There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.
Today I’m really pleased to welcome Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, who is going to tell us about what first occurred to her when I invited her to remember one of the places that has remained in her memory, and how it made her feel.
Hi, Judith. Thanks very much for allowing me to participate in this series. My mind works in twisting ways. The kind of memory I’ve chosen to share may seem strange. However, the first thing that came to mind when you asked me about this topic was old amusement parks.
When I was a small child there was an amusement park in the next town, which was slightly “less small” than my hometown. To my shock, visitors from real cities scoffed at it. I thought it was utterly magical. Not long after that, we visited a carnival in the mountains, and even to my tween self, that one was ragtag. Getting on the rides was… questionable to say the least. By the time I was in my teens, back at the local amusement park, I could see the truth of how small, and how rundown it actually was.
The park didn’t create magic for me anymore. Rather, it gave me a feeling I could only describe as otherworldly. That sensation stuck with me and I’ve used “strange” amusement parks in two of my books. One is a work in progress that I’ve stopped and started several times over the past few years. The defunct amusement park is a central figure of that story.
The other is “Hullaba Lulu, a Dieselpunk Adventure.” On that magical train-ride, one of the places Lulu and her friends land in is a “sideways” version of Atlantic City in the 1920s. To Lulu’s surprise, admittance is paid in cheeseburgers. Although it’s not all whimsy. In fact, it’s downright sinister.
Here’s a snippet where Lulu and Pearl have gotten separated from their friend Rose. Pearl found a fortuneteller automaton:
“Go ahead, Lulu! Ask it a question. It gave me ‘the lovers’ card,” Pearl enthused.
“You always ask about love, and they always tell you that you’ll find it. I never know what to ask,” I complained.
“Okay, then, gypsy king. Here’s my question. How is the Loop the Loop still here when it was taken down in 1912?” I asked in a snarky tone.
The gypsy’s flat mechanical eyes shifted to me with a click. There couldn’t be life behind those eyes. It couldn’t really see me… but I felt like he looked right through me.
“Did we go back in time?” I added in a softer voice.
The automaton sat motionless for a heartbeat. Something about the sudden change in clockwork movement gave me the heebie-jeebies.
The gypsy gathered the tarot cards and spread them again. It drew out a card with a drawing of a man hanging by his foot. The fortuneteller moved the card so that the man was laying down.
“Sideways,” was all the automaton said.
“We didn’t move north or south, or forward or backward…” I began.
“Sideways,” it repeated with a mechanical nod.
I gave a frustrated sigh. Why couldn’t the blasted thing be useful? I turned to Pearl and asked her where Rose was. My fair-haired friend shrugged, then she giggled and asked the fortuneteller the question.
“Where is our friend, Rose?”
The gypsy automaton gathered the tarot cards, spread them, and turned over the Three of Swords. The design on the card was like the leaflet I found in the automat. There was an image of a heart pierced by three swords. Pearl and I both shuddered at the gruesome picture. My worry had rubbed off on her. She gave her long hair an anxious twist.
“Betrayal,” the fortuneteller said.
The air was split by a loud scream. The sound echoed around the amusement park.
“Rose?” I yelled.
That’s only the beginning of the strangeness Lulu finds at the amusement park. Wait until she gets to the Tilt-A-Whirl…
Sometimes memories go into our heads. After they’ve been stored for a while, there’s no telling how they’ll come back out. They might even get sideways.
Judith, thank you again for inviting me. It’s been a delight. I’m including my links. I hope your readers will check out my blog, and follow me on my Amazon Author page. Hugs on the wing!
I’m sure they will, Teagan. And thank you for participating in Places in our Memories.
Amazon Author Page: relinks.me/TeaganRiordainGeneviene
Hullaba Lulu, universal purchase links:
Blog (Teagan’s Books): Teagan’s Books – Founder of the Three Things Method of Storytelling (teagansbooks.com)
In addition to the “Author Tool Chest” of non-fiction works, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene writes whimsical and humorous stories. She also writes high fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and mysteries with historic settings. Yes, that’s a variety of genres. However, you will always find a sense of whimsy in what she writes. It’s just that sometimes it takes a more serious form.
Teagan’s work is colored by the experiences of her early life in the southern states and later in the desert southwest, as well as a decade in Washington, DC.
When did Teagan get serious about writing? She had always devoured mysteries and fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. She hasn’t stopped writing since.