Club stories are considered out of fashion and boring today, but there was a time when they were a standard of literary and genre magazines. In case you missed them, club stories are defined as stories set in a club or circle or social gathering, usually with regular recurring characters. A story is told by one of the club members, usually with a twist ending.
Asimov’s Black Widowers are club stories, as are the Jorkens stories by Lord Dunsany, and two of my all-time favorites, Lyon Sprague De Camp & Fletcher Pratt’s Tales from Gavagan’s Bar, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart. And of course Maurice Richardson’s Exploits of Engelbrecht (that you shouold really check out if you never read them).
And today, working on the latest prompt from the #StoryADayMay challenge, I wrote what I think could by my first club story.
Not that I had planned for it, of course.
Today’s prompt was provided by author Mary Robinette Kowal, and it went like this…
Freewrite from this opening sentence:
“Of the things that could go wrong while crocheting, opening a portal had seemed like a low probability.”
And freewrite I did, and in two or three-hundred words I had what was clearly turning into a club story, featuring the members of the East Wexford Knitting Society.
Currently the Society has four members…
- Miss Carolyn Sloane – tall and aristocratic, in her late fifties, she clearly sees herself as the leader of the group.
- Miss Tamara Leskanich – gray-haired, spirited and independent, she’s the oldest member of the society, and its historical memory.
- Miss Eliza Brown – in her late thirties, quiet and level-headed, she’s the one that worries about practicalities.
- Miss Arabella Micklewhite – the younger and prettier of the members of the Society, and a bit of an airhead.
But I can’t really rule out the appearance of other members in future stories. Also, there is an ongoing feud between Knitters and Crocheters inside the Society, whose full name was originally the East Wexford Knitters, Crocheters and Stitchers Society.
Currently, the East Wexford Knitting Society holds its meeting on Thursdays, in the small reading room on the ground floor of the local library, thanks to the patience of long suffering head librarian, the rather unpleasant – and as yet unseen – Professor Beecham.
The story as it stands now amount to 1300 words. It needs to be cleaned up and then maybe augmented of another 200 words. Then I’ll look for a publisher or, maybe, I’ll post it to my Patrons.
The East Wexford Knitting Society feels like an excellent venue for short, snappy, surreal stories that mix science fiction and fantasy.
Apart from the portal that opened in today’s story, there is at least one other incident mentioned, when last Christmas the Society organized a social event that included a game of Snap-Dragon.
Hopefully there will be more stories in the future.
6 May 2020 at 08:24
I definitely need to know where this one ends up, and find a way for my crocheting girlfriend to read it.
You might miss a male knitter for future stories: it’s definitely a thing. In my previous searches for yarn, I even found a “straight male knitter” blog with a blog description its worth a look.
(being enlisted in the ongoing war, the first thing I thought before getting to the end was: “hey, the prompt was talking about CROCHET, why there’s a KNITTING society???” 😀
6 May 2020 at 08:27
I’ll try to publish this story somewhere.
And yes, I know about male knitters.
6 May 2020 at 17:03
I like those too. Especially “Tales From the White Hart.” I read some of the “Gavagan’s Bar” yarns a long time ago, but I haven’t seen any recently, or re-read them. Spider Robinson’s stories from “Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon” and Sterling E, Lanier’s “Exploits of Brigadier Ffellowes,” which originally saw daylight in THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, are worth anybody’s attention also.
6 May 2020 at 20:10
Oh, yes – I forgot about Callahan’s and Ffellowes!
It was quite a popular genre a few decades back.
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