Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Unrhymed Couplets of the Universe - by Sharon Shinn

"The Unrhymed Couplets of the Universe" was one of those stories that just comes together for you when the disparate elements of ordinary life suddenly crystallize into a recognizable pattern. My sources were wildly different conversations and interactions I'd had over two or three months with a handful of different people. My friend Mark had been forwarding me junk emails with bizarrely lovely nonsense subject lines. (I quote actual emails in the story, as well as Mark's comments about poetry, which is why I named a character Mark). My friend Laurie had been complaining how her house steals objects from her (in one week, her cell phone charger, her iPod, and her checkbook). My brother Ray had explained how such thefts could be remotely possible, given what we know about quantum physics. I had been in a seminar where the ringtone on a stranger's cell phone was Pachelbel's "Canon." I had recently re-set my mother's engagement diamond into a filigreed white gold ring.

I so often write alternate-world fantasy that I don't get much chance to draw on the mundane details of everyday life when I'm putting together a story. Maybe I enjoyed writing this one so much because all the elements were so familiar. When I read it at the World Fantasy Convention in 2006, someone in the audience asked me if I'd just looked around my house to find the objects I'd described. I admit, I own boxed sets of the first couple seasons of "Moonlighting"…and a purple sweater…but no turtle…

No comments: