About Me

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I write about people that are much much smarter than me. See the links on my shiny blog? I wrote those. And some other stuff. Below is the kind of thing you would find about me in the back of a book or anthology.

"Kelly Hale lives in the magical city called Stumptown where the streets are paved with espresso beans and the garbage recycles itself. She is the author of several science fiction-y type stories in scattered anthologies, co-author of a Doctor Who TV tie-in novel Grimm Reality, and also won an award for an early version of Erasing Sherlock – there was a giant novelty check involved.  She is mother of geeks and stand-up comedians. When she isn’t writing she enjoys grinding bones to make artisan breads, creating her own skin care products from locally sourced virgins blood, and knitting with razor wire. She’s been a fan of science fiction and fantasy since age 11. Characters from the original Star Trek represent archetypes in her dreams."

I am a devout secular humanist.




Friday, June 10, 2016

Creative Non-Fiction, here I come.


I just finished a class in creative non fiction. Lot's of free-writing from prompts. It was a blast. The practice of daily writing in this way opened me up to some deep stuff, but also reminded me of the many delights of my childhood. I've always used stuff from my life or stories that other people have told me in my fiction because such things lend specificity and grounding to spec-genre type things, right?  But what I didn't realize is how it's all right to add fiction to real stories so as to enhance the essential "truthiness." We must embroider pretty threads in and out of the narrative.  Anyway, that's what I did with this following story. My brother Scott was indeed tormented by little creatures for much of his young life. I don't know how long they were around but they followed us to every house. The last sighting was at 13 or 14 maybe, when a friend who was spending the night saw one sitting on the washing machine. Despite this, Scott's favorite episode of Bonanza was "Hoss and the Leprechauns."  So I give you...

 Scott and the Leprechauns
by Kelly Hale 

Our brother Scott called them “the little men.” They were no bigger than our baby sister but not as round and certainly not as cute.  Dressed in greenish brown or reddish brown with belts of yellow or bright blue, no matter what time of day or night he saw them they always looked like they were in a patch of sunlight. When they smiled you could see how pointy their teeth were. “You do not want to wake up and see them smiling at you,” he’d say. But Mitch and I had never seen them, smiling or otherwise. Even though the three of us all slept in the same room, the little men only came for Scott, tormenting him in small, cunning, and mostly unprovable ways.

They pinched him, pulled his hair, tickled him mercilessly. Sometimes he’d wake up bound and trapped in his own cowboy printed sheets - on the floor where they’d pushed him. They’d leave weird things in his bed too, like live crickets, or pennies, or bent and rusty nails. Once, a piece of wood like a tiny walking stick. He kept that on the dresser. Other times he’d be startled awake to find a little man nose to nose with him. He’d try to scream but, of course no sound would come out. Sometimes he’d be so worried about them he’d try to keep us awake by being extra annoying - like singing theme songs from TV shows over and over and over.

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…”  

“Stop it.”

“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky…”  

“Be quiet!”

“Green acres is the place to be. Farm living is the life for me…” 

“MOM!”

Then, early one summer morning, he felt a hard tug on his penis and when he opened his eyes a little man was sitting at the end of the bed. It smiled with very sharp teeth before leaning down to chomp on his big toe. Scott made plenty of sound that time. We woke to his yelling. “Did you see it? Did you see it? It was right there. It bit my toe!” He reached into his underpants in sudden panic. “He pulled my wiener too. Really hard.”

“Are you sure you didn’t pull it yourself accidentally?” Mitch asked. Scott had a tendency to fondle himself when deep in thought. Or watching TV. Or any number of things including sleeping.

“Yeah. Maybe. But I didn’t bite my own toes!”  He thrust his foot towards our faces.

There on his big toe were little indentations that might have been teeth marks.

“Now do you believe me?”  We must have looked like we actually did. He started to cry. “How come they never go after you guys? It’s not fair.”

I’m pretty sure Mitch and I were never on their radar. The little men went after the one they liked best. A kindred spirit in matters of unrelenting mischief.

See, here’s the thing about Scott. All the stuff they did to him he did sort of did to others.  

From an early age, our brother was a prankster. His inspiration was all of Wile E. Coyote’s Acme corporation failures. Not for him your teetering boulders on the edges of cliffs, your anvils falling onto trampolines. No. Scott’s creations were elegant kinetic sculptures made of foraged mattress springs and re-purposed Hot Wheels tracks that would, at some point and for no reason, cause a badminton shuttlecock to fly off and hit you in the face. At thirteen he engineered and flawlessly executed a trap so diabolical that it has passed into family legend, told around campfires and backyard BBQs. This epic prank factored in not only height and distance but also just how stoned the victim would be when he lifted the toilet seat - whereupon a shower of toilet water would get him good and wet before a plunger filled with extra fine cake flour swung down from the ceiling. 

I'll pause for a moment so you can picture just how brilliant that was.

Thinking back, I see that it's possible the little men weren’t tormenting him at all, but rather, paying tribute to a genius.