Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – February by Nik Eveleigh

Leila has chosen a thoughtful piece for this week’s Rerun, emotional and deep – it’s time Nik got his pen out again and sent us some more of his wonderful writing – This is what she said:

I decided to peer through the files and locate a story that had created a big response at the time of its debut. Nik Eveleigh’s February is that kind of story. No fewer than a dozen persons (to whom the author graciously replied) had responded in the comments section, and the “likes” go to infinity (even though those polite little things carry all the impact of a neutrino).

Now, the cynic might point out that Mr. Eveleigh is an editor, and, well, you gotta butter the biscuit–right? To which I proclaim Nonsense! I suspect only one of the commenters of such behavior, the rest shared intelligent observations, which only form after an intense reading and a period of compilation has taken place.

Q: The jumping flea metaphor shines. Although you detailed its inception a bit in your initial responses, please describe what made you place it where it lies? It’s in a great spot, but there may be three or four other suitable slots as well.

Q: I got an “after the crisis” feeling from this thing, which is tricky because the revelation of the unspoken event would have been the way some would have gone. There’s this balancing act of melancholy, regret and hope throughout. How hard was that to get down in such a short space?

Leila Allison

***

Thanks Leila for picking this one out – it was a surprise not only to see this one appear again but to realise it had garnered so many interesting comments. Memory is a fickle beast but if you’d asked me to recall how many people had taken the time to reflect on this one my number would have come up a long way short.

Oh and thank you Diane for the kind encouragement for more stories – maybe the scientists from this piece can predict how many comments I’ll get now that I’m a fairly lapsed editor 😉

On to the questions…

Q1. I think the positioning of the fleas (great name for a prog album) was my usual happy accident but likely stems from my mantra of trying to tell a story in as few words as possible. I knew I wanted to get them in there so to speak so I just got on with it. I do remember this piece being one that I spent a long time over in terms of getting the atmosphere where I wanted it, and Hugh and Diane gave me great pointers on where to improve things. Some pieces almost seem to edit themselves on the fly but this one required a lot more effort and thought – that said, the fleas were always in that second paragraph as far as I can recall.

Q2. I think I started leading into this one in my first answer – getting the balance right here was a difficult task and took a lot of editing work. When I started writing the piece I knew what I wanted to get across but I was also acutely aware that this could come off as very cheap, tawdry and pointless without trying to get some depth into it. I wanted this to be about normal everyday people but to tell it solely from the perspective of the male character – who I see as flawed but essentially decent, although he is judging himself harshly throughout. I also liked the idea that he feels better by placing all the guilt upon himself in believing that he is so skilled in his manipulations that the female character never stood a chance. That misplaced sense of control was interesting to explore. I knew from the start that the ending needed to be open and ambiguous in order for it to work in my brain – I wanted it to be futile to predict where these characters end up, but much like my dear old friend Midas Brown I’m hopeful that they each got the happy ending they needed, whatever that may be.

Thanks Leila for once again getting me to think about a piece that had disappeared from view for a while.

***

February

4 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – February by Nik Eveleigh”

  1. Perhaps it is repetitive of me. but I can’t get over the great answers we get from the writers. Not a single one has ever replied tersely.
    To Nik: Seems a shame that this piece has lain in the shadows for so long. It deserves better than just my humble acknowledgement. I hope its reappearance will inspire a few new readers to check you out your work.
    LA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Probably repetitive from me in reply but having the chance to answer interesting questions and to think about the process of writing is always fun and it’s great to see what a fixture the re-run slot has become. I hope a few new readers will enjoy my stories, but perhaps the best way for me to achieve that would be to dust off my pen and get back in the game… Thanks as always for the kind words, support and thoughtful questions.

      Like

  2. Hi Leila,
    Brilliant as always.
    Nik’s stories are very individualistic and no-one could pigeon-hole him, that’s one of his many strengths.
    I’m glad that you asked the question about the fleas!

    Nik – You stated that the flea section was a happy accident. It wasn’t. It takes skill to get the feel for imagery or metaphor. Too many writers are crass and clumsy with this. The crux of the story can be telegraphed too early. Or if it is too late then it’s a bit laughable to the reader in a sort of sarcastic – ‘I wonder what that is supposed to mean’ way.
    You used it subtly and it set up the story beautifully.
    Hidden barriers don’t need to be hammered home. All you did was ask us to consider a flea half way up a jar. The story did the rest.
    It was great to see this back up!

    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s some phrase I recall about being a jack of all trades Hugh…!! Haha 🙂

      Thanks for smashing through my inherent modesty Hugh and highlighting my instinctive brilliance when it comes to storytelling…ok just kidding. Really appreciate the support as always – I was also really pleased to revisit this one as it was one of the last stories I wrote, and I was never sure how well it would stand up. Glad the jumping fleas still do the trick.

      Like

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