Those three hisses

June 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

My weekend did not go as planned. I was getting ready for a vintage swing dancing ball at the Melbourne Town Hall, listening to big band music and checking the seams were straight in my stockings. But I kept creeping back to my computer, wanting to do just one more piece of research…and so I found myself with high heels in hand, feet tapping to the horns, as I bent over the screen and learned how to perform my own taxidermy on small rodents.

It’s a skill every woman should have, don’t you think?

My novel is waking me up at night, and after a long period of focusing on short stories, I couldn’t be happier about that. The protagonist, Clementine, works in the taxidermy department of a wunderkammer, and I’ve found myself increasingly fascinated by this intriguing industry. She has quite the obsession with cockroaches in particular – and you thought swing dancing was the strange part of this entry – and I’ve been jumping into my research with both feet.

photo source: infectiouslearning.tumblr.com

photo source: infectiouslearning.tumblr.com

So when I saw the bingo prompts in Bayou Magazine’s flash fiction competition, I couldn’t resist. Their beautifully creative prompt was a bingo card of twenty-five squares, from which writers could choose several to incorporate into a story of up to 300 words. And yes, one picture was a cockroach.

Did you know the Madagascan hissing cockroach has three types of hiss? Neither did I until I began to write my story, but if we were to meet for a whiskey, I’d now be able to show you all three. Yes, yes, I’ve been practising the hisses.

collins-bingo-option-1

My story, ‘The Disturbance Hiss’, is one of the three finalist stories in the competition. I’m especially pleased because Bayou is the wonderful literary journal of the University of New Orleans, a city I hold close to my heart.

My friends are pleased because maybe now I can stop practising the hisses.

Just wait until I tell them about the taxidermy lessons.

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2 Comments

  1. Martin C said,

    Cool….I’ll bet the neighbours get concerned when the local feline population starts dropping. :)…”…You want your cat back?, hmmm. Lets talk…”

    • inkymouth said,

      I’m afraid I’m only skilled in small rodents – I’ll have to work my way up to the fabulous felines 🙂

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