Little Visible Delight


I am in this new anthology, Little Visible Delight, out from Omnium Gatherum Publishing.

A few months ago, Kate Jonez and S.P. Miskowski asked me to contribute something relating to an authorial obsession–in other words, ideas, themes, objects, anything that we repeatedly return to in our fiction. I chose sense of place and my own past (and my sense of place as filtered through that past), although much to my surprise, my actual story, “The Receiver of Tales,” ended up being about the very act of storytelling itself.

I mine and manipulate my own past for stories. I really did once meet a next door neighbor the same way Aisha meets hers, only it happened in Portland, not Athens. And everything that happened after that was different as well. I’ve said before that in my fiction the lines blur between what happened and what didn’t, what is true and what is not. And even though my stories are ultimately 100% fiction, if you really want to know me–read my stories.

Here is the table of contents for the anthology:

The Receiver of Tales by Lynda E. Rucker
Needs Must When the Devil Drives by Cory J. Herndon
A Thousand Stitches by Kate Jonez
The Point by Johnny Worthen
Calligraphy by James Everington
This Many by S.P. Miskowski
JP by Brent Michael Kelley
Kestrel by Mary Borsellino
An Unattributed Lyric, In Blood, On a Bathroom Wall by Ennis Drake
Black Eyes Broken by Mercedes M. Yardley
Bears: A Fairy Tale of 1958 by Steve Duffy

You can purchase the anthology in print or for your Kindle at Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Little Visible Delight

  1. Since your work is autobiographical (at times!) I wanted to ask you whether there’s a temptation to moderate what you say about your past in case relatives of yours read your work. My poor mother always used to worry over most of my stories, so I ended up not showing them to her. Wondered if you have the same issues.

    1. I understand exactly the impulse you mention, but I honestly can’t remember the last time I worried about it. First, “autobiographical” would really be a stretch to describe what I do. I would say I am more like a magpie with my past, picking out shiny bits and then (moving on from the magpie metaphor, badly, here) putting them into a collage where they do something different than they did in reali life. “Inspired by” would be more accurate than “based on,” in other words. I’ve never based a character fully on an actual person and a lot of what I draw from my life is more about subjective impressions I got from a person or place. Also, things inevitably alter once they make it into fictional forms. And, of course, it’s fiction–the vast majority of it made up!

      But I do seem to remember when I started seriously writing and submitting in my 20s having a sense of “omg! what will people think??” I’m not sure what really happened in the interim. Probably something along the lines of “got too old to care.”

      I will say that my first published story, “Different Angels,” uses a lot of religious iconography in a way that some might consider offensive, but parts of it are based on nightmares that iconography gave me as a child and the vast majority is, as I said, made up. It is also not very kind to its rural setting and characters, but I think it’s important to remember this is the world and POV of the disturbed young protagonist, Jolie. Having said all that, a lot of people I grew up with bought my first short story collection, and I wonder how they will view that story with a slight bit of trepidation. I would point to my story reprinted in the latest Mammoth Book of Best New Horror, “Where the Summer Dwells,” for a very different take on the same setting, and as a way of pointing out that nothing is ever all one way, or what it seems.

      Interesting question, thanks for asking it!

  2. And thanks for such a detailed and quick response. ‘Too old to care’ is probably the best attitude to have! But saying that, I don’t think it’s too much of a bad thing to think about what one writes and the reasons behind it. A moral compass is useful for all of us, but if one is being true to oneself, then I don’t see how you can go far wrong.

    1. I’ve been meaning to come back to this with a reply for ages. 2014 already seems to be getting away from me!

      Yes, I agree with what you say here. In fact, I would say that just as I’ve come to care less about ‘what might people think,’ I care more and more about the messages in my fiction. While we ultimately can’t be responsible for everything somebody might read into our stories, of course, I’ve considered and then dismissed plot points on realizing they had the potential to carry a subtext I disagreed with. I do think art carries some measure of responsibility–not as simplistically as, say, “You cannot make violent art in case some reads/sees/hears it and gets violent,” but because life and art do imitate one another and the stories we read and watch and listen to reinforce the way well tell stories ourselves and approach our own lives.

      Having said that, I also think that art has a responsibility to show us things that are ugly, tasteless, that make us uncomfortable, that we don’t want to see. But not just for the sake of doing so. There has to be an underlying intelligence and reason for it. (And that’s often subjective…certainly there is stuff out there I find no redeeming value in that other people whose opinions I respect do find of value.)
      [edited to correct a spelling error]

      1. You’re spot on, I think. I recently lost a ‘friend’ who couldn’t take the kind of stuff I write about but who couldn’t be bothered to ask why I write dark fiction (and there are serious reasons for it). Like you, I care deeply about what my writing says, although my objective these days is as much spiritual as social/political, although this must also be said: I truly believe in all the monsters I write about. My first published short story used shock tactics, but purely out of naivety rather than maliciousness, and I’m wiser these days.

        Good Art is something that puts its intended message across to the reader/listener/viewer. The reader etc does not necessarily have to like/enjoy the message. There are various pieces of Art that are incredibly powerful for the right reasons but are too much for me to interact with more than once or twice. A good example is a record called Rape by Zos Kia (from the early 1980s), which I respect hugely. It’s a necessarily horrific piece of work due to an experience of the band’s singer, but it rips me up too much to be able to listen to it. In comparison, I’ve discarded tons of music/writing/films which has dodgy intentions parading as ‘controversy’ and perhaps as one matures it’s easier to spot the bullshitters. Worst of all, though, are the Artists who see what they do as just a job – it’s usually necessary for people to write etc for money at times, but the main core has to be from the heart and soul, in my opinion, otherwise it’s just a waste of time. But then, I’ve always taken everything too seriously!

        Thanks for your time on this, Lynda.

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