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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

True Stories, "True Superstition"

"True Superstition" is an example of what a terrible lack of talent I have for titling my work. This poor story traveled in my computers' hard drives for years with the name "True Story." I'm not sure the current title is much better! A wonderful fiction workshop I found online and will certainly post about later taught me that titles are most attractive when they include specific and unusual elements. How much more vague and unspecified can you get than "True Story"?

To give myself a little credit, I came up with that title because of the emphasis the original teller placed on truth. The incomparable Héctor Medina was teaching a class on Latin American magic realism and used the story he'd heard from a friend of a friend to demonstrate that Latin American reality is actually more magical than the reality we can experience in the USA, or as American Anglos—I'm no longer sure what the defining factor was. Suffice to say, that day served as my formal introduction to the idea that there could be different sets of realities, whether in different places, inside different people's perceptions, or even in different stories.

I wrote "True Superstition" based on some version of what my esteemed professor said in class that day, adding and subtracting as the story demanded. It was my first foray into the paranormal. I was so comfortable with writing a different reality as it expressed itself to me through raw inspiration that I have never looked back. The weirder, the better! I discovered this when my life was pretty pedestrian, and it opened a channel between my writing and some other world. Although there are a lot of pressing issues in the world to observe minutely and then write about, they're usually enhanced by some fantastic element...