“The Listeners” in Gargoyle Magazine

The concept for “The Listeners” came when my wife and I walked into BLFM Literary Saloon in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The book Mysterio’s Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring was displayed on a shelf just inside the door, and after a 60-second internal debate about whether to purchase the magic guide or a Lovecraft collection, I bought the guide.

I chose Mysterio over Lovecraft not just because my wife and I enjoy watching magic shows, but because as soon as I saw the book a character appeared in my mind.

I heard Ryan’s voice as we strolled through the rest of the market looking at art and sampling ghost pepper salt. I felt his frustration at failing to succeed at what he considered to be his calling, and how he would try to justify this struggle to a son he loved but never saw.

After I got back home, I wrote a passionate but messy story and sent it to my friend Michael Littenberg to review. Michael responded with comments almost half as long as the story itself, and those comments (and my acting on them) are the reason the story got published.

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