Today we’re delving back into Strawberries and Other Erotic Fruits from Jerry L. Wheeler, who is both my editor and friend. In his introduction, Wheeler tells us of his love affair with Poe, and how much impact Poe’s tales had on him. The desire to tell that kind of story, or to be that kind of storyteller, is the ultimate goal. Short fiction with power like Poe’s is aiming at a high goal, and I give a lot of credit to Wheeler for admitting this was the target.
Does he succeed? In a word? Yes. In more words? Well, I already talked about “Necessary Elvis” last week, and today we’re moving onward.
Now, if you feel like you’ve heard me talk about Strawberries before, that’s because this is a case of “what’s old is new again,” as recently, Jerry did a revised edition and a re-release (hence the gorgeous Inkspiral Design and Lammy Finalist for Gay Erotica logo). This revised collection boasts four new tales, and so today I’m going to talk about another part of Strawberries I haven’t talked about before, “Wings.”
Also, Jerry and I had a chat about this one, again.
NB: Wait. “Wings” was because of me, too?
JLW: It was the flash challenge you posted.
NB: Ah! The random draw thing?
JLW: Yes. The one that had to involve jail, tattoos, and a castle.
NB: Right, the tattoo machine! You went to a kinda Poe-esque imprisoned place.
JLW: Naturally. A man imprisoned for a crime he can’t recall, is finally judged. And remembers.
NB: That totally sounds like something a narrator should say in a deep voice in a movie trailer, by the way.
“Wings” drops us into a prison cell with a man who, as Jerry said, can’t recall his crime. The way he weaves in the tattoos, and the sort of drip-drip-drip of the growing darkness into the story, and does it all with a flash-fiction word count limit, is shiver-worthy. It probably shouldn’t surprise me that out of the whole Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Jerry wrote the one that could have been a Poe tale.
You can find Jerry online via Twitter, at his ongoing brilliant review blog Out in Print: Queer Book Reviews, and if you’re in need of a fantastic editor, definitely hit him up over at Write & Shine.