Posted tagged ‘Danse Macabre’

Friday Feature ~ “The Infinite Regression of Jerry C”

September 10, 2021

As with several of my stories, “The Infinite Regression of Jerry C” was born of an actual experience in my life, though not quite with the magical realism I depict in the story.

When my son was in Cub Scouts, we were taking our boys to some away camp, and when all of the boys and dads had found rides, Jerry C and his son were to ride in my car. Much like the Jerry C in my story, he was an engineer, and engineers are always bad guys in my stories. I knew his son, and he was a likable kid, but I had not met his father before. We had a two-hour ride to get to know each other.

It felt like a ten-hour ride.

Among the pronouncements and solutions Jerry C had for all of the woes of the world (that his reasonable and empirical engineer’s mind had come to) was the advice for me that when driving on the highway, I should allow one car length ahead of me for every ten miles per hour I was going. Thus if I was going 60 miles per hour, I should keep at least six car lengths between me and the car ahead of me.

You try doing that.

To be polite, and because I was carrying his boy in my car, I slowed until I had approximately the right distance ahead of me. He helpfully pointed out that if I counted the seconds between when the car ahead passed a given point and when I passed that point, I would know I had the right distance if my count reached six.

This was tedious because he was always watching, and he didn’t hesitate to tell me when I had crept forward too much. Of course as I was doing this, all of the other fathers had likely reached our destination. And, since I had built such a big gap in the traffic, other cars would pass me and then slip into that gap, causing me to slow further until I had recovered the distance. And then it would happen again.

And this was what I based my story on. We managed to reach out destination that day, but the Jerry C in my story met a different fate.

This story was published in the October 2016 issue of Danse Macabre, which you can read if you go to that link above. This publication had run one of my other stories too: “Moron Saturday.”

Friday Feature ~ “Moron Saturday”

April 16, 2021

I remember having a lot of fun writing “Moron Saturday.” It’s pretty much my retelling of the Diana and Actaeon myth, which had always intrigued me (and which is used in Iris Murdoch’s novel Henry and Cato). In my story, Actaeon is an English professor named Hunter who, through a series of mishaps, stumbles upon my Diana who is showering. He’s caught in the act, and the story closes with him being chased by a vicious dog. You take it from there.

I remember thinking at the time that I could probably retell a different myth each year and get the story published, (it turns out there are quite a few lit mags that have a classical mythology focus), and I did do that one more time, but I’ll get to that in a future Friday Feature. Long after this appeared in the now-archived online issue of Danse Macabre I tried getting the story accepted in a couple of anthologies, but I never heard back from them. (Danse Macabre did accept another of my stories later, but that will also be the subject of a future Friday Feature.)

I submitted “Moron Saturday” to Danse Macabre, for its upcoming Commedia issue, at the end of July in 2009 and received an acceptance at the beginning of September. I must have been getting used to acceptances after only one try and thinking it the norm. If so, I’ve long since grown more jaded.

As began with “The Lively Arts in Kansas City,” I was further developing my snarky narrative style with “Moron Saturday.” It’s a reliable tone I can take up with the right story, and sometimes I wonder if it is my true style.

“The Infinite Regression of Jerry C”

September 26, 2012

One my my pre-Fathers and Sons stories, “The Infinite Regression of Jerry C,” has found a home. It will appear sometime before December in Danse Macabre du Jour, which is the daily blog of Danse Macabre magazine. Some of you may recall that Danse Macabre magazine published my story “Moron Saturday” three years ago.

Once the link is up, I’ll post it here, and you can let me know what you think of it.

Danse Macabre – 50 issues

October 2, 2011

Congratulations to Danse Macabre on its fiftieth issue! Send them some love.

The online magazine published one of my stories a while back.