I'm leaning--hard--right now to having every story in There Is No Doubt feature a female narrator and/or protagonist. These stories are among the contenders. Some ("Funny Lines TK") I'd like to revisit. Others ("Seedless Cherries," "Head to Give," "Fetch and Ferry") I know would require no revisiting.
Wanting to revisit doesn't necessarily mean anything, as in fault is more likely to be found. Circumstance and time sometimes dictate that feeling, that tug of, "okay, just go back and look at that one, would you please? See if it needs anything."
In some instances, there is neither a clear-cut male or female protagonist. "Head to Give," for instance, is very much a duo work about a man and a woman with the latter being but a head, and how their time together reaches its end. We are given both points of view equally. That's a technically perfect story. These stories are all over 2000 words long. In other words, this is not the world of Longer on the Inside: Very Short Fictions of Infinitely Human Lives. This is more in the province of Cheer Pack: A Story Book, which features the works from Glimmer Train, Commentary, VQR, Harper's, etc. That book is a murderer's row of fiction; this book--as much so. Maybe more.
I had a fundamental change in myself as a writer and artist two summers ago upon the creation of "Fitty." It changed my heart, mind, soul. My DNA. "Fitty" is the greatest story ever written. I have written stories as good as it, but I still think of it as the greatest story ever written. I will put it against anything ever written by anyone who has ever lived, and I know "Fitty" can't be touched. "Fitty," despite everything that has happened to me in my life, changed my life more than anything. It opened worlds to me. And I went into those worlds.
I had wanted a story like "Post-Fletcher" for this book, because it's just so good. It's about a man who is not dead, who nonetheless has a ghost that becomes a problem in the town where he lives, and he becomes responsible for this ghost. There's nothing like it in literature tonally, and it has so much charm, humor, imagination, you won't find a voice like it, and it's ultimately the most gutting story you'll ever read, near about, about the nature of how we say goodbye. But now that I'm doing this book of the dead and ghost stories, "Post-Fletcher" has a natural home there--may even start that book. The story that starts a book of mine is a very important story. And so is the concluding story. They are all important, and equally so, but there is something different about a starter and an ender, let us say. The list below is not a running order for There Is No Doubt, nor is it the definitive list, or the best list. Right now, it's just me getting my thoughts out there--some thoughts. What I do know is that "Fitty" will start the book.
The title of the book comes from these lines in "Fitty":
“But you have to admit,” Fitty finalized, the conjunction being her way of conceding the point, the water again at their legs and feet, “I read the absolute fuck out of some of those scenes, don’t I?”
“Of that there is no doubt,” Carlene said, and the child’s laughter lodged in her brain.
Yes, "Fitty" is the best thing anyone has ever written. I am sorry--for I feel like I must apologize, when I behold the genius of this story, the beauty of this story, the significance of this story in our world, on so many levels--the publishing industry will not let you see it, because it hates me so much.
Here is the list of works as it stands right now in my exploratory thoughts:
"Girls of the Nimbus"
"Fetch and Ferry"
"Show Me Your Knees"
"Green Glass Door"
"Head to Give"
"The Warm Boy"
"Funny Lines TK"
"The Space of the Moment"
"Loading the Shaft" "The Roll of Words"
"The Shape of the Shore"
"A Listener's Story"
"Up the Sea"