20 thoughts on “Cry Your Way Home – Damien Angelica Walters

  1. Tooth, Tongue, and Claw

    “Best to pretend it’s truth, not a tangle of fiction.”

    The ultimate Beauty and Beast story in fey fairy tale terms as items of prose verse for our age, an arranged marriage in a cave with a monster for every secondborn daughter. Lies and laughter. Truth and tears. Effective shuddering with exactly whom our young buddy heroine is actually hitched. And how she can escape it or him. And on whom can she wreak vengeance if not us? Cry (or laugh?) your way home.

    “This is the way it’s been ever since the monsters awoke from their deep slumber and claimed their place as leaders of men and beasts alike.”

  2. I read and reviewed the next story in May 2016, and below is what I wrote about it in that context:

    ——————————-

    DEEP WITHIN THE MARROW, HIDDEN IN MY SMILE

    “You didn’t say the rooms were off-limits, but they were all museum silence and sharp edges.
    Kind of like you, honestly.”

    In complete and mood-breaking contrast to the mighty ‘Wetwork’, this work is a truly haunting second-person threnody, expressed in a simple prose of some depth, if that is not a contradiction in terms. It tells of your Mom, after the death of her husband and your Dad, marrying a widowed man also with a young daughter of similar age if not temperament, both of you only children, and all four of you now live in his house…
    There is something achingly naive about you and your step-sister. A unique story which it is impossible to describe further than I have done without spoiling it. Even if I can remember enough to describe it at all?

  3. On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes

    “All the tears in the world won’t change things, and anyway, the monsters like it when she cries. They feed off the salt and the sorrow.”

    After obliquely evocative shadows of steps and earlier separate indentations of their footprints, we enter a very moving story of near-engagement between mother and 13 year old daughter, each assumed to be on either side of the girl’s bedroom door, behind which she is sulking after an argument between them, but the girl is nursing far more monstrous thoughts than the mother can imagine, thoughts stemming from the world’s present electronic compulsions of screen communication with bullying peers. If only there had been some joined-up communication between mother and daughter, face to face, an audit trail of probabilities of family circumstances that might have obviated disaster…. that still could? Cry your way home, Hannah?

    “That moment that always felt longer than it truly was, that moment when you weren’t part of the world at all, but floating above it.”

    —————

    As an aside, for what it is worth, earlier this morning I ‘bumped’ (here: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?p=144184#post144184) a tiny story of mine in 2010 called HANNAH. I now imagine this Hannah might be Walters’ Hannah in her future middle age. If you do not believe this coincidental synchronicity, I can demonstrate to you (if you ask me) the exact timing of the joined-up cause-and-effect audit-trail of the earlier ‘bumping’ of my work BEFORE I read the Walters’ story just now and also before I knew the character in it was named Hannah.

  4. This Is the Way I Die

    “, wondering how I’ll tell you that this isn’t part of the bargain, this dissection isn’t part of the process.”

    An ongoing refrain – by the girl involved – of the bargain between herself and her creator, a retrocausal creator as now real-time surgeon, a refrain conveyed by more of this book’s beautiful poetic fragments as prose and dialogue, a subtly ironic and haunting blend of two things that, incredibly for me, represent a gestalt of two events reported or heard by me, both of them yesterday:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-42663518
    A news item about surgeon who has been charged with signing his initials on a liver he successfully operated upon. Much outrage about this surgeon, but there was one girl who had been operated upon by him who told us that she could understand why he would want to sign his ‘work of art.’

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09lvy6l
    A radio documentary programme to which I happened to listen when it was broadcast last night on BBC Radio Radio Four, one that depicted the genesis of Mary Shelley writing ‘Frankenstein.’

  5. The Hands That Hold, the Lies That Bind

    “Callie has the tweezers, a bandage, and the ointment already on the table. Good little soldiers awaiting their mission.”

    I found this story highly page-turning, one about a girl whose first period is not long in the past but now – for exact reasons I will not spoil – has with her Mother a new secret of bodily emergences (emergencies, too, in their own way) that she worries about, even at one point believing that other girls have the same bodily emergences which they, too, have to keep secret. With voids and voices that speak each time they are exacted, if not extracted. A crown for our faith, or a lie that only Fathers can transcend? My own Mother of all Lies is that this story has a satisfyingly oblique literariness of a tantalising closure, not a twisted cop-out of a literal climax.

  6. Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Elephant’s Tale

    “Some things, once carried, always linger.”

