Oct 29, 2009 by

Round 9 Challenges (Word limit – 444 words)

1) Incorporate a hoax
2) Incorporate a revelation
3) Incorporate the number four
4) Incorporate Stephen Colbert.

Read COCO 8 here (see “Similar Posts” at the bottom of this post for any earlier entries)

I’m mistress for men in Cyprus but in Ukraine I have husband. I tell this to Frank after cabaret in his hotel.

Why are you telling me?

Don’t know. I never tell nobody.

Where is he now?

Donetsk. His name is Steven Colbert. Horrible man. And so fat he needs cane to walk. My father made me marry him because he’s American. But Steven don’t even like America. He say its full of assholes. Still I wanted to go. So I run away and come for new life here.

Frank makes sex to me rough. Not to hurt me but maybe to drive out previous ones. Men think like this. I start to cry. Maybe still Stavros effect me. Also maybe hormones because my bleeding is coming soon. I put sea sponge inside just in case.

I pretend cries are pleasure but its to obvious so I tell Frank to do from behind. That way he can’t see me cry. Usually I do like that because I don’t want to look at men and they like it more anyway. But with Frank I wish to be looking at him.

I cry almost hole night while Frank snores. By the time I finally sleep Frank shakes me awake.

Come on.

What’s wrong? I say. Clock says 4:44.


We drive in dark towards Pafos along coast road. Its getting light when we stop at beach with big rock sticking up from water. Normally beach is too much packed with tourists taking fotos but its beautiful now because its empty. Frank sits on pebbles and I go naked into water.

There is little dirty foam near shore but water deeper is clear as crystal. I float on my back. All sadness of last few days wash away. Making bath is like this for me. Like making body pure again. And soul too.

Sunrise makes like sparkling carpet on water. Makes me to realise beauty of world is greater than all my troubles. To see I have as much right to enjoy world as anyone. Maybe it sound strange but rising up naked and dripping from sea I feel reborn. Feeling power over my own life. Feeling like nobody owns me. Not Yiannis. Not Steven. Not Frank. Its revelation really. Because without this feeling life crushes you.

We continue driving. Frank goes left at roundabout.

This is airport road I say.

I’m sorry Ivana. Steven hired me. I’m putting you on flight to Donetsk.

I laugh. Maybe next time try better hoax.

Frank smiles. Like boy’s smile. I’m happy he make joke about Steven.

O.K. I lied.  Nobody sent me. And its Washington not Donetsk.

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  1. Amazing Coco! You are getting stronger and stronger in your writing as the competition progresses. Oh boy, I foresee the voting business this round being very difficult for me.
    Might I abstain?

  2. Coco, dear Coco! What could I say? As Anna said, you´re getting always better!
    I can´t wait to read your next round. For me, that´s no doubt you´ll be there!

    P.S. I love Russian literature, specially police novels, such as Boris Akunin, and Alexandra Marínina; but I think I´ve never read any Ukrainian writer… Could you recommended me one?

    • Sorry, I have to correct myself… I meant that I´ve never read ANY OTHER Ukrainian writer, besides you, of course! 😀

      Host, wonderful news! At this point it will be easier and better to vote for our favorites!

    • Ha – you posted at 4.04!

  3. Interesting Coco and getting better. I think you and the story are both about to metaphorically take to the air, along with Ivana. I may be wrong but I believe that the story is about to unfold leaving at least some of the base realities of life behind. It should have happened a bit earlier I think but that’s just an opinion. I sense a plot unfolding and I want to read on – Good luck.
    Anna’s maybe got a point, perhaps we should all abstain!
    What would you do then Host?
    Seems to me that at some point the final winner should actually be voted on the basis of whose completed story is the best. Could we vote for a round winner in the future and not force an elimination?

    Sorry Constantine I’m not playing fair; its your party and its your decision – you’ve done a great job so far.

    • You need not abstain, JD. From now on you vote for your favorite writer. I was going to announce this with the poll, but there’s no point in waiting, especially now.

      • Thank you thank you thank you, Host! I was wondering what would happen if we all just totally refused to vote. This makes it so much easier!

  4. Cool coincidence, looks like there’s also 4 outside participants still standing!

  5. Coco I love the brashness and courage of your words – the beauty and the violence. Most of all I love the fact Ivana is shown in all her womanly glory – from her tears to her blood (though some might argue with me there is nothing beautiful about either. I beg to disagree!)

    You again bring us imagery which raises goosebumps:
    “Sunrise makes like sparkling carpet on water.”

    I’ve had such a great criteria for casting elimination votes and now Host has turned it arse about.

    • Oh and I meant to add – the image of Ivana coming in from the water, reminds me of the stories of Aphrodite and how she rose from the froth of the ocean (having been born from her father’s sethered testicles – though feminist scholars say it was nothing of the sort!)

  6. Bravo Jodi your very good reader! Yes I was thinking about Aphrodite coming from sea because they say she was born in Pafos at that beach with rock. That’s why too many tourists there! I wanted to make like symbolism but not say it. I hoped somebody could notice! :)

    • Normally this sort of stuff goes right over my head – but the manner in which is unfolds in your story is so evocative. I had no idea there was an actual beach which laid claim to be the birth place of Aphrodite. I’d love to see the elements of Aphrodite’s psyche woven into your story.

      I still have the seven strands of wool for Aphrodite’s girdle, given at a Goddess festival I went to in honour of Aphrodite this weekend two years ago. My first (half written and still unfinished novel ) was called “Finding Aphrodite.” I wish I could remember and therefore share, the seven elements of aphrodite we celebrated that weekend.

