Friday, September 15, 2006

The Killing

The latest issue of Spinetangler Magazine is available. Along with the usual great reviews and features, the issue also has some wonderful short stories, including one that I wrote entitled The Killing. Being published in such a noted magazine as Spinetingler is a complete honor. I'm glad that this story found its way there.

The Killing is very special to me. It started as a writing exercise in a creative writing course I took during my undergraduate studies. I had written a horrible short story for my final project in that class, but after reading it, I determined that it was utter crap and deleted it. This was about three days before the project was due. Unsure of what I would write, I started going through all the short stories I enjoyed, especially the work of Hemingway. The extra reading revved me up and I was just waiting for the words to fly. Of course, they didn't. I must have written 2000 words before the opening sentence came to me. "Charlie followed Billy into the field of their youth." Boom! The rest of the story rushed out.

This story's evolution reinvigorated my desire to become a professional writer. I had always wanted to be a writer, but I was never completely dedicated to it. In fact, before I entered this creative writing class, I was getting ready to take the LSAT. Man, I would make a terrible lawyer, but what the hell else do you do with a bachelor's degree in Political Science? But after reading this story, my writing teacher (who is now the current Poet laureate of the State of Maine) pulled me aside and told me I should pursue an MFA degree in creative writing. So, why the hell not? I filled out an application and attached this story as a sample of my writing ability.

Throughout my graduate work, The Killing had been read by some great teachers; including Roland Merullo, James Patrick Kelly, Dennis Lehane and Joan Connor.

But the sweetest morsel was the story's final step: publication. Sandra Ruttan sent me an e-mail message only a week after I completed my MFA creative thesis (and just a few weeks before graduation) that informed me that The Killing was accepted my Spinetingler. Suddenly, everything that I had been working for found some validation. I felt like I was on the right path - and I still do.

I hope you enjoy the story. Please drop me a line to tell me what you think of it. Thanks.


Christa M. Miller said...

Already emailed you, but I really, really liked it. Great work! I liked hearing its backstory and look forward to seeing more from you.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thank you for your kind words about Spinetingler, but the truth is, were it not for superb submissions from writers like you Spinetingler wouldn't be anything. I'm certainly glad you felt validated because you have a lot of talent.

We'll be telling people, "Yeah, we published him before he was famous, but we still have to line up for his autograph like everybody else!"

Karen Pullen said...

I was impressed by your flawlessly written story. Can you stand to be compared to Hemingway? It's the way you use dialogue to reveal the relationship and the story.

Steve Allan said...

Christa, I'll see what I can do about doing more stories.

Sandra, what do you mean "before he was famous"?

Karen, Hemingway? Well, if you must compare me to him, I'll find some way to suffer through. :)

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