Saturday, May 21, 2016

"The Wood Thrush" on Wigleaf's Longlist of Top Very Short Fictions

Every year I eagerly await Wigleaf's Top 50 Very Short Fictions. This year Matt Salesses made some excellent selections, which I will be reading through over the next few weeks. I'm happy that my short story "The Wood Thrush," originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of Devil's Lake, made the Longlist. Thanks to the Wigleaf team for recognizing my story.

Wigleaf has been good to me over the years. In addition to publishing two microfictions of mine, Wigleaf also chose "Bible Camp" from SmokeLong Quarterly for the 2012 Longlist, and guest editor Brian Evenson chose "The Devil Called Satan Had Me for a Snack" for the 2010 Top 50. (These stories are all linked on the sidebar.)

Monday, May 16, 2016

After the Storm ...

My story "After the Storm, the Cement Ship" in Necessary Fiction was inspired by the wreckage of the cement ship at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California, and by the wreckage of a storm that hit Capitola Beach in Capitola, California, in the winter of 2010.

Some people built structures out of the wreckage ...

and as the days went on there were more and more of these little cabins dotting the beach.

I wanted to capture a mood of wreckage and ruin by linking these two spaces in the story, having the family walk through the storm wreckage to wind up at the ruin of the ship, while all around them mud is sliding, trees are falling, and the entire world is on the edge of collapse. These spaces are, in fact, linked geographically. On a clear day, one can see the cement ship from Capitola Beach, and on a really clear day, one can see the power plant at Moss Landing, the city of Monterey, and the hills of Carmel, as one follows the horseshoe curve around Monterey Bay.

Friday, May 13, 2016

New Story in Necessary Fiction

My flash fiction "After the Storm, the Cement Ship" is the featured story this week at Necessary Fiction.

The cement ship in the story is based on the S.S. Palo Alto at Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, California. It's a place I've visited with my family a number of times, and I've always loved this ugly ruin squatting in the midst of this otherwise sublime landscape. Its history is one of disuse and failed promise, with a period of short-lived glamour. It was an oil tanker intended for use in WWI, but the war ended before it ever sailed. It sat for ten years in a shipyard until it was repurposed as a tourist destination for dining and dancing; it had a neon sign and a swimming pool. But only two years later the ship cracked and its glamour faded and it just sat there in the water, eventually becoming a fishing pier, and when it finally corroded too much to be safe, was closed to public access. Now it's a habitat for birds and marine life.

This is a picture I took in March of 2007 standing at the gate at the end of the pier:

And a closeup through the gate:

On our visit in August of 2012 there were a lot of birds:

You can read more about the ship here, here, and here.

In my next post, I'll show some pictures from the storm that also inspired the story.