Over the past few weeks I have completed two new short stories, "Hitogui," "The Old, Grey Barn," and a flash fiction piece titled "The Ride." I decided to submit "Hitogui" to three publishers, initially at least, and received a response back within twenty-four hours from The Chamber Magazine, a digital magazine showcasing short fiction, poetry, art, etc. of the darker bent. I thought my story would fit nicely there and I like what the publisher (himself a published author) is doing to help other creatives, particularly writers. Plus, the editor, Mr. Slattery, provided some editorial advice that shifted my story from what was initially a mere outline of an idea to a standalone piece.
"Hitogui" is complete in and of itself but the storyline is fertile ground for expansion of both plot and characters so there is some possibility that this could become my first novel-length work. We shall see where the muse takes it. It is a darker piece and, while I won't delve into the meaning and themes here (yes, they are there), rather permitting the reader to glean from it what he or she may. But to provide a small teaser--At root, the story is about the darkness that is always there, lurking in both shadow and light. There is much going on beneath our very noses that we either are blind to or, perhaps worse, choose to ignore. There is much ugly and evil in the world but what is ugly and evil to one can be beauty and good to another.
People who don't write always ask people who do, "Where do you get your ideas?" To which the honest writer generally answers, "I have absolutely no idea." And this is, in most cases, true. I can say that "Hitogui" was inspired by the time my wife and I spent in Japan, some familiarity with the Japanese culture, interest in their history, and fascination with the formality and ceremony often associated with things that others cultures (our own for example) take for granted and deem banal. Even after coming to know much about the aforementioned, there remains yet a mystery and darkness to Japan. That is about all that I can say.
The job of the writer is to tell a story as simply and truthfully as possible and it is the job of the reader to do the rest. Enjoy the story! I'll be sharing the link once published.