Writing, v. 2014
A place to post things you’ve written and to talk about writing in general.
Continued from v. 2013.
Date: March 4, 2014
Categories: Fiction, poetry, and fanfiction
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Life, the universe, pies, hot-pink bunnies, world domination, and everything
A place to post things you’ve written and to talk about writing in general.
Continued from v. 2013.
Date: March 4, 2014
Categories: Fiction, poetry, and fanfiction
((Why do I feel so awkward writing in here? I just do.
This is a direct copy and paste from a file I have where I write these things down whenever I remember to. The !NTR0 NOT3s are just explaining what it’s inspired by…. and how I got the ideas…. It’s kinda long, hopefully nobody minds that….))
[Ah, this. I was laying in my bed, like I almost always do while trying to imagine epic things, and was re-imagining another story with me, (Katherine) and Link, and thinking “I need new adventures… but what?” Then I came to the conclusion that, if I wanted new things, I’d need new characters. And since I was such a big Four Swords fangirl at the time (And still kinda am) I decided to add Shadow, since he was my favorite Link besides, of course, the origonal, and Green. (Green’s just so underrated, seriously) I had various ideas of how we would meet, but I finally set on this one. The other ideas were like, Shadow was origonally evil and he captured me or Link (Most often me for two reasons, I am not Link and I didn’t want them to meet each-other for a while just because I didn’t. And, I am the Triforce of Wisdom, and in the manga – it never mentions it, but – Princess Zelda is the Triforce of Wisdom, and she was the only one to show Shadow who he really was. Also, she was the only one to slap Shadow in the face, being I slapped him once, which I might explain later how) and showed him who he really was, and then him, always ending up saving one of us in the end, then becomming one of us, aiding in our battles, fighting alongside us, ETC.
This might be a crappy one, because I am currently suffering from a cold, and my energy being zapped won’t help my brain. Joy]
[Told from my POV (Point Of View) because I felt like it]
Tower. It’s a very tall tower, reaching all the way above the clouds. I had no idea why nobody ever got lightheaded and fainted from lack of oxygen here. Oh well, it’s a good thing WE didn’t – me and my brother – becasue there were things we had to do here. We were summoned here by the spirit of the Great Fairy. We were told that we would meet someone here who needed our help, and that someone would become another hero. We had no idea who, though.
“If it’s the Four Sword we’re getting, I will probably laugh.” I said out loud while me and Link were climbing the long stairs up to the tower’s peak.
“Haha, no,” Link smiled, “the Great Fairy told us it was just one person.”
“Then if it’s someone from Four Swords, I will probably laugh anyway. Maybe.” I replied.
“You didn’t laugh when I showed up.” Link reminded me of when we first met. It was before we knew we were brother and sister, and I was a huge fan of Legend of Zelda way before we met each other.
“I know, because before then I didn’t know you really existed.” I said. [The story of the world knowing of Hyrule before knowing it’s true existence is, they always say the Zelda series was inspired by Miyomoto’s adventures as a kid, when he explored an old cave around where he lived with the aid of a torch. But I always wondered what he’d found inside the cave. I always figured it was some old Hylian scripts that somehow found themselves to that dimension. They probably used the portal near the sacred Panther mountain where I live that we use to get to Hyrule and back]
“Hm,” Link shrugged, “what if it is someone else from the series?”
“Just be glad it won’t be Tingle.” Tingle, usually a fan-hated character in the American version of the series, loved in other countries.
I made my brother laugh a little, as we continued up the long flight of stairs.
After a few long minutes, we finally reach the top. In front of us was a huge locked door, [At first it was a trapdoor leading up through the ceiling, on up to the next floor. But that wouldn’t work, for what’s coming up next. No spoilers allowed] Link reached into his pocket and took out the key we found on the first floor, and unlocked the surprisingly small door.
“Well…” I looked at my brother, “I think this leads to the top floor.”
“It should,” He replied, “whoever’s up here, we’ve gotta meet soon.” Link then slowly pushed the door open. But when he did, we could hear a deep voice. It sounded like it was laughing! That could’nt have been the new Hero we were suppoused to meet, it sounded too evil. We peeked around the door frame to see-
“Holy….” I whispered, then, “I called it…”
“Sh.” Link touched a finger to his lips. In front of us, was indeed someone else from the series. It was Shadow Link! One of my favorite characters – who wasn’t much of a character anymore, he was real – from Four Swords.
I looked to our right. It was the Dark Cloud, or something like it. It was a huge black mass. A dark voice was emitting from it, it was taunting Shadow, who was cowering away from it like a frightened kitten.
“Haha, yes… yes, cower, slink away like the miserable shadow you are!” The Dark Cloud laughed, as Shadow timidly backed up againsed the wall, for whatever reason trying to get as far away from the cloud as possable. Anger flowed inside of me, but there was nothing I could do at the moment. If we went out there, there’d be no way to defeat the Dark Cloud, it wasn’t even solid.
The cloud lauged menacingly, then it flew away into the distance, until it was gone.
We both looked at Shadow, to see exactly what he would do. Shadow just watched the cloud until it was out of his view. Then, he sat up with his back to the wall, and started to cry. After a few seconds, we could hear him saying something, it was in a voice surprisingly unlike I’d imagined it to be, he sounded like a seventeen year-old. Although he didn’t look it.
“..H-help me…” He cried, “Why won’t someone please, help me…”
Shadow buried his face in his hands, then rested on his knees, sobbing. I could feel someting cold pierce my heart. Then I realized this was the new Hero, and we had to tell him somehow. I looked up at my brother, who nodded. So, I slowly approached the small, trembling boy at almost the opposite side of the room. I got more than halfway to him, when he heard me. He opened his eyes, and looked up at me. He froze for a few seconds. I took a few steps closer before his expression turned from surprise to fear, so I stopped. We looked at each other a moment, before he spoke.
“W-who are you?” he asked.
I blinked, and replied, “I am Katherine o-” I stopped myself for no reason, I just didn’t feel like telling him every little bit of information about me from one question. I wanted to spend some little time with him, for him to know I wasn’t an enemy.
“Y-you’re, one of the Heroes, aren’t you?” He looked back up at me, most of the fear in his eyes vanishing. He already knew who I was, okay.
“Yes, I am…” I nodded.
All the fear left his expression, before he asked, “Why are… you here?” he wondered.
I paused, looking for what to tell him. “We came looking for… you.” I answered. It was the truth, really. We came looking for another Hero, and we’d found him. We didn’t know who to expect, but really we were looking for him.
Shadow’s eyes widened slightly, starting a seemingly-long pause, before he asked, “And… m-my light counterpart?” He wondered. I understood. I mean, I’d want to see my counterpart if I had one.
“He’s here too.” I replied.
Shadow hung his head for a second, then asked, “….C-can I see him? I’ve wanted to meet… him…”
I nodded, then turned back to the door where Link was still waiting, looking out at me and Shadow. I motioned him to come. He slowly walked forward. Him and Shadow looked at each other for a long moment, before Shadow hung his head.
