Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sister Margaret of St. Mary's Of The Majestic Holy Lamb

Sister Margaret. Mother Superior's right hand lady...and the school's most feared teacher. How long had she been there. No one really knew for sure. There were rumours that she was Father Donahoe's sister, but no-one dared ask her. For sure, if she was, she was a great deal younger than him. But then, a large age gap between siblings was not uncommon in Irish Catholic families. Who could guess at how many other brothers and sisters separated them?

Not for nothing were Father Donahoe, Sister Margaret and Mother Superior jokingly called "The Holy Trinity". They knew everything that went on in school, and in the towns and villages in the area. The school was the only catholic school for miles and children came as far away Newmarket and Felixstowe. They came for two reasons; religious instruction for those children of families of the Catholic faith, and high quality schooling for those pretending to convert for the sake of their children's education. St. Mary's Of The Majestic Holy Lamb was one of the best schools in the country.

When Mother Superior died, it went without argument that Sister Margaret would take over the headmistress's role. She had been in that position since Joe could remember. She was dry, cold, fierce and unapproachable, but Sister Margaret was also an incredible beauty. Every boy who ever went to St Mary's could attest to this; Sister Margaret had probably been their first forbidden object of desire.

A Bride of Christ Sister Margaret may have been, but she knew the men of the area looked longingly at her. Her power over the children that were her charges gave her life purpose and structure. But it was the power over the local men whose eyes fell lustfully upon her, as she walked through the neighbouring villages,that gave fortified her life with a secret and wicked satisfaction.

Sister Margaret never changed, she never aged, she never looked anything less than perfect. And she still ran St. Mary's Of The Majestic Holy Lamb to this day....


Misssy M said...

Now I've given the school a name because i couldn't find it referenced before- if it was named and I've missed it- tell me and I'll sort.

JES said...

I think Son called it "St. Mary's Of The Majestic Holy Lamb." You could leave it as St. Brides -- sort of a nickname, referring to the nuns as Brides of Christ or somesuch.

he said, trying hard to make himself sound like he knows what he's talking about when it comes to Catholicism

Rowena said...

Looks like it was St Mary's of the Majestic Holy Lamb.

Aside from that, I love that you made Father Donohoe and Sister Margaret maybe siblings... to Jack, also, of course.

And what is this mysterious mystery of the connection between the ladies of this town. And I do mean all of them.

Alice, of course. Dancer, drunk, dead.
her sister Fay, she of the cat disaster.
Wilma, the ex trick horse rider at the circus.
Rowena, the Gypsy
Rowena's mother in the trailer park,best friend of Poor Wilma
Sister Margaret, beautiful and fierce,
her niece Violet, the glamorous temptress,
her lover Swotsy Mondy.

What about Violet's mom, Bitsy?
What about Alice's godmother, who left her the house in the first place?
Who are all these women?
And I thought the men were mysterious.

JES said...

P.S. Woo-whoo! this was the 100th post to the Burning Lines blog!

Misssy M said...

Personally I'm loving the fact that we've turned a weird picture into our main plot point which is the lust for eternal beauty. When you think about it, people would kill to know that secret.

I'm a bit goosebumpy even thinking about it.

Misssy M said...

Oh as an aside- I have now chenged the school name back- it's better- more Catholicky. St Brides was a school near where I come from...I'm lazy that way!

Son of Incogneato said...

You missed one reference: 'Every boy who ever went to St Brides could attest to this.'
Apropos your so-called laziness – I wrote a little blurb back in the Cat-a-tonic comments on how I tend to choose known things when writing; names, places, etc. I don’t think it’s laziness, rather a tool of the trade. Any others with thoughts about this?

Misssy M said...

Thanks Son- have changed. I've also added in a sprinkling of manipulation and lust into the second last paragraph.

Why have a nun, if you can't make her dangerous?

Son of Incogneato said...

Ha-ha; 'a secret and wicked satisfaction.'
This is my kind of nun, not one of those nun-of-this, nun-of-that sort.

JES said...

P.S. Complete story to date now runs through this post.

(Have thought about splitting it into multiple pages but being able to search the whole thing for a name or key*cough*word is just too convenient.)

Son, on your "reaching for the familiar: laziness or tool of the trade?" question, agree completely. They're just placeholders, waiting for the revision pass(es) to follow.

One of the cool things about a multi-author story like this is that there are many* hands ready to make the revisions!


