Posted in Writing

Writing about body modification, Part II

This was originally written on 8 March 2015 but indefinitely shelved when I never got around to finishing Part III or writing any other installments.

This is the second official installment of a series on all the things to consider when writing about body modification. Part II will cover important baseline considerations.

It cannot be stressed enough that piercing guns are a bad, bad, BAD idea! Unless your intent is to show your characters going to a really sketchy piercing shop with a lot of other red flags, and the subsequent consequences of getting gunned, just don’t do it! I only had my first two sets of lobe piercings done with a gun because I was young and didn’t know any better. Guns can’t be sterilised and thus can pass along diseases and infections. It’s also blunt force trauma vs. the quick, clean jab of a needle. Just imagine trying to cut an apple with a spoon, and you get the idea.

Self-piercing is NOT a wise idea unless the character absolutely knows what s/he’s doing and is using sterile equipment in a clean area! This has the potential to go so wrong, so quickly. My character Portia is furious to be refused a navel piercing at twelve years old, even after she throws the Hitchcock family money around, and finally does it herself with a diaper pin.

Predictably, not long afterwards, it becomes horribly infected and lands her in hospital on Christmas, after her much-older doctor brother Cadmar succeeds in removing the jewelry which had started to become adhered to her skin. Over the next few years, the navel infection recurs, until she finally gets it done professionally on her sixteenth birthday.

Extreme body modifications are just that, extreme. Just because your character already has a lot of tattoos and piercings doesn’t mean s/he automatically needs to get elf ears, a subdermal implant, microdermals, magnetic implants, transdermals, or hugely-stretched piercings beyond the earlobes. Extreme mods are never done spur of the moment or to be cool, nor are masses of people running out to get them. Only do it if it makes sense to the character.

It’s called stretching, NOT gauging! A gauge is a unit of measurement, and the number goes down as the size goes up. Past 00, it’s measured in tenths of an inch, or millimetres. One stretches one’s earlobes (and sometimes other piercings). One doesn’t “gauge” them. The jewelry to fill the earlobes are called tunnels and plugs, not “gauges.”

At one point, I had my second lobes slightly stretched (no more than 14, if I had to guess), and that really healed the damaged tissue from my traumatic gun piercing. They’ve long since grown back, but if I’d stretched them to a bigger size, they might not’ve regained their usual size. The point of no return varies, but most people feel it’s 2, 0, or 00.

Posted in 1990s, Atlantic City books, Cinnimin, Fonts, Writing

Meet Ammiel and Micah (MS Sans Serif)

Font: Microsoft Sans Serif (wanted Modern No. 20, but the html coding didn’t work)

Year created: 1997

Chapter: “Meet Ammiel and Micah”

Book: Cinnimin

Written: 21 April-16 July 2003

Handwritten

This is Part XLVI (46) in my current table of contents for my magnum opus. It’s set from 15 June 1995-late August 1996, and was written in one of the single-subject notebooks I split into two Parts. So much happens here, and two new main characters are introduced, the curmudgeonly beatnik Ammiel Garfinkl and the determined, lovestruck Micah Levine.

Ammiel is the best friend and male version of Cinni’s granddaughter Mancika Laurel. These two are so close that everyone suspects they’re more than just best friends, or blind to what a perfect match they are. They’ve even seen one another naked and insisted it was no big deal, just the human body. Ammiel is always bitching about everything, even his own last name, and doesn’t care whom he might offend with his brutal honesty.

Some of the many highlights:

“I’m going to name one of my babies Midnight,” Eulalia said. “Since it fits the blackness of my soul.”

“Oh, Maxwell has long behaved like this,” Mr. Seward said contemptuously. “I was in the loonybin for four years on his orders. My fatso ex-wife was too, along with his youngest full brother and a lot of his distant cousins, all while he was off playing in Italy. And on his orders, I only got to vote under supervision. That psychotic Stalinist who ran the asylum stood in the booth with me as I voted!”

Mary Julia looked around suspiciously. “There are so many crazy people on the streets, Demian. I saw the looks they gave me. Wanting to stone me and Dana for wearing short sleeves and shorts. I’d love to walk through onea their neighborhoods to force them to see a liberated woman. They thought I was crazy to be wearing this necklace of Lakshmi while Dana is wearing a crucifix and I’m looking for my black hat daughter’s apartment since my grandson is getting mutilated tomorrow.”

[Mr. Green] “I’m not senile. I’m as alert at 92 as I was at twenty.”

“So that leaves Butler Reagan as the oldest geezer in town,” Bobbie Jo smiled. She tore out a notepad and started making up the new Top 20 list.