    …but not if the Big Top when collapsed for moving on to the next site is one of the two lungs with which you once breathed? But will this circus ever move on, but will it simply stay and slowly revolve its various character performers forever, slower and slower but never stopped? The performers’ lots are narrated by an elephant with broken tusks, and I finally guess that the cage on its back is replaced by the only hope left, the youngest one of the acrobat twins, now effectively a tenuous sequin of a twin towing that once tower of strength beneath, a ride that she seems to hawl from above. A weakening strength below, a leaning tower, now older, become a tent-pole that can no linger, no lunger, no longer hold up even a dead ringer for me.
    Not my circus, not my monkeys, they say.

  7. THE JUDAS CHILD

    “I’m sure. It’s a hole and the monster is inside it.”

    A haunting, head-‘swimmy’ tale of one child betraying another child to a monster. But how do such concertinas start and how do they end? But also remarkable is that, by chance, a half an hour before reading this story, I read and reviewed MISCHIEF here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/12/25/the-demons-of-king-solomon/#comment-11490 These stories are so utterly dissimilar I simply know one story has not read the other story. But their twin underlying archetypes seem to indicate that the stories subconsciously connived in some Gestalt Heaven before they importuned separate Writers to write them for a single reader on the same day in our reading world. Me today.

  8. S IS FOR SOLILOQUY

    “Here is the theater where we saw the time travel movie that you hated and I loved. Well you hated the parts of it you saw because your mother called and you had to leave fifteen minutes before it ended.”

    In hindsight, the only way to read this Story for Soliloquy (a monologue addressed to you who are the other half of a relationship she has had or is still having) is to read while gestalt real-time reviewing it in your head as you go through and writing down your comments immediately alongside each pause for breath or change of costume instead of leaving it to the end as I have just done. Now it’s too late. I can only spoil it now. Saying all that, I may have spoilt it already. At least I have made it clear, by inferring, that it is something worthwhile and surprising that CAN be spoilt by a review of it.

  9. The Floating Girls: A Documentary

    “I think you only truly make that kind of friendship in childhood. When you get older, you know better than to let people in. You know they’ll only disappoint you in the end.”

    What it says on the eponymous tin. Except tins don’t float. Eventually, if you open it up, it is a piecemeal gestalt of two girls who “started to drift apart” like the fireflies they once together tried to catch. One friend became part of the 02 August 2002 young female float-off – real or mass hysteria? – and the other one grows up to write this disarmingly telling story of floaty, if not flighty, fragments, written under an untraceable name, I guess, to ‘document’ by retrocausal inference the friendship she once lost. An unforgiving past.

  10. I read and reviewed the next storyin 2016 and below is what I wrote about it in that context:

    ——————————————-

    TAKE A WALK IN THE NIGHT MY LOVE

    “All shall be well.”

    A haunting tale we’re told of sleepwalking and a married couple, he a plastic surgeon, she now 50 years old, 15 years between them, been married 25 years, once visited Barbados – he unable to do enough for her, to grant her every wish, she now feeling like an actress in “an elaborate movie set.”
    Seems as if meant to echo a famous novel, but for me echoes more these lines from Little Gidding by TS Eliot –

    “History may be servitude,
    History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,
    The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them,
    To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.
    Sin is Behovely, but
    All shall be well, and
    All manner of thing shall be well.”

  11. I read and reviewed the next story in 2015 and below is what I wrote about it in that context:

    —————————————-

    FALLING UNDER, THROUGH THE DARK

    Transcending a traumatic event regarding a loved one is like taking that event on to oneself, re-living it, re-enacting… After her dedication in studying the statistics of chance that it ever happened in the first place. A relentless incantation or refrain of findings. Here drowning. By numbers. Guilt at replaying one’s own actions and at blaming others for it. Here the story tantalisingly transmutes all that re-enactment into a form of rescue itself, as if Kara has Ark embedded on purpose.
    “It was a mistake, but she can fix everything.”
    Most children have ‘special needs’. All three-year olds certainly do. Some stories form a dark alchemy. Like this one, and Dines. And Stufflebeam.

  12. The Serial Killer’s Astronaut Daughter

    “Weird. I never noticed that hands look a lot like facehuggers, the nasty spider-like progenitors of the alien. Yeah,…”

    A feisty collage of thoughts by our eponymous heroine above on a space station with others, and who becomes a sort of social media scandal back on Earth after a discovery by the press of her serial killer Dad sentenced to death row. A feminist dilemma develops as posed by various factors – including the behaviour of two equally feisty women scantily dressed in Alien and Aliens – prior to her each easy ‘delete’ of communication from her Dad to the space station. Easy amid much soul-searching.
    The last sentence is perfect, but you need to reach it to see if it refers to Paper, Rock or Scissors? A game that you play with hands. Not on screens.
    Cry your way home?

