Friday, July 29, 2011

Whale Sound: Tree Reader

Whale Sound is an online project where poems of various contemporary writers are read aloud by Nic Sebastian. 

A few months ago I submitted my piece Tree Reader and this morning it came online. You can hear it read here: 

‘Tree Reader’ by Gabriel Orgrease « Whale Sound 

A writer can write a whole lot of junk and every once in a while they will find a gem. This is a gem. When I hear the piece read it makes me shiver. Nic has captured nuances that I was not even conscious that I had writ. This for me is a most wonderful gift.

The story behind the story. 

I had a new smart phone and I was riding on the Long Island Railroad when the scene occurred. One of the stops for the line is Pinelawn Memorial Park cemetery. 

I like the concept that at one time people were more sparing in their written words because they had to be set in type (or carved in rock or pressed in clay). In my case with this piece it was composed slowly on the smart phone, thumbs and all. 

It never touched pen or pencil to paper. 

Uncharacteristic for me I submitted it to an online publication. It was accepted with one minor change. That felt good. 

Subsequently I was contacted by a textbook publisher who asked if they could include the story in an anthology of American short stories. Like from Washington Irving forward to Gabriel Orgrease. 

I like the idea that HS students somewhere on the planet will get to read my story. Also I can imagine they would immediately go to the shortest story in the whole book then wonder who in blazes is this Gabriel Orgrease.

When I first was contacted by the publisher I thought it was a joke. I got paid $200 for it. The fee paid for the smart phone. 

It all goes along with my life plot to publish good writing in unexpected places.


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