JSDC
XLIV. Greyfeather (Catch)< Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >

GREYFEATHER 

I have always seen Greyfeather as a traveling story, meaning that I tell one of the adventures aloud, and then commit it to paper when called upon. I have always planned to unfold the story in this way, in sections: Perhaps as part of a collection, such as in the case of Aidmheil, or perhaps as a stand alone, such as in the case of now.

Would you like to own the next part of Greyfeather?

If so, please stake your claim in the comments.

I won’t print unless I have enough preorders and I don’t plan on printing much more than that, actually. So the run will be limited and numbered. I guesstimate the length of this release-let will be 20 pages and will cost $10.00, plus shipping and tax (where applicable). All of these booklets will be signed. If you own Aidmheil, then you know what to expect format wise. Storywise? I doubt it, but even the Greyfeather himself does not See his way.

“Or so the storytellers and bards tell me,” she said with a happy wink.

So let me know: If this is something you want, then we will move forward with production immediately and get a preorder “Buy” button up so that you can secure your order.

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Staring Into Silence 

I don’t usually check the order messages on things here until we ship the first lot and then after that I’m forwarded the orders that include messages. But, when something first goes on sale, I check in a bunch to ensure that everything’s working nicely. That is precisely what I was doing when I saw the following message from a buyer of Greyfeather. It was a name that I didn’t recognize and, upon scrolling down…

Message: Member of the shade. Know that we are here and support you, but social anxiety exists not only in real life, but in the internets as well...

I think I have the best The Shade in the whole world.

Even if it is a silent The Shade.

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We Were Nine 

I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour.

In elementary school there is such a thing as accelerated readers. I was in that group, which I enjoyed more than any other period in school (save P.E. and recess). We had an accelerated readers book; a whole extra book of stories in addition to our normal text, complete with higher quality, dreamy artwork on the cover. And these books we got to purchase and keep. We were told to write in them, to highlight and to do what so many Literature teachers reinforced thereafter, “Always read with a pen.” Now this is reading, I thought, digging into the mud and guts of the words up to the elbows as I wrote notes in the margins in preparation for class discussion. We read many stories that year, but there was one in particular that mattered.

Accelerated readers was in a different classroom because it was not taught by my teacher, which is a big deal in elementary; a place where you practically live in one room under the guidance of one person. In the back of this other classroom, the teacher would wait for us, sitting at the inset crook of the half-moon shaped reading table as we students fanned out, facing her, along the wide arc of its outer, crescent edge. The students in her class where already there, of course; it was their room, so they had the seats furthest away from the teacher. (Those seats being the two radiuses at the far edges that formed the diameter.) Except the ones who wanted to learn: Those eager students sat in the center. My seat usually fell somewhere between those extremes. It was our third week. She started the discussion by asking me, me, what I thought of this week's reading and I breathed, “I loved it.” The story was about a girl and her classmates on Venus.

I don’t know what happened to my book; I think it must be around the house somewhere (I hope), I can’t remember the title of the story, I was never aware of the author’s name in the first place, but through time the tale has stayed with me. I think about it now and then; the major beats. It's like remembering your childhood friend. The one who moved away and you haven't seen since.

. . .

I punched in a few key words, “venus,” “class,” “girl,” “rain,” “sun,” and immediately rediscovered:

All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury (PDF)

When I write Greyfeather, I am aware that I have a slightly unconventional way of formatting, most of which has to do with influence from the way I build moments in my screenwriting.

It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands.

On this read I immediately noticed Bradbury’s tangible and poetic description. Fundamentally, I’m certain All Summer in a Day was included in our lessons so as to teach imagery via simile and metaphor in a way that made sense to kids and also explored a moral lesson that was relevent.

But, I also noticed,

The author’s formatting is somewhat similar to mine. Or mine is like his. More so than in any other work of short fiction I’ve seen yet.

The things we carry? Perhaps. The study of nature and nurture is an imprecise science, after all.

The story is four pages long. Print it out, have a coffee or a tea or the like and enjoy the read.

