I was clicking through one of the literary publications I subscribe to and came upon a story entitled Friday Night Fish Fry.
If you’re familiar with my writing, well, depending on how familiar you are with my writing, you’ll know that I have a story called Friday Night Fish Fry – I even have audio of it posted on my youtube channel from when I read it at Breadloaf during my international fellowship there (2008).
Tickled, I reached out to the author of this other Friday Night Fish Fry, an American author, whose email I was able to track down following the internet breadcrumbs. I emailed him and despite not knowing me from Eve and possibly being startled by my audacity, he responded and responded very warmly, similarly tickled by the coincidence of us having stories with exactly the same name. Perhaps like me he’s gotten a few odd, random emails over the years (as a writer in the public domain it’s not all that unusual actually) and has learned how to separate the enthusiastic from the stalkerish. We vibed instantly – he read my story, I read his – we talked about the things the stories shared beyond name despite one being set in America’s heartland and the other being set in the heart of the Caribbean. We talked briefly about other writerly things – he even provided some encouragement about a fellowship he’d recently completed that I’d applied for without success: encouragement and advice.
I’m sharing this interaction because for me it is one of those serendipitous things that can happen when you go against your instincts and cross the room (virtual or physical) to connect with someone you feel drawn to – even if it is over the odd coincidence of naming your differently located but thematically linked stories the same name. I didn’t feel any less awkward than when I do this in actual literary gatherings (and frankly it could have gone as fubar as these things do) but I took that first step anyway.
And I’m thankful to Austin Smith for responding, because now I get to share his Friday Night Fish Fry with you; seriously, go listen to it – as I told him, there’s a poetic quality to the prose in its rhythm and imagery that I find really beautiful. And I get to thank him publicly for saying this about my Friday Night Fish Fry:
“…an absolutely beautiful piece of prose. The characters are so patiently and vividly and sympathetically wrought.”
With his permission, I’ve added it to my other reviews page; and, to you, do something unexpected. You never know what might happen.