“There are wonderful bands and singers on MTV,” Portia said. “Why do they waste their time playing this Dark Ages garbage?”

[Sympathizing with her mother Violet re: her lifelong rival Kit] “Don’t worry, I agree with you,” Portia said. “That woman is a major hypocrite. It’s like she gets under your skin on purpose. I’d like to bomb her childhood home.”

[Kit’s youngest daughter Raspberry Ann] “Exactly. Sure it’s nice to be well-endowed, but do you ever find women sharing information about their measurements? I’m glad I have indoor plumbing.”

Leah was far from excited when Gavrilla showed up at her apartment early Monday morning, Lulu’s people standing behind her. There was a plane with their names on it waiting for them at the airport, and free champagne and chocolate.

“Ten glorious years without child support,” Leah nodded. “Contrary to what the majority of unwed mothers on your show believe, it’s not worth sobbing over. There’s no father in my daughter’s life. Big deal.”

“Besides the fact that Garkinkl has an unflattering sound and never gets spelt or pronounced right, it’s a bullseye for the anti-Semities, like Katz, Cohen, or Goldstein. I wish I could hide behind a name like Laurel. Like hell I’d torture my own child with my last name.”

Philip looked up on his way out of the school and saw Ammiel and Mancika reading The PWW underneath a large oak tree. Despite the good early September weather, Ammiel was sporting a black turtleneck, black beret, heavy old-fashioned button-up boots, and loose khaki pants. His brown hair reached down to his shoulders.

A lot of people were there, even Arafat and Rabin themselves. There were a lot of singing, dancing, and flowers. Raina was moved to tears when the 75-year-old prime minister sang the Song of Peace, his first time to sing in public. And five minutes later, shots rang out.

“Gifts are a pretension of the very highest order,” Ammiel said. “I only got Mancika a book of revolutionary quotes from the quarter bin at my favorite used bookstore.”

Ammiel was walking around naked as Mancika went on typing an editorial for the school paper. A wet towel was carelessly tossed on the floor.

Raspberry Ann was enraged at her mother as she went through twelve hours of labor with only gas and air. All while Kit stood by telling her horror stories about old men doctors who thought they were God’s gift to expectant mothers, trivialized women’s feelings about being seen by a strange man, and mistook ectopic pregnancies for attempted self-abortions. And of course the subject of Sammy just had to come up too.

“That is your boyfriend,” Courtnie insisted. “Why else would you kiss on the lips for like three minutes and exchange ‘I love you’s?”

Posted in 1980s, 1990s, Atlantic City books, Cinnimin, Portia, Writing

Portia

If you’re here for the Pitch-ilicious Blog Hop Contest or Horny Hump Day, please scroll down!


Name: Portia Hitchcock-Fredrickson

Date of birth: 15 September 1981 (has an identical twin sister, Juliet)

Place of birth: Atlantic City

Year I created her: 1998

Role: Main character in ensemble cast

I just knew my dear Portia would be the topic of my P day. Even though she starts out as a rather unlikeable person because of her self-absorbed materialism and haughty attitude, she really grew on me, and she’s just so fun to write, like Daphne. A lot of her behavior is just so over the top and silly it’s meant to be funny. And beneath it all, you know she’s fiercely devoted to her identical twin Juliet. After a misguided suicide attempt, a horrible, last-ditch effort (inspired by a soap opera no less!) to try to make her decidedly un-mutual crush notice her, she finally starts to grow up, become more mature and self-aware, not be so impulsive and childish.

She spends Summer 1997 in France, and it’s a very healing experience for not only Portia, but also Juliet, who’s just had an abortion and dumped her longtime boyfriend Dylan. And when she comes home, because of her improved attitude and much more tasteful wardrobe, her crush Matthew finally notices her and starts going out with her. When we put out positive energy and are true to ourselves, we get rewarded back in kind.

Portia and Juliet are the surprise late-life children of Violet, who’s already had two sets of triplets and one set of twins. She grows up surrounded by ancestral wealth, and can’t believe anyone would deliberately shun a rich lifestyle if they were born or married into money. Portia is also all about the latest fads and fashions, and having the perfect reputation. People who dress conservatively, don’t like the latest musical stars, who care about non-material things, and who live a hippie lifestyle (like her sister Rose’s family) are freaks and deserving of mockery in her book. She’s also quite hard on Dylan because he’s so shy and quiet, instead of being more traditionally masculine and assertive.

