Saturday, January 27, 2007

Chronicles of Avery Dry Who Put Her Soul In The Collection Plate. . .

"Chronicles" -- now there’s a word with some power. Put it with some other words and see what happens: The Absinthe Chronicles. Chronicles of a Barefoot Vampire. The Tiptoe Chronicles. The Living in Sin in the Trunk of a Car Chronicles. The Chronicles of Smitty, Who Nobody Loved (Except One Blind Ferret). The Chronicles of Beelzebub, Who Wets the Bed in Hell. The Red Licorice Chronicles. The Brimstone Chronicles. The Cupcake Chronicles.

You put the word “chronicle” with some other words, and it’s like a magic trick: it suggests a whole mysterious history there, stuff that had to be dug up. You know, by globe-trotting historians who keep a vampire stake in one pocket and a pistol loaded with silver bullets in the other! It’s a dry word with juicy secrets. I want to be part of a chronicle. What kind? A weird family of witches? What if I already do come from a weird family of witches and you just don’t know it? What if. . .

Isn’t every family like a beehive of scandal, with some folks desperate to keep secrets snug and others like bears trying to claw them open and gobble up all the honey? I wonder at all the things I don’t know about, all the wrong love and the gambling and the vicious tempers, all the bastards and ghosts and the magic kept bottled up like Prohibition bourbon. It shouldn’t have been kept stoppered; it’s the devil that does that, puts his cork in folks’ souls. Not God.

The magic should’ve been let out. Maybe Plum would still be alive, then, and I’d still have my soul in my chest to keep me warm on nights like these.

Plum was the only one who didn’t go to Grandpa -- her baby brother -- and beg him not to marry Angelina. She had to know it wouldn’t matter. There was that look in his eye of love or sorcery and there’s no arguing a man out of either. It wasn’t because Angelina was a war widow from the scorched toe of Italy with three stunted kids and a scar round her neck like she’d been hung and forgot to die. That’s not why the family hated her so much. It was because she was a witch. And not the good kind.

But Plum was a witch too, and good or bad, she’d have been a powerful one and she’d have won, I bet, but for all those years of having her knuckles whacked in school, of her daddy’s beatings and her mama’s shame and the preacher’s wickedness and thinking those were angels whispering in his ear and not his own damn spite. Every preacher I ever knew mistook his own nasty thoughts for the whispers of God. I think if God whispered, he’d of said to damn well leave Plum alone and let her fix things and heal folks, let her make the orchard grow up fast, natural or not. Let her use the talent she was born with and quit whacking her knuckles, you dark-minded children of disruption!

But God didn’t whisper down and Plum got whacked until her magic was as stunted as Angelina’s kids. I’d tell the whole story but it’s not what I sat down to think about. Plum died a long time ago, and Angelina had Grandpa’s babies and my mama was one of them. That makes Angelina my grandma, I know, but it’s hard to call her that, except I got the witch from both sides, her and Plum, the good and the bad, and the preacher tried to drown it out of me, too. That’s how it all happened, how the preacher died and I lost my soul. Teach him to talk God with his mouth full of hate. Teach him manners. I’m not afraid. Like I said, I got the bad witch in me too.

Here we go. It’s a long story and it’ll get under your fingernails but nothing a good toothpick won't fix. I’m calling it the Chronicles of Avery Dry, Who Put Her Soul In The Collection Plate and Then Turned Indian-Giver And Tried To Grab It Back. And She Hopes God Isn’t Mad. I know it’s a long title. Get out your red pencil if you want. I’m not afraid of you.

(of course, that’s all. That was fun. I like that Avery Dry who just came out of nowhere. Thanks, Sunday Scribblings!


desert rat said...

I love those titles - they made me want to go start writing spontaneous stories of my own. In fact... maybe I should go do that! Thanks for the inspiration (and nice little story too, btw).

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Holy freaking crap baby! I'm SOOOO in love with you and LOVE that you wrote that freaking great teaser of a story!

More please!


Regina said...

Whoa- my mind is officially blown...

rel said...

You've a talent for sure young lady. You do the craft credit!
Very enjoyable indeed!

Anonymous said...

That was beautiful and brilliant. I love reading you stories. In fact I was lucky enough to borrow your book from Stephanie who picked up a copy at the ALA confrence. So I am going to hunker down with a cup of black current tea, a vanilla cupcake and the Faeries of Dreamdark. I doubt I will bw getting much sleep this evening.

