There is this thing going around on Facebook. It’s about eco-urns, and the possibility of turning into a tree when you die. I’d posted it before, but late last week I posted it again in the event of my untimely demise on icy roads mandated by Winter Storm Juno, or a meteor falling or something.

Writer Carlos Hernandez made a crack about wanting an urn that will turn him into a dragon.

I said we should write a story.

This sort of scenario isn’t as rare as one might think.

There are so many interesting articles on Facebook, so much fodder to create from. I’ve had Facebook threads full of 2-sentence micro-horror stories, threads of on-the-spot poetry about “night witches,” the women pilots of WW2, private messages bursting with timed drabble challenges, links to blogs responding to some dare or another. Author/Editor/Poet Mike Allen wrote a whole series of “Claire-dare” poems at one point–this was years ago–the last of which, he recently announced, was just published.

But though response is not as rare as you might think, it is by no means abundant. It is always astonishing when someone shrugs and says, “Sure, I’ll do it. Why not?” Even more astonishing when someone leaps through the door you’ve flung open in invitation, and douses you in glitter confetti and gasoline and sets fire to your amygdala (to steal the phrase).

That’s what Carlos did.

Carlos said, yes, in fact, we should write a story. And we exchanged emails. And then the most AMAZING few days of epistolary email fiction happened. (Like, they just happened.) (Just these last few days.) The last email was sent late this morning. I won’t tell you how many times I restlessly checked my phone waiting for it.




Just to see what happened NEXT. What happened last. It was totally cool.

What’s more, it was totally joyful. Writing is great, it’s exquisite, it’s faboosh, but you know what? It’s also getting harder every year. I think and hope that’s because I’m getting better, and getting better takes WORK, but on the other hand… HARD. Wahhhh. Cutting-cement-with-my-teeth hard.

But this? This was surprising, molten, malleable. It moved in unpredictable patterns. It was like wrestling with Colossus. Part of me wrote on, unperturbed by the awesome fact of this thing actually happening. Another part sat back, bug-eyed, learning as fast as it could as we went along, hoping to keep up.

Upon the final email, we both expressed relief that we were multi-drafters, because we weren’t quite ready for the adventure to end.

Collaboration, dude. Phew.

What will happen next? Like Valmont says to Tourvelle, “It’s beyond my control.” Only this time I mean it in the nicest way possible.

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