an Anthology from Dreamspinner Press
Benefiting the Orlando Pulse victims fund
Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.
To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.
Inspiration behind Magicicada
By Elizabeth Noble
Thank you for having me on your blog today.
When Dreamspinner Press put out the submissions call to their authors for short stories to compile a charity anthology I knew I wanted to contribute.
Many years ago I read a story that followed a young girl’s life in increments of seventeen years. The story showed how her life had changed each time the cicadas made an appearance. I’d always wanted to write something similar, the story of someone’s life told in conjunction with some reoccurring event.
In the hours and days following the shooting in the Pulse Nightclub there was a story on my local news station about the last minutes of the victims. One recounting in particular struck a very deep chord with me. A woman received text messages from her son shortly before he was shot and killed.
I felt so badly for all the people wounded or killed as well as that man’s mother. Through it all I couldn’t help the thought, ‘my God that could have been one of my children. It could have been me.’
I have three children, the youngest turned thirty this year—the age of that young man who sent his mother those final texts. My son and his older sister are single and frequent clubs. My oldest son has two small boys and spends most of his free time with them.
From these events the basics of a story took shape. Some stories are laborious to write and others insist on being told at such a fast rate I can barely get the words typed out fast enough. Magicicada fell into the latter category.
I knew I wanted to write a story taking us through a man’s life, event from event and I used the hatching of cicada broods as guideposts. It was also important to me to show the lengths family will go for each other. This story shows a child, Russell growing up and his relationship with his father. Later that relationship extends to include Russell’s husband, Ian.
Russell and his father, Mike share a fascination with magicicadas. In fact, Russell’s earliest memories are of his father with the insects. Later Ian shares their fascination with the cicadas. Through the ups and downs of Russell’s life he has the constant of his father. A father who loves him unconditionally, the way a parent should.
Not all parents are like Mike and that is something Russell and Ian learn and contend with as well. Mike becomes parent to them both. They’re a family and a very tight knit one.
It was important to me to show how some parents will do anything for their child as well as the commitment of two people in a marriage. No matter how dire the circumstances the three of them support and love one another. Their feelings are genuine and unconditional.
From the little I heard of that mother and her son on the news they loved each other very much, unconditionally, the way it should be. I’m terribly sorry that woman didn’t have more time with her child and I’m sorry that young man’s life was ended so horrifically. Mostly I’m thankful for every day my own children and friends are safe.
Russ and his dad, Mike, have always shared a fascination with cicadas. While coming out as gay isn’t easy, Russ knows Ian is the one when they discover a shared love for the cyclical broods. Through good times and bad, the singing of the cicadas provides the soundtrack of Russ’s life.
Brood eight was in full force, singing and swarming, when Russell met Ian. They were both taking extra classes that summer. Like Russ’s father, Ian spent as much time outside as possible.
“Do you hear them?” Ian’s brown eyes lit up, and his face split into a brilliant smile. They were at a picnic table on campus, studying. Ian was a business major, and Russ was studying computer programming and art. They spent every evening together with their books spread across a table. Often they’d share a dinner of burgers and fries as well.
“Brood eight.” Russell swiped a few fries through a puddle of ketchup and popped them in his mouth.
“You know the brood? No one knows the brood, not right off the top of their heads. I’m in love.”
Russell laughed. “When I was nine, I broke my arm and drew the magicicada all over it with the different years they hatch.”
“I’m definitely in love.” Ian grinned. He closed the book in front of him, reached across the table, and squeezed Russell’s hand. “I’m done for the night. How about we go meet your dad for some beers, then catch a movie or something?”
The cicadas were particularly active that year. Their song filled the air. Ian and Russell would hunt for them during study breaks. Russell was convinced more than ever the cicadas were magical wizards. When they walked across his wrist, they still tickled his skin. Ian leaning close and blowing warm breath in Russ’s ear made him shiver. Then they’d both laugh when shiny wings fluttered and the bug took flight.
Cat gives this short story 5 Meows...
Russ was born with a fascination for cicadas. His dad has a photo album with pictures of them both as he grows up with each brood. It's as if they sing for him when he is happy and get quieter as he is sad. As he gets older he draws them as little wizards with magic wands and when he gets older makes the game he always dreamnt of. But life isn't always easy and perfect.
Magicicada is a beautiful story of life as a young boy grows to be a man. It shows the ups and downs of life. I absolutely loved the writing style, the characters, and the story.
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