Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Saltwater Wife, by K.C. Norton

"The Saltwater Wife" has its origins in the selkie legends, wherein the-saltwater-wifecertain seals could turn into beautiful women. Men could 'catch' these inhumanly beautiful creatures by stealing their sealskins, and thereby trapping them in their (did I mention incredibly beautiful?) human forms.

I wanted to tell a story in which some of these women retain their agency, but I also wanted to tell a story about being human. This isn't a story about some battle of the sexes; it's a story about personas. In my experience, we are all pretending on some level. I'm not saying that it's a bad thing, just that it gets complicated. I don't like to tell stories about Strong Female Characters. I like to tell stories about human nature. Even if my characters aren't always, you know, technically human. Thus, selkies and shifting identities were in. Sexy fish-ladies were right out.

One final note: In reality, eels and groupers do hunt together. They're one of the few common inter-species hunting pairs found in nature. The eel swims into tiny crevices to flush out prey; the grouper snaps up the victim, leaving some nibbles for the eel. They're an insanely efficient hunting team. Is this a metaphor? Perhaps.

--K.C. Norton

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