* Typically, Number of Participants x 2.

Son of Incogneato said...

Wow, very impressive, Jes – pictures, youtubes and all. Well done!

I took the liberty of reinstating a passage that I originally deleted when Scarlet came with her own passage at the same time. If fact the story makes more sense when it’s in place (I think that Scarlet reedited her piece to fit in after it). It’s called This All Makes Perfect Sense. If we are going to keep it you should probably put it in the overview that you made. If not then I should probably delete it again so that the two versions are in synk.

This also brings up the question of editing earlier pieces in general. This would include correcting typos, calibrating names (like the St. Mary’s thing) and actually altering the text. Are there any opinions on this?

Rowena said...

I am pro editing as we go.

However, I am thinking that we should probably save changes for major things or inconsistencies, and we have to announce any changes we have made in the comments... don't want anyone to miss it as it could be important.

We do quite a bit of shop talk in the comments, and that changes things. Plus, with so many authors, one person might put in something that gets changed or dropped later, or becomes obsolete.

So I guess maybe the kind of editing I support is the kind that helps the story make more sense as a whole.

But also, sometimes an inconsistency from the past, like the addition of "Rowena understanding the whole picture" becomes an interesting and possibly key element, like Rowena the Gypsy Dwarf.

But then, what about how I kept trying to make Swotsy a new arrival to the neighborhood, but that didn't take off as she became a HS classmate. Take out the references to being a stranger? Don't know.

I say edit, but only if it's really important or really confusing. Or not.

Misssy M said...

As for editing- yeah , we'll need to sort some stuff in the end. I'd also like to see some flesh added description wise to the characters/locations from time to time-maybe that's just me. Perhaps in the rush to move the plot, and the initial frenzy to post, these things maybe got ignored a little.

Of course, maybe the rest of you don't agree. I'd like to know what you think.

Whatever- I don't think we should do much editing until we're finished- it could just confuse further.

In other news: I make the word count to be around 17,000 so far, fact fans.

JES said...

Son (et al): Thanks for the heads-up about yours and Scarlet's fixes; I think I've got them right now. (To find Son's changed version, go here and search on "murder and mayhem" -- no quotes -- and start reading. Scarlet's "Reunion" post is the one after it.)

Editing before it's "done": small stuff, no problem. (I'm thinking, like, typo-sized small.)

If we want to change anything earlier to bring it into synch with something that develops later, we should announce that change, maybe get some feedback first... but make the change with great care because of possible side-effects.

(E.g.: Say Post A takes one possible turn, but downstream Post N seems to make that turn of events unlikely or impossible. If the author of Post A goes back and fixes it to bring it into sync with N, if not handled delicately the change might then put A out of sync with any of posts B through M. Does that make sense?)

I agree with Misssy's opinion about fleshing things out later. Glad somebody brought this up!

(Apropos of nothing except that the word "fleshing" reminded me of it, I just read (per the Assoc. Press) this: "Judges [on behalf of the German publishers of Langenscheidt dictionaries] chose 'gammelfleischparty', or 'spoiled meat party,' - an unflattering term for a gathering of people over 30 - as the 'youth word of the year 2008.' The word 'gammelfleisch' was in the news frequently during the year when it was discovered that meat packers had been regularly supplying some kebab restaurants with past-due products." Sorry for the digression.)

Kate Lord Brown said...

Gosh it's all turning Black Narcissus on the Norfolk Broads ... nuns, dwarves, keys, hidden passions.

Fantastic work - JES, Misssy's count, Rowena's trees. If we're up to 17000 on day 11 this is shaping up to be a novella rather than a short story no?

I'd suggest at this point (rather as you do when writing solo) getting the words and story down is the important bit. All our comments are like your own margin notes. Have fun with it - let the ideas pop. We can edit details later as long as the story has legs ... Well done everyone for the 100th post - BRAVO!

scarlet-blue said...

I was going to post last night but I noticed that there was a draft being written in the 'edit posts' section and I didn't want to jump in and mess it up.. so, shall I have a go or wait?

Misssy M said...

Post Scarlet, post. I've been waiting two days for someone to take the nun on!

JES said...

Yeah, Scarlet -- please post! I've deleted that draft (saved it elsewhere for use later, just a sketch so far which can be inserted a lot of places)... and would much prefer to see your post anyhow!

scarlet-blue said...