A Waste of Time

There’s a very specific old house at the end of the cul-de-sac I pass by every evening. It’s a holdout against the times, a prissy little American foursquare in an era of changing architectural tastes. 

Each day I pass by, I peer through its windows to see some lightshow play out before me. Each pop and flash is some part of a larger whole, hidden from me by solid whitewashed walls. Is this some modern art project? Some fever dream of a VFX maestro? A silent rave???

Any possible explanation is hidden from view. Bright lines flow through the air with no regard for intervening medium. Lights dance playfully from place to place. It might as well be magic. I certainly can’t explain the physical mechanism behind it. 

The themes change from day to day. Once, I could make out a flooding river coursing throughout the house, forcefully jumping from window to window. Another time, a simple triangle unfolding at a snail’s-pace and sprouting into countless lines and shapes. Nine days ago, there was a clashing cacophony of warring designs, each vying for aesthetic supremacy from their respective domains. The flowing calligraphy had encircled its geometrically styled neighbors and achieved dominance by the time I left. 

But the windows have been dark for a week now. I wasn’t going to say anything at first. I’m not an entitled brat. But it put an itch in the back of my mind. Aversion to change, I guess you could say. When I was a small child, my teachers would scold me for staring out the windows in class and roll down the blinds. The closed blinds distracted me even more–there was something wrong about them. Maybe it was–and still is–childish petulance. Fine.

So I marched up to that house and knocked on the door. A woman wearing a summer dress answered the door and I froze. What was I supposed to say?

I mumbled something incomprehensible about lights and schedules and nonsense. 

“Oh, that. I got bored. I’m working on bigger and better things now. It’s going to put my earlier work to shame. It’s going to explain the meaning of life. It’s going to solve world hunger and bring world peace.” 

I gave her an incredulous look. 

“Fine. If I give you this will you fuck off?” She sighed and gave me the lights. I marveled as they danced around me. When I turned back to her, she had left and shut the door. 

Whatever, I can work with this. I left the prissy little foursquare house behind with my lights in tow. 


BLOGGING TIME–Where I ramble aimlessly

I’ve recently picked up digital drawing (though it’s not like I know how to draw traditionally either). It’s kinda like writing; I have to find new and exciting ways of wasting my time, of course. Or I could be productive? Would that make me happy? Dunno.

Some people might take issue with the idea that art isn’t productive. You’re literally producing something, aren’t you? Well I have to have some standards. I’m producing lots of things right now. Words. Carbon Dioxide. Entropy.

I realize the opener to this post might be taken as some sort of metaphor about my journey with art. Well, let me tell you, it's actually a story about how I wish I was a magical wizard. 

Anyways, I’m a lot more interested in the process with drawing though. For better or worse, I write my stories using language that is basically ingrained. I don’t really think too much about writing technique: word choice, sentence construction, etc. It’s much more interesting playing around with different brushes, techniques, and tools in Krita.

A bear in the forest

I think line-less is nice, but I haven’t tried drawing anything with more detail

Most of my drawings come about because I want to try something out. Different shading techniques, reflections in water, etc. I suppose that’s part of the learning process.

I suppose I can add a bit of variety to the site with illustrations. Who am I trying to impress? Myself, I guess.

Mermaid

Centuries ago, Irene met a holy man who took up residence in a small hut by the cove she visited occasionally. They got to talking, the mermaid and the hermit, drawn together by mutual curiosity.

At some point, the hermit stated, off-hand and matter-of-fact, that merfolk had no souls. They might resemble humanity and put on a convincing pantomime but, like any fae creature, were ultimately deficient in the things that mattered. Irene had to interrupt his lecture— what’s a soul? It took a series of back-and-forths, but when she got the gist, she dove off in a huff, splashing the holy man in a spray of salt water.

But Irene didn’t come to be known as the Sea Witch by passing up opportunities to satisfy her curiosity. She returned a week later to listen to him lecture, arguing with him when his lecturing grew wearisome. He talked of God and mankind, kings and society, all sorts of topics great and small. From these lessons, she concluded it must really suck to be a human and didn’t begrudge them their desire to be special.

He lived relatively long for a human, but died all the same when his time came. He wasn’t a bad guy, all things considered, and she hoped his immortal soul was doing well.

Continue reading “Mermaid”

Are you worthy?

