Ghosts, Tamales and Dangerous Women

Blog Post
Writing Shorts
Since I’m on a retrospective bent with fictional shorts, you can drift by this one if you have time on your hands. Finding Miss Right, from back in 2015. Some women have your name on them – like a bullet or a nail in the road…The concept is explored in this short.
I enjoy writing shorts because they’re one-topic usually, a few paragraphs to convey emotions, some complexity, and then I’m off and on to something else. 
Fiction?
The problem with writing true stories is that nobody believes them. You have to fictionalize to make some things acceptable, or drift into science fiction where you can write what you want in the name of fiction and have the action taking place somewhere other than Earth. A mirror reflects, but not precisely, because of the reverse effect that it gives you and the two-dimensional nature of the polished glass. That notwithstanding, I like including mirrors in stories. 
I knew a crazy woman once, who kept rubbing soap on the mirrors in her house so that she couldn’t see herself distinctly. She could have broken the mirrors, but that wasn’t the effect that she was after. You will ask, “What is crazy, LL?” Now that is a question for the ages isn’t it?
A Season of Ghosts
The holiday season is a season of ghosts (father, brother, close friends, etc) for me, because I lost a lot of my family and those closest to me during this particular time of the year, where days are short, the darkness pervades, and there is an expectation that everything is merry and bright. fa-la-la. So it’s not unusual that I throw myself into work, and the distractions that work can bring. But there is still the night, isn’t there? Unless I bounce across the equator, and I’m not doing that this year. 
Tamales
Enough of the morose, this is also the season of the tamale. They take a lot of effort to make and they’re more likely available at this time of year. It’s not easy to find good ones. I know of a family restaurant who takes on a “tamale lady” (a crone from the Mexican interior) in December to manage their tamale production. I think that’s the secret of great tamales. You need somebody who has been making them all their lives and absorbed every single secret recipe they came across. They also whip the lard that goes into the masa, to make it lighter. They’re careful in the selection of meat and they are even more cautious in the choice of seasoning. The gentle flavor of chili has to be there but in such a way that you don’t even know that’s what it is. All you judge is that the tamale is perfect. Is there such a thing as a perfect tamale? Likely not.
But there is no such thing as an imperfect sky. That gives hope, doesn’t it?

19 thoughts on “Ghosts, Tamales and Dangerous Women

  1. Tamales: there is a Mexican lady in Houston, TX who sells tamales out of the back of her 1977 Country Squire station wagon. She's been doing it forever, and those tamales are by far the best tamales known to mankind.

    I don't care if you go to Uncle Julio's and pay $20 per tamale, they don't compare to that station wagon lady's tamales.

  2. Never get involved with a woman crazier than yourself.

    (Uttering that phrase around my sister usually brings forth rude noises.)

  3. It would sell 35 copies, like the books (left) in the side bar. Which is not to say that I don't appreciate the people who parted with cash to buy 35. But it's a lot of work and a lot of angst for very little money.

  4. Sound advice, despite what the Well Seasoned Sister thinks.

    The problem with Mars vs Venus is that the same things that tick women off about one man, usually ticks them off at almost all men, and the reverse is also true. Some years ago, a homosexual guy told me that the part of his mate that annoyed him was the 'woman part'.

    But there is a crazy element in some people that exceeds all rationality. Sometimes it's a bipolar thing, sometimes it can't be quantified.

  5. Thanks for the story links – I'm a new reader and haven't delved into your archives yet; I see I need to change that. I particularly liked the story set in the P I.

  6. Mrs. Woodsterman has a friend that makes them every Christmas. Hmmm, I think she's due anytime nows.

  7. One of the very few things I miss about SoCal is the Mexican food.

    Our next door neighbors in Long Beach were Mexican, and Grandma lived with them.

    Best damn tamales I've ever eaten, and we'd get a huge plate of them every Christmas.

    Yes, a good tamale is hard to find…..

  8. It's tough to beat SoCal Mexican food. Even in Arizona, it's hard to find the quality that I became accustomed to.

  9. I have never eaten a tamale. Not sure about hubby. Do they all come wrapped in leaves?
    They are available here, year round. And I don't mean Mexican restaurants.
    There is often someone selling them at flea and farmers markets. Every once in a while you see a roadside stand or a sign in a neighborhood. Sometimes a church fund raiser will mention tamales.

    If you can be with your family and grandkids, that should help.

  10. I love a good tamale, I really do. And I love this:

    "A mirror reflects, but not precisely, because of the reverse effect that it gives you and the two-dimensional nature of the polished glass."

    As padre, I have to give a short sermon.

    True humility comes from seeing ourselves in the mirror of divine perfection. From this flows redemption or perdition, we're judged by that which redeems.

    Ride on.

  11. Like the perfect kata, the perfect tamale has never been made. We must search forever for the ever-elusive one.

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