Learn the stories behind my stories as I give updates, discuss literature, and share writing advice. Find all my writing at www.tylerdunning.com.
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Follow the Fox

Monthly Newsletter

November 2015

When I left San Diego some years ago I distressed my return home, to a mountainscape frostbitten and frozen the majority of the year. I was excited though, despite not being keen to the cold, because this was a chance to get back to the good. Because during my travels I’d lost a sense of the seasons. I’d lost a connection to the land.

By returning to my native soil I knew I could re-root in something—maybe an appreciation for a hardier lifestyle. Because seeing your own breath, a friend once told me, puts things back in perspective. I believe her.

November brought remembrance, and, as such, I sink into the stillness. Despite loathing the cold and being prone to depression, winter (fall is but a sliver on the calendar here) is a healthy season for me.

 
I’ve entered a strange new phase of my writing: approaching agents. I could wax feverishly about the counterintuitive nuances of trying to get a book published, but the basics are such: you write the thing, convince an agent to represent it, the agent convinces an editor at a publishing house to buy it, you then most likely revise the shit out of it, and lastly, if lucky, you find it on a bookshelf a couple years later. There is a lot of gatekeeping. A lot of waiting for approval.

So I wait. A couple of agents have shown initial interest, requesting that I send my full manuscript (an unpublished book), but I’ve been told the response time could now be up to three months.

That said, you would assume the most daunting task of writing a book would be writing the book, but for me, this is it…the waiting. I feel unmotivated. Defeated even, despite not being rejected or accepted yet. I sit down to write and nothing happens—I've never experienced this before. Therefore, I could understand writers losing the tenacity to continue once hitting this point. I trudge on.

 
To quell this silent emergency alarming my heart, I’ve decided, as I wait, to start working on the next book. As some of you know, this is going to be a novel called “The Alcoholic Angel.” This story tends to be my readership’s favorite project I’ve worked on—people often question what’s happening with it.

I’ve had it on hold for a few years because I knew I wasn’t good enough to write it, because I wanted to do this one justice. I’m good enough now (though I still have a lot of studying to do in regards to novel construction and story arcs—but, don’t worry, I picked up Joseph Cambell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces yesterday). So, to introduce and reintroduce you back to this narrative, here is my current opening to the novel. Enjoy:
Having just been hit by a U-Haul, Lars was surprisingly calm. The left side of his face, now lacerated below the eye and into the nostril, bled in protest to the impact of the vehicle; the right glistened with road rash from the pavement. Feathers went everywhere.

I stood in shock, mouth agape and horrorstruck to the late-night emergency, arm and thumb still erect to a hitchhiker’s plea. The U-Haul, moving—I don’t know—sixty five miles-per-hour pre hit, came to halt at an awkward angle along the shoulder of the interstate, a San Diego skyline arrested on the horizon. The driver, a real shithead we’d come to know as Brian, remained at the wheel, staring blankly to the ebonized night, into a new darkness as old as ever. The void already contained all his conclusions.

He couldn’t be blamed. A growing rot in his gut whispered regurgitation to his tongue. Nerve endings numbed to rational reaction, as if alcohol impaired, but not tonight, somehow. Not yet. Neurotransmitters fired from one future possibility to the next, rash outcomes beyond his mind’s ability to censor: detention and questioning, judge and jury, prison and a newly lost life to that of another. Accidental vehicular homicide. He knew he was fucked.

Brian knew he was fucked because he had just watched, like the slow-motion flash of wildlife turned roadkill, a grown man ricochet from the grill of his rented U-Haul, off the passenger-side windshield, and against the storage compartment extending over the cab. From there Lars was launched into and rebounded off of an expansive green sign reading "Los Angeles" with white arrows insinuating the lanes. Lars then landed on the interstate median, tumbled across pavement, and fought to utter obscenities through breathless lungs and blood-flushed coughs. He struggled into his pockets, jacket tattered, undoubtedly for a smoke, to which he found, lit up, and added further distortion to the weave of disturbance.

What Brian didn’t know, never would, was that he’d just run over a God damned angel.
I'm excited to announce I'll be giving a self-publishing lecture for the Thunderhead Writers' Collective on January 30th. If you're in the area, and interested, come hear my philosophies on how to propel a burgeoning writing career. Click HERE for more details.
My dear friends at ELM recently asked me to start contributing to their blog; click HERE to read my first story. Check their other stuff out too because they are badasses reinterpreting self-help for the twenty-first century.
Last month I forgot to include the latest episode of the environmental series I'm editing. Read the fauna episode HERE. Also, I'm looking for contributions for the next air episode; if you're interested in writing something send me a message.
Thank you for subscribing and thank you for the support! Until next month, love & tear-gas riots.
Copyright © 2015 Tyler Dunning, All rights reserved.
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