[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 is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
Hallo, All. Melanie here!
Last week, Writer X and Tryxy traveled to Massachusetts so that X’s boyfriend, Tod, could be treated by a Litraumatologist—that is a physician that treats trauma caused by literature. In her quest to be the next big epic fantasy writer of all time, zero words were written by Writer X.
Meanwhile in Cradensburg, the owners of the Mysterious Complex under construction hired a local PR team to help them rehabilitate their reputation after the “clock tower incident.” Just who are the owners? No one knows yet. Members of the Ink Black Coffee Club Critique Group are under the impression it’s “another cult.”
Regular reading of Writer X’s emails, may result in litraumatological symptoms.
These include a pink forehead from frequent facepalming, or a sudden inability to remember the word “NaNoWriMo.” Care is available. Call Arkham Hospital and speak to a Litraumotologist today.
Without further ado…
Subject: My Inner Writer
I’m sure you’re dying to know how my writing is going. Something tremendous has happened. I FINALLY got to the bottom of why I haven’t written any of the books in my epic fantasy saga. I suffer from a very unusual condition that only the rarest writer will experience. You see, my inner writer is German.
It all started the night we returned from Arkham Hospital with my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins.
Dr. Hegemumph said that he was safe to return to my care provided we don’t speak English in the home for the next seven to ten days. Tryxy and I hardly ever speak English in the home. Mostly we just text each other from opposite sides of the house, so I wasn’t worried.
I tucked my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, into bed with some medicine that prevents word withdrawal. Then, per my usual, I ate some bedtime nachos with extra jalapeños, and fell asleep.
I was standing in a misty valley that was somehow tucked away in my back yard. I had gone out to make sacrifices to the malevolent purple leopard I bought Tryxy for Hogswatch like any normal Tuesday, and instead of seeing the leopard I found this valley. I was excited!!! Here I thought I had an ordinary backyard with an ordinary malevolent purple leopard statue and now there was this misty valley and it was all mine!!!
On either side of me stood high craggy hills crowded with rocks and fog. The sky was white and open, and a dirt road stretched to the horizon beyond the craggy hills where it disappeared into the mist. I filled with a sense of longing, longing for wherever that road might take me and all of it was MY backyard.
The fog was moving quickly, dappled with shadows. But one of the shadows was looking straight at me. With much chagrin, I realized it was Neil Gaiman. Or at least, out of the corner of my eye, it looked like it was Neil Gaiman which meant it was none other than that version of Neil Gaiman that shows up in writer’s dreams: Dream Gaiman.
“Hiya,” he said.
I grunted a displeased hello. Until that moment I hadn’t realized I was DREAMING. I was stoked about finding a whole valley in my backyard and was gonna get Tryxy, but then DREAM GAIMAN had to show up with his shadowy eyes and too pale face to tip me off that none of this was real. BUT I STILL HAD THAT LONGING, GLADYS!!!!
Dream Gaiman pulled an apple out of his pocket and polished it on his long black coat. “Fernweh,” he said.
“Fern what?” I said.
“Fernweh. German. It means Far-sickness. It’s the feeling you’re experiencing. That sinking ache in the center of your chest? The way your eyes long to embrace something you have not seen? A precise wistfulness for a place without shape or form. Fernweh.”
I looked back at the valley to match it to that word, Fernweh. But the rocks and white sky had been replaced with that ordinary malevolent purple leopard glaring at me and, instead of Fernweh, all I felt was indigestion.
But in the morning, something had changed. I woke with Fernweh on my lips!!!! I thought of that misty white sky and felt a longing so strong I had to do something about it!!!
I wanted to…WRITE!!!!!! What are you supposed to do when you feel like you want to write?? It’s been so long since I’ve had that feeling, I forgot!!! Watch TV?? Stretch my calves?? Then it hit me, I should PUT SOME WORDS ON PAPER!!!!!
I couldn’t write in the house while my boyfriend was recovering from Second Book Syndrome. I ran down to the basement and discovered Tryxy practicing his twerking in the mirror. At first I felt a sense of Fremdschämen at finding him this way, but he didn’t seem bothered so why should I? I gave him the signal to keep one eye on my boyfriend. Tryxy clapped his demonic butt cheeks together and gave me a thumbs up.
I packed up my writing box and HIT. THE. ROAD.
I had no idea where I was going; somewhere I could set up my writing things, I supposed. I headed in the direction of the town green and unlike the Kuddelmuddel of protesters and flash mobs and school busses you normal find at this time of day, it was pretty calm and quiet.
Except for the cannons. You know how every Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veteran’s Day, the Historical Society randomly fires canons to commemorate the occasion but the noise always startles the town of Brokenheap, NH, particularly the local Veteran’s lodge who get all riled up and then they declare war on the town of Cradensburg three times a year?
Well, it turns out that the Historical Society got a grant from the owners of the Mysterious Complex and the Historical Society used it to buy some new canons. They wanted to test the canons to make sure they met the requisite loudness the old canons produced so they set all twenty of them up in the town green this morning and began firing them five seconds apart.
This, of course, triggered the Brokenheap Veteran’s Lodge who had been gathered for a pancake breakfast to benefit a new set of targets for their gun range. When the Brokenheap Veterans heard the cannon fire, they got all riled up and declared war on Cradensburg one month early. They loaded into their trucks and onto their ATVs and flew their Gaddy flags and invaded Cradensburg.
