Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Strategic Planning

So, speaking of author faux pas ... that is what we are really discussing when we are talking about anecdotes, right? Anyway, you may or may not know that most of my books to date have been about a monkey called Chee Chee. In my books, I portrait him as smart, funny, resourceful, intelligent, and magical. I suggest that the reason that he and his brothers raid trees for fruit is that they are hungry and need to eat.

From those readers who don't live around monkeys and so can fall for the rose-coloured lens I create, I get a collective 'Awwww, how sweet'. Unfortunately the books are set in St. Kitts where many residents don't have the luxury of seeing monkeys that way. In their reality, monkeys are willfully annoying pests who use their intelligence to thwart every effort people make to protect the fruit in their gardens.

So the conversation goes:
Me "What a lovely garden!"
Hostess (bitterly): "Thanks. A pity I never get to enjoy the fruit. Those monkeys eat it all and what they cannot eat they pick and throw to the ground."
Me: "Oh dear." (Trying to sink into the ground with the fruit.)
Hostess: "Let's not talk about that. What do you do anyway?"
Me (still frantically searching for a hole): I write books.
Hostess: "How wonderful! What do you write about?"

You can see the problem, right? If I had thought it through, planned strategically instead of letting the characters take control of the story, perhaps Chee Chee would have been a soothsayer cat, or a wiley mouse, or a talking bird. Anything but the mischievous, destructive but oh so lovable (I'm told) monkey.


Sunny Frazier said...

I loved this. We really need to do a month where we describe where we live. So many exotic places among us.

Liane Spicer said...

LOL, Carol. Well, those pests are ordinary monkeys, whereas Chee Chee is a distantly-related, highly evolved individual monkey. Sort of like Jonathan Livingston Seagull versus the others, aka "rats of the air".

Liane Spicer said...

Sunny, that's a terrific idea.

Carol Mitchell said...

I like that spin, Lianne.
Sunny, for some of us it may have to be where we wish we live!

Charles Gramlich said...

Maybe you need to write a collection of short stories about vicious monkeys. Might be a market for it. :)

Joyce Ann Brown said...

I visited St. Kitts recently and had one of those "cute" monkeys thrust into my arms by a smiling dude who wanted $2.00 to take a picture. I refused, but my husband had already snapped one. I gave the guy the monkey and a $10.00 bill and put my hand out for the change. I received $5.00. When I complained, he said the real price was $5.00, but he had at first offered a discount.
"No." I stood my ground. I grabbed the $10, gave him a $1.00 bill and stomped off.
Monkeys in St. Kitts... Just saying.

Marissa Monteilh said...

This is lol, and Lord knows those characters can be pushy, if we're doing it right, and you defnitely are, sis!

Carol Mitchell said...

HI Joyce, Sorry you had a bad experience. I had a similar one on a camel at the Giza pyramids. Quite unsettling. I hope that you met lots of nice Kittitians and lots of nice monkeys after this.