An alternate version of this month's index page.

September 1997


Greta Floating, Lillian Straight Ahead: A New Story

Greta Floating, Lillian Straight Ahead is a short-short story - less than 1000 words, or two typed pages in Times Roman.

Nevertheless, it's been my primary focus all summer, along with the serial Glory in the Golden Apple. I've spent a lot of time working on it in the flower gardens at St. James-in-the-fields Church, on Hudson Street near Christopher.

Short-short stories are hard, as I found out during the six years I worked on the three typed pages of Charlotte's Mirror.

You have very little room to make your point - there's no margin for error. Still, if you have only one point to make, as Greta does, 1000 words is long enough to make it. The trick is getting the right 1000 words.

The title is from a two-panel composition I was assigned in a long-forgotten graphic arts class. It showed silent film actresses Greta Garbo and Lillian Gish. I've always liked the title, and have long wanted to write a story to fit it.

Greta is also the only story on the site which has a dedication - to the very successful journalist, and my onetime friend, Maer Roshan.

Color Theory on a Black-and-White Site

Symbolism fans will notice that "Greta Floating, Lillian Straight Ahead" is largely a story about the color red.

For a project done mostly in black and white, the stories on this site depend heavily on color.

Shades of pink play roles in Amy Beauty Rose, Charlotte's Mirror, and Doe; blue is a character in In A Lonely Place, Fireworks and Soup, and, of course, in the Blue Flower of Happiness.

Gold gets name-checked in Glory in the Golden Apple silver in Amy Beauty Rose, and white in White City. Diana's black hair distinguishes her in Extraordinary.

I have so far written no stories about yellow, purple, or orange, probably because the words themselves don't sound very nice.

However, green fans, my newest story - barely underway, now, and not likely to premiere for several months - features a heroine named Olive Hurst.