Posted here are excerpts from my own short stories, articles, and other forms of written work. If you'd like more information or to read the entire piece, please email via the contact page.
- A short excerpt from 'Carnval de Cochinilla,' 2016. Please see my 'Comunidad' project for more information on this 4,991 word short story.
At a quarter-to-one, I rose from my contemplation to head to the parade’s start. As soon as I left the ocean’s edge for the stonewalled town, the streets became alive with bustling and chatter. The activity did not contain the unified movements of the morning. Families without their children meandered toward the school and motion from the balconies suggested the short siestas for the fatigued were coming to an end. A laughing man with long limbs and swaying hair walking backwards bumped into to my shoulder. Turning to apologize, I recognized the young receptionist. “Ah!” He grabbed both my shoulders and, smiling, asked loudly in Spanglish, “Y, how you find nos carnval mi amigo americano? Tu eres solo? Come, come with us!” Slinging his left arm around my neck he steered me into introductions and kisses with his five friends. I missed all of their names but did manage to catch his introduction. “Y yo, mi amigo, Yo soy Juan. Manaña, you remember, I am Juan, you stranger!” I could not tell if he had been drinking or was high on the atmosphere, but I was glad to be included in a group. And so, I shadowed the young group of laughing friends to the school.
As we neared the school, dozens of children scurried passed with chasing women hollering, “Wait, Sofia!” and, “Your antennae Jesus!” I overheard one abuela saying so seriously, “Oh, you look just like a cochinilla now,” as she adjusted a 12-year-old’s antennae. I could not help but snicker, for where else could this be a confidence-raising compliment for a pre-pubescent girl. Waist-high cochinilla gathered en mass as the adults formed a wall around the youngsters. A few minutes after one, the crowd began to move. Parents handed out neon plastic clappers and traditional bell bracelets as the children banged and rang their way out of the schoolyard and into the town, waking any last lingering snoozers. People looked down from street balconies, and walked beside and behind the procession of sound. A few hundred little girls and boys all marched in hand-made or bazar bought costumes. The simpler outfits were painted T-shifts and antennae headbands. Some more impressive ones had sewn back-shells with seven pairs of waving, stuffed legs that other children tugged on. A few girls were coated in glitter and some boys’ shirts had been glued with sand patches. Every single child had headband antennae and painted faces. One group of four children, doubtless siblings, had cardboard shells that, while quite realistic, caused them to wobble and beat their knees against the inside of their suits. Juan and his group raced alongside the children encouraging them with clapping and compliments. They were a lively group and the children loved them. As the children began their final loop around the outside of the main plaza, Juan led us into the main square to grab seats for the feast.
This is an excerpt from the segmented story Belly Ball, 2015.
Bartlett Travel Project 2015: Estonia's Midsummer
To see my response to my trip to Tallinn and Saaremaa Island in Estonia for the Midsummer Holiday, please click here. Included are photographs, interviews, folklore, traditions, and my own short story in the style of folk narratives. It was an amazing trip and I met some incredible people. This research and experience deserves far more than the quick report here - but I believe it gives a decent introduction to the changing traditions of the summer solstice.
I also wrote three blog entries on this project, here are the links:
Sometimes I am also the Spider 2015 (excerpt)
“Let’s go see what you’re on about.” Stupid, can’t ever -decent sleep –s’shouldn’t be up. Handle it alon- “Ow!” damn fhsdf chai-
“I’m sorry Adam. It really was big. Silly of me to cry though, I know. I can’t believe it, it must have been on me over an hour.”
“It’s fine. Let’s just find it.” Couch. Rug. Don’t see it. Waste of time. Cgstkhfh...
“Look! It’s trying to trap Bella! Poor old dear doesn’t notice it either. You’d think it’d think it’d be heavy to her?”
“Big-eyed whopper! Nice try but its time for you to go,” At least it is massive... “Happy? It’s safe and outside. Go to bed already.”
At one end of the footpath a cool light flickered onto dandelion grass. A yellow glow from the open barn door lit the ground at the other end. Resting sheep chewed cud and burped acid. A dangling bulb buzzed in place of the slumbering flies. The barn’s windowpanes were caked in a plaque of cobwebs, hay dust, and grease. Taught remnants of a recently forsaken web clung to the doorframe. The TV clicked off. The house remained dark, but the barn’s bulb stayed on throughout the night.
Nymph 2014 (excerpt)
The nymphs had decided they were ready to metamorphose. They had crawled out together up in between the underside of the pond dock board gaps some days ago letting the air exposure transform their naiad bodies from aquatic to aerial. Predators- over three years their bodies had grown in adolescence. The nymphs had been aggressive creatures. Unpleasant to look at-bumpy, mud brown with extendable jaws that bit strong and barbed legs that held fast to its prey as well as to trees, grasses, and human skin. Comfortable in their skins; they ate anything they could take: eggs, larvae, small invertebrates, and even occasionally tadpoles and fish. They thrived, as they existed- highly functional with the purpose of growth in life to mature. The change was nearly complete and on an early morning they began to molt.
The sun, just rising, sent a white light hazing over the cold, dewed grasses and the pond misted heavily in the changing temperature. The skin behind the head split first and peeling out of their old skins crawled the young adults. The exoskeletons were left clinging to the wooden boards. Dark brown legs and larger, elongated bodies loomed awkward in first movements- uncurling to extend their abdomen. The transparent wings came out folded and moist. Pumping them up to dry, the nymphs perched on their old skins-the shells looking still alive but simply static and hollow. The mist settled lower to the water level as the sun broke through the clouds, the first of the insects tested their warming wings, eager to feed and move on before being fed upon by the waking frogs. Dragonfly after dragonfly came to life, animated by the sun’s yellow. Adjusting to their new forms, they traded speed and aggressive of the depths for those in the skies. Trading fish for bees, and tadpoles for ants: the dragonflies began to hunt again...
A Special Meal 2015 (excerpt)
Lunch Break 2014 (excerpt)
The morning’s drinks and cutlery were still on the counter: two saucers, two glasses, two spoons, and one knife. The knife had smeared butter and scone crumbs on the blade as it sat weighted, ready to spin with the flick of a finger. It was flawlessly balanced and the light from the window cast a purple shadow on the underbelly of the handle, connecting the knife to the moss speckled faux marble countertop. Thud, thud, thud, thud… It quivered from the vibrations of movement on the basement stairs. A few crumbs fell off the blade and sat on the countertop.
Perceived Abandonment 2014 (excerpt)
After a few hours, the sugar high had worn off and the sun soaked day had taken its toll. The girl had grown tired from smiles, introductions, small talk, eggshells, and friends of parents that had only a theoretical interest in her. She had played and politely listened to the customary exclamations of “Such lovely girls…” or “Look how big you’ve gotten!” followed by the frequent prompts from her mother of, “…you remember Mrs. H- and M-.” Well past being ready to sleep on the car ride home, though a third round of drinks and bits of food had just been passed around, the girl had sought out her mother. After hovering a few feet behind until she was allowed to express her fatigue, her mother had sent her away with some water. Unsatisfied, the girl had found her father. He had snipped at her to stop whining and told her everyone else was still having fun. She did not understand how that related to her lack of enjoyment.