This is the way it often happens. A story comes from no-where when small snippets of information, thought, conjecture, song lyrics and personal encounter collide. In this case it was being unable to kick my mind out of a birth rant spiral about inductions.
One of my pet peeves about the birthing industry is it happens on the medico’s and parents time table and not on the baby’s – despite the fact we know babies trigger the labour process, but scientists are still unable to tell us how.
I’ve often wondered what it means in the greater scheme of things, when babies are brought on before their time. I read a few years ago that there seemed to be a “cosmic understanding”, of everything happening in its own good time. That babies were born with their ascendents in the same astrological sign as the moon was in when conceived. The midwife in question had observed this phenomenon over the course of her long years attending women.
Having come before my time, because the doctor in question did not want to be called back from his Christmas vacation – I have an obvious vested interest in the subject. And it turned out to play a pivoutal role in my story.
I wrote the first draft of “In Their Good Time” with Absolute Xpress’s 4th Flash Fiction Competition “Inhuman” in mind. Since the theme was announced I’ve been butting my head against the creative wall trying to make a story walk. And there – just like a summer rain shower… it was there.
The slant on humanity I’ve taken is that “free will” is something which is central to the human experience, but like everything it should be a balance of rights and responsilibities. And when that balance is thrown… things start to go wrong, every wrong … for everyone, in this case. It also bounces off the ideas we’ve been talking with Dylan, about reincarnation and also the Doomsayers, End of World predictions for 2012.
But I’m feeling rather raw as a consequence of writing it. It puts my Pagan leanings out on show. It challenges accepted spiritual beliefs – both mine and those of others. And it talks about birth – which is always a sore nerve anywhere in my family. This is the first overtly birth orientated short story I have ever written and comes with my obvious bias towards nature birth and my antagonism and disgust at the medical profession. After reading Dan Powell’s draft “The John School” earlier in the week, I felt empowered to find my socio-medico-political voice.
There is nothing like walking with deities to bring you down to earth! (Part of me still feels – how dare I!) I’m not sure if the story comes off naff, soap-box-styled rant or whether I got it right. Time will tell. And there will be at least three maybe more drafts to follow.
“In Their Own Good Time” has just been farmed out for beta reading. This is the part of writing I can’t stand… the anticipation of waiting to hear back. And because it is SO left of centre of what I normally write, I’m feeling even more on edge.
At least I will have something for submission though – whether or not it is accepted, is another thing.
Here’s what didn’t make the 1000 word cut:
“Below she looked at the four faces of herself. The maiden, untamed, full of youthful wonder and energy. The mother, bountiful, selfless responsibility and creative expression. The crone, the survivor, wise, fierce and self assured. And sitting, shrouded in shadows, the dark face of the feminine, unpredictable, terrifying and hopeless, but at the same time redeeming and transformative. And sitting beside them, the matched faces of the masculine.”
“They do not see technology for what it is – holds them captive to the television, enslaves their children with video games, traps them in steel machines which pollute the environment and cause nations to war over oil, disconnects them from personally relating to each other. They need a wake up call.”