sorry about the dead silence after "fiction #3" but things got a little hectic- my staged readings, grims teching his show, the arrival of our houseguest, me back @ the radio station, and dc carnival. so this quickie is just to say that i will actually be back, both with regular posts (dc carnival + the vagina monologues both went well for me, and grims' show is up+running in spite of theatre j) and more fiction within the next few days.walk good. see batman begins again.
fiction #3- "soucouyant" part 3.
i wondered as i dove into this process of serialising my short stories, if i'd like them better broken into 'chapters', how hard it'd be to segment them, and if i'd find a way to make the 'chapters' even close to the same length.i still don't know.oh well, here's 'chapter 3'. enjoy.
"At first it was real quiet. No news, no rumours – so little information about how things going that we couldn’t even enjoy some speculative small talk. We was assuming it was because they had to be working non-stop trying to finish their research before the mosquitoes finish them.
But instead of them studying the frogs for a few weeks and running back home to publish like we expect, all of a sudden we start to hear whispers from Loango. No details at first, just whispers that something wrong. Then it was something wrong with one of the foreign science boys. When the word hit, one of them disappear.
Everybody on ground level start talking about what this mean – how it will affect our reputation, what it will do to tourism on our end, what the scientists’ home countries will say, how we shoulda never let them go up there in the first place.
Of course, the government saying everything fine, their guards all around the area “protecting the ecosystem”, but still we hearing one gone, and the rest torn between looking for him and doing what they come for. And now the rumours start with a vengeance: the other scientists say they refuse to worry because maybe he sneaking in some solo research so he could be the first to publish anything based on the expedition; they say they not staying on this godforsaken mountain in some middle-of-nowhere island, even for a unique species; they want more guides while they up there; they coming down right away; they can’t make up their minds what they doing...
The back-and-forth went on until finally we hear the scientists taking shifts, trying to look for the missing one and continue researching. Some more days pass without seeing him, and it looking like something wrong for real – then they find him out in the bush beyond the camp.
They couldn’t tell what happened to him. They say he look like somebody drip-dry him from the inside, then wring him out. So the government send some local doctors and police up El Tucuche to check it out. At first, they try to keep it quiet, but you know how talk could spread. They rush back down even faster than the government send them up. They see the body and know one time what happened. He was shrivel up like a salt prune, and when they check for what they was hoping they wouldn’t find, it was there."walk good.
batman begins- almost as sexy as grims
in my excitement over finally getting the beginnings of my fiction posted, i forgot to mention that i saw batman begins and enjoyed it more than any since tim burton+michael keaton+jack nicholson. there was a detail that i didn't quite like, but don't wanna get into it, for the sake of those who haven't seen it yet. but i'm pleased with this new, utilitarian batman, and like how they incorporated all of the dark knight's idiosyncracies and signature toys in this story. when i feel more assured that most people have seen it, i'll get into the aspect of the story i didn't like (that is, besides katie holmes, who i despised, because bruce wayne can do better, because she's annoying as fuck-all, because bruce shoulda punched her in the face for her shitty attitude when she didn't understand the depth of his alter-ego or thrown her top-lip-lacking-ass off the top of the building or just let her die when the bad guys attacked, because bruce wayne's love-interest is only important to the story in the sense that she gives batman something to lose and her life as its own entity is really irrelevant and hollywood should recognise that not every movie needs a pointless love story especially if its lead is batman/bruce wayne because his character needs no additional appendages and all we need to establish he has something to lose is a voice coming from the other room saying "come back to bed, baby", because i hate tom cruise, and because in the final scene i swore she had a 3rd nipple and it took my focus off bruce+alfred).i will see it again.as for more fiction, i'll get the next installment up as soon as i get through adding a concept to the throughline of the novella that ends the collection because i don't want to get into cutting one story while i'm in the middle of working on another. when i'm done with the novella for the day, hopefully i'll post the next soucouyant section. (although i'm still tweaking the ones you'll see here, the novella is the only piece in the collection that i currently consider unfinished, so it's what i'm working on most these days.)and jake, i can email you the story if you really want to read the whole thing. glad you liking it.more soon. walk good.
