Watson Loves Me

This illustration by Sidney Paget originally accompanied “The Adventure of Silver Blaze,” which appeared in The Strand Magazine in December 1892. [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Watson loves me. I know because he treats me so kindly, explains things so clearly, never sends a harsh word in my direction. I know because he’s willing to be vulnerable, to share his potentially embarrassing thoughts and feelings with me. He is a gentleman narrator; he is warm and welcoming; he takes me into his confidence; he expresses his love through the care he takes in his sentences.

But I also know he loves me because he loves Holmes. Watson fails over and over to make the correct deductions, but he keeps trying. Holmes treats him callously, but Watson understands that Holmes doesn’t mean to hurt his feelings; he accepts Holmes’s intentions to teach rather than getting upset at his friend’s unskilled delivery. He treats Holmes kindly, both in person and as a narrator. Even when he is assessing Holmes’s lack of knowledge about the solar system, Watson is kind.

I am unlovable in the same ways as Holmes: I am unstable and obsessive; I care only for my work; I am socially inept. (You may know me and disagree, and your view is probably more accurate, but this is what it feels like inside.) But Watson loves Holmes anyway, cares for him, lives with him joyfully (as much as possible—Holmes is annoying). And because this is fiction, everything Watson does for Holmes, he does for me, the reader.

When I am lonely and sad, when I need a kind hand on my shoulder, I turn to Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are often repetitive in their structure, with pages of summary and not much plot. I almost never read them anymore to find out what happens or to solve the mystery. I read them to spend time with Watson, to participate in a living relationship between narrator and reader, a relationship that is no less real than Holmes and Watson’s celebrated friendship, and no less real than a relationship between two non-fictional humans.

Why am I saying this? To tell you to write? Of course, yes! Write! Maybe you will write a character who becomes your reader’s true friend, or maybe you will write a story that lets your reader experience unconditional love. But I think there’s something else here, too.

There are other types of narrators, and they show us different ways we can be. Chuck Palahniuk’s narrator in Survivor hates the reader and shows it. Borges’s self-narrator in “The Aleph” is so journalistic that none of his emotions reach the reader at all. Walt Whitman’s narrator in Leaves of Grass makes love to the universe in a way that is practically obscene. These people show us different ways to live, as well as different ways to tell a story. Maybe I will never allow myself to be as exuberant as Whitman; maybe I will never write a narrator like his; but he shows me that it’s okay to feel that inside myself. A first person narrator expands our idea of human experience. It lets us see more ways of being human; it lets us accept parts of ourselves we might otherwise deny.

When I ask the question “How shall I live?” I always look to literature for the answer. Watson has shown me his answer, and that helps me find my own.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Killer Wore Cranberry

Here’s another call for submissions from Untreed Reads.

The Killer is back!

We had so much fun with The Killer Wore Cranberry back in 2010, and The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping in 2012, we have to reset the table this year with The Killer Wore Cranberry: Room for Thirds.

As in the previous anthologies, all the stories contained within must be about murder and mayhem happening at Thanksgiving, and must feature a typical Thanksgiving dish as a vital part of the story (i.e.: turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie). Most importantly…it must be funny! This anthology is all about making people laugh while enjoying a great mystery short at the same time. The anthology will be edited by Editor-in-Chief Jay Hartman.

And now, the rules:

1. All stories must be between 1500-5000 words.
2. Deadline for submission for consideration is September 1st, 2013. This is a firm date; no submissions after this date will be considered.
3. All submissions should be sent to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads with the word THANKSGIVING in the subject line.
4. Submissions must be in DOC, RTF or ODT format.
5. We will not be publishing the stories individually. Only the anthology will be available.
6. Authors will receive royalty, but not upfront payment. Authors will each receive a share of royalties of 50% of net (net = cover price – vendor commission) based on the number of authors in the final anthology.
7. Characters appearing in other Untreed Reads series or other series not published by us are strongly encouraged. If you are published outside of Untreed Reads, please check with your publisher to ensure you have the rights to create a new story for a different publisher with your character(s).
8. Your story MUST have humor in it, feature a Thanksgiving dish and have a great mystery or crime at the heart of the story.
9. Stories not accepted for the anthology may be resubmitted in the future for other submission calls.
10. Previously published works are fine providing that electronic rights have reverted to the author and the story is not currently offered for free anywhere on the Internet or currently published through a self-publishing venue (i.e.: Smashwords, Amazon KDP, etc.).
11. There are no restrictions whatsoever on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc in the work.. Just tell us a great story!

Please direct any questions to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads.com. We recommend looking at the original The Killer Wore Cranberry and its sequel The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping for an idea of the types of stories we’re looking for.

All decisions on material will be made by September 15th, 2013. Every attempt will be made to notify all authors of the status of their submission at that time. Please do not inquire about status prior to September 15th, 2013.

This anthology has an expected publication date of October 15th.

This is an open call, and may be reposted anywhere and everywhere.

Call for Submissions: Thanksgiving Mystery Anthology

Here is a call for submissions for an e-book anthology to be published in the fall. They’re looking for short mystery stories that take place at Thanksgiving. See below for details. Write to the End member Betsy Miller has a few stories published by this publisher.

Call for Submissions from Untreed Reads

We had so much fun with The Killer Wore Cranberry back in 2010, that we felt it was time to revisit the anthology. So, we’re happy to present The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping.

As in the previous anthology, all the stories contained within must be about murder and mayhem happening at Thanksgiving, and must feature a typical Thanksgiving dish as a vital part of the story (i.e.: turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie). Most importantly…it must be funny! This anthology is all about making people laugh while enjoying a great mystery short at the same time. The anthology will be edited by Editor-in-Chief Jay Hartman.

And now, the rules:

1. All stories must be between 1500-5000 words.

2. Deadline for submission for consideration is September 1st, 2012. This is a firm date; no submissions after this date will be considered.

3. All submissions should be sent to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads with the word THANKSGIVING in the subject line.

4. Submissions must be in DOC, RTF or ODT format.

5. Unlike the previous anthology, we will not be publishing the stories individually. Only the anthology will be available.

6. Authors will receive royalty, but not upfront payment. Authors will each receive a share of royalties of 50% of net (net = cover price – vendor commission) based on the number of authors in the final anthology.

7. Characters appearing in other Untreed Reads series or other series not published by us are strongly encouraged (i.e.: Wade J. McMahan’s Richard Dick, Beth Mathison’sMobsters or Young at Heart or Albert Tucher’s Diana Andrews)

8. Your story MUST have humor in it, feature a Thanksgiving dish and have a great mystery or crime at the heart of the story.

9. Stories not accepted for the anthology may be still be considered for other publication.

10. Previously published works are fine providing that electronic rights have reverted to the author and the story is not currently offered for free anywhere on the Internet or currently published through a self-publishing venue (i.e.: Smashwords, Amazon KDP, etc.).

11. There are no restrictions whatsoever on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc in the work.. Just tell us a great story!

Please direct any questions to Jay Hartman at jhartman@untreedreads.com. We recommend looking at the original The Killer Wore Cranberry for an idea of the types of stories we’re looking for.

 All decisions on material will be made by September 15th, 2012. Every attempt will be made to notify all authors of the status of their submission at that time. Please do not inquire about status prior to September 15th, 2012.

This anthology has an expected publication date of October 15th.

This is an open call, and may be reposted anywhere and everywhere.

Best,
Jay Hartman
Editor-in-Chief

Untreed Reads Publishing