Another long pause followed, broken by me, “So… are you coming with us?” I asked.
Shadow quickly looked up at me, “Y-you mean… I have a choice?” he asked, hopefully.
“You do now…” Link spoke this time.
Shadow hesiated, then shook his head in his thoughts, “Then yes, yes I will come with you. More than anything I just want to get away from this place!”
We both smiled, then I held out a hand towards Shadow. He looked at it a moment, before slowly extending his own hand, and placed it in mine. I helped him up, man he was a lot taller than he looked! He was even slightly taller than Link, surprisingly, since they were counterparts. Shadow looked at both of us, and smiled, before we all walked back to the doorway.
Aww, sweet ending :3 Yes, that is how we met Shadow Link. Yes, origonally the big door was going to be a trapdoor, or no door, and just a stairway leading up. But, because Shadow wanted to leave that place so badly, he would have no reason not to use the trapdoor to escape. So, I changed it to a locked door, becasue I’m sure the evils have a better security system than that.
((Yeah, that’s one of them. Actually the first one from my second-world that I have written down…. If nobody knows what I look like, I can tell you. If anyone wants a description of anyone else who is mentioned here, you can Google it….))
Erm…. what does anyone think?
I keep intending to read this, and then I say “nah, it’ll take too long”. I promise I’ll get around to reading it eventually.
On the plus side, you’re still ahead of my father. He’s now written two NaNos, and I haven’t gotten around to reading either of them.
Getting meaninful feedback is the hardest part of writing, in my experience.
Looking back at this, I’m noticing a lot of spelling and grammatical errors. I can write better than this, I swear I can….
They aren’t too noticeable, don’t worry.
I’m not very familiar with Zelda, so I don’t know how much I can say, but I think you write very well. You manage to describe settings and people’s reactions pretty well, something I didn’t learn to do until I was much older than you are now, so that impresses me. I’d be interested in seeing the rest of the story.
Thank you, Kai. I was kind of in a rush when I was writing this, and furthermore have not found the time to edit anything.
Unfortunately, my mind is scattered and unorganized. So, I have no continuation of this, other that basically the history of all of this. Which I could post… maybe? Could I?
If you want to.
A friend of mine told me that a few writing sites (Like FictionPress, and others) are going to close down soon. I don’t know if that’s exactly true, or not. Does someone out there know something about this?
I’ve been gathering information on the subject. It’s apparently started by this thing called ‘SOPA’, and they want to close Youtube, WordPress, and DeviantART. Permanently. I’m not sure why, I guess they just want to stop people from making fan fictions/art. They claim it’s touching close to copyright infringements. Even if you’re not making any money off of the works.
The top Google results for SOPA were all for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which I think was partly about copyright infringements, but it was two years ago, and I thought it was shut down after the entire Internet banded together in protest.
I stopped and stared at what remained of my home. It’s boards crackled with the flames that swallowed them up, leaving them no more than black charcoal when the flame was finished with it.
All of my stuff, too, that was gone. Along with my wolves. My wolves had been trapped inside of the house: Endna, Enchantra, and Estabon. They were gone. All that remained of where I had lived on my floating island were some remains of the vines I used to climb to the door with, the furnace (Like I needed that right now!), and some pieces of wood that miraculously didn’t seem to catch on fire.
My storage chests were burned, along with everything inside of them. My bed was destroyed. No sleeping or respawning for me tonight. All that was saved was what I had took exploring with me earlier, my enchanted sword, enchanted bow, and a few pieces of cooked – but not still warm – beef.
My gaze lowered from the remains of smoldering flames to the little gravestone and flower. Ex-flower. The heat was too much for the poor thing. I approached the simple grave for Vagabond, my horse. He had been a gorgeous black stallion and my only friend since I had found myself in the middle of nowhere. I had buried him and his saddle here, leaving a rose to keep him company when I couldn’t be nearby. He had liked flowers.
After climbing toward my floating island using the rickety ladder system I had made, and scavenging around to see if anything could be saved, I buried my wolves’ bodies and looked to the setting sun. If I was going to find a new place to stay before the monsters came out, I knew I needed to start very soon. Taking a longing look over my shoulder to my floating island and debris, I took off jogging in the direction of the beach.
The beach sand glowed golden as the evening’s departing light hit it, making me stop and wince. I didn’t like the light very much. Oh, yes, it was helpful, and I did need some amount of light to see things. Also to keep danger from spawning, but…. I had to remember that I was only half Player.
I was a half-breed.
Yes, my secret’s out. I am not really a Player. Nor am I the specie of my mother. I am an EnderHuman. I was hatched from the egg of a great and ominous dragon – that Players refer to as ‘Enderdragon’. I have no Idea how, but my father was Human. I am treated as a Player from the Enders, and as an Ender from the Players. I am kind of a Player with Ender traits, I suppose. Enders see all colors as inverted (Black is white to them, white is black, ETC), and I am colorblind as a result. All Enders are incredibly tall, so I am at least one fourth of a block taller than normal Players.
Even so, I can not teleport. Not the way a normal Ender would. I can fly short distances, that’s about it. My flying is limited to only about 50 blocks at a time.
The sun had set fully, and I could see the moon rising from behind some distant mountains. The mobs would be coming for my flesh soon. Ugh, I was just enough of both to be hated by both!
The sand made soft swishing noises as I walked over it. I looked up at the mountain, contemplating whether I should climb it. I decided against it after witnessing some zombies fumbling about up there, trying to get down to me. I didn’t need to climb up and welcome them.
I took out my bow, aimed, and knocked one of them off of the edge. I quickly dodged to the side before it fell on me. The glittering green-and-yellow orbs of experience felt my warmth, and dove at me before sparking away. For some reason, the more a person (even a half-person) had of these things, the higher the enchant power on their gear was.
I kept jogging ahead of the mobs that were collecting behind me. A few badly-aimed arrows flew past, but none of them came close enough to actually hinder my progress in any way.
For someone whose home, pets, and life had just burned down, I was in a very good mood. The sleepiness would probably hit me at some point. I just hoped it wasn’t while I was in a desperate battle or anything.
I heard a silent hiss just beside me. I swore in sudden fear, and turned to the side, skittering backwards and falling on my ass. The creeper that hissed at me exploded, of course, sending some of the mob horde that was behind me into the air. Which I was rather thankful for, thank you Mr. Creeper…. The bad thing was, the explosion had alerted even more mobs to chase after me. Thank you, Mr. Creeper!
I jumped up as fast as I could, sprinting forward as much as I could. I could probably destroy a multitude of the night watch with what I had on me. My sword had a ‘Fire Aspect’ enchant in it, that would really help.
I turned around, swinging like a madwoman. It was so fun that way. A skeleton caught on fire from the sparks that came from my sword, and in turn, it caught others on fire.
Suddenly, I felt something gush down my arm. I realized it was blood. Mine. Something had cut me! I swung my sword around to break the arm of a skeleton that was raising it to strike again. Eee, that had hurt. It stung the whole night, too. Damn skeletons and their sharp finger bones.
