Edit Your Writing For Clean Impulse-Development

15 first3

Editing For Clean Impulses

I cleaned off some emasculating incest energy, some spiritual possession shit, off one of my leading men during rehearsals for a show. He loved my guts ever after, and wanted to be best buds with manly kissing rights. He was a sweet and naive kiddo; he married soon after, and has not, I think, experimented with homosexuality since then. (If you were curious, I kept his greedy mitts off me, which he found infuriating.)

Editing Is Careful Work

Every time you write down any kind of thought, or description, or line of dialogue, your energy soaks into the writing, and imbues the phrases with a particular branding of emotion.

If your emotional packages build cleanly and organically, then the story flows, has excellent pace, and brings emotional satiety to the reader.

On The Other Hand . . .

If the impulse chains are broken, and the phrases are interrupted with wild, incoherent energy changes (which happens in most editing work, to be honest), the story becomes a mass of difficult-to-follow feel-nothing thoughts.

Was that paragraph confusing? Good.

The Editing Advice:

Now, how do you dig apart an organic energy chain? Take a piece of a clean draft, like so:

She had grown up near horses, when she had been a child in the far west, and though she had not been a horse trader herself, she was fond of the people who worked with horses. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, before she had left her family, before she had been sold as a slave to the Eastern lands.

And Now, The Wrong Way

Now, here is some terrible editing that irretrievable disrupts the chain of impulses contained in that work:

The sweet child had grown up near many four-legged beasts. some of them horses, when she had been a little one in the farther west, beyond the oasis but not so far as the wilder places. Though she had never been closely associated with any horse trading families, or with those folk who bred and trained the riding and harness beasts used in those lands, she was still sentimental, and incredibly fond of anyone who worked with horses for their daily bread. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, long, long ago, before she had left her poor family, and before she had been sold like a bundle of goods into the house of an Eastern merchant, to do his bidding and have no will of her own.

That was a shitty, painful piece of prose, wouldn’t you say? Unbearable.

And The Right Way

Now, by contrast, here is the same piece, edited with an eye to preserving the original impulse chain:

She had grown up near horses, when she had been a child in the far west, and though she had not been a horse trader herself, she was fond of the people who worked with horses. Horses reminded her of the time she had been free, before she had left her family, and before she had been sold as a slave to the Eastern lands.

If you look, there is only one word added. Of course, many paragraphs will need more adjustment than this, but for this particular chain of thoughts, one small correction is all that’s needed.

But Victor, My Writing Needs More!

What if your impulses are tangled before you started writing in the first place?

If you are like my wild stud-actor, the one who carried incest packages from his bitch mum, and who wanted to get in my pants more than anything in the world, you might be carrying impulse chains that scare you.

Victor, You’re Unbearably Conceited

Because, you see, when you were a tender thing, people touched your skin, and some of them were evil. The people were, I mean. When evil people hold a child’s hand, or tie their shoe, sometimes ugly energy soaks into the child’s skin. Children are incredibly absorbent, and are developmentally and psychologically designed to purge bad energy off their parents, in order to get grounding, rooted energy in their souls.

That’s Why Kids Love Unconditionally, At First

The part that’s important for today is that when you were a little kid, you picked up energy from people that was dangerous, and much of that energy is still tucked inside your aura.

So What Happens To That Energy?

When you write a genuine impulse chain, those dark energies loosen, and start to come free. You start, if you write what you really want to write, to chronicle frightening things.

In the process, the bad energy works free, and passes through your skin.

Yogis Call These Packages ‘Samskaras’

In an attempt to keep away from scary things, the vast majority of humans who write repress all their natural impulses, and write like frigid nuns.

And Now, The Editing Lesson

When you write, remember that you are, whether you try to or not, and whether you notice or not, writing down an unbroken chain of organic impulses, all in a row.

When you edit, remember that some of those impulses are foreign, evil, and genuinely frightening. If you edit them out, or away, or soften them, your work will suffer.

Many Of Them Don’t Come From You

If you try to heighten the effect of these foreign impulses, to make them seem more than they are, the work will suffer, and taste sour.

In Conclusion

Acceptance of the current state of affairs in your natural soul, and therefore, in your writing, is a good way to take a step towards cleaner work.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I’ve never written my little actor into a book. Happy writing.

Advertisements

The Utility Of Raw Gore In Fiction (With A Sample)

dragon mockup

To see how you are handling your violence, sex, and coarse language, it is important to first examine the reason for it being there.

