Skip to main content

Story Notes for "Ghost Notes"

This week my story, "Ghost Notes" appeared on the Dime Show Review website. Ghost Notes is one of a handful of contemporary fiction pieces I've written and only the third to be published. 

The story was easy to write in some respects. While not fully autobiographical, the incidents described in the story exist with unusual clarity within in my mind. The version you can read is not all that different in broad strokes from the first draft. That is definitely not always the case with my writing.

What do I think this story means? At heart, I think growing up means finding room to grow. Something has to be displaced in order for an individual to find enough space to find themselves. The character in this story finds himself in a very claustrophobic situation,  approaching the start of college with a sense of its possibilities without quite being able to imagine a world outside of the confines of his childhood room. I'm not sure if the ending is a happy ending for him or case of simple survival but it represents the encapsulation of a crisis.

This story is also about music, a major passion of mine. I've been playing and listening to music for a long, long time and part of this story is a love letter to the tunes of my childhood. Part of the fun in writing this piece was revisiting that music -- cringing at some, celebrating others.

A selection of songs I drew from as inspiration for this piece:

 "One More Hour" by Sleater-Kinney: The album this is on was released about two years before this story takes place but the tone of passion and intensity compressed right down to the most combustible state rings true to me for this piece.
"Little Room" by White Stripes: Another anachronistic song  that nevertheless summarizes the themes of this story with a bit more succinctness and verve than I can manage.

"In the Garage" by Weezer. I could pretend that I'm somehow above this song or that its words don't strike me at some visceral level but that would be a goddamned lie.

"Shaking Through" by REM. I was a HUGE REM fan in high school. Hell, I still am.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana for obvious reasons.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Review of I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski

Even 23 years later, I remember 1994 and Kurt Cobain's death. I experienced that moment as a kind of inside out personal crisis. I felt ashamed by his death. As though his exit in someway indicted my own teenage miseries. "I wish I was like you," goes the verse in 'All Apologies,' "Easily amused." I felt as though a check I hadn't remembered writing had just been cashed. 


SP Miskowski's book, named after the first half of that line, is in the words of another reviewer, a novel that shouldn't work. The narrator is unlikeable, unreliable, and dead. The plot is almost entirely told as a flashback and long sections of the novel concern the inner processes of the writer. The daily grind to summon up enough self-esteem to carry a sentence to its logical conclusion is a real struggle, people, but it ain't exactly riveting.

But the thing is, this novel works. It is one of the best things I've read all year and a real achievement in weird ficti…

What I Read in 2017

The third in my series of year-end lists is literature. As in past years, I've divided this post into two categories: Novels and short stories. Each of these stories made 2017 just a bit brighter for me and I hope this list includes at least a writer or two new to you.


Novels:
I Wish I was You by SP Miskowski: This was the subject of a review earlier this year. The way I feel about this novel, the tragedy of a talented person crippled by anger and regret, transformed into a monstrous avatar of wrath, has not really left me. Beyond the perfection of its prose and its preternatural subject matter, I feel like this is one of the best evocations of the mid-nineties I've seen published. There's something about this book that lingers with me long past the concerns of its plot and characters. I guess what I'm trying to say is this work moved me. 2017 would have been a lot dimmer if I hadn't read this work.New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson: Robinson writes next-level sp…

Review of "Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste

Part of the reason American Gods works is that it offers a kind of reward to folk lore mavens and religious study majors. Do you have a working familiarity with obscure Northern European mythologies? Are you able to describe what Neil Gaiman got right and what he fudged a bit in terms of the Egyptian religion? Then the guessing games of that novel - just which Middle Eastern Goddess is this? - magnify its other charms. 
"Pretty Marys All in a Row" by Gwendolyn Kiste (released by Broken Eye Books), is a novella for people, like me, who are waiting impatiently for the next season of Bryan Fuller's show. It's not set in that universe, certainly, but approaches the question of folklore from a similar perspective. Namely, that myths have a definite, physical explanation and your knowledge of such things will expand your enjoyment of the work. In the case of Pretty Marys, the stories are urban legends and nursery rhymes about young women. The main character, Rhee, is named…