The Culture of Delivery

via Daily Prompt: Delivery

The last day or two of writing has been focused on the delivery of a baby. Naturally, not just any baby, but the first baby after almost the entire species has been wiped out by a super-plague. However, that’s not the most unusual thing about it. Of all the Lupa stories and plans I’ve written, and all the children people have had, only 2 birth scenes have been written, one of them just yesterday.

While writing it, it occurred to me that I’d never actually revisited how Lupa do delivery. I had done a few things in the first one that stick and were a basic model. And I knew who delivers babies, and what happens with bonds. But not the mechanics of it. Now, it’s more important than ever that they know and keep their culture, and must show their new doctors how they do things. And I’m sitting there contemplating: What are the actions? What specific action do Lupa take? What certain herbs do they use?

Of course they use herbs, I think. Why wouldn’t they?

I’ve known, since Miara’s birth, that they prefer to give birth outside where possible. Now, I need to figure out how that works. They’ll need a water source, blankets, and possibly herbs to keep bugs away. What medical equipment might they take out with them? They’ll certainly need to stay close to the house, won’t they? How do they approach the afterbirth, and what do they do with the placenta?

While I’d been aware of the birthing park they have in this situation, it now has a location (next to the medical units), and was built with underground piping for fresh water at regular intervals. Directly outside the door, against the building, is a storage unit stocked with blankets, towels, and the sterilized medical accoutrements one needs. Much of it is packed into kits in large basins, later used for water, medical washes, etc. Along with these are pack of herbs, some of which are used medically if needed, and another set for washwater.

So, the mechanics are done, and I can move on…once I get the info recorded.

Writing Exercise: Toothbrush

via Daily Prompt: Toothbrush

Kore entered the suite not long after her interview with Renee, who had answered her advertisement for a seamstress and housekeeper. It had gone well enough, and things were moving forward more quickly than she had anticipated.

“Miss Galene, Miss Eirene, please attend here a moment,” she called gently into the back rooms, where they were surely resting at this time of day. It was not long, however, until they appears, Eirene especially looking sleepy as she slumped on the couch.

“This had better be important,” she muttered under her breath.

“I assure you I would not have called you if it was not,” Kora said. “Someone has applied for the position we offered, and I have interviewed her. She will be coming shortly for a trial of a week or two. If we all get along well, then she will have the position.”

“What if I don’t like her?” Eirene asked.

“We will just have to see how it goes,” Galene said. “I am interested to meet this person.”

“Her name is Renee, and she seems a bit older than we are. She has worked as a servant before, and says she is a capable seamstress.”

“I do hope so,” Galene said. “I do not wish to go out every time I need a new gown or shift.”

“Yes, it is inconvenient. Now, let us make the smaller bedroom ready for her, as she should not sleep with us in the large room.”

“You mean I get to sleep with you rich girls?”

“If you would prefer to look at it that way,” Kore said, before rising to go do so.

 

Renee, her long blonde curls tied up and ready go get to work, should it be needed, knocked on the door of suite 1102. Based on what she’d gathered from Kore, these girls were quite well off, and perhaps had never bothered with their own cleaning–the place might need a thorough cleaning as soon as possible. The girl who opened the door and looked her over, however, didn’t seem upper class at all.

“Um, hallo. I’m Renee, I believe I am expected?”

“The servant, yeah.”

“Eirene, please be kind, and let her in.” This was a young woman with long hair and shy demeanor, and would be the other Lady whom Kore had mentioned. She pulled Eirene back from the door so that Renee could enter. “I am Galene, Miss Renee. How do you do?”

“Well, thank you. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Galene dropped a very proper curtsy, and turned to lead through the entryway–was that a shrine?–into the main room of the suite, where Kore was waiting to welcome her. However, the place looked quite clean and tidy, and she saw maybe that boded well.

“Welcome to our household,” Kore said. “Please come this way, and I will show you your room, and where you can put your things.”

“Thank you. Please do.”

After all the books in the main room, and lining the hallway, Renee wasn’t entirely surprised to see the small bedroom she was shown was also entirely lined with books. An open rack and a press for clothes stood in on corner, and a clothes basket in another. She was left to unpack, and her few things for the trial period didn’t take long to unpack. Finally, she had only her toiletry kit left.