I imagine you’ve seen films before where a lady is unnecessarily undressed, or a person hits another for no story reason.

Because Empty Action Pads The Script (I’m Serious)

Shakespeare brought heads onstage, and severed limbs; he gored out eyes, and openly referenced incestuous rape and the dismemberment of women and children. One of his plays occurs almost entirely in a brothel, in fact, but you will find, in any worthwhile production of Shakespeare, that there is no immodesty in his language, or in his actions directed for the stage. (Embedded stage directions; it’s a long story.)

People Who Ruin Shakespeare Should Be Given Paper Cuts On Their Faces

People, shitty people (yeah, I’m looking at you, buster-oldy George) love to mangle Shakespeare, to add brazen fondling and breasts, and weirdly orgiastic violence that is not in any of the plays. They also like to add little scenes–to make the action more realistic, or more compelling to the modern viewer, they think.

All Of Which Sucks, Almost Always

Now, on to the subject of the day (or night, as the case may be): raw gore, and the manipulation of flesh in the service of whole fiction, is cathartic and pure, when it is handled with grace and modesty.

The Greeks, for all their blatant phallic pieces, had dignity and respect for suffering in many of their tragedies. The purpose of Oedipus putting out his eyes, and Jocasta hanging herself, is to bring the audience to a pitch of pity and existential terror.

The Bringing Of Emotional Climax Is The Function Of Fiction

And now, since the Greeks and Shakespeare do not always scratch the itch of contemporary genre fiction, here is some blood, and a bit of gentle violence.

A Sample, As Promised

Ethan the cyborg, having cut his metal down, is carving up a couple of his fellows, and stealing their alien inserts. Observe:

“What you are holding is a base insert,” Ethan said, grimacing as he began to wedge the other cyborg’s insert into his own thigh. Mary’s eyes widened, and her lips parted. He seemed to be working the insert in between his own muscles; the shape of his thigh moved in deeply unnatural ways as he worked. “I already have base inserts; I need the top pieces.”

 

“Doesn’t that hurt?” she demanded, watching him force the end of the insert deeper into his upper thigh.

“Not as much as you’d think. You get pretty numb, after the first four dissections,” he said. He made a small sound, like a tense man relaxing into a bath, and the insert folded neatly into the top of his thigh. Ethan sighed and pushed the bottom of the piece the rest of the way into the slit. Mary thought that it was like watching someone try to move a large piece of furniture through a narrow doorway; first the top made it in, and then the bottom was swiveled and forced into the opening.

“Are you all right?” she asked. She felt increasingly squeamish.

“I’m fine,” Ethan said. The insert went in with a strange click, and he extended his leg with a deep sigh.

“That looks so painful,” she said. The two insert pieces she held were hot and slick in her hands; she found, quite suddenly, that she didn’t mind the blood, but she minded the heat.

“It’s very good to get my old shape back,” Ethan grunted, working the metal deeper under his muscles.

And So,

Interestingly, tasteful swearing, and modest use of nudity, violence, and raw language and action opens the reader’s heart, and makes them receptive to the story, and the characters.

The gore must serve a core plot purpose, and be fully justified. Gratuitous violence, and all the rest, cheapens your work.

You’re reading Victor Poole. I have to rewrite almost the entirety of my cyborg sequel, because Vicard turned interesting, and developed unexpected backstory that I now get to incorporate through the threads of the previous parts. 

How To Get More Out Of Your Metaphors

sunset-2578549_1920

Metaphors are a powerful vehicle for sensory work and imagery in story-telling; particularly when working on science fiction, metaphors often make all the difference between an exciting read and a boring sludge.

For Example:

Interesting Story, But No Metaphor:

My sisters were horrible people. I sold them into the hands of the conquerors using the anonymous tip kiosk, and they have made me very rich. I’ve seen images of their children; my sisters, of course, don’t talk to me, but the Ilyemni are big on social media, and I have followed both of their mistresses there.

My oldest sister has four alien children now. She is pictured with the youngest on her master’s home profile, and I can tell they’ve had her surgically altered, to put extra space in her ribs and womb. I think they will plant seedlings for joined twins in her next, human twins. I’ve heard of the aliens doing such things on the news. I hope my sister dies when the babies are born.

