Sunday, March 27, 2011

Death and Politics at the end of the world

(This is the next section of my WIP 'Death and Politics at the End of the World'. It might be helpful to know that you are entering an otherworldly realm as you journey with my character. In my last post, I was asked what genre I was writing in. My response wound up being "Genre... think magical realism meets surrealism meets Quantum Physics meets my imagination and the authors who have influenced me (including Jeanette Winterson!") things happen that are out of the extraordinary at times so be prepared!! If you need to catch up, the first part is in the tabs at the top and the parts just previous can be locater here and here!)

III. Duality

         The original bridge stretches out alongside the highway. Henry Flagler would burst the buttons of his sacque suit if he beheld the remains of his folly still in use by the state of Florida for the infrastructure of Highway One, while the skeletal remnants of the “eighth wonder of the world” point knotted knuckles at the haunted tresses of the past. The view from the Bahai Honda Bridge is stunning, exposing a wide island vista. I dissolve into the liquid looking glass

Arms fall uselessly, dead wood at my side. My body lurches, reflexively seeking to    expel,        inhale. A beam of sunlight shimmers on the surface but fades and wanes as I sink down, down…  Kick.
Not even a dog paddle?
My torso sways instinctively, finally propelling me slightly upward. More force in the motion hurtles me up through darkling waters. I break the surface, and gulp reviving ocean air. Where was the bridge? Need to get back… Swells lead to shallow. My unfamiliar form confuses my senses but instinct drives me to follow Mother Necessity. My fusiform trunk seems well suited to the wet wilderness I am surrounded by. Experimenting with motion, I find myself twisting into a barrel roll: an aquatic airplane in tailspin. Crying out with delight, I abandon my former instinct for survival and dive back into the depths swirling a strathspey whorl.
My aquatic dervish thrusts me amidst a pod of fellow frolickers. We fly without wings, three reels of three into thalassic wilderness, travelers following Zohar’s porpoiseful paths. Plunging, our bodies gently roll, curve up, break surface, and spin over and over in mid-air. We whistle our bliss and soar out into the deep, following a gilt-edged path to the horizon.
Pulses and clicks: “The harvest.”
“Spread out.”
“Keep in contact.”
“Beware. The tiger will be hungry as well.”
    fall back 

“If you won’t eat, you’ll have to go back.” A glance in my direction, invites me on, luring me toward the hunt.
“ Thanks but… no, I don’t eat anything with more scales than me. Appreciate it. Maybe another day!”
I flee toward  
safer waters…
Didn’t I?  Glancing back, I am suddenly overwhelmed by my singularity; numbed by the vastness and profundity of the darkness below. Vertigo discombobulates, confuses, slows my flight. 

Gently sloshing waters pull me back to myself. I gaze down, taking in the expanse of the water’s surface, snatched from neutral buoyancy, my sensory perception wakes from a long slumber…  I grip the railing, anchoring myself to concrete girders, cement my feet to pavement and flex spaghetti arms, key lime Jell-o legs. Staring down, the small shoal of uniformed uniforms on the shore are more surreal than the distant clicks of Atlantis’s descendents: the insupportable specter of the beloved existence engulfed here, extinguished in the swelling tide, tows a palpable grief back into the angle of my jaw.
Fragments of phrases filter up the embankment. “Look down…”  “what the hell…” “give me  “  “there, Ben!” Miniscule Barney Fife’s scour the waters on a quest for lares and penates, nexus of speculation and substantial. “That looks like that could be   “ “Now go over…”  “John, lower that…”  “Take it down…” No, the gunless deputy was far more efficient than these Police Squad washouts. 
A John Wayne prototype saunters up to the edge of the nearby railing, hitches one Tony Lama on the bar and gazes down, a wee king of a wee-er kingdom. “You boys make sure you get over there by those casings…” Debris is dragged from the depths to be sorted and examined, then pitched onto a heap.  
“Found something, sir!” A wide-eyed redshirt backs away from the pile displaying his plunder. The baiting fish crowd together to confirm the significance of the find as awed as an audience over a Fourth of July fireworks display.
“Put that in an evidence bag.” (Little Caesar can’t help himself, guaranteeing the most obvious is a chain of command decision. Job altering decisions are undoubtedly left for the first year rookie or newly appointed lieutenant . . . easy marks should the politicians begin to string their bows.)
“Keep at it, men. We owe it to this family to bring her home.” 
Christ- straight out of Hollywood!  “Hello! central casting . . ?”
I turn to leave, disturbed by the smoking gun, confounded by its significance, and upset at the possibility that my instincts might have been wrong: the absurdity of reality on another plane. Time to go to Paradise and return to terra firma…

Friday, March 25, 2011

Springtime in the Rockies...

