Everyone has an interesting story to tell. Mine just happen to be made up.
Caffeine and Spite first started out as a writing challenge within a group I was part of — a monthly, friendly competition between writers based on a single prompt. I liked the challenge of telling a cohesive story in 1,500 words that would invoke a reaction in such a short space, and of being confined by a predetermined plot point.
After a while, they began to pile up, and despite being so much shorter than the novels I am working on, I still really enjoyed writing them and wanted to share these tales with people just as ravenous for good stories as I am. I wanted to invite people into the worlds I have created in my head.
When the Author’s Lounge asked if I would write an article about my work, it forced me to really think about my creations. I’ve been writing since grade school, but never thought about the motivation for it before now. Why did I embellish truths to make them more interesting? Why did I completely fabricate new worlds and people for my own, and others’, entertainment? The answer is simple: I enjoy it. I write to kick out all the people that moved, rent-free, into my brain. I write to make other people happy. I write because it gives me joy.
Caffeine and Spite is my sandbox. This is where I explore new genres, fight with my extremely verbose prose in order to adhere to such a small word limit, and learn lots of writing techniques that help me, even now, with my larger projects. On a couple, I went back and expanded on things, but they all carry the spirit of flash fiction. A few people have asked me what the title means, and the answer is simple enough: it’s what I run on, especially during these trying times during the pandemic.
I enjoy twist endings – making a reader want to reread, to go back and find the little breadcrumbs they missed before. I try to leave the reader feeling like they bore witness to something they maybe shouldn’t be privy to, whether that’s in the paranormal realm or the seemingly more mundane.
I don’t market my writing to anyone in particular, but adults who enjoy genre fiction could be considered my audience. I mainly follow plot strands that end up being fantastical in nature, but I also enjoy chasing threads into other genres, such as romance and science fiction.
There are seven stories in Caffeine and Spite, all different from one another, and each sparked by a different prompt. ”Creatures of Habit” and “Wood of the World” are two of my favorites from this collection. I really try to take what little time the reader has given me to provide a story they will think about for a while afterward.
“Creatures of Habit” highlights a broken man with an alcohol addiction, which physically manifests in his mind as a literal monkey. The tale revolves around his internal conflict: wanting to get clean and win back the woman he loves versus bowing down to the whims of the monkey.
”Wood of the World”, probably one of my more visually stunning stories. It follows a boy as he progresses to adulthood, all while traveling through a thick forest. The meaning of this journey is a mystery, both to the reader and the boy himself. It is what keeps him on his path, along with a strong compulsion to carry on to the end. Everything is explained in the end and neatly ties together a cycle we are all familiar with but don’t often think about.
I could talk about all of them and bore you with the details because they’re all special and important to me. However, I would like you to explore them on your own and make your own discoveries. They are all parts of me, tiny monuments dedicated to the journey I’m on. One to perfect my own craft and explore the expanses of my mind.