Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, by Sarah A. Hoyt

Sarah went into the hospital yesterday, for what she assures us will be a relatively minor procedure, but everybody wanted to Do Something. I said that before, but I still feel that way. Or should it be, I still feel That Way? Not sure how New Yorker style cuteness translates for Georgia rednecks.
Any way, I decided to review the last few items of hers that were available to me on Amazon's Kindle Unlimited. So, I checked out Crawling Between Heaven and Earth, a collection of short stories, Whom The Gods Love, a novella, and Sweet Alice: A Shifter's Short Story. As it happens, Sweet Alice is contained in the Crawling collection (an added value), but I will review it in a separate posting.

Crawling Between Heaven and Earth opens with Sarah telling us how the book came about, and how it came to be presented in it's current form. The intro is worth reading for anyone who is a fan of Sarah's, but beyond that, anyone who is interested in becoming a writer. Beside the main intro, she provides us with a brief story introduction, and these are SIGNIFICANT added value.
Here's what you get in the way of stories: Elvis, ethics of the Civil War in America, a nightmare story of the re-living of the Minotaur myth, an Oscar Wilde inspired vampire story, a real heart breaker about the tragic life of purpose grown sex slaves, the alternative universe version of Tiananmen Square, the misery of a well-bred woman living at the capricious mercy of history, a dragon love story, a ghost story, more heart-breaking nightmares of the future, Shakespeare's brother, and a preview of the misery in the society of A Few Good Men.
I look at the list, and decide that I have done the equivalent of describing the human body as being mostly water and the universe as mostly hydrogen.
It is a wonderful thing that she can write so well about such dis-similar topics. It is a much more wonderful thing that we FINALLY have access to it, because to hear it talk about it, most of these stories sat mouldering in a drawer for years, and the only result for the longest time was that every time a magazine bought a story, it promptly went out of business (it was the Oscar Wilde-inspired story, just so you'll know).
Here's what I think would be the best and highest use for Crawling Between Heaven and Earth: the text for a writers' workshop, held in a retreat site along the Appalachian trail. Each day would begin with Sarah, and any necessary additional voices, reading aloud one of the stories. She then would answer questions, with rude people being swatted the first time, pummeled the second time, and defenestrated upon the third offense. After the Q&A, budding writers return to their room, write a story inspired by the current work, which they then present at an evening meeting which goes on until everyone is given the chance to give and receive commentary. Next day, the next story, until they are finished. That's two weeks worth. Sarah gets a million dollars, and sets the terms for what other consultation she provides.
Anybody else on board with that?

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