sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2017-09-05 10:55 am

They handed me a bowl of cooked wild grasses and they gave me the ceremonial shoes

My short story "The Creeping Influences" is now online at Shimmer. This would be the story with the bog body.

It is also the story with the non-binary protagonist, the story with the first-person narrator, and my longest piece of historical fiction to date, with many thanks to [personal profile] hawkwing_lb for beta-reading for Ireland. It is something of a big deal to have it finally in print: it took a long time to find a home, including multiple rejections of the species lovely but not for us and one acceptance that fell through under circumstances I hope never to repeat. It took a long time to write, too, and was almost lost early on to one of the periodic deaths of Bertie Owen, my fisher king of a laptop. I was asked about its antecedents for the exclusive material in the digital edition and I should probably respect that, but I don't think it's giving too much away to say that it feels to me like one of the more personal stories I have written and something of an outlier in my own work. It's almost not genre, except that I think it is and I wrote it.

(I mean, someone still has sex with the otherworld, so there's that.)

The title comes from a line by Seamus Heaney. In an organized universe, I would have read P.V. Glob's The Bog People: Iron Age Man Preserved (Mosefolket: Jernalderens Mennesker bevaret i 2000 År, 1965/1969) before or while writing "The Creeping Influences," since it inspired Heaney's poems of Danish and Irish bog bodies in the first place, but we live in the kind of universe where mostly I looked at maps and photographs and my life fell to pieces again that year. In hindsight it feels like a non-minor victory to have gotten a story out of it. This story, in any year, I would have been glad of.

I am happy to answer questions in comments to the best of my ability. I love the little illustrations of bog plants in the margins of the online edition, like an herbal. The entire issue is worth your time; it is full of ghosts (September is a good month for them, tipping into autumn) and I continue to adore the cover that Sandro Castelli gave it.

This is a good start to a day.

The Creeping Influences
the_future_modernes: (Default)

[personal profile] the_future_modernes 2017-09-05 05:09 pm (UTC)(link)
congrats to you!
gwynnega: (Leslie Howard mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-09-05 06:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Congratulations! I look forward to reading it. That is an amazing cover illustration.
gwynnega: (Leslie Howard mswyrr)

[personal profile] gwynnega 2017-09-06 05:24 am (UTC)(link)
It's a gorgeous story! The prose is incredible. And such a perfect last line.
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-09-06 12:36 am (UTC)(link)
That was breathtaking--I loved it. And whether it's [personal profile] hawkwing_lb's beta read or your own good ear, I don't know, but I heard the dialogue with Irish tones.
asakiyume: (glowing grass)

[personal profile] asakiyume 2017-09-06 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
And I agree--the images of plants that accompany it are beautiful.
brigdh: (Default)

[personal profile] brigdh 2017-09-06 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, that was a fantastic story. I love how much you imply rather than state out-right, and the way you capture the rhythms of the dialogue that fit your setting. It's so vivid, and creepy, and hopeful, and surprising, and just really, really, great.

I have no idea if you want to read more about the topic, but I've heard good things about 'Bog Bodies Uncovered' by Miranda Aldhouse-Green. It won an award last year from the Society of American Archaeologists, which is where I came across it, and it's on my own to-read list.
ashlyme: (Default)

[personal profile] ashlyme 2017-09-06 11:46 am (UTC)(link)
If possible I love this more than the first time you let me read it; it is one of the best stories you've written. Thank you for the non-binary; I'd love to see you write more first-person narration. They've done you proud with that cover and the little bog-plant illustrations. It makes me want to wear rust-green. Thank you again. This is a joy and a wonder.
muccamukk: Lt Bush salutes ironically. (HH: Salute)

[personal profile] muccamukk 2017-09-06 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I really liked this. I like Shimmer generally, so I'm not surprised that this beautifully, eerie story ended up there.

I really liked the paired stories of the relationship with Katherine and the discoveries in the bog, and how they came together to say something about the main character and their life. It was very neatly done.

I'm terrible at periods. Was it set in the '30s?
selidor: (delirium)

[personal profile] selidor 2017-09-06 08:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Having lived in the land of bogs for a year now, this made a LOT of sense that it never would have before I came here. The bog-bodies in the museum in Dublin are eerie and excellently captured here. We went on an evocative walk in a peatlands park two months ago: heat-shimmer and dragonflies, the whisky-coloured water. You got them perfectly.
selidor: (Default)

[personal profile] selidor 2017-09-07 10:21 am (UTC)(link)
yes, I have been bad at posting...brain has pretty much melted when it comes to long-form anything, not the best really, but get through a day at a time. Commenting is much more feasible!
strange_complex: (Amelia Rumford archaeologist)

[personal profile] strange_complex 2017-09-06 09:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I just read this this evening and loved it. Well done! I especially liked your use of colour-words throughout - always fresh and surprising and absolutely evocative. I also liked the way Roddy has to do so much thought-work to anticipate how others might react to them. Theirs isn't an experience I know directly (I'm cis), but it felt like a faithful reflection of the way I've heard trans and genderqueer people describe having to be constantly ready defend / justify their existence, and how exhausting it can get. Also another vote for how good your dialogue is - like [personal profile] asakiyume I heard it all in Irish tones just from the vocabulary and syntax you used.