The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Archive for May 2018

I Bought A Clothes Dryer Last Fall

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It’s a nice one, too.  A Whirlpool electric dryer, perfectly sized for my household.  Hell, it’ll probably last me most of the rest of my condo-living life.  It has numerous heat and time settings, and perhaps my favorite thing about it is that I can turn the buzzer off so it won’t wake me up on those nights when I put a load of clothes in to dry and then go to bed.  I consider myself lucky to have such a nice appliance, doubly so since it led to my latest story getting published.

Da fuh?  Indeed.  I got another piece of flash fiction published about two weeks back.  This one went up at BULL:  Men’s Fiction.  I’ve had my eye on these guys for a while, and am still a bit surprised that they passed on Last Time when I petitioned them last summer.  It’s all good, though, because part of what kept me writing was trying to score with BULL.  I identify with their mission statement and felt I have something to add to the conversation:

We are dedicated to examining and discussing modern masculinity: what works, what doesn’t, what needs to change and what needs to go. We’re in quickly shifting times and more than ever this conversation is crucial. We want fiction and essays that engage that conversation from every angle. We want stories of exemplary masculinity, cautionary tales, accounts from every possible perspective and persuasion.

The thing is, though, that I wasn’t trying to write directly for them.  I figured if something came up that fit their M.O., I’d give them another try.  Something did come up, and I’m glad I tried them again, because they liked Last Word.

“Last Word” came up because I bought a dryer last fall.  No shit.  One of the first things I noticed was the lint trap.  It’s one of those top-mounted curvy-type ones, rather than the type that pulls out from underneath the door of the dryer.  I remarked to myself that it looked like I could play Jai Alai with it, and was so tickled with my observation that I posted it on Facebook.  I kinda stored that bit of whimsy in my head, and it popped up one night when I was doing laundry and had just gotten a prompt from a flash-fiction writing class I was taking at the time.  The prompt was to write about somebody who had found something.  Nobody really finds a lint trap, though.  It’s not like you ever have one outside of your laundry room, or one falls off the moving van.  So what would possess someone to have a lint trap with them?  Answering that question spawned the story, and the standard sweating through the writing process helped me get things where I wanted them.

So why does all this matter?  Because of the inner critic.  Time after time when I read craft articles, something comes up about silencing the inner critic.  The inner critic is perhaps the greatest deterrent to people writing, and even to established writers writing more than they do.  It’s that stupid voice in your head that shoots your ideas down before they even reach paper.  I’ve written about this strange phenomenon before–it’s definitely something that affects me.  However, I find that when I let myself have absurd observations about the mundane facts of life, and even discuss the observations as if they are serious things, that I’m successfully combating the inner critic and keeping my writing mind open.  I wrote about “Last Time” last summer, and made a similar observation.  It’s what works for me.  I guess this winds me around to an apology to those who find themselves in my company when all too often I am going through this process.  So, to all of you who have suffered through this with me:  I’m sorry (not sorry!).  My nephew AJ Wilson might have something to say about this phenomenon and my fondness for fig newtons, but that’s a post for a different day.



Written by seeker70

May 19, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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