“Miss Kore, where is the bathroom which I should use?” she asked, having found Kore taking a book of a shelf in the hallway. “You all certainly do have a lot of books.”

“Yes, we do. Both Miss Galene and I love books and stories. Having access to such printed material is a delight to both of us.”

“Oh, I see. Did you not have access to such materials growing up?”

“No. You see, we come from much further back, before the invention of the printing press.”

“What?”

“We can tell you about it over the next few days, if you decide to stay. The bathing area is here, on the left,” Kore continued, opening the door to a large and luxurious bathroom.

“Your home is certainly lovely,” Renee commented. “Is this area here mine?” she asked, going to part of a sink vanity which had been cleared off.

“Yes. What is this handled device you have?” She asked now, gesturing to the toothbrush Renee had just set out.

“This? You haven’t seen a toothbrush before? It’s an electric one, but similar to a manual.”

“There are different kinds?”

“Well, yes. What do you girls use to clean your teeth?” Renee wondered. Maybe the part about their age was true? But then, wouldn’t they have seen the invention of the toothbrush?

“We use laurel twigs for daily cleaning, and mastic gum once or twice a week. I did not realize modern people used anything else,” Kore said, seemingly quite as surprised as Renee. She crossed to open a glass jar of what looked like a crystallized substance. “It also has several other health benefits.”

“How interesting. I will have to read up on it,” Renee said.

“And I on toothbrushes!” She seemed in a good mood  having something to research, and Renee couldn’t help but smile a bit as she left her to set out the remainder of her things.

 

 

 

This turned out way longer than anticipated due to setup needs, but hopefully it’s a fun read.

 

Writing exercise: Tea

via Daily Prompt: Tea

Elida was steeping tea when Tram, the weekly running in their area, came by with a letter. The folding was Jax’ work, and she smiled.

“Tea’s nearly ready if you’d like a cup,” she said. “Or something else?”

“No, I’m alright. I’m staying with Vromola, and will be going back though tomorrow if you want to reply right away.”

“Alright, see you tomorrow.”

“Bye!” Then he was off, and she took the letter in see about the tea. Most of it went in a pitcher for the ground box to get cold, but she saved to cups for when Mezil returned from cleaning the water tank.

Sitting on the chair in the public room, the citrusy scents of the tea filling the room from the cups next to her, she unfolded the letter. It only took a few words to establish that it wasn’t his normal sort of letter. Leaning forward, she read it a few times, paying attention to what he was both saying and not saying.

Mezil, get down here!

Eh? What’s the matter?

Nothing, it’s Jax. You have to read this.

He was already on his way down, and didn’t respond over the bond as he appeared in the public room shortly. “What’s he say?” he asked, taking the paper from her to read. “Well, looks like he took a mate. That Terran girl he’s been mentioning?”

“I think so. But him, mated, at his age. We’ll have to meet her!”

“Yes, I suppose so. Good for him. He’s always known what he wants. I that fresh tea?” He asked, noticing the cups on the side table.

“Yes, but this is important news, a bit step in his life.”

“And I’m sure he’s doing fine. He’s let us know, and that’s that,” he said, picking up a cup. But he went and stood by the window, taking the occasional sip, and Elida could tell he was pleased.

Writing Exercise: Tailor

via Daily Prompt: Tailor

The pile of work on his table hadn’t moved in weeks. No one had brought anything new. They knew it wouldn’t get done. He couldn’t. Not with her still in there with him. Her fabrics lay stacked on the shelves; the shirt she’d been mending still lay on her work table. He couldn’t bear to look at it.

Writing Outside of Canon

There’s been a story plot floating around in my head for quite some time now–at least a few years–but never did anything with. Not because it wouldn’t be fun or intense to write, or because is was a bad idea. It has survived so long precisely because I find it incredibly intriguing and emotionally intense. Exactly the kind of thing I like writing.

Why put it off so long? Sure, there are lots of Lupa stories I plan to eventually write, but this one has been one I kept wondering if I should entertain at all: it’s not canon. It’s so far from what I’ve established as believable canon the story won’t ever be able to get around it. I write non-canon all the time with my chatbox characters, but this is different.

