (Tangle and Greg included), or the fact that, generally speaking, we’ve been getting closer and closer to that one hit that may put us on the path to publishing glory.
And bear with me here, but let’s also forget that we’ve managed to remove a good deal of the preciousness and diva-isms that usually comes with writing. Now we simply sit down and write stories when we need to. Muse be damned.
Forget all that, just for a moment.
What I really want you all to recognize is that Write Club started on January 8th. And that means that, as of today, we’ve been writing steady for ninety eight days. That’s almost a hundred days of putting the dream first and letting the rest bubble over on the backburner. To me, that’s the real accomplishment. Because if one day we actually get to see success in this savage, oversaturated industry, then this will be our everyday lives.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
We still have one prompt. There’s fourteen days left, and before we bust out the party horns, streamers, and the fine booze we had tucked away on the top shelf of the cellar for this specific occasion, let me remind you all that the last mile before the finish line is usually uphill, steep, with nothing but loose gravel underfoot.
So let’s do our best to really make this one count. Let’s go all in.
And oh yeah, the prompt.
In 2007, Thrice, an alt-punk band I enjoyed a lot in high school, released a series called the Alchemy index. It’s a four CD set, where each album is inspired by one of the classical elements: fire, water, earth, wind.
Thrice used different musical techniques, recording studios, and instruments to convey their own idea behind an element’s tone. I always dreamed of doing something similar with fiction.
I want each of you Space Monkeys to choose one classical element and turn it into a story.
Example: Another one my favourites from the New Yorker. The Spot by David Means is a disturbing tale about a psychopath pimp recounting his life story to a call girl.
Discussion: Some may ask why I would choose such a brutal story, and to me the answer is simple. David Means is a genius. His dialogue is phenomenal, and I don’t think anyone can nail the great lakes colloquial the way he can (not even Elmore Leonard, in my opinion). And the stylings of his narrative can shift from clear and concise, to rich and deeply poetic.
But what I love most about this story is the way David weaves tiny stories throughout the larger narrative by relating it to the cyclical nature of water. Things in The Spot seem to happen over and over again, and like water, there’s no memory of those things, just a constant, indifferent renewal.
And if that isn’t the darkest, most nihilistic way of portraying water, then I really don’t know what is.
Best of luck everyone.