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.

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

She Will Mourn in Darkness Nevermore

Fear oozes through the skin of her palms and makes her hopes clammy. She breathes… The scent of passionflower dances into her thoughts, calms her into taking a tiny first step towards the door. The studio is too dark for her to see the deadbolt or security chain, but the echoes of their laughter bites into her bones. Tears feed the gloom, and fill her vision with vintage rage.

in the dark,
anxiety and dreams
wish to fly

Anger begins to brew in the hollow of her throat, it consumes her wails, sharpens her teeth, roses her cheeks. She eats the distance between fear and the door, magics the darkness away with a flick of a switch. The foyer mirror shows her a face beautified and bolstered by the kicks of Fate’s steel thorned boots. She breathes… twists the deadbolt and unchains her safety cage.

sunlit soul
tasting tomorrow
in the bones

Hurt is too dark or too bright energy that squeezes much too tight, she breathes her thoughts into the world… she flies.

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the wee notes…
– Partly inspired by the following Terry Pratchett quote, in The Wee Free Men: “…anger was better than fear. Fear was a damp cold mess, but anger had an edge. She could use it.”
– Written for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Weekend Mini-Challenge – Trying “No More”), Sanaa’s Prompt Nights (Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is Art.), Expanding Bits of Fiction and Poetry into Haibun (12), and for Rereading My Pratchett.
– P.S. If you’ve yet to join May Monster Madness, 2016, you should take a look-see. 😉

Mourn, by Magaly Guerrero

Howls Are Forever

In spring, sharp scents vapor from her skin… to den in his nose. He shuts his eyes, wishes for a world bursting with circular winters, for three ways to negate the moon, for wild magic that turns teeth and snout into the beak of a crow. She slides out of bed, and the fluid music that spills from her movement tells him that parts vital to their loving are melting out of her.

a daughter of snow,
the wendigo in April,
falling to pieces

He loves her still—a son of the moon howls his love to only one, and that’s forever. But love (you, ruthless beast!) comes without rules. There is no susurration pumping through the frozen red of a heart, warning that lovers should be exposed, kissed, and poked in all climates before mating. His wife creeps back to bed. He reaches for her, and his hand—freed of the moon—caresses her hipbone, plays with the flowers blooming out of the soft flesh she has left for him.

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a wee note: the wendigo is often associated with winter, ice, and extreme coldness. Werewolves are often portrayed as having a highly developed sense of smell. Partly inspired by the following Terry Pratchett quote: “…witches are quite careful about what they say. You can never be sure what the words are going to do when they’re out of earshot.”

written for Legendary Beings in Love – Dark Poetry for the Cruellest Month, 2016 (Day 9)
and
for When Good Wishes Go Bad, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads

Blossom Face, by Shelle Kennedy
Blossom”, by Shelle Kennedy