Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am alive

I am alive, and doing well. A duck left a note asking me to get in contact. So I did and that's started the chain reaction leading to here. Things always go in circles, some day soon I intend to start carving a straight line.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I know, two posts in two days? What's the world coming to? I blame the heat.

I still can't get a title out, so the last post and this one will have to go nameless. Yesterday, I had to write up that story because it was there, percolating if you will. Had I not at least written it down somewhere, it would have slipped away into the back of the mind and gnawed at me. Given that I wanted to go to sleep, I figured it was better to get it out where I could get a look at it.

I'll blame the heat as well for posting it. It's kind of what I think of as a rough draft on it's way to a first draft. Not that I ever bother really with drafts, that's just the classification I'd put it in if someone asked.

For example, normally I start with an idea or an instance/situation. For this story, the idea was the character's dream that had the prophecy of their death. Using my own life, I was able to give the idea a situation, the four friends looking for a place to live. From there, the writing just flowed out. All I did to really edit it was nip a few of the nonsensical phrases and correct spelling.

If I was going to keep writing this story (I'm using "if" only because what further writing is done on it, may not be posted given that its previous incarnation is here), I'll probably either expand on the role that the roommates have and flesh them out or trim them down to being little more than a mention. Since this is an idea story and not a situation one, the other characters can be altered without me risking the loss of the story by being drowned in others.

So, how would I decide? Since I've addressed the idea, it rather depends on how long a story I'm aiming for. To make the most of the story, it would be better to trim it down and make it neat and proper. To make it interesting though, would probably mean making it a little longer and making the world "real."

But making it larger means expanding the roommates. There's only a little more backstory to it that might be needed, and other than the words added in rewrite to make the flow better, I don't think there's many large details I skipped over in the interest of getting the idea out of my head.

Alright, so why this post? In part, morning after regrets. I usually want to make my works "better" before putting them out for public consumption. Which is why I have only two stories up here instead of the many that I had envisioned when creating the blog. So I put this up as an excuse for the quality of the work and an explanation of where it will be going.

Finally, because I've got the need to write. I'm bouncing back and forth between this, the story and a few chats. It gives me something to do to focus my mind in whatever direction it needs to go. When I was mudding, I used to enjoy balancing the three focuses. RP, the controlled creativity. OOC, the uncontrolled creativity where I might express my randomness that was built up by the expressed creativity but had no outlet there. And then IMs, where I could be calm, serious and reflective instead of creative.

So, I guess the burden gets passed to you few who visit the blog. Nameless, as the titles of these posts are... Shall I continue to toss up rough work? Toss out only the stuff that meets minimum quality? Write posts that are merely a summation of thoughts instead of creativity? You're welcome to say all of the above, but if you're that trite I can't promise a proper response. :)

Monday, July 9, 2007

I should warn that this story is a little different from what I usually write. But it's another of those lunch time ideas that germinated and needed to be posted. I wonder if there's a pattern to this? (On a side note, for some reason I can't get a title up. So I guess this story remains nameless until such time as I A) get a good title and B) figure out how to make the title bar work. It's just blank right now and no matter how I click on it, I can't write one in.)

The tour had been Nat's idea. Natalie, Nat for short, was her usual over excitable self. She'd been overjoyed at the prospect of the four of us reuniting, and had gone house hunting months in advance. While she and Robert could move in at any time, were in fact looking to move in now, there were still a few months left on my current lease and Larry would not be ready until after the summer.

Yet, she had found houses and was happily showing them off. As Robert was indulging her in her hunt, Larry and I could do little but shrug and follow. We were two boys, two girls; two single and one couple. That Robert was the calm and collected one of the pairing made with Nat... When he yielded to her desires, it was best that we followed suit. He would rein her in when the need arose.

Of course, that was one bad mark on the four of us moving in together. We had done so years ago and survived, and from it looked forward to repeating the experience with a more permanent effort. But we'd each grown; admittedly Robert and Nat had merely grown closer together. But she had no signs of tempering her zest for life. I remained the mouse that I was and Larry was still the somewhat shy guy who found his contentment in making others laugh.

