First of all, I’d like to wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all those living in the United States. I hope you have a wonderful day, enjoy a feast with friends and family, perhaps watching some decent football games, and doing any and all other good stuff such as will make you feel thankful.
I wasn’t sure I was going to write anything today; I often skip these posts on holidays, as you may have noticed. However, such a fortuitous and unexpected thing happened to me today that I simply had to share it. Talk about being thankful!
I was fiddling around with an older email account, one that I’ve had for many years. It may even be my very first personal (as opposed to work-related) email, I’m not sure. Anyway, I used one of its functions to look through the list of all the files that had ever been attached to my emails. I was, specifically, searching for an old Harry Potter fanfic of mine that I liked quite a bit, but which I’d lost (I wrote part of another at the same time, and I still have that, so it’s doubly frustrating not being able to find the other). It’s a silly story, to be honest, one that I never even had the nerve to submit to a fanfiction site, but I really would like to be able to find it and read it again.
Well…I haven’t found it. I’m not giving up, but my Bayesian estimated prior probability of ever locating it is small indeed.
So, why am I thankful? I’ll tell you.
Some of you longer-term readers may recall me mentioning an old short story I once wrote, and that I had more than half a mind to try to rewrite. This short story was called Solitaire. Well, I did NOT find my lost Harry Potter fanfic (title: Disinhibition), but I DID find an older-style Microsoft Word copy of the short story Solitaire! It’s the complete story! As written, if memory serves, way back in the early nineteen nineties, or perhaps even the late eighties!
I wrote the story during the summer, when I was visiting the young woman who would later become my wife. I don’t think we were officially dating then, but if we were, we had just started…it was right after she graduated from university. In fact, it may have been that summer when we first got involved.
Anyway, she had a summer job with Squibb, if I remember correctly, and was working on a project that was going to keep her up all night. I’ve always been a night owl, and she worked better with my company (according to her), so I stayed up with her. I had a spiral-bound notebook with me, probably from my own college stuff, and I decided, while she worked, to write a story.
Solitaire was that story. I wrote the whole thing that night, almost in its finished form. It didn’t need much editing. When she read it, her response was along the lines of, “It’s really good…but what in the world was going through your mind to make you write something like this?” To that I had no clear answer then, and I have no clear answer now. It’s just the way my mind seems to work.
I never tried to get it published because, frankly, I couldn’t see what kind of publication would want to release such a dark story. Now, though, I have just the venue, and I’m going to put it out for Kindle (and will later include it in my eventual next collection of short stories). It will probably be ready to publish before Penal Colony…which is coming along well, thanks for asking.
I’m obviously even happier than I would have been if I had found the Harry Potter fanfic (though I am still frustrated about that). In fact, I think the only thing that might make me happier would be if I’d magically found a file containing my complete first horror novel, Vagabond. Alas, though that was saved as a computer file, I don’t think I ever emailed it to anyone. If it’s ever published, it will have to have been rewritten.
[This isn’t as heartbreaking as the loss of the first novel I ever completed, back in high school, Ends of the Maelstrom. Unfortunately, that was 570-some-odd single-spaced, handwritten pages, with much overflow squeezed between lines and into the margins, and I never got the nerve up to begin rewriting it. My procrastination cost me dearly there, as that book is now lost with all my other worldly possessions from prior to 2011 (see this week’s post in Iterations of Zero for an explanation of why).]
Hopefully I’ll let that be a lesson to me. Knowing me, though…well, we’ll have to see, I suppose.
But still…wow! Solitaire, in near-original form, discovered at long last. Thank goodness for the near-eternal memory of the Internet. Soon, all of you will have the opportunity, for less than a buck, to read the story that caused the woman I was going to marry to wonder just what the hell was going on in my head. (She did marry me, so obviously she wasn’t all that worried, though many years later she effectively reversed the decision.) And, of course, shortly after that, you’ll get to read Penal Colony and In the Shade if you’re so inclined. And not too much after that, Unanimity will be forthcoming.
You have so much to which to look forward. I envy you.