#amwriting Dystopia

DOWN

We’re going to the sea. We’re going under.

When?

Today.

Just like that.

Yes.

We don’t have maps.

We don’t need maps. There’s only one way to go, and that’s down.

“Spores” Again

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 give me the frights.

Self’s first Tyrone Guthrie Centre story. Written 2014, Annaghmakerrig and Dublin.

“Spores” (decomP magazinE)

Thank you, decomP! Self’s first Tyrone Guthrie story. All voice.

  • Humans are a small and fragile species. But we have the distinction of breeding almost as quickly as microbes. Sex is soporific and palliative. No one would attach a pejorative such as “meaningless” to any form of sexual activity. We’re all encouraged to do it as much as possible, as late as possible. Grandmothers in their sixties do it, as well as children as young as eleven or twelve. It’s considered a patriotic activity.

SPORES

This story was published by decomP Magazine. Self began writing it during a residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Weeks later, she found the ending in Dublin.

The boss was born Earthstar. He’d never look her way. His spores were meant to go else: to a Silverleaf. Or a Shag. Not K that smelled like wet rot. All scaly cap and throat gills. She belonged with other Common.

In this story of the future, there are Earthstars. Earthstars are permitted to mate with either Silverleafs or Shags. Any other pairing is out of the question.

K is a Common.

The inspiration for this story was a book about mushrooms. Morgan Cooke, who she met at TGC, made an audio recording. Must say, self got a big kick out of hearing her story read with an Irish accent. Many, many, many thanks to Morgan.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting More Dystopia, With a Splash of Mandarin!

Zheng shi ruci.

“Oh, please.”

“Your Mandarin isn’t that bad.”

I sit down. She approaches. She smells different now. I allow her to stroke my cheek. Soon I’m panting and salivating, like one of those dogs.

Pavlovian theory. I learned that somewhere.

#amwriting Dystopia

You’re not permitted in my brain. Get out!

I root around in my head, trying desperately to reach Albert, tossing aside superfluous data, everything I think I don’t need for future transports. I’m under attack! Under attack! Under attack!

Shut down, Albert says. Abort delivery. Good-night.

In Progress: Guayaquil

Splicing together two different stories to create a hybrid dystopia. Part of it is the same world as the one in self’s story Tu-An Ju, which appeared in Vice-Versa.

Recently, self’s stories have veered between the 16th century or the distant future.

Hector was Peter’s only other friend, apart from Chalida. He lived in Guayaquil, in Ecuador: it was difficult terrain. Just south were numerous uncharted islands, and rebels gravitated to these.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“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:

 

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