It Could Never Happen Here
by Martin Wilson
Issue #19 • June 18th, 2014•Buy Now!
Miles isn’t involved in athletics. He doesn’t participate in any extracurricular activities. He belongs to no clubs. He has stopped attending the meetings of his church’s youth group—in fact, he has stopped attending church altogether. He doesn’t have any friends, really. He has a lot of spare time.
Oh sure, there’s homework—plenty of it. And chores. He mows the grass in the spring and summer, or rakes the leaves in the fall. He sometimes helps his mother with grocery shopping, or by vacuuming and dusting. But mostly he stays at home, watching movies and scribbling in his notebooks.
“Scribbling.” That’s his mother’s word for it. As if what he’s doing is silly, no more than doodling with words.
“What are you writing in there?” his older sister Judy asks—sounding suspicious.
“Nothing,” he says. Or, “None of your business.”
“Like I care anyway.”
But he knows better. He hides these notebooks in an old emptied-out Trivial Pursuit box on a shelf in his closet, in case she tries any snooping.
Martin Wilson was born and grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He received a BA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA from the University of Florida, where one of his short stories received a Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award. His debut novel, What They Always Tell Us, won the Alabama Author Award for best young adult book and was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He’s currently at work on his second novel. He lives in New York City. Visit him at www.martinwilsonwrites.com.
Patrick Ryan on It Could Never Happen Here
Miles has a secret. Well, he has more than one. But the biggest—maybe—is that he spends a lot of time writing movies that will never be made. Movies that only exist in a series of spiral-bound notebooks. Movies that have adventure, romance, heartache, and betrayal. Movies that star his classmates.
The head of the cheerleading squad might star as the scientist who suffers a mental breakdown. The cocky jock who picks on him during lunch might star as the abusive family patriarch. The clique-ish girl who’s too stuck up to say hello might star as the overbearing, middle-aged mother. And the shy, sweet boy who’s known as a freak and a loner? He just might play the hero who triumphs against all odds.
Other than these imagined movies, Miles doesn’t think he has much of a life. But he has fond memories of a guy named Jeff who died in recent car crash. And he has a growing fascination with the girl who was driving the car. Not necessarily the stuff for a happy, cinematic ending, but life can be pretty unpredictable, right?
I’m thrilled to present you with the new issue of One Teen Story, Martin Wilson’s “It Could Never Happen Here.” You’ll be happy to dive into Miles’s world, and you might recognize yourself in some of his characters. Get ready for your close-up, because you might even find yourself starring in one of his movies.
Q&A by Patrick Ryan
I was a pretty solitary person in high school. I wasn’t really bullied, and I had some friends at school, but outside of school I mostly just stayed at home and did my own thing. Which is probably why I’m a writer in the first place. All that time to think up stories. But it didn’t stop at movies. I played (and still play) tennis, so back then I created an entirely fake professional tennis circuit, with hundreds of tennis players, complete with tournaments, rankings, matches, all of which I kept meticulous track of. I know that might sound crazy, but these things kept me sane and happy, I guess, and sowed the seeds for my future creative endeavors.
Two, write the novel (or story) that you’d want to read yourself. Otherwise, why bother? We have enough crappy books (and stories) in the world.
Finally, don’t sit down to write thinking you’re going to churn out perfect, beautiful pages and sentences. That will stifle you. Just spit it out. You’ll have plenty of chances to go back and make it better.