On Thursday, March 21st the Hour After Happy Hour had the pleasure of introducing two pieces of fiction from first-time contributors. If I’m not mistaken, Thursday marked the first time a story featured a murder in the plot. So all well-done—now we’ve been to bars, concerts, funerals, and parties, and now even purgatory. Where’s next? Eleven writers attended, including new member Beth Haley.
The first piece we read (due to a heated indecisive rock-paper-scissors game) was Tyson Scott’s DH Lawrence-inspired short story “Rattlesnake Hill.” The story opened with some great stream-of-consciousness imagery, following a husband’s perspective as he and his wife journey to Rattlesnake Hill, a secluded Appalachian escape. Plot twists and surprises made this piece hard to put down. Our discussion emphasized melding disparate sections of imagery with the dialogue and actions on which the plot hinges, as well as fine-tuning the plot-twists, but all made this a rich piece for discussion and reading that nearly bled into the next hour.
Our next submission featured an excerpt from Martin Van Velson’s novel-in-progress, “The Bureau of Imminent Souls.” Martin sent forty-one pages our way in total but suggested the group focus on revisions for chapter two. The piece’s humor helped to carry the narrative set in the nearly invisible setting of purgatory—making what could appear daunting or alienating to a reader relatable and hilarious. In this novel’s world, Purgatory is riddled with bureaucratic inefficiency, poor communication. I don’t know what else to say about this piece other than we’re all looking forward to watching it develop. The group talked a lot about the concept of the piece, focusing on larger ideas: what makes the piece work as it stands, and what questions might arise as it progresses?
Next week—Thursday, April 4th— we look forward to reading Justin and Beth’s first submissions to the group, and Mike Lambert will hold facilitation responsibilities. While I’m sad to say, this will be the first workshop I’ll miss, I’m very happy we’ve to say that the Hour After Happy Hour has grown to the point that it can withstand a few absences. Thanks to all of the great folks that have recently joined and the vets who have stuck it out. Thank you all.