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Tag Archives: The Illustrated man

Greetings, Bearers!

As I mentioned before in this blog, I’m a glutton for punishment, as I’m not only working on the Vein series, but also preparing a short story collection for publication.  I’ve essentially finalized the stories to be included in Alternate Endings, but thanks to a student of mine there may be a bonus story included.

All because of a little inspiration.

It’s amazing where inspiration can strike you, and in what way it manifests itself.  Ask any handful of authors, and they’ll give you a diverse account of situations in which inspiration came to them, sometimes without rhyme or reason.    

Stephen King remarked that his short story “The Mist” (originally incorporated into the collection Skeleton Crew) came about because he was in the grocery store buying hot dog buns.  His imagination took off in the form of a dinosaur-like creature flying through the aisles, and time at the typewriter filled in the rest of the details.

Ray Bradbury took his inspiration for The Illustrated Man from a fellow covered in tattoos, and the ambitious author decided to capture several of those images and make up stories concerning each one. 

This is what inspiration is like.  It’s basically letting your mind wander to the ends of the earth (or to another dimension) and discovering either what’s there or what could be there.  It can come at the oddest of times: at work, at church, in the shower, while you’re arguing with somebody, or any other odd time.  It’s taking the familiar and turning it into the unfamiliar through adding a little twist or wrinkle, making reality surreal by taking one card away from the deck and dealing a hand to your protagonists and antagonists, letting the game play out. 

It’s what makes writing fun.

And a student of mine reminded me of this.  She told me about something her friends did for fun at her house, running around outside playing a game called Ghosts in the Graveyard. I never played the game (you don’t play a game like that when your older cousins have a wicked sense of humor!), but I knew enough about it to get the gist of what they did.  So I took that information, tucked it away, and went along my business, in hopes of pulling it out and working on it later. 

Apparently, it has a mind of its own.

So there I was, cleaning up in the shower, when this student’s tale came back to me.  No sooner did it come to me than the tale morphed into a sudden story, plot and all, just dropping into my lap, arranging itself into a story that was quite nice to ponder. 

All because of inspiration.

So because of that little spark of inspiration I received, I might be adding another story to the collection, depending on how long it takes me to write and edit it.  Meaning that I, the author, have the benefit of mapping new corner of a nightmare, and that you, the reader, will have the benefit of following my charted course!

Thank God in heaven for inspiration 😀

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean