I published a story recently called How I Saved My Brothers in the JT Eckleburg Review and here's something I wrote about the story. My actual brothers enjoyed the story, btw.
I don't like stories with TV violence, but I wrote one. I don't like stories whose characters have a celebrity-culture sort of fame, but I wrote one. I don't like endings that explain too much, but I might have done that, too. And all in the same story.
I like stories that get off to a quick, clear start, but I did not do that. I like stories in which writers are clearly writing about people they know, but I did not do that. I do have two brothers, remarkable people with unusual accomplishments, and one is in the arts and one is not, but the similarities to the brothers in my story stop there. My brothers get along, and though they would bail me out if I needed it, they would be nice about it and be nice to each other. As for me, I am something of a hopeless romantic, as is Mikey the PK, the narrator of my story, inspired I supposed by a romantic nature and by several decades of a romantic marriage to my remarkable and unusual wife. Let me also state for the record (what record this might be I have no idea, and in fact when I hear the word record I tend to see a vinyl album spinning at 33 rpm on a turntable) that the parents in the story bear no resemblance to my parents.
So how did this come about, this doing of things I say I don't like doing? It started as a title, How I Saved My Brothers, and some middle child musings and just went from there.
In my most ambitious and pretentious fantasies my hope is to give hope to anyone who may have amazing siblings among whom they may be intimidated at times; to give hope to hopeless romantics everywhere that their love at times may be requited to an extent they never really thought possible; to give hope to anyone who fears they could have prevented a disaster but failed to act at a crucial moment; to give hope to anyone who has felt responsible for the craziness of their parents; to give hope to anyone who has ever stood in front of a mirror and wondered if the mirror might shatter into a zillion pieces of its own accord, or more likely because of the intensity and electromagnetic frequency of brain activity generated by their emotional state as they look in the mirror. And a desire to rid themselves of the mirror and all it represents.
I hope the psychology of the story, which I’m not even sure of, does not hamper any sense of mystery I may have mustered. Maybe my best hope is that after reading this story, someone in a restaurant bathroom looks into a mirror and recovers a memory that explains something that they've wanted explained for a long time. Unlikely, I know, but hope is all about unlikely, right?