Monthly Archives: October 2012

It’s all poetry to me

Widdershins. Gargoyle. Amalgamation. Anathema. Bacchanalia. These words sing in my ears, a song that doesn’t have to make sense to be beautiful.

There are a few exceptions, of course. I dislike reading the words pate, or dais, or even amalgam even though I love its other forms. They just don’t roll off my tongue, and when I’m reading and come across one of them my brain stumbles out of the story for a minute. For some reason I just can’t decide how I want to hear them in my head and so three or four different pronunciations bounce through and I still can’t settle on one I like. Since my vocabulary comes largely from reading as opposed to intelligent conversation out loud with other human beings, there have been quite a few laughable moments in my life where I know the definition and spelling of a word but attempted pronunciations have fallen well short of the mark.
I have been a reader of tales for as long as I can remember. Even before I started kindergarten I got fed up waiting for other people to find the time to read to me, so I learned to do for myself. Any kind of story would do, I didn’t start to become even a slightly discerning reader until I was older. During summer vacation after 6th grade I read Gone with the Wind and Bonfire of the Vanities just because I was on a kick to read the fattest books I could find on the library shelves. I don’t really remember either one, I just remember being the only 12 year old in our family trying to finish a hundred pages before hopping on my bike or going to play putt-putt. I read my mom’s ‘grown up lady’ books just because they were there and got an education that I didn’t understand for 10 more years. I read a few true crime books from my cousin’s bookshelf and didn’t talk to strangers for weeks. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on.

Then I found Stephen King, and Tolkien, and Asimov. One delved into the horrors to be found right here in my own world, around the corner just out of sight in my darkened bedroom, and in the most normal heart of a human being. One took me straight out of my world and into his, a panorama of magical creatures and legend and alternate history, with dragons and hobbits and Smeagel’s. One took me to a world so like our own had we followed an accelerated evolutionary course. I cannot explain how breathtakingly exciting it was, that there truly was magic in the world. How could I see it any other way? Obviously these things existed, I could see them, I could dream them and understand them in a way that I usually could not see and understand the physical world I lived in.

Then came Gaiman, and Pratchett, and Adams and I went wonky for the Brits. These three authors were such a huge influence on my brain that they inspired some of my tattoos, and I’m not even done yet. At some point I plan to get a half sleeve depicting The Discworld, and I really can’t wait.

I love words, but I also love books. I have yet to jump on the e-reader bandwagon. I like the heft of a book in my hands, I like feeling the embossed cover under my fingers while I read. I like the musty smell of the pages of the books I find at the second hand shop and the crisp slightly chemical reaction smell of the ink of the books that I buy hot off the presses. I like starring the words that I don’t know and writing their definitions in the margins, and folding down the pages, underlining or highlighting my favorite passages. I like marking pages with references I don’t understand with post it notes, so I can go back and figure out what the hell they were talking about. I like closing the book when I’m done, and just holding onto it for a moment because I’m not ready to let go of their story yet. I finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern a couple weeks ago, and it was probably a good ten minutes before I put it down. It had cast such a dream like languor over me that I just had to drift for a bit.

To all the purveyors of words, the ones who hit their marks and the ones that don’t, the ones who make me laugh out loud, or bawl my eyes out, or dream a dream that I had never thought of before, you are the ones who have shaped the better part of who I am. So this is all your damn fault…

Categories: Non-Fiction Nonsense | 6 Comments

In the village, a house. In the house, a room. In the room….

