Author Archives: alanaicapria

November 28, 2014 – Excerpt

“Sometimes you fried things and when the frying oil splattered your bare skin, you closed your eyes and wished for it to happen again. You flicked water at the oil and then the oil flew up, sizzling on your arms, and you almost cried, almost but not quite, and your eyes watered but not enough moisture accumulated to drip down your face in a stream. You didn’t pick anything out of the oil. In fact, whatever breaded something it was that you tossed in, you left hovering at the bottom, the breading going from pale to golden to brown to black, then beyond, to completely scorched and saturated with grease. Smoke came out of the pot and it was strongly scented and its body filled the house so that when you breathed, you choked, but you were pleased with that choking because it meant something although you couldn’t be certain what.”

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I finished my NaNoWriMo novel on Tuesday (November 26) and am now 5,000 words into a new project. I still have to return to the NaNoWriMo novel and edit the manuscript but I wanted to make sure that I got some pages down in the new project so that I can make sure I know what direction the work is heading in. The writing feels more personal and I hope it becomes something I really like.

November 21, 2014 – “Wrapped in Red” released!

IMG_1108

20141121_180205

Tonight, my short story collection Wrapped in Red was released at the “Post Partum Party” exhibition opening in Brooklyn. If you want a copy, you can order the book at http://www.amazon.com/Wrapped-Red-Alana-I-Capria/dp/194023316X.

November 19, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 19

“The fourth floor is for anything snapped or cracked (broken ankles, broken ribs, broken skulls, broken arms and shoulders, broken necks, broken noses, broken wrists). The fifth floor is for growths (teratomas, tumors, lumps, sarcomas, carcinomas, fibroids, nodules, outgrowths, polyps, cysts again, excrescence). The sixth floor is unoccupied but keeps all the lights on regardless. The seventh floor is empty.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is 34,956.

November 18, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 18

“Like any good woman, I have a number of baby names picked out. None of them are suitable for my cyst. Untitled, I say and the nurses take turns slapping me across the face. My red cheeks bleed onto the hospital-grade pillow. Shameful, the nurses say. They shake their heads, back and forth, back and forth. I don’t blame the nurses for being upset with me. I’ve done the non-maternal thing. I’ve made a joke at the expense of my fertility.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is 32,524.

November 17, 2014 – Announcement

My 2015 Pushcart Prize nominated story “Excerpt from Chiaroscuro” is finally available in Crab Fat Magazine‘s issue 2.  The link is http://crabfatmagazine.com/2014/11/issue-2/. The piece is (obviously) part of a longer work and I’m really happy with it. So read and enjoy.

November 17, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 17

“I knew a man who peeled the skin halfway off his middle finger so that when he left fingerprints, the smudges were always abbreviated. He liked to make art installations from deli meat, until deli meat grew scarce in the neighborhood and he had to find the meat elsewhere.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is 29,443.

November 14, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 14

“There is nothing in my hotel room but the lines, an IV stand, and a heart monitor. If I unplug the monitor, a flatline alarm will sound and then pink-swathed nurses will come running with their fingers pushed deep into their ears. I unplugged the monitor three times last week, then stared at the nurses’ feet as they ran, thinking, Trip trip trip. None did. The nurses are graceful as ballerinas. They do a little dance around the hospital room, checking the monitors, taking my temperature, tucking blankets around my legs. I want to stick a leg out and watch them go flying into the IV stand but that wouldn’t be the polite and gracious thing to do.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is at 27,770.

November 13, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 13

“I keep crayons away from the children in case they shove the wax sticks into their eyes. Blue crayons (shade doesn’t matter so let’s just persist with arbitrary blue) make the children most prone to stabbing. They’re desperate to work the crayons into their eyes and noses. They have an aversion of red crayons and use them to stab holes in the playpen floor, deep tears that grow wider the longer the children weigh upon them. The children are not mine. I found them nestled at the back of a half-flooded basement, their fists clogging their mouths, eyes red, stomachs enflamed with infection. I reached for one child and its fist became a gaping mouth lined with snapping teeth. The child bit at me.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is at 25,769.

