The Deeplands

Experimental Glossary Storytelling

When I was in Grad School for my MFA, we had a choice of a blessedly non-art related Elective. I chose a creative writing class and just like every writing class taken before it, the semester was a giddy affair… And thank goodness for that, as my time at UIC’s graduate program for that arts was a breathtakingly foul, and full of stories I should definitely post on The Wingless.

One week our assignment was an exotic list of exercises: pick three sentences in a newspaper and make that your first few lines – or – observe a person in public and write about them in the 1st person – and another – write a story that’s only a Glossary. Spoilers. I did that last one.

Surprisingly, the medium works better than you’d expect. The glossary can have the highlights and context of a story, but the audience has to fill in the gaps that you purposefully left. It’s liberating too: the story can be as non-linear as you want, while still looping back on familiar names and terms like a Möbius strip.

I liked the idea so much, I decided to dedicate an entire project to it (though this story is completely different from the school assignment). TheDeeplands is, as near as I can figure, one of the earliest works on The Wingless that I felt had no audience, but was so enjoyable that it practically finished itself. The same urge to write overcame me years later when I made Planetfall – though the feedback from that was comparatively warm.



  • 2005 . Millennial Age . Chicago
  • Photoshop & Actionscript on Flash