A tinge of green  spraying out in the fingertips of the trees, shoots of new grass stretching up pushing past the old: The sun is scintillating and the skies are brilliantly blue: The afternoon calls out to me whispering of long walks and sun browned skin. I grab camera and liquids and we head out...
Twenty minutes from home, lie the feet of the Rockies. Paths abound for hiker, runner, and biker alike and we choose one that faces the metropolis to the east.
Winding ever upwards, the narrow artery slices it's way up the hill, leading toward the peak and the promise of sights unseen .
Blue skies beckon...
Rambling ever upwards, the rocky path is a road less traveled for people of pavement, far (enough) from the city's turmoil. The scent of pine lightly wafts on the breeze, fresh, perfuming the air with new growth. 
Having reached the trail's top, I stand in silent awe at the beauty of nature. The Garden of Angels* stands majestically in the distance, the distinctive sandstone a reminder of earth's tumultuous past.  
The first of a multitude of days that we will spend afield, thrilling at the artistry of time and the megacosm.  

*You can see more pictures I took another day hiking at Red Rock's amphitheater- it's more familiar name- here

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Writing is... easy?

The second crusader challenge has been posted and here are the guidelines: 
Write a flash fiction story (in any format) in 100 words or less, excluding the title. Begin the story with the words, “The goldfish bowl teetered” These four words will be included in the word count. 

The Writer
The goldfish bowl teeters as I lean forward to toss the page into the chasm between houses that stand back to back against the onslaught of weather. Falling back into the chair, I begin my opus -60 a fifth time. I palm the stem that sits at hand. Wine washes down a sob. Murmuring quietly "not writer. Hack!" I push myself away from the table. Catching on the corner of the chair I tip… teeter-totter… steady myself before avalanching off the balcony and tilt toward the nearby Jacuzzi, falling gracelessly into the womb warmth of the water. 


Monday, March 21, 2011

'Death and Politics' and a little spring cleaning

I wanted my heading to reflect the changing season but since we're not really green here yet and the snow is still melting in the foothills as you see from this picture taken on a hike on Saturday (there was more snow elsewhere but I wasn't really into taking pictures of snow!)...
In anticipation, I've jumped ahead to summer in all it's glory. Hope it warms you up as much as it does me!

I want to thank Talei at Musings of an Aspiring Scribe for the 'Stylish Blogger' award she honored me with last week! I have also been remiss in thanking Alberta at Alberta's Sefuty Chronicles for the 'One Lovely Blog' award and JYS at A Writerly Pensheep for 'The Stylish Blogger award. It was a big week for me on the award front and I appreciate the honors that were bestowed. Check all of these lady's blogs out and see what wonderful sites they have! Thanks again for the awards!!! 

Small update: I mentioned that I applied for a new position at work the week before last. I am still waiting for a call about the interview, but I will have one as it is guaranteed if you're already an employee. (Sounds good but it feels a little like an obligation date.) So I wait!!! While I am talking about my job, things have picked up a bit and I am having a harder time blogging during down time (what down time? Is the question that I am beginning to ask) and while I have never had a set schedule for writing, I've been posting about 3 times a week. With less time, I am not sure I can post that often and still have the evenings to write. Of course writing is the priority as you can understand I am sure!!! I am still checking in on YOUR blogs wherever possible and commenting when I have time.

I missed posting my WIP last Sunday so I've posted it below. If you need/want to catch up, you can read the previous pages below and for the full document click on the tabs at the top!

