A Wine Fueled Excavation of Benson

Last night, slightly under the influence of what was my first taste of Argentinian wine, I was reading over some of the two dozen or so shorts that I wrote for local indie mag Found in Benson.  It’s a fantastic publication organized and distributed by a council of locals who carry with them a sincere loyalty and investment in their small community of Benson (a borough, of sorts, of Omaha, Nebraska).  The format restrictions of the product (I believe the dimensions of each issue are something like 6″x9″ and pages were at such a premium that anything that wasn’t a poem could really only be afforded 500 words or so) started as an incredible hindrance but proved to be an excellent education in word efficiency.  Convey a scene, a story in two small pages.  From the writing of the first short, I decided that every entry had to contain the highest concentration of sugar possible.  Two pages are incredibly easy to forget if you don’t make them elevate the insulin level of the reader.  Each eventual entry became a yoga class for the mind as creativity tried to free itself from the confines of a clown car.

A year or so after the publication distributed its first issue, it threw an anniversary party of sorts.  I was incredibly privileged to have been invited to do a live reading at this gathering of contributors and decided afterwards that I would stop writing for FIB.

There was just no topping that night.

That evening was an impossible-to-overlook flag at the apex of that particular mountain.  I would never write anything better in that format and would never get a “high” as grand as the satisfaction from that event.  Minus a precious few other friends, every peer I wished to impress was present and gave me ten pounds of love when all I carried was a five pound bag.  It almost made me quit writing all together.  It was one of the best moments of my life.  How could it ever be topped?

Well, of course, I eventually came back to writing and finished The Trismus Candidate.  But what of these short stories, some that had made publication and others that had never even seen submission?  Shouldn’t something come of these wonderful memories other than taking up kilobytes of space in an unfeeling synthetic heart?

By the time the wine glass was empty, every one of the nineteen shorts was opened across my desktop.

It would be a short collection if it should be compiled at all…and it would need to be as visually stimulating as the original settings…

It’ll be short but, like a stillborn child, still deserves a casket.


~ by A L Shipp on May 19, 2011.

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