“This is the room of the wolfmother wallpaper.” The old woman reached back, tapping a gnarled knuckle to the wall. The resultant thunk resonated more deeply than one would have expected.
The three solemn eyed children on the floor at her feet were captivated already; they loved Nana’s storytime and this was the beginning of a new tale. They shifted, suddenly smelled the pungent scent of forest, of deep and pleasantly moldering wood and smoke, and…noses wrinkled in confusion.
“Blood you smell,” Nana intoned. “The blood of life, birth blood, woman’s blood, the blood of death, and heat. This is the wallpaper of the wolfmother, red and burnt.” As if she were dismantling herself she bent, she creaked and folded, a warped and aged marionette, grasping the edge of the seemingly solid wall and tugging.
The corner of the wallpaper released itself with a susurration and spread out away from the wall to hang down, ripples spreading out from its center like moving water. Light flared behind the newly liberated wallpaper, flickering firelight with no discernible source.
The bravest of the children, or perhaps the stupidest, leaned sideways for a glimpse of what lay behind. The wallpaper snapped at her impertinence and she quickly returned upright.
“This is the room of the beginning, the room of reckoning. The room where the tally marks of your life begin and end.”
The polished wood upon which the children sat now scratched at them as they fidgeted, roughhewn timbers packed with dirt. Muted shadows cavorted across the wallpaper, grotesque and fascinating.
The children never knew what their neighbors called the old woman. They were kept mostly to themselves, and knew only that they called her Nana.
As Nana turned to face them, her smile spreading wider across her cracking face, the children drew their attention from the unfolding panorama on the wall. “Nana!” the girl gasped. “What big teeth you have!”

I was really lucky with my intro to blogging out loud (ever since I started reading them, many things have been turned into blog posts in my head ;). This Master Class game has been so much fun already, and I have to say thank you to Eric at Sinistral Scribblings for being kind enough to let me choose the prompt this week. I chose this particular line because Robbins has always been a very visually evocative author for me, and as soon as I read it I got an immediate picture in my head. I’m also totally grateful for the really talented writers who stopped and read my nonsense and said hi. I’ve read their work before and feel that I am in excellent company. Now, I’m going back to banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how to add the Master Class badge, because I’m trying to follow the corkin rules here, and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING! Ha, except not working, which is kind of what I’m supposed to be doing.

Categories: Fiction | Tags: | 9 Comments

Master Class, Week 1

So one of my very favorite blogs, Sinistral Scribblings by the talented Eric Storch, has started a new writing prompt game called Master Class.  Since the whole point of starting this blog was to get myself back into the habit of writing fiction, I figure that I will just jump directly into the fire (barefoot and doused in accelerant) and link up my second ever blog post to a seriously skilled writer and hope that I don’t get booted back into the kiddie pool to douse the flames of embarrasment.

The prompt is to take the starting sentence and then write what you think comes next in 300 words or less (which was the hardest part, for me).  From DHALGREN by Samuel R. Delaney – “To wound the autumnal city…”  I decided to use the autumnal definition of “past maturity, or middle life”.  Here goes….

“To wound the autumnal city,” proclaimed a voice so devoid of inflection it had to be purposeful, “would be to deal an unnecessary blow.”

He was peripherally aware of the discomfitted looks of the council surrounding him.  Carefully now, tread carefully.

“I did not know, Commander, that the Lark was in the way of bullying.”

Vaunts face blanched and he half stood.  “What the hell do you mean by that Jemmy?”  His heated words were a direct contrast to Jemmy’s cool tones.

Spreading his hands like a parent calming wayward siblings General Tarkis spoke.  Almost no one noticed the glance he flicked towards the window port, towards where Jemmy stood.  Almost no one, but Commander Vaunt did.  “Left to its own devices, this first among cities is ready to collapse under its own weight.”  Tarkis remained seated as he spoke, and commanded the room merely by waiting until all eyes were upon him before continuing.  “The aqueducts are crumbling, their food sources are deserting the people to go to where the water is.  Those who have not yet succumbed to the Roiling are nursing those who were.”

Vaunts expression reflected a war between incredulity and rage as he searched the faces of the Lark Council for an ally and found none.  “We cannot appear to be doling out mercy at this juncture, we cannot hesitate to strike!”  A few of the more trigger happy among the council looked emboldened by this attack upon their military might.

Forgive me Talia, Jemmy murmured to himself.  “A suggestion, council?  We have already rendered their only viable trail through the mountains impassable.  I propose that we offer safe haven, that we gain a cadre of subjects who do not realize that they are slaves.  Or.  Or can leave their corpses to rot where they lay.”

Categories: Fiction, The Lark Council | Tags: , | 9 Comments

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