I’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but I’ve always thought that every small community has a starving artist, a well-known crazy person, a healthy assortment of busybodies and a philosopher disguised as anything anyone can imagine.
In the case of La Fonda, the place in the Dominican Republic where I lived when I was fourteen-years-old, the philosopher came under the disguise of a chicharrón cook (pronounced shisharón). Let’s call him Marko in this post. Marko spent his entire day deep frying cauldron after cauldron of pork rinds under the blazing Caribbean sun.
My mother used to make popsicles and juices to sell. I distributed them through our kitchen window. I was always nice to the chicharrón cooks—giving them a bigger serving of juice or a third popsicle at no charge—I thought frying pig from sunup to sundown had to be a terrible job.
One day, Marko came to the window to get his usual order of a glass of tamarind juice and three coconut and sweet potato popsicles. I gave them to him without saying a word.
“What,” he said, “someone woke up earlier than you and got all the mangoes?”
“No, I got them,” I told him in a toneless voice.
“I was making a joke. No one is dumb enough to touch your mangoes.”
“Oh,” I said.
“Are you okay, Magaly?”
I sighed and rested my chin on the windowsill. “I need to do my first manicure and pedicure in front of an instructor in two weeks, but I haven’t been able to practice on any real people.”
“Why don’t you ask a friend from school or your sister?” he said.
“I did, but they think I’m going to cut them.” I sighed deeper. “I’m not very good at it, so they’re probably right.”
“Tell you what,” Marko said, looking at his hands, “I’ll come after work. You can practice on my hands. Can you do the manicure thing by lamplight?”
“Sure!” I said, about to burst with happiness and gratitude. Then I deflated. “But what if I cut you? I’m serious, Marko, I’m not very good at doing nails yet.”
“It’s all right, chica. How many times have you given me juice when I’m broke? A little cut won’t kill me. We’re friends, aren’t we? I would unquestionably bleed for you.”
I didn’t do the best job on Marko’s nails that evening—too much filing and uneven cuticles. But I didn’t cut him. After I got my beauty school certificate, and people paid me to fix their nails (and friends and family begged me to do the work for free), Marko never had to show me a dime and always had a place of honor in my chair.
Wondering why I’m sharing this anecdote, my Wicked Luvs? Well, I had a conversation with a writer who asked about my motivation behind stories like “Rebels with a Shambling Cause” and “The Decaffeinated Witch Hacks Again,” which are full of characters loosely based on real friends. The same person also wanted to know why I include other artists’ creations (i.e. SunshineShelle’s, Little Gothic Horror’s…) in my stories.
“Why not use those side stories to promote your own books?” she said. “Couldn’t you write about your minor characters? It would get readers interested in your main stories.” She ended the string of suggestions with, “I guess it doesn’t make real difference while you’re practicing.”
I was quite okay with everything she said before the last sentence. It is true; I should promote my work when I can. But you know what? The artists I listed above, and the friends I include in the stories I publish on my Fiction Site, have always been there for me—beta reading, commenting on posts, offering encouragement and advice when I need it, telling other people about my writing…
In a philosophical sort of way, friends have been willing to bleed for my tales. And knowing myself like I do, I am sure that I won’t stop including their art, shops and all around awesomeness in my stories. Not even after I’m no longer “practicing.”
While you read, my Wicked Luvs, I’ll write…
The Bloody Bride, by Gina Morley
(My beloved Bloody Duchess, you make red look wicked good)Thank you sooo much!
Now, the Winner of the Pagan Culture’s belated 5 year anniversary giveaway…
Random.Org, in all its undiscriminating wisdom, selected: