Nostalgia and Reprints: The Story Behind “All the Hippies Are Dying”

While this blog space is never exactly quiet (Author Interviews! Submission Roundups! Writing Tips!), it has been a little while since I’ve shared anything about my recent publications. So let’s remedy that before July slips away from us! I’m so thrilled that last month saw the release of my magic realism tale, “All the Hippies Are Dying,” at The Wild Hunt. This strange story about a mother obsessed with her youthful foray at Woodstock and the daughter who tries and fails to bring her mother into modern day is a little bit dark, a little bit magical, and perhaps more than a little bit wistful. It’s also among my favorite stories I’ve ever written, so that always makes a story release even more exciting!

First off, it’s worth noting this isn’t the debut of “All the Hippies Are Dying.” The story was originally released last year in the first issue of The Gateway Review. My experience there with editor Joe Baumann was a fabulous one, and he supported “Hippies” so much that he even nominated it for a Write Well Award through the Silver Pen Writers Association. How nifty is that?

Since I do love this story so much, it’s been great to see how it’s found a second life at The Wild Hunt. And it was quite fortuitous circumstances that led to the publication. In the spring, The Wild Hunt editor Ariell Cacciola reached out to me after reading my Shimmer story, “All the Red Apples Have Withered to Gray,” and asked if I would be interested in contributing to her new magazine. One visit to the site, and I loved the aesthetic of The Wild Hunt so much that I knew I had to be involved. I sent Ariell “All the Hippies Are Dying” and I was so incredibly pleased when she and her fellow editor enjoyed it enough to add it to the other beautiful tales in their archives. So far, “Hippies” has received some nice reviews (huge thanks to Morgan Crooks for including it as a top June story pick on Ancient Logic), and it’s beyond thrilling to find the story is resonating with readers.

“All the Hippies Are Dying” is an oddly personal tale, one that highlights my love of turntables and vinyl and 1960s music. In a way, I’ve been carrying this story with me since I was fifteen years old and started researching Woodstock in books at the public library. That’s when I first fell in love with the bands from that era—The Mamas and the Papas, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash, among many others. In those well-spent days of youth, I was a little like the matriarch in “Hippies,” just hanging around a spinning turntable and absorbing every note of the music. Thus, it was both cathartic and slightly bittersweet to finally translate some of those feelings into a cohesive story.

“Hippies” also gave me a chance to explore the world of magic realism. I’ve been a huge fan of magic realism fiction for years, and this was one of my first interpretations of the genre. I definitely hope to return soon to this fresh and lovely brand of fantasy in my short fiction. In the meantime, an early sketch of a new novel I’m writing will blend a healthy dose of horror with magic realism, and though it’s too early to tell for sure how this new project will turn out, I’m certainly hopeful that it might become something both strangely beautiful and beautifully strange.

So if you’re so inclined, head on over to The Wild Hunt, and take in the nostalgia of “All the Hippies Are Dying.” The free love of Woodstock awaits you!

Happy reading!