A quick mental calculation tells me I’ve published 60,000 words of fiction, maybe 70,000, which adds up to a small novel. My so-called novel is only 14,000 words, and a couple of my stories are maybe 5,000 words. My shortest published piece, “Moon Man,” is no more than 350 words. Another quick calculation tells me there’s at least 250,000 words of unpublished material, some of which should definitely stay that way. But I would love to find homes for:
“Why Do Birds?”
This is a story collection, continually growing, changing, improving. Many of the stories have been published and all fit into a theme, though I’m not sure what that theme is. Why do fools fall in love? Maybe. But memory, fantasy, mortality all play a big role. I really don’t like to analyze these things. I mean, one of the stories is about a man who wakes to find his wife has moved their house underwater while he slept. He tries to tell her it’s not built for this, but does she listen? She never listens. 55,000 words.
Read “His Dinner Party” from “Why Do Birds?”
“The Lazy Fisherman’s Guide to Hell”
I received a Canada Council Creation Grant for this one. It was called “Dead: A Memoir” back then. A biggish publisher was excited about it, and then a smaller one said yes. But that didn’t work out. It’s a surreal comedy, laugh-out-loud funny, about a man and a fish and a watery hell. It’s about not wanting to tell the story so telling all other stories because underneath it all there’s just a lot of crappy reality. 55,000 words.
Read an excerpt from “The Lazy Fisherman’s Guide to Hell”
“One for the Master: A Mistopia”
What’s a mistopia? That would be a ‘wrong place.’ A society that places the brains of criminals into the bodies (well, craniums) of farm animals is a very wrong place. This is the story of a petty criminal named Bones. Bones is framed. Bones is tried and found guilty. Bones’ brain is placed in a sheep. Then the story begins. Bones remembers who he is/was and escapes the Constockade and in attempt to… clear his name? Seek revenge? Find tasty oats? It has to be read, really (actually, it has to be published). 60,000 words
(Except will be posted soon.)
So there must be wall to wall rejection notes, right? I must be downtrodden, horse-trampled, traumatized by rejection and ready to give up! No. They’ve only been seen by a handful publishers’ eyes (yes, that’s my phrase and I’m sticking to it). I don’t edit obsessively so that’s not the reason. There are also six or seven stories I quite like that haven’t been around much. Writing is cool, but submitting is the pits.