Thursday, November 15, 2012


I write a lot of short stories.  Some of them work, some don't.

Some time ago I started a short story about an injured man who was led to safety by a pig.  (It was set in Texas, of course.)

But it wasn't working.  Too much of the story was just a lost man with an injured ankle hobbling along after a pig in a storm.  That part of the story wasn't really interesting.

So I put the story away and forgot about it.

The other day, I was listening to a radio interview with neurologist and author Oliver Sacks.  He was plugging his new book, titled Hallucinations.

Sacks noted how people in extreme peril sometimes hear a voice giving them advice.  Sacks himself once experienced this.

And it hit me: THAT was how I could make the long trudge interesting!  The PIG would TALK!

(Or, more precisely, the injured narrator would assume the voice came from the pig.  I love what writers call "unreliable narrators.")

So I brought up the story, and made the pig talk, telling the injured man to keep moving.  Since the narrator is a good ol' boy from Texas, he imagines the pig talking like an educated Yankee.  (He says, "the damn pig sounded like Thurston Howell III from 'Gilligan's Island.'")

As far as I can tell, it works.  I'll find out once I bring it to one of my critique groups.  Thanks, Oliver Sacks!

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