Relative State

Blinding sunlight penetrates the orbital septum, Excalibur to the brain. I flinch and burrow my head in down layers.
It was her.
I start as a door squawks complaint. Was she alive? Shuffling footsteps close in. Was she here? I rise and stumble to the door, wary of the ghost-filled hallway. Where was she? A flutter at the window. What was it? storage? for what? The unsettled calm of the spruce floor threatens collapse. Could I have gotten her out? Did they know who I was? I should have gotten her out. What does it mean? The vibrant hush of the house unnerves. . .
Whose voice had I heard?
What were th—
My mind spins the exquisite, chaotic mathematics of a spider’s web with perplexities and fear.
“Good morning.”
[Large dog bounds into room]
[Cat leaps, flips, clings to rafter, hair on end, eyes bulging]
[Granny enters, shoos dog outside]
“Now, now, out you go.”
[laugh track]
Thettle down Thylvester. Back to earth.
“Sleep well?” The eyes greeting mine were gentle but devoid … void. He seems insensible to my panic, words spoken to express polite but perfunctory interest in my wellbeing. My aunt’s grieving husband bumbles down the hall and descends groaning steps before I can reply.
I stare at my hands, the imprint of the cool metal tattooed on nerve endings. Had I slept? Had it been a dream?  The sudden sting at my little toe as I step onto the cool tile of the bathroom floor recalls the nip of rocks. Not state’s evidence…
More, I need more…
I strip and cleanse myself under the tepid trickle that had become a joke for our little trio. (“Shower? more like a sprinkle… well, really a tinkle. Gives “taking a pee” a whole new meaning.” Lou’s humor was… (is!) quirky, catching her audience off guard and spreading her cachinnations like a yawn. The most ecclesiastically austere beldam was heard to chortle when her rollicking laughter beach-balled around the room.) Distracted and disturbed, I mindlessly scrub and towel off, voluptuous ambiance become function. Murmured consolations drift toward me and I hover at the top of the stairs to drop eaves, unconcerned with the fate of the curious cat.
“Too coincidental…” the discernibly feminine voice is shrill, anxious to be heard. The controlled response in low baritone reveals my uncle’s patience although his words are too quiet for distinction. 
“I don’t believe it…” words topple out, unequivocally strident, interrupted only by muffled responses. “ludicrous! I don’t care what he says… He’s an idiot… the whole town knows… You’re cra--… you can’t allow him to file… There has to be something… Damn it, David! I can’t believe you! You’re… you can’t accept this… There has to be a better explanation… aliens?… Well, it’s no coincidence… not hysterical… I know this isn’t X-Files… three people are missing… sorry! I’m very upset, not trying to upset you…”
The emotional avalanche loses its momentum, whiteout settling to troubled calm. Assurances, directives and solace filter up the landing unheard, buried beneath a rock slide of mental reverb.
Three people missing …
Missing people…
three maybe.      
Explanation! Missing people, town knows.               
They know!                             
Explanation for missing people, no coincidence.                                
Where are they?                   
Sheriff hadn’t mentioned . . .                   
you have to connect . . .
one, two, three…    
not likely isolated, no body found        
                      witnesses from a distance,                  
other people missing . . .
                                     four, five . . .     
No time for fineries … yesterday‘s wadded wardrobe.                      
Missing people.
More surprising if it isn’t connected . . .
sixteen, seventeen, eighteen.  
Oh, look it’s an elephant in the room.
Find a pencil, idiot!
She might be leaving. Downstairs. Move.
Three people missing …
no one connecting…
connected …
I reach the bottom stair, a hoarsy whistle escaping, “What people are missing? three? Why didn’t you… this is important, don’t you think?”  questions bubble to my lips, stilled by the clicking latch. The empty room yawns at me lazily.
Apparently not…

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Titanic

The story of the Titanic is as familiar to the modern storyteller as is 'Cinderella' or 'Sleeping Beauty': Oversized ship heads off on voyage to meet it's destiny with an ice berg whilst unsuspecting passengers enjoy the luxury of the liner. The story has become such an important part of our cultural lore that one might even say that it is nearly locked in mythos.