insomnia's a bitch
i've had trouble sleeping for all of my life that i can remember. by the time i cleared my late teens, i felt lucky if i got 4hours a night. and i hate that dual frustration- knowing that no matter how wide awake and lively you feel right then as you can't sleep, you'll regret it sometime later, and simultaneously thinking, "is sleep. how hard could it be?", as you fail.
in university, a smart person told me that i needed to retrain myself to instinctively connect my bedroom and bed with sleep, rather than reading and sex, which was (and, for better or worse, still is because is not like i giving up either) my usual connection.
when me+grims got together, one of the early clues that he was going to work out was that i started sleeping. i slept through however much of the night was left whenever we slept together, and even started falling asleep on his lap in the middle of the day. i finally had naps!
i got so spoiled that now i like this sleep-thing, and when i can't, usually because he's not around, i actually feel tired, as opposed to those days when i was so unused to regular sleep that i was fully functional regardless.
but grims is on the day shift now, which means he gets up around 5am and leaves around 6. i wake up when i notice he's not next to me, stay half-awake to hug and kiss him before he walks out the door (in spite of him trying to convince me to go back to sleep because he knows i don't get enough) then as soon as he leaves, i can't sleep for shit. i stare @ the ceiling from about 6-8am, then sometimes finally doze off, only to be woken by horrible nightmares (another long-standing feature of my insomnia that his prescence usually prevents).
so i've been wide awake since 6am-ish, and yes, i got shit done and all that, but fuck that shit. i'd rather have grims and a nap.
on a completely separate note- been talking about feeling productive lately (and even managed to finally have some fiction to show you for it), and this week when i tried to call my mom in toronto, i accidentally called somewhere that might come in handy later...
them: dynamite shop, can i help you?
me: oh. is this not the holiday inn?
them: the what? uh...yes, we sell dynamite. what do you need?
me: sorry, i have the wrong number.so. is it really that easy to buy? i never thought about it, but now that i have the number...let the productivity continue (just not @ the further expense of my sleep and grims-time)!walk good.
fiction #2- "soucouyant" part 2
(post-title-specificity may seem redundant and unnecessary now, but will become important when i move on to the second story and its multiple segments.)for the few who may have read my "fiction #1" post in the approximately 36hours between its posting and now, i made a small edit to try and clarify that the suggestion of trying to "hear the accent" was more for those who might not know what the name of the piece means- anybody who knows what a soucouyant is would sense the narration's rhythm without a thought (assuming i can write like we talk, which i been told i do)- but for anybody who felt over-instructed (grims always says "don't tell me anything, just let me read it"), sorry.so here's the 2nd installment of "soucouyant" (this doesn't mean new fiction daily, or each time i post. i'm just a recovering insomniac and couldn't fall back asleep this morning)."Well, if you see how fast the 2x4 shacks went up! They didn’t bother giving the foreigners air conditioning or ceiling fans or nothing for the climate. They just slap some boards together and say they have somewhere to stay. But then, you know people woulda come regardless. They would stay in a outhouse if somebody tell them it had frogs. And trust me, these shacks wasn’t too far from outhouses at all. I mean, they throw up some planks to make the walls, and lay some galvanize across the top as roofs. The roofs wasn’t even level. They didn’t bother to make them slant down to help the rain run off or nothing. And we still don’t know how they hold the wall planking together either. You could see right between the boards to the outside. I mean the mosquitoes and sandflies was cruising right in without needing the open doorway. We didn’t even want to think about what else could squeeze through the gaps. At least the door was the only part wide open, because you know the government didn’t bother giving them windows. But then again, the science boys didn’t care. They wasn’t planning to spend too much time inside anyway. They was bringing all the equipment they needed portable.
