I’m thrilled my latest short story “Invasion of the Alien Parasite from Interdimensional Space” is now appearing in issue 925 of BewilderingStories.com. I submitted the story on June 30th and was notified on July 18th that it was accepted for publication.
Thank you Gaelle, Ricky, and Morgan for being beta readers for me!
Bewildering Stories published my story on Monday November 1st. So why am I writing about it in my blog now, on Friday November 5th? I have no idea. No excuse. I had three and a half months to write a draft blog post. One of my New Year’s resolutions is (or will be–it’s not 2022 yet) to publish a blog post at least once a month. My problem is probably perfectionism. I should I treat my blog posts more like journal entries instead of short stories and let myself express myself without worrying about being perfect. Anyway, that’s another topic for another day.
I designed the cover art myself. Do you like it?
I wish I could draw, but I can’t. At least not well. I want to learn. I bought a drawing program called Procreate for my iPad and can do some pretty cool stuff with it without knowing how to draw. The alien worm I managed to draw by tracing over an existing cartoon and modifying it a little. Procreate is so much easier to use than Photoshop. Learning how to draw simple cartoons is another one of my New Year resolutions. I would love to adapt my stories for YouTube someday.
My story was inspired by three things:
- A spoofed email
- An observation that angry people spend too much time on social media
- The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku
Inspiration #1: Spoofed Email
One of my sources of inspiration was from a spoofed email that showed up in my inbox a couple of years ago. I wrote about it in my blog post “Some Jackhole Appropriated My Email Address – Use DMARC to Prevent Spoofing.” The email was odd and seemed to be written by someone not fluent in English.
Inspiration #2: Social Media Outrage
I’ve noticed people rage a lot more about everything these days, especially on Twitter and Facebook. Everyone’s angrier, and I blame social medial. Anger and outrage drive clicks, and clicks make money for advertisers. The Wall Street Journal did a whole series called The Facebook Files about this topic. I don’t remember people being this angry about current events before social media showed up in everyone’s lives. A current of anger is electrifying the airwaves, affecting everyone. It wasn’t always like this.
Inspiration #3: Split-Brain Patients
My third source of inspiration was from chapter one of Michio Kaku’s nonfiction book The Future of the Mind. He wrote about split-brain patients who had the connection between the left and right hemispheres of their brains severed for medical reasons (they suffered from grand mal seizures caused by feedback loops between the two hemispheres). He wrote:
Normally the hemispheres complement each other as thoughts move back and forth between the two. The left brain is more analytical and logical. It is where verbal skills are found, while the right brain is more holistic and artistic. But the left brain is the dominant one and makes the final decisions. Commands pass from the left brain to the right brain via the corpus callosum. But if that connection is cut, it means that the right brain is now free from the dictatorship of the left brain. Perhaps the right brain can have a will of its own, contradicting the wishes of the dominant left brain.
In short, there could be two wills acting within one skull, sometimes struggling for control of the body. This creates the bizarre situation where the left hand (controlled by the right brain) starts to behave independently of your wishes, as if it were an alien appendage.
There is one documented case in which a man was about to hug his wife with one hand, only to find that the other hand had an entirely different agenda. It delivered a right hook to her face. Another woman reported that she would pick out a dress with one hand, only to see her other hand grab an entirely different outfit. Meanwhile, one man had difficulty sleeping at night thinking that his other rebellious hand might strangle him.Future of the Mind, p. 46-47
Dr. Michael Gazzaniga of the University of California, Santa Barbara explained that there are ways to communicate separately to each hemisphere, but since the right brain can’t speak (speech centers are located in the left brain) it’s difficult to get answers from the right brain. But it’s possible to let the mute right brain “talk” by using Scrabble letters.
It’s all very fascinating, and this was only the first chapter of the book. Reading scientific books and research studies gives me so many great ideas for stories.
What I attempted in my story was to turn my sources of inspiration into a comedy to make you laugh. Or more accurately, to make ME laugh. I have no idea how many people are reading my published stories, the whopping TWO short stories available out there in cyberspace for anyone to read, but my most important audience is myself, since I’m the one doing this, spending an enormous amount of my time typing away at my desk, entertaining myself with my own stories for no pay whatsoever. I’m just grateful the people at Bewildering Stories enjoyed it too.