But the realities of the Titanic are not nearly as romantic as Hollywood would like us to buy into (and buy and buy again!) and the sad truth that many of the deaths could have been prevented if safety protocols had been followed has a familiar ringtone- the all too familiar sound of money in pockets while the urgency for safety is ignored because of the extra cost. But it's not a recounting of the frozen bodies or the drama of men left standing on the deck as women and children are bundled into the too few lifeboats or the multiple mistakes that led to the disaster that causes me to reflect on the Titanic. It is actually the allegory of the Titanic that continues to be reenacted like the nightmare on Elm Street that I wish to reflect on.

Which brings me to Japan...

The tragedy of the earthquake and ensuing tsunami were simply that: a tragedy. And while such naturally occurring tragedies cannot be stopped by anything that humans can do*, there is the reality that different choices in multiple areas would have made the calamity less catastrophic. In fact, there were so many mistakes that my head swims with frustration, building on a fault line, using cheap materials, etc.

Lest you think that I am placing the blame for the earthquake and tsunami at the feet of humankind, let me reiterate: the earthquake and the tsunami were a horrible tragedy. I am not trying to lay the blame for the shifting of continents at the feet of humans or global warming. But surely no one in their sanest mind can possibly look at the disaster with the Nuclear plants in Japan and say that this horrible event wasn't made infinitely worse by our desire and, indeed, need (like a junkie in need of a fix of heroine) for cheap energy- a need so strong that we will harness a resource that we are not capable of controlling once nature's ferocity is loosed upon it. In a thought provoking article on the Guardian UK, Bill McKibben writes,
Global warming didn't cause the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the Miyagi coast, but global warming daily is shrinking the leeway on which civilisation everywhere depends. Consider: sea levels have begun to rise. We're seeing record temperatures that depress harvests – the amount of grain per capita on the planet has been falling for years. Because warm air holds more water vapour than cold, the chance of severe flooding keeps going up and in the last year countries from Pakistan to Australia have recently ended up on the wrong side of those odds. 
Those changes steadily eat away at that safety margin. With less food stored in our warehouses, each harvest becomes critical. With each massive flood, we have to spend more money rebuilding what was there before: there are still as many as 4 million homeless from Pakistan's floods, which means "development" has given way to "getting a tarp over your head". Even rich countries face this trouble: Australia cut much of its budget for renewable energy to help pay the recovery bill for soggy Queensland. Warmer temperatures are helping dengue fever spread; treating one case can use up the annual health budget for a dozen people in some Asian nation, meaning that much less for immunisations or nutrition. Just the increasing cost of insurance can be a big drag on economies: a study by Harvard and Swiss Re found that even in rich nations such as the US, larger and more frequent storms could "overwhelm adaptive capacities", rendering "large areas and sectors uninsurable". The bottom line was that, "in effect, parts of developed countries would experience developing nation conditions for prolonged periods".
That we continue to argue about the reality of global warming when we see the results of eroded shorelines and rising sea-levels all around us is baffling and a bit scandalous to me. In a recent conversation with a co-worker, (a republican and conservative christian) she told me she did not deny climate change but sees it as the earth's natural cycle and, as she sees it, is not so "arrogant" to believe that humans could affect nature in such a huge way. To further discussion I agreed, the earth does indeed have climate cycles BUT the changes that are now occurring are occurring much faster than ever before and, I added, we have improved the earth's ozone layer with many of the regulations we have put in place. If we can improve part of what is causing the problem then the obvious connection is that people can cause climate change. To this statement she had no response. We had reached the heavy metal doors of her mind and they were securely locked.

And it is this dead end, on a societal level, which can cause me to despair when I consider the disaster in Japan. We amble on, burning fossil fuels and using the resources of our planet with pell mell abandon as though there were an unlimited supply. And when we do take these limits seriously, instead of creating real clean solutions (and I am not talking about "clean" coal.. as if!) or cutting back on the amount of oil we burn through (why is it so hard to get people to stop using plastic bags?), we accept short term, high cost "solutions" like building Nuclear facilities to fill up our need for cheap energy that, in the end, creates more chaos. 

But, my purpose is not to write an essay on global warming. There are many scientists more equipped than I to blog on the subject. My purpose is to merely observe that we are on a great big ship headed straight toward an iceberg. We know it's out there and we know we can do something about it but the will to change seems to be, to say the least, lacking.

