Hope and Alligators   March 16th, 2013

This was another story I wrote back in November. It’s still in its rough draft. I was hoping to get the time to polish it up, but life and work have continued to be extremely busy, and I haven’t had the time or focus to come back to it. So I decided I wanted to post this rough version, as even with the flaws I know are there, it’s still a nice piece of mood reading.

This is a very personal piece for me. It’s not that I have anywhere near the dark thoughts that the protagonist do, and it doesn’t relate directly to anything in my life. Instead it was the result of a stressful time. During the second half of November, my sister was in the hospital due to various complications from what should have been a routine surgery. She was in quite serious condition at times there, and things kept vacillating between good and bad news for a few days. It ended up being an emotional roller coaster and this story was a cathartic synthesis of that mix of emotions.

I’d remembered the song “Hope” by R.E.M. off their album “Up” in the late 1990s and how I’d emotionally connected with it. My mother had been in the hospital recovering from a surgery when I was first listening to the album. I remembered coming home from visiting her, and although she was recovering well the stanza about the medical procedure still struck a chord with me. That seemed much more relevant this time around.

The whole album struck me as beautifully sad, with songs about pain and loss, loneliness and regrets, but there were also some mournfully hopeful songs in there as well. I’d listened to “Hope” several times on the way home from visiting my sister on a good night. I also listened to some other songs on the album “The Apologist” and “Sad Professor” and then “Walk Unafraid” for one of the hopeful songs.

Listening to those songs was so emotional. It conjured up some of the feelings I remembered from listening to the album the first few times. It also tied in to all the stress and angst and worries I’d had over the past week. It was beautiful and moving and I knew I wanted to write a story to capture that mood. Slowly an idea started to gel for me. It’s a little silly, but I think I managed to pull it off as a mood piece and a bit of speculative fantasy. I also really liked the character and name that came to me this one.

I tried an experiment with this story as I wanted to reference all of the lyrics to “Hope,” so I broke it out stanza by stanza. I had the story flow around it, following the mood of the song somewhat, it wasn’t perfect, but I liked how it came out. It’s by no means a literal interpretation of the song, but I think it’s a nice emotional interpretation of it.

Hope and Alligators
by Will A. Sanborn, 11/27/12
Song lyrics quoted from “Hope” by R.E.M.

Read the rest of this entry »