Friday, September 11, 2015

Agenda 21: The Sleeping Bag of Holding

Agenda 21, pp. 107-111

All right, what happened in this chapter besides an excuse for me to go on a rant? Actually, quite a bit. First off, McSexy is back, and this time he's feeling chatty:

"You remind me of someone. She was about your age. You probably don't remember, but you used to play with her. Back at the farm. She liked hard-boiled eggs. She died when the illness came here, and I miss her."

In the sort of cosmic serendipity that blesses all poorly planned novels, all of the Good Guy characters were good friends in the Long, Long Ago Time. Of course, that raises any number of questions: How many people actually live in these Compounds? How many people are left in the whole of the former United States of America? Isn't this one hell of a coincidence given all the relocations? Where is this story even taking place, geographically speaking? Why do the seasons never change? Why am I still reading this?

After that there's some more stuff with Jeremy which isn't worth transcribing, and then a paragraph where the author conspicuously calls attention to something that makes no sense:

It took longer to get the meter to halfway. I don't know how they change the requirements during the night, but somehow they did.

Writing tip: If something in your story universe doesn't make any sense, don't mention that it makes no sense.

The next important thing concerns mom's sleeping mat, the one that contained that anachronistic photograph. It actually contains a lot more than that, and you may be surprised at the quantity and variety of objects that the protagonist fishes out of it over the next few chapters. I mentioned earlier that I've dabbled in serialized fiction, and this really feels like a serial technique. When you aren't sure exactly where the story is going to go, it can help to leave a subplot or a few plot points in your hip pocket - something you can drop in when the narrative starts to slow down.

So what did Emmeline find today?

It was a little plastic bag with stiff cards inside...

...They were yellowed, and some of the ink had smeared. They were in Mother's handwriting. Recipes. Vegetable beef soup. Bread pudding. Ham and potato casserole. Pumpkin pie. Chocolate chip cookies. There were about twenty. I ran my fingertips over the old food stains.

The very last card read: Dear God, I pray that someday I can again make meals for my family. Amen.

This is yet another reminder that I'm not in the target audience for this book. I was supposed to read this and go awwww. I didn't.

Courtesy of normanack/Flickr

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