13 September “I’ve been summoned to your side,” I said, taking a seat in the chair beside her bed. “In the hopes that I can help guide you back to the world of the living.”
She coughed, cleared her throat, smiled at me, and said, “I have been waiting for you.”
The waking dreamer was lucid on the day that I met her. Though she was lying propped in her bed, she didn’t even appear weak or pale. I was quite surprised. But then I looked into her dark eyes and perceived in their depths a hidden truth, a weary soul, and a cautious calm. She was indeed haunted by the journeys that her mind and even her body had made in the weeks prior.
Victoria Lockhart, like many of those in both the cast and crew of her feature film debut, had heard about their director. His genius. And his…moods. That’s what they were called back then. Moods. And only directors were allowed to have them. She’d been so excited on her first day. Even after she saw him throw a chair at one of the writers. Even after she’d seen him take a swing at the cinematographer. Even after she’d heard him say things to his assistant in front of everyone that made the woman crumple at his feet in tears. Victoria told herself that she would never trigger his ire. She would make him adore her, respect her, and treat her as gently as he treated that favorite suede jacket of his.
Year Eight is finished! As always, thank you to everyone who read even a single story. Thank to you everyone who liked or commented. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Eight.
This was the Year of Revisitation, in which I went back to a story I’d already written and wrote a new standalone story based on a character, object, continuation of events, or some other (sometimes flimsy) link to the earlier story.
A lot happens in the eighth year stories. While investigating a murder, a single-celled detective is led into a world full of bacterial filaments, proto-multicellular colonies, and a new concept called “love.” The most popular wrestling show in five galaxies is somehow in danger of being shut down, but then the wrestlers—including the show’s first human—jump into action to save it. In the 400th story, six kids explore the possibility that dogs have been trying to warn humanity about a terrible enemy in their midst…the vacuum machines. And a kitchen mishap leads to the accidental invention of the most powerful ice cream in the world.
I did something new and made a year-end trailer for The Year of Revisitation. It’s posted here, and it’ll be on the Trailers page for a few weeks.
Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov
I’ve written over 400 stories now, and produced over 200 podcast episodes. And yes, I do feel mighty. I do wonder if I’m repeating myself sometimes (I probably am, but maybe it’s okay if it turns out to be fun). It was more challenging than I expected to revisit older stories. Part of the challenge was that when I first started writing, I often added too many elements to a story. I still sometimes do that, but I believe I’ve gotten better at recognizing and streamlining. There were times when I wanted to revisit a previous story, or some element from the story, but in a longer work. Perhaps, in the future…
This year, I launched a few new features in the hopes of making it easier and more fun to navigate through all those hundreds of stories, and find the ones you’re most likely to enjoy.
Trailers page: The trailers for the most recent stories and podcast episodes, and links to older trailers.
Portals page: Buttons with images and taglines for recent stories. The buttons (portals) lead to the introductory pages for each story, which contain the trailer and more information. My hope is that I can add to these introductory pages in the future (more trailers, behind-the-scenes info, etc.).
You can also listen to the three most recent podcast episodes from either the Trailers or the Portals pages.
Hub pages for the current story year and podcast season, to make it easier to scroll through and read the titles and taglines of the stories, and either go directly to the story, or go visit the introductory page.
In case you didn’t know about all these pages, or just haven’t checked them out, the buttons are at the bottom of this post. I also ran a couple of showcase campaigns to highlight stories that shared a theme. I plan to continue this effort with more navigation tools in the next year. So if anyone has any suggestions or other feedback, please feel free to reach out.
Expanding beyond this site, I also launched a new online course to help anyone who wants to write short fiction, and I’ll soon be launching a new online store with merchandise that features artwork from the Storyfeather stories.
All of these new things are exciting (sometimes grueling) but the stories are still the core of this endeavor.
Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path. Stories have been my hope and my haven all my life. First, the stories of others, and then my own stories as well. This year, stories and storytelling have also been my anchor.
Year Nine is coming. The Wheel of Fiction. The theme is a continuation of Year Eight’s theme, but with a twist (pun intended). Season Five of the podcast is coming soon. The journey continues! I hope you’ll come along.
I have stories to tell you. Nila
[Summarized Video Description: Trailer. Duration, 96 seconds. Music: “Space Discoveries” by Andrew Sitkov. Title card with the Storyfeather main logo and “Year 8” and the story title are displayed in front of the image from the story “The Union of the Spyglass.” The logo and title card fade. A watermark of the word “Storyfeather” appears at bottom right. Images from various other Year 8 stories appear and disappear in a series of wipes and animations. The following words appear and disappear, “Galactic! Microscopic. Hand pies! Aliens! Quests. Mischief. The 400th story” The video slows down as the image from the four hundredth story appears, “Attack of the Vacuum Machine Army.” More images and words appear and disappear, “Dreams. Visions. Other Realms. Horror. Magic. Myth.” The video slows again as the final image appears. The watermark fades as the logo reappears at center, and above it, the words “The Year of Revisitation.”]
I’ve tried everything. Like most people in my position.
Everything reasonable that is. I didn’t think I’d run out of options this soon. I only started seeing the signs a couple of weeks ago. Of course I’ve known it was coming, but I also hoped…I might be one of the exceptions.
There is a tall tower to the north. It is made of stone that looks a common gray from afar. But I have been close enough to see the stone shift hues, to glitter with the gilded veins of an otherworldly ore, to fade into a pale so utmost as to be nigh invisible.
A warlock once lived there, it is said. Now the tower is abandoned.
A gray shape darted past me to my right. I turned to the ragged bushes entangled with dried weeds. One of the stems shuddered and I heard a rustling. But the overgrowth was too thick for me to see what was moving around in there. Back home—my previous home—I would have guessed it was a lizard. But here, in my new home, it could have been a rabbit. A wild rabbit.
I thought it was a reflection at first. Not the moon. Some streetlight or something, from outside, getting past my curtains. I was too lazy, too sleepy to get up and deal with it. But I do remember thinking it was strange.
Isn’t the light too bright to be a reflection? I thought, peeking up at the ceiling.
I do remember resisting the urge to rub my eyes. I wanted to take a closer look.