One Of My Favorite Stories, And Now You Can Read It Too: “Shoebox Heaven”
Yesterday, on Twitter, Alyssa Wong asked this:
Writers: do you play favorites with your own stories? I’m dying to know.
— Alyssa Wong (@crashwong) May 26, 2015
To which I replied:
@crashwong I do. The relationship between them and the popularity among readers is tenuous at best.
— Ferrett Steinmetz (@ferretthimself) May 26, 2015
…which is a weird thing about writing that nobody outside the creative arenas quite gets: Popularity does not equal personal satisfaction. History is rife with musicians whose most popular song they wrote was one they couldn’t stand, and full of authors whose “best book” fell to dust while their toss-off novel went on to win awards.
Me, I’m lucky; as a short story writer, there’s two I’m known for, and I like them both. “Run,” Bakri Says is a great sci-fi time-travel story, and Sauerkraut Station (which I’m writing a sequel to) is a pretty decent riff on “Little House on the Prairie” in the stars.
But if I had to pick my top two stories, “Bakri” would be one of them, and “Shoebox Heaven” would be the other. Shoebox Heaven was printed in Andromeda Spaceways magazine, and then disappeared. Couldn’t get it reprinted, couldn’t get it put on one of the audio podcasts for a performance. It’s like my hipster story in that occasionally my deep fans reference it, but mostly it’s vanished.
Yet when Alyssa asked about it yesterday, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually reprinted that story on my site, even though the rights had reverted to me. And why not? It resonates with me. I’m proud of it. It should be on the web somewhere.
So without further ado, I present to you: “Shoebox Heaven.” The story of a boy who flies to Heaven to rescue his dead cat.