And Now, With Metaphors:

My older sisters were a pestilent infection in my life; they tried to erase me, to make me into their mindless plaything. When I was old enough to register, I sold both my sisters into the hands of the fish-like conquerors. You have to be blood-related to offer human slaves on the live market; the pinprick of blood in the sealed registration kiosk drained my sisters’ poison from my veins.

One woman sold for reproductive work brings a high payout; two fertile humans made me very rich. The papers say you feel guilt; this was not the case with me. Every ounce of gold I use makes thick balm flow in my spirit. I’ve seen images of my two sisters’ monstrous children; my sisters, of course, can’t talk to me, as their tongues are gone and their eyes branded, but the Ilyemni masters are big on social media, and I have followed both of my sisters’ mistresses there.

My oldest sister has four alien babies now. She is pictured with the youngest creature on her master’s home profile, and I can see by the ballooning in her skin that they’ve had her surgically altered, to put extra space in her ribs and womb. I think they will plant seedlings for joined twins in her next, human twins. I’ve heard of the aliens growing exotic playthings in their slaves, after they’ve obtained the desired number of their own children. I hope my sister dies when the babies are born.

What Have I Learned Today?

Sprinkling metaphors through your prose can add impactful imagery, strong sensory grounding, and detailed interest to a story. As an added bonus, writing metaphors is fun.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books have a lot of metaphors. Rose is napping on my feet (and purring).

The 7 Qualities Of Energetically-Whole Writing

cat-2273598_1280

I first realized that I could see auras when I was sitting in a darkened theatre on my university campus, studying the seniors performing their auditions final. I see movement of the energy field around bodies. If I concentrate, I can recreate within myself the sensation of being anyone else, as long as I have a picture or video (or real-life interaction) to work from.

Quality 1: The Writing Moves Forward At Or Above The Pace Of A Human Heartbeat

A lot of the time, it sort of looks like I can read minds.

There I was, watching Geoffrey perform monologues back-to-back. All the students in the class had to compile and then perform contrasting pieces from different eras and styles, and then they had to sing a funny song and a sad song.

Quality 2: An Inner Lining Of Burning Integrity In The Writing Cleanses, Or Scrubs, The Upper Layers In The Reader’s Energy Field

Geoffrey was singing the prince’s letter from Aida when things started to click into place for me; I could literally see, traveling through his body, flares of bright, animating energy. What is more, I could see when and where those flares were diverted and blocked by muscular tension around his solar plexus and in his arms.

Quality 3: A Steady, Rhythmic Diet Of Intensely Intimate Moments In The Writing Draws The Reader’s Trauma To The Surface Of The Body

Actors (well, all human beings) compensate for blocked impulses by creating facsimile emotions in many different ways–by raising their eyebrows, by thrusting out their jaws, by holding their breath, or by puffing up different parts of their major muscle groups (Geoff pulled back his shoulders and engorged his pectoral muscles when he felt exposed or vulnerable.)

Quality 4: A Consistent, Internally-Sound Moral Framework And Worldview Is Gradually Revealed Within The World Of The Writing

What does energy reading have to do with fiction? Soon after I finished high school, and about the time I started studying acting in university, it occurred to me that I was being overwhelmingly affected by the books that I read.

Quality 5: Deeper Traumas In The Reader Are Assigned Symbolic Meaning Within The Writing, And Isolated From The Main Personality Of The Reader (Which Is Bonded To A Pure Main Character)

Previous to this, I read pretty much anything. It was not uncommon for me to get through eight or more books in a week, depending on when I went to the library. As my energy-perception skills grew, I found that some books–Dante’s writing is notable here, as well as Mamet’s plays–degraded my own spiritual elements with unbearable toxicity. Some books were poisoning me.

Quality 6: The Symbols In The Writing Which Are Attached To The Deep Traumas In The Reader Are Systematically Cut Away And Destroyed Entirely, Thereby Purging The Damaged Energy From The Reader’s Energy Field

It took me a while to believe that this was happening. I stopped reading anything that slowed my own energy cycles (I have advanced internal machinery–one of the perks of being sensitive to impulse chains). When I stopped reading toxic fiction, I found that there were other books, not many, that enhanced my internal experience (Shakespeare and PG Wodehouse are the most notable examples of this).

Quality 7: Once The Energy Field Is Cleared Of Severe Trauma, New Energy Structures Are Constructed In The Reader By Symbolic Triumphs And Culminating Relationships Of The Bonded Main Character

I started reading more carefully, and as I continued to write, I began to experiment. I asked myself if I could alter another person’s energy through a written medium. I had, by this point, become remarkably adept at altering the sub-structures of other people’s energy fields in real time.

