Something I’m excited about

A story I wrote a few years ago, “Witchdoctor,” will be featured in a sci-fi/fantasy anthology in 2023. Though I run a sci-fi zine in my spare time, Warp 10 Lit, I’ve never thought of myself as a writer of speculative fiction, but with a publication like this, I guess I sort of am now. You can learn more about the anthology here, and if you get a chance, be sure to check out some of the other books Forest Avenue Press has to offer. The anthology’s editor, Annie Carl, is also a writer and owner of The Neverending Bookshop in Edmonds, Washingston. So if you live in the Edmonds area, definitely support Annie’s business.

You probably noticed that the anthology showcases disabled writers. And yes, I am disabled–specifically, I’m a Knight of the Order of Autism Spectrum Disorder (which sounds more interesting than saying “I have ASD”). As a whole, I think the perspectives of people with disabilities often get overlooked in media and the arts, so it’s great to be part of a project that will help address that.

Regarding the story “Witchdoctor” itself–

This was a story I wrote in 2016 after reading Martin Amis’s Heavy Water and Other Stories. One story in particular caught my attention: “Career Move.” “Career Move” follows the careers of two writers–one a poet, the other a screen writer. The twist is, this story takes place in a world where poetry is hot shit that makes a shit ton of money, while screen writing is something only bookish weirdos bother with. Sonnets and odes become summer blockbusters, while the composers of bombastic, bloody, sexy action scripts are forced to peddle their life’s work to small magazines with a readership of only a few dozen people. It’s an alternate history story that taps in to the hopes and frustrations of many writers, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

After reading Amis’s collection, I tried my hand at writing an alternate history story of my own. I won’t give away any plot details, but I’ll say this much–“Witchdoctor” takes place in a world where psychology and physiology trade places. Psychology and mental health care are millennia-old and highly respected fields, whereas physiology, surgery, and medicine are seen as fringe and, in many cases, taboo subjects.

When I first wrote “Witchdoctor,” it was more of a throwaway exercise than something I ever intended to have published in a book or journal. But after a close friend of mine read it in late 2021, she told me I should rewrite it and attempt to have it published. So I rewrote the story and, fortunately, found a good home for it.

This post is already much longer than I intended it to be, but if you’ve stuck around this long, please know that I’m not trying to gloat about myself or advertise. Going forward, I want this website to be a way for me to write about my creative process, not only how I generate ideas, but the work and time that goes into turning a raw idea into a finished, published piece. This post was my attempt at showing how your next poem or story could come from an unexpected place. You never know–that character sketch from six years ago might be worth rewriting and expanding.