I had been running and swinging and shooting all night. When the sun finally rose high enough to send the zombies and skeletons running for cover, I was getting tired and hungry.
I chewed on one of the pieces of beef that I had been smart enough to take with me before it turned into ash.
My hopes had come true, the sleepiness hadn’t hit me during a battle. Thank goodness, no. I had to stop and lean up against a small spruce tree in the middle of a gigantic Taiga area. I stared up into the branches, letting my knees bend and my body slide to the ground. I waved my purple hair out of my eyes, and looked into the distance. Nothing but mountains, really.
I groaned as I started up again, my legs stiff from all the walking. I wasn’t sure where I was going, but, I was going to find another place to live. I didn’t know why, but I felt like I needed to leave the past behind me.
I looked straight upwards as I walked. My black hood almost falling off of my head. I quickly straightened it, feeling the glassy Ender eye buttons on the top of it. There were similar ones on my back, too. They were just… eyes. Eyes that very much resembled those of an Ender. I have no idea where I got those buttons. Or even where I got these clothes. Was I born with them? Or did I buy them fro-
My attention was immediately jerked from my clothes to the fact that I was falling. I looked down just in time to see a 2×1 hole in the ground. I had tripped over it. My God… I… I couldn’t see the bottom!
Panic began rushing to my brain, and I tried to get a good grip on something, anything to keep from falling, but failing to see anything in sight, I gave up. After that long moment, I felt my chin bang against the dirt, and then the upper part of me was, too, underground.
My eyelids quivered apart, revealing a stone ceiling above and an almost blinding beam of light from the same direction. I believe that there was one small spot on my lower lip that wasn’t sore, but that was it. I shook my head, immediately realizing that that was a bad idea afterwards. I slowly pushed myself upwards, and propped myself against the wall to keep my body from smashing my face into that wall. Wait… wall?
I was at last aware of what was around me. It looked to me like some corridor… hallway…. What was it doing underground?
I forced my legs to cooperate and stood up, shading my eyes from the light. I looked up through it. Nope, not going out that way any time soon. I looked to the left of me, and saw darkness. I thought I heard some eerie monster sounds coming from that direction as well. I looked to the right, and saw a faint light and heard… clattering.
I was not sure about the clattering, but it sounded a bit more inviting than the gurgles and moans of that zombie. So, I went the obvious way.
I peeked around the corner, and quickly stepped backwards in slight shock. That was… a Player! It was rummaging through a chest that was apparently carelessly left in the center of the hall. I saw it… him… pull out a book, and some iron. I couldn’t really see what else. He had a torch in his hand, and that was where the light was coming from.
I took in his appearance. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and light gray jeans. His hair was brown, and his eyes looked an electric green. I already knew from the blazing enchanted diamond sword at his hip that he knew what he was doing. And would know what he was doing if we should fight.
The Player, apparently satisfied at what he’d hauled from the chest, started walking my way. I felt my heart jump through my throat as I’d thought he’d seen me, but he didn’t. I slowly backed up into the shadows that were shrinking from his torchlight. He walked up close to me before I dove past him and ran the way he apparently just came from. I heard his footsteps behind me. My hood now fell to my shoulders, letting my deep purple hair flutter behind me. I heard the sound of an arrow hit the door frame as I slammed the door shut behind me.
I had passed a fountain, a library, a dried well, and another hallway before I stopped at another door. This door was made of iron, and it was locked tight. It wouldn’t move for me. I peeked through the door’s window, only to jump back as something small, gray, and ugly jumped at me from behind it. It looked like a… giant bug! I wasn’t scared of bugs or anything, but that thing was…. A large bug!
I noticed a button near the door. I pushed it, and the door swung open. I was about to enter, when five or six rat-sized gray bugs slithered out. I yelped as one jumped for my face. I blocked it with my sword, which set it on fire. I heard it’s horrifying squeal as it’s life faded.
I looked around for any sign of the rest of them, but they were gone! It was like they had dissolved into the stone or something. I sighed, continuing into the room after hitting the button once again. The door had closed after I killed that one bug.
Inside, I saw a large stairway leading to a 3×3 ring of yellow stone and some other greenish-black materials that I didn’t know of. They appeared to be like a colored iron or steel. I climbed the stairs, only to find the ring was encircling a pool of lava. No wonder it was warm in this room.
Around the ring, in various pedestals on the stone, I noticed what looked like large, green, catlike eyes. I inspected one closer, and I found out it really was an eye. Slightly disgusted, and wondering why they were keeping people’s eyes on pedestals, I backed up, almost falling into another pool of lava. I caught myself as a spark flew past my shoulder and burned out on the floor.
I had no idea where that Player was, but I knew that he didn’t want me here, and I wasn’t so exited to meet with him again, either.
I hope you guys don’t mind the occasional grammar mistake, I wrote this at like, two in the morning.
It’s good, even though it’s set in a video game, it reads like a real person’s experiences rather than a transcript of game events. Well done.
The following is part of my idea of a loosely-connected set of stories about personified exploratory submersibles. It’s inspired by a discussion about personified ships in general on another site where I lurk, but the rules established there only gave personifications to ships with enough room to walk around inside of. As I have already created personifications of space stations, particle accelerators, and robotic space probes on previous occasions, I decided to disregard this. After all, there are stories to be told!
Anyhow, enjoy the story and tell me if anything needs explaining! Oh, and by the way, “Trieste” is pronounced “tree-est” rather than like the Spanish word for “sad”, which is how I was mentally pronouncing it until last week…
Tales of the Deep Ships: First Impressions
March 1965, Andros Island, Bahamas
Therese Piccard followed the officers through the corridors of the ship, enjoying the warm sea air that wafted through them even this far into the interior. A mere one atmosphere of pressure would always feel like flying to her. In her khaki suit, Therese stood out from the uniformed crowd around her, a scenario she’d come to be used to. It was hard to imagine a ship type less suited for combat than a bathyscaphe, and thus, while she was technically in the service of the Navy, the personification of the Trieste was resolutely a civilian. Like the human “brother” and pilot Jacques she so resembled with her dark hair and angular face (she was Auguste Piccard’s brainchild, her brother, his biological one), she remained a Swiss among Americans and a scientist in the company of warriors.
This sense of being an outsider was common among research ships in the employ of the world’s navies—although they were usually lucky enough to be left alone to scientific work, the possibility always remained that they might become embroiled in violence, something that their kind, with their general lack of weapons and armor, had no stomach for on the whole. The very lucky ones were navy-owned but operated by civil or private scientific organizations, and if today’s presentation and the demonstrations to follow went well, the vehicle that was the reason for Therese’s visit would enjoy just such a status.
It was something Therese secretly wished she could enjoy herself. But as the world’s deepest-diving vehicle, she represented a crucial “strategic asset” and propaganda star, and, as such, found herself directly under the Navy’s direct command as its only Deep Submergence Vehicle.
