“Spores” Part 2

Context: K and R are paired up in a lab (They sort. What do they sort? Something). They don’t get to leave the lab until they’ve met their quota. K has a crush on the boss, who’s Earthstar. She and R are Common (not supposed to look at Earthstar). R (the narrator) told the boss “We be needing foxes” and got punched in the face for his impudence. That’s why K keeps offering him remedies. But he rebuffs her.

Self wrote this in Dublin. You can tell.


“Here,” she says finally, pulling something yellow, bell-shaped, out of her pocket.

I shake my head.

“You sure?” she says. “I got these fresh.”

Hours go by. Then K says, “He’s a stump, that one. Jesus.”

Me standing up straight, trying to forget the pain in my right cheek. “I don’t think we’re at liberty to discuss,” I say.

K’s eyes well up. Copious.

“Shut it,” I say. I don’t want to hear another word. Sighs and pity, I don’t need. Especially her sighs and pity. “I won’t ever look as good as I do now.”

K begins to laugh. Then she sees my face. Her right hand claps over her mouth. “Oh.” I want to cuff her.

“You might be wanting a piss soon,” she says. “Then, if blood comes out of you…”

“You’ll be wanting to feel my fist,” I say.

“Oh,” she says again. But this time, she looks sad. She says, strange-voiced, “I’ll bring oak milk tomorrow. Might help.”


When my friend Summer lay under the beechwood seems a lifetime ago, puking insides, puking until her stomach was a strange convex shape, what happened was, I heard a whooshing noise, and then from the other side of the trees came a Sand Spirit. Drum-beat Ta-ra! It came down from the sky, propellers whirring, dredging hay and thistles. Then snapped her right up.

As they used to say in Marble Arch, when some play was on: The Lady Exits.

For a long time after, I stayed under the beech, whispering Summer, whatya reckon to all this and watching two yella bitterns wing from branch to branch to branch. Until the shadows chased me home.

In P-1, the teachers tell, Heaven is up a winding stair. Hell is like falling off the Whitecliffs—down and down and down and down. Limbo is—somewhere between. Those lessons always gave me the frights.


Part 3 posted here.

Self’s Dystopian Imagination

dscn9988

Lake Annagmakerrig: 4:30 a.m., 8 November 2018

Boy was the last of four. Alive just this morning. Fell through the ice chasing after a shadow that he thought was food.

What food. What a fool. There’s no food on the ice. Not on top, not under.

Hadn’t he told the boy, over and over: Watch the sky. The food will come as a drop.

I been watching, the boy said. For weeks.

— from self’s short story “Ice”

Her piece was published in Bellingham Review’s annual on-line issue, November 2017.

Read it in its entirety, here.

Stay tuned.

Ten Years of THE HUNGER GAMES

All Hail to Suzanne Collins, Queen of Everything.

  • The Hunger Games Aesthetic:

 

Power Dynamics: THE STONE SKY, Ch. 4

Trigger Warning: Torture

  • Kill only one, initially. Pick someone who tries to harm you — but only one, even if more than one tries. Disable the others, but take your time killing that one person. Make it painful. Make sure your target screams. That’s important. If the first one that you kill remains silent . . . kill another.

Dystopia In Progress

Self is going to try, while she’s at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, pulling all her science fiction together into one collection.

What to call it?

She’s toying with the idea of making this the first story:

THE FREEZE (published in Bluestem)

Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine
Redwood, Oak, Laurel, Manzanita, Pine

Thanksgiving was just a week ago. I served brined turkey with oatmeal rolls and my special fig-and-rice stuffing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cost of Paper, vol. 5 (published by 1888 Center, Orange, CA)

DSCN0097

Sadly, both the AWP2019 panel proposals self was included in were rejected. One was a mixed-genre panel, the brainchild of Philadelphia poet Anne-Adele Wight. The other was a Quarterly West panel on experimental fiction.

Nevertheless, self still has much to celebrate. Such as, her story This Is End being in The Cost of Paper, vol. 5 (It’s the last story in the anthology). The anthology’s editor was Julianne Berokoff.

Self just had another story picked up for the Winter 2018 issue of Prairie Schooner, due out this December. And the two stories couldn’t be more different: the one in The Cost of Paper is space fantasy, the Prairie Schooner story is straight-up realism.

This Is End is the third story in a cycle about a boy named Dragon, a missing girl named Her, a teacher named Fire Lizard, a bully named Big, the bully’s friend Drinker, and a new student named Knot.

Dragon saw Big knock Her out cold (in the middle of a class, why). Her never came back to class, but sometimes Dragon thinks he sees her waving to him from a window of an abandoned space station called the Kobayashi Maru. Ever since then, he’s been itching for revenge.

Big doesn’t show up to class one day, Knot asks Dragon:

“Is it true? Tumor he had?”

We spot-check each other for tumors. We’re so afraid of it.

“Ecchymosis?” Knot persists.

Here’s a link to 1888 Center’s Bookstore.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

Story-in-Progress: “Feint” (Dystopia)

I was not born with this sense of foreboding, just as my parents weren’t born with a sense of despair.

Work-In-Progress: “Feint” (Genre: Dystopia)

For a woman who could not write a word of dialogue when she began her Creative Writing Program (and who moreover wrote in English, which was not the native tongue in her country of origin), her stories now seem to consist of nothing but.

“Is that you, Maa?”

“Yes. Can you send Le Ponant?”

“No. Why? I’ll have to clear it.”

“How long will that take?”

“A day or two. Is it lunchtime there?”

“No.”

“Well, it is, here. I’ve got to go.”

Stay tuned, dear blog reader. Stay tuned.

 

 

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.

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