Turning Tables – December 6, 2020

Language studies

“Hand me that bub.”
“Hand me that bub. Imma thow it away.”
“That light bub.  Right there.”
“Oh! That light bulb!”
“Yeh. Whaja think I said, ya dummy?”

Popular advice is not to write accent and brutalizing of the English language.  Supposed to make editors pull hair and toss submissions.  For my money, not attempting to portray accent and abuse leaves sometimes too much to the reader’s imagination. For example, above, “right thar,” or “rat thar’ would suggest deep, deep south and maybe hint a masculine speaker; like for “right here” instead, “ri heah” Appalachian, “ri cheah” ‘redneck,’ or “ri cheunh” Cajun. Something seems to get lost writing it straight-up.  Maybe I should learn IPA phonetic symbols? 

Nah.  Probably less than half the reading audience would be familiar with IPA. (Yeh, I heerd thet, Lenny, but IPA ain’t some kinda beer.)

Now you could argue, U.S. readers, told the speaker was from Bayou country in Louisiana could handily read correct English, and translate mentally to include appropriate twang.  Someone from Wales or (the real) Birmingham would have less success and miss subtle humor, certainly a bit of flavor.

Consider, unless constantly reminded a character had a speech impediment, the audience will forget.  I would, do.  That’s like a movie without a score.

Take a dare

You up to it?

Most of the fine folks who pop by here won’t be interested.  Accounta they are male.  Awrighty.  Most of the ladies who pass through seem to be genteel sorts, but I have no way of knowing for certain. 


Point is, I appear to take shots at the stronger, smarter gender [can’t write “sex” accounta that would make this post NSFW] so I get back at myself with a short I poked out early this summer. In that short, I let my protagonist belittle menfolk.  Reading it doesn’t take nerves of steel, a strong stomach, or a well-defined sense of raunch.  But you must understand it’s not for Sunday School.

The story was an exercise.  Rather like stretching your legs and torso before starting a morning run.

At the time, I was new to “flash” format.  I’d challenged myself to explore as many genres as possible, as many formats, as many “story” types.  It had its rewards.  Confirmed I don’t like and am therefore no good at all at horror, as bad at sci fi, and a real stinker at poemetry. Figured trying to work in different forms and styles (even subjects) I could rule-out a lot of possibilities. 

Boy, did I ever.

“Calamity Jane” is flash fiction, tipping the scales at a mere 990 words plus change. It’s not a “romance” story by any stretch.  Well, maybe, but it’s doubtful.  It is set in a romantic novel publishing house. That’s probably as close as it comes to “romance.”  What is more out-of-ordinary for my “stuff” is that it is from a female POV.  I’ve done that once or twice before but in rather innocuous circumstances.  In “Calamity,” I’ve attempted a snarky man-eater tone.  Which again suggests something NSFW.

There have been a few minor changes since I first put it out there to be trampled.  So why is it here?  Other than I’m an absolute glutton for punishment?  Because I think the tiny plot is interesting, the twist modestly unique, and its humor passable.  Hate to let it go to waste.  If you’re curious, read “Calamity Jane.”  Let me know what you think.

Buttoning-up for the night

I’ve seen a few WPers lately going after six-word stories.  That’s tough. I’ve done 50, even 25, 10.  Six?  Not yet. 

Now, I must study for an exam.

Published by spwilcen

Retired career IT software engineer, or as we were called in the old days, programmer, it's time to empty my file cabinet of all the "creative" writing accumulated over the years - toss most of it, salvage and publish what is worthwhile.

14 thoughts on “Turning Tables – December 6, 2020

  1. Calamity Jane would never, ever, speak of her own juices, except in reverence to the offering to her direct and beneficent lover. Nor would she ‘ooze’ anything, if within her own head-space. We never think of men wetting themselves, not ever, otherwise, they are not to be considered men. She would never want a man more than he wants her, and if she did, she’d lie her fucking ass off, as first measure of course. Read my blog for a while longer, darlin’, you might get closer to that POV you’re intending. You’re welcome. 😉

    1. Now that’s feed back! Calamity is not the narrative voice, though, but her cohort. In that regard removed, would the first two corrections hold? And yes’m, thanks.

      1. Should you care to refine and revise your Calamity, I’d like to suggest 2 excellent characters: June in the book/film Henry & June and more shockingly for the modern audience, Mata Hari, an Amazon series that’s exceptionally provocative.

      2. On narrative voice here, cannot separate it from cohort, who I took as also female? Sorry if not, read to the point I couldn’t feel her. Thanks, love giving, and receiving, feedback, have little sensitivity there, it’s been so long now. Maybe we should be sharing more?? 😉

      3. Feedback, essential to learn and grow as a writer, is more difficult to get sometimes than to accept. The likes of Robt Parker could accurately write female POV I thought. To portray any character a writer must look out from inside, a developed skill, affecting all character interactions. In CJ, CJ and narrator are female. I’d intended the narrator a man-eater, CJ less so. Really need to rework if that wasn’t clear. “Interviews” suggested I wasn’t off on mentality, just, as you point out, in word choice. Pretty sure I’ll abandon this effort. But trading feedback and critique (well beyond “like” and ignoring) is a good idea. So yes. Short of total pull back on past posts, if you’ve something I should offer in[put on, point it out to me.

      4. Sweet! The art and craft benefit from y/our attention. Deep bow, my compatriot, seriously. May we all be attempting to navigate in such precious waters.

      5. ‘Mongst intelligent people, right or left, atheist or religiously devout, purple or green, young or old there are few barriers. Age reconciliations somewhat brittle, I suspect less than gender, but still, mix a little tolerance in with intelligence, I can’t recognize a view so narrow it can’t be allowed. There is a difference between “allowed” and “championed.” You do notice, I did not include gender in my list of polar opposites generally recognized or deemed at odds one with another. Because gender differences especially exacerbated by age disparity are something I do not understand, find frustrating, can’t quantify. Can’t we just forget I am left-handed, you right-handed, and the person standing over there ambidextrous? Be a lot easier to talk. Talking, we only face the danger we might understand one another. That’d be a shame. I leave with this: never tell a fool he’s a fool; seems in that case, two fools present.

      6. While an accomplished fool, I haven’t the skills to help anyone else who aspires to become a fool. Pretty sure it’s a personal journey.

  2. Although I think it’s brilliant, I did not understand very well the dialogue but knowing that you’ve written the accents of the South in its many forms, I can see how that would make your story more real, more authentic. When I was in Basic Training in Ft. Gordon (Georgia) I had a hell of a time understanding everyone! But somehow I managed. I made friends with this southerner who had lived in NYC for many years and he used to translate for me! 😃. Great work SP!
    All the best,

    1. Imma go on record here, maybe stomp on some toes. Your time in the US made you more conversant in US-speak than most of the folks IN THE US. If there’s a question on my slurred English you can’t happily figure out from context, pop me a line. I’ll have yet another chance to ‘chat’ with you and as always, along the way, will learn something. I appreciate your time, sir. Go do something amazing. I’m waiting. SP

      1. I’m still learning English, it’s a lifelong chore I guess…learned it first in the UK, then in the US, and learning many words from you SP, which I thank you for. And it’s always a pleasure chatting with you, maybe one day over some Spanish wine or Irish wine, it’s all a matter of choice. Take good care and all the best my friend.

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