The Fiction Project

Voice Card  -  Volume 9  -  John Card Number 10  -  Sat, Sep 30, 1989 2:27 AM

I am pleased to announce another new voice card experiment: The Fiction Project. Starting with this issue I will publish three of my short stories, one from the early eighties, one from the mid eighties, and a third one still in progress.

As it turns out, all three of these stories are organized into discrete passages and so I will share one passage per issue. INDEFINITE SABATICAL has seven parts, GILLIGAN'S ISLAND also has seven parts, and DOLPHIN & MELANIE will probably have about twelve parts (I've got nine so far). So we'll probably be well into 1991 before all three stories are complete.

Some of you have seen the first two stories, but only Stuart has seen parts of my current project, an adult fairy tale about a mermaid. Each story will appear as a linked set of voice cards with each card containing a single passage. My hope is that this format will keep you in suspense and will also allow you to look more closely at the stories than you would if they were dumped in your lap all at once.

The first tale, INDEFINITE SABBATICAL, was written during my first year as teaching assistant in the U of U English Department, and could be described as a teacher's nightmare. It was one of several stories in which I tried not to unravel a plot but rather to depict a certain state of mind. This story was published in an obscure Canadian journal called Rampike.

My second story, obviously, is based on the 60's TV show GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, one of the most underestimated achievments of the twentieth century. The show was about four men and three women who are trapped on a desert island on which everything imaginable can happen except sex. Stranger yet, the central character has the body of a man and the mind of a prepubescent boy.

All things sexual are repressed except for a few sly winks from Ginger, who is essentially Marilyn Monroe: twentieth century's Aphrodite. The strangest thing of all is that shows like this provided much of the sex education available to millions of boys and girls who grew up in the suburbs of America in the fifties and sixties. For me it was the start of a life-long confusion about sex.

So anyway, the story is about what might have happened beneath the sanitized surface of Gilligan's Island. This story has never been published and I am reworking parts of it for this edition.

The final story, DOLPHIN & MELANIE, is a fairy tale that is rapidly getting out of hand. That is, it's turning into a novelette. The idea for the story came to me while I was in Hawaii moping over Dionne and is the first story I've written in several years. It's about the search for love.

The stories begin on the next three voice cards. Enjoy...