Lately I’ve taken to perusing The Dark’s online offerings whenever I have a spare moment to read. So many stories are deliciously … (for lack of a better descriptor) … dark. I’ll admit the first thing that pulled me onto their site was the challenge of their famously fast rejection rate. For a person like me, that hangs as a challenge. I will be a person who will slow your rejection-happy finger and make you sit up and read.
However, what started as research quickly turned into respect and (Dare I say it?) love for the material they publish. I’ve realized lately that I’ve been dipping into the darker tones of writing and this magazine serves as a great source of inspiration.
One of the first standout stories I stumbled upon was Pomegranate, Pomegranate by Jack Westlake. This story explores the complexity of language and meaning in a beautiful way that has left me whispering, “pomegranate,” for the past week.
A Story About Language…
As a writer (and a reader) I obviously have a love for words. One of my favorite past-times is exploring the etymology of words. I also love sitting around discussing complex words that sound simple, like “love.” That being said, any story about words will strike my fancy. Bonus when the medium is the written language because then it’s instantly meta.
Pomegranate, Pomegranate sets up a unique situation around words and language that hooked me from the beginning. Then, it continued layering onto the concept until I was wrapped up in a lovely little “what if” trance that took hold of my thoughts for hours after I read the story. That’s a solid win in my opinion.
Without Sacrificing Story
The thing Westlake really nails in this story is that the story isn’t sacrificed to the concept (which is something I am working on). Too often writers get so enthralled with a concept that we spend our precious words expanding the concept instead of developing the character and plot within the concept. This takes the concept, introduces it, and then weaves a beautiful (if grotesque in places) story around it.
From the first paragraphs I empathized with the characters and had my curiosity engaged. Throughout the story a dread of the inevitable builds and the whole thing finishes on a bittersweet yet somehow heartwarming note. In other words… it ticked all of my boxes as a reader.
I hope if you check it out you enjoy it as much as I did.