Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

From the Editor’s Perch…

July 21, 2014

Jennifer Woodworth How I Kiss Her Turning Head

Maternal Horror

 

Jennifer Woodworth’s newest book, How I Kiss Her Turning Head, which is just out by Monkey Puzzle Press, is a most gentle jaunt into the genre of Maternal Horror.  ‘Maternal Horror’ is a term I have had to coin myself.  But this is not Rosemary’s Baby.  This is the Brahms Lullaby of Xtreme Mothering.  The baby and child in these stories and sketches comprise a wonderful blessing – so wonderful, that we follow our first person hero as if pushing off down the pipe of some Xtreme Sport …  Right down the rabbit hole of maternal instinct, without time to say, “Hello!  Goodbye!” into a sort of mental ward where the ordinary and quotidian prerogatives of life conflict to our first person narrator’s charming wonderment.  And off we go, as the book paints a gentle rebellion for two.

“I have never wanted anything more than I want babies.”  The narrator tells us at the beginning of the first and best story, “Mother of One”.  And shortly she adds:

“I want another baby,” I say to my husband.”

“I know you do,” he says.  He means he does not want another child, not now, not ever.”

 

How charged and compact that exchange is!

Our author knows a subtext, and next to that, a rebellious flight of words.  All of this makes for a good read.  Her stories churn in the updraft of a contained conflagration.  Her words and flights of fancy are cloaked like actors to carry more romantic weight.  But all of the ducks here are rubber ducks.  Her first person narrator “contains multitudes” of insight, but all from an idea fixee.  Her first person narrator is entirely rational aside from being mostly fixated.  Imagine an Asperger of mothering, with the soft voice, and gentle nudging of the genuinely aware – and you’ll be getting close to the voice of this narrator.

The interest of the first story, “Mother of One” – which is a lovely jolt of maternal compulsion – is deciding partly where the horror lies.  Is the Surrogate Mother, or is the Outsourcing Birth Mother the monster of this tale.  Is it the narrator’s world which is a bit off kilter – or is it the narrator?  The ending tale finds our heroine legally confined but still rebellious.   Though it wouldn’t surprise me to hear our narrator reply from her ward – in an attractive way and with an appealing tone, (or perhaps she would just ‘suggest’), if asked, ‘how it could be “rebelling” when the world is backaswards?’.

Jennifer Woodworth has a playful dramatic sense, writes a fine narrative, composes a lovely tune with her words, and is smart enough to say things worth reading.  This is a small book to purchase and enjoy, and possibly to start your collection with.

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Young Fiction

December 16, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Yeah, we chase the youth demographic, just like everybody else.

The author with his dog, Max.

The author with his dog, Max.

The Diamond Hunter

by Tin Tin Nelson

© Copyright 2012

 

I wake up the day before Christmas Eve and it is snowing. Everybody is going outside and having fun in snow. No one is home.   Mom, dad, my little brother and my little sister are went shopping for Christmas. Mom left two big waffle and a big sausage. It is pretty good. Mom is gonna be back about 3:30 because I have basketball practice today at 4:30-6:00.

Back from practice it is already 7:30. So I go to my room and lay on my bed. The next day I wake up and , “ It’s Christmas Eve”, I say to myself on the bed. That day is one of my favorite days because I get to go snowboarding with my best friend.  Then, after I come back it is already 8:30.

Mom says, “ Steve, go to bed! And no facebook, twitter, instagram. Okay?

Okay, “I say.

The next morning, I hear something that sounds like a puppy, and it sounds like something that comes from under my bed.  It is a dog.  I yell from upstairs, “Mom!! Whose dog is this?”

She says, “You didn’t fill out Christmas list.  So I had to get something. It’s yours!”

“Mom, I don’t want this.”

“You better get it. That’s what I got for you.” Mom says, “It’ll be alright sweetie.  Don’t worry.”

I’m like, “Okay. I’ll try.”

“What kind of dog is this?” I ask.

“Mom says, “I don’t know.”

“How the heck you don’t know what kind of dog is this?”

I try to be friendly with the dog because he is mine and I have to take care of him.  I name him Max.

The next morning I wake up at about 5:30.  Max is barking and makes me wake up.  He wants me to go walking with him. But I’m still pretty sleepy.  “I can’t go,” I say.  But I have to go because Max will get upset.

Two weeks later after winter break, I am walking to school and I leave Max outside.  Max tries to go after me.  School is about a five minute walk.  It is sunny and about 78 degrees.  It’s pretty weird that it is 78 degrees in winter.

Back from school, I find Max isn’t at home  I look around the house.  “There you are.”  He is in my parent’s bedroom.  The jewelry box is messed up.  But it seems like everything is fine in the house.  Mom is home.

“Hi honey.”  I run downstairs.  “How was school?” She asks.

