Reading Recommendation: “Something Ancient Welling Up”

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“This is Rocky,” I said. “He was in the box.”

“This isn’t right. This isn’t right at all. Those goddamn scoundrels. I ordered a fucking mermaid, not a fucking centaur.”

“Great,” Rocky said. “A goddamn racist.”

I stood up to get in between the two. “Rocky’s a Minotaur, Tommy.”

“What’s the difference? What in the hell am I going to do with a Minotaur?”

“What in the hell were you going to do with a mermaid?”

Going off our current theme of magic-realism and ‘fantastic writing’, I feel this story embodies the very essence of surrealism and the most exciting bit is that it was written by a college student much like us!

Something Ancient Welling Up” is the winning story of the 2014 Playboy College Fiction Contest. The humorous tale tells the story of an adulterous caretaker at a dilapidated road-side gift shop in the desert who discovers a minotaur in a Uhaul truck. Even more absurd than the entire plot is that the minotaur drinks, smokes and reads Graham Greene!

I appreciate this story’s merge of reality and ‘the absurdly unreal’. I like how the author uses humor and good command of writing -diction, proper character building and setting- to help his readers suspend their beliefs and accept the plot.

I remember hearing someone say ‘a good story always makes the reader feel that what is happening in it is real’. And although this story is about a minotaur in a world of mermaids, minotaurs and adulterous husbands, we still buy into the plot and the story as a whole.

I know as college students we tend to feel that our writing is insignificant but I hope you are inspired by this fellow college student’s work and here is a short interview Nolan Turner, the author of the story, gave after winning the 2014 Playboy Fiction Contest. In this interview he talks about his writing process and how the story came to him.

After reading this blog post I hope you feel that you too can delve into the world of the surreal and get your feet wet with ‘fantastic writing’!


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