These 7 Qualities Are Incorporated Into Every Energetically-Whole Piece Of Writing

You see, I found that I could change people enormously while I was near them; I could, in fact, loan out massive amounts of my own cultivated energy, and then take it back after a time. I experimented twice with more permanent loans; these were disastrous, and I took my energy back.

 

A Convenient Summation

To sum up, the seven qualities of energetically-whole fiction are:

  1. The pace moves at or slightly above the speed of a human heartbeat.
  2. An inner layer of burning integrity from the author scrubs the upper layer of the reader’s energy field.
  3. The reader’s internalized trauma is pulled to the surface by rhythmically-spaced moments of intense vulnerability in the writing.
  4. An internally-sound moral ideology is gradually revealed through the world of the writing.
  5. Trauma in the reader is assigned symbolic meaning within the writing, and isolated from the main personality of the reader (which is simultaneously bonded to a main character).
  6. The reader’s trauma is cleansed as the bonded symbols are systematically and thoroughly eliminated in the fiction.
  7. New, constructive energy fields are built in the reader by symbolic triumphs or relational climaxes on the part of the bonded main character.

You’ve been reading Victor Poole. All seven of these qualities are incorporated into this series, which will cleanse and rebuild your energy field. Climate specialists probably think that reading Caleb on Mondays will probably save the rainforest.

People Say You Should Write What You Know. Is It True?

Don’t write what you know. Write towards what you need to find out. This will both fuel your desire to write, and imbue your storytelling with urgency, meaning, and passion.

What Do You Mean?

Writing what you know, in my case, would involve me writing a lot of really boring, dark fiction where nothing ever happens and there is a lot of whining. I don’t want to write this kind of material, because I am already living my reality.

What Are You Writing, Then?

I want to have a great deal of money. I want to have power over my life, and I want to stop being haunted by demons that I don’t understand.

Oooh, Demons?

Unless you are perfectly balanced, content, and happy in every relationship in your life, you probably are a little like me–or I’m like you. Unbalanced, and sometimes miserable (I’m getting less so all the time, because of writing this way.)

Writing What Way?

Towards what you need to know. Here is an example: I am very tired, almost all of the time, and I have a hard time falling asleep. After much study and meditation, I have come to the conclusion that I have several repressed traumas that are haunting me. Bad memories, if you will. Everyone has them. Very few people deal with them. I am dealing with mine, slowly, with writing.

Are Your Books Full Of Bad Memories?

No, they are whole stories. I do a lot of free-writing aside from my fiction work. Working through my bad memories with what amounts to journaling is allowing me to process my lived experience and continue to write strong, impactful fiction.

Are You Going To Tell Me How To Do It?

Inside of you is an amorphous cloud of pain that is driving a lot of your emotional life, and thereby controlling many of your actions. To write stronger fiction, take a few minutes, like, say, eleven, and write down anything that comes to mind when you place your consciousness into this painful area of your soul. After you have done this, go to your work-in-progress, and jot down a few words–fifteen words would do.

Fifteen Words Is Not A Lot, Victor

I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but what we are doing is priming the pump, as it were, of your natural creative capacity. When you successfully link your repressed bad memories into a fiction format, your body will become able to dream consciously–you will, essentially, be writing stories that transform bad feelings into deeply symbolic and coherent stories.

Don’t Write What You Know; Write Towards What You Need To Know

If this idea sounds interesting to you, know that my fantasy series is a cleverly-disguised creativity course that will transform the way you think about your pain. Start at book one, and feel your pain and anger surge to the surface. But if I were you, I’d wait to pick up my books for a least a week, because I’m buying Vellum today, and the covers are getting a major face-lift as soon as my files are upgraded.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books, which are about to be updated (so don’t buy them today) are here. Monday is the day when Ajalia often dyes her hair, and straightens it, so that she can maintain her status as look-alike to her master, Kedar.

How To Make The Move From Simple Storyteller To Complex Literature-Maker Today

Use metaphors and symbols to deepen your writing today

Literature is heightened storytelling; established writing of this kind utilizes sophisticated rhetorical devices to create a tapestry of words that not only conveys story, but also reinforces the meaning of life, and imparts a coherent philosophy.

