Dark Faith: Invocations Devotional – Jennifer Pelland

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 0 comments

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Dark Faith: InvocationsJENNIFER PELLAND lives outside Boston with an Andy, three cats, and an impractical amount of books. She’s twice been nominated for the short story Nebula, and her novel Machine was published by Apex at the beginning of 2012. We also published her short story collection Unwelcome Bodies in 2008. Because spare time is for the weak, she’s also a performing belly dancer, an occasional voice actress, and a full-time wage slave. www.jenniferpelland.com

Jennifer is the author of “Sacrifice.”

Buy Dark Faith: Invocations from one of our retailers.

Who are you?

I’m a belly dancer who sometimes writes. It used to be the other way around, but belly dance has better costuming than writing, so I shifted allegiance. I also sometimes do radio theater, because I’m too lazy for the stage. You don’t need to memorize lines, or even comb your hair, to stand behind a microphone in a church basement.

Tell us about your story.

It’s one of the two stories I wrote in reaction to my father’s cancer death, and it may be the most personal piece I’ve ever published. As someone who was raised Catholic and later became an atheist, I found myself becoming increasingly enraged when people tried to comfort me with anything that even vaguely smacked of a religious platitude. All I could think was, if this deity of theirs was real, what a bastard it was. And if it wasn’t real, what suckers they were for putting so much faith in it.

How does your story tie into the concept of faith?

It maps pretty closely to my feelings about the subject. I realize that the majority of people on this planet are religious in some way, but to me, it makes no sense at all. So this story is about the senselessness of faith. That may seem harsh, but death has a way of distilling things down to a very bitter essence.

Every year, Maurice Broaddus throws a convention in honor of himself (Mo*Con). How do you feel about this fact?

It takes all kinds, man. It takes all kinds.

Excerpt from “Sacrifice”:

Regina sat by her father’s bedside, staring down at his gaunt frame as he shifted his bony legs, trying and failing to get comfortable. She didn’t want him to die. Why was it taking him so long to die?

It was cruel how much the human body could suffer.

Not for the first time since her father had gotten sick, she wished she were still able to believe in God. To pray for some sort of miracle. Or to know that her father was going to a better place rather than just going to the crematorium.

And then she heard a voice, as clear as if someone were standing next to her, whisper, “Will you switch with him? Will you give your life for his?”

 

Or

 

A parent should never outlive their child.

Gene stood just outside the funeral home, a lit cigarette in his shaky hand, and stared at the open door.

He couldn’t do it. Couldn’t go in there. How the hell could his wife stand it? Making small talk next to the dead body of their first-born, as her sisters flitted about, trying to keep her distracted.

Besides, if he went in there, someone would tell him that “God works in mysterious ways,” or that “everything happens for a reason,” and then he’d have to hit them.

He took a long draw from the cigarette and let his eyes unfocus, as the smoke streamed back out his nostrils, curling up to the heavens in ghostly tendrils. He’d quit before. When he was sick. Lorainne wanted him to quit again.

What was the point in quitting now?

Buy Dark Faith: Invocations from one of our retailers.

Next week look for devotional posts from Tim Pratt and Richard Dansky as they tell us about their stories.

Until then, catch up on any devotional posts you may have missed.

Richard Wright

Alma Alexander

Matt Cardin

Lavie Tidhar

Nick Mamatas

Jay Lake

Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

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