Shaman Story Chapter X – Healing

Read Shaman Story Chapter X – Little Girl Lost.


Shaman Story Chapter X – Healing

 
A woman comes on a hot August night. Grandpa and I sit on the frontporch watching traffic and sipping steaming hot espressos. She carries a boy in blue shorts, white shirt, blue three button jacket, knotted blue tie and topped with a blue hat. Her dark, mid-calf skits seem heavy in this heat. Her walk and clothing tell me she’s not from our neighborhood or any other I know. Her long, thick, black hair hangs loosely about her shoulders, not done up or held back with pins the Sicilian way. Her makeup is also thick and rich. A strap over her shoulder supports a large, beaded purse which hangs like some kind of bladder.

Grandpa smiles and nods as she walks past. She stops at our gate and opens it without asking, as if it’s her own.

On the porch her steps are so light the floor doesn’t creak and I can tell from the sound she wears expensive shoes.

Grandpa stands.

She talks in whispers and holds the boy out to Grandpa.

The boy is no older than me.

The woman puts him down. She pushes him at Grandpa.

Grandpa shakes his head and steers the boy back to the woman.

I come over and ask if the boy wants to play with me in the garden.

He pulls back into the woman’s skirts.

I Lower-Center-Relax-Breathe.

Grandpa puts his hand on my shoulder, a warning. I look up at him. He stares at me wide-eyed and shakes his head, no, pursing his lips.

Pain. Raw pain. Pain of an animal in a trap gnawing its own leg to be free.

I cry, my body, my bones, my joints on fire.

The boy.

Such pain. How can he stand?

Grandpa yells — it is the only time I hear him raise his voice in alarm — and pulls me back. His four-bodies come together, between me and the boy, falling like thunder.


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Heathcliff, the Pileated Woodpecker

About fifteen, twenty years ago I told Susan I heard a new bird in our area. I didn’t hear it often, maybe twice in as many months, but its call was so different from what I was familiar with it stood out.

Nobody else heard it.

I attempted an imitation.

Didn’t go over well.

The call grew more frequent. Also more obvious. Others heard it, not as often as I but few spend as much time in the wood as I unless they’re born to it or work it.

Some said it was this bird or that bird. I knew different.

Then one day the call became obvious to all. I did my thing, tuning my ears (like focusing your eyes on something) and sure enough, there was a new bird in our area.

Pileated woodpeckers are an invasive species where I live.

“Invasive species” mean they weren’t here before.

Kind of like Europeans on Turtle Island.

Or man crossing Beringia.

Or hominids out of Africa.

Invasive Species. Kind’a depends on who was there first, doesn’t it?

 

World-Building – Language

There are three basic questions when considering language in world-building:

  • Does language play any role in your world?
  • Does everyone speak the same language, or is there a variety?
  • Do you need to invent any slang or terminology as part of the world-building process?

Here I paraphrase Aristotle’s Poetics, “Avoid neologisms unless introducing some new term/word/phrase is crucial to the plot; use jargon only to move the story along.”

Do you need to invent any slang or terminology as part if the world-building process?
The Augmented Man uses lots of military, biologic, and psychologic jargon, little of which is invented. One first reader asked me “Am I suppose to understand this stuff?” to which I answered, “If that stuff was replaced with something like ‘Oh, and we did lots of biologic and psychologic stuff to them’ would you have accepted Trailer could do what he could do?”
“No. Probably not.”
“More to the point, did you believe Donaldson (the character using most of the jargon) was an authority on what he talked about?”
“Definitely.”

Long story short, I could have reduced the jargon and it would have weakened the story and that brings us back to Aristotle’s Poetics; The jargon is crucial to the plot because it adds credibility to the story.

All cards on the table moment: Some reviewers comment they had to look up some terms. Lots of readers comment on the jargon. So far all of them kept reading despite the jargon. This poses and interesting problem to me:

  1. I could explain the jargon in greater detail so readers don’t have to look things up.
  2. I could use less jargon.
  3. I could include a glossary.

I have issues with each solution (and am open to suggestions).


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Relatability

To me, the key to keeping readers focused on your story is relatability (yes, I know. If you’re reading my world-building posts, you’re shocked). A story is relatable when the reader can imagine themselves in the story, meaning the reader accepts what happens in the story as something that could happen to them, meaning it’s familiar, and that brings us back to grounding the unfamiliar in the familiar.

At this point, we revert to basic psychology; How do people relate to things? Turns out there are four basic ways:

  1. they’re familiar with a place (Setting)
  2. they’re familiar with what’s happening (Plot)
  3. they’re familiar with the people involved (Character)
  4. they’re familiar with what’s being said (Language)

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!

The Augmented Man Video Series Episode 7 – “Goddamn Sheep”

 
Episode 1 – “Good Run, Trailer?”
Episode 2 – “Massively Scarred”
Episode 3 – “Learn Chess, Yes”
Episode 4 – “To Feel”
Episode 5 – “Tell Me About Her”
Episode 6 – “Little Snitches”

Sabine Rossbach
Joseph Carrabis
The Augmented Man