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The Gilded Mares

Used to write in the font of Georgia, now I use Palatino. I asked an editor early what she liked to look at, what was easiest on her eyes. Asked her what her favorite font was. She said Palatino so I made the change. That was in 2008.

I guess what I am trying to say is I wanted to be a professional. I wanted my work to be consumable by a large public and wanted to be respected and give respect to the industry. I use Palatino and every time I switch the font, every time I open a new document, I promise myself I will be as professional as possible. I began putting a world together and building a reputation.

I found writing is work. Always work. Sometimes you enjoy it. Sometimes you hate it. It is the same as every job. Same as every clock in, clock out. It is stressful, hard on the body and rugged on the mind. An agent once said he believed it was the hardest work a mind could do. That every book is a puzzle and every book is a gamble. I never bought into the hardest work a mind could do thing. I worked at Pizza Hut when I was a teen and into my twenties, I know how grueling and wearing on the mind that sort of work can be. I think it takes a certain amount of toughness to work an unrelenting job like that. Teaching is backbreaking work for a mind to do. It is emotionally devastating and at the same time almost rapture-like at moments. Writing is the same. I guess every real job leaves people ragged in some way. It is taxing on the mind, body, and spirit. It was kind of like that to write my newest piece.

I call it "The Gilded Mares." That was not the working title but that is the one I landed on. "The Gilded Mares" is about a pub where a set of nemeses meet every year to discuss the war they are fighting. They have lost sight of their hate for each other and know they cannot go on much longer but their war will never end. It is hell on the mind and body. It is killing their soul, and when I wrote it I thought of working a torturous job that never ends. I watched my stepfather work a job like that. I have worked jobs like that. I wonder if you have as well.

I have said many times my career will cover three acts. Around here we like to call them three campaigns, but I think that might just be my way of “churching them up” so let’s call them acts. I was planning three, just like the traditional play. But this story does not fit in those acts. This story is voracious. It is slowly devouring everything I have written and, like a glutton, it will not stop. This story is the latest addition to the collection that can only be found here called The Silent War of the Sour Eye. This collection does not know its place. It does not play by the rules of my world and every word is manual labor. The heavy lifting my mind has to do to write these pieces is immense. This is the hardest work I have ever done. (Well there was that one time where I did an entire ten-hour shift at Pizza Hut with an injured hand before I realized in fact that hand was broken. This story reminded me of that.)

I wrote it three days ago. I got ahold of my editor and he set another project aside for a few hours and chopped through this as a rush project so I could offer it to you today. You will find it in this newsletter for free. This is the only place it is available.

"The Gilded Mares" nearly broke me to write. It introduces ideas and ties together threads that can be found throughout my entire world. This is the act that doesn’t fit. If I am sticking to my theater analogy, this is like a disembodied monologue. A fitful rage on a stage under one unforgiving spotlight. "Gilded Mares" is the darkest piece I have ever written. And while I say writing it was the hardest work I have ever done, I am lying in a way. The writing of this story was fairly easy. I sat down and it poured out. The true heavy lifting, the exhausting work of this chapter of my world, is not wrapped up in its creation. It is in the surviving of it.

Because I am not the same after this story, and it is work every day dealing with the ramifications of it. I feel like I am on the “make table” at Pizza Hut again, during a Friday dinner rush sweating in a humid kitchen with a hungry public waiting for their meals and a screaming manager calling for more. After writing this story my work was increased tenfold. My mind will be challenged so much more. And my life will be haunted by the clock. This story ushers me into the true labor of this job.

But I am from a working-class family. I am a worker. And fighting through a job was always my destiny.

Ebook Warehouse Sale!

Well, Plight of Madness is coming out October 5th. It will bring about the third chapter of The Madness Wars series. It is so darn long though. Pretty big at 750-some-odd pages. So I foresee trouble with overstock in my ebook warehouse. I am going to have to have another “Ebook Warehouse Clearance Sale.” Everything must go to make room for my new material! Look for wildly low prices beginning September 5th and stretching out for a full week.

The Silent War of the Sour Eye

Download this free ebook available exclusively through my newsletter. This short story collection currently includes "The Banshee," "The Slave," and this month's new story, "The Gilded Mares."

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Jesse Teller


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Jesse Teller, 2443 S. Ventura Ave., Springfield, MO  65804 USA

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