Monday, December 2, 2013

The Squawk Back experience.

You may have noticed that my last posting had no link to the story I mentioned.  Link to Shaving Fate here.
On Friday I recieved notice that Shaving Fate had been accepted and then it proceeded to ask for certain things (like a bio) and to promise that I would have a say in the editing. On Saturday I received an e-mail that had the entire story, as I had written it.  No edits necessary apparently.  The editor's notes at the top said, "This is what is going live on Sunday." 
Then on Sunday the story is posted.  There is quite a bit of it that has been edited out.  It's not a bad job of editing, I have to admit that.  I might have even agreed to the edits, although they rip the tribute to my fellow writer completely out. 
My problem lies with the surprise element.  My second problem is that suddenly my e-mails to the editor are unanswered.  I guess the squawk back from me is 'Foul Ball'. 

The Story Behind Shaving Fate

Squawk Back took Shaving Fate

Yes.  Another publishing credit for another story.  But it’s not just another piece.  This story is a special one and I never broke faith with it despite the time and effort it took to place it.  It was written as a response to two pieces brought to writer’s group.  The story behind the story is about to begin.  Gather round. 

Within our group, at the time, was a sister and brother combo.  The sister has and continues to be the anchor for the group and the brother, who also dabbled in writing, had many health concerns and lived in the extended care wing of the local hospital.  Initially his sister would read his pieces at group, but eventually the group started meeting at the hospital so that he could comfortably join us.  One meeting these siblings read their stories which were both titled ‘The Man Who Shaved His Face Off.’  They had challenged each other to use one of the brother’s pet saying in this way.  It was a fun thing and I remember thinking that I wish I had been involved with the challenge.  It must have been in the back of my mind because the next step towards ‘Shaving Fate’ occurred when I dipped into my movie review book – which I use for plot sparks – and I read about a man who had shaven off his facial hair and no one noticed.  He took this as a sign that he was generally not noticed and it lead to tragic results.  Hmmm.  What if?  What if someone read one of the short stories titled The Man Who Shaved His Face Off and he shaved his mustache off and that act lead to his conviction for murder?  I ran with the strange little idea and by next meeting I read Shaving Fate at writer’s group.  It was good for a smile or two and I may not have sought publication for it except  I heard that the brother later said of the story – you don’t really know if he’s guilty or innocent, do you?  A simple comment but it gave me confidence about this particular story.  

There are other things that this man from our writer’s group said concerning writing that have stuck.  His words ‘something has to happen’ occasionally haunt me still.  And that is why, after this man’s death, Shaving Fate has become my tribute piece to Terry Trefiak.  Thank You.