The pickled tentacle suctioned its way across the table, spraying caviar with every movement.
The restaurant was silent.
I chased the tentacle with my chopsticks and hoped a large hole would open under my chair.
Did you know that pickling squid makes them elastic enough to move on their own? Especially if you are terrible with chopsticks?
I remember that moment often.
It is a funny story now, but I remember the deep helplessness and humiliation.
I remember the knowledge that not a single person was going to help me avoid that embarrassment.
This is a mild humiliation, one that I laugh at often. There are other humiliations less mild, less easy to find the humour.
I remember this when I am writing.
There is a lens through which we view humiliation in a story. One of the fastest ways to make me put aside a story is to tell me one too many tale where I am meant to laugh at someone else’s humiliation.
There is a difference between relieving the sting of a harmful memory and laughing at another’s pain or embarrassment.
I remember this.
I cannot promise my characters a story free of embarrassment or pain.
I can promise that the sharing will respect the moment and respect them.
I caught the tentacle.
It tasted like a story.