Story Time

THE BEGINNING                                                                                               

It started half way through 2007.  A story–captivating characters–an adventure–and a lump of clay.  I could write the description of the unusual occupants of my tale but I knew that  seeing and touching one of these creations would bring life to my narrative.

Polymer clay was a material I was very familiar with.  I had used it to make all the beads for over a thousand pieces of jewelry when we lived in the Eastern Caribbean on our boat  for almost a decade.

My attention was captured by other interests for several years after we returned to Florida. I discovered journaling and writing stories was an easy ’fix’ for my creative needs–it didn’t take much space or use many materials and I could do ’it’ anywhere.

A short story competition caught my eye and for the first time I tried writing fiction.  This ’short story’ has now turned into a three book series.

Kate Powers, the main character in the book, is a young woman thrown into a series of unexpected events she feels totally unprepared for.  Along the way she meets several unusual and sometimes forgotten beings from another time. Pingo and Bidu are just two of these characters and were some of the first ’Stir Crazies’ to be created.

Even though it had been a few years, I discovered that working with clay is like riding a bike–you never forget.  The texture of the jewelry making clay proved to be too stiff and difficult to manipulate.  I found a doll maker’s polymer and started sculpting faces attaching the clay to a wooden spoon I used as the armature.

Each face starts out the same–the spoon, the lump of clay, the quadrants of the face–and then they slowly evolve into who they are going to be.  I find myself watching in wonder as their personalities seem to explode before my eyes.


Please scroll through these short vignettes to get to know the personalities and quirks of the members of the Stir Crazies family.  Many of these ‘shorts’ are told from their point of view.  Enjoy.



~  KIT CATATIOUS  ~                                                          

The first member of the Stir Crazies family was Kit Catatious.  She started as they all eventually did, with the spoon and the polymer clay.

I lightly marked the quadrants of the face onto the clay and started manipulating and sculpting it.  I could see very early in her development that she was exhibiting some real feline traits.

Cats usually have strong personalities. Those feisty purring balls of fur that have lived with me, have also had a lot of attitude.  Kit appeared to be no different as I could hear the distant drum roll become clearer as she got closer to completion.  It was an exciting moment to stand back and admire her savoir-faire.

Her final look, shocking pink hair, zebra striped dress, smoking cigar and bad manicure are only a few of the bits and pieces that make up her story.  Her attitude about life is clear, ’bring it on, man’.

‘Bodacious’ Catatious, as she’s fondly referred to, remains in the studio.  She looks down on my workbench from her perch on a shelf overhead and watches [and comments] as the rest of her family evolves.



~  HISSRA  ~                                                                                               

Kit Catatious looked down from her overhead shelf.  In the fading light she squinted at the studio table below her.  It was littered with clay, tools and a wooden spoon with a face sculpted on it sticking out of a glass filled with marbles.

“Hey, pssst, pssst, you with the face,” Kit whispered.  She waited but there was no response.  “Hey, can’t you hear me?  You with the scaly skin and pointy ears–up here–psst, psst.”

“Yesss, are you talking to me?” the clay face on the wooden spoon finally answered her.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you.  Who are you?  What’s your name?”

“I will be called Hissra.  Where am I?  I don’t sssee very well,” he said.

“Well, dude, I’m Kit, and you’re in the Stir Crazies studio.  I’m a little concerned about your tongue and that problem you seem to be having with your ‘s’es.   You’ve got a long way to go before you’re ready to come up here and sit next to me.



~  MORE ABOUT HISSRA  ~                                                      

Hissra and Kit Catatious guided me as I got comfortable working with the doll maker’s polymer clay.  It was very different from the much stiffer clay I had used to make jewelry.  The texture and suppleness were a joy to manipulate compared to what I had handled for years.

Although Hissra comes from the reptile world and I have no affection for snakes, he really has turned out to be a gentle soul.  Aside from the snake earrings, his forked tongue and his strange sightless eyes he’s always happy and very tolerant of his neighbor, Bodacious Catatious.  She’s the one with a major case of attitude and a long list of bad habits.

Hissra carries an ancient medallion which helps him ‘see’ things that would otherwise be unknown.  I’m still waiting for him to share this mystical talent with me but he has yet to throw any predictions my way.




~  HERE COMES BORIS  ~                                            

Kit Catatious watched intently from her perch in the Stir Crazies studio as another face started to emerge on the end of a spoon.  Although Hissra was almost finished he still sat on the work table in the studio.

“Hey, handsome,” Kit purred at the newcomer.  “What big blue eyes you have.”

“The better to see you with,” he replied in what sounded like a thick Russian accent. “I am Boris.”

“Well, Boris, as you can see–unlike some around here–I am a vision, a star, and a real top cat if ya know what I mean.  Oh, and I’m also the welcoming committee.”

