The short story “Songs Like Rusty Cage“ is obviously inspired by Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral.” The connection didn’t hit me when I first started writing it, but it was obviously somewhere in the back of my head. Once I realized the connection, I added the opening scene as an homage and to acknowledge my debt to Carver. Does that exonerate me from accusations of plagiarism? Well … at least I am not pawning off the story as if it sprang Athena-like from my forehead.
Still, I doubt “Songs Like Rusty Cage“ could be published anywhere, but I like the story for its wistful tone and its theme of knowing. Not so much how well do you know other people, because we know it’s not much, but how well do other people know you? How much of what they know (or they think they know) is just a patchwork of random impressions and over-emphasized events? I continue to edit this story on occasion, mainly because I am still uncertain how much to emphasize these themes … and that is one advantage of having your stuff on the Internet. Sure, it’s free, but nothing is permanent.