Where the Weirdness Comes From by David S. Atkinson

When you like to slip absurd elements into stories like I do in Not Quite so Stories, the first question people seem interested in asking is where I get all the weird ideas. It's one of my favorite questions, but it's also one of the hardest to answer completely. Like I think good weird fun should, everything comes from a different place.

To pick a story from the collection, "Cents of Wonder Rhymes With Orange" originates from a brochure I saw when I was somewhere around seven. My parents used to take long road trips throughout the Western states: the Dakotas, Wyoming, Colorado, California, and so on. On those trips, my sister and I were always raiding the racks of tourist trap brochures in hopes of talking our parents into stopping. We didn't usually have much success.

One I remember clearly we picked up somewhere near Wall Drug. It advertised a mystery house, a place where the laws of physics did not apply. The pamphlet suggested all kinds of weirdness, but I specifically remember a claim of a room where objects rolled uphill.

Now, I'm sure I knew even then that it was most likely a trick. Surely the room was constructed in such a way as to appear that downhill was actually up, an optical illusion. Still, what was wrong with that? It would have been cool. The idea of a place where such things actually happened intrigued me even more.

Of course, I didn't get to go.

Still, I remember that brochure even all these years later. My brain latched onto it and never let go. While I was working on this collection, my mind went back to that. I started thinking of that downhill/uphill rolling room. More interestingly to me now, I started thinking of all the different reactions people had to it. It was supposed to invoke a sense of wonder, but too many people let the wonder drain out of lifeā€¦or drive it out deliberately. I decided to start playing around with that.

"Cents of Wonder Rhymes With Orange" is the result of that. The other stories each have similar, though widely different backstories.

About the Author

David S. Atkinson is the author of "Not Quite so Stories" ("Literary Wanderlust" 2016), "The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes" (2015 National Indie Excellence Awards finalist in humor), and "Bones Buried in the Dirt" (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K). His writing appears in "Bartleby Snopes," "Grey Sparrow Journal," "Atticus Review," and others. His writing website is http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/ and he spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.

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