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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Prompt Friday: "Killing Jar: La chasse aux papillons"

“It’s the gray areas that…”
Killing Jar: La chasse aux papillons

It’s the gray areas that are the easiest to destroy: the drips of matter that seep from gunshot wounds and flutter across ceilings and walls. That, Sheila, is a dash – how much brains escape the skull after severe trauma.

Sheila found her own ways of dealing with that troublesome gray matter. She molded it and sculpted it to forget the pain, the regrets: that boy who broke her heart in the second grade, removed; not saying goodbye to Lacey that morning, edited away; all of the people’s lives she had changed with her careful hands, erased. She learned to shape those pliable gray areas with drugs and fingers and scalpels. She spent years removing parts of her memory. Years spent carving until her brain was more poodle-shaped than brain-shaped. Until she only remembered the good, and the bad was stored away in jars of ethyl acetate in her freezer.

You can’t change the past, Sheila, but you can learn to move on. She kept souvenirs in those jars: perfect melon-balled spheres of grayish white. Pinned butterflies under glass stay better when undisturbed. Twenty-five cent supermarket bouncy-balls frozen in suspension, holding secrets, hiding truths. Carefully labeled in serious handwriting: Lacey’s fifth birthday party, summer camp with Lacey, first kiss, last kiss, Lacey’s graduation, Lacey’s smile, Lacey’s cerebellum, Lacey’s murder, gray pieces of Lacey strewn across a brick wall. Sheila’s head was empty, her freezer full, and a lopsided wig covered the incisions and gaping holes from missing bone. Her left eye no longer focused properly, and she could never remember why she entered a room, but the pain was gone. Memories were siphoned down a malaise trap, carefully chosen and preserved. She took them out and left them behind and learned to move on.

She had accidentally removed her sense of smell by the time she was discovered. Her wig had slipped during Sunday night dinner with her parents. The moonscape of her bald, scarred scalp had horrified her father and caused her mother faint from her chair and lose consciousness for almost an entire minute. And even though Sheila’s sense of smell was residing next to a brick of frozen spinach, the tangy copper odor of fresh blood struggled through her limping neurons and unmyelinated axons directly to a hazy memory. Lacey face down on reddened concrete, crater in her skull. This is for the best. Her father wrestled the steak knife from her fist before she could add another notch to her unprotected head.

The only thing they let her have in her room was a mini-freezer full of her collection. It will help her adjust. She had stolen a spoon from the cafeteria one night and had managed to remove the memory of her parents’ betrayal before the ward nurse noticed the blood seeping from her scalp. They wouldn’t let her keep that piece.

She got hold of a paperclip once and managed to weave it through her ear and into her head before she found herself strapped to a bed. The CAT scan shows a brain like a minefield. There was a war in her mind of lost emotions and missing memories trying to fill the gap like ghosts trapped in a bottle – Lacey’s ghost, banging against the walls with the flurry of delicate wings.

She emptied the freezer. Set the little glass jars in a line around her room and listened to them whisper and hum. Do you know who Lacey is? Coin-sized thoughts laughed and cried, shouted and sang. They were proof of Lacey. Proof of existence. Proof of life. Lacey is a friend. She sat cross-legged in front of the jars for what seemed like eternity, listening to secrets and confessions, stories and lies. Sheila stood and collected her jars from the floor. An armful of life, collected from a wounded mind. An imaginary friend. Sheila climbed to her bed and sent glass shattering to the floor. Soul-shaped balls of gray scattered around the room, a swarm of pinned butterflies racing toward freedom. A figment of her imagination.

nt - 2/19/10

Notes: In insect collecting, jars are filled with ethyl acetate in order to kill specimens with minimal damage. These are called killing jars.

*Prompt taken from The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Question Wednesday

Q: Is it true that there is no such thing as truth?

A: First off, I’d like to point out that the cake is a lie.

That being said, personally, I think that truth is relative. What can be a truth for one person may not be a truth for another. For example, it is true that in the United States we have the freedom of speech, but in, let’s say Cuba, it’s not a truth. Or, when the Pope decrees a dogma, he is assumed to be infallible, but what he says may only be a truth for Catholics, as opposed to Wiccans or Atheists.

All in all, I think this ‘truth’ thing is rather tricky. When a witness is called to the stand during trial, they are told to tell the truth, however, the way they experience whatever event they may be recounting is subjective. They have a unique view on what happened that is affected by their life experiences, personality, and whatever other external factors were impacting them at the time. So when it’s said that there are “two sides to every story” it just means that there are multiple ways of looking at things, and both of these points of views can be truth.

Therefore, I don’t believe that there is no such thing as truth, however, I do think that truth is not a singular thing. It is more like a kaleidoscope: the more you twist it, the more things you are able to see.

That is my quasi-philosophical rambling for the day. Today’s question was brought to you by my lovely brother, Eric, who gave me one of his essay questions from his philosophy class.

As always, if you have a question you’d like to ask, feel free to comment below or
email it to me.

In other news, I was nominated for 'best multi-chapter fic' in a fandom community contest, which is kind of exciting. Harem of Droids is coming along, and I still haven't heard anything back about Anomaly yet, which is rather frustrating. It sort of feels like getting boxed in behind a slow driver in traffic. So much so that I ate chocolate for lunch yesterday. Anyway, back to work!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Status Report Monday (a dog named mouse)

Today's news: up to Chapter 12 in Harem of Droids. I have switched my method of writing, however, from typing to physically writing in a notebook (which is a lovely shade of green) because now I can't get distracted by the internet. Like I'm doing right now.... *shifty eyes*.... whoops.

Also, no news back from Legendary as of yet. Supposedly, something this week, but we'll wait and see if that pans out. I also got another brilliant idea for a short story involving super villains and hairdressers. I discussed it briefly with The Bov today, when he came and visited me. All the way from North Carolina. I'm feeling the love. Anyway, it needs more thought, but I'm thinking it's going to be a fun romp. Sort of like What Not To Wear meets The Evil League of Evil. MwahahahahaCOUGH.

So, today, I discovered that the brother-in-law of one of the senior citizens I pick up has a large black lab named Mouse. Of course, being me, I got super excited, as I thought that it was a clear and obvious reference to The Dresden Files. But alas! I was wrong. It was hard to not be extremely disappointed.

Further news: British Dan has never heard of Bop It. Am I the only one who played Bop It when I was younger? I think that it still tries to render me unconscious whenever I go in my closet.

Because it's the Olympics, I think tonight's viewing of Chuck and Castle will be canceled/repeats, so I may actually get work done. OR I will watch Star Trek: TOS with Best Friend Julia. You know, whatever, I'm not procrastinating!