So I hear you saying, But I am just one person! I try to ride the bus and it doesn't get me where I need to go! I recycle!!! What more can I do??? Even my brain reacts like this as I think about the need for a real change so I understand if your protests are similar. The reality is that we aren't going to change the world with baby steps toward a greener planet as individuals. What is needed is a genuine shift in how we do business on a daily basis and this isn't going to happen in today's political climate.  

There are different, real things That could be done, actually, but on an individual level it will take some work... we have to pay more attention to our political stage as painful as that is. It is simply too important to vote only on what is in an individual's best interest ("it's the economy, stupid"). Here is an example of what we should be supporting through our vote (although many are needed and should be brought to the table): We need to be push our politicians to support public transportation with tax dollars. It should be more affordable and available for those that live in big cities. In cities that are debating over light rail systems, the politicians should be nudged- okay, shoved into getting more efficient systems going (and they still need to be affordable!) so that people can drive less. Less driving=less oil used. Less oil used means we don't need to build more nuclear facilities because we won't be depleting as much oil with cars...again, this is just a simple example but it does require work because our politicians are not voting in the best interest of the population at large and the media is not helping us in making informed decisions about our politicians. 

In an article in Mother Jones, Kevin Drum exposes how politician's vote in the best interest of the wealthiest 1% of our population nearly every time. And while the article is primarily concerned with Wisconsin and the current political struggle with the unions there, the concluding message is a call to all citizens who are concerned about the well being of the ship we're on and watching out for the icebergs and the too few lifeboats. So this is what I will leave you with today... 
"If the left ever wants to regain the vigor that powered earlier eras of liberal reform, it needs to rebuild the infrastructure of economic populism that we've ignored for too long. Figuring out how to do that is the central task of the new decade."   
(Oh and I am looking forward to comments/discussion on this!)

*I am not blaming global warming for earthquakes, but there is some discussion among scientists that warmer subterranean waters and rising sea levels may affect earthquakes. For more information read this.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Act of God*

While shooting the show in August 1992, the Florida Keys were under a Hurricane warning and cast and crew of 'Key West' (at least those that had sense) were hurriedly evacuated. Hurricane Andrew ultimately missed the island itself but the hurricane hit Homestead, Florida (150 miles north of the small island) and southwest Louisiana, killing 61, injuring 10,375 and causing over 1 billion dollars in damages. It was a devastating event for the modern U.S. shoreline (that is until Hurricane Katrina taught us a new level of devastation) and as few as 10 years ago, the gateway to the Keys was still recuperating from the battering they took in the wee hours on the 24th of August. The event was so moving to the writers of the show that it was quickly written into the show's first season allowing their characters to move through the drama they'd personally experienced.

At the epicenter of our drama, Seamus, our New Jersey hero, is excited about the possibility of a little excitement on the island when news of the hurricane is first broadcast. He dons toga and "garland" (really just a scarf of some sort) and parties his way around the island until the seriousness of the situation begins to sink in. Maybe it was time to leave, he waffles as he frantically searches for his clothes. What's your panic, man? His Rastafarian friend soothes him, it's just a little wind. His emotions are tossed like the waves... should he go?... should he stay? Hemingway would stay to experience the full gamut of emotions and life. Yes, but Tennessee Williams wold go and start on his next play. In a final attempt to evacuate he finds that he has waited too long and he is forced to wait out the storm in the ramshackle bar known as Gumbos with the rest of the islanders. As he sits in the candlelit room, surrounded by frightened and worried friends listening to the quiet pluckings of the nearby guitar, he ponders the mystery of nature, of death... of life, 

"That was the night I learned about my mortality. I looked around and realized that everyone in the room was going to die. Just maybe not tonight...but I did learn that we are all always at the station. And the trains are always leaving."    

 (To listen to the song and the final moments of this moving segment of the show, click on the picture to go to my Tumblr blog where audio of the show's final moments are posted.)