However, that same reputation was the reason she was part of this delegation. Five years before, with her brother and Lieutenant Don Walsh, she had made headlines by exploring the Challenger Deep off Guam, the deepest known place in all of Earth’s oceans. As the conqueror of the Marianas Trench, her opinion of the new submersible and its personification would carry great weight. And it would be her duty as the new sub’s predecessor to serve as its mentor and prepare it for its future.
Entering the conference room, Therese could already see a few highly-placed representatives of the General Mills corporation that had built the submersible* and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who hoped to operate it seated near the front. They all seemed to be fussing over a bespectacled boy of about eight or nine who was seated next to a frazzled-looking woman in a yellow sundress. The boy, as boys of his age often do, seemed rather uncomfortable with the suit or fancy shoes he was wearing and the jelling and combing of his dark brown hair that the woman in yellow kept retouching. He seemed to be looking at the ceiling in bored anticipation, as if waiting for something to happen.
But as the crowd entered and the boy scanned their faces, something seemed to light up the eyes behind the lenses of his brow-line glasses. The boy hurried to his feet, knocking over the chair in which he had been seated, in spite of the best efforts of the woman in yellow hold him still. He rushed towards the entrance, clutching a manilla file folder in his right hand. The look on his face reminded Therese of newsreels she’d seen of female teen-agers in New York greeting that new British band from Liverpool who had arrived the previous winter.
“Ahnt Trieste! Ahnt Trieste!” The boy exclaimed, causing the officers to give him space as he ran up to Therese and eagerly extended his hand to shake. His voice was loud and high-pitched.
Somewhat taken aback by the breach of protocol, Therese tried to laugh politely and shook the boy’s hand with a smile. “I see my reputation precedes me. And you must be the young Mr. Vine about whom we have all heard so much.” She replied, in her soft Swiss-French accent.
“Uh, yes, ma’am.” One of the embarrassed General Mills representatives explained, having finally caught up to the boy. The man seemed flustered and slightly red-faced. He tugged at his collar for air as he explained. “Little Alvin here is the personification of the Deep Submergence Vehicle Alvin out there on the tender, the culmination of all our hard work. He’s named for Dr. Allyn Vine, one of the motive forces of his creation, so his physical appearance resembles Dr.–”
The official was cut off by his creation. “Didya evva see the untouchable bathyspheyer fish when you weyer down in the Challengah Deep? The one Professah Beebe said he saw right heeyah that was awl lawng ‘nd dahk ‘nd wid wicked big teeth? Lulu said it’s just a story cauhse even Betty Bawhton herself didn’t see it, but I think it’s really owt theyah ‘nd…” Alvin said, nearly shouting and talking so fast that one word seemed to run into the next. The Naval officers in the delegation had all burst into loud chuckles for some reason.
Therese paused, attempting to parse what the young personification had just asked her. Although she had made great strides in improving her English since arriving in the United States seven years before, she wasn’t entirely sure that what the young man had spoken was indeed English, although it certainly sounded more like English than French or German.
“I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t understand what it is you’re saying…” She said, frowning slightly in confusion.
“The bathysphaerer intacter, the fish that’s like 9 feet lawng wid the glowin’ antennae things. The one Professah Beebe saw when he was heeyah wid the bathyspheyer thirty yeeahs ago.” Alvin explained, more slowly but no less impenetrably, prompting more laughter. The boy quickly drew several pieces of paper from the file folder at his side and handed them to Therese. “This one, right heeyah.”
“Thirty yee-ahs?” Therese repeated, trying to decipher his meaning. “Thirty… ye… years ago?” She glanced down at the papers. They were sketches in colored pencil, a bit on the crude side, and perhaps dashed off a bit quickly, but showing definite artistic promise. Research ships, as a rule, tended to be gifted at documentation, be it in the form of naturalists’ drawings, photography, or writing. And these sketches were clearly recognizable renderings of deep-sea fish, copied from illustrations in books, some verified by science, and some the infamously unrecognized–
Her face suddenly lit up with the realization “Oh! You mean the dives Doctor William Beebe made here in the nineteen-thirties!” She smiled “The untouchable bathysphere fish, the fabled three-meter dragon of the depths. No, I cannot say that I have ever seen one, although when I was small in Italy I always dreamed that I would. Of course, I have never had the privilege to dive in these waters as Doctor Beebe did. Perhaps you will discover that it exists after all.” She smiled at the memories of her own childhood within the shipyards of her namesake city, reading and re-reading the old National Geographic articles that had been written about those first voyages into the ocean’s dark lower reaches, so absorbed that she ignored the flying sparks as her shell’s hull was welded together.
Compared to the feats of the present, or even what Therese herself had achieved in the Mediterranean in her adolescence, those voyages had been modest indeed, only a half-mile below the surface in a hollowed-out sphere that hung at the end of a cable. But Betty Barton, the bathysphere’s spirit, had been the first ship-personification in mankind’s history to glimpse the world that lay beyond the reach of the sun’s rays and then return with both her and her crew alive to tell the tale.
The public had eaten up the stories Beebe and the other bathysphere passengers had told about the strange fish they’d seen in the depths, although the fact that no one besides the professor, not even the other observers or the bathysphere herself, had ever reported seeing some of them had left their existence a matter of mystery and debate. Regardless of what she had or hadn’t seen, though, Betty had been a true pioneer and Therese’s ancestor, the first of their breed, the deep ships.
But as for the present, and the next generation…
“What about the five-lined constellatiawn fish? Did you find them in the Challengah Deep?” Alvin asked, his enthusiasm not diminished a bit.
“Alvin, please forgive me, but I’m afraid I am having some trouble understanding your accent.” Therese sighed, “My English is not the best, and I don’t believe I’m familiar with this habit of pronouncing ‘r’s as if they are ‘a’s. I don’t suppose you speak French?” There was further laughter from the crowd.
“Ooh, ooh!” Alvin shouted eagerly, before trying to clear his throat in an awkward way that only added to the comedy of the scene. “Zhay– zhay swee d-deh-solyeh mee-lay. Cawhment awhlay-voooz o-zhawhdwi?”**
Therese’s right eye twitched involuntarily at the sound of her native language filtered through Alvin’s accent. However, it was clear he was doing his best and she did have to respect the young man for trying. Taking a deep breath, she tried to regain composure. “That’s… *fine*, I think we should speak in English after all.” Another round of laughs.
The General Mills representative swallowed hard, now looking beet-red. “I, uh, admit it may sound a bit, err, *comic*, sirs and ma’am, but it couldn’t be helped. Woods Hole is located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Alvin has absorbed the local dialect. However, as he grows older and has the chance to travel around…”
“Ah, I see.” Therese smiled, hoping she had not hurt the young sub’s feeling’s. But Alvin’s eager smile remained. He was hanging on every word she said. “There is no harm in remembering where it is you come from. I would be glad tell you some stories after this presentation is over, but for the present, I think you should return to your seat and allow your handlers to give the speeches they have been rehearsing.”
