Author Topic: PC373: Sweet Potato Woman  (Read 5904 times)

Talia

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on: July 21, 2015, 02:20:33 PM
PodCastle 373: Sweet Potato Woman

by Chris Barnes
read by Graeme Dunlop


First published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (ASIM) #28, in 2007.

The voice hummed the tune again, softer. George blinked, rubbed his eyes and focused on the bedside clock’s green glowing hands. Twelve-something.

Kitchen. The song was coming from the kitchen. He sat up and listened. The tempo slowed, the voice faded, vanished. The house fell silent, expectant.

George climbed out of bed, switched on the lamp, put on his glasses and stumbled into the hallway. He stood and listened. Nothing. Through the living room, the dining room, into the kitchen. The linoleum chilled the soles of his feet. He tried the back door. Locked, as it should be. Then where …?

The sweet potato woman?


Rated PG.

Chris Barnes attended the inaugural Clarion South writing workshop in 2004. He hasn’t written many stories after the initial flurry of those years, but those stories helped secure a job at the consumer organisation CHOICE where for the past 10-odd years he has written stories on more mundane subjects such as vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers. (Oh the glamour!)

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 03:23:17 PM by Talia »



HeartSailor

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Reply #1 on: July 25, 2015, 01:52:47 AM
Rice Chex.

I like Rice Chex.  I know what they are going to taste like, before I open the box.  I know the texture and flavor- know the smell.

This story was literary Rice Chex.  As soon as George dug up the SPW, the ending was set.  It was clear from the start that Marilyn was the nasty woman who, when I was a kid, would grab your cheeks and say something like, "what a handsome little boy!" with no insight as to what that experience might be like for the boy in question.  My sense was that Marilyn was all about Marilyn.

George was finding his way, in his own time and in his own space after a devastating loss.  The SPW (obviously) represented closure, the end of the end, or perhaps the beginning of the beginning.  You just knew that somehow a gal was gonna show up that resembled the SPW.

I'm with Graham that this was an agreeable story.  Deep?  Thought provoking?  No.  But sometimes you just want Rice Chex.

7/10.

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.  Thomas Merton


bounceswoosh

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Reply #2 on: July 28, 2015, 05:51:10 AM
I was just listening to the archives of the Wits podcast, and look what I found - an Austin musician singing about sweet potatoes.

https://youtu.be/Z02u21kCSUg



Devoted135

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Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 04:56:01 PM
I'm a little disappointed by how little actually happened here. The atmosphere of the story was nice, and I enjoyed the characters, but upon reflection it seems a bit empty. I guess I was hoping for a little more payoff at the end.

Loved the singing, by the way! :)



eytanz

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Reply #4 on: August 07, 2015, 03:15:26 PM
So, this was a sweet, gentle story about grief and moving on.

It was also a story that featured a sweet potato with a face. I have a mild phobia of plants with human features. The imagery of the sweet potato woman didn't fail to terrify me every time she was mentioned.

So, for me this story caused a massive cognitive dissonance, bouncing back and forth between very different reactions. Not the author's fault at all, of course, but it sure was a really weird listen for me.



HeartSailor

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Reply #5 on: August 11, 2015, 12:24:08 AM
Eytanz, perhaps we, your forum friends, can help.  After extensive interweb research, I came up with these very appetizing humunculoid spuds.

From West Virginia, "Jabba the Huttato"

Jabba the Huttato





This man fell in love with this potato, who is apparently named "Monica."

Lebanese man and Monica






This kind man and his wife have adopted this sweet potato.  "His name is lil' Charlie because he looks like my wife's brother Charlie when he was a baby," according to Farmer Adams.

Farmer Adams holds lil' Charlie






Recently in the news, this mind-controlling sweet potato from Hudson, NY (yeah, we know it was put there by aliens) subjugated dozens of people.  It was only discovered after the subjugants were apprehended soliciting door-to-door.  Don't ask.

The potato...the sweet, sweet potato...yes...yes...







Bon appetit!


-HS
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 12:30:10 AM by HeartSailor »

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.  Thomas Merton


Fenrix

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Reply #6 on: August 11, 2015, 02:31:09 AM
So I've been reading this anthology, Borderlands 2, and it has a story "The Potato" by Bentley Little. It's like "The Colour Out of Space" if that story was erotica. Considering the post above, apparently tuberphilia is a thing and these stories just reflect the bizarre world in which we live.

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


Unblinking

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Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 03:24:35 PM
This was sweet, and I'm glad that the controlling neighbor didn't end up with him.  Not that I didn't feel for her--she was obviously very lonely and longed for a companion.  But hopefully she'll realize at some point that she shouldn't try to strong-arm someone into being a companion against their will. It was obvious from his reactions that he wasn't interested.

Like Heartsailor said, it wasn't groundbreaking story by any means, but not every story has to be.



An7hony

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Reply #8 on: August 19, 2015, 01:41:52 AM
I agree with eytanz.  This story did a great job of blending creepy with tender... not an easy thing to do.  We listened to it as a family.  The kids loved it. 

If I feel depressed I will sing.  If I feel sad I will laugh.  If I feel ill I will double my labor.  If I feel fear I will plunge ahead. - Og Mandino


Maxilu

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Reply #9 on: May 07, 2016, 02:03:39 AM
I planted a decorative sweet potato vine tonight. I sang the Sweet Potato Woman song as I did. It probably won't help the plant grow in my little container garden, but I want to think that it did.

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kibitzer

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Reply #10 on: May 07, 2016, 09:24:38 PM
I planted a decorative sweet potato vine tonight. I sang the Sweet Potato Woman song as I did. It probably won't help the plant grow in my little container garden, but I want to think that it did.

Keep us posted! :)


Lionman

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Reply #11 on: May 09, 2016, 08:15:24 PM
I'm not sure why I stuck this one out.  I'm guessing it was Graeme Dunlop's voice that made me do it.

The best I can muster for this is a shrug and a 'meh.'  But, I'm guessing it was just not my style.

Failure is an event, not a person.