Discover more from Thursday!
Thursday! Between the Zines: A Story About A Story.
Last week, I promised you a story about the story. You know. The story?1 So here’s what happened. Back in 2020 or so my friend Rachael2 created an 50’s style advertisement for the Chemex brand pour-offer coffee carafes. She’s a coffee hound and Chemex is her pour-over jam. You know how artists like to make art about other things they love? That, in very cool fashion. In due time, she shared it with me, because that, also, is what artists like to do with the art they make3.
Almost immediately, a story idea kindled in my head. It was more an image, really, of an astronaut in one of those 50s sci-fi rocket ships, standing over a counter, sipping a mug of hot coffee in absolute rapture. The image was so vivid, I could practically smell the coffee, hear the quiet beeps and boops from various control panels, see the vast nothingness of space through the viewscreen. Idyllic, right? Except there was something else about that image I knew, as sure as I knew my name: this astronaut was bat-spit insane and it was the love of that coffee that had driven him there.
Well. I tucked all that away so my subconscious could chew on it a little while. Sure enough, the scene became more detailed. This astronaut was crazy. He had a proper “steely-eyed missile man” kind of name and I’d borrow Rachael’s last name for his as a way of thanking her, in part, for the inspiration. That, and I knew she’d get a kick out of it. He had gone most of the way to crazy even before he took that first delicious sip, and his insanity had led him to do something terrible. Shortly thereafter, I wrote the whole story and entered it into a contest, where it promptly and decisively failed to delight any of the judges.4
Time passed. Flower faded and bloomed anew. Birds sang in verdant treetops. Seasons came and went and there I was, searching for just the right story for the new edition of Thursday! The E-Zine. I went skipping, tra la, through my stories and bam! Astronaut First Class Gene Sinclair was right there, coffee in hand.
The story wasn’t the only thing, though. Sure, I wanted to share that with you but I also wanted to give you something extra — something with full body and rich aroma, if you will. I wanted the thing that got the story going from the very beginning.
I dropped Rachael a note and asked her if she was able to change the illustration she had done way back then to change the name brand. I wasn’t sure Chemex would be terribly thrilled with my using their name on my story without permission and getting that kind of permission can be an expensive and time-consuming quest. But if Rachael could make a couple alterations and make her illustration a BrewBuddy thing? Oh, yeah.
She came back later that day with something that knocked my socks off.5 She hadn’t changed her old illustration; she had made a brand new one. It still had that amazing 50s feel, but more sharp and colorful. She even invented a logo for the BrewBuddy brand6. I hadn’t even thought to ask for that but…wow. I put that with the story (which I revised very little from the way I sent it to the contest in 2020) and you saw it last week.
I mean, you did see it last week, right? You didn’t just get the newsletter and let it sit in your inbox, getting all cold and lonely? You didn’t? Good. Good.
Here’s the thing. When I started writing stories again, back a few years ago, what I wanted most was for those stories to get into as many hands as possible. I wasn’t thinking about publication or money or fame or anything else but that. With a few exceptions, if I wrote it, it went to my web page where anyone could find it and read it.
Except hardly anyone found what I wrote. The most seen post on my site is a story I wrote in March, 2020 that has in all that time racked up 130 views. That’s it. Now, I’m not so popular that Thursday! has that many readers, but each of the e-zine issues has gotten awfully close to that number. That means every story or poem I put into an issue of Thursday! gets in front of more people who might fall in love with it than any post on my own website ever has. That’s no small thing. Let me give you an example. The story I just told you about, “The Best Part of Waking Up”? It has 40 views, total, on my web site since I published it there three years ago. Last week’s newsletter has gotten, in less than a week, 134 “reads”.
134 in one week vs 40 in 3 years!
That, my friends, is all your doing. You read this newsletter. You share it and turn your friends on to it. You send me notes about my stories and poems and how they make you feel. You are helping it grow, bit by bit, little by little. You give me confidence to keep on the path, to keep writing stories, to keep sharing them, and to keep pushing Thursday! to be the best newsletter possible. I’m grateful to you and rely on you an awful lot.
They7 say good newsletter “strategy” is to end each issue with a Call to Action — one or perhaps two things I want you to do to help my own cause. Usually, that’s a request to buy something or to donate. I don’t do that very often, for secret reasons, but this time I will. At the end of this newsletter is a little section full of ways you can help me and Thursday! do more and do better. If you’re already doing some of the things down there, THANK YOU!! If not, why not start?
That’s it. Next week, more stories, poetry, general mayhem, but probably not another crazy coffee astronaut.8
My dream is to support my family with my art. Can such a thing be done? Yes! But I need your help.
Upgrade to a paid membership to Thursday! or consider a Founding Membership! You can choose any amount above $65 a year, not just the suggested $240.
ONE LAST THING! See the buttons down there? Click them and join in the shenanigans and tomfoolery. If you only want a little, click the heart. But if you click the comment button, you might find yourself adding real value to this crazy little community we’re building here, and wouldn’t that be grand?
Which is why we are all here, yes?
It happens. The capricious, and often nonsensical, decisions of story contest judges is a big reason I’m in no rush to enter another one. If I subject my stories to rejection, I also want them to have a solid chance of reaching a lot more people than I could reach myself. Most contests don’t do that, though a rare few do. Publications? Magazines and anthologies? Heck yes!
First socks, then — WHOOSH! — not socks. I don’t know where the socks went. Orbit, perhaps? The illustration was sock-orbitingly excellent! And that’s an adjective I want to see more often.
BrewBuddy will most definitely show up in other stories I write going forward, much like the brands Stephen King invented for his “other worlds” of the Dark Tower (and adjacent) novels. If he can have his Takuro Spirit care and Nozz-A-La soda, then I can have BrerwBuddy.
You know…they? *sinister glances*