I’m halfway done with the first draft of a new AlmaMia Cienfuegos short story (that is creeping into novella-land *sigh*). And while glaring at the satisfied smirk of a stockade, I revisited comments and feelings shared by readers. Sometimes, looking at a storyline through someone else’s eyes allows me to see important bits I didn’t know were there.
About three years ago, someone said, “I love AlmaMia’s ‘can’t care less’ attitude. If I was strong enough to turn my back on some people my life would be better.” The reader quoted the following scene, from the first tale of AlmaMia Cienfuegos and Other Stories, to support the comment:
AlmaMia looked at the scratches on her sister’s face. Soledad’s eyes were full of tears, her lips and chest trembled.
“I am really sorry, Mia.” Soledad dropped to her knees. “Forgive me, little sister.”
Looking into the eyes of the girl kneeling in front of her, AlmaMia shook her head and spat in the mud. “My sister… died,” she said, before walking away.
I encountered the barrier mentioned in the first paragraph, while developing a scene where AlmaMia has to make a very difficult decision concerning Mamabuela, her grandmother. I completed the scene. It felt good to me… It felt logical to me… So much so, that after examining the action a time or thirteen, I was sure the details of the decision reflected my life experiences and not AlmaMia’s heart.
Of all my child characters, AlmaMia possesses the most moral fiber; Maelynn del Monte, the main character of “Regret” and “Heat”, might give her a run for her money. One of the factors that make AlmaMia and Maelynn so strong and daring is their age.
The first girl is nine and the other is thirteen. Those ages come accompanied with a level of fierceness, often fueled by a high concentration of don’t-give-a-shit-ness, which will almost always nudge a heart to choose self-preservation over socio-cultural expectations.
I believe that when we are younger, our decisions are brewed in wells fairly free of society’s influential paws. We might get in trouble for it. But if we are lucky, we might grow up to make decisions where our id, our experiences and our critical thinking dance as one. What about you, my Wicked Luvs; what are your thoughts on the matter?
Earthy, by Tom Fedro