“Pretty good.  Max tried to run after me.”

“Well.  Not good.”

“Yep.  Hey!  Can I take Max for a walk?”

“Yes.  You have done your homework.”

“Alright, thank you.”

I feed him a piece of baloney before I take him for a walk.  Dad just gets back, and it seems like he got a different car, that he told me he was going to get.  “What kind of car do you have?”

“A black and yellow Ford Mustang GT BOSS 302.  I like it better than Mom’s white Porsche.”

He got it from Pittsburg, the same town Wiz Khalifa is from!

About a month after Christmas the news is that three people are killed in town each day.  The police find out that it’s Aliens.  But one day, a lady isn’t killed, because she wears so much jewelry.  So I go back home every day after school and I go on my computer and research about it.  But it says Aliens are not real.  No one has ever seen an Alien before.

I research about it for 10 months and stop.  Also, I just find out my dog is a dachshund.  Because he has gotten very long!

Every day I go walk with Max.  It seems like he always wants to go under the bridge.  I don’t know why.  Maybe a dead animal’s body is there?  I don’t know why Max is upset about wanting to go there.  But I say, “No, you can’t go there.  It’s too dangerous, okay?  Alright we gotta go home now, okay?”

I go to school the next morning, and I feel ready to study.  Third period comes up and it’s Mr. Thompson’s class.  It’s science and I eat lunch afterwards every day.  But it seems like Mr. Thompson never goes to lunch.  It’s pretty weird that he is not eating his lunch.

One time I am at the grocery store and I see him getting tons of meat.  And I ask him, “What are you doing with all that meat?”

“To give to the zoo animals,” he says.

“That’s nice,” I say.

Back from school, Max is barking.  And I don’t know why.  And it is annoying me. I ask him, “Why?  What is the matter?”

Max says, “We  need to go under the bridge now, because the diamond is deposited under the bridge.  Before the aliens are all over town in 3 days.”

“You can talk,” I say.

“We need to get moving,” Max says.

“What should we do first?” I ask.

“Well, first go get a rope, knife, and dynamite.  We need to borrow your dad’s car.”

So I ask dad and he says, “Yes, but don’t go over 180.  Okay?”

“Okay,” we say.

The car can go about 220 mph anyway.  I get in the car with Max and we drive to the bridge.  In one minute I am already there!  Max tells me where to put the dynamite and where to attach it.  The dynamite explodes, leaving a very big hole!  Max and I look down the hole.  The hole is sloped at 45 degrees.  It is pretty shiny.  After that, Max is in first.  He asks me to follow.  I unroll the rope so I can use the rope to go faster.  “There is the diamond!” I exclaim.

Max is the only one who can read the instructions, which are in a different language.  “It says that you need to get gold.  That’s it!  And mix it up with the diamond.”

The next day is Saturday.  I wake up and get as much gold as fast as I can.  I have just enough gold to mix with the diamond.  And we’re ready.  “Which Alien are we to kill,” I ask Max.

“Mr. Thompson, because he is the boss of all the Aliens,” says Max.

“No way,” I say.

“Way,” Max insists.

“Let’s go,” Max says.

That night there are no more Aliens around.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress

September 22, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Publishing editorials always awakens my urge to publish murders…  Here is episode 3, hot off the pen of Eldon Cene.

Cow Noir

(Paranoia & Guilt with a Rural Backdrop: Episode 3)

 

Stan knew that he had killed all of those women.  But how did the cows know?

It made him angry the way women could insinuate themselves into his most personal thoughts.  Nothing was sacred.  They had to look, and observe, and turn it over… ruminate over every LITTLE thing, from some little light-hearted comment, to an upturned gaze, to even a breath that was a just a SHADE deeper than the rest…  and it was like his mind was a picnic basket for them to rummage through!  He inhaled the last puff from his smoke, as he looked out across the shit speckled pasture he’d stopped to look out over to calm himself.  Bad choice!  Stan knew what perversities and abominations such a ruminating and placid demeanor could revel in revealing, and he hadn’t wanted any part of it.  But here they were everywhere…  F#$king cows!

He flicked his cigarette butt at the most condemning of them and the dumb old milker didn’t even budge.  ‘They deserve to be extinct!’  He thought.  He briefly considered killing them – and butchering them too.  But Bob’s wife wanted him to pick up some milk

He supposed he’d better.

Photo by Carl Nelson

Murders in Progress…

September 3, 2012

(Episode 2)

Mowing the Lawn

Ramey, a local dentist, (when he wasn’t a practicing psychic) had a sudden vision… ran inside, still dripping sweat, and called the Sheriff’s hotline.

All he had seen for sure was what looked like the edge of an old oil drum, maybe six cows, and a pasture that it seemed he had passed on the way home.

Photo by Carl Nelson


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