Meanwhile, everybody and their mother fighting for guide work, and who couldn’t get it was already scamming to make some small change off the foreigners. People busy trying to figure out anything they could sell at the bottom of El Tucuche at “special” rates. And in the middle of all this, the first groups reach.
They was all over the news from the time they touch down until they reach camp up on the plateau. One of the news reporters even make the trek up there with them. I figure his boss just didn’t like him and wanted to make his life difficult. He had to drive himself to Loango to meet them because he couldn’t get on the bus taking them there, so he probably miss the best part of the trip – them foreigners trying to deal with Trini driving. Foreigners always talking about how we have traffic going both directions on what they feel should be one-lane roadway, and they never ready for the potholes either. They scared every time the driver dodge, as if they think we can’t see traffic coming.
But the scientists and two guides drive from Port-of-Spain, through St. Joseph, to Loango in Maracas Valley, and the newsman meet them there and hike with them, the whole five-plus hours up to our second highest peak – actually, I hear we have some of the gold frogs up on Cerro del Aripo too, but plenty less, so nobody ever consider them much on Cerro. Besides, sending them up El Tucuche instead let the government put in a plug for tourism too, since El Tucuche is the only place on the island anybody ever find Amerindian glyphs. They had a press release talking about how it historically sacred, to try and encourage some post-frog interest.
When you start that hike, it so thick and green with vegetation you feel you could be stealthy like the Amerindians with so much bush cushioning the sound of your steps and wrapping around you so close you feel camouflaged. At the beginning, is mostly abandoned coffee and cocoa estates but as you get higher you could see giant tree ferns, and real rainforest. It kinda nice, with all the hummingbirds hovering and the toucans up in the tall trees – and these trees get real tall, with their tops way up in the mist, and vines and moss growing all on their trunks, and the moss covering the ground too, like a carpet. They say the golden tree frogs raise their tadpoles in water trapped in tree leaves – that should tell you how big these trees are. And other animals not scared to come out since people don’t really hunt up there, so you see lizards and monkeys and some small wild animals too.
Higher up, the trees start to get shorter – still looking like full trees, but stunted, like the difference between regular people and little people. Gradually, the bush thin out and you start to be able to see the view between the leaves, and the twisty, skinny piece of not-really-cleared ground you walking on. And then in the real clearing, at the plateau, was where the government put up the three shacks – one for each research team and one for the guides – they say it was the easiest place to build something. A wide open area with some spiky grass scatter around and plenty sky, and a view of the whole north coast to make up for the scientists having to trek part of the way back down to find any frogs, then trek back up at night to sleep.
The top of El Tucuche is one of those places where you feel like the sky too big to see all at once. Like your eyes can’t take it in and you almost need to take pictures of the different parts, then join them together to make it easier to see it all.
Once they settle up mountain, we figure we would hear in a few days if anything interesting was happening. Even if the news didn’t say anything, is a small enough island…"more later. walk good.
fiction #1- "soucouyant" part 1
so, months after starting the blog, i'm finally using that damn copyright for something, and posting the first piece of my fiction.just so my reader is aware, i'd originally asked here whether people'd read serialised fiction, so that i didn't have to have each piece be an excessively long post, and the response was 'yes'. however, i've remembered that many of the magazines i'd like to submit my work to only accept "previously unpublished fiction", including both print and online, and since a blog is "online self-publishing", i've decided that anything long enough will still be serialised into several posts, but no story will be posted in its entirety. sorry folks.i will definitely post sections of each story sequentially, notify you when you've read as much of a story as i plan to post, and notify again of a new story beginning, since i'll keep up my regular blogging in between. for simplicity and easy, sequential searching+reading, they'll all be titled like this post, in order, as "fiction #?"general note: each of my stories is completely different from the others in terms of style, voice and content (i'm actually having trouble naming them as a collection because they're so disparate). there are unconnected, except for a vague (sometimes not so vague) idea of displacement, so the first story is not necessarily indicative of any aspect of others yet to come. in other words, as long as you can stand it, keep reading, and wait for the next one if this one's not your taste.and of course, constructive criticism/comments/questions are welcome. i'll respond and/or take notes.so here's the first installment of my first selection. it's called soucouyant (if you don't know what the word means, it'll make more sense as you read the piece, and if by the end you're still confused, you can ask or try sidebar trini dictionaries- and as your narrator sets up the locale, try to hear the accent in the words. it might help...)
