Now here is a name that all you HA listeners out there will know, Laurence Simon, a.k.a the creator of the 100 Word Stories series! That’s right, this week I was able to interview the master of short stories and even catch a glimpse of what goes on inside that head.
Laurence explained to me how his short stories got their start. “A college friend wrote 100 stories 100 words long, so I thought I’d give it a shot and write a few. They were about Abraham Lincoln, inspired by a play written by Woody Allen. Then, a few years later, some other friends created a site called 100 Words Or Les Nessman, where you had to write a 100 word story on a topic or write about the WKRP character. I recorded the stories I wrote for that site and put them on a podcast feed. When the Les Nessman site became unstable, people wanted to keep up the challenge aspect of that site, so I came up with the Weekly Challenge for others to participate in.”
And for those of you, like me, who have been wondering just how many of these stories Simon has written…well, I’ll let him tell you…. “I’ve written at least 1 a day for the past seven and a half years. My queue is stacked up through April of 2014, and there’s many more in the drafts pile. So if it isn’t over 4,000 by now, it’s close to that number.”
Animal lovers everywhere will appreciate what Simon feels is his best work so far, A Night On The Beach, which was written for one of his cats. In fact he cares for them enough that “every night before he goes to bed, he walks by the shelf that his cats’ ashes are on, and tells them that he misses them.” Laurence was also kind enough to share A Night On The Beach with us –
I wake up and shake the sand from my shoes. This happens every morning.
But I haven’t been to the beach in years.
Only in my dreams.
Sometimes, there’s driftwood in my hand, seaweed wrapped around my ankle.
Salt in my hair from the ocean spray.
On a shelf over my mirror, I’ve put my seashell collection.
All these things, I dream of. And bring back with me.
When I dream of you, take my hand, and let me bring you back.
I will leave my sadness on the sands of my dreams.
To be washed away with the tide.
Now I’m sure many of you have come across one of Laurence’s many websites, here is a look into his “isfullofcrap” site. “These days [isfullofcrap.com is] just an “About Me” placeholder. I used to run a daily political and current events snark blog called “The Blog Is Full Of Crap” there. And before that, I ran “Amish Tech Support.” But those days are over. My daily blogging is about Second Life, but that’s also fading. I’d rather just enjoy it than get all nitpicky on it, or rail against a privately-held company that develops features and pricing structures for customers that no longer exist and never will again. So, really, http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/ is where the real deal is. That’s where the the podcast dwells. (Until I give it its own domain and put isfullofcrap.com out to pasture.)”
Now my addicts, on to the horrifying part of this interview! Just kidding but I am gonna tell you a little bit about Laurence’s love of horror. According to him, “Fear is such a deep and raw emotion. Writers and directors who can manipulate you through it effectively are very rare. Stories that don’t rely on the supernatural or impossible are more powerful than ones that do. The Long Walk by Stephen King is my favorite horror tale. (To me, it’s horror. Deal with it.) But the moment that he wimps out and whips out a haunted demon-car or crazy-assed parallel universes, I want to smack him with the book and run him over with a van. The guy is brilliant without having to rely on that stuff. Okay, so a little magic or impossibility is necessary, but just a touch of it… one little tiny twist or spark. That’s all it takes. Good horror is when you hand someone a shovel, they dig themselves into a hole, can’t get out of it, pass through the drama as they try to get out of it by other means, and then go one step further into the really nasty stuff… the horror stage. If it doesn’t have a touch of hubris, then you’re only a victim to be added to the body count. Misery will always beat Christine in my opinion.”
“The traditional monsters are unbelievable. Give me something human or once-human, because real people are the biggest monsters of all. You’re going to laugh, but Willy Wonka was a horror movie monster to me when I was little. The man was witty, aloof, and bumping off kids one by one. Then, he told Charlie he broke the rules and… and…That’s usually when I had to go to bed. If you think about it, lots of movies are like that.
– Cut off ET when the alien is dead and Elliot is in the science lab.
– Cut off Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is watching Auntie Em in the crystal ball.
– Cut off The Ten Commandments when the Israelites have their backs against the sea.
Try it. (Especially on your kids.)”
And sadly, this brings us to the end of our interview kiddies. BUT fear not, there are more 100 word stories in your future. Here’s some things on the drawing board:
– More 100 word stories
– More 100-word entries for the A is for Avatar series (http://aisforavatar.com/)
– Collections of the stories in Kindle and other e-book reader formats.
– A feed of the stories in image format so people with WiFi picture frames can create slideshows of the stories
– Apple and Droid apps
– New refrigerator magnets of my best stories
For more information on Laurence Simon, you don’t want to miss checking out these websites!