Lord of the Flies: Terrible and Beautiful

p. 181:

The parachute took the figure forward, furrowing the lagoon, and humped it over the reef and out to sea.

Is this nightmare scenario believable? Absolutely.

Stay tuned.

Flies in Lord of the Flies and This Is a Trigger Warning

The flies do finally appear.

That is all.

If anyone were to tell you that killing a pig isn’t the worst thing in the universe, self would say, read Lord of the Flies.

The funny thing is, a pig being killed is so not just a pig. It develops an ineffable aura, and before you can say Holy-Cow-Its-a-Metaphor, you begin to develop all sorts of feelings for the poor pig. And self would just like to say that never has a killing been so ineptly executed, except perhaps for that one in Half-Broke Things by Morag Joss.

Self is rambling because she suddenly remembers Jeffrey Dahmer. He used to torture insects by pulling off their wings. Then he got hold of a neighbor’s cat. Then he wound up storing human body parts in a freezer. There was progression.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lord of the Flies: Reasons

Self is almost halfway through this novel, its pacing is so fleet. She thinks there’s a good chance she can smash her 2018 Goodreads reading challenge to bits and then some.

So, about the novel: the descriptions of the island are so on point! Except, there appear to be no forms of animal life other than boys and pigs. Everything else is flora and fauna: gorgeous tropical flowers, vines, rotting trees.

She’s just arrived at the part where Jack and his choirboys kill a pig. This is where the symbolism starts getting a little heavyhanded: the choirboys chant, Kill the pig, which shows how far they have sunk since Jack introduced himself by saying, “I sing in high C.”

Also, the fat boy is called “Piggy.”

Uh-oh. (Self: why are you saying uh-oh like that, as if you’ve never read the book?)

Also, he just won’t shut up. Worse, he keeps nattering on to Ralph, and Ralph finds him dull. Great word choice, William Golding! Now self knows why people never listen to her!

Anyhoo, splendid Ralph (who goes running naked through the forest, a natural athlete, doesn’t even flinch when vines and what-not “savage” him) is up against Mad Jack, who’s already sunk to the level of painting his face, just like that crazy man in Apocalypse Now.

Self could tell dear blog readers what happens next, if she weren’t so sure that at least 95% of dear blog readers already know, since they probably had to read this book for school.

Instead, she will just say that she identifies with Ralph, especially in this moment, when he has a very adult epiphany:

  • He found himself understanding the wearisomeness of this life, where every path was an improvisation and a considerable part of one’s waking life was spent watching one’s feet.

A page later, he has this one further thought:

  • With a convulsion of the mind, Ralph discovered dirt and decay, understood how much he disliked perpetually flicking the tangled hair out of his eyes, and at last, when the sun was gone, rolling noisily to rest among dry leaves.

His way of resisting the meltdown is to call assembly, which self thinks is really quite brave of him, but she can’t help thinking that Ralph is like Sisyphus, condemned to an eternity of trying to roll a stone uphill, especially when he can’t even get the boys organized to build themselves proper shelters.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Littleuns in Lord of the Flies

Question: Why is this book called Lord of the Flies when there is not one single fly on the  island? Could there have been flies, only the boys didn’t think it was worth bringing up? That said, it’s a a good title, for sure.

Self really enjoyed Golding’s description of the ‘littleuns.’

  • The undoubted littleuns, those aged about six, led a quite distinct and at the same time intense, life of their own. They ate most of the day, picking fruit where they could reach it and not particular about ripeness and quality. They were used now to stomachaches and a sort of chronic diarrhoea. They suffered untold terrors in the dark and huddled together for comfort. Apart from food and sleep, they found time for play, aimless and trivial, in the white sand by the bright water. They cried for their mothers much less often than what might have been expected; they were very brown and filthily dirty. They obeyed the summons of the conch, partly because Ralph blew it, and partly because they enjoyed the entertainment of the assemblies.

She forgot that there were six-year-olds on the island!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Work-in-Progress: The Rorqual

Word Count: 6,313

The day he noticed the first strange animals, Pitt had been missing over a week. Joshua was looking down at a bird. He couldn’t be sure what kind of bird it was, it had an odd wing structure.

He felt a premonition, a twinge. He got those, sometimes, every year or so. It was always a signal of some change, not always bad.

The Hero’s Journey: Two From Self’s Personal Bookshelf

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One takes place in ancient Greece, the other in a post-apocalyptic England.

Self loves them both, so much.

Stay tuned.

The Hedgehog: THE GOLDEN COMPASS, p. 72

Self began The Golden Compass having already made the acquaintance of Lyra and Lord Asriel in La Belle Sauvage (Volume One of Pullman’s new trilogy, which takes place ten years before the events of The Golden Compass).