"How you mean you never hear about the researchers from foreign who come down here looking for frogs? It was the early 80’s I think, and all the talk was these tiny golden tree frogs…maybe it was red…nah, it was gold – up on El Tucuche – how Trinidad and Tobago could be famous with people coming from all over to study these frogs up mountain. It was a big thing for science because the frogs were a unique species and all that, but somebody had just discover they might have some kinda medicinal something in their glands, so you know the government was seeing dollar signs one time.
But they was almost smart for once. The government had some big environmental conference to tell the world that as a developing country we don’t really have the resources to study it the way they want, so they inviting a limited number of researchers to come and try to learn more. They wanted to keep it small because since the frogs technically endangered, they didn’t want people catching and killing them all how.
Well as soon as they announce that they allowing researchers into the natural environment, groups start looking to make arrangements to come down.
So the government stir up all this drama, then announce they having an auction to decide on the first two groups of two. The two highest bids get the first, maybe the only chance to stay with the frogs, because they not sure yet if they allowing any more after those first couples – they have to wait and make sure the whole thing have ‘no negative impact on the ecosystem’ before any more crews could go up. But everybody wanted to publish their research first, so now scientists and their grant writers on a crusade.
Once these scientists reach, the deal was they had to have local guides to take them up and stay in the specific place set up for studying the frogs, and of course, the guides on government pay. And with this place for them to stay, they had to pay the government rent. And absolutely only the chosen two groups of two allowed up there at the same time; no more than six total, including the two guides, so as not to upset the ecosystem and all. And you better make sure your permission slips in order, because if you get catch camping up there with no papers, you in trouble. The government even say they maintaining a watch on the area the whole time they have researchers, to make sure nobody doing anything damaging. So you know everybody else who didn’t have auction money get stick staying in whatever hotel they could afford and sneaking up El Tucuche on two-and-three-day trips to try and learn something, assuming they manage to ask the right person and quote the right price to get lucky, and avoid the watchman…"more later. walk good.
trying to end poverty
big up nico for sending me this link to the site of a group of ordinary world citizens like us, trying to pressure the g8 into doing enough to feasibly stop some of the bullshit and unnecessary duality of our times. the g8's already announced some efforts in the right direction, but more is better when the resources exist. and they do.if you've read anything about my current computer situation (see previous posts) you'll understand that i'm not giving you a link to the g8 because googling it, then going through the results to find the best one, then finding my way back here to insert it would take me 2 hours more than i have to spend on it right now. sorry. it'll be better soon.and although my lack of recognition of any need to capitalise might suggest otherwise, i do try to maintain a good standard of grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and, as such, apologise for the line under the link extending past the word "link" in this post.and, of course, the lack-of-g8-link-situation applies to the lack-of-link-to-previous-post as well. sorry again.walk good.
