"You know what? The bastard blows me out of the water. This guy writes Maine like Ardai writes New York. If you're not reading him, you don't know what you're missing." --Chris F. Holm, author of The Big Reap, The Wrong Goodbye and Dead Harvest.

"Bagley's got the poet's eye, but that doesn't mean everything is prettier in his work. It means the ugly stuff is more vivid. More intense. Like a sudden switch from analog to HD. And that's a trait to very much admire in his work." --Anthony Neil Smith, author of Hogdoggin', Yellow Medicine, The Drummer and Psychosomatic.




Saturday, March 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Stephen D. Rogers




The Shot to Death Blog March

"I am so going to fuck you up"
--from "Tenant at Will"

So begins one of the 31 stories in Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.

I love the emphasis created by the word "so." That first line shows me a real can-do attitude that I have to admire. Just as long as the person talking isn't talking to me. This time.

An opening like that, with no clear directive, forces me to forge a framework. Immediately I can scrap all characters who could be expected to utter such words as well as all characters who might expect to hear them.

"I am so going to fuck you up." So says a mother to her daughter.

That daughter is a tenant at will, free to leave at any time, and yet she listens to such abuse. Maybe she kicks it back, but she's there to hear it in the first place.

Can she not afford to leave or does she feel obligated to stay? What would change either of those two possibilities?

Maybe both are true. Maybe she can't afford to leave and she feels obligated to stay, although perhaps her mother's attitude is chipping away at the latter.

The former would change if the daughter was offered somewhere else to live. Perhaps love is on the horizon. Or at least a relationship that isn't so acidic.

She has, however, been in a dysfunctional situation, and those have a tendency to cling. She might escape. She might even find love. Even so, I fear her mother is going to get in the last word.

"I am so going to fuck you up."

All that remains is the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Shot to Death, click on over to stephendrogers.com and submit your completed entry.

Then visit the schedule to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

3 comments:

Stephen D. Rogers said...

I still laugh when I read that opening line. Buut then perhaps that's not the appropriate response.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Stephen,do you have 'family issues?'

Stephen D. Rogers said...

No, thankfully. But I've seen many tortured people who do.