When you change from a teller of tales to a maker of literature, your work and your readers dive to a deeper level. You become an artist, and your words take on significant weight. You start to edge into the big leagues.

Moving from storytelling to literature-making is surprisingly simple, once you begin to think in terms of symbol and extended metaphor. To begin with, let’s define our terms.

Symbol And Metaphor

A metaphor is an item or a description that creates an echo, or a comparison, for a scenario unfolding in the wider story. In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the repressed priest is in his secret alchemy-studying office, and a spider on the window sucks the life out of an innocent fly. The scene functions as foreshadowing for how the priest is about to descend upon the gypsy, Esmerelda. The spider, its web, and the fly form an extended metaphor for the priest and the situation that follows.

A symbol is an item that represents something more than itself. In Cyrano de Bergerac, the white plume of de Guiche becomes a symbol of Cyrano’s integrity and his unstained honor. The plume functions most powerfully when de Guiche abandons it in the battlefield in order to escape death or capture, and Cyrano goes back over the open ground and picks up the officer’s scarf, bearing it back to the fortifications unscathed.

A symbol is fixed, and a metaphor is often momentary.

But That’s Classical Literature, Not Science Fiction Or Fantasy

Great fiction, especially great science fiction and fantasy, borrows functional devices from established literature. The stronger the use of metaphor and symbol, the more lasting an impression your genre writing leaves behind.

If you ever took a course where you deconstructed an array of literary devices, you may have gotten the impression that writing serious fiction is fraught with complication, and likely involves a copious amount of note-taking, meditation, and studious straining for super-impressive exhibitionism with words.

Well, It Is, Isn’t It?

Not according to me, it isn’t.

What Do You Know About Writing Serious Literature?

Here, I’ll prove it to you. Let’s look at an example. I’ll write a simple story, and then I’ll write it again and insert an easy metaphor. You will be able to see for yourself how the writing takes on an insta-glow of importance and weight.

Today’s Example

Simple Story:

Sorsha had never been impregnated before, but the procedure was painless, and her body, for a long time afterwards, felt just the same as it ever had. She was not due for relocation until the sixth month of gestation, and she went about her days in a fog. That she was about to be sold and processed as a surrogate, a contractual item owned by a wealthy Drivage family, and that her sole purpose in the future would be to bear and nurse children for the alien beings, made no deep impression on her mind. It did not feel real to Sorsha, and she continued to scrub floors and read the evening news with a quiet focus that impressed her neighbors deeply.

“Sorsha is so brave,” the next-door wife murmured to her husband on the day after the midpoint procedure was completed. Sorsha’s fate was an open secret in the metropolis; she had come up in the national poll, and each family in her building enjoyed a glow of instant fame and glory, because of their near association with the chosen one.

And Now, With A Metaphor:

Sorsha kept a potted plant in her bedroom window, and the morning sun made the broad leaves translucent. An echo of the leaves, a shining green shadow, shone over her dresser on the morning she went into the government lab.

Sorsha had never been impregnated before, but the procedure was painless, and her body, for a long time afterwards, felt just the same as it ever had. She was not due for relocation until the sixth month of gestation, and she went about her days in a fog. That she was about to be sold and processed as a surrogate, a contractual item owned by a wealthy Drivage family, and that her sole purpose in the future would be to bear and nurse children for the alien beings, made no deep impression on her mind. It did not feel real to Sorsha, and she continued to scrub floors and read the evening news beside her potted plant with a quiet focus that impressed her neighbors deeply.

“Sorsha is so brave,” the next-door wife murmured to her husband on the day after the midpoint procedure was completed. Sorsha’s fate was an open secret in the metropolis; she had come up in the national poll, and each family in her building enjoyed a glow of instant fame and glory, because of their near association with the chosen one.

As the reptilian infant swelled slowly within Sorsha’s body, her potted plant began, despite her scrupulous care, to wither. The leaves, once green and firm, shrank into curls of brown, and on the morning the aliens were due to arrive for collection, the last leaf broke away from the stem, and drifted noiselessly to the floor. Sorsha watched the dead thing, and she pressed her palm to the plump rise of her abdomen.

Using Literary Tools Is Easy

In the above example, we have a climbing plant as a metaphor for Sorsha’s free life. As her independent “I can do what I like” status visibly diminishes with the growth of her implanted child, the formerly-healthy plant dies.

