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MOODBOARD: “Things That Burn”

June 29, 2020 in Moodboard, Patreon, Writing - No Comments

I struggled to write this month’s Patreon story. Writer’s block kept me in a choke hold. I tried a ton of ideas. Even once an idea latched to my skull, I lacked the essential desire to write it. But write I did, eventually.

Back in May, I really tried to write this sexy murder hornet erotica horror. I wanted it to be fun and different, but then, well, more of 2020 happened and totally killed my mood. So I forced myself to write several other stories that went nowhere. I even deleted the first draft of the sexy murder hornet erotica by accident and had no way of retrieving it.

Nevertheless, I have a damn story for you. It might be June 29th but I brought you what I promised. This month’s VERY LATE STORY is called “Things That Burn” and it’s a somewhat hopeful doomsday horror dedicated to all you 2020 Grads.

Some Fucking Problems

I took it upon myself a while back to try to write about current events. Mainly COVID-related, but then some darker stuff took place. Remember April when the threat of murder hornets was a thing? I mean, it’s been a while since then, but back then I felt like I had a hold of things.

Like many, I found myself glued to live coverage of the protests via Unicorn Riot. They interviewed plenty of protesters on the ground, and , honestly, a LOT of those people talking were black Gen Z kids. And damn if I wasn’t impressed.

I needed a few days to work though my feelings. I watched and listened and came way with fresh perspective. Part of me wanted to put those feelings into fiction. I find that can often be problematic when writing about current events. Sometimes that raw state needs time to heal before fiction can really prove itself an effective tool.

I’m bi-racial. Half Filipino, but I pass for white. I haven’t exactly lived the experience of a person of colour, and specifically a person of colour in America. Canada isn’t without its issues with racism, but being a Canadian and watching America go down in flames feels pretty detached at times.

Fiction should be an escape, not a set of confines.

But, this one photo of a black 2020 graduate on the flaming streets of Minneapolis really struck a chord with me.

A Bleak Future?

“Things That Burn” is simply about the world that 2020 grads are coming of age into. I wonder how terrifying that must be. I graduated in 2005 as a spoiled elder Millennial. People told me that if I went to college and worked hard that life would be fucking great.

I took a gap year and then went into an Arts program with the intent of getting a Journalism degree so I could write for the local paper. And, well, writing fiction held more of an allure to me. I quit school to work retail full time and pursue my writing career. Loving what I did mattered more to me than money.

And for a Millennial, I am doing okay. I came out of school without student debt. My husband and married and asked for money in lieu of fancy gifts. We saved a down payment and live in a townhouse. It’s not a detached nice house with a fancy fence or a pool or even air conditioning, but we own a house, which is still a lot better than most Millennials have.

I remember back in 2011 or so when my husband and I got our first tax return as a married couple and we found ourselves in the lower middle class tax bracket and I joked (seriously) to my Boomer coworker about how this was the best life would get for us.

She laughed and told me how sad that was.

And yes, it’s totally sad. Back in the day a Boomer could likely support their own family with one full-time income. Everything blows, and yes, my political views have changed and my sadness has shifted to anger. I’m not the only one who feels this way either. Plenty of people do.

So Gen Z? They’re digital natives. They’re the smartest generation yet. They know all the lies and they’re the ones who are out there, taking to the streets with masks, demanding change.

“Things That Burn” is about a pair of 2020 graduates coming to terms with the world they’re set to walk into.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“Things That Burn” is about a 2020 graduate to takes his dog for a walk during quarantine to hang out with a rebel socialist classmate he’s taken a liking to.

I suppose a bit of it was inspired by my own experience hanging out with my high school grad date after school ended, wherein we both kind of wanted to get to know each other better but were too damn shy to even do it.

Unlike my experience, this one does get a bit sexy, but then a strange sound starts calling from the sky, and things get a little tense.

Setting

“Things That Burn” takes place on a series of hiking trails between the suburbs in Kamloops. I wanted to head out there in June to get a little more inspiration. Oddly enough, the rain took to this semi-arid desert in true “The Red House” style, which would normally inspire me. But it’s been

Writing proved extremely tough this month. Typically summers here get brutal with sun and heat and awfulness, which makes for horrible forest fire seasons. Climate change obviously worsened much of the threat. 2017 proved particularly bad for B.C. forest fires, so perhaps the rain this year will prevent the sky from getting too smokey.

Forest fires really give me anxiety every year. I worry about my house catching aflame and losing everything. This is the world we live in now and it sucks. Everything sucks. And I suppose that’s inspiration, is it not?

MOAR Writer’s Block

Quite frankly, I struggled this month. This story isn’t my best. BUT, I like “Things That Burn”. I blended some old with some new. I went back to my teenage roots. Sometimes it’s kind of nice to strip everything down to that “coming of age” level and recharged those youthful emotions.

I often find that writer’s block sets me back to base level writing. Not to say that “Things that Burn” is poorly written, but I enjoy writing from a teenage perspective, much like I did with “White Rabbit”.

Long story short, this struggle has at least proved that I could produce something.

Want to read “Things That Burn”?

Fingers crossed because I plan on posting it to Patreon before the month is up.

Join my Patreon now at the $5 Short Stories tier to access all the stories I’ve written this year thus far.

The ebook copy will likely take me a couple more days to format but I WILL have the online copy up on the Patreon Stories section of the site when it goes live.

IMAGE CREDITS

Bench / Cracked Cement / Grass / Fire / Dog / Boy in Mask / Girl / Marigold

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Rebecca

Rebecca is a neo-noir author from Kamloops, British Columbia. Her first collection of gritty short fiction, Vile Men was published by Dark House Press in 2015. She also writes about her writer lifestyle on her blog at rebeccajoneshowe.com.

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I'm Rebecca Jones-Howe, a neo-noir writer and author of the short story collection, VILE MEN. My work has been featured in [PANK], Pulp Modern and Punchnel's, among other magazines. This site houses my writing profile and my blog, which features posts on writing, fashion, lifestyle + more. Want more?

- RJH

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