Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why I Write: Run

Edit: Apparently it's not free everywhere. Read it here, or online here or even here. Sorry about that! Also, you can buy the audiobook here.

I just listened to "Run", a short story of mine, in the form of a mighty fine audiobook narrated by Dustin Davis. I hadn't read the story in ages because revisiting my earlier work, even one as critically acclaimed as this one, makes for some gut-wrenching moments. I'm not sure why that is; though if I were pressed, I suppose I would say that it's a matter of seeing the perfect vision from your mind's eye desecrated by text (and back into your ear, in this case). In other words, a failure as a writer.

But I was impressed that, globally speaking, the story holds up well. Its initial meaning along with that initial spark and vision all came flooding back to me. A shaking moment, it was, and more unsettling than any failure would have been [1].

So why did I write this short story? The meaning was meant to be hidden to all but the most astute reader. Seeing most of the reviews tells me that no one has fully understood it beyond the baroque facade. The story itself still holds without this deeper meaning, but the deeper meaning does add a lot to it.

Note: I hope you read it before reading any further in this post. The link is at the top. It's free. It's short. Take a look and come back.

On the surface the story is about a man and a mysterious woman. The man, obviously discombobulated, races back up to her and in the end kisses her. 

The run is through Manhattan and to the northern reaches of the Bronx. The prose focuses on the visual aspect of that run with a few hints at the relationship between the man and his environment and the woman.

As for the deeper meaning, let me try to explain: this story came about when I thought of suicide. Not for myself [2], but the general idea and how guns in a home increase the likelihood of someone carrying out that act. I was thinking of the gun, then, as a gateway from pain.

I'm doing a poor job of this explanation. It's really hard to explain the initial fleeting moment when such a story pops up. A mix between a vision and a feeling, I suppose. I also suppose that my inability to describe this speaks to my limits as a writer. 

Well, back to the story—you have read it, haven't you? The woman texts the protagonist and he obviously cares enough about her to run up to her in the Bronx. On the way he sees flashes of her and there's a hint that he's trying to be rid of her influence. If you didn't understand, she is violence, the history the act, the everything. Violence. He sees her in the alleys because that's where part of her resides and is manifested in the dirty awnings of the Bronx and some of the people who live there.

Or so he seems to think, because these people have a different relationship with her than he does.

In the end he sees the gateway—a gun—the one that flings metal faster than one can react, slower than one can think. This he uses to escape her (hence the kissing, not of her, but the cold metal).

No, it's not amazing, but it hit me hard when I heard it. Hope it cogitates some thoughts for you.


[1] I'm not trying to oversell the story. Mainly, I'm trying to point out how visceral the creation of this piece was, and how personal it was/is.

[2] Though a lot was for the veterans doing it. More on that later.

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  1. Unfortunately, I am unable to read your story and see the deeper meaning you are talking about, as on the Canadian side of Amazon that short story isn't free. In fact, it is $9.99! While I have no problem with the fact that the story isn't free, as I understand prices vary from country to country, I'm taken aback by the over-inflated price requested.

    Had the price been more approachable, then perhaps, I would've been tempted to give it a read even without it being free, but... I have to say I am horrified at the fact that you priced a story of 4 pages, in electronic format nonetheless, at $10. There are thousands of books being PRINTED every day that cost less than your digital story of 4 pages.

    I would suggest you reconsider your pricing scheme to be a little more reasonable.

  2. That is ridiculous. Don't buy it, steal it! Seriously, though, it should be free so I'll see about that. Email me and I'll send you the free one, or read it online, I'll add links above. Thanks for letting me know.


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