Jan/Feb 2008

e c l e c t i c a
s p o t l i g h t   a u t h o r


Carolyn Steele Agosta
and David Bulley

The following six stories were written during a game of one-upmanship on the writers board Scrawl.

David Bulley, one of the two authors whose work is presented here, said, "The only real goal was each time to out-do the other writer's story, which had just outdone yours. What I think I was looking for was a way to take my writing to a new place. I kept thinking about Rick Bass's story 'The Wood Fairy,' about how original the premise, how alien the familiar landscape. It seems to me that people enjoying success in short stories are doing something we (me) are not, which is going to new places. Exotic locals, strange characters, really different premises—I remember a story in Harpers about a kid who makes a killer yoyo. But we keep doing the mantra, 'Write what you know,' which I agree with, which I encourage others to adopt, but which usually situates me on the landscape of the familiar."

The authors wrote quickly, and as Carolyn Agosta stated, "What I really like about this challenge is I'm writing in a whole different way—not just the style of writing, but the HOW of writing. Usually I think about a story for a long time before I write it. With only two days, it's forcing me to think less and intuit more. And I feel as though the result is lighter (not lightweight), not bogged down, not heavy. Like making pastry without handling the dough too much."

(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

Just Hear Those Sleighbells Jing-a-ling

Lisa heard him and turned her back, muttering, "Oh, I know. You guys think I'm over-reacting. Right. Like I'm over-reacting when I try to tell you about global warming. You'll be sorry when we all freeze to death, like in The Day After."
Carolyn Steele Agosta

Prospero at the Parade

And it is nasty, too, the overly familiar speech I use with total strangers: Hey little girl, want some candy?
David Bulley

Oh, Natalie!

I could be his apprentice. I could learn to make cotton candy, to hawk his wares, to sell inflatable Santas and giant candy canes.
Carolyn Steele Agosta

Leaving Earth

I owe you something, darling, before I walk off the face of the earth. So I will tell you that last Friday you broke my heart and I will never recover and I can never live with you again. I don't know if it is better or worse that you have no idea you did it.
David Bulley

Frozen in Place

"I remember those damned frozen biscuits and sweet potato pies. Can't even look a sweet potato pie in the face any more."
Carolyn Steele Agosta


I've always been lazy. Sadie says no just only I'm unmotivated. I was motivated as hell to rip those walls out let me say. Yeah I was.
David Bulley