The Story Behind “Silver Man” by Eva Langston

Eva LangstonPlease welcome today’s guest Eva Langston, here to tell us about the story she wrote for our Spring 2013 issue: Silver Man.

The Story Behind the Story “Silver Man”

by Eva Langston

For many years I lived alone in an attic apartment on the edge of the New Orleans Garden District. Every morning before work I sat on the fire escape and saw Silver Man biking down the street in his silver spray-painted jeans. I always got excited—it was like seeing a celebrity. And whenever I went down to the French Quarter, he was there, standing in the same exact spot in Jackson Square, right across from Cafe du Monde.

Silver Man fascinated me. What would it be like to stand still for hours while the world moved around you? I wondered what Silver Man thought about during the day. I wondered if he had a rivalry with Gold Man, who stood on the opposite side of the park.

When I sat down to write this story, I thought it would be about the rivalry between Silver Man and Gold Man. But in the end, the story was smaller. It was about Silver Man himself.

The first version was written in heavy, southern dialect, but when I gave it to my mother to read, she said the twang was distracting, so I dialed it back to only a hint (“getting on towards five o’clock”).

In fact, “Silver Man” has been through an incredible number of revisions. I thought I was finally done when I submitted it to Compose, but once they accepted the piece, the three editors gave me a pile of comments and suggestions. I ended up deleting words, reworking sentences, and adding an entirely new description to the end. The editors encouraged and supported me through the process. I was amazed they put so much time and energy into my dinky two-page story. And yet, I was glad for it. They had me change 1% of my piece, but it made the story 100% better.

I first wrote “Silver Man” a long time ago—in 2009. I no longer live in New Orleans. I no longer live by myself. But I remember why I wanted to write the story in the first place. I remember why I felt excited when I saw Silver Man riding his bike outside my apartment. It wasn’t so much that he was a celebrity. It was because I was seeing him in a way few people ever got to see him. I was witnessing a statue come to life.

Eva Langston received her MFA from the University of New Orleans, and her fiction has been published in The Normal School, The Sand Hill Review, and the GW Review, among others. In 2009 she won third place in the Playboy College Fiction contest, and in 2011 she received a Pushcart Prize nomination. Currently she works as a Skype tutor for Ukrainians and a math curriculum consultant, although she’s trying to make writing her job. Follow her adventures at inthegardenofeva.com.

Comments

  1. phyllis says:

    I thought SILVER MAN was charming. Very well done.

  2. Thank you for this glimpse into your writing thoughts and process, Eva. I always enjoy hearing how other writers get their ideas and execute them. I need to look for your story now…haven’t quite figured out how the site works yet.

  3. Oops! Scratch that last, dimwitted sentence. I found it right where it belongs. Sorry! I realize I just hadn’t taken the time to check it out. I’m appropriately red-faced.

Trackbacks

  1. […] “Silver Man” (flash fiction) – Compose Literary Journal, Spring 2013; guest blog post here […]

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