*I am an atheist. I do not believe that there is a god who had any hand in the events in Japan or in any other naturally occurring events in the world. While those who believe in god(s) would say that of course god would have no hand in any event like this, these same believers give that deity in the sky  credit when good things happen which is a nonsequitur to me (this was not always true- I grew to that understanding. I am not a knee-jerk atheist). I am no more prone to give a higher power credit for good things than I am to blame a higher power for the bad so the title of the post may be deceptive but the 'Key West' episode my quote is taken from this week has this title... thus, it is named.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A quiet week

I've not done much blogging this week and if I hadn't signed up for the 'Favorite Picture Book Blogfest', I might not have done any at all. Part of the reason is that this is my busy week- getting my son back and forth to school means leaving the house at 7 and not getting home until 6:30 or later leaves me with little energy to write anything, even a blog entry. The other reason is that I also spent some time updating my resume as a new position opened up at work and I had to have it all polished up and sent in by Friday. It was done Thursday afternoon but it always takes time to get that sort of stuff done. But even today I find little interest in writing with all of the tragic news coming from Japan, the ongoing rallies in Wisconsin and the rest of the country which seem to have little or no effect in slowing down the corporate takeover of the government run agencies (and they should be government run!) and on a more personal level, the loss of work for teachers and support staff in my son's school district as well as a four day school week which is simply stunning, to say the least. We've also experienced job loss in our home as result of budget cuts on the part of Denver Public Schools and as Denver looks at balancing it's budget for next year, my position may not be cut but we will be under increasing pressure as the library will not be able to replace workers who transfer positions, retire or quit and of course we will still have at least five unpaid days off next year, and of course there will probably be increase in cost of our benefits (again) *sigh* And with the last remnants of the winter blues still clinging to my sleeves I am just too worn out to write anything beyond an explanation of why I am not writing anything. So, perhaps what I need, perhaps what we all need is poetry and the peace that comes with a new day:

Sea of the Morning

Here let me stand, that, for a while, I too
may gaze on nature. Marvellous blue tints
of a morning sea and an unclouded sky
contrasting with an amber-coloured shore, —
all luminously beautiful and grand...

Here let me stand and think I see these things  
(I really did see them for a moment,
soon after I had stopped) —
and not, here also,
my fantasies, my reminiscences,
the incomparable idols of delight.

~~C.P. Cavafy, translator

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Favorite Picture Book Blogfest!

Megan Bickel  at  The Write-At-Home-Mom is hosting the "My Favorite Picture Book Blogfest"! The rules are easy, just blog about your favorite picture book in two sentences or fifteen paragraphs. When I read about the blogfest, I immediately thought of a picture book I loved as a child and the blogfest looked like the perfect opportunity to blog about it- but could I find it? Was it perhaps a memory which I have dreamed up and is actually nonexistent? I have not laid eyes upon the book in all my years in the library, hmmmm.... So, I googled it and low and behold there it was on Amazon, a collectible, first edition!!! (hint, hint to any readers who might be buying presents for pretty girls!!!)  

Growing up, my parents were quite poor but my mother insisted (despite objections) that I be signed up for the Book of the Month club at a very young age. Each month a book would appear carefully wrapped in cardboard box, deposited  in the post box that sat by the side of the little country road that ran in front of the house we lived in which would then be read in a matter of moments. Over the years, I owned (and cherished!) a fairly large and lovely collection of books. But there was one picture book that always stood out amongst the titles as the most memorable and lovely of tales and that was...

The Cookie Tree
by Jay Williams
Our tale begins in a small medieval village where everything has a place and everything has a purpose. One morning in the wee small hours of the morning, a tree appears in the center of the town with silver bark and golden leaves for no apparent reason. IT doesn't belong there! What could it be doing there? The baker asks as he sees it on his way to bake the day's bread. He calls his wife who calls another. Suspicions run rampant and a crowd quickly gathers. Shall they cut it down? What do they do? What is it for? Then the people of the village realize there are chocolate cookies nestled beneath the golden leaves. What can it mean? They ponder. What is it's purpose? They wonder. Is it poison? Is it a sign? They stand around alarmed with the strangeness of it all, wondering and pondering, concerned over the dangers of the strangeness. 

Finally, after a great deal of cogitating, a child steps forward and plucks a cookie from beneath the leaves and considers it for a second. He takes a bite of the cookie, crunches and munches, savoring and flavoring... then smiles brilliantly. It is merely a delicious treat to enjoy! The rest of the children quickly join in and seeing the pleasure (and lack of danger!) the adults at last allow themselves to set their fear of the unknown aside and help finish off the cookies on the tree. 

