The holidays are coming, NaNoWriMo is giving me callouses on my fingers (not to mention that I'm WAY behind), I have two weeks to repaint my living room for the second time this year, the weather sucks (it's a balmy 18 degrees out there right now), and I'm sick. Ugh. But at least Voodoo You Love is almost done! Back to the grindstone....
Woo-wee! Is there anything better than a day when the writing is on fire? Yes -- how about TWO days of it! My short story concept Voodoo You Love is coming out of my gray matter faster than my fingers can type and man does it feel good! A big shout out to #BarrySkelhorn at #Sanitarium Magazine for the terrific writer's prompt which put the idea into my head and is quickly becoming the most fun short story I've worked on in a long, long time. Here's an excerpt (please ignore the lack of indentation, WordPress does away with them when I copy/paste text into the blog):
“Now chile, dis here is strong magic,” the old priestess said, the words came out stretched like only bayou folk can speak them – chiiile and straaawng. “Strong magic here, oh yes.” She raised a closed fist to her lips and huffed into it, blowing a cloud of reddish-brown powder across the flickering candles before her. A searing flash filled the stifling hot shack, and the sharp metallic odor of iron pierced the air. The old woman stared up at the dark ceiling where the flame shadows danced, her milky white eyes wandering blindly, and held out a primitive-looking contraption with gnarled black hands. “G’on now, take it.”
Lily Girard hesitated. It was an ugly thing, just over a foot tall at its peak with a triangular base, a bastardized open-frame pyramid made of sticks and roots and chewed leather and God knows what else -- bones, she was sure – all held together with grass and probably the gut strings of some sacrificial animal. A devil’s trap, she thought it was called. She’d seen such things before in shops in the Quarter; not the tourist trap shops, but the ones the locals frequented. The secret back rooms where practitioners of the true dark arts shopped for their wares. But there was something base about this one; something primeval, something vile.
Her stomach turned at the thought of touching it.
The old woman shoved it toward her again, gesturing for her to take it. Their fingers brushed in the exchange, and Lily cringed. The priestess grinned and let out a hoot, her blind eyes rolling back in their sockets.
“Afraid, you are,” she cackled. “I can feel it. That’s good. If you wasn’t, I’d stop all dis now.” She reached back and felt around on the table behind her, landing on a bone-handled knife with a pitted, rusty blade. Maybe not rust. Maybe dried blood. Lily's stomach wavered again. The woman pointed the blade toward the thing in Lily’s hands.
“Put dat down now an’ give me yo’ hand, chile.”
Too afraid to do otherwise, Lily set it down on the dirt floor in front of her, next to the wooden altar that held the offerings for the one they were to conjure: a bottle of fine spiced rum with a shot already poured; a fat Cuban cigar; an antique gold pocket watch. An expensive bounty that’d cost Lily over half her meager savings. She held her right hand out over them and the woman grasped it, squeezing and groping, then shoved it away with a huff.
“Now what I gonna do wit’ dat? Ain’t no magic to be worked on yo’ good hand. Gimme de other one. Yo’ bad one.”
So....voodoo YOU love? Post your comments here!
Very excited to be part of the new Sanitarium Magazine Contributors' Group! We've begun a weekly flash fiction prompt to keep our creative juices flowing in between our other writing projects. This week the prompt is "Dormant." Here's my opening line:
Father Kline's faith fell dormant as he stood on the Kill Floor at Washington State Penitentiary, readying to perform last rites for a man claiming to be the Devil himself.
Hmmm...I wonder where this might go? (insert evil hand rubbing and diabolical laugh here)
Interesting tidbit as I was researching WA State Penitentiary -- did you know that hanging is still utilized as a method of capital punishment in Washington State? Lethal injection is the preferred means of execution, but the prisoner can opt for the gallows if they so choose. In the state's history they've performed 110 executions, and all but the last three - yes, THE LAST THREE - were by hanging! The last one was May 27th, 1994, and the three subsequent executions were by lethal injection. So note to self: watch your ass in Washington State!
Sunday. What's usually a day of rest for most never seems to be that way around here, so how nice it was to get the weekend projects knocked out yesterday and actually have today to myself. A little vacation planning, a little wine....a little dinner prep, a little wine....a little writing, a little wine....and shortly, homemade grilled pizzas and a little wine. Sounds like a great day to me!
But let's face it....while that first glass of wine or two quite often brings my muse skipping along with fairy-dust shooting out her ass while snapping her fingers and yelling "Crack those knuckles and get to work girl, I've got my creative on!", that third (and fourth, and, well, occasional fifth) glass usually has the lazy bitch calling a cab. I know, calling my muse a lazy bitch isn't exactly what a begrudgingly under-inspired author should be doing. But maybe if she showed up for work once in awhile, I wouldn't have such a reserve of repressed creativity.
Oh, who am I kidding? Do I really need a muse to be inspired? To be creative? Nope. I don't. It's just an easy excuse for finding something else to do besides write. That's right, a writer who doesn't want to write. For those non-authors in the audience, let me explain.
Whether you're an accountant, a parent, a teacher, a sales rep, a CEO, or any combination thereof, we all want to kick ass at our job. It's all the work in between that sucks. Being a writer is no different. We often see the beginning, ending, and key scenes of a story in our heads long before we put pen to paper. It's figuring out how to tie them all together to create a logical, fast-paced, fun to read epic that's the hard part. Or at least one of the hard parts. There's also that whole character-building thing. And theme, plot, setting, fact-checking, timeline, point of view, editing, rewriting, getting less-than-savory critiques from your writing cohorts....then more editing, rewriting, and so on. All for something that may never see publication, with the exception of its title in a rejection letter from yet another agent.
Really, I can think of a lot of less painful things to do than write -- like shaving my legs with a rusty steak knife, or stepping barefoot on a wasps' nest, or getting brain surgery with no anesthesia. But writing fiction is a whole lot like hosting your family at the holidays -- it'll drive you bat shit crazy, but you love it anyway.
That said, it's back to the drawing board. Right after I pour another glass of wine.