long time no write
i know it's been a week. but my computer turns out to be slower than i remember. or maybe it's slower due to lack of recent use. but i'm @ a point where i get online everyday to check email and hopefully blog, but checking email literally takes hours just to get through the work related stuff, and another couple to get through my mom's slew of dirty pictures, at which point i'm too tired and frustrated with my molassesnet to spend another couple hours getting a post completed, and usually have something else, like dinner, pressing.it's unbelievable, but it truly takes me the full 6-hour-ish span between lunch and dinner to simply check email on the dinosaur. so on those other days when i have gigs, days with shakespeare gigs and vagina monologues rehearsal, or yesterday, that started with a commercial shoot and ended with me seeing 2 friends' most recent work, i can't do shit online.so if anybody wants to be my benefactor, i'm in the market for a sugar daddy/mama with laptop/fridge/stove $ to spend...(that would be stainless steel on the latter 2 appliances- i know beggars can't be choosers and all, but we did buy this house intending to improve it and sell it for enough $ to build our house in sweet trini from the ground up, not forgetting the production company with performance space+used-bookstore).i have also not been able to squeeze in any online reading this past week, so i'm hoping to manage a little catchup today, after the next few hours of hardcore emailing. i'm looking forward to reading- feeling like there's good stuff out there, especially after the reading of patrick's play yesterday, and seeing jake perform @ another comedy night (i'm not the only one feeling productive). and after today's extra-patient, extra-conscientious, systematic email-backlog-diminishing i'm planning on jumping into once i publish this post, i might be able to have some fiction ready soon, assuming that after today's catchup, keeping up with my email will be less time consuming, even on the oldest laptop in existence...fuck, i can't complain- it might take all day, but at least i have a computer and can use it to keep in touch with my family on the other side of saltwater, and friends i only know through thoughts they transpose into text... wish me and the dinosaur luck.i miss you all, and hope to be back to regular-speed surfing+posting within the next 2 weeks.please bear with me.walk good.
no easy feat
this is a brief one (for real though) just as a catch-up.i'm learning lines and taking breaks to edit fiction with the aforementioned goal of posting my work here.the weather's finally liveable, fast on it's way to becoming unliveable in a whole different way- although you'll never read a complaint from me about dc being too hot because i'd rather strip naked and sweat than wear multiple layers of clothing and freeze.the garden's fabulous- 3rd box built, dug, and laid; corn already peeking out from the 2nd box, just a week after planting; lettuce table-ready, herbs picked and drying with more where they came from, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cuces+zuccs coming soon in the 1st box; adjusted retaining wall and stone garden path next on the list.on the negative, grims' laptop, after repeatedly refusing the cd-burner that we trying to entice it with, is suddenly also anti-internet, so i'm working on my dinosaur, which is great for editing my work since that's where it is, but ridiculously slow for anything else. so i'll be posting sparingly, since i do have shit to get done this week. brevity is never my strong suit, in spite of my aspirations to be ever-more-concise, so anything i post this week will be the condensed version of itself.but never fear. geeks will arrive on saturday to solve all our computing problems, and hopefully accept lettuce, sage, cilantro, basil and rosemary as legal tender for whatever services i need rendered.walk good. summer's on!ps: whitey, if you still reading, i'm so fucking thrilled for you + your princess...
just for jake
dude- i'm sorry about royal palace, but just for you, i'ma update some info: mercedes, previously referred to as the hot/tiny asian chick with braces, is actually chinese+cambodian (i think we were all impressed with her that night), and i think i said that "sexy" was the girl with the heels that light up and she has a sister we hadn't seen- well on closer thought, the night we were all there i think the girl in the light-up heels was sexy's sister "honey" because the girl i met as "sexy" the second time was a little smaller and slightly different...both good though...walk good.
