Friday, October 9, 2015

How Food and Eating is Important to My Stories(Guest Post: Francis H. Powell)!

How food and eating  is important to my stories

I live in a country in which food is a vital part of everyday conversation…I once when on a holiday with a group of French  friends and day by day and night by night, the predominant topic of conversion was food. My book features a lot of exotic  food and eating.  Sometimes I was forced to doing research or use a lot imagination to picture the kind of menus/food that should feature.
If  writing about a banquet, I had to delve into the kind of food that might be served up at such an event. I certainly would eat a lot of the food mentioned in my stories, as I am vegetarian.
Comparison to type of food is also a part of my writing.  Take this section, from my story “Arrival”, in which an entity pops out of a man’s stomach…
Something jostled inside him and he watched with horror, the seam of his belly split open like a sliced ripe watermelon. Blood, the deep red of mature geraniums, abruptly began pouring out, soaking the bedsheets and dripping onto the floor.

Food and in particular the “temptation” that food offers features in a story entitled “Opium”.  A preacher (called Preacher Moon) lives off the mere basics…is sent to rid a town of sin and opium and to take on a Gangster called Gecko, who tempts him with a “special cake”.
Gecko smiled sweetly at the preacher, twiddling the dragon ring
on his finger, then glanced at the cake. "Will you not have something
to eat with us, Preacher? I'm about to cut this cake," Gecko said in a
relaxed, convivial way, reaching for a gilded knife.
The preacher's face soured. It was clear to him that Gecko's offer
was a gesture of hospitality rather than threat, and he was extremely
hungry from the long ride. In truth, he'd lost count of the time since he
had last eaten, and then, it had been mostly grasshoppers he'd come
across on his travels.
Still, how could he accept food from such a loathsome sinner? "Food from the devil's hand no doubt," he growled in a bitter tone, shaking his head in the negative and averting his eyes from the cake and the exotic fruits the young girl had placed on the table.

In the end the Preacher succumbs to the temptation and forced to try the cake, not realizing it contains a rather special ingredient...

The ending of my story Bugeyes, includes a banquet, in which a young Lord is celebrating his newly acquired inheritance.  The banquet is then sent into turmoil by a visitor, “Bugeyes” who has arrived to claim his inheritance, having been rejected by his parents from birth on account of his huge eyes…

What kind of food would guests be eating on such an occasion?

Suddenly, the tall doors at the far end of the huge dining hall
thundered open, revealing a solitary standing figure. It was a young
man, clearly under-dressed for the occasion, so much so that his
appearance made the dinner event and everyone attending seem
overtly ostentatious. The guests were in the middle of sipping bowls of
saffron seafood soup, anticipating the roasted baby pigeons, Baltic
herring and beef Wellington, to be washed down with glass after glass
of different free-flowing wines perfectly matched to each. The string
quartet serenading the guests with soft chamber music stopped
As the mysterious figure approached Lord Christopher, there was
a collective intake of breath and everyone prepared for something even
more scandalous than the young Lord's behavior towards Arabella at
the dinner table.
Arabella immediately recognized her brother, Bug-eyes, and was
totally perplexed. He never went to parties, and he'd certainly not
shown even the slightest interest in this one.

My story Maggot also features a banquet, right at the beginning of the story.  A circus owner is forced to sell his daughter to a tyrant, to pay off his debts.  The bargaining is done at a banquet.
Maggot was enraged and banged his fist on the table! Knives,
forks, spoons and plates flew into the air, tossing food everywhere. Up
to this point, the banquet had been cordial, even good-humored.
Necessary pleasantries and toasts had been exchanged. But as soon as
the serious negotiations had begun, indeed when money was brought
into the equation, everything quickly went wrong. Where before
congeniality had bound them, blood-lust now welled, taunts were
being whispered and enraged voices were promising vengeance for
inexcusable slurs.
Food is a key element to the story, as the young girl “merchandise” tricks the tyrant into eating a grape. Once eaten she tells the tyrant named “Excellency”  that everything he sees, touches, or smells will be ugly. The tyrant tries to violate her, but her threat seems to bare truth.
The grape, however, was horribly bitter, and he picked up his baton, arched his
arm back and brought it down on her hand. Apollonia shrieked with
"What are you trying to do? Poison me?" he shouted.
Apollonia rubbed her stinging hand, and looked at him with
surprising composure. The torment written all over her earlier had
lifted completely, which both baffled and troubled Excellency.
Instead of whimpering, the young girl pointed an admonishing
finger at him and warned, "Strike me again and everything you smell,
see, touch or hear will become bitter, foul and ugly!" Excellency
paused, then scoffed as the girl, seemingly satisfied with the effect of
her warning, stretched out in front of him like a cat enjoying the heat
of the sun. Watching her, he reasoned the threat was little more than a
childish ploy to buy time before the inevitable. Still, he'd heard that
she came from Gypsy stock, and her mother was said to be well-versed
in curses and incantations.

When he wakes up after trying to have his way with the girl, this is what he wakes up to…
The fruit, which last night had looked so appealing, had turned a
sickly brown. Rotten and fetid, white maggots crawled on the fruit,
while black clouds of flies hovered above it. He felt he was going to
vomit. Excellency looked at the young girl sleeping peacefully on the
other side of his bed, and vaguely remembered trying to violate her,
his ultimate failure further embittering him.

My story Little Mite, also features a meal.  Two families are at the point of uniting, an  ideal marriage is being planned.  The father of the bride has gone to great lengths to provide a meal for the groom’s family.
In fact, the chef had outshone all expectations. Several
cases of vintage wines accompanied the lobster bisque with crème
fraîche, the caviar toast, the roast leg of new lamb with Italian stuffing
and red wine sauce, the best cheeses France could offer, and handmade
ice cream topped with crème caramel and rum-soaked raisins. Little
Mite had especially enjoyed the desert. This was followed, for the
adults, by rich Jamaican coffee. All in all, both families concluded it a
resoundingly successful next step in the long list of social events
presaging Conner and Hannah's eventual union
The meal seems to going well until Little Mite the sister, bitch from Hell, decides to play one of her pranks. Leading the Groom’s younger brother away from the grownups, she then leads him to her father’s work shop, where upon she glues his hand to a coffee table and then proceeds to whip the innocent child with stinging nettles.  When her misdemeanor is brought to light, the wedding plans descend into turmoil. The groom breaks up with his fiancé and reunites with an ex…Little Mite is punished, but her older sister never forgives her…
It is true to say that one way or another food is an integral part of my stories. It is great to describe food or to use food as way of describing something…
Flight of destiny Is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods.

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