Here I present you with part of a more difficult part of the Daiyuverse Cycle 2. Writing and introducing this character was really hard for me. In this section we meet Daiyu’s first ex wife Nanita. In this cycle Daiyu and folks in her world are youngish, not quite total adults yet.
Here’s the chunk and after we’ll talk some about Nanita and her magic.
She winced when she felt the cold bony fingers of her mother’s shade pinch her ear.
“Girl, don’t you sass me. Now, you know what you need to do. Get to work, she ain’t ready and things are comin’ on.”
She smiled at the reflection of her Mother.
Later after Nanita’s baby had been fed, settled in a warm place and was asleep they sat on the back porch. The air was warm and pleasant, the night gently noisy.
“Did you have a nice conversation with your Daddy?”
Nanita tipped her head back and closed her eyes, listening to the chatter of bugs and the soft lap of the water.
“Yeah. He said he’s about done for the month and is coming home. Y’all gonna try again?”
Her cautious tone hurt. Her Mama sighed heavily.
“It’s not that we gotta try honey. Your Daddy and I love each other very much we just, can’t live together. I won’t bullshit you, sometimes loving each other ain’t enough. It is better for all of us if he and I don’t live together.”
Nanita nodded, frowning.
“So, can I ask you something?”
“Mmhmm go ahead.”
“You can do that? Like, you don’t have to get a divorce or something?”
“I don’t see what good that would do. Neither of us wants to be dating other people. Since we worked out how to get along, things have been good. We don’t fight no more, we make good decisions about you. When we do spend time together it’s good. I think things are just fine.”
“But how can you be married but like, not together?”
“Because we grown. Our marriage is what it is and it works for us. Nobody gets to tell us how to be married.”
“But there’s rules and shit isn’t there?”
Mama shrugged, made a dismissive gesture.
“I mean people can say there are rules but, they ain’t my rules so I don’t care. You want to hear the best advice I ever got in my life?”
Nanita sat up and nodded. She really loved it when her Mama decided to dispense her lessons.
“If they ain’t fuckin you, paying your fuckin’ bills, or otherwise in a position of power over you, fuck ’em.”
Nanita clapped a hand over her mouth, eyes wide. Her Mother did not habitually curse, muchless drop the F Bomb in conversation at least not in front of her.
“Wha- who said that to you?”
“Your grand mother, my Mama. Mama Jay. First time I came home cryin, because a bunch of light skint fake voodoo queens made fun of me at a gathering. I didn’t have fancy cards or crystals or nothin. I was so hurt and upset. Mama Jay let me cry a while then she made me some coffee and sat me down for one of her come to Mama conversations.”
Mama smiled as she remembered and as she looked at her daughter’s bright face she saw her own Mother’s eyes.
“So, we sat just like this, and she looked me dead in my eye and said, fuck those bitches. Then she spat, you remember Mama Jay chewed somethin’ terrible, she spat over the railing and said it again and clapped her hands real hard.”
Nanita was bug eyed but nodding. She didn’t have many memories of Mama Jay but enough to be able to picture the conversation. It made her smile.
“She taught me that our magic, don’t come in a pretty package. All the expensive shit in the world is no substitute for what’s real. So, fuck em.”
Now in my magical system I have Nanita labeled thusly:
Sorceress, mastery over water, unknown
For my purposes, sorcery and witchery are two very different things. For my world here, sorcery is where magic starts to go beyond the known edges of the worlds. In this world sorcery and magic are related like adding and theoretical physics are. They are both math but one is in my brain, way way out on the edge of the universe and the other is right here in my hand.
In my magical system, there is space for the theoretical and the every day practical and that is what as we travel through this verse, will keep us all in the same world. I personally find the idea of incorporating these various magics in a way that gives voice to things that resemble Hoodoo and things that are more like the mythos of various cultures. I want witches who run the gamut and as I imagine it, will represent magic on a very grand scale.
Let’s talk Nanita herself.
So, Nanita started out in my original material as a whole other woman and as Daiyu’s bestie from Brazil. I decided against that because I really want Cycle 2 to be a bit of a coming of age AND some romance and other young adult shit that is hard WITH the magic and stuff.
Now Nanita could have been a very cookie cutter light skint voluptuous Voodoo queen but, I really didn’t want that. I was inspired by hearing her in my head. I’ve talked about this before but a good number of my characters speak in my brain and I was hearing a very broad, slightly slurry Louisana back country accent. It’s a very particular sound and I was thinking of her as a young adult, awkward. Very different from Daiyu in both her upbringing and how she learns her magic.
The upbringing of Nanita and how I want to illustrate her relationship with her parents was really hard for me to figure out. Nanita is very sensitive, (OKAY here is another bite) this tidbit will be one I hope folks think of later on in the verse:
Nanita must have been out there for an hour, she came in, tears gone and cradling a tiny alligator.
“Mama this one is sick. I gotta see if I can get her to eat. She wouldn’t take the marshmallows, we got any of that fish wet catfood?”
Her Mama frowned at her from where she stood at the stove dispensing dirty rice onto plates.
“Don’t tell me you want to bring that gator into the house.”
Nanita’s plump light brown face sagged, her chin started to quiver and her huge black eyes filled with impending tears.
“But Mama, Hubie is just a little baby and Delicious can’t take care of him. I can’t just let him die.”
Before her Mom could respond, Nanita was blubbering and holding the little alligator to her cheek, she keened about how it was so defenseless and just a sharp little baby bunny and how she just had to rescue it. Had to. The dramatics weren’t really necessary but she was her Father’s child. Mama rolled her eyes.
Writing that level and type of sensitivity with some humour and gentleness. I want you the reader to feel the sort of amused love, a firm support system for Nanita to be a weepy baby sorceress. I really want to set her up to explain and illustrate how her magic works later on and as a counter point to Daiyu emotionally speaking.
Daiyu will have to be a tragic magical Black girl for a while because she needs to learn.
I’ve been experimenting with Nanita for a while and you can read some standalone adventures with her. I’m using some standalone stuff that links to/is adjacant to the Daiyuverse. I mainly use these are exercises and character sketches.
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