For Robert and Nat, this was going to represent freedom for their future. This was one of the steps they needed to free themselves from their past. For Nat it was to escape from her own misfortunate childhood. For Robert from his parents that disapproved of his choice in love. Larry was going to try to make something of himself, to break out of what remained of his shell. Me, I just wanted to see what there was and I didn't want to be alone.

The first house of the tour had been a bit of a let down. The ads had, not surprisingly, painted it in a better light than it truly was. The house had all that they said, but the street was not pleasant and the rent was not worth what we would get in exchange. Still there were other houses and so we drove on.

But the second house, ah. The other three liked the look of it simply from the car. The house was set back from the main street, its front awning hid behind a pair of firs. I knew that the backyard would be ideally fenced for the dogs, that the inside would hold our things and we would all find rooms to our liking. The back room would have coat hangers on the wall that we could use for our bags and dog leashes.

This I knew before we got out of the car, having seen the house once before. It had been a dream 15 years ago, and I had wondered if it had been only a dream. Yet here was the house, with each step that drew me nearer another memory was confirmed in detail. Amid the excited chatter of the others, I knew it was the one. It cemented vague childhood fears into a reality that chilled me in the late spring sun.

"This is where we'll be" I said, drawing their attention away from exploring the empty house. Robert shrugged, "we still have another two houses to go." "And a few more months" added Larry whose lease had longer to go than mine. Even Nat paused and shrugged. "The next two might even be better than this."

I said no more about it as they finished their explorations. How does one explain these things to others? A casual conversation that starts with, "This is the house I'll die in"? I stayed away from the back room, but that didn't stop me from hearing Robert's happiness at the discovery of the compost pile in the back yard. I scarcely remember the details of the rest of the day. The other two houses were quite nice, though one of them was popularly agreed to be too expensive for us to rent.

As summer neared its conclusion, we were ready to look for a house to commit on. Nat drew up a new list, with that house being the only one still vacant from the original list. In the end, it was chosen. The new houses were either too expensive or were simply not what we needed. I could have spoken up then, I suppose. I could have tried to arrange somewhere else. Perhaps it's pride.

It was just a dream, one that as a child I had treasured as special and later grew to wonder if it was only a nightmare. But these things come in threes. It was the same kind of dream that predicted my friend's moving day, the day that their house was finally sold after being on the market for months. The same that predicted time and again that I was to be awoken for the phone so that when I stir and ponder on it I would have only a minute before the phone rang out.

If it was a gift, it had left me after that last dream. Leaving me to wonder instead of knowing with certainty was certainly a cruelty. If it was a curse, perhaps that uncertainty was to be part of it. To know and yet doubt, trapped in my own Greek tale of knowing the future and being unable to alter it. I wondered if I was determined to be right even if it meant my own death. To be guided by half remembered dreams from the dark of night while I was 12. I had carried this memory for over half of my life, for 15 years to wonder at it and never know for certain.

What I could remember was that I was certain I had been in my 20s. An age that seemed safely far off as a child and one whose timeline seemed less certain the older I got. I was walking home, to this house, carrying a sack of groceries. It was winter, dark already even though it was not yet late. The snow crunched underfoot and the cold all around as I crossed the street and entered a house whose front door was hid behind a pair of trees or bushes.

Inside was warmth but silence. I had expected to hear someone home, but I did not know who. It wasn't worrying to hear the silence though, and so I gave it no more thought as I took off my boots and left the groceries behind. I went to the back room, to leave my wet winter things. It was there that it all went bad.

I know there was nobody in the back room. Yet I was still possessed by a feeling of fear when I entered it. I turned, dropping my things and preparing to run back down the hallway to escape. It grabbed me. What, I do not know. I saw no one, heard no one. I do not know what sparked my fear, only that it claimed me. It only grabbed me and flung me back. I flew through the backroom towards the back door and then...

