Tuesday’s Slice of Fiction: “Mama”

The beautiful wood and copper structure reached toward the night sky with articulated fingers. Each was the size of a fully grown man. Clever wire rigging and weights gave the giant digits the appearance of life. This year’s effigy was that of a beautiful woman, dancing. She had generously curved hips and flowing hair. Copper hammered into a swirling bikini top covered the upper portion of her body. She was hollow, of course. Hollow and stuffed to the gills with flammables and fireworks. She was a gorgeous, dangerous woman. All around her base, dozens up dozens of performers danced and cavorted. Some of them were spinning fire in whizzing arcs around their oiled bodies. Soon, the moment would come, and we would light her up. Nothing to tie us down, nothing to hold us back. I was not part of the festivities, this year. How could I be? Tears slipped down my face. I was creating a tie for myself, right this very moment. Never to hold me down, no. But life would be completely different for me from now on. I rested my fists in the small of my back and waddled back to my camp chair.  Beautiful and dangerous mamas had to sit down when their feet swelled.

Whatever Works

I am currently re-reading the book I got for a writing class last semester –> “Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft” by Burroway & French x2. It is written in a very down to earth, laid-back style that I find particularly easy to read. Books that pontificate for pages on some fussy point or another tend to get chunked in the nearest trash receptacle. Books that I find helpful tend to look like this:

And there is excellent advice in this book. I am even finding information that I missed on the first go-through. One of the bits of advice that I did *not* miss is on the very first page. And that is:

Whatever Works
The Writing Process

The whole first section of this book is on the act of just sitting your ass down in the chair and getting to it. I don’t know about other writers but, I am guilty of the “social media” school of procrastionation. There is SO MUCH Internet out there, people. I would be remiss if I weren’t reading my email or exchanging “Blazing Saddles” quotes on my Facebook or even just looking longingly at Dragon*Con galleries. For hours.

“Writing Fiction” offers some great tips on how to get in the habit of writing. I really like the thought of writing as a habit. It has got to be much less offensive than smoking as a habit, yes?
Upon waking, every day, I should come in and commit to words the crazy dreams that I had the night before; or, maybe the adventures in hobbling around a dark house with leg cramps while avoiding the kitties [whose favorite game is to play speed bump in front of the stairs.] I know those are not terribly exciting subjects. But, the idea is to write ~anything~ just to force it into habitual routine.

So look forward to a great deal more random bits of writing popping up on here. I promise to write about the cats only once in a while.


ME: Feeling a touch sleepy plus I have a small ton to do tomorrow, some of it early. I will go to bed. But first I will finish the nifty conversation with Mister Man and see this clip* he was talking about.

— 2 AM —
ME: Crapses. That is not really what I intended to do! Furthermore, I am no longer sleepy. But I really have to get some rest. I will lay down and hopefully, once I relax and get comfy, I’ll just drift off.

BED**: Oh, you think so, do you? Moo ha ha ha.

BED: . . .

BED: Hm. I really need to work on my evil laugh.

— 2:45 AM —
ME: *snooze snooze snooze*

— 3 AM —
ME: *back cramps into new and exciting position* AWAKE, OW OW OW OW! Hot shower and Advil, to the rescue!

— 3:30 AM —
ME: *lightly snooze lightly snooze*


ME: ARGH! Hip cramp! *flail*

ME: Oh, and btw. REALLY UNIVERSE?!?

ME: I’ll just hobble around the bedroom, hopefully quietly, until this passes.

— 4:00 AM —

ME: *toss turn toss* grrr rackin’ frackin’ farga’ rarga *toss turn*

BED: 🙂

— 5 AM —

ME: *gives up and takes a gulp of Children’s Benadryl*

— 8:30 AM*** —

PHONE ALARM: Boop! Boop! Twitter! Boop!

ME: *Charlie Brown frustrated yelp*

* – clip = Kevin Smith’s “Too Fat for Forty”, one of his Q & A seminars. And we wound up watching the whole thing. Because it was freaking hilarious. AND quite introspective. I came away with new respect for the writing process.

** – Our bed is evil. Perhaps because, over the years, we have managed to squash flat each and over coil. I don’t know. But it is like sleeping on a concave section of flinty ground.

*** – I wish that I was making this shit up.

Character Sketch

Here are a couple of paragraphs about a character. She is one of the people in the near-future SF story that I am writing.

I hope you enjoy!


Had there been better days? She thought there must have been. She remembered hating how the dirt piled under her fingernails. Oh, how those creeping black crescents of grime had bothered her. She would gnaw her fingernails down to the bleeding quick to keep that from happening. She remembered starting awake at noises in the night; the shrill scream of a commuter shuttle going by in the long tunnels was especially bad. She knew the bugs scuttling over you when you pulled the trash over to keep you safe; or to keep you warm when the temps dipped below freezing. She didn’t know the smell, not anymore. She could remember how it had once offended her. The organic smell of bodies pressed too close together, of greasy food covered in mustard. It was the smell of wine, cheap cigarettes and vomit. It was a smell that settled on your skin and into your pores after awhile.


That odor had gotten her in trouble, more than once. Because she couldn’t tell anymore, she forgot it was foul to others. She would go into a place, wanting to get warm or buy food.  As she wandered the aisles, blissed on the heat, she would forget to watch for the dog-crinkle on someone’s face. She’d had to scramble from a shop on a more than a few occasions, with a yelling employee chasing, because of that clingy smell.