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  • Mark Meier

A Retroflection

By Terry Hill


Thank you Mark for the opportunity to share this week with you, and today a little on my current work in progress. With my current day-job responsibilities, the amount of time I have to write limits the scope of my products to short stories.

My current short story titled, Subway Rider, is about a day-in-the-life of an old man, sitting on the subway traveling to his final destination, who had his life dramatically changed some fifty years ago when his military ship was unexpectedly damaged and forced to crash in a strange land.

It's a retroflection of a life unexpected and largely unwanted. Abandoned in a foreign place, strange culture and language, and forced to make his way the best he could. Having to learn to live with loneliness and the inexplicable reality that no one was coming to rescue him. Dealing with the harsh reality of growing older and what that means on the physical and emotional level when his once young body begins to fall apart. All of these are emotional elements which most of us have experienced at one time or another in our lives.

Now for the unexpected part: I was asked to write an uplifting story.

I guess it’s not that surprising really as the most inspirational stories come out of the most hopeless situations. While I cut my teeth in dystopian and post-dystopian, I was always pleasantly caught off guard when people would say they found my stories full of hope and optimism. Therefore I began to tell people that “my stories are what I classify post-dystopian with hope – I don’t leave you bummed out”.

While initially I found the task of producing an uplifting story a bit daunting, what really was required for this story was to take my normal approach to writing, and further augment my natural tendencies for hope and optimism in the story’s final reveal.

In the end the old man has a conversation with a young man who was very interested in his life story, and the conversation takes a sharp left turn at the end. Did I mention I write science fiction and I won't leave you bummed out?

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