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Author Topic: PC317: Bee Yard  (Read 3374 times)

Ocicat

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on: June 25, 2014, 06:46:22 AM
PodCastle 317: Bee Yard

By Cole Bucciaglia
Read by Sue Brophy


Originally published in Timber Journal, Volume 3, February 2014.

I grew up next to a fire-haired girl whose sister was made of paper. You can only imagine what sort of trouble this caused. My own sister and I built castles in our living room, castles of blankets and upright pillows, with the electric flame of a flashlight illuminating them from within. We bent our heads together, her golden curls against my straight, black hair, and we giggled into the night. Of course the fire-haired girl couldn’t do this with her paper sister. If they had bumped foreheads, the girl made of paper would have gone up in flames. It was difficult enough for them to be in the same room together. I don’t think they spoke much.
 

The girl made of paper was mild-mannered and well-liked. Her eyebrows, her nose, the braided strands that made up her lips: they were all made of paper. Her features were expressive: they folded and crinkled into all of the positions that people made of flesh would have come to expect. She ran and played with all of the other children in the neighborhood. She must have read a lot because she seemed to know a lot about the world for someone so young. On rainy days, everyone on our street would gather into one person’s living room, build a castle from blankets and upright pillows, and listen to her tell us stories about monsters as big as bridges who lived under the sea or birds that could turn into men once they had flown into their lovers’ bedrooms.
 

The fire-haired girl never joined us. Everyone was too afraid of her to invite her to play, and she never asked. Her sister rarely mentioned her. The girl made of paper did once tell us that the fire-haired girl had never learned to read. Every time she tried to hold a book, the orange flames that whipped around her shoulders sent the pages curling backward and away from her.
 

What the girl made of paper didn’t tell us—what we observed—was that her sister could play in the rain. Of course, this was something which was too dangerous for the girl made of paper: her paper eyebrows, nose, and lips would have turned to mush and fallen right off her face, I’m sure. The fire-haired girl, however, seemed to love the rain. We sometimes heard her singing while within our living room castles, and we lifted our eyes discreetly over the window sill to spy, like cats watching for a bird.


Rated PG: Contains Fire, Bees, and Sisters.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!



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Reply #1 on: June 26, 2014, 02:24:57 PM
I don't get it.

I mean, I thought I understood everything as it was transpiring, but then it just ended without having apparently had any real kind of story.  Was that all leading up to the moment when the paper girl could hug her sister without fear?  If that's all they wanted, couldn't the fire girl have just played in the sprinkler and hugged her a long time ago?

I'm not sure what I missed.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #2 on: June 27, 2014, 01:55:07 AM
I think it was about the casual cruelty, dislike, and deep love siblings have for each other.



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Reply #3 on: June 27, 2014, 01:55:24 PM
I think it was about the casual cruelty, dislike, and deep love siblings have for each other.

I got that much, I guess.  I just didn't get what the ending was supposed to be.  I didn't feel like the story moved anywhere.



bounceswoosh

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Reply #4 on: June 27, 2014, 02:36:59 PM
I think the hug was something the paper girl didn't want until she realized she might not always have her sister.



danooli

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Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 10:25:23 PM
I don't get it.

I mean, I thought I understood everything as it was transpiring, but then it just ended without having apparently had any real kind of story.  Was that all leading up to the moment when the paper girl could hug her sister without fear?  If that's all they wanted, couldn't the fire girl have just played in the sprinkler and hugged her a long time ago?

I'm not sure what I missed.
whew, I'm in very good company.



Moritz

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Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 01:24:01 PM
This is my favourite sub-genre of fantasy, but I also didn't like the story as much as I could have.



Devoted135

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Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 05:47:47 PM
I guess I'm not surprised by the lack of comments here, I can't really think of anything to discuss either. I did want to come and say that I enjoyed the listen though. :)



InfiniteMonkey

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Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 09:15:11 PM
I like the fact that his turned into a story about sisterhood....



Fenrix

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Reply #9 on: July 31, 2014, 01:35:10 PM
I've been struggling to succinctly define magical realism. It's one of those things that I can identify it when I see, and I can point to examples (of which there is frequently no mutual frame of reference).  However, providing a one or two sentence definition is just not there. This story is clearly there, but there's no underpinning metaphor as is frequently seen in magical realism.

My snarky answer to define magical realism is fantasy that the literati have rebranded so that they can get away with writing fantasy. Maybe, like this one, it's the injection of fantastic elements in order to better explore character development. But that's also imperfect, because science fiction's been doing that for ages without getting a different brand.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


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Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 02:49:11 PM
My snarky answer to define magical realism is fantasy that the literati have rebranded so that they can get away with writing fantasy.

That's generally how I'd define it.  Perhaps: "Magical Realism has a similar feel to litfic, taking place in something recognizable as the real world but with one or two things twisted in an unrealistic way, all while maintaining a litfic feel."

Generally, though, I just call it fantasy, because IMO it's just a subgenre of fantasy.



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Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 12:39:47 AM
I loved this story.  It was brief and odd and unsettling and charming.  Utter top marks.  That last line almost choked me up while driving, and I've never had much of a relationship with my sibling.  (We basically live in parallel universes; physically nearby, but never intersecting.)

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