Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Where We Live"

I just read a short story called "Where We Live" on an online magazine called Strange Horizons. The story is written by Daniel J. Pinney, a former student of mine now a grad student and part-time teacher at NAU. The story, which takes place 40 or 50 years in the future, in the perpetually war-torn regions along the Israeli-Lebanese border, concerns the lives of characters living in a post-nuclear-war zone, a world of constant sniper fire, nuclear fallout, and random, sudden death.

And yet.

And yet it is a love story, reaffirming in its understated but insistent voice that however sad or dangerous the times and places we live in, it's how we live, not where, that matters most. And for this reason, "Where We Live" is a tender and poignant story, of loss but also of life, of terror but also hope.

When Daniel was a student here, he did an independent study with me, producing a 100+page novel called King Arthur: The Untold Story of which I still possess a signed copy. It was great fun to work on the project with him, the product a whimsical but highly amusing tale in which the three main characters are King Arthur, a ghost, and an alien from another world. And Dan has kept in touch with me from time to time over the years, most recently by including me on a distribution list announcing the publication of his first paid piece of writing. It's one of the parts of my job I enjoy most, hearing from former students and being able to follow pieces of their life stories over the years. So thanks, Dan, for the e-mail and for the story, which I very much enjoyed. And may there be several of you, my current students, who will also choose to keep in touch with me, send me news of your lives, pictures of your children, even copies of your writings.

And for those interested in reading Daniel's story, here's the link.

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