November 12, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 12

“There is a man who sounds like a fly when he speaks. His voice comes from the walls. It is trapped inside the plaster. I keep him up in my attic, hidden behind the eaves and wooden planks. He disturbs my sleep with his buzzing. I toss and turn with my face pressed hard against my pillow and when I swallow, the saliva is always so acidic that it burns. I feel a hole in my throat. I feel a hole so deep that it gapes inside my skin. I can fit a candlestick inside. I can fit a fork and knife. But the hole is plugged up, covered with hard mucus, packed up with calcified fat. I never open my mouth when I’m near him.”

 

NaNoWriMo word count is at 23,718.

November 12, 2014 – Announcements

  • My story “The Cells” was nominated by Vinyl Poetry for the 2014 Best of the Net.
  • My story “Excerpt from Chiaroscuro” was nominated by Crab Fat Literary Magazine for the 2015 Pushcart Prize. The story will be released in Crab Fat‘s new issue in a few days and I’ll post a link once the issue goes live.
  • On Friday, November 21, 2014, starting at 6pm, I’ll be at the Rhombus Space Art Gallery in Brooklyn for the opening of the “Post Partum Party” exhibition. My short story collection Wrapped in Red will be released at the event and I’ll be reading an excerpt from the book.

November 11, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 11

“I can throw him down the basement stairs and leave him to ferment near the boiler but the smell won’t stay contained for long. The neighbors will complain. Someone will peek through a window and see the meat accumulating at the foot of the stairs and I can’t explain away a red mass so large. I don’t know where I was yesterday. Here in the house. Maybe outside.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 22,0o1 words.

November 8, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 8

“You must have been so afraid, the officer said while clutching my fingers. I almost laughed. A pressure bubbled inside of me and I thought it would explode in a hideous display of hilarity. I bit my tongue to keep the laughter from pouring out. I looked the officer in the eye and gripped his hands tightly, feigning terror. I thought he would kill me, I said. The officer nodded and took his hands from mine. He rubbed his eyes wearily, then opened the folder. The man’s photo was on top of the documents tucked inside the file. I stared at his face and felt sad.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 17,029.

November 7, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 7

“He worked a screwdriver inside to loosen the enamel. I felt something in my mind do a form of chewing. My body was stuffed fat with teeth. There were teeth behind my nipples. There were teeth lost in the center of my throat. When I swallowed, the teeth were there to further blend the swallowed mess. I reached into the hole in my head and rubbed against a soft mass studded with sharp things. Those were the teeth. The teeth inside my head. I touched them. I split a finger upon them. I bled my finger into my head. When I blinked, my eyes went red from the blood running behind them. I pulled a single tooth from the mass and held it with both hands. Now the tooth fairy needs to come, I said.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 15,014 words.

November 6, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 6

“Most things broke when they struck the concrete. I had lost plenty of bones that way, the calcium chipped beyond repair (although it was always repaired but not enough to make it good as new) and so I limped at times (and depending on the weather) and slept through terrible aches arching up my wrists. It didn’t matter how I positioned myself on the ground. I could roll from side to side, then back down, and it didn’t matter. The pain was there. If I waggled my wrist, my bones felt like they were split. The man cradled the broken limbs against his chest, coddling them with his body heat, and sometimes, he licked them gently to soothe the discomfort. I’m sorry I hurt you, he always said.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 12,041 words. I’m probably going to write later on tonight so that number will inevitably change.

November 5, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 5

“She liked to hum Christmas carols while the man grabbed handfuls of her slightly pudgy belly. She hummed Jingle Bells and We Three Kings. I liked when she hummed Silent Night. The one time I hummed it along with her, she bit her tongue so hard the muscle nearly tore in half. She did it so quietly, without even squealing in pain, that the humming died in my throat, becoming more like a buzzing, and when I finally shut up, the girl looked at me with narrowed eyes and took up the humming again.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 11,126 words.

November 4, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 4

“In a past life, the man was a butcher. He worked in a refrigerated store, packing meat into containers, stacking it into display units. He piled meat on counters and left it in boxes. The man couldn’t get the smell of meat out of his nose. He sniffed and snorted but the meat smell was still there. It was a harsh stench. It was acidic. He went home to eat a steak and gagged at the brown-gray hunk on his plate. Every day, the man went into the land of meat and sniffed around. He jiggled the carcasses hanging from large meat hooks. He bumped against the many frozen slabs. His hands were bruised and bleeding from all the paper cuts he got from tearing sheets of waxed paper. Even worse, there were many times when he almost lost a finger.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 9,023 words.

