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Where Never Lark

--and other stories by Donald Skiff
90 pages

 

Foreword

This is a collection of stories, unrelated to each other except for the way they insinuated themselves into my consciousness. Fiction is not my native language. For some reason, each of these stories narrated themselves to me at odd times. I merely recorded the words, at least in the first drafts.

Each one became a puzzle to me. One appeared to me in the form of a dream, which I felt obliged to write down the next day, adding such details as seemed necessary to give it shape. The longest one, “Where Never Lark,” began as a simpler story of a flight in a home-built aircraft. When it was “finished,” it kept nagging at me, insisting that it was not finished at all. The result was a different story than I had thought it to be in the beginning.

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Where do these stories come from? I don’t know if other writers experience this or not. Certainly, the usual products of my writing, personal essays, are more deliberately fashioned, from ideas that occur to me in my reading or in my musings about day-to-day experiences. I’ve written four books of such essays, and have seldom felt any mystery involved in their genesis or development. Many of them are more like journal entries than analyses or revelations. The stories in this book affected me as I was writing them, at times profoundly. I’m sure that they are responses to things in my unconscious mind that, while I may guess where they came from, grew from seed to flower without my understanding of the process.

I’m willing to accept the conundrum—for now.

Donald Skiff,  January, 2006