Tell Jim the cover looks amazing.


Anonymous said...

That was amazing and awesome and as usual, I'm in absolute AWE of your talent...everytime you write it's like I am sitting in front of you, staring into the campfire. The way you weave words is

I bow to you, woman. And I always do and I ALWAYS WILL.

I want to live in your brain.

JHS said...

Wow, I love the title and the story. Amazing. I could never write something like that!

Patry Francis said...

I love how the voice seized you and took over! I love Avery Dry, and I love that she "put her soul in the collection plate
and then tried to grab it back." This won't end here; Avery Dry won't let it.

Alex S said...

That was just superb Lainitoot! You should read that aloud on your rooftop for all your neighbors (& many cats!) to enjoy. And now you can also add The Ushebti Chronicles to the list! (Those poor, poor ushebtis!)

Anonymous said...

Wow. I agree 100%. And I was inspiried.

Thanks! I love Sunday Scribbles andenjoy reading the submissions.

GoGo said...

Nice read. The images of scandles drew me in.

As always, I can see the author in you with every word.

Anonymous said...

You know Laini, until I met you I had forgotten about magical tales and childhood fantasies and all those unexplained mysteries - I'd been too long chronicling the real world to pay much attention. But your wonderful enchanting stories are delicious and draw me in -they could become addicting, like cupcakes! :)

gkgirl said...

this is my first time here
and i gotta tell ya,
you knocked my socks off!


gautami tripathy said...

Aren't those titles sheer magic. I am glad to know so many people and so many different thoughts via SS. Only been here since last sunday but it feels as I have been here always.


Anonymous said...

That first line grabbed me.
And the first paragraph inspired me to start making up a all kinds of Chronicle titles in my own mind.
The illustration you chose has this great other wordly sort of thing going on.
Sending good vibes your way.

Annie Jeffries said...

Jeeze! O! Pete! And all from one freaking little word. What a mindblower. Flat out awesome, every single word.

Amber said...

PLEASE keep going with this. Wonderful stuff!


sophie said...

gorgeous colorful graffiti
of words - the soul of the
artist working long into the
night singing mightily all the
way! LOVE it - just plum
love it!


Anonymous said...

What a ride! Whew — very fun. You even had me giggling in the first paragraph. Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Laini,
Loved being transported on this colorful and deliciously introspeculative (I make up words ;), chronicle tale.
Impressive! Enjoyed it so much I read it a few times and shall return to read in your archives.

I'm thrilled to have found the SS site you cohost at 3 a.m. today. Wonderful idea! Am enjoying reading others' work, like a an artist in an art supply store. I'm an artist, too. Evocative painting of yours heading this post. Its mood compliments your writing splendly.
Dreams- Oh, yes! What you say in your profile is my philosophy, too. In fact, I listed my occupations in my profile on the the blog I had on Blogger for 2 years before switching to typepad hosting, as artist, writer, and dreamer. :)

Jone said...

I love the titles and your story. I was there with your "Isn’t every family like a beehive of scandal, with some folks desperate to keep secrets snug and others like bears trying to claw them open and gobble up all the honey" aunt just told me about my great grandfather and his drinking binges tonight! Talk about the beehive of scandal.

Claudia said...

You are a true writer! The word "chronicles" intimidates me.

xegbp said...

That was brillian. I love reading your stories. I just borrowed Blackbringer from Stephanie and while reading on the train this morning I nearly missed my stop. It is wonderful.

And the cover looks amazing in person.

Tinker said...

Love that title - and would love to read the full chronicles of how she gets her soul back - there will be more, right? Pleeeeeaase!

tania said...

As only the second time I've been to your blog, I'm at a loss. What can I say that hasn't already been said? You have been given a gift and you are using that gift to its' utmost potential - that kinda makes you a hero.
Oh, and being a children's and adults'bookseller, I'll make sure the store orders your book - it looks fabulous!

Deirdre said...

Heehee. I LOVE it! That's a wicked sense you've got there, girl.

Anonymous said...

Yum....get to writing girl. I love witches.

Colorsonmymind said...

Oh your words are so divine and luscious.

You are a writer after my heart-and I think you have caught it:)

Loved this-