So go read it: http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/Monsters/catherine-krahe/walking-home
Then you should rate it and go comment on the DSF facebook post because getting comments feels really good, and if I have any power over the internet at all, I would like to use it now. (Honest comments, mind you, even nice spam is still gross.)
In other news, I am abandoning Heat Transfer. Or rather, I am taking it apart for scrap and putting it back in the pile for possible future use. It's got some nice prose in it, worth keeping, but there's just no there-there, and I don't think there ever will be. And it makes me sad, less because of the loss of a story I wanted to exist, but more because I wanted to have three finished things because that makes this real.
I am looking at the toaster story again, and taking out the Part 2: Nonfiction bit. It's trying too hard to do too much. So I'm back to Allison and her talking toaster. And I'm thinking that I don't want the toaster to be the frog prince. I don't want the heroine to change the hero into what she wants. And I'm thinking that I really don't want it to be Beauty and the Beast, where the heroine falls in love with who the hero is inside, and it doesn't matter that there isn't a physical relationship with kissing or anything, because they're in love. That always bugged me. There are versions I've read where Beauty gets to have sex with the Beast, and I like those. And even the other stories usually end with Beast becoming human so there is the possibility of offscreen sexytimes. But those stories usually make that the bonus. It's the happy ending PLUS sex. The implication is that it would still be a happy ending with everyone holding hands and feeling warm and fuzzy. Literally.
Yes, I accept that some people are varying degrees of asexual, whose ideal relationship (if they want one at all, we shouldn't assume that everyone even wants to be matched up with another person or two or more) is emotionally intimate but not physically. That is totally valid. But it's not my fantasy. And those sexless Beauty and the Beast stories make me feel as if it's the most valid way to be, that of course what matters is love! I refuse to write one of those. Allison likes sex and is not giving it up to marry a toaster. Even a toaster with a really sexy voice.
(And here I think about how there are lots of ways to have a sex life, and how a sexy voice and a good imagination can go a long way. I think about the messages on my voice mail that Cassidy left me this morning, and how much of our sex life happens in our heads and how much I enjoy that part. But there was already a sex-with-kitchen-appliances story, and I refuse to add another one to the world. We have suffered enough.)
Which leaves me with no answer for Allison and her toaster. She can't make him not a toaster, and she can't be with him as a toaster. She is going to have to leave him. It's sad, but for the best. I am apparently writing a breakup story about a toaster.
There are days when I pick up something like Michelle Tea's Rent Girl, which begins with her going to a hooker party with her hooker girlfriend, and I think, how can I compete with this? How can I write memoir when I don't have stories like that to tell? My life is so bland and epiphany-less. And there are hardly any hookers.
And then I go back to something like Dallas Needs a Cheerleader, and read a lovely story about worms in puddles. And I think that sometimes my trouble is that I spend too much time trying and failing to be Michelle Tea. I want to be edgy. I want to be shocking. But I'm not in high school anymore, and I can't win the "I will take this further than you will" game anymore. It isn't enough to be frank about sex and depression and eating disorders and the like. That's for kids.
I want to be writing. I want to be writing stories, and not just pretty, disjointed, bits of prose here and there. I want to make something beautiful.
Beauty is pretty that matters. Beauty is what lingers after pretty wears off.
Go read Cassie's story. We'll talk more later.