“Kit, your little jab at me wasss very unkind.  I can’t help it if I can’t ssssee,” Hissra snapped.

“Don’t get your tail in a knot.  It’s your loss, Hissra, that you can’t see me–I’m just trying to make it real clear what you’re missing.  Hey, Boris, maybe you could tell him what a head turner I am.”

“I vill vait til I get a better look my little kitten.”  Boris’s deep chuckle filled the room.


~  CREATING PINGO  ~                                                       

“Ssss, pst, pst, Hissra,” Kit whispered as she tried to get his attention.  “Hey, are you watching this?  Can you believe the schnoz on that dude?  What could she be thinking–putting something that big on his face?”

“I would remind you, again,” Hissra began to say.

“Ssshh, not so loud–she’s right down there.” Kit spat at him.

“Again,” Hissra said in a raspy hissing whisper, “I would remind you that I can’t sssee.”

“Yah, yah,” she answered impatiently.  She waved her cigar at Boris who was nothing more than a head sticking out of a container filled w/ glass beads.  “Yo, Boris, you catching this?”

Boris just stared in wide-eyed wonder at the work table below.  “I am happy not to wear that thing on my face,”  he muttered in his heavy accent.

Kit and Boris’s concern grew as they watched Pingo being sculpted.  They stared as his large beak, heavily hooded eyes and long fingers and toes capped with sharp talons were shaped.  Kit chronicled the whole distasteful procedure aloud.  Hissra listened intently, gasping occasionally, at her absurd description.

When the lights were eventually turned off that night, Kit no longer felt the need to whisper.  “There’s no way I’m sharing my shelf with that bloke…or whatever he turns out to be.  Uh-uh, nope.  It don’t matter–he’s too weird for me and I’m not doing it!”


~  BRULAG  ~     

Brulag joined the growing family of Stir Crazies hearing the same kind of blather that those before him had endured.

Kit was the first and so far, the most audacious of the group.  Her running chatter left no question about her disapproval of each character as they developed on the work table below her.  She sat perched on an overhead shelf feeling quite superior to those who came after her.  There seemed to be parts and pieces of each of them that fed her barrage of criticism.

“Your nose is too big, your tongue too forked, your hair too yellow, or your fingers too long”, were only a few of the comments that Kit made over the past weeks as each figure was sculpted.

“Well, balls of fire, would ya look at those ears!  Maybe you should have a trunk on that face instead of that button nose, cause I do believe, your ears would fit just fine on an elephant!”   Kit’s ‘tell it like it is’ attitude lacked any hint of tactfulness and usually got her into trouble.

Brulag picked up a thick wad of clay laying next to him on the table.  He chucked it at Kit and they all heard the ‘thunk’ when it smacked her on the forehead and knocked her over backward.

“There,  I guess I took care of that mouthy pest!”  Brulag giggled in his odd little voice.

In wide-eyed horror, everyone stared at Kit.

“What happened?”  asked Hissra.

With her hat askew and another broken fingernail, Kit sat up and spat, “That boy don’t know who he’s messin’ with.”  Her mood changed abruptly when she whispered under her breath, “Oh yes, uh-huh, I look forward to getting even with him!”


~  OODA’S  ARRIVAL  ~            

The Stir Crazie’s studio was very quiet.  Kit and Boris watched from their high shelf, Hissra napped, and Pingo sat patiently on the work table.  He waited for finishing touches on his outfit showing little interest, unlike the others, to what turned out to be the birth of Ooda.

Kit, up until now, was the only ‘diva’ in the room.  She could see right away that a female of questionable heritage was being created.  Bodacious Catatious wasn’t happy about it!  Finally, when her patience was exhausted and she could no longer hold her tongue, she started in, “I don’t know what she’s thinking.  Why would she sculpt something so ugly?”

“Who’sss ssso ugly?” Hissra whispered.  Kit had made just enough noise to rouse him and being almost blind he couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.

“I feel for you, Pingo, being cursed with that nose, but this ‘newbie’ is looking pretty weird too,” Kit spat.  “Look at that mouth.  She is so not getting anything of mine!  Nope, no cigars, no makeup, no hats…nothing!”

Hissra, always the calm one, spoke softly.  “Sssettle down, Kit.  You may become besssst friendss with her.  Don’t be ssso quick to decide ssshe’s an outcast becaussse you don’t like the lookss of her.  I mean, look around.  I have the senssse that we’re ALL a little out of the ordinary.”

“What is her name?” Boris asked in his heavy accent.

Pingo looked up at those peering over the edge of the shelf and whispered, “Ooda, I think it will be Ooda.”





One Response to Story Time

  • Addai says:

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