I was standing outside in the corner of the yard, watching something crash through the door and land beside the compost pile. The memory invokes tears as it comes to its conclusion. Though young, the symbolism was not lost on me.

The first tears I shed were the ones I had when I awoke. I was still a child then, for all that I thought I had grown up. The tears flowed freely until I remembered myself that I was sleeping over at a friend's house. A friend who mercifully had slept on through my dream and awakening. I was in no state to explain it then. I calmed myself and tried to commit to memory what I could recall of the dream.

Memory that was confirmed with each box we brought into the house, each shelf we filled and each piece of furniture that was brought in and arranged. In a month, fall will end and winter will begin. Perhaps a month after that, we'll have our first snow fall which will melt and be replaced by another one or two before the season ends a month or two thereafter. If this is the year and this is the house, I have at most four months left to me.

I could flee. Apologize to my friends for leaving them with my part of the rent and run. Perhaps the dream was a warning rather than a prophecy. But death might simply claim me at the same time and I would not be ready for it then. Or it might come even sooner if I am else where. Would I have a better future if I run and remain perpetually in fear? Or should I stay here and brave chance that perhaps it was a foolish dream of a foolish child?

It's strange to know that hope and fear exist about the same thing and for both ways. I hope that I'm wrong; I fear that I'm right. Yet, I also have to admit that there is a side to me that hopes I am right, that the dream was special and fears that I am wrong and have lived my life in anticipation of something that will not come.

Is it better to die as someone special, or live freely and normally? So do I stay here because of pride to find out if I'm special? Or should I defy that and show that I am ready to live and face my fears?

Following the first week of winter, I think it was Robert who prodded the group into engaging me. I don't know for sure, but it seems like his style. It was Nat who clued me in by acting unusually concerned. Her way would be not to notice things, or if concerned to proceed directly. The almost timid manner that she asked after my well being was too out of character for it to have been on her own. After I caught that, I found Larry watching me from a distance with concern and only Robert seemed unchanged. Though he was quick to offer me a shoulder and an ear when I confronted him about his role in the matter.

I told them I was fine and put on a show of smiling. They accepted it, and did not push. But I know they whispered as the days grew shorter and I asked more frequently and urgently about the weather forecasts. The skies are usually grey here in the winter, and the temperature can get cold enough for snow. But it usually goes either cold and dry, or too warm when wet. Some years pass without snow, and others snow briefly... only to fill the sky and rarely the ground.

I look out at the skies and I wonder about the school children who are praying desperately for snow to close to the schools. They understand it means a day at home instead of one spent doing school work. Not of the drivers who must be careful on their way to work, or of the people who are put out and trapped.

I could leave. I tell myself this as the white flakes fall. I could abandon this and leave it behind. Or at least until winter has ended and the snows retreat. I'd have to be content with not knowing the answer, never being able to return to find out. I'm afraid. I want to find out what it is that I've carried for so long. I want to live and I want to be right. I don't know which is stronger. What fights in me is the fear of being right with the fear of being wrong.

I hate this, being driven by fear. So I try to take my mind off of it, but the white flakes that fall do not offer absolution. They blot out the landscape and the white void that's left is one my memories can paint all too easily with terror. I can stay to face my fears, or I can run. But I do not yet know if I'm staying now to face them or because I'm paralyzed by them. The landscape outside freezes as I wonder quietly if I was already trapped in the ice all those years ago.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

For want of a nail

Sometimes, we can't see the forest for the trees. And sometimes, we can't see the trees either.

I think, that we lose track of the whole because we get lost in the details. For example, I'm dropping you readers into the middle of this after a week's absence from posting... So give me a minute to back up and explain.

I was sitting here tonight trying to figure out what to write. Checking over the blog, I realized it had been a week since the last update. I do feel some obligation to keep putting stuff up while I'm writing. Both for any unfortunate soul that visits and for my sake, to keep me actively writing instead of being distracted by daily life.

As I sat staring at the blank post screen, I realized I could write about why I didn't have anything to write about. I was going to ramble on about the importance of having an idea, drafting it, editing it and then posting. Even the lack of having a title was going to make a good point, despite the fact that it was obviously going to have one by the time I posted.