Any object can become a metaphor. As we continue Sorsha’s story, we can easily extend the metaphor by establishing a new, alien potted piece of fauna in her new home, and if, in the course of the story, she begins to regain her freedom and powers of volition, the alien plant will begin to thrive and flower.

What About Symbols?

A symbol, essentially, is a fixed metaphor. If Sorsha picked up her dead potted plant, and brought it on board the alien ship with her (they would confiscate it, and in the struggle, she would grab hold of a shard of the broken pot, and a smidgen of dead leaf), the pot piece would become, to Sorsha, an emblem of her previous life, and a symbol of Earth. She could carry the shard with her, and when/if she gains a happy ending, she could incorporate the shard into her costume or living space. The potted plant would, in this case, upgrade from a metaphor to an established symbol.

That’s All For Today!

If there are things in your story, as in, props, plants, pets, or weather, you can use them as metaphors. Establishing symbols and metaphors can be easy and fun, and you can deepen the impact of your writing with them.

You’ve been reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here. Tuesday is a great day to start a new book!

Short Story: The Old Lady

The Old Lady

by Victor Poole

Once upon a time there was a lady called Gunhilda. The old lady had warts on her nose, and ugly, misshapen lumps in her temples, and poking up through her hair. She was ashamed of her lumps, and hid in her house from the time she was a child until she was quite an old woman. When she was grown tired of being alone, the old lady went to a doctor, and said, “Mr. Doctor, I want to get rid of these lumps on my face.”

The doctor looked at her, and then he laughed.

“Go and help other people become pure in their hearts. Show them the way to be happy, and then the bumps will shrink.” The lady paid the doctor, and went on her way.

She thought and she thought about how she was going to find a way to show others how to be happy. She first thought of teaching little children to sew, but when she went to watch the little girls at school, she found that she hated their noise. I could teach little boys how to be kind to their mothers, the lady thought, and she went into the first house that she found, and took hold of a little boy by the ear.

“You must treat your mother with kindness!” the lady said sharply to the boy, who shrieked, and kicked her. The lady began to shake the boy, but then his mother came in, and beat the lady with a broom stick.

The lady went to jail, because she had broken into a householder’s place, and hurt a child there. The honorable judge put the lady into prison for three months.

“If you bother anyone after this,” the judge warned her, “you will be banished from our city.”

“You can’t banish me,” the lady said to the judge. “My father was friends with many wealthy people.”

“You are not your father,” the judge told her.

The lady with the lumps on her face sat in the prison cell, and she tried to think of how she would impart happiness to the others in the prison. She looked at the three prisoners with whom she shared a cell; they were sitting as far away from her as they could get, and their faces were turned away.

“I am going to bring all of you into the way of happiness,” the old woman announced.

“She is speaking to you, I think,” one of the prisoners, a fat man, said to his neighbor.

“No, I was speaking to all three of you,” the old woman replied. “I have been instructed by my doctor to make you happy. Now you must listen.”

The fat man pressed against the bars of the prison, and screamed for the guard, who came running.

“Is there a fight?” the guard demanded.

“This woman, she will not stop harassing us!” the fat man said. The other two prisoners joined in, clamoring to be moved.

“Well, you are a frightening thing to see,” the guard told the old woman. “You had better come with me to solitary.”

“Thank you, thank you!” the other three prisoners cried, as the old woman and the guard went away together to an old shack of wood at the back of the prison. The shack was badly guarded, and the old woman noticed that it was outside the prison gates.

“Why will I be kept here?”

“This is where we take people when we hope they will die soon,” the guard told her. “The wolves come here sometimes, in the cold weather, and they have learned to break open the door to the shack.”

“This is not a prison! This is a nightmare!” she cried.

“You will stay here for three months, and if the wolves have not eaten you up by the end, you will be set free.” The guard shut the shack door in her face, and locked it. The old woman sat in the shack for some time, and then she had a new idea. I will bring civilization to the wolves, she thought. I will tame them, and then the people of the city will have to admit that I am a kindly woman. She thought the taming of the wolves would heal the big bumps on her face.

The old lady sat, and ate the gruel, day by day, that the guard brought her. She became filthy very quickly, because she was anxious not to miss the wolves when they came, and she refused to leave the shack when they came to bring her to the main prison to relieve herself. She was soon covered in her own filth, and the guards started to feed her with a very long pole. Soon even this was not enough, and the people of the city demanded that the shack be disposed of.

“How can we get rid of the shack, when there is a prisoner inside who will not come out?” the city fathers demanded.

