Tag Archives: fiction

The Dreaded Update Post

Hello World (or more specifically, the half dozen people who actually read this crap),

It’s been a while since my last update post, so I figure it’s time for some updating. As per usual, this will take the form of a numbered list. The following is a representation of what’s been going on for ol’ Eric James-Olson:food-eggs-box

  1. I still write things. Yes, I know, I know. I don’t write things on this blog very often. But believe me, I’ve been writing other stuff. What have I been writing, you ask? The answer can be found in numbers 2-4.
  2. A few months ago I finished editing my final book in the EJO series. I’ll be publishing Whom Cain Slew in the same manner as it’s predecessors. I’ll be doing all the prerelease stuff through Amazon, so if any of the twelve of you want a free copy, just drop me a line.
  3. I finished the rough draft for my first bildungsroman. It’s a difficult manuscript to describe, so I won’t bother. Instead, I’ll leave you in suspense on the off-chance that it ever becomes a real book. I won’t be looking to revise or edit it or even look at until summer.
  4. Over the past two months, I’ve focused most of my energy on writing short fiction. For those of you who barely know me, I’m the president for my Home Owners Association (Yep, I’m that guy). Many of the short stories are based off of my experiences with the HOA. I’m writing under my real name, Eric J Smith, and amongst my numerous rejections from  literary magazines, I’ve received one acceptance so far. Reminds me of dating (Don’t tell my wife). Whenever it’s published, I’ll be sure to let you all know (All…yeah, as if there’s more than three of you).
  5. I completed my first few classes for my MFA. I know there are numerous opinions about MFA’s, but none of those opinions are as good as mine. Here’s my opinion: it’s totally worth it (Even more so, when your employer pays for it).
  6. I served as a reader for a literary journal. It’s an indispensable (strange word choice, much?) experience and I’ll be writing more about this in a post next month.
  7. I’ve begun building the website for Eric J Smith. I won’t post it here because it’s pretty rough at the moment, but I’ll keep you all updated. As many (Is many of a half-dozen still many) of you already know, the name Eric James-Olson was created for the EJO book series, as well as, my sarcastic series of blog posts titled “Letters on Literary Devices.” The book series is written, and I don’t do those silly posts anymore. I do, however, plan on maintaining this blog to share my writing, to share writing advice, and as a platform for writing services. So nothing will change. Whereas the other site will serve as a landing site for anyone interested in Eric J Smith, a guy who doesn’t even have a book yet.

That’s all for now. Deuces.


Fictionalize It!: Part 1

Howdy folks and folkettes,

This week I’m starting a three part series on fictionalizing every day experiences. Why? Well, because that’s what writers do and I think ya’ll might benefit from seeing how I take a real event or story and transform it into fiction. Let’s face it: fiction writers take their own experiences or experiences from others and turn them into stories. These things don’t come out of thin air.

So, to start it off, I’ve written a literary version of one of my own experiences, sticking to the actual event and experience as truthfully as possible. Next week, I’ll look back at the “real” version of the story and rewrite it by changing the setting, characters, narrator, plot structure, and genre. And then finally, I’ll invite you folks to submit your own fictionalized version of the story. So, here it is, the “real” version of the story.

 

Birdfeeder

“What the—”

I looked past the railing of the back deck to the little rock oak in the woods. On the ground beside the tree, I saw the weathered white of the birdfeeder. Dropping my kindle on the table next to the chair I got up, passed through the gate at the top of the stairs, walked through burned-up grass past the ugly hill of dirt and weeds and rock still there from when the yard was graded.20150809_190542_resized

“Too much damn seed,” I said out loud. Yea that’s right. I talk to myself when I’m alone. Who doesn’t?

I picked up the birdfeeder and thought of that time a year ago when the face board of the front porch rotted out because the bird seed fell in the crack between—well, the crack between the face board and the board behind it. I don’t know what that one’s called. Who cares.

“We’ll need to find a new place for it,” I had said to my wife. I swore and talked to myself as I routed out the rotten wood and filled it with epoxy.

“It’ll be better out there in the woods,” I had said when I came in from patching the hole. “I’ll attach one of those—what do you call ‘em, little arm things right to that tree.” I pointed through bathroom window.