That lead into a large discussion (or monologue) about what it meant to have details. Examples and counterpoints about how we can see the whole of a book but not understand what went into making it. That we had to have it broken down into parts like letters and words so that we could understand it, without breaking it down into authors, publishers, printers.

Then I got to thinking about how it applies to people.

I think that we get accustomed to being able to put things in their place. We break things down by defining them, making parts a whole entity themselves and then breaking those entities down into smaller parts and repeating the process. The Greeks once thought that the smallest thing that existed was an atom. And we held onto that idea in physics until we found a way to break it down into smaller and smaller parts.

Kids don't have that hang-up. When a child moves, they're usually able to make new friends and eventually adapt to their new home. Maybe it's because they like to play tag, and find a game that's the same or similar enough at their new home. Or maybe the new kids are outgoing enough to draw them in (or the child herself is outgoing enough to engage the new kids). The point is that they are usually far more flexible than adults to deal with changes in their life. They haven't broken themselves down into tiny pieces that have to be defined so that they are the same person that they were. They were at their old home, now they're at the new home. It doesn't affect that they like to play tag (or whatever game is preferred), it's just that they appreciate the individual segments of themselves without needing it to broken down to atoms.

As we get older, we get used to playing tag "our way." We start to lock down details and define them beyond being fuzzy concepts. We make parts of parts, so that we can better understand them. Teenagers are a prime example. They're busy trying to establish their own cultural view, appearance, even knowledge and general demeanor. They try to say who they are, while figuring out how catalogue their details like a score card. It helps them to find others when they have similar score cards, and perhaps gives them a path to follow to be more like the people they idolize. Except that some things are exceedingly hard to define.

When we finish the transition from those years, we're told it's a good time to "find ourselves." And a few years after that, you're expected to have finished logging your values and virtues and be that kind of person.

But people aren't permanent like stone; they're far more like water. While we're far more fluid as kids and kind of freeze up into ice as we become adults, we're still able to alter and change. The characteristics that compose us are both internally defined and externally given. But they aren't permanent.

We can get lost just trying to define ourselves and wonder why that is. I think it's because we can change. Our parts don't stay the same; they wear out and get replaced or improved. The details that make us "us", aren't things that you can continuously break down until you find their atoms and understand them.

You can be a generous person your whole life, and but not for the same reasons all the time. It could be because you had a good day, or because someone had a bad one, or maybe just because you had a lot and felt like sharing. Even breaking a person down into parts to say that they're generous or stingy might be going too far. But it's as far as we can go before we stop seeing the forest because of the atoms in the trees.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The (g)reefs of community

Reading over a fellow blogger's post last night, and I was struck by a thought. Human communities are kind of like coral. Seems odd, doesn't it? But bear with me.We kind of form communities by aggregate. A couple of like minded people meet, bond, and start to develop something. They invest work, time and energy into making that something grow. Meanwhile others stumble across and decide to join in or make their own.

This holds true for muds and even for this blog. Because of the Karinthadillo, I'm here posting originally and even now on this post. Others followed his example and started up a few blogs of their own. Perhaps eventually, a community of semi-linked individuals will gather. But like coral, these communities can be fragile.

Environmental changes can have a dramatic effect. We don't have a formal link, one blog is independant of another. I can think of three others that are linked in this fragile web and no single blog relies on the others in order to post or create. I don't necessarily know all those who keep their blogs or posts, but because of the activity and survival of those blogs I am familiar with, I'm inspired to maintain my own. If something were to happen to reduce the blogs or perhaps a prolonged period of inactivity, then this early reef would die.

This applies to muds as well. The coders create that first all important base. Next come the dedicated players and developers that try to make the fledging community grow. So long as the players do their part to build up the mud, it grows. But when they allow their portion to wither away and die, it makes it harder for the next person to find a place to grow.

*shrug* A thought, one I thought might be worthwhile to post in the currents.