November 3, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 3

“He chewed while I desperately whispered, Chicken corpse, chicken corpse. Sometimes the man offered me meat. He gave it to me on a spoon, the meat laid across the rounded edges, and then he tapped the spoon against my mouth. He wanted me to swallow and while I voided on his command, I couldn’t take that chicken into my mouth. All I could think of were chicken corpses. Chicken ghosts pecking at the ground. Chickens in the front yard, chickens in the attic, chickens roasting in the boiler. The house was filled with ghosts. All the dead women were still here even after their meat was scattered. Parts of them were left behind. The ghosts brushed against my hair gently while I slept.”

 

NaNoWriMo day 3 word count stands at 6,659. Sadly, something is wrong with the NaNoWriMo website so I can’t update my count. Oh well. Until tomorrow, friendlies.

November 2, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 2

“The man with a gray face enjoyed his protein with several tablespoons of oil and apple cider vinegar. He liked when his lips puckered involuntarily from the acidic sourness. The meat piled up so high that it pushed against the floorboards, warping them. He walked over small pitches and dips. Between boards, he saw directly into the meat. He saw brilliant ruby slabs, several rosy lines. The man with the gray face pushed his tongue between the boards and lapped at what he could find. He moved his tongue around his mouth in circles, catching his teeth, then sticking his tongue with splinters. The meat smell was so much that he thought his house looked directly into the back of a butcher’s shop.”

NaNoWriMo word count is at 4,635. And admittedly, day 2’s post is being posted at the start of day 3 but I didn’t get around to posting yesterday. But posting will continue normally starting today. May the novel gods be with you, friendlies. I’ll be back later today with day 3’s post.

November 1, 2014 – NaNoWriMo day 1

“She had a mouth that reeked of methamphetamine and sometimes, she and the man tried mixing drugs in the toilet but the lid always popped up. Hence, the fire. Someone added too much of one chemical and ended up with a Molotov cocktail. The best heroin injects were the most volatile. I picked through the apartment ruin and found high school chemistry classroom bunsen burners. I found beakers and glass stirrers. I found red fluid, blue fluid, and clear fluid. The goal was to mix the fluids just enough to get lavender. Purple a shade or two deeper would send an eggplant clot rushing straight into the heart.”

NaNoWriMo day 1 word count stands at 1,923 words.

October 31, 2014 – Excerpt (and Happy Halloween)

“I rest the back of my hand against father’s forehead and his face is warm with post-mortuary fever. I lift father’s eyelids and his eye whites are bright yellow, the same brilliant fulvous shade as the runoff streaming downhill into the town’s water supply. Charlotte Manson stomps her feet against the floor. Eat them, eat them, eat them, she shrieks and knocks over the only mirror in the room. The frame hits the side of the bed, balances against the post, then falls on, shattering facedown on the floor. Charlotte Manson mashes her feet against the mess, taking the shards into her shoes and grinding hard until blood drips out of gaps in the rubber soles. Eat the ones who made you, she says.”

Happy Halloween, friendlies! Midnight will see the start of National Novel Writing Month and 30 beautiful days of writing updates. Until the morning.

October 30, 2014 – Excerpt

“I walk to the top of the stairs, dotting the entirety of the staircase in a trembling strand of my redness, then retreat to the kitchen where the refrigerator door hangs off its hinges, the refrigerator light on inside, white light beams illuminating the last half-gallon jug of milk in the house. I uncap the gallon and tilt it to my lips. But the bottle misses and pours over the side of my neck and shoulder. The milk wets half my body. I sigh as it pours, as it puddles. It spills along the floor and dribbles towards the living room. The kitchen is thick with milk reek.”

One more day until National Novel Writing Month starts.