“We won’t be able to see it then,” she had said.

I shook my head. “You’ll see it fine from the back deck. Unobstructed view. I’ll screw it right to the tree.”

And that’s what I did.

A year later I squatted beside the feeder next to the tree. I took off the top and dumped some seed on the ground. I hung it back up on the arm-thingy attached to the tree and walked back up to the back deck to my chair and my book.

An hour or so passed. My wife walked out and my daughter was napping. “Hey,” she said. “Hey. Look at him!”

She pointed towards the feeder. It was some yellow and black bird. I don’t know the name. But I wasn’t thinking of the name either. I thought of the screw in the tree and how some folks say it’s harmful. I thought of the wood rotting out on the front porch. I thought of all the destruction we cause in caring for things that don’t notice us. I looked up towards my smiling wife noticing the bird on the feeder. I looked back over at the bird.

It isn’t the bird, after all, that I’m caring for.

 

And that’s my story. Check me out next week for the rewrite.


Leaves in Spring Time

Hey folks,

I decided to post some of my short fiction here on my blog. And now that my short writing break is over, I’ll be posting regularly again. The story below is called “Leaves in Spring Time.” Enjoy, and feel free to share, comment, and so on.

 

I stretched the tarp back out along the ditch beside the road in front of my house. It was the inside so it wasn’t blue. It was silver, the tarp that is.

But colors don’t matter. I picked the rake back up and dragged the leaves up and out of the ditch. The gray dust underneath puffed or swirled depending on how you look at it. I dropped the head of the rake back in the ditch and pulled back up. I dropped it and pulled back up.

The section was done but the tarp wasn’t covered yet, so I put the rake down and slid the tarp over to the next section. Then I did the same thing pulling the leaves up and out of the ditch.

The section was half-done, but the tarp was filled-up, so I folded each of the corners in and each of the corners that form from folding in corners until the leaves were trapped inside. And then I walked down past the driveway and walked into the woods and walked down the hill a bit past the point where the leaves might blow back into the yard and found the pile I started earlier or the year before depending on how you look at it and held onto the back of the tarp and let all the corners loose and looked away as leaves fell out onto the pile.

Dust floated from the tarp when I shook it. But I wasn’t looking. I looked earlier, the first time but I wasn’t looking anymore. e6b9fd047d000f182bccda92e03d048a

As I walked back up and saw the house, I looked for that spot by the white oak, the one in the middle of the yard, where my wife was sitting earlier. She wasn’t there, but as I continued up the hill, I saw her. She was next to the driveway and my little girl was there with a little kid-sized rake.

“She wants to help.”

I must’ve smiled. I don’t talk much.

I wiped sweat from my eyes and put my hand on my little girl’s head. She followed me over to that spot I left off at and started raking the leaves with her little rake. She did it indiscriminately, moving them here and there if you understand what I mean.

So then I put the tarp down and started pulling the leaves up and out of the ditch and my wife didn’t ask but I started explaining anyway, “Not sure why I do it,” I said as I pulled up leaves onto the tarp. “It’s a bigger pain—” I looked down at my little girl. She was still raking. “It’s a bigger pain gettin’ out the blower for it since it’s just the leaves here in the ditch. Never takes more than an hour but I—I never like doing it—somethin’ about dealing with leaves in spring time that just doesn’t—I don’t know—It doesn’t seem like somethin’ I wanna be doin’.”

I wanted her ask something like, “why don’t you leave ‘em there?” But she doesn’t think to ask that sorta question. So I answered like she asked it.

“I guess I worry about getting that thing—” I pointed to the gutter running underneath the driveway, “that thing—whatever you call it, jammed up with leaves so the water can’t run through.”

She nodded her head.

“I don’t know if it matters—just seems like I shouldn’t let the leaves wash down in there…”

The tarp was half-full when I said that. I stopped talking for a minute and my little girl stepped back as I slid the tarp over to the last section.thY54M3G5J

“I don’t know if it matters,” I said picking up on a train of thought that has existed since the beginning of man, “I don’t know but I’ll do it anyway just in case.”

And in that moment I looked down. My little girl wasn’t just raking the leaves randomly anymore. She was picking them up, only a few at time because she’s only two and not very coordinated, and she was putting those leaves on the tarp.


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