29. Nightmare I
the night becomes a game of not looking
This is what it says on the can – a poem about a nightmare. It’s meant to be the first in a series. Fortunately, the occasions on which I have a nightmare so weird and surreal that I need to write it down upon waking are quite rare, so I don’t know that the series will ever be finished. 😀
31. Blue Fever
She always worried that one day she would have nothing new to say about the single word, glass, no remaining way to satisfy the court’s morbid tastes. But that day had not yet come.
This was written for (and published in) Ryan North’s “This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death”. The “Machine of Death” premise, for those who don’t know, is that there’s a sort of vending machine that can give you an accurate prediction of how you will die, but the prediction is always some really vague word (the ones in Blue Fever include “GLASS” and “GRAPES”, as well as the disease in the title).
I wondered how to write an original story about a Machine of Death given that there had already been a whole other anthology written about it. (I was a younger writer then.) The guidelines said to bring something into the story that you had a personal experience with. I picked singing; I used to be a semi-professional, classically trained soprano. And by “semi-professional” I mean “I made a couple hundred dollars a month singing lead in a church choir while I was an undergrad” but that TOTALLY COUNTS, right?
I ended up with a story about a decadent noble court in which singers are commissioned to sing about various people’s predicted deaths. It’s one of the few outright fantasy stories in “This Is How You Die” and I’m still very fond of it.
Song Pairing: You will have to use your imagination here. “Blue Fever” happens to have the partial lyrics of several deathsongs already contained inside it, and I couldn’t possibly choose a real-life song that will compare. 😀