tougher than mosquitos
alyfromcali needs to move back to dc. i miss that girl. i even miss my mom calling her "cali" the whole time we were all together, as if that's all the identification she needs.oh! speaking of identification, my co-shakespearian-conspirator (a.k.a. rosie) secured his domain name and the site's up and running, so for cool fight choreography, random geek knowledge (his blog's there too), or just to confirm his existence and kill some time, check him out @ http://www.arthurrowan.com/ (he's also just cast in a production of beauty and the beast that sounds like it'll be major drama).so me+grims took the weekend off, which we really needed after dealing with the house and then partying hard with alyfromcali, plus our second trip to royal palace- sorry i didn't call jake, this time it was his co-workers. different group dynamic.but now i know how the rumour of chinese food and brazilian strippers came to be- apparently you can ask @ the bar for a menu and order chinese, which they deliver to you in the strip club. and after speaking to more girls this time, i can confirm the brazilian-ness of at least 3. i also now know that the chick with the different-coloured-light-up-heels goes by "sexy", and is rather, and has a sister who also works there (brazilians). my favourite (tiny asian chick with braces) goes by mercedes, the white girl with a black girl's body is nicolette, and the other brazilian chick we liked is selena. this time i got to spend more time chatting with the girls, which was great, and we sat @ the main stage, which gave us the righteous viewing spot. i still didn't get chinese for dinner, but now i know how. a good time was had by all (i think the girls like grims).but after a hectic coupla weeks we took the weekend off together, which hasn't been possible in far too long, so the house is finally fully put back together. i feel kinda bad that alyfromcali didn't see it @ its best, but it was comfy and we had everything we needed while she was here. my goal is to have the housewarming before we reach the 3year mark living in it, and maybe she'll be all moved back here by then...so after our weekend off, yesterday i took it upon myself to build, dig, lay, and plant the second garden box- now as a stage carpenter who hasn't carpented in awhile, i was getting worried that my toughgirl status might be in danger, but after moving the entire contents of our house twice for the floors (grims says our tv weighs more than me, soaking wet- and you can take that to mean the weight of wet dreadlocks, the effects of social lubrication, or whatever you come up with for door #3), then spending hours yesterday digging what felt like a grave, i think i might still be hardcore.i ventured out with my 4 citronella candles- my backyard takes the fact that d.c.'s built on a swamp very seriously, and as such, supplies the appropriate annual mosquito population- and dug a 2'x8' trench, deeper on one end to create a level area for the box itself (which i built with 2"x12", so moving that heavy-ass box around by myself did wonders for my self-esteem). after an uneventful grave-digging (except for the dead baby bird i accidentally shovelled onto my foot, which i think was a present from my neighbour's cat, who apparently has learned rule #1 of living in the 'hood- leave your kill in somebody else's yard) i hefted that garden box into place, and that shit wouldn't go. i then discovered the tree-root from hell, which came from my neighbour's yard (his cat was prob'ly laughing @ me all damn day) and cut straight across the 2 feet i needed to hollow out. this fucking root was 1" in diameter, and tricky- it kept splitting itself into a "y" and going in opposite directions, so it was impossible to pull out. i eventually found a tool to cut that bitch, and got my box in place. of course, the additional digging to find the big-ass root and all its branches, then tracing them back and clipping them took an extra hour-and-a-half, so about halfway through my project, the mosquitos wised up. they were like "fuck this citronella shit! if a puny human can stand it, we can prosper in it!" and i spent the rest of my time outside fighting for my life.but i got the box in place, laid in the soil, peat moss and manure, mixed that foul mess, and planted my carrots and corn. grims did the first box by himself, and now i understand why there's random carrots growing in places we didn't think had been planted- carrot seeds are smaller than marvin hamlisch's penis. i spilled them everywhere. but i guess it's cool, since you only get one carrot per seed...at least i like carrots (don't tell my mom).anyway, i just have 1 more garden box to do this weekend (4'x4') and then we lay in the stone walkways around them, and my sexy husband won't have to mow the backyard ever again and i'll have to find other chores for him that require shirt-removal (like washing the car. every day), and i'll have the few veggies i like in abundance (i hope) so i can be in pummpumm-shorts-condition for summer, which appears to be finally remembering d.c.!other than that i just have to memorise my vagina monologues for the show, get details about the staged reading of shakespeare's timon of athens i'm supposed to be doing, and (edit so i can) post some damn fiction on this blog!walk good. and watch out- i'm feeling productive...