“Aw, okay.” Alvin muttered, somewhat disappointed, turning back to the company representative and trudging back to his chair, which had been set upright again. The woman in yellow was glaring sternly at Alvin.
Therese found her own seat, beside a sour-faced delegate from the Office of Naval Research. Clearly, this man had not been impressed by Alvin’s breach of protocol. Alvin certainly was quite a bit brasher than she had at his age, but then, he was a boy, and a different model besides, one never tried before. Even someone as concerned with proper order as she was knew that nothing could really be predicted when you were doing something never before attempted.
Alvin knew his genealogy and his scientific names, and seemed to have read his “Half-Mile Down” quite carefully. He’d even worked out research questions of a kind before embarking on his dives—he wanted to know if Beebe’s bathysphere fish were real animals. As for his French… Therese suppressed the urge to shudder, but he’d certainly made the effort. And if he was a bit excited to meet her, how was that any different from her own youthful lionization of Betty Barton? She looked at the sketches again. Alvin certainly had a natural talent in that regard. His grasp of perspective was remarkable for his age.
Undeniably, he needed to slow down a bit, or else the boy was in for some hard knocks. But she hadn’t seen him in action while his shell was in operation yet. And besides, personifications grew up quickly. As for the accent, well, if most of his operators also made their homes in Woods Hole, they’d doubtless be more familiar with the dialect than she was.
“What do you think of him, Miss Piccard?” The officer asked in a low voice, as the rest of the delegation found their way to their seats.
“As long as he learns to contain himself, I think Alvin Vine may have a long and excellent career ahead of him, sir.”
*Yes, the cereal company really did build Alvin. Nobody believes that the first time they hear it.
**That is, “Je suis désolé, Mlle. Comment allez-vous aujourd’hui?”, or, “I’m sorry, Miss. How are you today?” (I’ve been told that the latter phrase is commonly one of the very first sentences to be learned in French by beginners, but I haven’t taken French myself, so I wouldn’t know.)
*Writes one good fan fiction*
*Decides to post everywhere and send to everybody in contact list*
*Also posts on Museblog*
Running through the oddly pastel-colored forest of the planet Decros VI, the captain of the starship Enterprise, James T. Kirk and his ship’s doctor Leonard McCoy, took a risky glance over their shoulder to see the progress of the angered warriors who were slowly shortening the distance between them. The Enterprise’s first officer Mister Spock of the planet Vulcan was not too far behind the two runners with a communicator in his hand, trying to make contact with their Starship. The Decrons, usually a peaceful culture amongst themselves, had not taken well to the intrusion of the landing party, which had interrupted the execution of a condemned prisoner. Captain Kirk looked wildly about him for a way of escape for him and his men, and upon finally setting eyes upon a potential place, he motioned for the others to follow him as he took a sharp turn and began to climb up a steep cliff-face and duck into a cave near the top. Kirk aided Doctor McCoy inside, and barely managed to pull Mister Spock inside before the Decron warriors noticed them and began ascending.
Thinking fast, Kirk rushed over to a large, loose rock by the entrance of the cave, “Help me!” he called. Spock and McCoy followed him, kneeling down to the rock. After some trouble, the three managed to roll the rock down the cliff-face and onto a few of the warriors who were climbing after them and causing a great avalanche.
“…That should stop them for a while….” McCoy commented, looking down to the gathering warriors.
“Yes, but they’ll find other methods quickly,” Kirk pointed out, reaching out to Spock who handed him the communicator. Kirk flipped it open, turning it on and activating the ‘speak’ button. “Kirk to Enterprise,” He spoke into the microphone of the little device, then released the button to wait for an answer.
“Kirk to Enterprise,” the captain repeated, “Do you read?”
Pretty soon, a voice crackled across the communicator, “Yes, captain, we read you,” The voice was heavily accented.
“Scottie,” Kirk acknowledged the voice, “The Decrons refuse to listen to our reasoning, we need to transport now,”
“….” Scottie did not reply.
“Scottie?” Kirk asked, “Are you there?”
“Er… that is…” Scottie replied after a moment, “Uh… sir…?”
“Scottie, what is it?”
“…We… we cannot transport now, sir….”
“…Cannot transport?” Kirk repeated, confused.
“Captain!” Mister Spock called from the entrance, causing Kirk to look up at him “The Decrons seem to have found means of reaching us.”
“Scottie!” the captain returned to the communicator device, “We need to beam up, now!”
“But… but sir!” Scottie hesitantly answered, “The… the dog we picked up last visit to the planet Zaran….”
“…What about the dog?” Kirk asked.
“It… it…” Scottie had apparently turned away from the microphone, and then turned back again, “…It… urinated on the transporting machine….”
“….” Kirk had to look away for a moment to think about that.
“Did I just hear what I thought I heard?” Doctor McCoy asked, stepping over.
“Scottie, mind repeating that?” Kirk asked.
“The dog urinated on the transporting machine…” the accented voice repeated, “It shorted out the main components….”
“Of all the….” McCoy started, then trailed off.
“The Decrons are ascending the rock, captain.” Spock reported.
Captain Kirk wasn’t sure what to think, “…Well… well get it fixed as soon as you can!”
“Aye-aye, sir….” Scottie said, before disconnecting.
“I told you that dog was a bad idea, Captain!” McCoy said, giving Kirk one of his signature glares. The captain just ignored it for now, the silly irony of it making him giggle inside, trying to hold in a laugh.
Soon enough, just as the Decrons reached the cave entrance, a yellow glow enveloped the three crewmembers, taking them up to the Enterprise.
Cute and enjoyable.
So this is a piece that I just finished for a writing contest that is actually due in about two hours. The prompt was, “What makes someone a hero to you?”
What do you think?
(I just realized that I might be kind of hard to distinguish between where it switches from past to present tense in this comment format. Try your best)
My fingers brush through gleaming beaded leaves, triggering a shimmering cascade of dewdrops down into the lush grass below. I draw back my arm. Inhaling deeply through my nose, the sweet scent is drawn into the realm of my senses. Carefully replacing the garden shears in the garage, I turn to enter the house. The warm air envelops me as I open the door, and I glance at the clock as I walk by: 6:01 AM. Silently, I make my way to the kitchen, where a tall glass vase is waiting for me in a cabinet. The container clinks against another vase as I pull it out towards me, and I stop suddenly. A furtive glance around ensures me that nobody was disturbed by my carelessness. I place the vase in the sink turn the handle on the faucet, beginning to fill up the vessel with cool, pristine water. Seconds later, I reach over and deposit the flowers in the container. I admire my handiwork, and position the simple vase in the center of the dining room table.
My mother found out that she had breast cancer almost a year ago. We all knew it was a possibility, since my grandmother died of the same cause years before I was born, but I never really thought that it would ever happen. I remember almost as if it were yesterday: It had been a normal morning – waking up, showers, and breakfast. Yet when my mother poked her head in my room to inform me of my turn for a shower, there was a hint of worry in her eyes. Later, while I was in school, she drove to Corvallis for a screening test. The next day, she was called back for a biopsy. That evening, my parents gathered my sister and me together. I didn’t really know very much about breast cancer, so I didn’t understand what ‘Stage IIIC cancer’ actually was.
