Whew. I finished editing all my stories for Fictionwise. I sent the stories off yesterday, then spent today fiddling with my website, adding graphics and stuff in anticipation of the time when the stars are right and my stories go on sale. I must’ve read over one story in excess of a hundred times in the last few days. I made fairly major changes to the underlying narrative logic, while retaining most of the actual details. It was like the Pimp My Ride of polishes.
Reading over old stories so many times, you really start to notice small details. For example, how did I ever become so enamored with dashes? Some of these stories have like 50 dashes. I took out a lot of them. I probably should’ve taken out more, but I left some in just in deference to my 18-year-old or 23-year-old self. Also, I never noticed before how often the words up and down serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever in a sentence.
Friday was the last softball game. We all went out to dinner afterward and Adam handed out medals to everyone. Printed on the back they say No Pressure. We need this. (It was a pretty relaxed atmosphere for a softball game.) Everyone was really cool. I was telling one person about how I first got invited to play, and one of the women, who’s a fashion model, explained, “He was so hot we just had to ask him to join us.” She was kidding around, but that still made my day.
After that I tagged along with one of the other women over to Washington Square Park to watch her play chess. We ended up playing each other, and it was an almost mystically intense game. It was daylight when we started, and we played through twilight and well into evening. Some artist has installed fancy colored lampshapes on the ring of lampposts there, which was breathtaking after dark. We were perfectly evenly matched. I took an early lead, controlled the board, and started playing a daring, all-offense game. Then I got greedy, grabbed her bishop rather than shoring up my defenses, and my whole center collapsed dramatically. I thought I was doomed, but managed to scrape by until I was able to bring my rook over to reinforce my flank, which bought me some breathing room. She still kept chipping away at me, and I was just about ready to concede when I noticed she’d left her king exposed. Pieces fell left and right, and we ended up racing pawns to be queened. She would’ve won, but I still had a knight I could use to stymie her, so I won. (Luck on my part, all luck.) The magical atmosphere was only marginally diminished toward the end by the indigent chess hustler beside us repeatedly shrieking, “Motherf***er!” at his opponent.
I’m really going to miss New York.