So… tentatively have new story, “Memorials” (temp title, as it’s suitable but not very striking), clocking in at 9k words or so. I was convinced it was completely broken, now I’m not so sure–let’s see what happens… (whatever happens with it, many thanks are owed to Tricia Sullivan for bombarding me with reasons to complete the story and push through my, er, not-so-pleasant thoughts about my worth as a writer etc.).
Cam finds Pham Thi Thanh Ha in her house, as she expected. By now, she doesn’t question the aunts’ knowledge or how they came by it. She does what she’s told to, an obedient daughter beholden to her elders, never raising a fuss or complaining–the shining example of filial piety extolled in the tales Thuy so painstakingly reconstitutes in her spare hours.
Thanh Ha is a big woman, who must tower over her extended family–though right now, her cheeks are hollowed with grief, and the black band of mourning on her sleeve seems to have sucked all joy from her. “Younger aunt… Cam.” She hesitates over the name, a subtle way to make it clear that Cam had better get to the purpose of her visit quickly. “Be welcome here.”
I’m slowly starting to clear my backlog of stuff, and am quite embarrassed to discover I completely dropped the ball on some stuff I owed. One of those days. Arg arg arg.
For a break, I think I’ll go write a silly little story (the operative word being “little”), and work on reviews of some fiction I’ve read (Tran-Nhut’s The Banquet of the Unicorn and Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s Sightseeing).
(on the plus side, I now know all the suitable pronouns in Vietnamese to address strangers, at least for the next 5 years or so–I now have no excuse to go practise when ordering food in restaurants…)