The account of a moth mother II

I wasn’t born in the woods to be afraid. I know some things to be sacred, like being loved by a Romanian woman.

My body is burning with the desire to see my sisters again. The absence of their scent is making my heart sore. The last time I saw my darlings it was on my mother’s birthday. The sky was light blue, emptied of clouds. Mother’s brown eyes were wide open with joy, contoured by black eyeliner. She cried charcoal tears when we started singing for her, and my sisters and I kissed her wet lashes and sat her down, to bless her. We made a crown of wildflowers plucked from her garden and put it on her head and gathered in a circle around her, chanting ‘Regină, fii binecuvântată, căci noi suntem deja avându-te pe tine.’ We flexed our backs as if we were metamorphosing into serpents, allowing her eyes to follow us and control us like a Medusa would do with her snakes. I wish I could be under her kind spell right now, but I’m comforted by the thought of my skeleton being fractured soon by her long-yearned-for hug.

When I see my mother and sisters again, I will say to them ‘You have no idea how empty the streets in this town are without Romanian iele bringing light into this still life.’

11 thoughts on “The account of a moth mother II

  1. I like the phase “charcoal tears”

    What does this mean? Regină, fii binecuvântată, căci noi suntem deja avându-te pe tine.’
    Why not translate in text, unless writing for Romanian audience? Are you asking a bit too much of readers by not translating? 🤔

    Could the mother’s birthday be a few centuries ago, to increase the pain and alienation factor?? 🤔

    Could something mystical happen when the daughters dance and kiss their mothers tears? Maybe she could see her daughter in future time trapped in a foreign land??

    Help me here, more foreign words and no explanation 😟 ‘You have no idea how empty the streets in this town are without Romanian iele bringing light into this still life.’

    Maybe more rigourous than you wanted??

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    • To my shame, I haven’t read that story yet. I will, and I’ll have a think about what you said. I’ll definitely write more about insects, that’s for sure.

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  2. Thank you again for taking the time to read my tale! I’ll answer in order:

    That Romanian phrase means ‘Queen, be blessed because we already are for having you.’ My intention wasn’t to ask too much from the reader (although I have Romanian readers as well), but to challenge, slightly. It’s a thing I’ve seen other writers doing, and something that a few editors have suggested to me in the past. I must confess I don’t do it often, but I hope it made you feel interested, curious, rather than overwhelmed.

    Regarding the questions about the mother’s birthday or the daughters having some kind of visions – I don’t actually have the answers. These fragments you’ve read are sketches that have come to life as a result of experimenting with language. I’ve been studying Experimental and Innovation in context at the university, and my final project is on the subject. Lydia Davis and Shirley Jackson are highly influential to me – Davis with her short streams of consciousness that have no plot, no beginning or end (she was masterful at breaking the norms); Jackson for creating such exceptional small worlds in a style that moves from reality to deliberate nonsense in a heartbeat. It goes without saying that I have so much to learn about my own style and I’m pleased to experiment with words more and more. There’s a lot to say on the subject, but I’ll make sure to expand in time.

    The ‘Iele’ are magical creatures, mystical women who have supernatural characteristics. There are several legends about them in Romania, and as far as I’m aware, in Bulgaria as well. Here’s an interesting article about them, if you’re curious https://rolandia.eu/en/blog/romanian-myths-legends/iele-the-ladies-of-the-woods

    Rigorous – interesting. I’ve been more rigorous in the past, but I tamed that style a bit. I guess this is borrowed from great names like Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, George Bacovia (a great surrealist Romanian poet) and many others. It’s a conscious choice to create a bit of confusion, to make the reader focus more on the language itself rather than on what’s going on.

    I hope my long reply will bring some clarity. Take care!

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    • Oh, plenty, and amazing ones, including Kafka, but I haven’t read the story you’re talking about yet. I must, I know!

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      • Metamorphosis is a story in which a man suffers a terrible and inexplicable misfortune, is reduced to an abject and alien state, then is made to suffer doubly by the attitude of his ostensible loved ones, who make clear they would be better off without him – a verdict that he, with a passivity that seems culpable, accepts. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/18/franz-kafka-metamorphosis-100-thoughts-100-years#maincontent

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      • Thank you! I think my partner has a copy of it, and I will read it this weekend. Speaking of metamorphosis, have you ever read Camilla Grudova? Her debut collection is called ‘The Doll’s Alphabet’ and it’s simply wonderful. Her characters suffer many transformations, and although visceral and dark, her style is incredibly imaginative and intense. However, her stories aren’t very liniar and clear, but rather surrealist. If you don’t mind the uncertainty of things, perhaps give it a try.

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  3. Experimental and Innovation – and “a conscious choice to create a bit of confusion, to make the reader focus more on the language itself rather than on what’s going on…” Textual and conceptual forms would be something I have never much considered.

    I never finished secondary school. My last year’s diploma cerebral processes were (comparatively gentle) intellectual exercises! I guess this is where autodidacts like me quietly leave the room:)

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  4. and lastly, “Davis with her short streams of consciousness that have no plot, no beginning or end (she was masterful at breaking the norms); Jackson for creating such exceptional small worlds in a style that moves from reality to deliberate nonsense in a heartbeat.” All well and good and probably very serious. Sometime for similar but in a slap dash way, consider Richard Brautigan?? https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/sep/23/prose-poetry-brilliance-of-richard-brautigan “The more you read, the less there seem to be regulations and governing forces, ways of qualifying Brautigan. The mind of the author is simply too unbound, too childlike in its enormous, regenerative capacity to imagine.”

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