Storied Imaginarium alumna Cassandra Schoeber has published her story “Within this Body of Stone I Scream” in The Arcanist. This glorious story about a little girl turning to stone came out of the module Golem Myths and Ancient Viruses & the Spark of Life in Intersections: Science Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Myth.
If you are interested in how a story evolves from a workshop prompt to draft and then revision, Cassandra shares her journey in the following writer’s reflection.
Inspiration: “Growing up, I had a grandmother who was a hoarder. There was a lot of trauma in my grandmother’s past and I believe her hoarding was a reflection of this trauma. With the concept of ‘Golems’ as a writing prompt, I was inspired to write this piece using the figure of the golem as a commentary on how intergenerational trauma could evolve into hoarding of children and the effect that might have on those children’s’ lives.”
Workshop to Publication: “The concept of a Medusa-esque garden of human stone figures floated into my mind one day. I let it sit there for a couple of months until the Golem module in SFFT last fall. With that image in mind, I started writing my workshop submission, and the entire piece came to me very quickly. I wrote it in only a couple of hours. Afterward, getting feedback from my workshop classmates was crucial in helping me tighten up the loose ends. Specifically, Carina gave me great ideas to layer more stone and rock terms into the narrative. This added a depth to it that hadn’t been there in my first draft. After our final portfolio, I immediately submitted it to a magazine. They said no. So did the next magazine, and the next. Finally, 10 submissions later, The Arcanist decided to publish it. My experience with them has been fantastic. I highly recommend submitting there!”
Here are a few resources on golems from the module for those of you interested in trying your own hand at a golem-inspired story:
- Golem (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction)
- The Golem of Prague by Matthew Kressel (blog post)
- “The Golem: Talmudic Legend of a Clay Beast Created to Protect the Jews” (Ancient Origins)
- “Artificial Men: Alchemy, Transubstantiation, and the Homunculus” by Mary Baine Campbell (Republic of Letters)
- “Of Men and Mud” by Heinz Insu Fenkl (Endicott Studio)
- “Homunculus: The Alchemical Creation of Little People with Great Powers” (Ancient Origins)
- Voices from the Past: The Cycle of Life in Indo-European Folktales by D. L. Ashliman