October 28, 2014 – Excerpt

“The houses weren’t always empty. There were bedrooms and families. There were television sets. There were computers. But then, father lost his job, then got lost. Mother kept burning dinner every night. The roasted chickens jumped off the tables and strolled away. The children went feral, biting holes into their arms, then licking the wounds clean with mouths rimmed with mold. The houses were vacated quickly, families scrabbling down the walkways, leaving the front doors wide open. A mass exodus flooded the streets. For hours, days, the bodies passed and fell, crawled and struggled. Eventually, everything was emptied. The houses yawned and darkened. The plaster peeled. The aluminum burned down, victim of half-exhausted matches tossed carelessly onto sloping roofs. Time and rain put the fires out. Eventually, there was nothing left to burn.”

October 24, 2014 – Come Monday…

Posting has been limited on the site this week for a very good reason. I’m not writing. It’s not because I have nothing to write or don’t want to write. It’s because I finished my latest project on Monday and am now editing the writing. I’m almost at the half-way point and I have the whole weekend ahead of me so if I’m not done by Sunday night, I’ve got some problems. And beginning Monday, I want to get back to writing. Plus, I need to make sure that I’m done editing so that I can figure out what I’m going to start working on for National Novel Writing Month, which begins next Saturday. Another glorious month of deadline-driven novel writing. It’s like Christmas came early. I guess, in a way, Christmas did come early this year. Last week, while I was teaching, my husband ran out to Barnes and Noble to pick up my copy of 300,000,000 by Blake Butler. It was the book’s release day and I had reserved a copy in the morning so that little beauty was waiting for me when I got home. Then I went back to Barnes and Noble the other day and got a copy of Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs. I was also looking for a few more books but got discouraged when the computer system lied about the availability of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (they did have a copy of The Rum Diary) and went home with the one novel and then two books about theoretical Physics and Universal Hypotheses. I have varied tastes, people.

Tuesday of this week, I traveled deep into Northwest Jersey to attend a brief funeral service for my family’s dog. We had our little dachshund friend for over 16 years but he got very sick and was put down so that he wouldn’t suffer anymore. So Tuesday was just a weird day. It was rainy and miserably, the area we were in was hideously rural (this is coming from someone who has been able to look outside at any given time for the majority of her life and see some glimpse of the New York City skyline), and the funeral was just weird. We saw part of the cremation process and when the cremation technician opened the crematory oven, it roared like a furnace. That sound is stuck in my head now. We had to wait a few hours to pick up the ashes so we found this historical village to wander through. It was what I imagine the Village of the Damned looking like. There was barely anyone around and out of all the stores advertised, only two or three were open. There was a church in the center of the shopping area that was peeling with disrepair and when my family and I went to the only little restaurant on the property, we were immediately greeted by a giant spider hanging beside the door. I ate the most atrocious meal of my life: mozzarella sticks and jalapeño poppers and fried potato skins. I chose to eat all that fried muck because I figured that because the place’s fresh vegetables probably couldn’t be trusted and at least frying the hell out of everything would reduce any chances of food poisoning. At one point, my sister asked what I would do if we encountered a little ghost child “like in one of the Nancy Drew books you used to read” (my sister knows me too well). It seemed very likely that the area was haunted. It was all so run-down and old. In the middle of the shopping center was a pond/fountain. The water was covered with pond scum so thick, it seemed like grass. My sister and I spent a good amount of time heaving rocks into the pond to watch the pond scum separate, then come back together. I’ve included a picture below. You will see a surface of greenery. Do not be fooled. That greenery is not solid. It is water. If you were to step on it, you would fall in and get pond scum all over you (and possibly drown—don’t drown, people).

IMG_1028

 

And that friends, leads me to today, where I am trying to get through editing as quickly (and carefully) as possible because I’ve been accumulating thoughts and observations over the course of the last few days and I’m dying to get them down on the page. But because I don’t want to get distracted from editing, I need to finish this task first, then jump into the next project. I’m torn between a few projects to start on Monday. I might decide to work on two simultaneously just because what I want to write doesn’t fit in with the other project but I think that that’s the novel I want to work on during November. But I promise that Monday will have new writing. I swear it. Mostly because I can’t bear to not be writing. I keep scrawling lines down in my notebook just so that I don’t forget anything. But the edits come first so that I can look at this novel and finally think, DONE.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers