ABOUT THE BOOKDreaming .400, like baseball itself, exists outside of time. Its 11 short stories are infused with the magic of the game—in the seductive swing of a girl who turns tinsel into gold; in the passion of an orphan on a quest to reach the Astrodome; in a vision of the future in which players are made, not born.
Dreaming .400 spawns pen pal love between friends that grows into poetry; it shrinks the gap between the head and heart of a Brewers’ fan; provides a way out for a teenager stuck in the shadows; inspires a vagabond to an impossible dream to be lived out between the white lines.
GUEST POST BY STEVE MYERSWriting fiction is medicine. A window opens. There's access to an often closed, cut off world of dreams, memories, and motivations. The bluesy side of that window opening is that when a story ends, the window shuts. There's an emotional let down. The hunt and feast are finished. The carcass sits like some bony exposure beside the water.
This is where the title of my recently published collection of short stories - Dreaming .400 becomes more than a name. It becomes like a raft in water to get me going again, towards more trouble and tranquility, round and round, gathering up debris along the way which became new memories to explore and write about.
I don't find many absolutes in this process of writing, but the intoxicating effect of a smell is definitely one of them. A smell hijacks and transports me to far away forgotten places in my past. I can see things in ways I've never seen before. I can be courageous. I can be honest and discover my real motives and fears and transform them into the traits of characters I create.
Let me talk about smells some more. We have so many ways to store data and sounds. So many efficient ways but when it comes to smells, we have perfumes and after shave and cleaning sprays, but is there any way to store the smells we generate? So darn elusive. Like a vapor or water or sand slipping between our fingers and yet so potent and powerful.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking Mr. Clean or Endust. No way at all. I can be walking along and get hit by a spray from one of those bathroom cleaning sprays and well, I'm transported back to being 11-years old, in my friend's attic, playing strat-o-matic simulated baseball. All the wonderful details float through my mind like a slow mo parade – my friend's fat cat in the window sill looking orange from the sun, the cemetery across the street, my fears. I'm not sure how this happens, olfactory speaking, but the smell is definitely an ol' factory of memories. That's for sure.
It's for this reason I keep anywhere from 20 to 30 stories, maybe more, active in my mind, in notebooks, on the backs of envelopes, as wordpress posts or Word documents, all of 'em waiting to be smelled again and if they are and if I'm lucky, they go epic and my mind and pen gushes. The story picks up speed and behaves like snow melting down a mountainside in spring and other times, it gets snagged and fizzles out of existence.
I think stories definitely have finish lines. It may take 23 years but it's out there somewhere in the fog and this has nothing to do with improving a sentence or adjusting the flow. That could go on forever. I'm talking about a theme. Often times, I am not aware of one during that initial gush, but as I read over what has happened...what I have written, what I have spit out on the page, I begin to see one there. Then I begin fleshing it out, the theme that is and making it clearer to the reader.
Don't get me wrong, I never want the message or whatever to be too obvious. I'm not writing Cliff Notes of crystal clarity here. I want the reader to do some work, to think a little, to connect some dots, but at the same time, being cryptic is not my style. There's nothing sadder to me than a reader saying, “I didn't get it.” That means I failed them and I don't want that. Then again, I don't write with readers in mind, not when it comes to subject matter and themes. That's the stuff of dreams and subconscious. I can't control that, but I can read and reread and read some more what I've written and make sure it flows so the reader doesn't have to be bobbing for apples while reading what I've written, up and down, gasping for air. I want their experience to be more like sledding down a winter hill or a water slide; weeeeeeeeeee.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
He recently completed a Graduate Diploma in Journalism. He is the author of two blogs. Brewers Baseball and Things is where Steve experiments with baseball and fiction. Broken Bats is home to his poetry.
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