Marinus gazes at the easy-to-swallow pill.
My evoked heart in my evoked body beats a little faster.
I look back. Jonah puts a glass of Evian water by the dish.
“Thank you.” Still bleary, Marinus picks up the pill.
I look away. Swallow it, I think. Swallow it whole.
“No worries,” says Jonah, unworriedly, as if our metalives aren’t dependent on this fickle woman doing as he bids her.
–David Mitchell, Slade House
Wow, Nabokov really knew how to create the most atrocious characters simply by letting them speak in his fiction. This quote comes from Pale Fire. Note that the gender of the “young creature” is most likely male. The fact that it’s hard to figure out the victim’s gender suggests that such details are less important to rape culture than whether victims are some combination of young, vulnerable, and/or forgettable.
I now felt a new, pitiful tenderness toward the poem as one has for a fickle young creature who has been stolen and brutally enjoyed by a black giant but now again is safe in our hall and park, whistling with the stableboys, swimming with the tame seal.
The fickle summer weather which, for the last few weeks, had provided a sample of every climactic condition known to the country with the sole exception of snow, now settled into the warm grey normality for the time of year.
–P.D. James, Cover Her Face
Hey, Fickle Readers! I’m back with a smidge of an update. I’ve been wrangling with all kinds of health crap recently (did I mention lupus sucks?), but I wanted to give all you writing and reading types out there a heads-up about one of the best poets, editors, and people around: Karen Craigo. She’s the former poetry editor of Mid-American Review and an amazing author in her own right. Her latest book of poems, No More Milk, is coming out in the summer from Sundress Publications, and she further has one of the best writing blogs around. Right now, she’s even becoming something of a viral sensation with this excellent post on the inner workings of Submittable, every writer’s favorite site to check obsessively. There is seemingly nothing Craigo can’t do, and for that I send her a virtual shot of tequila.
A toast and my best envy to you, Karen! Keep up the excellent work! God knows we all need it.
Hey, Fickle Readers! Just thought I’d share with you that one of my pieces is featured this week on matchbook, a lovely flash fiction journal that posts one story at a time along with authors’ notes about how that story came to be.
I’m particularly honored by this publication because I’m in such amazing company. The wonderfully talented and remarkable Annabel Banks and Megan Giddings both have stories in matchbook. There are many other beautiful pieces in the archives, so if you haven’t already I personally invite you to go there and explore. It’s a marvelous venue for very short fiction.
Don’t ask me what Joyce was thinking when he wrote this. I have no idea.
A side eye at my Hamlet hat. If I were suddenly naked here as I sit? I am not. Across the sands of all the world, followed by the sun’s flaming sword, to the west, trekking to evening lands. She trudges, schlepps, trains, drags, trascines her load. A tide westering, moondrawn, in her wake. Tides, myriadislanded, within her, blood not mine, oinopa ponton, a winedark sea. Behold the handmaid of the moon. In sleep the wet sign calls her hour, bids her rise. Bridebed, childbed, bed of death, ghostcandled. Omnis caro ad te veniet. He comes, pale vampire, through storm his eyes, his bat sails bloodying the sea, mouth to her mouth’s kiss.
–James Joyce, Ulysses