I recently took a short story called Icarus in Recession to my writing group. I’ve never been a fan of surrealism, or fabulism, or formalism, or any other -isms involving unicorns and little boys who turn into seahorses as a metaphor for the profound sadness that comes from being a dipshit or whatever those stories are about. I like realism (gritty, smart, dark humored). Icarus was my first venture into writing elements of the fantastical into fiction (except the story in the POV of the obese gay cat, except that). Of course, I’m on book four of Game of Thrones, and I never thought I’d find myself reading nerd porn either, but there you have it.
Faye: Will you please kill the annoying puns, Gaylord?
Gaylord: What puns?
Reyes: “She squawked.”
Reyes: What’s up with the characters having wings?
Gaylord: Is it annoying?
Reyes: Not really. It’s kinda cool.
Faye: Why the fuck shouldn’t the characters have wings?
Reyes: But if they do, the fall has to be more grand.
Gaylord: [nods, eyes glaze over with "thinking"] More grand, yes, right, exactly.
Faye: I can see this turning into a longer story. Why don’t you write this story instead of the one with the douche bag?
We have myths. We are myths. Then we hit our thirties and it’s like, fuck, I always thought I’d be a lot cooler by now or at least economically solvent or dead. Maybe I’ve been reading too many Game of Thrones novels. For those of us unlucky enough to get bush whacked by the recession, Winter Was Coming. Recession came, recession conquered, recession caused a lot of weight gain and erectile dysfunction. It caused a lot of debt, and arguments, and hearts tearing apart and for me, my teeth decided to mutiny all at once. When you are at war with your own teeth, you don’t want it happening in the middle of a recession. Dentists can make you cry. Dentist bills? Dark times.
All over the American swamp, we were hiding in bathrooms, snarfing economy-pack bags of organic potato chips from Wal-Mart, we sat in backyards, worried, and blogging and kicking leaves. When we’re younger, we think of ourselves in terms of ideas and ideals. When you hit your mid-thirties, you’re an administrative assistant.org, you’re a waiter.org, you are not Stephen King.com. Add a Goliath like recession into your pitcher of sangria along with your self-mythologizing, sex-crazed David, and you have yourself a faceplant after a long nosedive off a cliff. Like Icarus, you have to give David a sporting chance when Goliath shoves him off the precipice. He has to fight some lions before Goliath blows his house down, drains his 401k, takes his job, rips his relationships to shreds like a food processor and makes him eat shit for dinner with a fork. There are no myths when you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. Rock, hard place, recession, Sisyphus. So why the fuck shouldn’t your characters have wings?
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