A whole new world (small, but still new) has been opened up to me through FictionMentor.com. By following their provided links, I found the beginning to a great short story, told by a brilliant voice.
A short story
by Garrison Keillor
I took a train up to Halifax to write about Canada. I thought Canada would be good for me. Get me out of my slump, which had been going on for more than a year now. But it rained a lot for three days, and I wound up sitting in a bar and drinking Rusty Nails with a Canadian who had a grudge against the United States. I fell into bed like a boxful of hammers and woke up at noon with this great idea, and got on the train to go back to New York and sat in my compartment and wrote a gorgeous broadside against Our Neighbors to the North and said what every American has wanted to say for the past hundred years about Canadian independence—Oh, get off it—and in Portland, Maine, the train stopped and I got off and walked around and used the men’s room in the depot and there, in the excitement of creation, I left the manuscript on a ledge next to the urinal and walked to the train and the conductor said, “How’s that writing of yours coming along, young fella?” and I let out a yelp and dashed back to the men’s room and it was empty. No manuscript. Nothing. I hustled around the waiting room looking in trash barrels. No luck. Finally the whistle blew, and I climbed on the train distraught and went to the club car and had a whiskey soda. First decent thing I write in a whole year and I leave it in the pissoir.
“Something wrong?” the bartender said. “You look down.” So I told him.
“Well, that’s a shame,” he said, as if I’d lost an embroidered hanky or the sports section of the paper instead of a literary creation. A woman with red hair was sitting at the bar. She said, “Just sit down and write the story again. That’s what Fitzgerald did when Zelda left the manuscript of The Great Gatsby on a train in Zurich. He sat down in a hotel room and wrote it again—and it turned out even better!”
I hate people who give you inspirational advice like that. I loathe them.
. . .
Go here to read the rest.