I know anthologies don’t sell all that well, but the true genius of my short story collection is that they all tell one unified story: the story of the ocean. Yes, the ocean is the main character, albeit one that doesn’t speak, and no one treats it like a character. But that’s the true genius.
Not that anyone at the group sees it. They all picked one of my short stories each to review, and gosh, the barrage of useless questions I had to answer. Yes, there IS an entire story dedicated to Dave, the best anchor winch fitter Melbourne wide. He doesn’t exist, but he’s sort of an amalgamation of all the actual anchor winch installation experts here in Melbourne, and he has all the diligence, efficiency and friendly service I’ve experienced from the folks down at the docks during my years of casual boating.
No, Dave is NOT a Gary-Stu. Obviously, since he embodies so much positivity, he pretty much has to be perfect, helping customers with their anchor winches but also sorting out the problems of every single person in his personal life with his kind, sage words. That’s the point of the whole story: Dave isn’t so much a person as he is an avatar. And no one gets it. They’re here firing criticisms, Sheila is over there scoffing all the cinnamon-vanilla crescent rolls, and I have to go home sad, tired and having eaten none of the crescent rolls.
And of course I know that fish don’t talk, because everyone knows that. The Tale of the Fish’s Tale isn’t just a clever play on words (fish have tails!). It’s also a tacit depiction of what might happen if fish ever got together to talk about us, our impact on the environment, how they think Melbourne outboard motor repairs might be done more efficiently, and how relieved they are that there aren’t as many of those plastic can holders around for them to choke upon. I do NOT need Jodie pointing out that fish don’t talk, as if that’s news to me. Good grief.