Finally, after our successful crowdfunding campaign to keep Scintilla going another year, I’ve sat down with Anton Chekhov and we’ve written two zombie mashups. It was hard to choose stories. I made it halfway through “Ward Six” before stopping. I wanted to write “The Zombie (Lady) with the Dog” because I thought it’d be funny to make all of her dialogue incomprehensible. But, does it need to be understood?
“At Christmas Time with Zombies” is a little more subtle. The zombie narrative is hidden inside the larger narrative as a young miscreant writes a letter for a woe-filled elderly couple to their daughter. The horror story is not the most devilish part of the piece though.
So what was it like to write with Chekhov? Unfortunately, it was first parsed by Constance Garnett and comes across a little too stilted. However, I retyped both stories so that I would feel more free to add in my own text when inspired. In “The Zombie (Lady) with the Dog” that allowed me to more easily modify descriptions and add in my own text. At times it felt like taking a part a piece of clothing stitch by stitch and sewing it back again with my own flourishes.
In any case, I hope the people for whom the stories I for enjoy them, and that you all do as well.
Yesterday, I completed my writing space at home. The final stage involved taking the top off of my old, secondhand desk I bought at an estate sale in St. Louis and screwing on some steel legs. It turned a desk with a narrow space for a chair into a more open workspace. Best of all, it was easy to do. If you’re interested in doing something similar, you can order legs from Hairpin Legs or Modern Legs.
The story goes that Thamus said many things to Theuth in praise or blame of the various arts, which it would take too long to repeat; but when they came to the letters, “This invention, O king,” said Theuth, “will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memories; for it is an elixir of memory and wisdom that I have discovered.” But Thamus replied, “Most ingenious Theuth, one man has the ability to beget arts, but the ability to judge of their usefulness or harmfulness to their users belongs to another; and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise. ~ Socrates