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

[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.]


Subject: Grim Dark is Dead

Dear Gladys,

It was great talking to you on the phone yesterday. Please look for those emails I sent you. I know you’re on vacation with your cousin who is in terminal condition but I think if you read my story it will help you feel better about the fact that she’s dying.

I had a very good writing week. I didn’t write at all before our phone call what with my evil neighbor A___ having gotten all those screaming chickens, but after we got off the phone, I felt this sudden outpouring and I knew I had to write right away!

My laptop was completely dead. All the electricity on my second floor went out the other day and the electrician is still here trying to figure out how to get it back on. But I had a bunch of napkins right next to my sofa so I started writing on those and the story just started to pour out of me. At first I tried to write it as grim dark, with lots of brown and lots of black and grey but other than changing Fenchin’s eye color, that’s about as grim dark as I can get. But I think adding all the extra grey to my writing will really resonate with grim dark readers.

Grim dark is dead. I think I’m doing something new. I still want you to read those pages I sent you, but this time I want you to ignore all the details about thatched roofs and wagons and just pretend I’m writing about a modern city. This is going to be kind of wild. It’s not urban fantasy, but it is modern city fantasy!!!

You’re not going to believe how I got the idea. I probably shouldn’t even tell you but I trust you not to tell until after I’ve had my first primetime interview. I dreamt of Fenchin. I dreamt she was standing in a long, dark wood, and instead of wearing her emerald gown with her fairy wings, I dreamt she was wearing skinny jeans and a leather jacket.

Isn’t it edgy? If you just put someone in a leather jacket they immediately become edgy.

Writing this saga has been so hard. It’s like I have to make everything up from scratch and then when it doesn’t work, I have to ask why it doesn’t work and then the whole thing just falls apart from asking too many questions. But not this time.

This time, I know that it’s modern city fantasy because I had THE DREAM. Fenchin in skinny jeans. She’s a real character, Gladys. She appeared to me in a dream.

I still need you to send me Neil Gaiman’s email address. But don’t email him for me. I’ll email him myself.

When the electrician has gone, I’ll convert all my napkin writing to Word and email it to you. Remember the new genre is called Modern City Fantasy. It’s totally new. But I don’t want to send it to Neil Gaiman yet. I don’t want him stealing the idea. 

Read it to your cousin. You have my permission.


Subject: Neil Gaiman Appeared to me in a Dream

Dear Gladys,

I have to send you this email quickly. I only have a little battery. The electrician said they can’t get the electricity to work. He says he’s never seen anything like it in his life.

I just woke up from another dream. This time I saw Neil Gaiman in the dream, Gladys!!!! He was standing in a long, dark wood. He was very tall and he was wearing a black jacket. He looked very pale but I didn’t feel like he was unhealthy.

I asked him “are you okay?”

He asked me, “are you?”

And I really felt like he cared. I asked him if I was writing a good book and he said I was writing the best thing I’ve ever written.

I almost cried.

I had to tell you about it. It’s a sign.

We have to find Neil Gaiman.

We have to find him NOW.


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