All Stories, Literally Reruns

Literally Reruns – A Single Grain of Salt by Nik Eveleigh

Leila has picked out a real beauty this time. One of our most popular stories by wonderful Nik Eveleigh.

“When I lived in London I heard that you were never more than three feet away from a rat.” This opens one of the paragraphs in Nik Eveleigh’s A Single Grain of Salt. It’s a brilliant line, yet it is  topped by others from start to finish in this piece–especially at the start.

I suppose one of Ponce de Leon’s men could have innocently pissed in a pond which was actually the Fountain of Youth and ruined its magic forever. And there stands a chance that the mightiest civilization in our galaxy gave up sending Earth messages twenty years prior to the invention of radio. The aforementioned circumstances are as likely as having this story lie around waiting for ages to be selected as a rerun. The story was originally commented on by more persons than those who attended the Last Supper. Even minus Nik’s gentlemanly replies to each comment, the list of plaudits is the longest I’ve yet come across on the site. For hell’s sake–maybe it can’t be seen from space, but someone should have bumped into it sooner.

Q: Now three, closer to four years gone by, is there anything you’d change about this piece? (Personally speaking, I see it perfect as is.)

Q: There’s an ethereal quality between Danny and his father, yet they speak in real terms. That part could have come off heavy-handed in lesser hands. How long did it take to get it just right?

Q: Has this story appeared anywhere else? (Seems an unlikely one-off.)

Leila Allison


As always I’m filled with gratitude both to Leila and to Diane for remembering I’m a writer when I have a recurring tendency to forget. That extends to my dear friend Hugh as well for his unwavering encouragement and support. Thank you all for allowing this one back into the open air on a Sunday.

And now with only the merest hint of ado, on to the questions.

Q1. It’s actually a very long time since I’ve read this piece and after going through it this evening I’m surprised at how well it’s stood up. I think any of us who write are endless tinkerers when it comes to words and, given enough time, I’d probably stuff around with it and end up with some different words but no actual improvement. So no, I’ll file away the red pen and leave the tale intact. This whole story was borne out of an incident that didn’t quite happen but scared the life out of me, and turning it into a fictional piece was a way to process a moment of parental terror. Reading it back today, it’s taken on much greater significance after dealing with a major family ordeal last year – and yet my “Danny” remains indestructible and amazing.

Q2. I feel like dialogue is something I’ve worked hard at over the years and I’m so pleased this came off with a relatively light touch. There was always a fear that it could be mawkish, saccharine and horrible unrealistic so in the end I just focused on it being a chat between me and my boy. Many of the little touches and phrases are things that we’ve always shared so it felt very natural and easy to put them down and not have to invent anything. I feel incredibly lucky that my son and I have always had a special bond and I think in writing this piece I was determined to do that justice. I think the feel of the dialogue was good from the start but I can remember going over it several times afterwards and paying more attention to it than normal.

Q3. Yes…it’s appeared on my blog as a repost from Literally Stories! Confession time – I’m horribly insecure about most of my writing and have rarely plucked up the courage to submit pieces elsewhere. LS has been my “home” since its inception, but it’s lovely to get the sense from you that this would hold up under scrutiny elsewhere. To date, my only real non-LS success was getting Henry Spiller published in print by Firewords, and that story predates LS.

Perhaps one day when the pen is working again I’ll be a little bolder.

A Single Grain Of Salt

5 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – A Single Grain of Salt by Nik Eveleigh”

  1. My heartfelt thanks to Nik for his story and the answers. I can think of 50 places that should accept this story without hesitation. Trouble is, my success in correctly predicting the taste of publishers is about as good as Criswell’s (now there’s someone to Google) “visions” of the future. But it is difficult to imagine an intelligent Ed. turning away this fine bit of work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to google Criswell of course – some splendid predictions there. Particularly love the fact that Denver would be hit by a ray turning all metal into rubber-like consistency.

      Even if your accuracy levels only match his I’m humbled by the spirit in which the prediction is made.

      Thank you again for choosing this – I shed a few tears reading this one back and for once it wasn’t because of a clunky sentence or some abject punctuation.


      1. Although Criswell was before everyones time (save for Mr. Sheehan, I think), my Gram told me all about him and how he made even more bizarre predictions than the rubberization of Denver on the Tonight Show. He was also a crony of Ed Wood and appears in Plan 9.
        I really think you ought to send this piece around. There’s a good site run by Charlie Fish called Fiction on the Web. Also, go for the New Yorker. I always do. I even got a personalized rejection by one of their editors once.
        Never know.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Leila / Nik,
    Brilliant as always Leila. I think you using the word ‘perfect’ is as good a compliment as you could give Nik. Especially with how hard you are on yourself!!
    Nik – Stories like this, well, any thoughts on insecurities are unfounded.
    I wonder if this was one of the first stories that we ‘spoke’ about genre??
    I miss your lack of genre!!
    I wonder if you read yesterday’s posting? I would be interested in reading your, Leila’s inspired, first ten, especially with you having an interest in music. I was hoping that more folks would have went for it, cause she is right, it does tell you so much about a person.

    Thanks guys – Sundays are all the better for this little bit of interaction!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Hugh – I’ve just been throwing my current ten tracks into the world for your listening and reading pleasure!

      Thanks for the comments on this one my friend – I also miss my lack of genre and I do hope I’ll find my way back to writing as it did give me so much joy for a period. Stranger things have happened…


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