Excerpt Sampler of Stories from 2022 Weekend Warrior

My exclusive Patreon content for February collects excerpts from the beginnings of five new stories.

As I do annually, during January and February, I participated in the Codex contest Weekend Warrior run by Vylar Kaftan. Participants write one piece of flash fiction each weekend.

The stories in the Example Sampler are:

“Thing about Timeline Collapse I Decided Not to Post” based on the prompt: write about someone moving who doesn’t want to.

“An Alphabetical Guide to Potential Building Materials for Aspiring Urban Planners” based on the prompt: what is your kingdom made of?

 “The Letters You Lost” based on a suggested title.

“Dear Awesomest Uncle Zarny” based on the prompt: write a letter to an imaginary relative for a special occasion.

“The Thing about Things,” theoretically based on the prompt: choose a random wikipedia page… although I ended up meandering onto an unrelated subject.

(I released the full text of my week two story, “An Alphabetical Guide to Potential Building Materials for Aspiring Urban Planners,” on my Patreon in January.)

These were a lot of fun. I seem to be playing a lot with humor right now! Maybe it’s reading all that Wodehouse and Adams.

Thanks to all my patrons. All of my Patreon content–including a substantial, patron-exclusive offering once a month of something like an original essay, poem or short story–is available to all my patrons, no matter how much or little they contribute. Every contribution is greatly appreciated and makes a big difference to supporting my writing career!

Cat Pictures! Pete in a Sink

drawing of a cat in a sink

This is one of the images I used in Scragamuffin, the chapbook I released as October’s exclusive Patreon reward. I thought it might be fun to release the pictures with the photos that inspired them.

When we lived in Bakersfield, our master bathroom had two sinks, which meant there was always an extra for a cat to flop in. It was probably summer when this picture was taken since Pete’s mane seems relatively short. I like the mad look in his eye.

drawing of a cat in a sink

January Fifteenth, My Forthcoming Novella, Front Cover

I’m still really excited about my upcoming novella, January Fifteenth. It’s coming out from Tor.com in just a few months.

I really like the cover:

book cover of a person walking down an alley with an umbrella and the following text: January Fifteenth, “Money Changes everything–except people.” Rachel Swirsky, “One of the best speculative writers of the last decade.” –John Scalzi

I really like the cover! It reminds me of one of my favorite paintings,”Paris Street; Rainy Day” by Gustave Caillebot.

image of oil painting "Paris Street; Rainy Day" by French artist Gustave Caillebotte with several people in walking the street of 1800s Paris
January Fifteenth tracks four points of view, each in a different part of the United States of America, on the day when the government disburses Universal Basic Income. There’s a young mother in upstate New York; a freelance journalist in Chicago; a wealthy college student at a resort in Colorado; and a pregnant teenager who is part of an FLDS cult in Utah. None of them quite look like this gentleman in the rain, but he could be part of their world, a page or two away.

Cat Drawing! Pete in a Box

drawing of a cat laying in a box with four paws visible

This is one of the images I used in Scragamuffin, the chapbook I released as October’s exclusive Patreon reward. I thought it might be fun to release the pictures with the photos that inspired them.

I didn’t think I would be able to draw this because of the weird positions of his paws. It’s the kind of thing I’d shy away from if I were sketching freehand, but because I’m using the photographs as direct templates, I gave it a shot. “Trust the photograph,” I told myself as I made lines that seemed intuitively weird. The paws still look weird, but I think that’s at least 80% because paws look kinda weird.

photo of a cat laying in a box with four paws visible

Luna

A simple poem about the moon.

I wrote this during a class on poetry that I was teaching for Cat Rambo’s excellent writing academy. (There’s a ton of classes available there–if it’s the kind of thing you do, you should check them out.)

I think the writing exercise was something like, “You can find poetry where you look for it.” The night before, the moon had been a heavy, looming harvest orange.

I’ve always liked traditional stories that depict the moon as a lonely woman. I wonder if that was in the back of my head.

Image with lunar cycle and the following text: Luna by Rachel Swirsky "Alone / with no one to call / no man, no lady, no rabbit / only footprints of men / who won't return."