Last Friday, I wrote a story that stepped far afield from the normal flash fiction I post on my Fiction Friday blog entries. I had been reading a few discussions on
Permies and was inspired to write about a very difficult struggle for the character. She is a vegetarian who doesn't eat meat for emotional/ethical reasons. She finds herself with a trouble chicken that she can't find anyone who'll take without also intending her for the soup pot.
I wanted to explore the difficulty of her choice and capture the intense emotions around her dilemma. While I'm not a vegetarian, I do get very emotional with regards to the death of any animal I have had contact with. I'm hoping that I have captured the sense of this intense personal issue in the short story, but am also hoping that those who actually are vegetarians for ethics reasons will also understand the story for what it is.
I'm curious for feedback on how people are receiving this story and what they feel about it. Since it is very much in keeping with the subject matter found here on Permies, I'd love if people could discuss what they are taking into this story and what they take away after having read it. Did I manage my goal or did I miss the mark entirely?
I know putting this under cider press topics limits who can respond, but given the nature of both the story and my questions, it seemed best to keep it here due to the potentially charged nature of the topic. If you don't have enough apples, but did wish to offer input, feel free to comment on the story page itself.
I've met plenty of people who are like your main character. In my opinion, they shouldn't have animals, period. They live in a made up fantasy world, which at times conflicts with reality. I have no pity for them.....no apology. If I'm going to have animals, then I need to stay grounded in reality. The animals aren't going to share fantasy visions I create in my head.
I've taken in plenty of various animals from people like your character. I make no promises other than I treat every animal humanely. Some live a long life here on my farm, some don't.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Writing fiction requires me to make the characters all have their own views and opinions. To be true to the character, I had to state thoughts from her perspective. The choice of the "murder" as a wording in the story was tied to the character's nature. I am neither supporting or condemning the viewpoint, but instead exploring the emotions around that perspective.
I do question the choice to raise livestock (or meat-eating pets) for someone with the protagonist's viewpoint.
I had a longer explanation of my opinion but it was basically the same as Su Ba's. I know someone who is keeping a suffering guinea (deformed and being pecked by it's peers) because she is like your protagonist. So willing to allow her animals to suffer so she can have a clean conscious. She doesn't "murder" her animals. Instead she's incredibly inhumane. How inhumane was your character, to allow her birds to be damaged so she could keep her conscious clean. Someone who loves their animals is able to think of their welfare above their own emotions. I have absolutely not wanted to kill birds before, but did, because it was the right thing to do.
So while you may think using that word in your fiction was totally fine I object to it. I object to the implication that someone who humanely treats their animals, or eats them (because I do that too) is a consciousless murderer. Murder is killing for no reason, imo. I am not ranked with Jeffery Dahmer because I eat meat.
I think the story was good D. Logan. Since I agree with su ba it is difficult for me to relate to that character. Maybe some vegans and vegetarians can be better judges as to weather your story captures their experience with raising animals.
There are milestones when I was first becoming a steward of an animal system.I definitely shed a tear the first time I had to dispatch a chicken after it was bitten by a dog. Each time I take the life of an animal it is spiritual, and I think your story is headed in that direction.
I began eating meat again after our first go at hatching eggs.
We put twelve eggs into the incubator, and got out one female and ten males. When we saw what those ten males did to the poor female, we realised that we were going to have to 'do something. And that eggs weren't as vegetarian a food as we liked to believe.
I have considered doing a follow-up story to this one with the same character years down the road. One where it isn't tied to the first, but her experiences there and along the way have clearly changed who she was in one way or another. It probably won't happen right away though. I'd want the story to stand on its own strength, not just as a continuation. The character clearly stirred some strong emotions in some of the readers. The subject is clearly a tough one to do justice to more than one side as an isolated flash fiction.