“Move the whole piece of land, then,” the people cried. “Only get her stench away from us.”

The head guard came to speak to the woman; he used a large horn, so as to stay as far away from the stinking shack as possible.

“You must come out and bathe yourself,” he shouted.

“I am going to be eaten by the wolves,” the old lady cried back. The wolves had come sniffing on the first day, but the old lady smelled so old that they had run away.

The city fathers could not think of what to do with her. They could not convince her to come out of the shack, and no one would go near enough to carry her out.

“We should have gotten her out in the beginning,” the guard told the director of the prison.

“How were we to know she would shit herself like this?” the director snapped.

Finally, the guards, the prisoners, and the townspeople all decided to move. They left in a body, united in their abhorrence for the hideous smell of the old woman. They moved to another valley, far away, and started a new colony.

The old woman, after she had gotten very hungry and thirsty, stood up on shaking legs. She was very weak, because it had been days since the last pole of food had been thrust at her, and her water had run out. She had been sitting in a heap of her own filth, and her skin was coated so that she seemed made of muck.

She was shaking when she came out of the shack. The lady found, when she came into the fresh air, that it was not pleasant to be so dirty, and she began looking for some way to clean her flesh. She stumbled through the town until she came to a pond. She waded into the deep water of the pond, and submerged her whole body.

The streets were empty, and the houses were empty as well. The lady, at first, thought that everyone had gone to some kind of market festival. She went to the mayor’s house, and took up the nicest dresses she could find. She clothed herself in finery, and sat in the mayor’s own chair.

I am the king of this village now, she thought, and the wolves came back. One of the birds had flown over the empty shack, and then the bird had gone and found a squirrel, and the squirrel went and found one of the baby wolves, and told it to tell its mother that the lady who sat in filth no longer smelled like a decaying thing. The cub wolf told this to its mother, and the pack of wolves, which was very hungry, turned around, and ran towards the town.

The wolves came, and they ate the old woman up. The wolves got very sick, because she was so sour, and the whole pack of them died. Shortly thereafter, God looked upon the town, because he had enjoyed the howling of those wolves, and he missed their voices after they never sang to him anymore. When God looked down and saw the eaten corpse, and the dead wolves, he was furious, and he sent a big rock down to decimate the town. The whole continent turned into a desert, and the old lady’s remains were obliterated forever.

God went into hell, and found her soul there.

“You have killed some of my wolves,” God told her. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“It is not my fault that some wolves ate me up,” the old lady replied, for she had no respect for God, and God looked at her, and then went away and found his chief architect.

“Who has made this woman?” God demanded. “I did not make her. Where did she come from?”

The chief architect blushed, and murmured something incoherent.

“I could not hear you,” God said. “Explain yourself.”

“I said that we do not know where she has come from,” the architect said.

“Who is running demons these days?” God demanded. Again, his chief architect blushed, and murmured a name. “Call him before me,” God commanded, and the architect ran away.

“Explain this monstrosity,” God demanded, pointing down towards hell, when the beast Chaos was before him.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Chaos said. “She isn’t one of mine.”

“My architect says she is,” God said.

“Well, he’s wrong,” Chaos replied stubbornly.

“Go and find out who made her,” God said.

Sometime later, the hosts of hell appeared at the gates of heaven.

“We want to reform our souls!” the hosts of hell called out in one voice. One of Beezlebub’s favorite lieutenants, who had quit his post with the others, was leading the rebellious factions of hell.

“You can’t come up here, you have your own place,” Gabriel shouted down.

“But we want to learn to be like you people,” the lieutenant shouted back. “There’s a monster down there, with lumps on her face. She stinks. We want to repent.”

“I’ll have to talk to God about this,” Gabriel shouted back. The lieutenant nodded agreeably, and the hosts of hell made orderly camps outside the gates of heaven, and began to sing hymns with reasonable reverence.

“They’re out there, singing, and being kind to each other,” Gabriel said to God. “They say they want to repent, and join up.”

“Put them through the trial stages of purgatory, and see how they do,” God suggested. Gabriel nodded, and called together the heavenly host. The hosts of hell passed through the tests in short order, and began to be assimilated into the heavenly order.

“This is going remarkably well,” the chief architect told God, who shrugged.

“You know,” God said, “people do tend to unite against a common enemy.”

