Mercurial Tales
Some thoughts on my writing

The Genesis of some of the Mercurial Tales Short Stories




This story had its origins in real-life experience. As part of a class assignment in a "creative nonfiction" writing course, I did interview a fellow student, and she did make that very startling statement which opens the story. Up through the first, single whale encounter, the story pretty closely recounts her own personal experience, as told to me. The rest of the story is sheer fancy on my part. I did spend a long time trying to make sense of what she claimed to have endured out there on the mysterious deep. This story is the result of those musings.



This story is mostly true, except for the ending. I did, at one time, live in San Francisco with an eclectic bunch of housemates, and we did have a household custom of gettng stoned and hitching over to Marin County to hike on Mt. Tamalpais. It was all a long time ago. Now I live with an eclectic pair of housemates called "the dog" and "the husband". I do still swear a lot, but I got bored with cannabis about 3 decades ago, and once something is boring, why do it? Writing fiction is a lot more addictive, but also a lot more satisfying, since events in fiction are so much easier to control.


This tongue-in-cheek twist on "vampire romance" came as something of a surprise. I woke up one morning with a strange taste in my mouth, and being half asleep, thought it tasted rather like stale blood. (It wasn’t, I actually floss a lot.) But from that thought, I went on to speculate about what it would be like for a vampire to wake up one evening and find that she’d been compromised into "necking" without her own knowledge. Would that be sexual harassment, or even a physical violation, by vampire standards? How would a young female vampire react to being used that way? What kind of difficulties might she face, in reporting the young men? Of course one can never be sure with a vampire, that she doesn’t have some ulterior motive up her trailing black-lace sleeve.


This story first came into being during my Hollywood days. It was originally a short skit which I wrote for an actor friend to use in an audition. He needed to present a two-person scene, and my husband, also an actor at the time, volunteered. They were very different physically, which made for a good pair of pitiful laboratory rodents. Readers may get a between-the-lines sense that I don’t really put much faith in the lab-testing of medications on animals, since there is so much they can’t actually explain about the side effects.


I've always been interested in folklore, particularly indigenous beliefs regarding deities, demi-deities, and other spiritual beings. Coyote is of course a trickster deity in the traditions of a number of western tribes in the Southwestern states. Coyote is usually male, which is why I wrote this story about a female Coyote - why not? Everyone knows that the "females of the species" (any species, including Homo Sapiens Sapiens) are the tricky ones! I have no recollection of why I thought of having Coyote visit a museum. In fact, I wrote the story maybe a decade before it ever occurred to me, that I should go to grad school for "museum studies" - perhaps it was actual, paranormal, precognitive self-warning, of which I foolishly took no heed! If only I'd had a timely visit from Coyote, what a lot of frustration and money I could have saved!


The inspiration for this story, was one of my own original Filk Songs (yes, 'filk' - filk singing is folk singing for science-fiction fans, largely enjoyed at science fiction conventions). That song is now posted for your listening amusement, on the "Patricia Sings Her Own Songs" page, on ths site. Spoiler Alert! Don't listen to the song OR read the blurb about it first, if you're buying the book & want to enjoy the gradual surprise ending of the story.