When the next day dawns, the tree is gone! Again questions arise about what it all means. Finally the child who first tasted the cookie speaks up, suggesting that the tree's purpose was to bring enjoyment and since the cookies are all gone, the tree is now gone. And with these final words the town returns to their daily lives, hopefully, the wiser for having eaten from The Cookie Tree.*

*It is possible I have gotten some of the details wrong, I am working from memory and I have not laid eyes on this book in thirty or so years. The story on the whole is accurate however.      

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Death and Politics at the end of the world

(This is the next section of my WIP 'Death and Politics at the End of the World'. The first chapter can now be found at the top of the page under it's own page it you want to catch up. It might be helpful to know that you are entering an otherworldly realm as you journey with my character. In my last post, I was asked what genre I was writing in. My response wound up being "Genre... think magical realism meets surrealism meets Quantum Physics meets my imagination and the authors who have influenced me (including Jeanette Winterson!") things happen that are out of the extraordinary at times so be prepared!! If you need to catch up, the first part is in the tabs at the top. In order to preserve some of the fonts I have saved them as png or jpeg files so they may be a little disconcerting... I apologize for that but there was no other way!)

II. Relative State

Voices ping pong,“Crazy”… “Like who?...” “sad, but seems pretty clear…” “got to be nuts…””                                                            
frustrating, bi-bonk, irritating, mind numbing.
“never had trouble…” “everybody loved her…
                                                Think goddamn it. Does it sound like her?
                        “I just never would have thought…”           
                                                                        “just unbelievable…”
Take a few minutes… clu-chunk, out of your own stupid, pitiful lives
                                                listen to me… b-clonk…
            “And to go like that…
Think through “answers” or lies meant to pacify and subdue. Oh my god…
if I could just…
If we had only known…”
Damn it!…                              I should have said…
She’s in a better place…”
what if she…                                                  too late

She’s gone.
A trapeze artist tilting…

I rise, shivering from arctic waters, stumbling onto fluid surface, the sharp edges of miniscule rock cutting my skin. The cusp of a stone catches my toe, causing a rush of blood that drips between my toes. I staunch the flow of blood 
and begin
to move forward.   
A force seems to 

footsteps eerily absent.
My fingertips slide along the wall
a crevice,
arm’s length wide,                                           
a finger’s niche…
a door…                                                                                                  push
A sudden electrical discharge blinds me. A way out! I brace myself, frantic to get out of the darkness. Push! An incision of light. The hinge refuses to give, entombing me in bible black. I drive forward. Another flash quickly quenched. I lean into the obstruction, desperate… PU-U-SH!!! then grip and rattle it in frustration ...
7000 angstroms of radiance flood the room, piercing, tormenting the cornea. Unseeing, grappling forward, I timidly peer at reflected beams, walls sheathed with breastplates of drawers absurdly reflecting a distorted frame funneling to a single massive metal door.
Walls tip and sway  

The door’s protuberance anchors me. I tumble on. A forest of tubular chambers prevents reconnaissance or escape. Quiet movement draws my attention, drawing the focus further in.
A hollow hiss. Words?
Rising, an opaque pane floats overhead, framing familiar bloated water-washed features. “Alexandra.” More depth, higher timber “Alex” recalling a day on the beach, the tide rising, my tiny frame being tugged by the undertow, wanting to turn back, the surge pulling me further and further, my aunt’s frantic voice echoing my terror.
Shrieking her name, I scrape at the obscure seams that run the length of the metallic casket. Fingers throbbing futility, I crumple onto its cool surface.
A thunderous resonance fills my ears, confounding my senses. Snatches of phrases, float toward me, the strange syllables inexplicably intelligible “… kahee-nos' ktis'-is (no longer who she was) … ow-then-teh'-o (under Our authority) …hoop-om-en'-o (abide with Others)… hice al-lay'-lone mel'-os (she belongs with the Others)… “ktis'-is kahee” (she is no longer).  I seek my aunt’s familiar warmth only to face a macabre mask.
I need…
            … out.

