Since I had a few minutes, I thought I might explain the genesis of “Sock Monkey, Crucified”, a story I wrote for my last post. The story provides a good example of how simple things observed have the potential to create fiction. Was the story good or bad? I’m not sure, that’s for you to decide. The point is that it takes only a small seed to inspire something far beyond the limits of the original inspiring event.
A couple of weeks ago I drove to Virginia to visit my daughter and her family. In the living room was a Pack’n’Play ― a kind of crib/changing table combo thing ― for my infant granddaughter, Emma. On one end of the Pack’n’Play my daughter attached two plastic ring clips, presumably to hold something related to the baby. Now, my other granddaughter, Hannah, has a sock monkey. Unlike the sock monkey in my story, hers is cute and adorable and she likes to sleep with it. Also, her sock monkey does not have a need to feed.
If you’ve read the story, you might already see where this is going…
While I was there, unbidden and for a reason of her own choosing, Hannah pulled her sock monkey’s arms through the two plastic ring clips on the end of the Pack’n’Play and left the sock monkey hanging there. Hannah’s dad pointed it out to me and as we exchanged comments on it, the thought of the crucified sock monkey came to me. In fact, the title of “Sock Monkey, Crucified” swirled in my mind all through six hour drive back to South Carolina. At some point, probably a stop for gas, I jotted the title down. When I got back to the hotel, the image of the sock monkey in the crucifixion pose stuck with me and as Halloween was coming fast, I wondered how I might be able to build a story around that image.
Now as far as the story built around the image, it contains a number of traditional themes such as conflict between the father and daughter, the overpowering need of the father to carry out the sock monkey ritual, and the implied power of the sock monkey. The story was written quickly and both the characters and themes could have been expanded upon to make it more robust. Any other criticisms of the story I will leave to you, and I would genuinely enjoy hearing them.
As I suggested in my Halloween post, this story might have taken any number of alternate paths in the hands of a different author. The same event might have inspired any number of stories. Perhaps other stories will still be inspired by it or it may be incorporated as an element in another story. Who can say? I don’t think I’m done with it yet. How about you?
If you have ideas about what I’ve written that you’d like to share, feel free to contact me either on the blog or using other social media. Thanks.