So I want to talk about craft and some things I’ve been experimenting with in terms of flash fiction.
If you’ve read me for a while you know I like to screw around with literary things.
Lately (as in the past six goddamn months) I’ve been really interested in remaking of individual myths and as usual vagina dentata.
Another thing I’m really interested in experimenting with is the idea that plot doesn’t have to be the Western idea of what plot and a story story has to be in order to be good or interesting.
So first a little piece I wrote on my phone-
wait let me digress for a minute.
I am STILL fucking floored that I can write on my phone. Maybe this is my old person vision showing but holy fucking shit. I can stand at the bus stop or be on the bouncing bus and write things that i can have on hand to edit or whatever later. Amazing.
Okay back to the thing.
Untitled per usual but here you go:
Inside the warm night she moves as though swimming. Hands in her pockets, headphones on, dark eyes on the moving shadows. She eases through scattered groups of night people virtually unseen.
Drawn towards the water and deeper edge of night she pauses to listen. In these times the night lives with sirens and the squawking of angry junkies. It is not peace but it is all right.
She cannot stop and weep as her sisters weep.
She does not.
She is part of this orange light washed strange world. She is part of the dark watery world.
Onwards always onwards towards home. Her feet relentlessly eat the blocks until the water is only yards away.
In the dark she sheds her clothes and boots walking headlong into freezing water to sing illusions into the hearts of men who pass.
In the deep, she will feast.
She will feast.
So what do we have?
This is loosely urban fantasy ish, a remaking of the Siren. A modern siren in boots heading for her night job of being a siren. She could also be a mermaid. I like the idea of leaving it up to the interpretation of the reader to decide who and what she is.
One of the early and consistent criticisms of my work is that I expect too much of the reader. That has always been something I only think about now and then. For me it’s not necessarily expectation but respect for the reader as the reader, it is a respect for their part in the creation of my tiny worlds.
I feel an intimacy with readers where as I”m going along I feel like we’re in it together and it is not necessarily performative on my part. I do the part I’m supposed to do- create the world we are in together- the reader does their part, wander around in that world.
Additionally, I do respect the reader enough to know that people who like my work, probably don’t mind having the option to fill in some of that world. I personally like having that option, it moves my suspension of disbelief along.
Now here is how I usually do these sorts of exercises. I find writing with this method a great way to jumpstart myself if I’m feeling blocky or sluggish.
Take an image of something lots of people know about and play with it in different ways. Come at it from a modern perspective, come at it from an oblique angle. Imagine if you will, that this creature or thing you’re writing about is a real person you don’t want to name specically.
Basically, play with the thing. Don’t plot it out, don’t do an outline just go. For as long as you have to. This one came out (posted exactly how it came out of my brain) in about ten minutes. Just go.
Next one I (as read by Milcah) is about misheard words and a fantasy. In case you’re grossed out by vagina dentata skip it.
Untitled as well
I blame my loudmouth roommate for this entire situation.
When JJ got home from her date with Gia.
I heard her say-
“Goddamn Gia is a toothy cunt.”
I think that is what she said. I don’t know I was too busy being drunk and low key in love with Gia.
What I heard was-
“goddamn Gia has a toothy cunt.”
Had I not been so drunk I would have understood.
I was drunk because I had just broken up with my girlfriend and upon hearing that my roommate was going on a date with my crush I did the sensible thing. I bought an enormous bottle of cheap wine and took to the couch.
JJ stopped to lean over the couch to look down at me.
“You should call Gia and ask her out on a date. She is way more your type than mine. And you should probably go to bed. You’re really drunk.”
I don’t remember JJ putting me in bed or stripping me. I do remember her taking my bag of chips away and putting a bottle of water on my nightstand.
After she left me I lay there turning over the idea of Gia in my head.
My cunt started to burn, I felt the blood moving, my lips swelling and wanting to be touched. I waited, thinking about JJ’s comment.
“Gia has a toothy cunt.”
Toothy cunt, toothy cunt. I closed my eyes and pictured her fine, lean brown body. I’d seen her naked before. Shit I’ve seen almost all of my friends naked. We have stripped together, tricked together, been photographed together. Yet, I could not remember if I had seen teeth or not.
Gia is sleek where I am not. She is muscled and tight, catlike and androgynous in a classic kind of way. I wonder if she still has that precision trimmed bush, verdant in a tightly controlled way that is beyond sexy. My fingers move between my own thighs as I imagine the topography of her cunt.
Are her lips dark like the ones on her face? Do they have that petulant mean curve, do they fold soft and wrinkly as wilting fern fronds? Could I get them to swell and spread with just one finger? Just one finger dragged slowly just where they protrude, just a tickle. Just enough to promise more but not enough to deliver.
I saw myself with my face between her strong thighs, dipping my tongue into the crenulated secrets of her cunt before peeling her lips open to tickle her sharp secret teeth.
Eyes closed I imagined dipping my tongue just inside her, just enough to feel the slick of teeth on the tip of my tongue.
Unwise as the desire might be I wouldn’t recoil from the slick smoothness, I would smile against her. I could almost taste her, feel her lithe muscular body twisting, warning me of the danger to come.
Against the backdrop of my closed eyes I tried to paint her, lips full and dark, slick and revealing the barest sliver of deepest wet red. Wet as a screaming mouth full of danger.
I’d want her fuck hungry, ready to devour me whole.
I neared orgasm the world greyed out around me, I must have passed out because I woke up with a fuzzy mouth and my hand wedged between my thighs.
I couldn’t remember coming or not but I did remember vivid dreams of a flash of teeth, old ivory buried inside hot wet red.
The beauty of my fixation is that I have a date with Gia tonight and I hope to come home tongueless.
For this piece, I went with my general fixation on vagina dentata and made it the focal point of the narrator’s desire. She’s unreliable in that she’s drunk and half dreaming.
The other thing is this is one of the ways I like to explore transgressive writing. If y’all remember I talked about transgression back here. This fits my ideas about transgresssion in that this is obviously not lesbian sex as written for or by men.
This is outside of the White gaze.
It is just with those two things dangerous to the Heteronormative ideas about sex and sexuality.
The focal point of our narrators desire is on those teeth. The stated desire is not rooted in the gross out, it is rooted in this desire.
That is the sneaky kind of layered and nuanced transgression I like.
And of course I leave the reader unfulfilled because I’m kind of an asshole. My optimal result with that would be for the reader to put the story down and live on in that fantasy. Does Gia have a toothy cunt? Can you the reader fill in the vision of her cunt? Puffy? Ruffly labia minora?
So there you have it. Some examples of how I like to work with these things.
Now if you’re still here bravo.
I’m a windy wordbag.
If you want to experiment write something erotic with non traditional or expected things as your jump off point. Vagina Dentata, make some monstrous thing (a tail, claws whatever) the object of your narrators desire for another person.
If you do, come back and link me I wanna see.
Tomorrow look out for my next entry in Yeah Write and some new crackhead love.