Congratulations Jaye! You can email me your 1000 word excerpt for a critique to firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you'd like.
Here is Jaye's story.
Inspiration is a Wasp
Harry had nothing better to do than to sit and watch television. His wife had left him three months ago, and she took with her their sixteen year old son and twelve year old daughter. Harry hadn't published anything in the past two years and his royalty checks would soon be coming to an end. And last but certainly not least, he was beginning to think that he was losing his mind.
In the final moment of clarity he would see concerning the marriage, he said to the television, “The kids should have been in charge. They were so sensible compared to what he taught them about their intended modus operandi, filled with lessons on pop culture, the prosperity gospel, and the innate class of the practiced spendthrift. His son had a penchant for second hand stores and frequent libraries. He said it was better for the environment. Harry had wanted to say, “Your generation is why my last book didn’t get its second run.”
He has lunch with both children in the Old Towne and jokes about his nasty new status as single man with a growing beer gut friendly only with the screen on the living room wall. Neither of them find it funny. “Why are you worried?” asks his daughter. “You can’t force art,” says his son. Somewhere in the middle of the meal the topic had shifted to writing. Harry hadn’t noticed. He wanted to fight back at them, tempted to assert his fatherly authority by listing various modern works of art written by formulae and standard outline. “Inspiration is as fleeting as a wasp.”
This draws a chuckle from his son but she looks eager to understand the mysterious analogy. “What does it mean?” She’s trying to trap me in my own words, thinks Harry. He had watched ten days straight of General Hospital and his world had been transformed by the reality that words made every good looking man guilty of something. No doubt her teachers told her to think for herself and not believe her parents. Imminent divorce shoots a hole the size of a prize club medallion in a father’s credibility.
As a sane man, Harry would be able to attach meaning to even the most unlikely pithy saying, as the one above. But today he was incapable of making the last step into logical conclusion. Even his thoughts were rebelling. It should have been, a hole the size of a cannon shot, but prize club medallion sounded better, just as wasp sounded better than whatever else might have gone there.
After lunch Harry continues over the words he has that continuously organizes themselves into less than adequate sayings of a learned author. Inspiration always has meaning—no. Absolutes do not exist. Inspiration exists as a sentient being, always present. For all practical purposes, it was this being that turned Harry from a sane, once married writer into an insane, imminently-divorced, failed writer. Driving home he starts seeing signs like a dyslexic. Letters are confused rather than words misplaced.
HUGE INCH SALE NOW
LEGS AND THINGS $7.99
What was that store? He turns to look back and bumps into the curb scaring the lice off a scurvy Mormon drinking Mountain Dew. They stare at each other as men in this country do, as men since the beginning of time have done—size each other up, decide if the offense is worth the fight, take up arms, or go quietly on his way. The odds were not good. “Lone Mormon battles Toyota Camry in ancient blood feud.” Harry tries on the words not trusting himself. He tries them on with a Middle English accent and sees the broad sword lying next to him in the passenger seat. It’s not wearing a seat belt. No, thinks Harry, it should be modern, relevant to these dark ages.
The wasp stings. It had cut itself on the sword and its dying act avenges its life on Harry’s neck with the first of many moments of clarity for his writing. “The Lone Mormon, A Crisis of Faith.” He drives home and writes for the rest of the day well into the night with the dead wasp unnoticed stuck to his neck.