I stumble,

                        and fall,
the floor dissipates
                                    beneath me.
Also! a little political blogging on political scene in Wisconsin at Meanderings of a Wandering Mind!!! 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Coming back to life

It crept up on me like the Creeping Terror that landed in Somewhere*, USA. It had probably begun some years earlier as I reflect back on those years, possibly even in high school considering my penchant for tanning as soon as the sun was warm enough to create a rosy glow on my pasty skin, but the Winter of '94 was the one where I recall the darkness of soul finally overtaking me, dragging me down so that days were fog-filled and relentlessly wearing. The practicalities of two kids (plus homeschooling!) and home daycare (2 more, one an infant) were another detail that is impossible to describe as I really have no idea how I managed or they survived. I slept when they slept and stumbled through the waking hours of lunches and snacks, lessons and care giving for several months until it became apparent to even the most neglectful of souls that I was withering. 
But the darkness could not just be shaken off. It was a cool, wet spring and the apartment we lived in had only one or two windows that faced north (never have a house facing north in northern climates. You don't see the sun for the entire winter and your walks are always icy!). Summer had almost made it's entrance before I felt the fog finally lifting, the sun was warming the earth, and we'd just moved into a new house- a house with 21 windows and a backyard where I could sun and garden. It was over!!!

I thought I'd escaped the prison of my apartmental-driven darkness... Until the next winter, when the days shortened and the days grew cold and once again the lethargy and pensive mood swept in. Not as severe, most assuredly, thanks to the southern facing windows where I laid down in the afternoons, but there nonetheless. It wasn't until some time later, through conversation and reading, that I realized that I suffered from Seasonal Depression or SAD as it's occasionally called. Fortunately, the treatment is fairly simple, cheap, and for me, pleasant enough-- Sunshine! (which fortunately Denver has plenty of!) In winters, I learned to use the sunny side of the house and to throw open the blinds as far as possible so that sun shone on the spot where I read or studied. And once spring came, I was sunning myself outside as soon as it was warm enough to have my skin exposed to the sun without a chill. 

But winter is still not an easy time for me. The cold and shortened days drag at me, whispering to me of the days that I couldn't get out of bed without tremendous effort and then would lie back down as soon as I could. Some days, the chill is as real in the throes of my mind as it is my toes. I slog through winters with visions of warmer climates, a space heater close at hand, a blanket that goes where the space heater cannot, and plenty of bitching.

So perhaps you can imagine just how fun it was for me, to get out of bed on a day when it was 8 degrees below zero and face this... 
I'd driven my son to school and had the 16 mile drive to work. Traffic had come to a complete stand still and I sat in this spot long enough to become bored and start taking pictures. 
Aha! The hood of my new red car!!! 
 (I should have done some interior shots)
It took me twice my normal drive time (1 and 1/2 hours) to get to work that day... sigh
(I think I'm going to call the new car Flashheart... but I'm still debating)
Fortunately, February is as changeable as the wind... a few days later, we were back in the upper sixties and out on a walk. The day required little more than a jacket (if that) and this is the view over the pond as we walked on our path...  
I breathe a bit easier on sun drenched days like this, but I cannot relax. February sings to me of frigid temperatures and pending snow. Winter's refrain continues on, with only the briefest of choruses of warmth to tease me, before picking back up the bitter harmony of cold and shortened days.  
But with each step on this path we are trooping closer to March. Each day is a bit longer and the sun sits higher in the sky. The oxygen indeed does begin to loosen in the lowest parts of my lungs when I walk outside at 6 p.m. and realize there is  the faintest remnant of the sunset in the western sky! 
Then to see (oh glorious sight!) the first buds on the trees, lightly beating the cadence to a new song.  
And to look down at my feet as the Ides of March skips ever closer, the first signs of new life that have been lying dormant for low these many months...
The first flower of the season, pushing their way past the winter-dead grasses and weeds toward the sunlight. As anxious as I to feel the life giving warmth of spring, these small flowers will not survive through Easter (the species here mostly fade back into the ground as new growth takes their place). They will survive spring blizzards and introduce the melody of warm earth with bold coloratura.

The first signs of new life. The first sign of having made it past the darkness that is winter...

*I don't actually know the name so Somewhere is as good as any, right?

Hilarious video with a little social commentary (or a lot, depending on how you look at it) at Meanderings of a Wandering Mind


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...