The Storyside had been discussing Insanity Tales III before the ink was even dry on Insanity Tales II. After all, the series was successful, and it would be—forgive the pun—insane to stop after the second one. My point is, I knew the third one was coming. As the months went on, we discussed a theme, set deadlines, mapped out timelines, and set our goals. First up: we had to write the stories.
The theme was seasons, and as the authors involved started sharing their story ideas, I realized nobody was picking spring. Great! I could handle that. Spring meant . . . uh . . . flowers? Easter?
Why’d I pick this stupid season?
I had no idea what to write, and the deadline was looming large.
Luckily, I have a writing friend who is pretty awesome when it comes to listening to me whine. “I can’t think of a single idea. Maybe I shouldn’t be in this book,” I griped to him.
“Want to brainstorm? Bounce story ideas around?” he generously replied.
A few things happened in that conversation: I complained about being back on Weight Watchers for the millionth time; he mentioned his all-encompassing aversion to vegetables; we laughed over some of our earliest works and likened them to stale manure. Maybe it sounds like small talk to you, but from this, the germ of a story idea was born.
“Eat Your Vegetables” is the tale of an overweight woman who plants a vegetable garden in an effort to get more exercise, plus fill her refrigerator with Weight Watchers approved zero-point snacks. Things go a little haywire when she skips the Miracle-Gro and buys Farmer Paul’s Fantastical Fertilizer from a not-at-all-suspicious old man hanging out in the gardening section of the local Mackey’s.
I can tell you this: it was a heck of a lot of fun to write, and one of the stories I’m proudest of in my writing career. It also goes to show, inspiration can be found in the unlikeliest of places.
And of course, don’t forget: be sure to eat your vegetables.
Insanity Tales III: Seasons of Shadow is coming June 6th!
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Stacey Longo is the author of Ordinary Boy (nominated for a Pushcart Prize) and Secret Things: Twelve Tales to Terrify. Most recently, her novella “Brando and Bad Choices” appeared in Triplicity: The Terror Project, Volume 1. Her stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Shroud, Shock Totem, and the Litchfield Literary Review.
She is a past Hiram Award winner, and was a featured author on the 2014 Connecticut Authors Trail. A former humor columnist for the Block Island Times, she maintains a weekly humor blog at www.staceylongo.com.