Why It Works for Me – Mark Hayes’ “The Strange and the Wonderful”

The Why It Works for Me series are my opportunity to share with others particular pieces of writing which stand out (to me) and why (as in “this piece of writing taught me something about writing, encouraged me to be a better writer, engaged me, captivated me, educated me, …”).

As I’ve written elsewhere, it’s one thing to know something is good, it’s a better thing (in my opinion) to know why it’s good and then be able to copy what’s good about it, to learn from it so you can be as good and (hopefully) better.

This time out, Mark Hayes’ “The Strange and the Wonderful” in Harvey Duckman Presents Volume 7.



3 thoughts on “Why It Works for Me – Mark Hayes’ “The Strange and the Wonderful””

  1. To hear anything I’ve written being compared favourably with the work of Ray Bradbury’s seems frankly insane to me. Thank you so much

    A few small notes

    The novel is called ‘Passing Place’ not the passing place (but everyone seems to put that ‘The’ in there)

    The story is not actually an excerpt from Passing Place, the subtitle is slightly misleading in this regard, and also where that ‘The’ comes from. It is ‘an interlude from the passing place’ in the respect that it is a small window on to the lives of a couple of characters who live and work within the passing place.

    The story started out as parts of the experimental chapters in ‘Something Red’ which is the sequel to Passing Place, I am entirely failing to write at this time. Passing Place is a complete standalone and doesn’t need a sequel, but it’s hard to walk away from the characters and the universe of Esqwiths Piano Bar and Grill, which is the passing place of the title. So, I keep going back in different ways.

    This story is set after the end of Passing Place (hence its part of the unwritten sequel), Greyman and Jolene are minor characters from that original novel, but like all the characters in that novel they have their own stories and life within it.

    Passing Place was more or less five years of my life, a couple of other novels were written while I was writing it, but I more or less sank into the Passing Place and the characters who inhabit that world for half a decade, which is probably why it flowed so easily when I revisited it to tell this one. For every word written in that novel I must have written ten, while a hundred more that exist only in my head. The first novel explores the passing place from the main characters perspective, but to do that I had to knows the other perspectives and what was going on in the heads of all the inhabitants of the bar, their stories whether they came up or not, and every detail of why they were there, who they were, how they interact with everyone else… It was a long five years, and I intend to get back to Esqwith’s someday, when I stop writing silly steampunk novels.

    Also I had never heard of Leo Kottke, this oversight has been rectified, wish I could make my twelve string sound like that

    1. Mark, thanks for commenting.
      Truly, this story captivated me in ways few stories do any more. Fictional, magical, meaningful, inspirational. It is glorious. Please keep them coming.