“Liam,” my father began, and turned to my sister. “Emma.” We nodded. Expectantly. Worriedly.
A pained look crossed my mother’s face as she leaned back in her chair, which groaned almost as if it knew what was coming next. She bent forward again. “I have cancer,” she said, getting right to the point. “It’s only Stage IIIC. That means that it hasn’t quite spread to the rest of the body yet.” Noticing our looks of extreme concern, she turned to my father for support.
“What it looks like right now,” he explained, “is chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and radiation therapy.”
Only one of those terms made sense to me: ‘chemotherapy’. I still couldn’t quite grasp what he was talking about. On other side of me, however, Emma appeared to have a pretty good idea of what was happening.
“Lumpectomy is a surgery to just remove a tumor, as opposed to a total mastectomy,” my mother said. “And radiation is when the doctors shoot these really intense electromagnetic rays at my chest.”
“You know what chemotherapy is, right?” my father asked.
I nodded. “It’s those drugs that people take that’s supposed to kill the cancer but also makes you go bald, right?”
My mother smiled faintly. “Yeah. It helps fight the bad stuff, but the problem is, it doesn’t always know what’s bad.”
I was surprised my parents weren’t acting like this was a very big deal. Then I realized that they were only trying to protect us. Behind my mother’s smile was well-hidden terror, and my father wasn’t any better. They just weren’t panicking so we wouldn’t panic.
I turned to Emma, and could tell that this fact had dawned on her as well. She tried to say something, but her voice faltered.
“I’m going to be fine,” my mother reassured us, but I could tell that she was merely trying to tell herself the same thing. “Going to be fine.”
After finishing with the flowers, I carefully make my way upstairs to Emma’s room.
“Psst! Emma!” I whisper from the doorway as to not wake up my parents. “Want to help me with breakfast?”
In no time at all, we’re locating cookbooks and mixing the wet and dry ingredients. Neither of us are very good at cooking crepes, but we manage to make it through with a heaping plate of steaming golden-to-dark brown pancakes. We even hand-whip some whipped cream. After about half an hour, the dining room table looks picturesque, but the kitchen is a nightmare. We spent the next fifteen minutes washing dishes, wiping down counters, and replacing ingredients to their rightful places. Finally, we’re finished.
We all knew that my mother was going to be different after the treatment began. She went over with us about how her hair might change, and she may suffer from fatigue. She also talked to us about nausea and vomiting. I felt ready, but when it really came, it hit me hard. I can’t even imagine what it was like for her. Before anything else, I noticed the fatigue. My mother has a busy job, and she is always working at home because there are always more things to do. However, within the first couple of weeks, all of that changed. She still went to work, but didn’t do much at home anymore. I also noticed her taking long naps in the middle of the day and just sleeping more in general. Then came the nausea. It wasn’t as easy to spot as the fatigue, but it was there. It was obvious in the way she looked and acted, and I felt terrible for her. Since my bedroom is right next to the bathroom, sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night to her retching and coughing. The final thing that I noticed was her hair. My mother has always had traces of grey toward the roots of her hair, and in the beginning, it was just changing color, so it was hard to spot at first. Later on, however, it began spreading to her whole head and then it began to fall out. My mother never went completely bald, which was another reason that it wasn’t as easy to detect, but towards the end it was obviously thinner.
Currently, my mother is just fine. She went through surgery and treatment with flying colors, and was recently declared cancer-free. We are still worried about the possibility of a recurrence, but there are no signs so far. We’ve been loosening up, now, and are spending more quality time together as a family. In fact, we’re planning a trip to Costa Rica next year. I’m glad that we can finally become a normal family again.
Emma and I are finally finished. The dining room is beautiful and the kitchen is clean. We stand back, admiring our work. Suddenly, I hear a sound from our parents’ bedroom. I glance over at Emma, and we both grin. After a few moments they appear, bedraggled and tired.
“Mmm!” My mother exclaims, her nose in the air as she makes her way down the stairs to us, my father not far behind. “Are those crepes I smell?”
My father grumbles past us into the kitchen, saying something about ‘coffee’, and we all laugh. Then my mother notices the flowers.
“Lilacs!” she observes. “My favorite flowers!” Pulling me into a tight embrace, she whispers, “This is the best Mother’s Day ever.”
“I love you, mom,” I mumble into her shirt.
“I love you, too, Liam,” she whispers back.
And the piece has to be 800 – 1500 words, by the way (I think it’s something like 1200?)
“(I just realized that I might be kind of hard to distinguish between where it switches from past to present tense in this comment format. Try your best)”
Oh, yeah. Forgot to to mention that this is fictional (although the part about my grandmother dying and there being a risk for my real mother is true. The family is also based off of my family) Sorry I forgot to mention that one part!
It’s a very good story and the fact that it feels real just shows that.
Update: went to the awards ceremony for the contest today and got first place in the middle school division, with a prize of $100 in cash(!!!) So, yay!
Totally skill, Noah!
I’ve been having a lot of trouble with writing lately, and I’ve noticed that a good way to get myself motivated is to write a gift for someone else. It’s easier, for some reason, to write for another person’s taste than to write for a huge, ill-defined-to-nonexistent audience.
Maybe the solution is to write something deeply and unashamedly self-indulgent. Treat myself as the recipient and giver of the gift as the same time. I tried that with the Green Moon Cycle but that was largely worldbuilding — the story fell apart. I will try to think of elements of plot, character, and style that I really enjoy or appreciate reading, and then set about writing them.
After 3 years of mental incubation, I have finally put pixels to Microsoft Word Document for “The Whitford Collection”. It’s just an intro that takes a generous amount of inspiration from the Night at the Museum opening titles and the Eyewitness Video opening, but I’m rather proud of it. As with everything else about the series, it’s up for criticism and improvement. It’s in script form, but the Partial Scripts thread is closed.
The original proposal for the series was post 16 on this thread: http://www.musefanpage.com/blog/?p=10974
So, here goes nothing…
The Whitford Collection 1.1
The Secret of the Storeroom
Scene: The darkness of a jungle at night. Bird calls and cricket chirps are briefly heard as the camera pans away from the trunk of a tree, past some thick green leaves, and onto the face of a lurking jaguar, whose eyes reflect the little light there is.
A flashlight shines in the jaguar’s face, but it doesn’t blink. In fact, it doesn’t move at all. As the camera pulls out while still following the path of the flashlight beam left, along the jaguar’s body and to the trees beyond, we see that the jungle suddenly stops at a wooden frame, followed by polished stone walls. The whole scene is a museum diorama, and by the flashlight’s light as well as the bluish atmospheric light, we can see a colorful display sign with the heading “Jaguar (Panthera onca)”.