Thinking about the stories that worthies tell

People love stories. The idea there’s some sort of cosmic story arc tying everything together for a reason just feels right. I’m leaving out certain trends in postmodern literature, I suppose. Too bad.

Even the soulless machines in Admissions and Hiring ask you to tell them stories. I’m referring to the bots and algorithms they use to filter applications and tally points, of course. I’m sure the people have souls. Continue reading “Are you worthy?”

I Can Fly

I learned to fly that night. It came in a dream: the secret to unaided, human powered flight. You don’t believe me; that’s okay, I don’t believe myself anymore. I’m a rational being after all and I know which way the evidence points. But I still remember because it matters to me.

For a short moment, even after waking, I believed. I believed and it was glorious. If you care about useless knowledge: it was all done by twitching some muscles in my calves. I could float through the air, enveloped in its light caresses. Air is just a fluid, after all, and all I had to do was glide. The buoyant forces weren’t quite right, but they would work, I know they would. Can you imagine such confidence, even with overwhelming evidence to the contrary? It was intoxicating.

I have other stories. Perhaps a story of compassion and kindness has more meaning- a smile won is certainly a lovely prize. A tale of adversity overcome- very important in life, with all its problems to conquer. But those aren’t secrets.

I can still feel the echoes of confidence I felt that day. So many things in life are uncertain. To feel that lull of certainty, to be at peace for that moment—it’s a liberating experience. Let me tell you: to fly, you just have to believe.


Author’s note: This is part of a different piece, but I’m test posting this by itself. 

Magical Thinking

What good is magic if you can’t even raise the dead?

You have the capacity to do anything, to change the world, Mother always told Will. Father said the same but it didn’t have the same meaning. His was a soft, steady faith. With her, the flashing of her eyes, the unmistakable ferocity of her voice painted the conviction in her words. If she could bend creation, then certainly any child of hers could do the same.

Will was glad Father was there to temper her fire on occasion, but regardless, he admired her all the same. She was the strongest person he knew. He hoped he could be just as strong when he grew up and make Mother proud.

~

Will was only eight when Father died. He was gone, swept away in the span of one tersely delivered sentence.What power: to crumble an entire pillar of Will’s life with one sentence. He looked back to Mother for guidance.

I can bring him back.

A small hope fluttered in his chest.

Continue reading “Magical Thinking”

time travel chat room

Enter the time travel chat room and violate causality? Of course.

Actually, your guide assures you, any changes you make only results in a new timeline branching off. Otherwise your futures would hardly want to chat with you.

Whatever. Multiverse theory is boring.

Let’s go, start dispensing advice, future-me’s. You’re only 18, but they can lead you to fame and fortune, love and glory.

There’s a flurry of suggestions. Don’t study econLearn a musical instrument. Boring, but you note it down dutifully. 

Age 23 pleads with you to make your current long distance relationship work. You feel like this advice is worryingly pathetic, but it’s backed with a chorus of support from the 20’s. They bleat their misery and woe vigorously enough to make you reconsider your planned breakup.

Continue reading “time travel chat room”

Blooooog. Blog? BLOG!

In which I overthink things.

I should take a moment to think about my blogging activity. As far as I’m concerned, the blog’s age of ascendancy is over. And thus its history is lost to the sands of time.

Since this is a site for sharing stories, I’ll tell one here. It may sound true. It may even be true. But you can’t believe something just because it’s easy.

A hospital is transitioning from paper to digital. They’ve wheeled in computers and stationed them throughout. Of course they have to train the doctors and nurses to use the new system.

One doctor is particularly old-fashioned. Doesn’t even know how to use a computer. The organization assigns a trainer just for him, trying in vain to get him caught up on the past 20 years of technological advancement.

So you’ll want to right click on-

Wait, why does the mouse have two buttons?

That’s actually an interesting question, but let’s concentrate…

And so on and so forth. Eventually they give up and hired someone to operate the computer for him.

You can stretch it to be allegorical if you want. Maybe I’m like the doctor, trying to figure out why I would waste my time on this newfangled tech.

I made this site because I had all these stories. I figured if I was going to waste my time (more on that later) writing them down, I might as well share them.

But blogging is a whole different beast. I’m not promoting a novel (Hi DirtySciFiBuddha!). I’m not fostering a community. I’m not honing my craft through feedback. Not to say I’m against any of those things. Feel free to say hi.