      • Goddess Festival! So that’s how you know so much about Aphrodite. Yes its very famous beach of her birth in Cyprus. Like what you see on the postcard everywhere you go. Afrodite is very powerful I think. Thats why I make Ivana to feel strong coming out of water

    • Well done, Jodi!! Brilliant piece of observation!

      And well done Coco – again.

      I also thought Ivana’s dawn rebirth was honestly beautiful. The “I have as much right to enjoy world as anyone” line is amazing.

      The feminist in me hopes she ditches Frank in the near future and makes her own way in the world!

  7. Haha you are too much nice Renata!

    I thought Aleksandra Marinina was from Ukraine but maybe I am wrong. I don’t know much for police novels. My favorite from Ukraine is Ivan Franko but he is old writer and more classic kind.

    Even we have famous writers from Donetsk like Emma Andijweska who is hard to read like surealist and Fyodor Berezin who write science fiction. If you like science fiction, he is very good.

    Also very popular now is History of Tractors in Ukrainian. It is novel (not history book!) from Ukrainian woman living in England. I not read it but I here its very good and funny.

    • Oh, Coco, thanks! Both for calling me nice, and for the tips. I didn´t know Marinina was(maybe) Ukrainian!

      There´s a lot to learn about this part of the world! :)

      And let me say something… I´ve read a lot about the sexual exploration women suffer there, and I truly think you’re not just telling a story, but exposing this reality to the world.
      Maybe it change something, maybe it doesn´t but I believe that´s a story that must be told!

  8. Jay

    I hope that going on the plane signals a change for the story. I haven’t been drawn in by these people at all, I’m afraid. I haven’t said anything previously because it seems like the story is a reader favourite and I was wondering if maybe I was missing something. But awkward grammar and depressing sex only go so far for me.

    I can see that I’m supposed to be bonding with the main character, but it’s not happening. As far as beginning of novels go, I’m not sure why I should continue reading. I feel like crap for writing that, since it sounds so mean, but now that there are only a couple of contestants left I have to be honest.

    • Jay, I admit, it took me a while to get used to the grammar and spelling in Coco’s work too. But if you just look past it, you can see how beautiful (and tragic) her writing is – and it doesn’t matter as much.

      Besides, the “broken” English gives Ivana’s narrative voice a sense of charm and honesty – it works really well.

      Mark Twain gave his characters a genuine voice, for instance – they spoke in the slang of the times, and he often fiddled around with grammar.

      Rhae always said her work was experimental fiction because it didn’t have characters – Coco’s work has compelling characters, beautiful writing – but a few apostrophes in the wrong places.

      Personally, I can live with that. I know what I like to read.

      • Beautiful and tragic is biggest complement I can get. Thank you for saying this. Maybe if I keep doing practice I can get apostrophe right to!

  9. Its not mean Jay. Everyone have different taste for what they like for reading. Its true like you say about the bad English. Sorry to make you little depressed. I’m trying to bring little hope in without being fake. It could be much more dark. Trust me for that.

  10. seldom seen

    Dear Coco,
    “i cry almost the ‘hole’ night”? or, the clock says 4.44? its so painfully obvious and really, childish. Actually it sounds like you just finished reading some tom clancy novel and liked all of his ideas. “actually its Washington and not Donetsk”. come on already.
    how did you make it this far on what is essentially sounding like your own journal?

    • Hey, Man! I think your being a bit hard here however that is not to deny you your opinion. All opinions have value and if what you say is how you feel then it should be investigated and questioned because for you, and presumably others, Coco’s novella is not succeeding.

      But his is not about being a Booker Prize winner. For the main part its about individuals developing and expressing ideas in a way that has appeal to a wider audience and in the process learning and developing their skills. Coco is doing this, doing it her way and doing it quite well. I’ve already suggested the possibility of autobiographical content but the truth of that is unknown and in any case the presentation of the content has definite appeal and is at the same time informative. I don’t know what is going to happen but I am interested to find out.

      Keep it up Coco and don’t let negative content dissolution you; question and understand it, learn from it and only allow it to strengthen your resolve and style.

      • Aha so you click the Reply to make the comment go in like this and like on Aphrodite comment! The grey colour need to be more dark.

        Thank you for defending my writing JD :) It’s okay about seldom seen. Anyone who knows little psychologia can see he have trouble to read about sex. Maybe he have trouble to make it too. Maybe its why he not like to read nora and me 😉

  11. tetra

    the sadness in your story gathers momentum with the passing weeks; following the shock value of your opening an elegiac mood has entered your writing along with images known to be all too mundane and real; I am moved

  12. Reading on bckbrry on my way to IL- Wasn’t sure at the end what Frank was saying. Is he taking her away? I wanted more charac development between them, but you still have my vote.

  13. Kaylie yes that’s what Frank seem to be saying. You are right I need to do more with interaction between them for developing character. I hope next time we have more words to write because its very difficult when we have not even 500.

    Tetra thanks I am moved to by your comment.

  14. tetra

    I was thinking about your story today Coco. I guess that is a complement in itself. I was just wondering where the hope was. maybe I assumed that you were going to try to satisfy the needs of a public used to happy ending. Its just that your character is pretty much a slave; but she is so spirited! I guess we want good things for her; yet we are left wondering if the world (people and the underworld) is just to darn mean for her.

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