Stories that are not mine to tell

You know how some stories begin with a voice in your head that won’t shut up?

The ones crowding into my head for the last few weeks are too loud for me to hear anything else. They’ve certainly drowned out the few pages of that historical fantasy that has been ever so slowly gathering speed; a fantasy of a kinder, gentler place and time.

Yep. That’s what the Italian Renaissance looks like to me after a tour of the morning news.

My sister called from the village. Last week they took my niece. She is fifteen and they said she was ready for the honor of being married to one of their men. My daughter stays home from school now, hidden in a back room. She says she hates me, that I’ve ruined her life. She will hate me more when I tell her that I’ve arranged her marriage to a man three times her age. But he is a kind man, and may be powerful enough to protect her from her cousin’s fate. She is thirteen now; there is no time to wait.

I am afraid.

No. I’ve read about the horrors being visited on girls and women. I don’t want to write about them.

At least her daughter has lived for thirteen years. I will never know if mine sees her second birthday. My husband and I both worked for the foreigners and our names are on a list. They promised to get us out of the country but they lied. We were beaten when we tried to get to the gates but I managed to protect my little girl and we did not give up. We did not give up until the foreigners refused to open the gates for us. I passed my baby over the barbed wire. I saw a soldier take her. They say the foreigners are kind; maybe one of them will give her the life in a new land that they denied us. Now there is nothing to do but wait.

I am afraid.

No. I can try to imagine what would impel a woman to try and throw her baby to safety. I can’t know.

I have been in the hiding place we constructed for three days. They searched the house once but did not find me. But they know my name, they know I lived here, and they said that when they come back, if I am not here they will kill my family. I must go out and give myself up, and then maybe the others can live.

I am afraid.

I am not the person to tell these stories! I have no right to even try! I’ve lived an easy life in the safety of a great nation. How can I even guess what it feels like to be there? Please, voices. Find somebody with the skill and the depth of knowledge and understanding it would take to tell your stories properly. I can’t do it. I don’t write tragedy. I don’t write despair. I write silly little stories in which I once had an elf turn into a backyard rodent just so my character could say, “I thought there was something squirrely about him.” Is that the kind of flibbertygibbit you want writing your stories, stories that should be written in blood and fire? I can’t do it. I’m not up to the task.

But I can listen.

20 comments

  1. The unspeakables didn’t see the Pineapple Express coming. They didn’t see what went on before, they haven’t found what came after it, and they have no idea what similar-hearted groups were doing during it. They just caught the Pineapple Express– and when they stopped it, it COST them.

    We won’t be able to know a lot of these stories– but we can give people ideas. And give them HOPE.

    1. The thing is, so many of these Damn Fools Who Refused to See What Anyone with 1/2 a Brain Could See Coming need to hear these stories. It’s not our skills/ability that will give them life, it’s the screaming ghosts that will FORCE us to tell them.
      We may have to disguise them in fantasy or sci-fi or some other way of making them “really” an imaginary story. They aren’t. But, as Orwell found out to his dismay, unless you wrap those stories in enough pretense, the mass of people will JUST NOT LISTEN. So, we have to play “Let’s Pretend”.
      The Progressives think this is about Left or Right, with THEM on the Good Side. It’s not about politics at all.
      It’s about men who want what they want with a burning passion, and are willing to commit atrocities to get it. And, after a time, get to enjoy inflicting pain and terror upon those around them.
      And, with the Progressives/RINOs/Happily Unconscious Idiots in charge, as long as it all happens a long way away, and those nasty people PROMISE, Honest Injun, that they would NEVER act like that to THEM, well, they just have to turn away from the screaming, desperate people, turn the music up louder, and play a really good game of “Let’s Pretend”.
      So, put that thin skin of disguise over those horrifying stories, and write.

      1. I think of it as explaining.

        Which means you have to play fair. Or even MORE THAN fair, you’ve got to cut against yourself on anything that is too favorable– but you have to also give credit to those who did something. Make folks’ hearts sing to be the Hero who sweeps in to save the last moment, after all seemed lost, when EVERYONE knew that there was no way they’d come because you’ll never get those guys to agree on anything, and EVERYONE knew that they were old has-beens who wouldn’t manage to save anyone if they DID show up.
        ….
        And then the Winged Hussars arrive.

        *********
        These guys can find the bad. They excuse the bad, then pat themselves on the back for being so “realistic” and “clear sighted.” Point to the good and shame them for pretending it’s impossible, then shame them some more by teaching people the habit of “hm, how can I break this limit that is forcing bad?”

        1. I like that take on it. Finding the good buried in the horrors… that, maybe, I could write. Although I still feel unqualified for this task.

  2. This. So much. I’m trying to write, but the horrors are overwhelming. I hope that there are people out there helping, who have the skills and know-how I don’t – but trying to keep my own corner of the world going in the meantime feels almost impossible.

  3. If these stories are coming to you, maybe you’re the one that needs to write them. Because you are the one getting them.

    We should be reminded that the Dung Ages existed. That while things are not good, they are a damn lot better than most times in history. That we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a genetically engineered cat bunghole.

    And, that there are still places in this world-and not too far from the end of the streetlights-where monsters in human flesh still walk. There are also far too many people that would bring the monsters back, because they believe that they can be controlled. Aimed. Used.

