Author Topic: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls  (Read 2213 times)

Ocicat

  • Castle Watchcat
  • Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 3203
  • Anything for a Weird Life
PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« on: November 05, 2012, 08:51:53 PM »
PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls

by Samantha Henderson

Read by Emily Smith

Originally published in Jack-O Spec: Tales of Halloween and Fantasy.

My Abuela is making sugar skulls, and Tia Bibiana is helping her.   

Yesterday was the first of November, the Día de los Angelitos, and Abuela and Ramon and the neighborhood kids made the altar for the children.  I said I was too old to help, like I’m too old to go from house to house, but I stayed in the kitchen and watched. The last two years it was Lilia’s alone, with a plate of mac and cheese, and sugar-crusted tamarind candy, and the Clementine tangerines Lilia loved, and would steal from the wooden box and get in trouble because she ate them all. She used to peel the loose skin so it made an empty tangerine and would give it to me laughing when it collapsed under my eager thumb. We put her stuffed animals around the legs of the card table where the altar was set.  Abuela wrote her name on the skull with pink icing.


Rated R: Contains disturbing imagery, themes, and candy.

Listen to this PodCastle Miniature!

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2012, 09:41:15 AM »
I'm not sure I understood this story.  I was interested in the family, the traditions, and the family dynamic, but I didn't really get what was supposed to have happened.  Was Grandma cursing people by writing their names on candy skulls?  I think that's what happened, but I wasn't totally sure, and I wasn't sure how the girl reacted to it.

chemistryguy

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970
    • 5000 People can't be wrong...or can they?
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2012, 06:58:08 AM »
I'm not sure I understood this story.  I was interested in the family, the traditions, and the family dynamic, but I didn't really get what was supposed to have happened.  Was Grandma cursing people by writing their names on candy skulls?  I think that's what happened, but I wasn't totally sure, and I wasn't sure how the girl reacted to it.

That's what it sounded like.

As with Unblinking, I found the story to be a bit too ambiguous.  Regardless, it had a good flavor about it and I enjoyed listening.

HueItzcoatl

  • Palmer
  • **
  • Posts: 21
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 05:00:54 PM »
I'm not sure I understood this story.  I was interested in the family, the traditions, and the family dynamic, but I didn't really get what was supposed to have happened.  Was Grandma cursing people by writing their names on candy skulls?  I think that's what happened, but I wasn't totally sure, and I wasn't sure how the girl reacted to it.


You are correct in that assessment. It's considered bad luck to place the name of a living person upon the alter to the dead, especially with the name of there namesake saint, at least that's what I was told growing up. You'll find that Day of the Dead traditions vary greatly from region to region.


As far as the story itself, I liked it, if only because it conjured up memories of my own childhood, both good and bad. I do agree with the other posters that the story was a little ambiguous and I had to listen to it twice to understand what was going on.

I think the story would have played out better if the girl had a stronger presence in the overall story, she was too removed from the action. Maybe it was because she was too young to fully grasp what was going on, but she was aware of the illegal activities that both her aunt and other people were involved in so I was a little confused there.

 
It's not that I can't see the line, it's merely that I burned it away when I was 5...

Devoted135

  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 1252
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 06:43:23 PM »
I feel like there's an awesome story here, but my lack of Spanish and lack of knowledge of Day of the Dead traditions means it is largely lost on me. Having listened twice and then read HueItzcoatl's post, I think I have the basic gist, but there's still a lot from the beginning that I don't think I understand. For example, it seems equally likely to me that the kids making the sugary skulls were either living or ghosts. :-\

chemistryguy

  • Matross
  • ****
  • Posts: 261
  • Serving the Detroit Metro area since 1970
    • 5000 People can't be wrong...or can they?
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 06:28:21 AM »
I feel like there's an awesome story here, but my lack of Spanish and lack of knowledge of Day of the Dead traditions means it is largely lost on me. Having listened twice and then read HueItzcoatl's post, I think I have the basic gist, but there's still a lot from the beginning that I don't think I understand. For example, it seems equally likely to me that the kids making the sugary skulls were either living or ghosts. :-\

Spirits of the dead decorating candy skulls using the names of the living.  That'd be a twist.

Unblinking

  • Sir Postsalot
  • Hipparch
  • ******
  • Posts: 8657
    • Diabolical Plots
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 10:07:48 AM »
You are correct in that assessment. It's considered bad luck to place the name of a living person upon the alter to the dead, especially with the name of there namesake saint, at least that's what I was told growing up. You'll find that Day of the Dead traditions vary greatly from region to region.

OOOhhhhhhhhh.  That is useful information for the story.  I don't know much about the Day of the Dead.

Samantha

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 05:58:00 PM »
For anyone who would like to read along, I've posted the text of "Sugar Skulls" on my blog: http://samanthahenderson.com/2012/11/07/sugar-skulls-at-podcastle/

John_in_Calgary

  • Extern
  • *
  • Posts: 15
Re: PodCastle Miniature 73: Sugar Skulls
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2012, 08:26:32 PM »
I agree with the others that some of the power of this story seems to be in the traditions of the holiday that I am also unfamiliar with. As it was the story didn't stick with me, not being familiar at all with the holiday.

Excellent reader, but the core of the story being 'grandma cursing people' just didn't have enough for me.

I do like the idea that the kids were dead and writing the names of the living however. That would be a more interesting twist. I see that the full text has been linked to by the author above. I think I shall give it a quick read just to see if it could have been that way.