This is my third and most recent story published on New Pop Lit. but don’t get the wrong idea, I’ve been rejected by them before as well. Every time I get a story published there, they write a brief review of it, which is usually somewhat flattering… what they said about this story actually made me tear up. You can read it for yourself here.

A few years ago, I had a bad day at work. When I left, it was raining heavily, and I saw a large turtle trying to cross the road. I put my blinkers on, got out of the car, and carried it, as it tried to nip at my out-of-reach fingers. A woman driving passed rolled down her window and yelled, “that’s so nice of you.” Some two years later (almost to the day), this story popped into my head, a pattern story of a man helping a turtle cross the road at various times in his life.

The story is partly based on quite a few actual personal events. It is a sad story, but don’t get the wrong idea; I don’t particularly have a sad life. Harry (the main character) doesn’t have a sad life either; you are only seeing windows into the sad times.

I somehow knew before I wrote a single word in this story that it would be one of the best I ever wrote. You can argue among yourselves if you agree.

Not only does “Tales Along Turtle Heart Road” make a good title for the story, but also for the overall collection, in my humble opinion. So this is the planned title story of a future collection, which will also include the previously published stories: “Slumpers Drink for Free,” and “Rhinoplantiquity”, and ten other currently unpublished stories, that hopefully a few more of which will be published before the collection.

Regarding writing, I consider my greatest strength to be titles; if you’re new to my writing, you can peruse my published works and see the various titles for yourself. I originally called this story simply “The Turtle” but came to the later title while writing the first draft. The title was inspired partly by “Tall Tales On the Iron Horse,” a Science Fiction story and collection by Colin P. Davis, and partly by “Tales Along This Road,” an album by the Finnish Folk Metal band Korpiklanni.

The story is a collection in itself; same character(s), same location, but different stories at different times.

Jerry’s or Original Jerry’s Restaurant (referenced throughout the story) is primarily based on a picture I saw in a book about menus that a good friend got me as a Christmas gift a few years ago. I’ve never been to that restaurant, I don’t think it’s been around for a while, but I could be wrong. That’s the exterior, the interior of Original Jerry’s is based on a restaurant called Tom Jones (yes, like the singer, and there was also a short story writer named Thom Jones who was a major influence on my writing).

There is a whole lot more I could say about this story, and the story says a lot itself as is. I hope you enjoy.

Tales Along Turtle Heart Road” | New Pop Lit | October 20th, 2022

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