Thomas Ouphe’s story “The Diary of Thisne Ome” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 25 February 2022.
“The Diary of Thisne Ome” kind of crept up on me, I couldn’t sleep one night and just started writing it on my tablet. I had been wanting to write about river monsters for a while and for whatever reason the muse stuck at about 1am. At that point I had no idea that Thisne was a girl’s name but the character voice seemed to pop out of the air and before long I had a few hundred words. By the time I finished the first diary entry I was dipping in and out of sleep so I sent the story to myself as an email in case I forgot about it.
Being much too tired to think of a title I included the subject line “This is one” but I don’t spell well when I’m tired (dyslexia) and the subject line read “Thisne Ome” which just seemed to fit the character perfectly. It was close enough to Thisbe to evoke the Mechanicals from Midsummer Night’s Dream which in turn suggested the idea of ordinary working-class people navigating every day life and a fantasy setting
The reason I was trying to write about river monsters was due to a book I absolutely adore (and one I think every writer should pick up) Caspar Henderson’s The Book of Barely Imagined Beings. There is a photograph of sparring flatworms that informed the shape and aggression of the monstrous setins that I populated the story with. And there is something of the mixture of scientific reportage and bestiary style illustrations that seeped into the story through Thisne’s obsession with the natural history of the setins.
Sue Townsend is the author that made me fall in love with the diary format and I suspect there’s more than a little Adrian Mole in Thisne.
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