  4. Write about a helper. A small person in a big storm, not the hero, perhaps, but the lore-mistress, the seamstress who sews good will and prayers into a disguise that helps someone evade the Big Bad and get help, the bard who wrote that song that inspired someone in a remote village to start the quest that finds the Magical Cure that ends the plague sent by the Fell Sorceress, the gardener who took pity on a hungry man and gave him food that gave the man strength to finish his journey to deliver the Book of Secrets to the woman who could bring justice back to the land.

    I think that’s what we need, now, as much as stories of Winged Hussars and Hunters and reminders of the true face of Evil.

  5. Blake’s writing books thread reminded me of something I saw as a ‘help for writers book’, that has since worked for me as a self help book.

    Larry Gonzales, Deep Survival.

    The ‘self-help’ bit that I use in my daily life is the understanding of how bewilderment works. When I am lost and confused (which is often), I sometimes remember to reorient, and then to stabilize myself that way.

    The ‘help for writers’ use was in the footnotes of a story crossovercreativechaos wrote, Embers, which has a grim backstory, a rather horrific mass murder genocide. Per Deep Survival, one of the things that helps folks in difficult circumstances handle them emotionally is looking for a way to help others. So, in Embers, certain characters saw what was happening, did not care to participate, and found something that they could do about it. They were killed for it, later, but were able to take certain secrets with them to the grave, and thereby prevented further acts of evil. The readers find out about it later, and those characters absolutely achieved some good.

    I mean this partly as writing advice, and partly as self help, because it is something that I /may/ be able to do, to help others, when I feel helpless.

    We do not live in a world where horrific evil is done by pure random chance. We live in a world where evil things are done by evil men.

    Some wicked men try to tell us that the world trends evil, and that only by adhering to their heretical faith can good ever exist, and they lie. They lie, saying that our faiths are evil, that their religion, built on lies, is good. Truth is good, and speaking truth, is a good act. Lies produce evil.

    There is a pattern to certain evil acts, the success in accomplishing great evil was no accident. Now, whether that success was the design of the great adversary below, or of specific evil men, it worked through the desires of evil men who are insane in their appetite for drawing the whole world into their evil. These men use lies, and thus we know that we may be able to hinder them by finding and speaking truth.

    I hurt, and thus I understand that others are hurting. I wish I knew some act that would certainly help them.

    I do know that merely speaking truth, even if softly and to few, harms the designs of those evil men. So, thus I seek to do /something/.

    1. What Bob said. The pebble in the pond that starts a ripple that turns into a flood that sweeps away the Black Riders at the Ford.

      1. One third, this is one of the topics I’m saner on, but people often remember me for the really wild stuff.

        One third, I’m up past bedtime again, and recent busy has me a little short on sense for ‘side projects’. (Over at ATH, I recently said to myself “Phantom is being too pessimistic about Canadians on this point.” I forget where it is, and don’t have sound words for arguing the point, ATM.)

        One third, just wait. Next week is a time of year when I’m particularly sad and angry. Work load is also looking a bit wearing.

        1. “Phantom is being too pessimistic about Canadians on this point.”

          Possibly.

          But, we do have a vaccine passport in Ontario brought to us by our Ontario Progressive Conservative Party (Aka ‘RINO’ weak-sauce socialists) and we are having a frigging rigged election in the middle of THE FOURTH WAVE [ohmighodthinkofthechildren!!!11!] and of course we did just abandon everybody who gave a rat’s ass about our country in Afghanistan to be raped and murdered by the insane Taliban hillbillies because the Canadian government lied like a pile of Persian carpets about what was going on over there. For 20 years. ALL the federal political parties and the entire Ottawa Swamp of un-elected mandarins and the entire minion class as well. Nobody has clean hands.

          However, on the bright side there are some well-attended protests about all this skullduggery and shenanigans, so at least some other Canadians have woken up and smelled the coffee, so to speak. Not enough to put the fear of God in the elite, but better than I’ve seen previously. (Protests that are not being covered at all by the Canadian press, incidentally. No revolting peasants on the news, please.)

          So I fear me greatly that I may be too optimistic just now. 😡 It’s getting on my nerves, to be honest.

          In that vein, my project this week is to put up a “dog fence.” Nominally to keep Maximum Maxwell from chasing cyclists down the road, which he loves to do. (Good boy!) Nice side benefit, it makes delivery weenies and other uninvited visitors stop at the gate.

          The other thing, the time of year? I’m retirement age, and I still get the nagging feeling that school’s about to start. Well, IT’S NOT. I’m finally a real grown-up, teacher can’t get me now. Beeotch can’t get you either, Bob. Square up, old man. ~:D

  6. “I am not the person to tell these stories!”

    Damn straight, Margaret. Me either. I write to keep the evil -out- of my head, not make more of it in here. Mental hygiene demands it.

    Every story needs a problem, right? You can’t just have a narrative about nothing. Why not instead of making the problem be The Evil, make it what you’re going to do about it? Without becoming evil yourself? Evil looms, okay then. There it is, looming away. Now what? What else you got?

    I find the mainstream unreadable these days. Torture this, evil that, Everybody-Does-It the other thing. Not interested, I saw it on the news already, don’t care. Show me a good guy. That’s what I need to see just now.

  7. Unfortunately, if you decide to go and do something about it on your own, they’ll shut you down in a New York minute. What? A non-Democrat, or non-Democrat sponsored person act heroically? Can’t have that. Doesn’t fit the narrative.

  8. *shakes paw in a Margaretward direction* OK, the opening of the story that you kicked my Muse into inflicting on me is up on my page at Saturday Snippet Two: A Quiet Haven. *grumbles off to resume work on what she’s supposed to be writing*

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