The Girl Turns West – a few notes about my coming-of-age Apache fantasy in Mirror Dance (Summer 2015)

Girl Turns West

This lovely piece, made by The Exceptional Nick Robles, is a fusion of my mother as a teen and the protagonist in “The Girl Turns West.” Hence the 70s-stylin bell bottoms XD


“The Girl Turns West,” my short fantasy story inspired by precolonial Mescalero/Lipan/Jicarilla societies, appears in Mirror Dance this summer. Read it here! In this post, I will say a few words about the society and magic of Many Question’s world. If you don’t know who Many Questions is, ahem … click this link and put on your reading glasses (if you need em) 😉

  1. Names have power: Because they reflect a person’s soul, names possess great spiritual power and can be weapons in the wrong hands. Therefore, Many Questions refers to people by their familial/professional titles, even in her thoughts. I don’t know about you, but I tend to do the same. To me, my father is “Dad,” not “Patrick.”
  2. In Many Question’s matrilocal society, family groups are rooted around the grandmother’s line: Many Questions lives in a family group loosely connected to eight other families. The groups travel together and help each other during crises. When a couple is married, the husband joins the wife’s family group; if the marriage splits, the husband leaves.
  3. Question everything: As she becomes an adult, Many Questions realizes that dogmas about evil, spirituality, and what it means to be a woman do not always reflect the truth …

I’m working on a sequel to this story that involves an older Many Questions, her brother, her auntie, and The Storyteller. Here’s its tagline: the old monsters have returned. Muahaha. Seriously, there are lots of wonderfully creepy monsters in Southern Athabaskan lore – I’m itching to have some fun with them.

Thanks for reading! Oh, here’s a pic of my mom as a kiddo – can you see the resemblance with the art above? 😀

Mom

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2 thoughts on “The Girl Turns West – a few notes about my coming-of-age Apache fantasy in Mirror Dance (Summer 2015)

  1. I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this one, because it’s definitely my favorite. The voice and writing are solid, the conflict is thoughtful; while I was reading it, I imagined it as one of the mythology picturebooks we have at the library. It would fit pretty well there, if illustrated.

    • Thank you for reading, and for the wonderful comment! It would be amazing to see the story illustrated. Maybe someday! Actually, I enjoyed writing this so much, I wrote a second in the same universe (it’s in submission limbo >.> ) and am working on a sequel to “The Girl Turns West” where the twins are a bit older.

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