I'm really excited about the publication in May of Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories
, an anthology of stories based on National Spelling Bee winning words. John Klima is the editor and some of my favorite writers are in it, like Hal Duncan, Neil Williamson, Clare Dudman, Michael Moorcock, Elizabeth Hand, Jay Lake, etc. Since my word, "Appoggiatura," means, in a sense, a supporting or grace note, I decided to create a story from the other 25-plus words used by the other contributors. Thus, it's a sectioned story that slowly builds into general coherence as a tale about the lost city of Smaragdine. Here's an excerpt, one of three or four purporting to be excerpts from the Book of Smaragdine
. In May, I'll be podcasting the whole story, one section a day for 25 days...
From the Book of Smaragdine, 212th Edition:
A careless person has no cure, unlike a careless thought or animal. Calling a careless person a "pococurante" or other fancy name will not, by the precision of the term, suddenly make the careless careful. Once, a careless farmer living outside of Smaragdine lost his own name and had to take the name of his ox, Baff, much to the delight of the villagers (one of whom found the farmer’s name and used it as his own). A woman once lost her vagina and by the time she found it she had twelve children. Losing one’s shadow is perhaps the most common affliction of the careless, which explains why, on a hot afternoon day, you will find so many little dribbles of shadow in every lonesome crack and crevice. A lost shadow has no wish to be found, because, inevitably, it will just be lost again.
But the truly careless—the person who has descended into a place that not many can understand—will lose much more than that. These truly cursed people can lose even a love so strong that it radiates like heat. The kind of love that creates laughter around even the simplest act. When enough love is lost to this kind of indifference or carelessness, wars begin—sometimes in lands far distant from the occurrence, but always these wars come home. Such effects are magnified depending on the status of the individual. Thus, when statesmen, when queens, when caliphs, become careless, they lose whole armies and people die on vast scales in foreign lands. The innocent taste sand in their mouths, not the green spring air of their native country. Their bones line the roads of places so far away and exotic that not even the wind through their skulls can say the names. A careless commoner often loses hate as well, even though such hate will replace itself indefinitely and the person therefore never realizes their own carelessness. But for this reason, many careful kings and queens find the hate of others and use it as if it were their own.
Alas, a careless person has no cure, unlike a careless thought or animal. It is just the way of the world.