I’m just getting that warm fuzzy feeling when someone likes my posts.

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That’s me, warm and fuzzy

It’s definitely affecting my thinking. So some musings:

This Ain’t a Love Story, Baby: I tagged this story with beauty and it didn’t occur to me what that meant in terms of who would see it. Shout-outs to the beautician bloggers that read that weird story and liked it.

But in general, the key demographic is writers. Makes sense: writers seem to like their craft (despite how much they grouse about it).

Personally, my stories are just a byproduct of a bored brain. I’m not an aspiring writer or a novelist. I just want to get the stories out of my head, so I write them down. If I have something better to do, I’ll do that instead.

But if I can’t stop myself from writing them down, I might as well post them. But I’ve caught myself trying to gauge story quality from blog post statistics. Forget overthinking, the sample size isn’t even good enough to make a good conclusion.

In conclusion, I should probably stop thinking about the blog so much.

Devil’s Joke

Someone told the Devil an old joke once. It was a bad idea.

Someone told the Devil an old joke once. They really shouldn’t have.

At the gates of Heaven, St. Peter asks each person their religion and gives them directions accordingly.

“Catholic,” an old lady responds.

“Down that hall, to Room 15. Be very quiet as you pass Room 11. Next!”

“Methodist,” a young girl responds.

“Down that hall, to Room 26. Be very quiet as you pass Room 11. Next!”

“Z-zoroastrian,” a confused man stammers.

“Down that hall, to Room 12. Be very quiet as-”

“Wait, what in the world is in Room 11?”

St. Peter sighed and said, ”Well, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are in Room 11 and they think they’re the only ones here.”

The Devil thought the joke was hilarious, though the Lord of Hell isn’t really known for his sense of humor. He reorganized the next day, taking the greatest and most infamous monsters in Hell—cruel dictators, sociopathic swindlers, and more—and lessening their punishments.

They would live pleasant lives in their own personal estates. Well, relatively pleasant, as they were still surrounded by vicious demons and howling sinners (some of whom were howling for their blood). It was Hell, after all, and the Devil had a reputation to maintain.

He waited with bated breath to see how his denizens would react. Amongst the wailing and gnashing, the Devil heard new notes of agony arise. He saw a Jewish man protesting Hitler’s reprieve from the flames of Hell. He heard a Cherokee girl cursing Jackson as he ate, taunting them with his respite from Hell’s all devouring hunger.

He laughed uproariously. “I can’t believe the joke was so spot on,” he said. “Don’t you see? It’s all so petty! You’re all here for some everlasting torment and you’re still worried about others.”  He cackled once more for effect and strolled off to perform other acts of evil.

A few angels petitioned their higher-ups to do something about this latest transgression. They were the reformists, of course. They begrudgingly accepted the concept of Hell—you had to punish sinners somehow—but weren’t so sanguine on the actual practice. Surely they could intercede now; if anything, the Devil must have been in breach of contract.

The Voice of God spoke and said that all was as it should be. The reformists murmured in discontent, but had to accede. There were still many souls that could be saved, tons of work to be done, and all that.


Author’s note: Returning to writing weird musings about creation and the afterlife, hmm. Don’t know which one people prefer. 

A more skilled writer would write a more evocative Hell, but I feel like that’s a tad dark. I guess that’s the point though.

This Ain’t a Love Story, Baby

1. What is love?

In the long history of human-feline partnership, there might have been someone who actually understood his or her cat. Deep down, Elliot suspected as such, though he would never admit to such romanticism. His cat was an ode to all cats: the archetypal concept of a cat. His cat was adorable, like all the others displayed on the internet. His cat was aloof, as any normal, right-thinking cat must be. And of course, his cat disappeared for hours at a time, no doubt to perpetuate the slaughter of local wildlife that had the misfortune of being smaller, slower, and/or dumber than it.

This was a portrait that could be painted to fit any number of felines in the world. But maybe it was only human arrogance toward the dumb animal. Perhaps there was something to his cat as an individual, something more than the Darwinist routine of life. But it would also be a mistake to project human motivations and personality on such an alien species. As a reminder against such folly, he had named his cat Catherine, or Cat for short. Continue reading “This Ain’t a Love Story, Baby”