My flash story “Wheat King” appeared today at Every Day Fiction. I wrote this piece a long time ago, and it found its way almost immediately into the trunk. It simply didn’t work, and at the time, I wasn’t a good enough writer to diagnose why. Slide forward about fifteen years or more, and I found a hard copy of this one stuffed in my writing folder. I thought it had some good stuff in it, so I tore it down and rebuilt it, focusing on the fears and dreams of farmer John McIntosh and his son and their mystical connection to the crop that was their life. (A little piece of writing trivia: “Wheat King” is the only story I’ve ever written in the third person omniscient point of view.)
I still remember very clearly what inspired this story. I’m a fan of the Canadian band The Tragically Hip and one of their songs is called “Wheat Kings,” which tells the story of David Milgaard, who was wrongly convicted of a horrendous crime and served 23 years in prison before gaining his freedom. My story has no connection to the narrative; it was the song’s title that inspired my story of the McIntosh family and their connection to the wheat they grow. From there, a few strong images drove the story—the prairie sky being like the dome of a great chapel, the wheat bent as if in prayer, and the way the stalks whisper when the wind moves through.
If you haven’t had a chance to read “Wheat King” yet, please stop by Every Day Fiction and take a look. It’s short—won’t take more than five minutes to read. You can then spend the rest of your coffee break checking out some of the other stories. If you’re so inclined, let me know what you think