“And you don’t know where she came from, or what she is?” the architect asked. God made no answer to this, but when the architect had gone, God went into his wife’s boudoir, and picked up her favorite hairbrush.

“How is my project working out?” God’s wife asked. God put the brush through her long, silvery hair, and sighed.

“The hosts of hell have integrated successfully into heaven,” he admitted.

“Good,” his wife said. “Soon it will be time for us to take that honeymoon you’ve been promising me for the last eight millennia.”

“I wish you would have spoken to me before you made her,” God said, looking solemn. “All my people were quite in a tizzy trying to find out where she came from.”

“Yes, that was the idea,” his wife said. “Now, do you think I ought to bring my blue dress or my green?”

“Both, of course,” God said. “But we are supposed to work together on this kind of large-scale project, don’t you think?”

“Yes, dear,” his wife said soothingly. God laughed, and put the hairbrush down on the dresser.

“My archangels are going to be gossiping about you managing me, when they all find out what she really is,” God said.

“Oh, I think they will be all right,” his wife said. She had a twinkle in her eye. “Has she taken charge of hell yet?”

“No,” God said. “I’ll go and see her tomorrow.”

God went and met the old lady at the great crimson gates of hell.

“Where have all the people gone?” she demanded.

“Well,” God said. The lady’s face was filled with fleshy boils.

“I came here expecting to meet all sorts of people,” the old lady said. “I thought I would finally be able to get a handle on my boils. The doctor in my town, you know, he told me that if I brought other people into the light of happiness and truth, my boils would lessen.”

“Did he, now?” God asked.

“Yes, he did,” she said firmly. “Now, you’re God, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” God said.

“Why can’t you do anything about my skin?” she demanded. “You have got to have some kind of power you can use to make them go away, or make them smaller.”

“I don’t like you,” God explained kindly. “I don’t help people that I don’t like. I hardly help people at all, you see. My job is to create order in the fabric of the universe. I don’t actually work on many of the details.”

“That is wrong,” the old lady said. “I will teach you to be a better God than that. First, you must learn to help people who need it. I help everyone that I meet.” A pair of new lumps sprang up, fully-formed, on her cheeks, and God winced.

“Listen, I am going away with my wife,” God said. “I was wondering, since you’re here, would you mind taking charge of hell for me?”

The lady’s eyes sparkled.

“Do you mean it?” she asked. The two boils that had grown on her cheeks shrank, just a tiny bit.

“Yes,” God said. He noticed, though he did not say anything, that the old lady’s skin brightened a touch.

“Isn’t there a devil for that sort of thing?” she demanded, her eyes sparkling.

“Well, you know,” God said, “there is a little problem here of inefficiency.”

“Say no more,” the lady said, in business-like fashion. “I will take care of everything. You just send any erring souls my way, and I will show them a rough time. I know perfectly well what is best for sinners, you wait and see.”

God smiled, and nodded.

“So kind and obliging of you to help me out,” he murmured. The old lady raised a hand sharply.

“No, don’t thank me,” she said, and another long chain of boils lessened into tiny freckles, and vanished. One stretch of her cheeks was now positively smooth and lump-free. “I understand the need for order in a fallen universe. Mind, if you’d been watching your post properly, there’d be no fallenness to begin with, but it isn’t my place to tell you how to be God. I’ll just be down in hell, sweeping up now,” she added, and God saw that she was positively bristling with eagerness to get down to work.

“Well, I really appreciate your willingness to pitch in,” God said.

“It is no trouble at all,” she said, and she nodded sharply to God. “Nice seeing you, sir,” she said.

God waved, and chuckled as he watched the old woman, whose face was rapidly smoothing, bundle herself down the streets into the depths of hell.

God pushed the crimson gates closed, and locked them fast. He went up to find his wife, who was fussing over the last details of her packing.

“How did it go?” she asked, when God came in.

“Quite well,” he said. “She’s got the idea that she’ll clean hell up once and for all.”

“Excellent,” his wife said. “Go ahead and get the prophets dreaming of her. They’ll spread the news to all the people on Earth, and we will have no more sinners at all.”

“Excellent,” God said, and he went and took hold of his wife’s hand. “It was really brilliant of you, to clothe pure efficiency up as a mortal woman.”

“Oh, you would have thought of it sometime,” God’s wife said. “I’m nearly ready to go on our honeymoon.”

“Yes, dear,” God said, and he went to find his favorite sunglasses.

You’re reading a blog about writing by Victor Poole. My books are here.