Bones of My Bones

April 8, 2014 at 8:51 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , )

Below is a very small piece out of a decently long series that is not yet published, but still lurking about on my computer.  The story is from ages ago, an angsty sci-fi piece I started writing when I was 14.  Things change and flesh themselves out when they see the light of day – or the eyes of others.  So periodically I like to post excerpts of things still in progress.

If you like this and you haven’t yet purchased my book, The Bookshop Hotel, please do.  Again – This is not from that book, but it is a sample of my writing.

She often wondered what her bones would look like after death. Bones tell tales. Bones are the memory book of all our scars, all our aches and pains, all our wounds. An autopsy would show her broken ribs, her smashed fingers, conditioned arms and legs… but would it also show the bruising on the inside? All the times her heart nearly burst and beat her sternum in anger and sadness from the inside?
They say that if old lovers can be friends they either were never in love or they still are. She wondered if that could be true, and if it was true then which was the case now? What would be worse? Thinking none of it was real before, or thinking there was still something there that neither one could acknowledge? Worse yet: if old feelings could bubble to the surface at any moment and disrupt the fabric of her current reality.
Then again, what defines lover? The problem with the world is that they apply emotional concepts to physical acts. By doing so, does that make the emotions with non-physical acts irrelevant? You can love someone and be loved by someone, you can be in love with someone, and never cross the line into the realm of ‘lovers.’ Lover implies physical contact, lover implies intercourse, lover implies bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh sort of contact.
It either takes serious emotional bonding or a vivid imagination to feel like you’re one flesh with someone you’ve never touched. To feel their absence like a stab in the gut. To feel their loss like a loss of your own limb. What if she just had the most vivid of imaginations? What if none of it had ever been real?
After death, would they see that too? Would her delusions be written on her bones? In her muscle mass… in her muscle memory. The heart having expanded too much, too quickly. Would they see that?

Copyright A.K. Klemm

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Red Badge of Courage and Thoughts

February 2, 2011 at 5:50 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

As a kid, I remember being completely infatuated with Red Badge of Courage.  But there was a time around the ages of nine and ten when anything to do with the Civil War was fascinating.  About the same time when teachers brain wash you with the “history” that all things Union were good and righteous (the way Fanny Price and Jane Eyre are good and righteous), and all things Confederate are sinful and misguided, a nuisance the Union had to deal with like Ramona the Pest before she learns her lesson, leaving out all the important political stuff regarding state’s rights.

Now, as an adult re-reading this elementary school favorite by Stephen Crane, I find my childhood obsessions a bit morbid and unfamiliar.  The only thing I feel inclined to get excited about is the memory of the excitement over the names of two characters: Rogers and Fleming.  My maiden name is Rogers and my real live Hilary Whitney Beaches-like pen pal’s last name is Fleming.  (I only dub her as Hilary because between the two of us I’m the only one loud enough to compete with Bette Midler.)

Looking back, it must have been the tomboy in me, appreciating lines like: “When in a dream, it occurred to the youth that his rifle was an impotent stick, he lost sense of everything but his hate, his desire to smash into pulp the glittering smile of victory which he could feel upon the faces of his enemies.” (Chp. 17)  Because admit it, that’s a sentence worthy of Twain’s Huck Finn – and all little boys want to be Huck Finn, and all little tomboys want to marry him (as Tom Sawyer’s love is reserved for the girls in ruffled dresses).

In short, not until this book have I been so sure in my decision to have Ayla keep reading review journals from the second she can read and write sentences.  I long to know what my specific thoughts were on this book, as I can’t recapture more than a vague idea of having loved it.  What was my ten year old self thinking?  It’s a good, well written book of irony, but nowhere do I truly see the appeal to a third to fourth grade girl since the majority of the book features a lot of running around and “men, punched by bullets, fall[ing] in grotesque agonies.”  (Chp. 19)

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