Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway: Filling the Void with Dreams by Jessica Joseph (Storm Moon Press 4th Anniversary)

Today's guest post is a tribute to storytelling from Jessica Joseph. Her story, "The Lucky Chopstick" was originally going to be part of Storm Moon Press' Dark Menagerie anthology, but Jessica went all out and expanded the story so much they decided to make it a standalone! It might not be out just yet, but if you like dark themes with your shifter stories, keep an eye out for it! Without further ado, please welcome Jessica Joseph!

* * * * *
I know you may not remember how we would gather around the communal fire and tell stories. How on some nights, a new storyteller would make their debut, their voice shaky and nervous at first. Then right before your eyes your ordinary sister, brother, son, daughter, lover would transform in dancing light and wood smoke (depending on your tribe, there were other kinds of smoke as well). The village prankster nobody ever took seriously would suddenly become fucking profound. The wispy-haired granny with but two teeth in her mouth would leave you tongue tied with fascination. They weaved dreams, stirred the soul with possibilities and provided a sanctuary from prehistoric life's harsh realities.

We never knew through whom these precious stories would be channeled. Just to make sure, the young truly listened to the old. The old truly listened to the young. Men truly listened to women, and women truly listened to men. We were on the constant lookout, or rather hearout for a story. When we awoke from sleep, saw a returning tribe member or even a stranger, the first thing out our mouths used to be, "Welcome (back). Tell me your story." The burning curiosity to hear a new story was sometimes greater than our fear of a different appearance or strange accent. Stories got you through prehistoric immigration clearance. Stories bought you food and lodging. Stories opened doors and legs, too.

By allowing so many voices and so many perspectives to be heard, we were able to spot patterns, repetitions and rhythms. What started as just noisy chatter became a diverse symphony of sound, and the first ballads were strung together. They were ballads born of our very highest understanding (at the time) of the universe we occupied. So powerful are these stories that even today they can transcend culture. Is there any doubt that an old African folk-tale can move a Scandinavian as deeply as a Cherokee legend can move a Persian or a Hawaiian epic can move a young person from Japan?

Then one day, prehistory became HIS-story.

The written word superseded the oral tradition. An important facet of storytelling in its truest, freest form was lost. No longer did everyone have a voice. Only those who could read and write could make any story survive long enough to be spread. Storytellers who never learned the technicalities of literacy were doomed to birth still-born tales that would quickly be devoured by epics and explanations etched on walls, on papyrus and clay tablets, and thus given immortality. Key notes and chords dropped away from our universal ballad. First to be silenced were the voices of the poor. Women were next, followed by the young voices and unpopular voices and oppressed and conquered voices. We even managed to convince ourselves the dreary, hollow, metronomic, sound that was left, was still a symphony and the long, torturously silent voids in between each monotone note were a good thing.

Well, it is into this collective void that we modern storytellers must scream out the dreams and possibilities.

My name is Jessica Joseph and I am a storyteller.

I was in in the throes of the third draft stage, of the first book, of my unrepentantly pagan, adult, mythologic epic, set just a few decades into the near future, when I found my bonfire, Storm Moon Press. To my delight, gathered round it was a new breed of storytellers and a captive audience eager for the next tale to transport them from this reality to one of dreams and possibilities.

I had already dreamed the guarded, brooding, imposing, and dominant Tyler Greywolf into being in my epic tale. He was first conceived as a powerful and enlightened being who wielded a Japanese sword called ShinkirĊ, (mirage), but he was not my central protagonist. The Dark Menagerie Anthology challenge by Storm Moon Press gave me a chance to finally psycho-analyze the hell out of him.

The Lucky Chopstick is a flash-back to Tyler Greywolf's past as a hustler and prize fighter running from his past and scavenging on the fringes of society, until a chance dustbin dive at a notorious restaurant in Chinatown changes his life. His story unfolds in a multi-layered supernatural underworld, just below the surface of New York's bright lights.

After much appreciated assistance from my Storm Moon Press editor, I'm happy to say what started out as a short story for The Dark Menagerie anthology, will now be published on its own, due to its length.

The traditional werewolf genre is so well-explored, it is considered sacrilegious to deviate from well-established concepts. But I was never a traditionalist. In the world of The Lucky Chopstick, even the term werewolf is actually akin to the N word. However, some things, such as the dominant/submissive themes of love and pack politics remain traditional, which I hope satisfies all the heat-seekers around Storm Moon Press' campfire as they celebrate their 4th Anniversary. Have a seat, make yourself welcome, and enjoy the storytelling.

* * * * *

About Jessica Joseph: I am a multiple ADDY award-copywriter and voice talent by day. By night (or whenever the fancy takes me) I am a town-crier on issues of gender, sexual minority rights, race and religious fundamentalism on Huffington Post. The Lucky Chopstick is my debut as storyteller.

* * * * *

This post is part of Storm Moon Press' 4th Anniversary Blog Tour! Thank you for joining us at Pants Off Reviews, and please take a moment to enter our blog-tour-wide giveaway! The prize is receiving an ebook each month from SMP for 12 months! We hope to see you around the Internet and at RainbowCon in 2014! Happy New Year!

SMP's 4th Anniversary Rafflecopter Giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessica!! Congrats on getting your first book published. I look forward to seeing and reading it when it becomes available.


Go ahead and talk to me!