What? Do ya think I lost my mind with the title? Patience, Grasshopper, and my madness will become clear.
I came across a post by Jim Denney on his Unearthly Fiction blog. The post struck me, not only because of the great advice to writers passed along from Harlan Ellison, one of Science Fiction’s grand masters, but also because he mentioned Harlan’s 1967 short story, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
The stark imagery and brutally powerful voice of Harlan’s tale drew me in as a teenager and NEVER let go. Few other short stories have had a similar impact. Arthur C Clarke’s The Star is one, as is Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon and Brian Aldiss’ Super-Toys Last All Summer Long. These stories touched me in ways that have lasted many, many years. Shouldn’t that be the goal of every writer, to touch and influence his or her readers in powerful ways? Shouldn't we strive to covey ideas and images and emotions in fresh ways the reader may have never experienced before?
That is why I found Harlan Ellison’s advice to writers in Mr. Denney blog so encouraging. In a way, I needed a pep talk. The ache in the pit of my stomach never goes away, even after the many rejections that’s a part of every writer’s life. Will my stories impact readers in the same way that I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream did to me? Eventually, I hope so. That is my dream. That is why I keep writing.
Here’s a link to Mr. Denney's Unearthly Fiction Blog