I was thrilled upon learning that Richard Dansky was slated as the guest editor for the cryptofiction theme at Wily Writers, as he wrote my favorite story in Dark Faith, “The Mad Eyes of the Heron King.” And then doubly (triply? quadruply?) thrilled when my story “Beached” was accepted for publication. You can read it online, though I recommend listening to the audio version; Angel does a wonderful job with the narration. The story is also available via iTunes, on the Wily Writers podcast, if you’d prefer to download it to your iPod.
The second [story], “Beached”, takes place in the throes of ecological apocalypse. The protagonist, a skin-changer, is not the only cryptid in the story, but the story is hers. In the intersection of the hidden and the human, what happens when the boundaries shift? That’s what author Nicole Feldringer is asking, and the answers her creature arrives at may surprise you.” ~ Richard Dansky, guest editor
I used to claim my expertise in climate science didn’t influence my writing. I was clearly deluding myself. The premise behind this particular story was inspired by my colleagues’ research. They studied projections of snow thickness on Arctic sea ice, which is critical for the reproductive cycle of ringed seals. Lack of snowfall means that the seals are unable to dig dens atop the sea ice and keep their pups safe from polar bears. And I got to wondering how this particular climate change impact would affect mythological Arctic species, such as selkies and cryptids.
Here’s a press release from the University, if you’re curious about the science.
I drafted “Beached” while at Viable Paradise. Much about the writing exercise was not particularly my bag, and I’m a little embarrassed to think how much I must have groused to my roomies and neighbors (sorry, gang!). I probably produced one of the shorter student pieces. But for all that, I’m proud of the final product, and that it’s appearing at Wily Writers, under the delightful stewardship of Angel Leigh McCoy. Many thanks to Angel for the lovely narration as well.
I hope you enjoy the story.