However, their invasion forces were waylaid by a traffic jam caused by a mile-long line of identical white cargo vans with tinted windows driving single file through a big black gate and into the Mysterious Complex. The white cargo vans had received a police escort so there was nothing the Brokenheap Invasion Force could do but blow their horns and shake their fists at the vans entering the hidden lot of the Mysterious Complex. Between the canons and the car horns, the sound was unreal.
…So I guess it was a Kuddelmuddel after all.
Did you see what I said Galdys????? KUDDELMUDDEL!!!!! Another German word describing a situation in my life on the very same day I woke up and ACTUALLY WANTED TO WRITE. Coincidence???? I think not.
Where was I?
My writerly instincts took me straight to Ink Black Coffee Club. I pulled into the parking lot, giddy with delicious Vorfreude. Sweet, sweet Vorfreude. What kind of story will I write? I wondered and patiently anticipated the wonder of starting a brand new story.But another bump appeared in my proverbial road. The parking lot was full of cars and it was hard to find a parking space. No doubt it would be too noisy inside to write!!! Where else was I supposed to go??
Luck was with me. The interior of Ink Black Coffee Club was surprisingly empty. The barista wasn’t behind the counter. I spotted him by the fireplace, setting a fresh log on top of two cheerily glowing faggots. The barista dusted ash from his skinny jeans and explained that the church next door was hosting an emergency meeting to prepare for the coming of a new cult and nothing gets people into pews like the word “cult.” They were using the coffee club’s parking lot as an overflow lot.
Nothing, and I mean absolutley nothing was going to stop me from finally writing on the day that I actually felt like writing!!!!!
At the back of the coffee club, I found the perfect place. There were three or four empty tables by the patio doors, just enough space for me to unpack my writing box. I set up my complete Brandon Sanderson collection on one table with special Lord of the Rings book ends and laid a unicorn hair wand in front of them all.
Then I pulled out seven or eight scented candles and lit them all, the flames bobbing and twerking to their own internal music. I unfolded my special lap quilt and put on my writing slippers. A feeling of coziness filled my stomach. But it was about to get BETTER.
Just as I opened up my laptop, the barista brought me a giant mug of hot chai. It was the perfect temperature and the heat radiated into my palms. I took one fragrant sip and rain began to patter against the patio window panes. Gemütlichkeit. The perfect conditions for WRITING!!!!
Sipping my chai, I opened a new word document and summoned that misty road and white sky to my mind. I felt that wistfulness for a place I had not seen or been. I looked at that blank white page and I realized that it could lead me anywhere, Gladys!!!! With the magic of putting one word after another, I could create the world beyond the mist. It could be anything. Anything I wanted it to be!!!! All I had to do was begin with a first word.
I placed my fingers on the keyboard, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. Gemütlichkeit. Fernweh. Vorfreude. Each word perfectly described my feelings.
That’s when it hit me. Maybe GERMAN is the reason I haven’t been able to write!!!! Maybe my inner writer is GERMAN!!!! Why else would I suddenly know all these German words, Gladys????? How could I sit here in this absolutely perfect cafe and start a story in English when my inner writer OBVIOUSLY wants to write in German!!!!! I have been writing in English like a misled soul ALL THIS TIME.
This is it, Gladys!!!! This is the ONLY reason why I’m not famous!!!! Ecstatic with this epiphany, I resolved NEVER to write another story in English AGAIN!!!! I’ll write the world beyond the mist and the valley and the white sky in GERMAN.
That’s when I ran into a little hiccup. It seems I don’t consciously know German, I only SUBCONSCIOUSLY know German. Not to worry!!!! My subconscious offered me words like Fernweh, and Gemütlichkeit and Fremdscham, it could offer me a few thousand more. I did some deep breathing and put myself into a trance. I would let my subconscious do the writing!!!!!
I closed my eyes and began typing. My fingers hammered away on the keys, filling the air with the merry sound of words happening. I envisioned the white sky. I blindly typed until the GERMAN OF MY SOUL had filled SEVEN WHOLE PAGES.
Then, I read through my work and I feel confident saying that this is very promising. This is possibly some of the best writing I have EVER done.
This is where you come in, Gladys. Remember when you were an East German spy? I’m going to need you to put your Deutsch skills to the test!!!! I’m going to send you the seven pages I’ve written. Drop whatever it is that you’re doing, translate them, and send them right back so that I can find out what this story is about!!!!
Hang on, Gladys. Tryxy is texting me.
I’m going to have to send you these pages later!!! Apparently my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, snuck out of bed and Tryxy found him in the downstairs bathroom licking the pages of an Oxford English dictionary. I forgot to give him his word withdrawal medicine!!!!!
That’s okay. I am content with the knowledge that I have finally begun my EPIC FANTASY SAGA on the right foot!!!!!
Subject: Don’t read my last email!!!!
I am writing to request that you delete the last email I sent you unopened. Don’t ask questions, JUST DELETE IT!!!!
It unrelated news, Tryxy and I bought a fun German phrase book at the Hospital Gift Shop and I read the first chapter as I waited for my boyfriend, award-nominated fantasy writer Tod Boadkins, to be discharged.
In equally unrelated news, my doctor has called to inform me I have a rare allergy to jalapeños. Apparently eating them gives me amnesia. It’s called Jalepeño-induzierter Gedächtnisverlust.
Pages next week, Galdys!!!!!
My inner soul is feline. I just want to nap in a sunbeam all day….
I think my inner soul is a lizard.