The camera continues to back away, revealing a large room full of other dim cases and diorama windows, and a polished floor that reflects the atmospheric light. Suddenly, it glides left, carrying us past a stuffed toucan. The toucan’s case obscures the wall the Jaguar diorama was on. The camera moves forward now, passing in turn a plastic model of a poison dart frog large enough for six-year-olds to climb on, a display of bows and sharply-pointed arrows, and a case that holds a small model of a Kayapo village, complete with figures of tiny villagers.
While all of this is happening, we hear a grumbling sound, footsteps, the clinking of keys, a slightly squeaky hinge, and the flipping of a switch. The jungle noises stop.
Moving past the model, we rejoin the flashlight beam on a wall covered by a photomural of members of other Amazonian tribes and follow it along the mural to its edge. The beam briefly passes over a plaque that reads “Harry Marshfield Memorial South American Halls”, and then finds itself shining out through the door to a hallway.
Faster than the beam, we fly through that door, and down the hallway, passing water fountains and an elevator. We turn a corner, and then another. Signs on the walls indicate the directions of exhibits about Oceans, the Atmosphere, the Age of Dinosaurs, Robots, an IMAX Theater and a Planetarium.
As we approach the end of a hallway, the camera slows. Up ahead on the right is the entrance to what the signs tell us is “Wild Asia”. We hear footsteps again, and then a shadowy, indistinct, figure (it’s too dark and we’re too far away), peers around the corner, furtively looks both ways, and quickly crosses the hallway. The camera turns and zooms in to see the door that this person is standing in front of. Its opaque glass window is marked with the words “EMPLOYEES ONLY”. In front of the door, we see only the mysterious person’s back as they seem to unlock the door, enter, and close it quickly. A tinge of sinister music.
For a few seconds, we just see the closed door and the edge of the door to the Wild Asia hall. Then, there’s a brief, lightning-like flash of light from inside the Wild Asia hall.
We turn and head through the entrance, entering the hall. More periodic flashes as the camera weaves past and around a life-sized Indian Elephant, a topographic model of Mount Everest, a display of mountain-climbing gear nearby, a large photograph of a snow leopard, and then, past the edge of the wall that photo is on, a diorama of tigers in the jungles of India.
Another flash. In front of the diorama, the air shimmers. Then it glows. Then, with another flash, a glowing circular portal appears in the air in front of the diorama. Two transparent figures step out of the portal, a redheaded man and a blond woman, both wearing explorer’s khakis. With a final flash, the portal is gone, but the couple remains. The woman appears to sigh with relief. The man is cradling something in his right arm, but we can’t see what it is. He lifts his left and seems to wipe sweat from his brow and adjust his wire-frame glasses. All of this seems like perfectly normal human behavior except for the fact that it is being conducted while hovering several inches above the floor.
The ghostly couple looks around the room, and then they begin to walk off, still hovering. The camera follows them, but remains at a distance. It passes an Indian Rhinoceros, and a glass case of stuffed orangutans playing in a tree. The camera briefly stops when it reaches a bronze statue of a Komodo dragon, and with the statue in the foreground, we see the ghosts rise up, through the ceiling of the exhibit hall.
We follow, passing through a floor and emerging in an exhibit about the Ice Age. The ghostly couple have turned to the left, and the camera continues to follow, weaving through a diorama of a group of Cro-Magnon hunters armed with spears facing a rearing Woolly Mammoth. The couple glides through a doorway and turns left again, and so do we, finding ourselves on the edge of a balcony that looks over an entrance lobby.
Alongside us, hanging within the lobby, is a sculpture consisting of several spheres suspended at various heights—a standard borderless globe of the Earth, one that features the colors and coastline approximations of an Age of Discovery-era map, a globe that’s split to show the Earth’s interior layers, a celestial sphere, a “solar-system”-style model of an atom orbited by electrons, a metal geodesic sphere, a sphere that looks like an aquarium with fish inside, a sphere painted with images of dinosaurs, etc.* The camera flies out among the spheres and follows the ghosts in profile as they glide across the balcony, rejoining them when they reach the far side.
At the end of the balcony, the ghosts enter a hallway where a sign indicates the direction of the Museum Store. Instead, they opt to walk through one of the walls, and so do we, ending up in a technology hall where a full-scale locomotive towers over us. We continue to shadow the ghosts, passing by a model steam engine, a display on the history of the lightbulb, and a miniature model of a nuclear power plant. Nearby, the ghosts float up past a model wind turbine and through the ceiling again.
We, of course, follow, emerging in the stacks of an empty library. We follow the ghosts down an aisle, having time to read headings for “Ichthyology”, “Gagnon Arctic 1926” and “South Pacific” on several shelves. The ghosts have already turned the corner at the end of the aisle by the time we get there, so we turn and see them pass through the ceiling. You know the drill by now.
This time we’re just in another hallway, a bit darker than any of the others we’ve seen before. But the ghosts give off their own glow, so they stand out. We follow them past what seem to be the doors of laboratories and offices. A light snaps on inside of one door as we move past it. The ghosts don’t seem to care and neither do we. They turn a corner at the end of the hallway, to one that looks a bit nicer. We read “O. L. Van Buren, Director”** off the nameplate on one of the doors. At the end of the hallway, there’s an elevator, and we hear a “ding” indicating that a car is coming up from some floor below. But of course, the ghosts don’t need one, and, so, one final time, we follow them up through the floor, into…
A vast storeroom filled with wooden crates. It’s very dark, and we can’t make out much of the other strange shapes that fill the room and protrude from open crates. The ghosts make their way down a path between the crates, and then stop in front of a certain crate. The man hands the woman the bundle he has been carrying and bends over to open the crate. The woman moves to place it inside, and it’s only then that we see what it is—a plaster cast of a tiger’s pawprint. We stop to enjoy it in the light of the ghostly glow for a moment, and then glowing hands shut the crate, leaving us to read the words stamped on it:
[And we have a title!]
* This is the Henry Museum’s Iconic Lobby Thing, in the same way the American Museum of Natural History has the fighting Barosaurus and Allosaurus, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has a stuffed bull elephant, and the fictional museum from Night at the Museum has a giant globe (as did the National Geographic Museum for a while, which may have inspired the movie) and a T. rex skeleton. The spheres, of course, represent different fields of science and technology.
** This is a placeholder name and subject to change. Suggestions welcome.
Thank you for the pies, does anyone have any comments or criticisms?
[Sorry, kids, now we have to do the part where we cut to the kids and explain their mundane, non-supernatural issues, but I’ll try to make it interesting and get it over with quickly…]
Scene: The crate dissolves into the image of a similar crate, one that zooming out reveals is an obstacle in a videogame being played on a handheld device. A character jumps over it and attempts to kick an enemy figure. Young fingers are viciously keying away at the control buttons on either side of the screen. [Nintendo DSes are still current, right? Am I too unhip to be writing a kids’ show if I had to ask that?]
JASON: C’mon, c’mon…
At that moment, the screen blinks out and a “Battery Depleted” message appears.
Cut to a boy of roughly 10 seated in the backseat of a car, frowning in frustration at his gaming device.
JASON: I was almost done with the level!
Cut to an older man, Jason’s father, driving the car.
