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Fancy Meeting You Here

February 25, 2017

asimovs-cover-march-april-2017If you’re here because “A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension” just came out in Asimov’s Science Fiction, then welcome to my blog! How kind of you to visit – especially considering I didn’t think to put a website link into my Asimov’s bio.

I’ll get down to it. The most popular post on this blog is Rutherford B. Hayes Was A Sexy Beast, and the post How to Ride a Viking Ship in Your Wedding is an extreme example of the kind of shenanigans I regularly get involved in. In other news:

  • My all-time favorite book is Dune.
  • I am a freak for Martin L. Shoemaker’s short story “Today I am Paul.”
  • And I firmly believe in dipping dark chocolate candy bars directly into the peanut butter jar.

If you’re interested in reading my other published stories, you can find them linked on my publications page.

Are you still reading this post? Okay, I’ll tell you a story.

“A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension” started out as a very different tale. The core of it was a terrible thing that happened in my family when I was a child, and my maternal grandmother (Mim) showed up for a week or so to help out after the tragedy. Mim and I spent a lot of time together then, and many of the things she said to me were very confusing. I was 3 years old. One day, Mim was making sure I had something to eat, and she insisted I eat a sandwich that still had the crust on it.

It wasn’t no fancybread sandwich. That sandwich was made of the cheap stuff – Wonder Bread from the 1970s – and its crust tasted terrible. Mom always cut the crusts off so I wouldn’t have to eat them. Mim, however, would do no such thing. And she had a very specific, mystifying, terrifying reason why I had to eat the entire slice of bread.

“God is in the crust!” Mim said. She was not happy with me.

Well, you can just imagine. I was a tiny proto-human, and as far as I knew, God was a person. I could not understand how a person could be in my Wonder Bread, but I was pretty sure that something terrible must have happened for that to come about. No way I was going to eat a person. My reaction to the requirement to eat the crust, or to eat any of the Wonder Bread sandwich for that matter, caused an incident.

Fast forward to last year, and I decided to change this story about my family’s tragedy and the crust incident into a science fiction piece with a happy ending. Ultimately, I adjusted nearly everything about the story, but in the drafts, I retained the transformational moment when the second grandma insists Olive eat all of the bread because “God is in the crust.”

I run my stories past trusted writer-friends. All of them were confused about what that God / crust line meant. I tried to explain it. They said it was nonsensical. The meaning seemed obvious to me. Hadn’t everyone’s grandma said something like that to them?

Turns out…no. So I googled “God is in the crust.” Number of hits…zero.

2006-mim

Mim – 1929-2012

That whole “God is in the crust” thing was one of my earliest, most powerful memories. My sister remembers Mim saying the same thing to her in later years. My Mom confirmed that phrase was one her mother said. I wasn’t making it up! But apparently, Mim was, or something like that.

I obviously needed to take the line out of “A Singular Event in the Fourth Dimension,” and I did. But that doesn’t change the fact that the story Asimov’s was kind enough to publish is a memorial to the beautiful and baffling people who love us and who we love back.

 

 

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