I'm very pleased to have my story "Two Sticks" published in Ellipsis Zine.
One day when I was at water aerobics, an older woman told me that her husband had been very involved in the Boy Scouts his whole life. She mentioned that when they had parties, he'd demonstrate how to start a fire without matches. I thought that was a great scene for a story, and went home to work on one, keeping the idea of a man starting a fire as a party trick, but making up everything else about the couple.
Of course, in order to write the story, I had to find out how exactly one starts a fire without matches. Fortunately for writers, this kind of research is made much easier by google and YouTube. As I got into the details of fire starting, I learned that the two sticks method, which I'd assumed was the only method, was in fact only one of many ways to start a fire. Looking up the others, I was instantly intrigued by the fire plow. I started watching videos, and after the first couple of minutes of the following video, writing about the fire plow became irresistible.
The fire plow is still two sticks, just two very special sticks of disparate sizes, so I felt justified in keeping the title I'd originally written.
By the way, "Two Sticks" wasn't the first story inspired by water aerobics conversations; an different exchange with a different woman in a different class led to the genesis and title of "The Moon in Daytime."
Ann Hillesland writes fiction and essays. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Bayou, The Laurel Review, and Sou’wester.
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