Thievery: Seed by Shanna Germain
Thievery is a series of blog posts about my story inspirations.
One Thursday per month, I invite my favourite writers to share the inspirations behind their stories. Here’s one from the lusciously literary Shanna Germain.
‘Seeds’ is published in print in Subversion: Science Fiction and Fantasy Tales of Challenging the Norm.
Last year, one of the men took advantage of Gardin Kaja Kalliara while in her kitchenette, stuffing her mouth with quail bread until she could take no more, holding her against the table and force-feeding her from his own mouth, pieces chewed by his own teeth even after she’d said no and no again. We girls of Kaja’s house do many things in our kitchenettes, things that would embarrass our great mothers if they knew, but to be forced, to eat from the mouth of another? No. Never. Smind Kaja Meira threw the man out, but it was too late. Gardin Kaja Kalliara had eaten her last meal at the hands of a gluttonist, a gorgist, the worst kind of rapist. We mourned her as we should a sister – returning each to our private kitchenettes the hour after her death, grieving for four days and four nights, putting out half our foodstuffs to share with her in a final breadbreak before she left for the aboveworld. But she never came to eat.
A few years ago, I was sharing a house with two friends of mine for the summer. I had my own room and my own bathroom, and the rest of the house consisted of shared space. While I was in the shower one day, I started thinking about the things we keep private: Mostly bodily functions like self-cleaning, sleep and sex. Yet we eat together, an act that is in some ways a bodily function, and is in many ways far more intimate than self-cleaning or sleep or even sex.
Later that same day, the three of us were eating ripe, perfect peaches in the kitchen, the juice dripping down our arms, wiping our mouths with the back of our hands, moaning in pleasure at the taste of such edible perfection.
So I started thinking what it would mean if eating became the new sex. If eating was considered a thing to do in private, a shamed thing. Would you get embarrassed if you ate in front of someone? Would it be different if you ate a piece of hard candy versus a ripe, juicy, dripping peach? Would people pay for the pleasure of watching you eat? What would the social ramifications be of someone who wantonly ate in front of others, who invited others back to their kitchens, who broke bread with a stranger? Would there be repercussions if someone forced you to eat against your will, essentially raped you will food?
I can have an idea –and god knows, I have a million of them – but a story isn’t a story for me until I have a character, an image, a voice in my head. “Seeds” didn’t come to life until I saw a man buying cherries at the local farmers’ market. I watched as he fed them slowly, one by one, to the woman he was with. And in that instant, I had both the narrator of my story, and the catalyst.
Shanna Germain claims the titles of leximaven, she-devil, vorpal blonde and Shrodinger’s brat. Her work has appeared in places like Absinthe Literary Review, Best American Erotica, Best Lesbian Romance, Pank, Storyglossia, Subversion and more. Visit her wild world of words at www.shannagermain.com.