In an attempt to make Matthew (the late-life child of Violet’s friend Helouise) notice her, she starts wearing very slutty clothes and makeup. This of course earns her all the wrong kind of attention from other guys (and girls), but it doesn’t deter her. Several of her much-older cousins are horrified that she’s inspired their own, even-younger daughters to start dressing like that too. Portia adds fuel to the fire by performing her own navel piercing when the mall piercer refused to pierce her at only twelve years old. She’s even more of a laughingstock when the self-piercing becomes horribly infected and lands her in the hospital.

And then, hoping one last time to make Matthew notice her and love her, she slits her wrists in the school bathroom on Graduation Day 1997. Her young Deaf niece Clarissa puts two and two together while reading a soap opera update and seeing the same story Portia referenced in regard to what she was planning to do to get Matthew’s attention. Afterwards, she’s like the King of Cyprus waking up from a dreamlike state when rebuked by the Gascon woman in The Decameron. Her former life was folly, and now she’s on the path to take steps to reform herself, both inside and out.

Just a small sampling of typical/favorite Portia lines:

“Everyone in fourth grade laughs at us!” Portia shouted. “And the boy in third grade I have a crush on asked me why my big sister Rose and her kids are hippies!”

“How dare you, Juliet! Just for that, I’m telling Mother that you have a crush on Dylan!”

“It could be worse,” Portia shrugged. “They could be boinking goats.”

“Wealth traitor,” Portia hissed.

“Go move to San Francisco,” Portia sneered.

“Did you even know where to put it, Cadmar, after twenty-eight virginal years?” Portia laughed.

“Matthew shall me my heart’s only desire until I die.”

“I’m an old maid at eleven,” Portia sulked forlornly.

Portia came by wearing tight, low-cut jeans and a tank top. “Wait till I spread it around school that my sister Rose is still breastfeeding her non-infant children! Jerod starts kindergarten next year. His life’s gonna be Hell.”

“I’d never wear hippie rags or a nightgown.” Portia sauntered off to the mall.

“The Sixties ended, like, twenty-four years ago.” Portia went out the door looking like a slut.

“You don’t obey orders well, do you?” Portia opened up her snakeskin purse and threw a few Madisons up into the air. “I told you already what I want for my birthday.”

“That’s twenty-five thousand right there, and if that’s not enough, my mother also has a few Jemmy Madisons to spare. We own this town, us, the Sewards, and the Greens.”

“Where is that stoner brother-in-law of mine? He should be arrested for child abuse!”

“I still think it’s disgusting how you’re marrying your cousin,” Portia announced. “We’re not Southerners.” (The couple in question, Jerry and Lillian, are actually first-cousins once-removed.)

“Oh, Matthew will be mine before long. My bustline’s getting bigger, I’m beautiful, and all my goodies are outlined in my tight clothes.”

Portia had also excused herself from the party and gone up to the nursery. She scoffed at the Pop Art posters hanging on the wall and took one of Mike’s diaper pins. With the aide of the long mirror propped up against a wall, she pulled her skintight jeans down a bit and stuffed a washcloth in her mouth. Then she pushed the safety pin into her upper navel. She took a size zero like her 64-year-old mother still did, so there wasn’t much skin to have to push through. Portia ignored the blood seeping out and proceeded to insert a silver ring with a pink stone, which she’d bought at the piercing place at the mall. She’d told them it was a present for Randi.

“I have my dream. After this heals, I’ll get it redone. And then I’ll snag Matthew.”

“I am planning something bound to earn his attention and get him to truly see what folly there is in him ignoring my sad plight. If he doesn’t ask me out after that, nothing will get to him.”

“I’d gain a thousand pounds if it’s what Matthew wanted!”

“You’re inviting yourself to our party? The old me would’ve been flattered, but now I’m finally over my obsession with you.”

You know I haven’t altered my personality that much. I still like fashionable clothes, fast food so long as it’s not beef, and the singers on MTV.”

Posted in 1990s, Ainsworth, Atlantic City books, Violet, Writing

Six Sentence Sunday

Ziessen Pesach and Happy Easter!

This week in Six Sentence Sunday, Violet is explaining to her daughter-in-law Rubi what happened to Ainsworth. Rubi was on another floor helping Violet’s granddaughter Clementine with something and suddenly heard sirens. After this, Ainsworth gets even loopier and insists he wants to heal himself through the power of his own mind, not medicine.

***

“It’s that bonehead Ainsworth yet again!” Violet shouted. “He got it into his head to lay down on the road to try to stop the vans, and someone making a left turn didn’t know there was a lunatic on the road. Now this bozo is being loaded into an ambulance because that car ran him over!”

“All that for some damn farm animals!” Portia said in disgust. “Even someone Mikey’s age knows not to play in traffic!”

“Is he stupid?” Rubi asked.