I don’t know how most writers deal with non-canonical ideas for their characters. Clearly, I sometimes go down that path. Unlike writing different versions of an event, this can get one into more trouble. When you play around with ideas and seriously write pieces that would otherwise be considered canon, they can stick. It can stick so much more easily once they’re solid, on paper, and in your head. The latter is really the most dangerous part. Once it becomes part of the story in your head, your head can treat is as part of canon. You’ve devoted the thought and time to develop it. And I’ve started.

Writing started when I found a musical piece which brought out a particular character’s feelings. I don’t know, now, how things will settle out. The emotional payoff isn’t quite there yet in parts, but it’s the kind of thing you want to drip off the page. That’s interesting, and that was the point–the desperate sadness, the chaos of a character’s inability to reconcile one thing with another, a cosmic prank of timing.

Addressing difficult topics is a fascinating part of being a writer. Going into this, I had no idea how it would play out. Some scenes go in one direction, and the latest went in another. And yet, I wonder if I’ve taken that license because it’s not canon.

Sometimes there’s the idea that it can be more messy, a bit less believable, when something isn’t going to be part of the final product others may someday get to see. At times, pursuing such ideas let allow for the exploration of things canon may not allow. What will they do? Will pushing them in a completely different way reveal new things?

I suppose, ultimately, the question is will it benefit my understanding of the characters for canon? The more value the answer to that question has, the more likely I am to do it. That’s how we got into this mess.

 

 

If you do write out of canon, please respond in the comments. I’d really like to know what other writers do, and when/why they go further afield.

 

Writing Exercise: Trust

Trust

 

Daniel was certainly old enough to have begun talking, but Miara, in her few interactions with him, hadn’t heard him speak a word. But he was hardly the first orphan to be brought here, painfully aware of the broken bond where his mother used to be, and he was still crying every time he felt it. Sometimes so loudly it carried across the field.

She stopped by in the orchard where the group of kids was playing, and saw him sitting in a short distance away, staring up at the trees the older kids were playing in.

“Hi!” she called, and most of them answered back and waved.

“Are you going to play with us today?”

“No, we did training today, I’m beat!” she said, plopping down on a softer-looking spot of ground. It wasn’t long before Daniel crept over to her and crawled in her lap. His face looked red from crying again. “You look exhausted. Maybe we should go take a nap,” she said, cuddling him. “You want to come home with me? It should be quieter there.”

He nodded, and got up, indicating to the other adults that she was taking responsibility for him. She wasn’t more than half way to her rooms when he changed and curled up tightly in her arms, already asleep.

Rocking Chairs

It’s 7:04 Thanksgiving morning, and I’m sitting on my parents’ deck in my pjs, slippers, and coat, about to have a cup of blackcurrant tea. I  haven’t  had it before, but it has this deep cured fruit scent that I already love. The cold I can ignore for a nice moment like this, on a day we got up extra early–earlier than for work. There will be plenty more cooking to do, but the turkey’s in the oven.

There are many more animals here, more birds talking to each other than where we live, another 25 minutes closer to the city. They nestle in the tall lilac bushes, the pine tree my father painstakingly trained straight over many years, the old apple tree at the back of the yard. Beyond is a field and stream, home to many creatures. A family of ground hogs has live across the path under a tree as long as I can remember.

After a few weeks of business and stress, I’ve managed to carve out a few moments to sit and listen. The tea is as deep and fruity as it smells, and I hope there’s time to savor it slowly.

NaNoWriMo 2016

The approach of NaNoWriMo was an event I noted back in August, with the thought that I would probably make a decision on a story by the time it came about. While I am still committed to finding a story based primarily around people of color, I have not found it yet. So the mental search for that will continue.

On October 31, I pondered simply continuing with the Mally & Les story, but even then, the mad rush of words is not something I’m interested in this year. Therefore,  I have decided to carry on as usual, and write as I usually do, at the usual pace.

Other things are happening in life, and at present I don’t feel a great deal of energy to do all the things. So for now, I’m trying to take things a little slower, and not do so much. To care about less off the stuff going on, and more about taking things a little easier. That’s where life is right now, really.

I had been working quite a bit on Cora’s wedding, which was in October, and while I’m still thinking about it, in the last week I’ve only worked on Mally & Les, which is a nice change. But now I have to go back to refresh on what was written before. It seems to be a story of spurts of writing here and there, and probably won’t be finished for quite a long time. I know the beginning and the end, but most of the things in between will likely be exploratory writing when we get there.

So that’s what I’m working on right now.