In LBS, Lyra’s an infant. When The Golden Compass opens, Lyra’s a feisty little girl whose best friend is a boy named Roger. Together, Lyra and Roger go ranging over the rooftops of Oxford and exploring in crypts. This part of the story is sheer delight.

It’s not until Chapter 4 of The Golden Compass that she meets two other characters from LBS: Dame Hannah Reif (who is described as “an elderly, gray-haired lady” — a far cry from the woman she was in LBS. How could a person have aged so much in just ten years?) and Mrs. Coulter (who doesn’t seem to have aged a day, despite the 10 years etc)

Now, these two women (accompanied by a third, mystery woman) appear for dinner at Jordan Hall, and Lyra learns she is being sent off with Mrs. Coulter, the very next day. It doesn’t take long for self to google “Mrs. Coulter” and discover that Nicole Kidman played her in the movie adaptation, which then causes self to dislike Mrs. Coulter because self never could abide Nicole Kidman in anything, just saying.

There is a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff even at this early stage of The Golden Compass, and self really loves how deftly Pullman navigates between the simple certainties of childhood and the edges of terror. Before Lyra leaves Jordan Hall (forever), the old Master slips her an alethiometer which isn’t actually as fabulous as it sounds because the device reveals who is lying to you, and that information always hurts because it is never who you expect.

Self loves that Lyra’s daemon is called Pantalaimon because it sounds like a cross between Shakespeare and Don Quixote, and also it is such a mouthful compared to other daemons’ names, like Ben or Asta. So the reader will never, ever forget it. And after a while, when you succeed in getting Pantalaimon to roll trippingly off your tongue, you will feel so smart. Like you’ve just aced your finals.

The daemon Pantalaimon has a tendency to shift into the most amusing animals, such as a hedgehog:

“she snapped at him, when he became a hedgehog out of pique.”– p. 72

Has self ever shared with dear blog readers that she has a special fondness for hedgehogs? She even used “hedgehog” as the worst cuss word on the planet, in her story of the far future called “Spores” (published in decomP Magazine)!

An excerpt from self’s story:

“We be needing foxes,” I said once.

“You lousy hedgehog,” the boss said, giving me a good one. My right eye swelled up almost immediately.

Would you believe that at the time self wrote the story, she had never laid eyes on an actual hedgehog? A few years ago she was at the San Francisco Zoo and finally got to see a hedgehog. It was all by itself, huddled in a far corner of a kind of pen, and it looked positively miserable.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Just Published: THE COST OF PAPER, Vol. 5, an International Anthology of Short Fiction

Published April 3 by 1888 Center in Orange, CA. Series Editor: Julianne Berokoff.

Self was so busy with the DAMN TAXES that she didn’t have time to announce, much less celebrate.

The anthology includes her short story, “This Is End.” In the story, Dragon’s BFF Her is possibly deceased but her ghost appears and re-appears. Dragon thinks he’s seen her on the wreck of the space station the Kobayashi Maru (Yes, the choice of name is self’s little homage to Star Trek):

  • It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.

Parts 1 and 2 of this story are on Juked.com and Quarterly West, respectively. The Juked.com story, “First Life,” is available, here’s the link. Not sure where to find it on the Quarterly West site (Story Title: “First Causes”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: HAPPY

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is HAPPY. Self started looking through her archives and decided on a set of pictures she took during the most recent AWP conference, a month ago, in Tampa.

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2018 AWP Bookfair, Tampa, FL

She mostly hung out at the Bookfair. One of the highlights of her trip was getting to meet the editors of the Bellingham Review! They published her (dystopian fantasy) story “Ice” in their annual on-line issue, up now. It stays up till November.

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SO HAPPY to meet the Editors of the Bellingham Review at the AWP 2018 Bookfair!

Thank you for making self so HAPPY, Bellingham Review!

Stay tuned.

 

 

FAVORITE PLACE: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 March 2018

  • This week, share an image of your happy place . . .  (Cheri Lucas Rowlands, The Daily Post, 21 March 2018)

Self’s favorite place is her imagination.

It’s a place where anything can happen: where porcupines turn into lizards, where a teenager carries a woman on his back from San Francisco to Los Angeles because the Apocalypse has happened and people need to stick together, where a taciturn sea captain is the only person who can save humanity from an invasion of creatures called Longnecks who suddenly appear in the Bering Sea.

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Children’s Book: Found it in son’s room, a week ago.

Self’s stories may not sound happy, but she is most happy when she is writing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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