Thoughts from a tree

Archive for August, 2021

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Story Published – Like Riding a Bike

Oftentimes, short story authors receive little or no warning of when exactly their stories will be published. While some markets provide advance warning, many don’t, and sometimes an author won’t know their story is published until they either see it online/in print, or receive a payment.

Regardless of whether I know ahead of time, somehow, it seems like my stories always get published at the worst times, such as when I’m on vacation somewhere without Internet. Which means that telling people about it, something I’m already not great at, becomes more difficult and guilt-inducing.

I’ve been in the process of moving since 7/1, which means that sometimes I don’t have Internet, sometimes I don’t have access to a computer, and most of the time I have neither the time or spoons to spend on anything that isn’t moving-related.

So, of course, I had a story published (which is great, I’m not really complaining about that), but it was a couple weeks ago, so I’m very late at letting people know. Anyways, the story was published in this anthology: Uncanny Valley: A Science Fiction Anthology : A Collection of Short Stories on Humanity and the Future. It’s not expensive (in fact, right now it’s free), so if that sounds at all interesting to you, I encourage you to buy it.

My story is called “Like Riding a Bike,” and an Amazon review has this to say about it “If I had to choose a favorite, it would be the story of a human attempting to remember how to drive a real car,” which is flattering 🙂

This story is much more autobiographical than most. At the time that I wrote it, I had a front door and barn door that opened with a keypad, and a car that both unlocked and started based on the vicinity of a key fob. One day, I went to my parents’ house for some reason when they weren’t there, and their door was locked. I had a key, but it was like I’d forgotten what keys were or how to use them. So I started with the idea of wanting to write about forgetting how to use keys and that expanded to someone who, in a world of self-driving conveyances, had also forgotten how to drive.

The main character has a medical problem that caused her to voluntarily stop driving even earlier than most of her peers. This is a problem I have, though I never had an accident as a result of it, and only stopped driving briefly when I was worried that I would. Ironically, I had, up until two months ago, mostly stopped driving, as a result of an entirely different medical problem, and have very recently had the experience of needing to remember how to drive again. Perhaps I could write that aspect better now, but I think it’s close enough.

Spoilers below. Stop and go read my story first (it’s not long) if you don’t want to be spoiled.

The car I used in the story was also recently totaled (someone else made a very reckless decision that resulted in the crash). That wreck is the picture here, though you can imagine it being the wreck at the end of the story, if you want 😉

The way she wrecks at the end is also based somewhat on a real event. I grew up in Florida, moved to Virginia, and got a job that was at the end of a long mountain road. Shortly after, there was a blizzard. I did not know how to drive on snow, or how to handle my car losing control like that. My car was not wrecked, however, and I continued driving to work afterwards (the job involved taking care of horses, so I didn’t feel like I could not show up).

The bit about bikes is also based on real life. I did not learn how to ride a bike until I was much older than usual, and have had several bad experiences involving them. I would much rather ride a horse than use a bike or a car!