Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fourth

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She served as guest editor for issue 43.4 of Star*Line, an issue focused entirely on Black voices in the speculative arts. Find her in her virtual home at Wipe your feet before entering.]


Hello All, I’m not going to say much about what’s in this week’s email from Writer X other than it DID contain an actual attachment of pages from a manuscript. I couldn’t bring myself to open it. I guess I already feel a little guilty about sharing this stuff and I figured I had to draw an ethics line somewhere.

Since I’m a writer and hold the manuscript sacred, I decided that’s where I’d draw the line. I won’t read her script. I’ll respect her privacy.

I can assure you that the following emails are more than enough to keep the mind occupied.

Subject: HANDY MAN

Dear Gladys,

If I had known you were in Croatia I would’ve called your google voice line. I’m sorry you’re upset about the phone bill, but I needed to get you caught up on these three chapters. I haven’t gotten any response from you and a lot has changed in the story since you last got pages from me. Besides, 240 international minutes can’t be that expensive anymore. I didn’t even bring up you getting Neil Gaiman’s email but I’m reminding you NOW.

From what I could hear, your cousin sounded fine.

Anyway, I’m sending you this next chapter now and if I don’t get some comments back from you, I’m going to take it that you just want me to call you and read it to you.

I just wanted to take a moment and write to you and respond to you about what you said that there’s “nothing happening” in the first three chapters and that you don’t know what Fenchin’s motivation is or anything bad about her personality.

First of all, why do I need to tell you something bad about her personality? This isn’t grim dark. Besides, I want people to like her and people don’t like female characters that have negative qualities and this is going to be a best-seller.

Secondly, there is a LOT happening. For one, I’m setting up the Hummindaal by showing you exactly how ordinary her life appears to be. But instead of telling you that it’s ordinary, I’m showing you, Gladys. SHOW NOT TELL. This is what real writers do. I bought a book about it at BAM on it and you need to understand that I’m not supposed to tell you that it’s nighttime but SHOW you the moonlight on broken glass or something like that. Those three pages about her paying her parking ticket are called realism, I’ve taken those details from MY REAL LIFE.

Speaking of moonlight, it’s getting to be the full moon again. I still haven’t gotten any power on my second floor which makes it ridiculously hard to use my flat iron.

I’ve gotten the first page of chapter five started and I think you’ll like what happens because this is when I talk about the hummindaal and foreshadow my character Musradi coming into Fenchin’s life. I think he works much better in the new modern city environment and I’ve made him a motorcycle mechanic, but he also has a master’s degree and went to magic school but he doesn’t believe he can do magic and that he’ll never be anything more than a greasy mechanic.

Gladys, I can see everything in this world so clearly. Sometimes I wish I was there. Especially on nights like tonight when I’m all alone in this house and my evil neighbor A____’s chickens are screaming.

I went and filed a complaint with the town when I paid my burn ticket. I hope they kick her out. She’s abusing the chicken ordinance and whatever bread of chicken she’s got out there, it should be outlawed. Then again, I don’t blame them for screaming. They know they’re going to be dinner.

Even worse, A____’s nephew has moved in with her because he’s supposed to go to the local college. It’s been hell. All he listens to is mumble rap and he blares it super loud and I can’t even understand the words. But I don’t even blame him for that because his stupid aunt has those stupid evil chickens.

I’m starting to get lonely.

It used to not bother me, but this house feels especially dark and especially lonely these days. Like, I don’t even want to be here most of the time but the only other place I can write is at BAM.

Oh! Do you know a good carpenter or handy man that lives around me? Can you find one? My walk-in closet door that’s at the top of the stairs isn’t closing anymore. I push it shut, turn the knob and hear it click into place and then it just bounces back open.

Creeps me out.

Okay, read this chapter and then PLEASE REPLY RIGHT AWAY.


Subject: The Society called

Dear Gladys,

I forgot to attach the actual chapter. Please be sure to read the last email and then read this one and the chapter I’m attaching now.

I would have sent you this chapter an hour ago but The Society CALLED me. Can you believe it? They CALLED me??? I pick up the phone and I’m wondering who it is and this deep voice says, “Hello, X____, this is The Society. We’ve been trying to reach you.”

Anyway, he tells me that I have to let them into my house so they can get those protective charms back in place. I tell him I can’t really do that right now because I’m busy writing a book.

He asks what kind of book I’m writing and I tell him it’s Modern City Fantasy. He says is that anything like Neil Gaiman? I ask him how he knows about Neil Gaiman. He says if he told me, he’d put me in even more danger than I’m already in and can he please come over here and put the charms back in place. I tell him I’ll think about it.

Then he tells me that if I need their help, The Society can help me publish my book. I say, “No you can’t Brian.” He says they have an old printing press. I told him I’d print my book with them when hell freezes over. I’m a professional. He says it’s nearly the full moon and he doesn’t know that he can keep me safe.

I’m going to need you to start reaching out to agents so that I can get Brian off my back. Did you finish that 60 second script? I would really like to know what my book is about.

Here’s the next chapter, I know you’re dying to read it.


Attachment: Travelers in a hostile wind.docx

One thought on “Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Fourth

  1. This is GREAT. I want to buy the book of all this correspondence! And sooooo disappointed that it wasn’t an actual, clickable link.

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