Still in need of rewrites, as per the rest of this material. I’ve fought off the temptation to edit before I post this, beyond pulling out the material I’d already struck-through back in April.
This is still the unvarnished, needs-to-be-revised material that I was showing you last time. This time around, I’ve got the second half of chapter 1 for you (the first half is right here). It comes complete with the bits that make me reach for the delete key, subsumed by the frantic urge to improve my own work. But it’s better than the first two times I wrote it!
I’m sharing this with you immediately after having gone through it with my mentor, knowing full well that there are many changes that I want to make. It’s a little painful to give it to you when I know that there’s so much more to be done. But I’ve got to share something, and if I wait for it to be perfect you’ll never see it. Real artists ship, right?
I’m also not giving you the entire chapter in one go, because that would be 4.5k. Here’s the first half, instead, coming immediately after the (also to-be-revised) prologue from before. Enjoy!
Sorry everyone. I’ve been pulled from my regular posts by school work, and until now I didn’t have any kind of extra material lying around that I felt okay about putting up here. I warn you now that I will likely not finish Miska’s story here this time around. But if you liked Miska before you’ll be happy to know that you’re about to get a few weeks of Miska posts. I figure doling out the first few chapters in chunks is appropriate. They’re way better now: I’ve written and rewritten the story a few more times, and I have the prologue and then some ready to share with you.
Here’s that prologue…
In a return to form, I’ve got more flash fiction for you from Chuck Wendig’s regular prompts over at terribleminds. This one got away from me. By which I mean, this is not what I’d set out to write in the first place. It wasn’t what I’d expected, but I couldn’t stop writing it, and it felt right anyway. So here it is for you.
This is more of a stump than a full post, but it’s late and I’ve been distracted all day. I’ve been finishing my current draft of Barium Deep, hoping to have it done before the end of January.
I want to submit it.
Hell, I want to change the world. Sometimes, very, very occasionally, I’m confident enough to think that I might have a chance to do that with the stories I share.
But I was set to thinking, earlier, when I spoke with someone about the news that we’d each seen that day. She’d seen news footage cutting back and forth between the inauguration parade and protestors, news about people breaking windows and even (apparently) setting a car on fire in front of the Washington Post offices. I saw a video of police pepper spraying an elderly woman and a disabled man, along with the people who were trying to shield them and move them away from the police.
What are the narratives our news sources are giving us? Why?
And I keep coming back to this: what the fuck were those officers thinking, spraying people who obviously are mobility impaired, spraying the people who are trying to help them move, spraying fucking everyone in that group?
I’ve never worked as a police officer. But I have worked security, dealing with people who didn’t really want to do what I wanted them to do (leave a place, quietly, by following me through a crowded area). I got more cooperation, nearly 100% cooperation, with calm requests and occasional assistance than I ever could have gotten by enforcing, imposing my will on the people I was dealing with. There was never a scene. I was, to the best of my ability, helpful.
My experience is not their experience. The situation I was dealing with was not the situation that they were dealing with. And I can’t help but think that maybe, if they’d treated their situation a little differently, it would have *been* different. Fundamentally different. Those police officers might have had a chance to serve and protect people, instead of punish, harm, and endanger them.
I’m not sure what it takes to make someone think that pepper spraying the mobility impaired is a good way to make them move. I’m not sure what it takes to convince them to do that instead of anything more sane. Fear, maybe. A deep and abiding unawareness of other options. Maybe (I always hope not, and always fear it is so) pleasure in the exercise of power over others. Especially the state-legitimated non-consensual exercise of power over others.
We’ve had enough of that.
On a semi-related note, read Mattias’ piece MLK Is Not Your Black Friend. It’s good. It deserves your attention.
It’s been a while! I’m currently finishing Barium Deep again, and getting ready for my next manuscript (which I’ll be writing this upcoming semester). But I thought it would be nice to revisit some old Flash Fiction Challenges that I missed. So here you have the “Idiomatic Challenge,” which I suspect I’ll come back to again. The idiom I got is more or less the final sentence of the piece (except for that ‘and’ I added).