Tag Archives: possession

Writing News: Story Genesis

Well, Happy New Year, everyone. I’ve been a bit slow out of the gate and just a little busy. I’ve mentioned before that I’m co-editing Tesseracts 17. Eventually I’ll post some demographics here such as how many submissions from different regions, how many men and women, poetry to fiction, ghost stories, future SF, etc. etc. I’m working on another proposal with someone and there will be more news on that once everything is confirmed.

anthology, dark fiction, fantasy, horror, writing, publishing, Deep Cuts, Dean Drinkel

Demonologia Biblica, coming in February

In the meantime, stay tuned. I have three stories coming out in February:

  • “Red is the Color of My True Love’s Blood” in Deep Cuts, Evil Jester Press
  • “Tower of Strength” in Irony of Survival, Zharmae Publishing
  • “P is for Phartouche: The Blade” in Demonologia Biblica, Western Legends Publishing

“Tower of Strength” is an alternate history tale during Biblical times, and the other two are darker tales though “The Blade” has some redemption in it. “The Blade” came about originally from an exercise. Back when I was in an offshoot, sporadic and short-lived writing group we did an exercise to write about an inanimate object. I wrote a page or two about a blade.

 

books, fantasy, dark fiction, Michael Moorcock

The Elric books, from Ace, with the covers I loved.

This was inspired in part by Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone series that I read eons ago. I love the books (I think there were six but relatively slim tomes) about an albino lord of another world, elven or elven like, who was cursed to own a blade that demanded blood. When he pulled the sword, he was all-powerful but it demanded to be fed and took the lives of many. Elric was feared and had lost those he loved. He hated the blade but was tied inevitably to it, cursed to always carry it.

It’s been a long time since I read the Elric books but they stuck with me and I had a poster for years because I loved the art on the covers. But when I wrote the exercise from the blade’s point of view (whereas Elric was the viewpoint character), I stopped after those two pages because I had no idea what to do with it. It sat for quite a few years but I never throw out those half formed ideas. Then last fall I had an idea on how to finish the story, how to take that blade’s personality and make it so that it controlled the character, the inanimate animating the animate.

Then Dean Drinkel, editor for Demonologia Biblica sent me an invite. I met Dean at British Fantasy Con in 2011. The anthology is a collection of tales about demons from A-Z. What better way to describe a blade that possesses a personality and a taste for blood. So this tale while perhaps not a demon of flesh and blood, is about a demon that does possess flesh and blood. It fit well enough for the anthology it’s almost as if a demon laid in the idea for me to finish it, just before Dean contacted me. Fairly perfect timing. I’m sure this will be available online so stay tuned.

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What’s in a Name, and Changing It

Back around 1000 CE, surnames were not as common or set as they are now. Someone might just be known as John or Mary. If a second Mary showed up then you might be known as Mary of Kent, or Mary the weaver. John the smith or Liam of the potters’ field or Elizabeth from Gower got shortened in time to John Smith, Liam Pottersfield and Elizabeth Gower.

The taking of a surname started in the south and slowly spread north as cities and villages grew. The gentry were the first to take surnames and only around the 14th century did surnames become the norm for the common people.

When John Smith and Mary Kent married, she did not become Mary Smith but retained her name. Names became a little more standardized and were passed down in the family. No longer was there Erik son of Anders, and Bjorn son of Erik. They went through a transition of Erik Andersen and his son was Bjorn Eriksen. This is still done in the Scandinavian countries but I’m not sure if it changes per generation any more but there will be a Sigrid Eriksdottir and a Bjorn Eriksen, depending on your gender.

As far as English speaking, European culture went, the surnames stabilized. When John Smith and Mary Kent married, she did not become Mary Smith but retained her name, for a while. This was common practice but seems to have shifted somewhere between the 17th and 18th centuries, though it is hard to pin down when this change happened. There is some indication it was happening earlier. In  other cultures women may never change their names or take on hyphenated or other joined surnames.

Being that European culture of the time (and still) ran on a patrilineal system it’s no surprise. It’s been argued, but in most cases, it is a woman’s choice. In my mother’s era women were no longer entities of their own but became part of the man, Adam’s rib, so to speak, with marriage. Mary Kent became Mrs. Smith, but even moreso, she was Mrs. John Smith. No longer did she have a name or identity of her own. Mr. Smith remained the same, no matter if he was married, single or divorced. Miss Mary Kent advertised her availability with that honorific and that she belonged to someone when she took Mrs.

Because I believe so much in equality, I don’t think it’s right or fair that a woman always takes the man’s name. But “always” is not the way it is anymore. Rock stars, movie stars and doctors often keep their birth names, not changing when they marry. Married women might be Ms. now instead of Mrs.

The rules change in different countries and I was aghast to see that in England today (according to the website on name changes) a woman is still referred to as Mrs. John Smith as is “correct” and “traditional” according to the site. Because it’s tradition to have slavery, or to beat spouses or to throw out working TVs does not make it right. Traditions change. Some of the argument against keeping one’s birth name (if a woman) is because it will cause consternation, people won’t accept it and it will be difficult. In other words they’re saying, don’t rock the boat and be happy we let you vote.

I’m single but were I not I would not take my husband’s last name. I would keep my name or might consider hyphenating it. I know one couple that chose a brand new name for themselves and another couple that did the same but combined parts of their birth  names. But why should I change my identity and he assume that he doesn’t have to? Why do I have to become the posession of a man. I certainly would never ever become a Mrs. John Smith. I remember my mother and women of her era having trouble getting credit cards in their own names once they divorced, because the companies presumed they were with men and issued the cards in Mr. John Smith’s name.

In Canada, the rules change province by province. I believe certain human rights pertain across the country but what costs in name changes will change. In BC, each person can keep their birth name, the woman can take the man’s or the man can take the woman’s. Should they want to hyphenate or use both names, that becomes a legal change of name for which they must pay. But otherwise, they can keep their name or change to it at a later date, only paying those costs associated with getting new ID, like driver’s licenses or passports.

In Alberta, it’s mostly the same but I believe a man must pay if he changes his name to his wife’s. There is another example of something not being fair. It’s assumed a woman will change her name and a man will not. A woman doesn’t have to pay but a woman does. I just wonder when the world will see women as equal human beings. It happens in some places and in others, women have limited rights.

I’m not saying one shouldn’t change a name but I think each person should think before they do so: is it necessary? Why me? Why not him/her? Will my identity change? Do I have to belong to someone? Should we choose a completely new name? It goes on. I just think that people changing their names because “it’s always been done” is not reason enough.

Here is a thesis on the changing of women’s surnames.

http://www.bsu.edu/libraries/virtualpress/student/honorstheses/pdfs/C692_1991CoxDinaM.pdf

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