but clare, what are you working on now?

the dead-alive man: you, in four parts1

a queer literary/historical fiction piece, likely to be somewhere between a short story and a very short novella.

david is a grown-up boy, or a young man. when he is nineteen, he goes to heaven in an alleyway in new york city, boxing day, 1944. before that, he loves intensely, he goes to war, he gets a new face, it shatters.

you are david. you are afraid. you are dead. you are intense-faced (read: you could have been gentle).

You are a very small fox in a very small hole, which is to say you are a man in a dirty uniform, which is to say you are a boy who is afraid. Above your soft body, bullets swing through gray-green-yellow sky, a sideways rainstorm, and every panting breath is so thick you think there could be a thousand million bits of air moving through your throat like a crowd of people on a street, pushing and shoving against each other. If you’re still on Earth, you can’t begin to imagine Hell, except that it might feel an awful lot like August.

When you were ten there was a blizzard, and your father taught you why the snow falls the way it does, and you ran your small hands down the foggy glass, drawing pictures in the white. Afterwards, he told you all the stories again, or he tried to. He was still learning, then, how to tell them as good as your mother, who was in Heaven. He always got the timing wrong, skipped straight to the ending without telling you how the sky looked over Bethlehem. Your brother gave you a knife for Christmas, and that was the last year you saw snow– these things, of course, were unrelated, except for how you predicted both of them.

You are thinking of the blizzard, now, because you are praying for it. You are panting and firing your gun and sweating and the whole time you’re wanting just an inch of snow. Something cold, and something to make bodies fall quieter. You are, unspeakably, praying to be home for Christmas, and if you can’t have that, then you’d like it at least to feel like Christmas, snow and all.

1alternate working titles


it's now 2597 words. in a writing/rewriting/editing process. first draft of part one is done. part two is being written, as it is a flashback sequence recently added. part three needs heavy editing and additions yet to be done. there is a version of part four, and, while all of the events of it will remain, it will need to be almost entirely rewritten, as the extended metaphor of part four no longer works with the piece as a whole.

recently began rethinking the title. as much as i like the dead-alive man, i'm not sure how relevant it is anymore, thematically. to revisit when done.

the project playlist

for every project, there's a playlist to which i write. when i don't listen to a 1940s radio playlist, here's what i listen to that relates to the project.

  1. not strong enough - boygenius
  2. i still do - the cranberries
  3. waltzing back - the cranberries
  4. my boy - twin fantasy - car seat headrest
  5. eat your young - hozier
  6. through me (the flood) - hozier
  7. that i would be good - alanis morisette
  8. landslide - fleetwood mac
  9. scott street - phoebe bridgers
  10. (don't fear) the reaper - blue oyster cult
  11. nothing fades like the light - orville peck
  12. dead of night - orville peck
  13. bleed out - the mountain goats
  14. the chain - fleetwood mac
  15. running up that hill (cover) - car seat headrest
  16. carry me out - mitski
  17. i want you - mitski
  18. helena - my chemical romance
  19. cemetery drive - my chemical romance
  20. last words of a shooting star - mitski
  21. snow - ricky montgomery
  22. we'll meet again - vera lynn
  23. the only living boy in new york - simon & garfunkel
  24. future - paramore

images & "fan"-casting

i've started collecting some pictures off the internet that help me visualize what i'm talking about, both visuals of scenes/objects and actors who would play the characters in my head.