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Short Stories 365:218

My friend William Holden took a turn at bat at the Bold Strokes Books Authors' Blog today and it's a great entry. I'll wait right here while you go give it a gander.

Done? Cool.

I think the thing I liked the best out of that was this: [I]f you say no, you are closing doors before they ever open up to you. That one little word has the power to limit your creativity, and your potential. That was an eye opening moment for me. Too many times I hear fellow writers and artists say “but I’ve never done that before” or “I don’t think I can write that.” I’ve been known to say it to myself over the years, and while I’ve always tried to do something new, it was nice to hear it put in such simple terms.

I've absolutely done that. It wasn't until Greg Herren gave me a not-so-gentle shove that I got over my heebie-jeebies and tried to write a horror story. Prior to that, I'd always said, "No, I don't think I've got it in me to write horror." Was it uncomfortable to write "Filth"? Absolutely. In fact, it's probably the piece I had the most trouble with at every step of the writing process. But now I know the answer I should have given was this: "I'll try it. It'll probably be harder than what I'm used to, but it'll definitely be good to challenge myself."

And funnily enough, "Filth" is one of the stories that has garnered feedback from readers. Though people like "Heart" and my triad stories the most (sad romance and sexy paranormal three-ways seem to be big hits), "Filth" is next in line for the most comments and e-mails. Which was pretty eye-opening, for me.

"The Greek, the Dog, Sangri-La and Me," by Janet Woods

Oddly enough, timed with William Holden's fab blog, the next story in I Never Thought I'd See You Again came with an the following blurb about the author: An award-winning romance novelist and short story writer, Janet Woods likes to explore other themes and writing styles now and again - this story is one of her others.

Timely, no?

I really enjoyed this story - I have to say I'm so glad this book was pointed out to me, and it's definitely becoming a favorite in my collection of "loose theme" anthologies. Here we have a young man in a beach side home with an aging dog and a load of memories, thoughts, and tangled feelings about his home, those who raised (and didn't raise) him, and a vague sense of losses that don't quite break the tone of the story into maudlin, but definitely give you a sense that there is a sadness to him.

It's gently told, this story, and through the three characters and one sense of place listed in the title, we get a portrait of this man and his life so far. Even when the darkness of his youth is described, it's done with a kind of blurriness that leaves you feeling the same cocoon that seems to wrap around the character himself.

I don't want to ruin any of these stories, so I won't say more. I will say as far as atmosphere goes, the turns of phrase and texture of the language in this story really drew me right in. It really was a moving piece.

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