You’ve probably read a portal fantasy. It’s just a story where the characters are transported from our world to some other world, usually by magical means, often through a door of some kind. L. Frank Baum’sThe Wizard of Oz is a portal fantasy; so are Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’m currently reading The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, which is a literal portal fantasy: travel to the secondary world is through actual doors, mostly painted by a character named Mirabel.
For well over 20 years I read Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga, which is a portal fantasy, with characters moving between Keystone Earth (ie, our world) and Mid-World via doors that stand on beaches, in forests, in darkened basements and haunted houses.
So when I saw the blue door leaning against a Bell MTS building, I had to stop and take a photo. If it wasn’t behind chainlink fence, I might just have tried turning the doorknob, in case there was a world behind it.
First up, in the spring, my super-short story “The Atlas” appeared in Cloud Lake, Volume Two. “The Atlas” is 325 words long, and features an erased nation, a hunting knife, and a bottle of absinthe, among other delights.
Jennifer said her great-to-the-nth-grandmother came from Untille. The country, erased in some primeval war, existed now only in folklore. On the atlas page it bordered Iraq, Uqbar, Syria.
And then, in the fall, my story “Summertime in the Void” appeared in Alternate Plains (ie, the sequel to Parallel Prairies). It’s got varicoloured pills, theft, confessions, road trips, ghosts, and an answer to “What happens if the Rapture (or the Singularity) doesn’t want you?” (And yes, if you’re wondering, I absolutely stole the title from the I Mother Earth song.)
The upside-down sun glared down on him from a cloudless blue sky. He’d tried explaining once to a friend what the sun looked like when it was upside-down. It hadn’t gone well. The best he’d managed to come up with was “You’ll know it when you see it.”
Read more Zero History—I think I’m just about halfway through now
Went for a bike ride—not a long one, but I climbed a lot of hills and got a few photos
Watched a few more Firefly episodes
I decided that, even though the sky was clear, I’d stay in and not keep myself awake past 2 am again. I was in bed reading by 11 and asleep before midnight, and I think that was the right decision.
And now I’m going to start packing up the cabin. My time here draws short. As always, I’m feeling conflicting emotions: I’ll be happy to be home, but I’d love another week doing this kind of thing too.
Today is the release date for Cloud Lake Literary, Volume 2, which contains my very short story “The Atlas”, which features an atlas with at least one extra country, a bottle of absinthe, and a hunting knife.
I just checked my stats on The Submissions Grinder, and this one sold to the 18th market I submitted it to. 17 markets said, gently or bluntly, “Thanks but no” before this one found a home.
I guess the lesson is, Keep trying. Someone out there wants your story.
Writers: If you’re not using The Submissions Grinder, you owe it to yourself to at least look into it. It’s a market list for fiction and poetry, and it’s a submissions tracker, and it’s free. It’ll let you import your data from Duotrope (if you were using Duotrope before, it’s kind of like a less-polished Duotrope).
Cloud Lake Volume 2 is available for purchase from Cloud Lake’s site. For $10.00 $7.50 (Canadian), you get fiction, non-fiction, children’s stories, poetry, and art from 16 Canadian creative types.
This reinforces my previous experience with the Lensbaby lens: it’s great for macro shots, like the one with the single stalk of flowers against the grass, but in most other uses it reduces most if not all of the frame to an impressionistic blur. If that’s your aesthetic, great, but more often than not I’m disappointed in the photos I take with it.
It’s still fun to play with, though.
wrote 1,000 more words before supper (a lot of conversation; stories being told)
evaded clouds and fog (oh my so much fog — I had to change locations 3 times because fog rolled in) to capture shots of Comet NEOWISE and the Milky Way
The bluer photo of the comet, the close-up, was taken with my 50mm f/1.8 lens. Look closely, and you’ll find I caught both tails. You might have to view the photo at full size.
As always: if you’re interested in prints of any of these photos, let me know. We’ll see what we can work out.