Emergency, Moonwalk, and Testimony of A Pilot

I’ve written three short stories this semester. And when I say written, I don’t mean finished. I’ve also started submitting a pretty good story from last semester that I’m pretty proud of to over twenty literary journals. No bites yet, but I think I managed to somehow get a higher tier rejection from Granta Magazine according to the information from Rejection Wiki (meaning the editors said they enjoyed reading it but they weren’t going to publish it anyway), which was at least a great confidence booster.  I’ve also entered a few more short stories that I wrote last semester in a few contests. I’m trying to wait patiently, just like I’m waiting patiently for a full week off from classes. Speaking of that, it’s almost “Eric, you’re not hot enough to take your shirt off and go to the beach” Break, or Spring Break as it’s maybe a bit more well known. I probably won’t do much except read.

My reading load this semester has been interesting. I had to pick up The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories for my intermediate creative writing class. We skipped around in it throughout the class from week to week, but the stories I’ve read in it have been very good models to read as a writer. Some of my favorite stories in it are “Emergency” by Denis Johnson and “Moonwalk” by Susan Powers. I think the story “Testimony of a Pilot” by Barry Hannah is probably the story that will stick with me the most as a writer. I admire the way Hannah wrote the narrator. I’ve been trying to mimic it all semester with no luck.

My professor let it slip that he sometimes uses a different book for the class, so I tried to be a teacher’s pet and asked him what it was. I ordered it on Amazon and it arrived not too long ago. It’s The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories by Ben Marcus. I haven’t started any stories in it yet, mostly due to lack of time, but I might knock out a few this weekend if I can get some essays finished.

So far my semester has been pretty alright. My grades are okay, at least as far as I know. I’ve gotten out a bit more, but that will be changing soon because I’m really going to have to find that second job so that I don’t get evicted from my apartment in April. That would cause too many other problems that I just don’t want to deal with right now. I found a second job. I now serve at a popular sobering-up-dining establishment three nights a week. I had to blow off most of my classes a few days ago just to job hunt. (I’ll say it was a work-related issue, even though I wasn’t actually working, which is kind of the issue!) You would think more places in Louisville, KY would be open past ten o’clock or eleven o’clock at night, and you’d be wrong. You would also think there would be at least one gay themed eatery establishment, like an all night breakfast place where all the gay guys go. That would be a fun second job for me.  I was told today that that place was actually the Denny’s near campus. My first night serving was kind of scary. I didn’t do much on my own; I shadowed someone else all night. Tonight when I go back, I think I’m going to just go all in and see what happens. I’m sure I will be tweeting about my traumatizing night tonight on Twitter, so follow me there if you really want to know what happens before my next blog post.

Oh yeah, I’m also single now. My long distance relationship is now a long distance friendship. At least I think we’re still friends. As soon as I get that second job, I’m going to do something crazy like go to a gay bar by myself. I’ve never done it. It’s probably a very bad idea. I said I would go and I didn’t, because I’m lazy.

You’ll see me around,

Eric Shay Howard

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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