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

[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.]


Okay, all. Melanie here. Now I’m really worried and completely perplexed about the closet problem. Methinks R____ has the right idea.

Subject: When we combine our powers nothing will defeat us

Dear Gladys,

I am now 3,181 and a half pages behind on my draft. However, I am 34 pages ahead on my worldbuilding.

Also, I know I probably shouldn’t say this so far in advance of it coming out, but my world is going to appear in The New Yorker!!!!!

It should be coming out sometime in the next month so please keep your eye open for it. I’m very excited that the very first issue that I’ll have ever read of The NEw Yorker will be the issue that my world is in!!!!

You’re probably wondering how all this has happened. First, as I’ve mentioned, I have been doing a LOT of worldbuilding. I’ve written 34 pages!!! That’s a LOT of writing. And to think, no one will ever read these pages except me. It’s not like they’ll appear in my story. That’s just wrong. Then, in the middle of the week I got really depressed and snuck up to Ms. B___’s house and stole her weekly wine shipment and did some wine-spiration therapy. That’s when it hit me.

I’m writing this WHOLE NEW GENRE called Modern City Fantasy, right??? So who would be interested in my worldbuilding notes, a modern city, right?? What about one of the most iconic cities in the world????? And they even have a magazine!!! I’ve seen copies of this delivered to my evil neighbor A____’s house. She’s going to piss in her yoga pants when she sees this.

You will probably want to get a little behind-the-scenes scoop on my worldbuilding progress. As you know, I’ve been working a little on the Chaalchaal mall. I’ve now come up with SIX stores in the mall, plus descriptions of the tile work, the fountain, the foodcourt, the magic bookstore, the ballroom, and the cheese buttery. I also have been thinking a lot about shoes. Particularly the Vampire and Werewolf clogs.

I have had to ask myself some tough questions, like why would Fenchin’s evil uncle steal all the magical beast clogs??? That’s when I realized something important: there is a unique magical signature inside each ofthe clogs that make it imperative for them to be found again. If Fenchin’s evil uncle holds their clogs hostage, then he can use their unique spiritual signature to WORK MAGIC ON THEIR BEHALF WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION!!!

But it makes me wonder, why won’t Brian give me back my croc?? I am this much closer to getting it back. I’m formulating a plan. When I give you the signal, show up at the Grim Hill House with your anbo-jyutsu equipment because it’s going to be on!!! I just have one more person to recruit but I know he’ll be in.

Remember how I told you that my evil neibghor A___ has a mumble rap nephew named R___??? Well he finally came over to check out the problem with my closet to see if he could fix it. The truth is, I think he’s basically made the problem worse, but while we were talking, I learned a few special things about him.

For one, he has no idea how evil his aunt is. Apparently, they’re not related by blood which explains a lot of things, one being how sweet and wonderful he is. He said that his mother and my evil neighbor A___ went to accounting school together years ago and were so close that he always thought of evil A____ as his aunt. Two years ago, before he had a chance to finish high school, his mother died and A___ promised to look after him. She probably has her own evil reasons for doing this but I didn’t want to break that to him!!

Anyway, he lived with his grandmother in some tiny beat down town outside of Dunwich, Mass. until he graduated from high school and evil A____ talked him into coming up here to beautiful New Hampshire to go to The Local College. I couldn’t help it, Gladys. I had to ask him if he didn’t notice anything strange about his (evil) aunt and he said, “Nah, not really. I mean she really likes those asymmetrical haircuts and she has that secret room that I’m forbidden to enter, but other than that she’s always been really amazing to me. I’m just lucky to have someone love me so much after my mom.”

I can see I’m going to need to broach the issue of his aunt being the most evil person ever with some care.

Also, he is really into mumble rap. He’s studying chemistry at the college here but when he graduated high school his dream was to be a mumble rapper. Apparently, mumble rap hit its peak in 2018 and he has given up trying to put out a mumble rap album because it’s no longer trending.

He gave up his dream, Gladys. He needs me. 

Remember what I went through with Grim Dark??? And everything everyone was saying about Grim Dark being a hard sell??? No one believed in me but I didn’t give up. I kept writing Grim Dark and I would still be writing Grim Dark if I hadn’t discovered that I was creating a whole new fantasy genre!!!!

R____ is my new protege!! If he sticks close to me, he is going to be the greatest mumble rapper of all time. I told him I believe in him and that if he has a dream, he should never give it up. When he said, “No, no, it’s cool. I’m really into chemistry, too. I’ve got a full scholarship and prospects are looking great for med school.” I knew it was a cry for help.

He also thought that my door popping open and now not opening at all is a heat and humidity problem. I asked him what he thought about the door knob wiggling and he just stared at me a long time and then said, “I don’t know.” We went up to look at the door and he tried to get it open but no luck. Then, he went and got some tools and came back to take the door off the hinges. He stuck a flat head screwdriver under the pin of one of the hinges and hit it with a hammer three times, bambambam.

THEN, something INSIDE the closet hit back…

It sounded like it was coming from all around us and the door sounded like it was cracking in its frame!!  All the color drained out of R___’s body and I think I peed myself a little. R___ said, “Hellooo?”

It was quiet. R___ and I looked at each other, his brown eyes were big as tennis balls. I got the sense of how young he is. At first, I thought nothing would happen.

Then, it felt like some dense, cloud-like pressure was pushing through the door into the hallway. It felt exactly like that. Like when you’re descending in a plane and your ears pop and the air gets heavy? That’s what it felt like. Only it was cold, cold, cold. Then there’s this weird whirring sound. I’m trying to figure out how to describe it, but I think the closest thing is a high pitched bull roar. This came from somewhere deep inside the closet like there’s a whole other world in there, and there was some scratching and the door handle began wiggling desperately and I thought I heard a woman on the other side saying, “Let me in! Let me in!”

I asked R____ if he also heard a woman’s voice but he was nowhere to be seen. Then I heard the screen door clatter shut downstairs and I figured out that R___ had gone out for some fresh air. So I went down after him but by the time I got out onto the street he was already a tiny figure jetting up the hill. All I could see were his dreads flying out behind him and the bottoms of his tennis shoes. He passed his aunt’s house and kept running.

He’s pretty fast!

But he left his tool belt behind. Anyway, when I find him again, I’m going to see if he’ll come down with us to the Grim Hill House and help to recover my croc.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to make a map of my mall and take the bowler hat down to the artillery range to see if someone will shoot it for me. For every week I don’t have my croc, the bowler hat gets a new hole.

I am going to discover the secret formula to writng this backstory to make it interesting. I just know it. It’s not Chekov’s gun. It’s something else. I’m circling it and circling it. I just have to get the bad ideas out of the way first.

When are you going to pay your phonebill???? What will you do if an agent calls about my book and your phone isn’t turned on???? It’s the OCTOBER!!!! This book comes out in two months!!!!


2 thoughts on “Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Tenth

  1. Man, if your home town looks “tiny” and “run down” next to Dunwich . . . that is one small town, is what I’m saying.

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