This story's a dark one (I know: shocker). The title was a gift from a friend of a friend: I don't even know the name of the person who thought of it, but that person told it to my BFF who gave it to me, and I wrote it on a scrap of napkin (as you do) and carried it around for years before turning it into this. If the person who thought up this title ever reads this, I hope you like what you set in motion!
There's a fantastic initiative happening right now called #FictionFightsBack. It was started by S.L. Huang as a way to combat authoritarianism and bigotry in the wake of the recent US election. Huang writes:
The nutshell is simple: write stories that push back against bigotry, oppression, or authoritarianism in some way, and donate the proceeds to an organization that does the same."Wooden Boxes Lined with the Tongues of Doves" is about people being silenced, constrained and betrayed by those who have power over them. The choices they make in response are hard, and have hard consequences. I sometimes write about people resisting oppression gloriously and then thriving...but this is not one of those stories. Just so you know.
I believe in compassion for people who have to do tough things to save themselves. I'm donating the entire payment for this story to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides a lot of valuable health services: birth control, reproductive health, LGBTQIA health, and yes, abortions. I believe all of these services, including abortion, are essential and life-saving. As a Canadian I have relatively easy access to this kind of care; I'm disturbed by how hard it already is for Americans, and it may be about to get harder. If you're one of the many Americans worried about your health prospects as the Republicans propose to defund PP, my heart goes out to you, and so does the donation from this story.