Skip Fox’s “Sortilege” was the first short fiction I excerpted in the Flânerie series. I found it, as I found the others, through a sortilege procedure of my own, so it’s understandable that I would have regarded the story as a talisman endorsing my undertaking. Not only that, but the substance of the story jibed perfectly with the motivation for my project. The day I read “Sortilege” — January 21, the winter solstice, a portentious date if ever there was one — I tracked down the author’s email address to notify him of my intent. I also sent him an excerpt from something I’d written that complemented his text. (Four years ago I posted an earlier, somewhat extended version of it on my old blog as “Untitled Revenge Fantasy Fragment.”)
Later that day I received a reply: Skip Fox liked my piece, granting me carte blanche to use his story however I liked. A lively extended correspondence has ensued.
Though the sample size is admittedly small, I’ve found that fiction writers do tend to respond to emails asking them about or commenting on their work. Problem is, it’s not always easy to track down their email addresses. I was able to correspond with Skip Fox, and a dozen years earlier with Robert Coover and DF Wallace, because they held positions at academic institutions that publish all faculty email addresses on their websites.