Of Caribbean Gothic and Observing One’s Own Life from the Outside

“People build something that works. Then circumstances change, and they have to tinker with it to make it continue to work, and they are so busy tinkering that they cannot see that a much better idea would be to build a whole new system to deal with the new circumstances. But to an outsider, the idea is obvious.” ~ Monstrous Regiment, by Terry Pratchett

I’m stable enough to start writing full time again. This doesn’t mean that I’m healed or cured or anything that fun—my illnesses are chronic, so we just have to learn to live with each other. By stable, I mean that I understand my ailments enough to know how much I can push and for how long. That’s as good as it gets (for now). There are days when my feet and hands hurt so much that I can barely concentrate. The same goes for the left side of my back, and my stomach.

But the pain no longer takes me by surprise. I’ve learned to identify the signs, to ready myself for the nasty kicks. When the pain is bad, but not quite killing me yet, I watch television in bed with my Piano Man, do house cleaning, blog, play with my books, complain, and do other fun things that don’t take tons of brain power. I use my good days for editing, rewriting, and for doing other bits that require concentration.

During one of my really good days—while battling with two storylines that didn’t seem to like each other much—I realized something: at the moment, my immune system and I don’t have enough consecutive good days to deal with the stress involved in independent publishing. So I started revising the novel I wanted to self-publish next year, in order to make it as agent worthy as I possibly could. The more I worked on it, the more I knew that I didn’t want to change anything about it. I got frustrated. After lots of arguing with myself, I set the novel aside and reread some Pratchett. I laughed really hard when I got to the quote at the beginning of this post. I took the words as a sign from my Knight Writer.

So yesterday, I asked Facebook friends to choose between Caribbean Gothic, Mythical Circus and Mythical Realities. I didn’t say why—but since I have super brilliant friends, they deduced that I was talking about stories to be written. The winning choice (by a rather healthy margin) was Caribbean Gothic. I had three ideas for new novels in my head. But like any word-mother, who loves all her children equally, I couldn’t pick one. Thank you for the help, my Wicked Luvs.

I shall start putting pen to paper (all right, fingertips to keyboard) on the morning of the 28th. I haven’t met all the characters yet. But I know the story’s beginning, two of the main conflicts, and most of the ending. And yes, I know the setting—a Dominican Republic (real and imagined) bursting with wonders, beauties and horrors.

There will probably certainly be mangoes, wild witchery, fighting, loving, and furious dancing.

Hard Times Require Furious Dancingdetail from the cover of Hard Times Require Furious Dancing, by Alice Walker

In My Circus

Ginger and Citrus Leaf Teamaking ginger and blood orange leaf tea for my cranky tummy

I want tea to be coffee,
and ginger chocolate beans.
I wish for life to be a circus
tent, where nothing goes hungry
or sick or dead or extinct…

In my circus, I’m a mad cat
with a crimsonly chic hat
and a silvery grin
slightly cracked.

Fresh coffee flowers brew wild
in my circus, that’s a garden
in a kettle. I take my blooms
everywhere, and spread them slyly
on tables on pianos and saloons.

I want
tea to be coffee.
I wish
for Wonder to be free


the wee notes…
– Today Vanessa Valencia celebrates her 9th annual Mad Tea Party. And because I’m hosting over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, I invited the prompts to dance together. I chose to pair (actually trio) the Mad Tea Party theme with Words Count with Mama Zen (Is your life a circus?) and Rommy Drik’s The Way of Tea, specifically this quote: “Once a flower’s season has passed, it should not be brought in from another location for display in the tearoom.” Yes, Rommy, I’m a tea brewing rebel. Muahahahaha! *cough, cough, better get more ginger, cough*
– Do fly over to The Garden and to A Fanciful Twist to see what everyone else is brewing.
– So… if your life was a circus, what would your tent look like? I wonder, wonder, wonder…

Tim Burton’s Cheshire CatTim Burton’s Cheshire Cat
colored by moi
snatched from Print the World: Super Coloring

A Flame in the Dark

The knowing dances into me, gritty and wild, through open eyes and willing tongue. I taste the veracity shards you hide under a shroud of silken lies. Something is rotten. For a spell, my eyes consider weeping for the worms you boiled before they could become moths. Then I remember: liquid mourning cleanses, but rarely fixes a thing. So my soul sucks in sadden salts, crafts them into living fuel, lets them burn for a better day. I don’t conceal what grows in me. I open my all, under the licks of moon and sun, and let you watch. You see naught.

a flame, in the dark,
breeding eternal summers,
rebirthing new hope

the wee notes…
– Silk is harvested by boiling the silkworm cocoon, or by blasting it with steam or hot air.
– Linked to Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (The Hidden Realm). Sanaa said that our contributions could refer to “a sanctuary or a safe haven where we like to retreat to when times are tough… to pen down the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a hidden realm.” The first thing that came to my mind spoke of the inner not-so-hidden realms some of us must bring into being, in order to keep our sanity in today’s reality.

Black Candle Flame