This opening chapter left me hungry for more
Just a note. I changed "teal dress" to "blue flowers" on the second reference because I wanted to see you begin to burn the language as we approach chaos. The mucous plug is chaos, so your language should suffer and become more intuitive from that point forward.
I get the ‘laminated eyebrows’ because when they are tattoed they can look shiny. Also if everyone is getting the same fashionable shape, they could look like photocopies of each other. Great read!
Wow this is good! Great first chapter, Katy. The language and detail are scrumptious. And Chuck, your penchant for taking it “too far” is part of your charm. I, too, have had the Goldschlager splats (long ago, thankfully). Little touches of disgusting make it real for me.
As promised I've stolen Charlie's idea for my Substack, only called it 'Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t'. It's been a huge success so thanks Charlie.
The story I'm working on, every list is a list of three. Kidding. Have you ever done a post featuring all the small things a writer can do to increase or prolong tension? Make it a Top 10 list, that'd be so cool.
This has voice. I loved it. The mucus plug/oyster is wonderful.
Excellent rundown of Katy's Cradleland chapter. It read smooth and intuitively. Laminated eyebrows were a bit jarring, mostly because I wasn't aware that such a procedure exists. Instead, I was trying to make a connection between laminated brows and parquet flooring because I'm familiar with laminated floors.
I also had to look up "mucus plug". I couldn't quite imagine it, until I checked the pictures. I think it would actually be fun if maybe-Harriet would slurped it as an oyster...
I personally didn't find the "you mean - " and other phrases without attribution jarring, as I read it as if someone random just said that.
And I like the idea with toilet glitter! Not only it's neat, but it's an great example of minimalism, to reuse the objects and add onto their value.
Thank you so much for sharing.
Wow, great story and great use of minimalism rules. The part "It’s when the perineum splits right up to your asshole. " make me think of "le point du mari" meaning "the husband's stitch".
When perineum splits, in some hospitals, they propose to add an extra stitch so the vagina would be tighter and the husband will be happier...
Sometimes they don't even ask and just do it, sometimes they just ask the husband.
After having this extra stitch some women can't bend without awfull pain , they can't tie their shoes no more. It's so wrong and they still do it these days.
Thank you for sharing this, Katy. It is very well written. The mucus plug/oyster was a great twist
“Not that she ever would. Not that she ever did.” - beautiful chorus. I love the sense of menace that arises from its repetition. To me, the effect transformed the chorus from a judgy attitude to an obvious lie. Also, great combo of head and heart authority! And I also think a hyphen for the “maybe [name]” would clarify that Ella can’t remember their names ... without the hyphen, I read it as Ella not caring to distinguish who was who, like they were interchangeable harpies (which also works!)
So glad to see the deep dive on this one. I read this awhile ago and was impressed with how you hit on all these gritty aspects of motherhood that are so very relatable. How even though you “prepare” for childbirth and what comes after, the true aftermath is so shocking that yes, you really would find women standing around in a group talking about how it's understandable to shake a baby.
-“Did Ella know that on a bad day, the cry of a new-born is the same decibel level as a chainsaw”
-“A choke of women” - what a telling unit of measurement for a group of women; love it.
Chuck and Katy—I didn’t stumble on laminated brows, but only because it is a trend I’ve recently discovered prior to reading the story.
-How they’re serving the buffet of food forbidden for the pregnant lady to eat at her own damn baby shower.
-The popping bellybutton.
-“Maybe” before the names. Am I reading it correctly that she’s unsure about the names? If yes, I love that. I wonder if it would be a little more clear if you added a hyphen. “Maybe-Harriet” for example. Maybe that’s unnecessary. :) Ha! Just got to Chuck’s comment, he suggested it too.
-The mention about autism and c-sections being linked. Putting fear in an already tense situation of being pregnant. So great. And extra kudos because you made me look up whether or not that tidbit was true (I ended up having to have c-sections with my boys). Same praise for including the breastfeeding vs. formula. So judgey, and only when you become a mother without milk do you realize that formula may be the only option. Love all these details of judginess and fear-mongering you’ve included.
Really great job. Would read more. Keep at it.
Awesome job! I can't tell you how many points resonated with me having:
a) recently had a baby (well 2 and a bit years) and having constant judgement both before and after birth
b) being brought up with children's parties at Sunday school halls; the entire passage had me remembering details of my own knees sliding around parents drinking crap coffee
The whole thing feels very British (but I don't know if I'm just imposing my own memories on things here)
Really slick style. Good work Katy, I look forward to reading more.
Has anyone looked through the comment section of a popular YouTube video and found the most clever, hilarious responses? I wanna ask Chuck, can a writer use these comments in their work?
Great, visceral descriptions! You had me existing right there, alongside Ella.
I also really liked the use of "Maybe Denise, Maybe Alex, etc." to signify how little these people matter to her. It's great because it allows the reader to not care either, which makes it easier to read. However, I do think using hyphens, like Chuck suggested, (i.e. Maybe-Denise, Maybe-Alex) would help the reader be less likely to get tripped up.
Thanks for sharing, Katy.
Katy, Great opening chapter which I (as mother of 3) can relate to. I'm so glad I'm not alone in my morbid thoughts. Go for the visceral! And Chuck's comments were very helpful as usual. The misunderstanding about "tea dress" is funny.