"The Mad Juggler" at Written Word
I just noticed that this story is now up at Written Word (I'd received an email announcement for the last few new issues, but not for this one, so I'm not sure when it went up). Go read it (for free)!
This is an old story, written for the creative writing class I took my last semester of college. I'd taken the previous fall off (I had a few more classes to take for my two majors and a minor...but also one year of eligibility left to run track, so I wanted those two to correspond). I'd written the first line, "News of the Mad Juggler's death shocked us all," during that time off from school but hadn't gotten any farther. Then I went to a camping conference (for people who work in summer camp programs, that is) and one of the keynotes was about how society teaches girls to lose their voice. So I decided to write a story from the perspective of a girl who did not...at first at least.
It was my first time writing from a female perspective, so I remember turning it in without my name on it so everyone would read it without knowing whose it was. When it came time to discuss it, I announced, "Well, the next story was mine," and I could see shocked looks all around the room. And comments on the papers themselves even changed after they learned, which I found very interesting.
The image of the mad juggler himself I saw as a combination of an ice cream truck driver and the pied piper. In other ways he draws from my own juggling--I learned to juggle pins with sawn-off table legs that someone gave me as a gift.