You can also purchase a collection of Mr. Bradbury’s works from, you know, a bookstore.

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Greyfeather (Catch) 







I'm going to go ahead and put a SPOILER WARNING on the comments of this entry so that people who have read Greyfeather #2 can discuss freely.

Late Buyers: Order one of the last copies here.

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If 

I waited to respond to the story comments on the Greyfeather #2 entry because I wanted to give folks some time to read the book and post if they liked.

Overall, I’m proud of the work on the second installment of Greyfeather. For anyone new, this most recent chapter is titled “Catch” and is the latest release of a non-linear mythology that began with the publication of the first chapter “An Introduction” as a short story in the book Aidmheil. Despite my immediate plans and ideas for the Greyfeather novel, I didn’t quite expect a story that came to me over the course of an hour on a Sunday afternoon to become this popular so quickly. It has it’s own momentum, which is nice for a change.

Projects of this sort, even something as seemingly simple as a chapter book, are surprisingly challenging, time-consuming and expensive for us to pull off in terms of production and distribution. Thanks for ordering and sharing and supporting the evolution of story and artist. The day the books were delivered to me I had the best time sitting down and signing them over to you.

The feedback here has been terrific and rewarding. Many people chose to contact me directly over posting, so the discussion isn’t as lively as I’d have hoped, but that’s fine. I suppose it is strange to have a story discussion with the writer. You might worry that you’ll offend them or that your interpretation is completely incorrect or something else silly. When I myself am chatting about the story, I tend to forget that I wrote the thing. It’s much more fun that way and that’s how it happens, anyway. Plus, it’s awesome to be a fan of your own work. In re-reading your comments on the story, I don’t see anything here in the responses that I disagree with (there are spoilers so I won’t quote them) and of course the praise of the work is affirming and keeps one sane. I was telling reader Curt in an e-mail that the setup of the story was a challenge against the current landscape of immediate action, hammer-to-anvil storytelling. In making my final decisions, I kept in mind all of the authors in times past who were accused of taking their time or delving too far into the minutiae of matters. Salinger, Dickens, Tolkien... Probably shouldn’t have cited Charles Dickens: He was paid by the word. Quite a different reason for taking one’s time. In the end I did what was best for, and organic to, the world. Like I said, I’m happy with the way the telling unfolds: The events are just as they occured.

Prayer for the Grave, the bonus poem included after the main text, has been popular. I admit the poem is one of my favorite parts of the book, too. I do wish there was more of a market for poetry: I’d release a poetry chapter book if there were.

I read reader Sean’s ideas about Greyfeather with great interest, although it is nearly impossible for me to respond properly without ruining the future of the story or being overly self-analytical in terms of my own psychology. It’s rather lovely-strange to be seen in the metaphor of your work as opposed to the regular way people go about measuring one another up. And readers of JSDC and otherwise are in a unique position to do so because their eyes aren’t much clouded by what they see in person day to day, because their eyes aren’t as much clouded by the everyday or the past. I always wonder how, if, it’s possible to know a person. Fully. I expect that that philosophical question will be a present theme throughout the arc of my career because it exists in my stories. It will chase me a little, I think. But I welcome it.

Thanks again for your momentum. The story has garnered a fair amount of interest, which is a little funny because I had planned (and still do, really) on hitting it hard production wise down the line. As usual, however, we shall see.

Related Mentionings (spoiler-free): 1 - 2

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Generations 

In the closing days of Greyfeather #2: Catch, I have come across a new phenomena: Parents purchasing copies to save and gift to their son or daughter once they are older. One parent is going so far as to prepare an entire box of stuff to pass on at the proper coming-of-age point. I think this is all very neat, especially since things are so instant payoff in our culture. Furthermore, it’s interesting to inscribe the stories over to someone who is 1 or 2 or 4 knowing that they will read it years from now once they are older while, as I write, also thinking about what it means that the parent is a stranger-friend,

And how this relates to themes in the Greyfeather story.

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