magical realism

When You See a Rock Coming, It Hurts Less

Getting ready to aquascape


For those of you who aren’t reefers, the backbone of most reef tanks is live rock.  Sounds crazy, I know.  Live rock (and sand) serves as the biological filter in a tank, it’s what coral reefs are formed from–basically the skeletons of long dead corals.  The rock itself isn’t live, but the beneficial bacteria and microscopic organisms that live in it are.  It’s also very expensive.  For this tank, I chose to go with reef rock that isn’t live, but “dry.” All those nooks and crannies in the rock are helpful, providing more surface area for the bacteria to colonize. It will take longer for the tank to cycle and be ready for livestock, but it’s a much more budget friendly option, and I will “seed” the dry rock with just a few pounds of live rock and many pounds of live sand.

I ordered 50 pounds of this rock, expected it to arrive today.  Surprise! It came a day early. My intercom phone rang yesterday, the guard telling me I should come get my package.  Of course this happened after my back was humming from doing a few loads of laundry, and right before I had to leave to pick the girl up from school.  The gloom and rain of the day just added that extra something. I assumed it was a small package, yanno, the two ounce heater, maybe the hose for siphoning water.  This guard is getting up there in years, and tends to get a little ummm, stressed, if you don’t come and take your packages right. now. I thought my back was humming after laundry? Bwahahaha!  I couldn’t even look at the fucking box to open it until this morning.  But now I have, and I had to immediately begin taking pictures because I’m a geek.

I spent last night and this morning thinking about the tank build and my writing.  Both are intense, bring me peace and joy and angst and tears.  Both endeavors I can and do lose hours in, often walking away feeling upside down and inside out. And I wondered, should I not have started this tank? I have people who seem to genuinely love my writing, several of whom have encouraged me to self publish.  I could have put the money I’m putting into the tank into self pubbing Astonishing.  Except it wouldn’t be enough.  I write, and I self-edit what I write, but I’m no editor.  I’m also not a graphic artist, able to design a book cover.  Nor a computer savvy gal, able to convert the file into something readable on Kindle or Nook. Nor a marketing expert, able to get it out there.  All things that need to happen if you’re going to self publish.  If I’m ever published, trade or self, I want it done well.

It’s funny.  Astonishing is magical realism, not a genre that’s popular or clearly defined in the adult market.  Seems like many have their own definition and expectations for it.  Maybe I should define it as written surrealism, instead of magical realism.  Or hyperrealism, based on responses I get in regards to my characters, based on those ordinary people we walk past every day, who are extraordinary in the impact they have on each of us, shaping our lives.  That’s what I love, whether I’m writing, reading, or reefing. Those small moments, how every creature–regardless of how many celled–affects every other around them, causing growth or a crash, it almost doesn’t matter.

Mrs Fringe Grows a Pair


If you’re a Fringeling, regular subscriber, or occasional reader, you know I have a completed novel looking for a home and champion, ASTONISHING.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to post Chapter One here on the blog.

This is the story where I’ve allowed myself to go the furthest with the concept of what-if.  It’s weird, the protagonist is an unreliable narrator, and if you’re looking for romance or happily-ever-after this ain’t your story.

It’s magical realism, my riff on what could happen if someone existed who was indeed a magnet for all the broken in our world–addicts, unmedicated and uncontrolled people with mental illness, those you don’t want to find across from you at the dinner table.  So we’ve got these broken who’ve been flocking to Christina, but she can’t help them.  Twenty-five years of this.  By now she’s more fucked up than they are.

If Christina feels familiar (or for those newer to Mrs Fringe who are interested) “Miserosion”–the story on the page labeled Fiction– takes place 25 years before Astonishing, introducing Christina.  Completely unnecessary to read to understand the novel, but it was a fun twist for me to write, and the original story idea that became the novel.