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the camel’s back

Over the weekend, I worked on my master’s project and am happy to report that I have now finished 55 pages out of 70 minimum required for the project. The problem is, despite evidence to the contrary on this here rambling diary, my fiction is actually pretty economical with the language. Usually, that’s preferred, but in this situation, most people could probably get away with 5 stories, but I’m having to pull out at least 7 to make the page limit. Which is sad, because I was hoping to have more choices in the matter. I haven’t written a lot of stories that I actually like. I like the iPod Guy story (“Billets Doux” is the actual title) but I think a lot of my liking it has to do with the fact that it’s the only thing that’s gotten published since getting into the Master’s program. On the other hand, it’s the only thing that I’ve actually SUBMITTED, too, and I only submitted it to the one place, so there’s that.

Flip flopper, party of one.

I also really like a body image story and the sleep story (“Intersomnolence”), but no one seems to like those as much as I do. And then there’s the boat story (“Passeridae”), which people seem to like a lot but I don’t like nearly as much as, say, the sleep story. I’m probably just saying that because I had to do so much more research for that one. One doesn’t just bust out with anecdotes about K-complex brain waves without a little backwork. There’s also the baby story (which, for long timers, is actually hanging out in the password protected area last time I checked), that I don’t really like very much at all, and I get worried that it has too many themes from both the boat story AND the sleep story.

And then I worry that I’m a two-trick pony, because the remaining two respectable stories in my dwindling pile of work are the bingo story and the car salesman story written oh so long ago, and they have practically the same plot! Why did I not see this before?

The bingo story is more recent, and needs some major work (the verb tense is all over the place) while the car salesman story is currently in a state of dismemberment that would make Frankenstein blush. It’s sad, really, because I love the final page of that car salesman story so damned much. It’s one of maybe two endings that I actually really and truly feel proud having written them (the boat story “Passeridae” having the other good ending) but the idea of slogging through all that ancient stuff just gets very wearying.

Now, the bingo story has some problems, but I think I can work through them, and I had a flash of brilliance on the mechanics and story framing last night while I was falling asleep, so that’s a super bonus. Right now, the bingo story is 19 pages long, which would put me over the page count, but given my need to tighten when I edit (as is clearly not evidenced by just this lonesome diary entry right here, hello, are you still reading?) it might truck on down close to the 15 page mark. Which then begs the question about whether or not I want to walk into my oral exam and project defense having done just the bare minimum, in front of these three brilliant professors whose work and opinion I truly value? Probably not. Probably need to resurrect the stupid car salesman story.

Stupid stories.