Kill your darlings*

cardamine_hirsuta_hairy_bittercress2_large - Copy

Cardamine hirsuta

Two years after the burning apple tree firebombed her cousin and killed him with flaming apples – the aftermath of the opprobrious roach flicking incident which ignited Veronica’s hair and sparked the desiccated old apple tree – Veronica felt healed. Tattoos in a repeating pattern of two intertwined flowers – Speedwell (her name) and cardamine hirsuta (Harry’s name) – decorated her scarred and hairless scalp, symbols of the business they created from the ashes of her cousin’s torched life. Harry thanked the gods for Veronica’s protean gifts. She was hardy, his darling Vee.

Their llama farm flourished. They harvested tiny amounts of fleece and painstakingly spun it with hair offerings from their customers’ loved ones – dog hair, cat fur, budgie feathers, snake skin, locks of babies, locks of lovers. The resulting sentimental yarn generated a profit that made Harry giggle.



“Twist of Fate”, their new business, grew as quick as Harry’s hemp plants which thrived in the soil enriched by Llama dung, a miraculous accelerant. Occasionally a llama reached over the fence to the hemp garden. These snacks led to a feeding frenzy abated only with a shocking quantity of carrots. But the farm was happy. Eventually, hemp was added to Twist of Fate’s fiber product line and from there Harry and Veronica claimed their place in Vancouver Island lore as the Brits who worked it out with fiber.

*Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings. – Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


20 thoughts on “Kill your darlings*

    • I had to google “Under the dome”. It sounds like a fun series. I’m so disconnected from t.v. these days. To give you an idea, hubby and I are watching The West Wing. For the first time. It’s fun to revisit the late ’90’s.

      • I get that. I am not a TV person. But a couple years ago I decided to choose a couple of entertaining series, something I could watch with hubby. This one is so stupid, honestly, but I think it’s fun. Based on a Stephen King story and of course dragged out for TV.

        • We did likewise when we got Netflix. Having missed the latter part of the 90’s up to about 2012 in tv-land, I’m now a devotee of The Walking Dead (Now THERE’s stupid!), The West Wing and Downton Abbey. The first one I watch with one of my kids, the last two with the hub-man.

  1. This is a hoot! Flaming apples! Llamas with munchies! Perhaps your next stories should be set in a kitchen, where there are possibilities galore for narrative. I need to explore backward to the roach flicking.

    • Thanks! I started this experiment back in April and am surprised how much mileage came of it. If you click on “Harry Bittercress and Lady Smock on the right hand sidebar you’ll see the whole, rambling saga. Not quite up to Beowulf but it does veer in weird directions! Many thanks for taking the time to peruse!

  2. I don’t know. I have a friend who wrote a trilogy based on the life of a fictitious woman in the early 1900s and her fans cried out for more. I believe a dozen more books have been written since. ha ha, here’s a proverb: the customer is always right. 🙂

  3. Fare-thee-well fair Lady Smock and Sir Harry…I’m sure we will met again one day at the ‘Twist of Fate’ where we’ll have us a nice natter about the old days. AND *drum roll* as I wait for the next yarn you’ll be spinning Susanne, I am awarding you the lesser known literary award known as the Golden Pair of Knitting Needles for this one. Well Spun! 🙂

  4. I can see the Llamas now lol! Will miss Harry and Lady Sue, but I am looking forward to where ever your muse takes you!!

    • I’ll take the compliment, John. That you are delighted makes me happy indeed! In truth, these stories have been haphazard and unplanned, each one miraculously leading to the next from week to week, somewhat prompted by’s “word of the day” and I suppose creative synergy. I started waaaay back in April but I think the saga of Harry Bittercress and Lady Smock has come to an end. Time for something new.

  5. “Twist of fate” for the name of their business…. her scalp with that tattoo…you create such fresh and wonderful magic word images, Susanne. And I loved “kill your darlings” until you told me it came from Stephen King….that sort of took some of the wonderfulness of that phrase away….though I guess I know what he means by that,, when he’s pontificating about writing, and he’s right.

    • I gather you’re not a Stephen King fan? The only thing of his I’ve read is “On Writing” though I keep meaning to try one of his novels.

      This is the end of Harry and Lady Smock. I need to move on. Don’t know where/how/when/ who or what but not too worried. Harry and Lady are in a happy place now and that’s where I’ll leave them – spinning and weaving on their own in paradise.

  6. Hemp! Llama farm! Burning apples! These could all be exclamations of delight! Then again they could be used almost as swear words! You have a great gift to wander entirely outside the square and still make sense!

"The river flows both ways." (Margaret Laurence)

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