I’ve returned from my time in the Pacific NW–Seattle and Portland and a little bit of the Olympic Peninsula, to be precise–but no, not Forks. Yes, I wanted to go to Forks. No, I don’t love the Twilight books. But yes, I did read them, and I enjoyed them. But I have reservations about them. But not enough reservations to pass on Forks, if the opportunity came. However: it was 7 hours out of my way to get up to Forks, versus the 2 hours of toodling around the Olympic Peninsula that I did ultimately.
A smidgen of Olympic Peninsula for you.
I love a peninsula. I have lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan for the greater part of my life, had one mad, snowy year in the upper peninsula, and my husband’s family has property on a tiny peninsula where you can see the water on three sides. Peninsulas: next best thing to islands!
Anyway, I came back just in time for my story, “Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love” to appear in Apex #45. That’s it, that’s the last short fiction for a long while, or at least until I write some more. It was the last untrunked piece in my inventory. Fair warning, if you know me through my middle grade novels, you should know that ZVStASoL is a very adult story. Or at least an older/mature teen story. But it has Robot!Ophelia in it, in case that’s up your alley.
In light of Jim’s review, or rather, a commenter’s concern, I’m going to say it here. Tilda, my main character, was born with a clubfoot in the Middle Ages. Treatments for her condition varied, and were not always helpful. Walking hurts her. Often, so does not-walking. A commenter raised the question and Jim answered–and this is NOT a spoiler to me, because frankly, this shouldn’t even be an expectation, as far as I’m concerned–that Tilda does not get magically cured at the end.
I wrote a character in this situation for two reasons. First, my father was born with a clubfoot, and this has always been a bit of a mystery to me (he has long since passed away, so I can’t talk to him about it); I work things like that out through writing. Second, I have my own foot pains and mobility issues due to some wicked bad bone spurs, one of which pushes against my Achilles tendon, and one that pushes against a nerve AND a tendon in the top of my foot and makes my toes go numb. In the early days of spur-pain, before I realized orthotics and regular massage and stretching and physical therapy and icing and anti-inflammatories are the way we keep the pain down around 2/3 instead of up in the 6/7/8 range now, I remember thinking, “Well, I really get that part in ‘The Little Mermaid’ where she feels like she’s walking on knives.”
Third, my grandmother, who was in a horrible car accident when my mother was a child, spent the latter half of her life walking around with her femur shoved up through her pelvis (she wasn’t supposed to walk at all, actually; the doctors were coming to tell her that she was in a wheelchair for life when they found her walking–agonizingly, but walking–around her hospital room). There’s a lot of chronic pain around walking in my family, to greater or lesser degrees. I have gotten off lightly, compared to my grandmother. I’m very aware of that, and always have been. And I’ve always wanted to write about her, however obliquely. Tilda is only the prelude in my ode to my super-tough grandmother. There is a vignette in the book that is more or less taken directly from her life. I won’t tell you which one.
So, for many, many, many reasons, I did not write a magical cure for Tilda, not the least of which is my own experience. And while I don’t expect this to be the last time someone reads the book and has to brace themselves, at least I can assure those few of you who read this blog, whatever faults this book has, magical cures is not one of them.