February 28th, 2012

  • brni

Love Letters: Behind the Scenes -- Guest Blog by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt

Today's guest blogger is Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, whose story, Love Letters, appears in the latest edition of the Journal of Unlikely Entomology. For more of his work, visit http://haikufiction.blogspot.com/

~ ~ ~

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm the sort of person that has to watch all the DVD special features. I don't think I'm the only person like that out there, so for everyone like us, here's a behind-the-scenes look at my story, "Love Letters."

A few months ago, I had gotten some good feedback from the JUE editors on a story they didn't ultimately accept because it was a reprint. Their encouraging words compelled me to submit an original work for the Valentine's Day mini-issue. All I had to do was write an irresistible story about love and bugs.

I had done quite a bit of research on cockroaches for another story, so the choice of bug was obvious to me. And I remembered St. Valentine's legendary connection to imprisoned lovers. (A scene from _V for Vendetta_ was also in my mind as I brainstormed.) I just needed something to be written on the backs of the cockroaches.

Shakespeare was an obvious choice. I reread the sonnets and chose one I thought appropriate to the scenario. I considered using the entire poem, though out of order, but decided that that would have been too unwieldy. The rule of three seemed to fit here.

I think another story could be written of the unseen correspondent in my tale. I hope that, like Zavir, the readers imagine for themselves why she wrote what she wrote. Did she simply quote the Bard in an effort to stay sane? Was she sending messages in a bottle, err, on cockroach back, hoping for some sort of contact? Why did she act the way she did?

"Love Letters" is an experiment in what I call "haiku fiction" -- a story on a small scale told with little ornamentation, but big on emotional resonances. I think the experiment was an success.

I invite you to re-read "Love Letters" and let me know what you think.