The new story, in fact, is the prose poem about the woman whose baby refuses to be born. While the idea came to me last week, I didn't draft it until yesterday, when I realized that I could write it as a flash fiction piece rather than a prose poem and count it as my fifth story. So you see my Muse did help me with my ROW80 goal last week after all. It just took me a while to realize what she'd given me. (Now I feel like I owe her an apology...)
And while I was in the business of thinking of things in a new light, I realized that the speculative fiction poem I'm writing for Josh Hewitt could also possibly count toward this round's goal because it's a cross-genre work. But in the end I think it's going to be a line poem and not so much tell a story as explore a frame of mind.
"Speculative fiction poem." The phrase is a bit paradoxical. I mean, poetry and fiction are traditionally seen as two separate things, and something is either a poem or a work of fiction. But in this case...I dunno...the name just seems to fit. It's a narrative line poem told from a fictional character's perspective about something not-true. It's a speculative work, meaning it addresses a "what-if" question. (I mean, I assume it's all these things. I haven't actually written it yet.) So even though some people might argue that there's no such thing as a speculative fiction poem, I'm going to keep using the term. Or maybe I just mean speculative poem? Is there such a thing as that?
Anyway, my last bit of news this week is a big one: I'm going to be a sponsor for ROW80 round 2, which starts April 1. Hooray! I'm very excited to take a more active role in the ROW80 community and have a legitimate excuse to go read a bunch of other writers' blogs. I get to put it on my to-do list rather than have it be something I do instead of whatever's on my to-do list. Joy!
Oh! Oh! But before I go. I've been excited about the prospect of sharing excerpts from the stories I've been working on with you, but until now I haven't had anything I thought worthy of sharing. But today I include a snippet from "Unborn," my newest story.
Over the next few weeks her belly continues to stretch, her spine to elongate. She talks to her baby. Calls him Henry, though she’s not sure it’s a boy. Her organs all rearrange themselves to avoid being crushed. For whatever reason, her uterus does not burst. It continues to stretch with the unborn child.
Then one day the child stops growing. It has exhausted the limits of its mother’s body, and there is no where left for it to grow to.
But the child is so heavy now she can barely move. To stay alive, she drinks her own breast milk. She can feel its foot hanging down inside her vaginal canal. Its fingers explore her ribs and spine in the night. When she cannot sleep, she stares down at the imprint of her child’s face in the flesh of her belly. When she sleeps, she has nightmares about her baby clawing its way out of her body. Splitting her in two.