Sunday, April 7, 2019

Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, #2 ~ Magical Realism


At Poets United, the first Sunday of every month is for prose: short stories (fiction, creative nonfiction, memoir bits), essays… delicious prose. No poetry, at Poets United, on the 1st Sunday of every month. 


I hope everyone is having a fantastic day. Since my 42nd birthday was just 2 days ago, I want to be greedy and give myself the gift of writing and reading my favorite genre: Magical Realism, “a literary genre or style […] that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction”. Or, as Matthew Strecher might have put it, I wish to delight in short stories and essays where “a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to [be] believe[d without a whole lot of eyebrow raising and wild blinking].”

One of the most important aspects of magical realism (in my mind, at least) is that the characters aren’t surprised by what happens to them, the strange happenings are perfectly natural in their minds.

Here is an example of magical realism, from One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez:

“He went from house to house dragging two metal ingots and everybody was amazed to see pots, pans, tongs, and braziers tumble down from their places and beams creak from the desperation of nails and screws trying to emerge, and even objects that had been lost for a long time appeared from where they had been searched for most and went dragging along in turbulent confusion behind Melquiades’ magical irons.”

And a second example, from First Frost, by Sarah Addison Allen:

“The apple tree in the background, just barely visible, was stretching a single limb out to her, as if wanting to be in the photo with her.”

For today’s prompt: in 313 words or fewer, write a new short story or essay (fiction or nonfiction), using magical realism as your genre.  

If you wish, you can take one of your old poems and turn it into a short story or essay (of 313 words or fewer), which includes magical realist elements. *


This prompt will remain open until Tuesday night. Links to entries not written in prose will be deleted. Only one story per participant, please. Visit other storytellers. Let magic kiss realist ink and tell.😉


the wee notes…

* If you missed Sherry’s “Blog of the Week”, you should go back and take a look-see. She had a chat with Carrie, and it was pure yum. On “The Living Dead”, Rosemary honored our poetic ancestors. You don’t want to miss that either. This coming Wednesday, Sumana’s prompt for the Midweek Motif will be: Temptation

- Last month, I said that you’d be able to take one of your poems and turn it into a short story using a topic of your choosing. This created confusion, so I’m taking it back. From now on, all contributions will follow the new prompt. But you can still choose to develop one of your poems into a story (if it includes the new prompt).

- This is only our 2nd prompt. We are still evolving. Feel free to make suggestions.

 
illustration, from One Hundred Years of Solitude


33 comments:

  1. Let’s share our storytelling gifts. ❤️🖤

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  2. I would just like to say: It's hard for poets not to write poetry!

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    1. Poets are good at meeting challenges.

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    2. Final word: I do find it rather strange to have a prompt at Poets United where poetry is banned. In fact, I find it disconcerting and maddening. I can't help but think that others feel this way too, since participation in Sunday's prompt is way down this week. Just some thoughts as I carry on...

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    3. Magical Mystical Teacher, I understand your frustration. Even the name of this blog speaks of “joining of poets” not of prose writers. Perhaps, it would have made more sense to you if I took my prompt elsewhere, where my wanting to write prose with writers who also love poetry didn’t disconcert or madden anyone. But I will not.

      I feel bad that a prose prompt on blog of poets causes you so much distress. At the same time, I feel wonderful that writers who don’t often care for prose are giving it a go and having fun at it. And I feel even better that those of us who delight in both, prose and poetry, have a spot where one day out each month we, too, can have a place that feels completely like home.

      Soon, I will publish a blog post detailing my full intensions with a Pantry of Prose. Said post will include my reasons for keeping poetry out of the prose prompt. I invite you to share your views there. I shall also ask other writers to do the same. And I assure you that if the majority finds my prose prompt at Poets United as disturbing as you do, I will probably make other arrangements.

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    4. I think it is a cool new direction which has breathed new life into the site, Magaly, and I thank you for it. As it is only once a month, those who dont enjoy prose can simply wait till the following week, or read the responses, or whatever they choose. I, too, so appreciate those who are trying a new thing.

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  3. I am loving this Magaly. Though I am still in my travel mode I simply couldn't resist Magical Realism.

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    1. Can't wait to read your story. Your poems often dance with magical realism, so seeing it in prose will be a treat!

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  4. It was a challenge for me not to go full on fantasy. :D But I gave it a whirl, because why the heck not?

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    1. Magical realism is sneaky and fantasy is a jealous mistress, so they tend to fight for our ink.

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  5. What a challenging prompt, Magaly! I am mostly a grounded-in-reality kind of person, but this was fun! Thank you for taking me out of my comfort zone.

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    1. You are most welcome, Mary. I know walking (riding? *hehe*) out of our comfort zone isn't an easy thing. We love what we love. But I always remember how convinced I was that I hated poetry, until I tried (and tried it some more). Now, I don't think I could ever stop writing it.

      I'm always hoping that a person (or three) who doesn't like to write prose or magical realism, specifically, will try it and find that they love it. You know fanatics, we always want our book club to grow bigger, lol!

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  6. Good morning, kiddies. When I saw the prompt, I knew exactly which poem of mine could be turned into a short story. I am happy to be using my long-neglected prose muscles again.

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    1. The moment I saw the image accompanying your, I said, "Yes!" It was, indeed, a fantastic poem to turn into magical realist prose. The piece was so magical and real already.

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  7. Magaly, I am enjoying this prose feature SO MUCH! I think you can congratulate yourself on thinking it up, and we can pat ourselves on the back for saying "yes, how wonderful"!

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    1. Thank you for saying so, Sherry. I am extremely happy Poets United gave my prose-writing needs a home. I love writing with others and in different styles. I love trying different things, getting all those ink-muscles working. Also, writing both prose and poetry on a regular basis is great exercise for The Me Book (which most of us seem to be writing for years and years...).

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  8. I am hoping to be back Monday to participate. Love these prose prompts Magaly!

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    1. Fantastic! I shall give your Sunday Muse a try, too.

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  9. OH no, I didn't realise there wasn't a poetry pantry today so I've posted a poem. Never mind, I'll leave it up there till next time. Have fun!

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  10. Oh we have a bully in our midst!

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  11. Surprise! I of course have been going on about how I am no good at anything but the most prosaic prose – but I thought I might just be able to handle magical realism (since it's my life, LOL). So I've actually had a go.

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    1. When I was growing up, my mother used to put a glass of salted water on her altar and call it tears for the saints. She did this before a really unpleasant individual--who always made her cry--visited the house. She gave the tears in a glass, so that she wouldn't have to shed them in front of anyone who would use her crying to hurt her.

      I wrote the story of that glass of water with salt in graduate school, and someone called it fantasy. I explained that it wasn't fantasy, but someone else's reality (which happens to have magic in it). And how for some of us that is life not fantasy.

      So, my dearest Rosemary, I completely understand what you're saying. And can't wait to read your story!

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  12. I made it back. Yay...thank you again Magaly, and thank you for the compliment on my interview with Sherry! Sherry is a jewel, and such a blessing like you and so many many others here!

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    1. So glad you returned. And you are most welcome.

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  13. And what a story, Susie! It made me SO HAPPY!!!!

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  14. Magaly, I love that you're hosting this prose prompt. I'm not sure my entry qualifies as magical, but I just wanted to give it a try. Sorry to be so late.

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    1. Myrna, your story shows exactly what magical realism is (to me). The narrator didn’t believe the prediction because it wasn’t part of her worldview. But grandma and Amelia had no doubt. The knew it in their bones—something you showed so well in your story, in the portrayal of the two women’s joviality (so soon after your loss).

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I love it! 🖤♥️

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