JASON’S FATHER: Cheer up, Jason, we’re almost there.
Jason looks out the window at the girders of an overpass. Beyond them, he can see the skyscrapers of a modern city rising in the middle distance, shining in the late-afternoon summer sunlight.
JASON’S FATHER: There it is, Port Franklin. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Jason frowns again, and rolls his eyes.
JASON: (sarcastically) Yeah… gorgeous.
JASON’S FATHER: I know you aren’t happy about moving, but this is really going to be a great opportunity for us. There’s so much to do here in the big city. After school, you can take the subway to the zoo, or the movies, or the waterfront, or anywhere else your friends—
JASON: My friends are at home.
JASON’S FATHER: This *is* home now. Why don’t you ask Hillary what she and her friends do for fun when you see her tonight?
JASON: (sarcastic) Sure, if I want to join the Chess Club… Hillary’s friends are probably as fun as getting cavities.
JASON’S FATHER: JASON! Don’t talk about your cousin that way! Hillary’s a very bright young lady and she can help you get settled at school and in the city.
Jason crosses his arms in frustration.
JASON: C’mon, dad. Her idea of fun is going to the library. If I hang out with Hillary, I’ll never make any friends at school.
Jason silently looks out the window as the car drives over a suspension bridge.
Jason’s father sighs and takes a deep breath.
JASON’S FATHER: Look, I’m not saying you have to be best friends with Hillary. But you should try to get to know along with her better before you start school next month. Maybe pick up some tips about how to *study* and improve your *grades*. You can start at tonight’s sleepover.
JASON: (under his breath) They better have some cool dinosaurs.
Scene: A blue-tinted wasteland of ice, possibly in a simpler animation style. A group of men in thick arctic expedition gear are trudging onward, against a blowing wind.
HILLARY: (voice-over) Captain Scott and his men struggled onwards across the ice shelf, towards One Ton Depot. They knew that if they could just reach the supplies, they would be able to return to base camp safely. But they grew weaker every day.
The scene changes to a tent, buffeted by the same blizzard wind.
HILLARY: (voice-over) Eventually, Captain Oates made a fateful decision. One night, he stood up and announced to his companions–
HILLARY’S MOTHER: Hillary!
The polar scene shatters, replaced by a girl of about 11 shaking her head and blinking as she comes out of her daydream.
HILLARY: Wha? Huh? Yes, mom?
In the front seat of the car, a woman who is clearly her mother is driving.
HILLARY’S MOTHER: I was just saying that we’re nearly there. What were you thinking about so intently?
HILLARY: (looking down slightly embarrassed) Oh, nothing… just… something I was reading about.
HILLARY’S MOTHER: Your summer reading for school?
HILLARY: No, no, I did that three weeks ago. I was reading about Captain Scott in Antarctica.
HILLARY’S MOTHER: All day?
HILLARY: (looking down, embarrassed again) Ah, no, I walked around the block after lunch for a little bit, down to the park.
HILLARY’S MOM: Did you see any of your friends from school there?
HILLARY: No, not really, I just watched the ducks a little and tried to draw them. Did you know that Charles Darwin sketched pictures of all of the different species of finches he saw in the Galapagos and noticed that—
HILLARY’S MOM: (not really listening) That’s great, dear, but I thought you and Sammy were going to go to the waterfront at some time this week.
Hillary is disappointed that her mother doesn’t want to hear the rest of her story about Darwin.
HILLARY: She wanted to go on Saturday or Sunday, but that’s when I work at the museum.
HILLARY’S MOM: Well, what about Friday, then, or Monday?
HILLARY: (not very enthusiastically) Monday would work. I can text her and tell her we can go on Monday.
HILLARY’S MOM: (takes deep breath, then speaks sweetly) Hill, honey, it’s great that you love to read, but in life, you’re going to need to find a balance. You’re going to need to socialize with people, even if you don’t find what they have to say very interesting. Look at your sister. She loves to read, too, but she also goes out with her friends to the movies or the mall at least once a week. You’ve got to achieve that balance—a healthy mental life AND a healthy social life.
HILLARY: (under her breath) Everything’s easy for Mallory. (Normal volume) Ok, mom.
HILLARY’S MOM: Your cousin Jason, for instance. He’s going to need your help getting settled at school this fall. Why don’t you get off on the right foot by showing him around the museum tonight?
Hillary swallows hard.
HILLARY: I can try. I don’t know if he’s really interested in—
HILLARY’S MOM: Dinosaurs, robots, mummies, I’m sure you can find something in there that will catch his interest. Maybe there’s an exhibit on the science of computer games?
HILLARY: (not very enthusiastically) There’s the computer exhibit on the second floor.
HILLARY’S MOM: Good, good. I know it doesn’t come as easily for you as it does for Mal, but… can you promise me you’ll try to show some interest in the living? Just for a change?
HILLARY: (sighing) Sure, mom.
[I admit Hillary is easier to write than Jason, just because her neuroses are more like the ones I have.]
Awright it’s been a year and the writing contest is coming up again. Trouble is, I can’t think of what to write. The prompt is, “Not all who wander are lost” -JRR Tolkien. I’m thinking maybe something about Syrian refugees landing on the Mediterranean shore. Any thoughts? Rough drafts are coming soon.
Yes, I tend to interpret that quote as referring to people wandering willingly, not because they’ve been forced to.
Hmmm… my immediate association is someone traveling somewhere that isn’t well-visited for a specific “serious” purpose like work/business/family/school and not expecting to see anyone else, but running into someone else who has traveled there for philosophical or artistic purposes or out of curiosity and them just stopping to discuss what brings them to where they are and why the avocational traveler thinks the place is significant. It could be an uninhabited island, a little-used trail in the middle of the woods, a statue on a city street that most people just walk by or even just an otherwise-empty boarding gate for a flight that nobody else seems to be taking.
(This is an excerpt from something I’m working on. Constructive criticism is welcome.)
I wish I could read minds.
If people’s minds were like books- books I could open and read at my leisure- I would keep them closed. I’d never peek. If I could read minds,, I’d never even learn to read.
If people were books, I’d walk through life like a silent library, strolling between tall shelves and stacks, occasionally stopping to read the cover of a book that caught my eye- stroke my fingers down its spine- but never open it up. To flip through someone else’s pages, to read a mind that I was never meant to read? That would be unspeakable. That would be a violation of the utmost sacred privacy.
But minds aren’t books that wait for someone to pick them up and consent to read them. Not to me. To me, they’re radios, all blasting on the same frequency, inundating me with signals.
Moods, musings, lament, euphoria. Darkest secrets, triggered memories. They all broadcast straight to me, whether I want it or not. There is no volume button. There is no off switch.. I hear every thought that every person around me thinks. Their intrusive thoughts, their impulses, and their guilt all echo into the inside of my skull. My head is full of other people’s noise.
I have no choice in it. To have others’ thoughts presented to me as a book that I can choose to open- that is a luxury I can only dream of. I long for a silent library. Instead, I have cacophony.