  13. 2A0528F2-79A9-4563-8494-86B1C6E5E4D1UMBILICUS

    “Grief is a bitch of a monster.”

    “, thinks about what she saw—
    (the shape in the water)
    —and didn’t—
    (the shape)
    —see.”

    This is a powerful story to read at any time, but particularly today, when the Earthsea and its birth waters break, to create…
    A vision you surely won’t forget…

    “An image of Emily’s face flickers in her peripheral vision, flickers and breaks apart…”

    Otherwise, a story of grief and bereavement, a mother’s grief for her small daughter while dwelling upon all the public theories about that daughter’s death – sleepwalking into the sea or depressive suicide? The apparent haunting of this mother by her daughter, an umbilicus between that and the mother’s own body both now and in its earlier birthing stages. The easy chatter of alcohol with a similarly bereaved neighbour woman. And the sea and its detritus or afterbirth or birth itself… And eventually that vision the story itself can only tell you about…
    Cry your way home?

  14. img_2812 A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take

    “(You might think the axe is from the wrong story, too, but there’s always a woodcutter and always a blade waiting around the corner.)”

    I used that thumbnail in my review of ‘Oothangbart’ exactly a year ago today. It is now one possible vision of the ‘you’ in this truly haunting story with a blend of famous fairy stories about which blend a woman or girl speaks to ‘you’ and in which she sees herself as a character or of which she is its victim. A ‘you’ as a cross between a wolf and a bear, but which trumps which? But then I dread to see that ‘you’ as myself, the gestalt real-time reviewer, and so please do not re-read the story as it all somehow fits in! After all, in the previous story, I was made to see the word Emilys as the plural of Emily. And that reminds me I became such an inimical big-headed force within an earlier review I happened to write a few weeks ago about a novella containing a parade of Marys.

    “Some tales shouldn’t overlap.”

    “The skin of your face splits in the middle and the two halves fall apart to reveal another face as much unlike your face as it is the same.”

    Blank pages, notwithstanding.

  15. Little Girl Blue, Come Cry Your Way Home

    “Funny how eight pounds can feel as light as hope and as heavy as rage.”

    An attritional parenthood, as Abby and Jackson face the ‘crymonster’ their baby Brianna suddenly becomes. Colic, the doctor thinks. But there’s an insidiousness the story’s ending does nothing to solve. Thankfully. But if you believe that from me who has become this book’s would-be monitor you might believe anything. Surely, there is no surprise at such assonance between ‘monitor’ and ‘monster’?
    This book’s crucial cry-your-way-home….
    (My parents who had me in 1948 often told me that I was a devil crymonster for the first two years of my life, with their not having hardly a wink of sleep throughout that period!)

    “She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes and the shape is off. It’s too small and too tight.”

  16. Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

    “…and then Miss DeMeester showed up and we all split.”

    Very effective, almost absurdist with a sense of secret jocularity — “One time in fourth grade she was convinced that Mr. Barron was a zombie because his skin got all pale and he started walking slow.” — this girls’ school cellphone-caught bullshit-bullery upon deadpan Mary-Shellery is decidedly disturbing. And eventually dead serious.

    “Are you even you anymore?”

  17. I read and reviewed the final story in 2016, and below is what I wrote about it in that context:

    —————————————————-

    In the Spaces Where You Once Lived

    “….and wind rustles through the trees, turning the leaves to a rippling fan of orange, red, and yellow.”

    A haunting, touching, sometimes unbearable, portrait of Alzheimer’s in the husband of Helena. Remove the He and you are left with Lena? I wonder.
    “I do.” Does he remember?
    Telling interaction with their daughter and grandsons. Hiking tracks in the woods, a doe, a deer, with fur falling like the Autumn leaves. Simply told, but with a complex memorable oscillation between decisions at the end, between sad and happy. To do or not to do. And were those odd forces with which he communicated healing forces or otherwise? A very satisfying read.
    For me, an Autumn Ode transcribed in simple prose with its own strophe, antistrophe and epode.

    ——————————————

    This collection, like this author’s previous one, is more than just a collection. It is a gathering.
    A gathering of stitches. A gestalt of unique forces.

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