“When We Were Young” is online

My story “When We Were Young and Life Was Full in Us” is now up at The Fictioneer. This is one of the stories in my Fathers and Sons cycle, the other published piece being “The Lonely Road.”

I’m really fond of this story, and not just because it contains teenage sex. I think it is my most controlled work, in which I was aware of what I was doing with every word and bit of punctuation. I felt as though the story emerged naturally and mostly in final form on first draft.

Which is balderdash, of course. This is also the story I’ve passed around to several friends for comment including Averil Dean, Pete Anderson, my lovely daughter, and, most certainly, my wife. Each made suggestions for changes and improvements and/or reinforced what felt strong and right to me. And don’t forget that the editor required me to change the last paragraph since the original was too literal. To make that change, I found I had to make a few minor changes throughout the story. So it clearly didn’t emerge in final form at the beginning.

But I knew the characters well by the time I got this story into rewrites. I knew just how to change it, just what to say, just how each would react. I don’t often feel this way with my stories, which is probably why I have so few published or even in what I’d consider finished form. For me it’s rare when my creative engine is firing on all cylinders.

If you have a chance to read it, I’d love to hear what you think. There is an option to leave comments at the story site, and of course you can leave your witty and insightful comments here too.

Update 5-APR-2014 – The magazine was only available online for a couple of months. There is no longer a link to the story you can go to in order to read it.

Explore posts in the same categories: Fathers and Sons, short stories

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3 Comments on ““When We Were Young” is online”

  1. pete29anderson Says:

    Great news, Paul! Glad I could help nudge the story along!


  2. I look forward to the day an agent or publisher recognize your talents and I can hold a novel you’ve written in my hands where every single word matters…and nothing more than that! Truly, there is nothing you’ve written that I’ve read that I haven’t loved. As far as I’m concerned, in the weight that every word you choose matters, you rank up there with my all-time favorite and respected writers. Hell, in some ways, I’d rather read your writing than the writing of some of the writers I’ve held in high esteem since I first cracked a literary/contemporary novel and discovered writers I hoped to one day stand beside.

    In the past years, a good friend (and writing friend) and I have chatted extensively about the satisfaction that comes from reading each others’ work…and the work of a few other friends who write well. No matter what happens with all you write, I consider myself lucky to read the things you have out there in any publication or format.

  3. Annam Says:

    The story has a very nice rhythm to it, which mirrors Davey and Kathy’s relationship and their love (“conspiracy of quiet” was one of my favorite phrases because we are conspiring, along with Davey and Kathy, to watch their magic unfold). The last paragraph (which you said you had to change) seemed not to really match the rhythm of the rest, but I think that’s perfect because we come to find that their love doesn’t last… and maybe there are other things in their lives that don’t last? The optimism? The feeling of overcoming anything? The recklessness? I wonder what more there is to these characters.


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