Micro 0119: Welcome

Welcome.

Your mother told you not to join a gang. But here you are, foolish rebel. You have romanticized this moment but it is not going to turn out the way you think. You need to stop watching movies. There is no information in there that will tell you the truth. We live hard lives, we are not friends, you will not be receiving fringe benefits for a long time.

We are a serious organization. It is not our fault that the ‘authority’ call us a gang. We do what we want, when we want it, regardless. And don’t you go “regardless of what” -ing me. REGARDLESS! That should be enough, you lazy sunzabee… Now look what you made me do.

That scared look you have donned is not going to help you either. My emotional armour is tighter than your little brother’s briefs and cannot be penetrated by pathetic looks. Mcccchhhheeeww. So stand up straight, and look into my eyes.

First order of business: Today you thought you would be attending some kind of briefing. This is not to be so. You were brought here by someone who hand picked you from a throng of admirers of our work, and some seriously twisted parents who want to make a little money off you. A rival gang has challenged us to a duel at 51st and Juma Avenue. We are not cowards and we will not be put to shame. You will be sent to battle on our behalf. Do not return until you are victorious. If you are unable to achieve victory, be sure to perish in battle. There will be no sympathy for survivors.

Line up against that wall. I will be handing your weapons to you in a just a moment, as soon as Yunia stops crying. Wipe those tears, foolish child. No one wants to be here as much as you do. And yes, George, you have to fight. No way to get out of it.

NO MORE QUESTIONS.

What do you think this is? Chatterbox time. Look at my face. My I-am-not-playing face. Remember it.

Take only one package from the top of the pile (thank you Cissy), the small bag is to be worn against your hip. All the packages go inside and your weapon is worn against the side of your chest for easy access.

What is it George? Are you old enough? For what? Fighting? You think you can stop the inevitable? You think that you have earned the right to question the laws put down… hold on…

The vehicle is here. No more time. Line up!

Enjoy your day at school.

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Micro 0112: Through the Yellow Door

Gayaza High School

The hallway was empty.

The clean floor, polished by years of moping rags and stomping feet, reflected the cool, crisp early morning light through the glass door that marked its end. The brightly coloured doors that separated adjoining rooms from the hallway entombed the sleeping girls, who floated on the last vestiges of their dreams.

With a soft noise, the ruffling of a many layered skirt, Pajini stepped out of nothingness into the middle of the HSC block in Korgi House. Her image shimmered, a bad signal adjusting itself, and then solidified and stabilized. This was her hour and there were changes that needed to be made. Asiimwe was key.

With silent, but purposeful footsteps, she sent ripples of slumber through the floor and warm sleepy bodies turned around in bed pulling their blankets closer to their faces, breathing deep and allowing their minds to be drawn in further into wild and vivid dreams.

Asiimwe’s door, the only yellow door blazed like a beacon, beckoning. Pajini glided soundlessly to the door pausing for a quick second before passing straight through the thick door to the darkness inside.

Asiimwe was locked in a familiar dream. Children. Lots of children in an idyllic setting, but as they passed her, haunting images flooded her mind, grabbed her gut and squeezed. In a dream minute Nambi was beside her exchanging worried glances. They had to do something, anything to take these children away from whatever suffering had snuffed out the innocence in their eyes, replaced by a magnetic hopelessness, strong and unavoidable.

“Please take us away.” The voice of a child who had not yet turned four.

Nambi reached for the child’s hand and Asiimwe flinched. Something was not right. This was not what happened at this point in the dream. Was it changing?

“Asiimwe,” Nambi’s voice urged.

“Something is wrong.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I’m no…”

“We’re wasting time Asiimwe, come on!”

There were children who needed to be saved. Worrying about what  felt wrong would not help. She grabbed the free arm of the child who stood with Nambi and raced to one of the free standing buildings that dotted the grassy hillside.

“Don’t let go,” the child whispered, locking eyes with Asiimwe.

“I won’t,” her voice was resolute.

Pajini smiled, the warmth of victory spreading over her body. She reached deeper into Asiimwe’s body enjoying sensations alien to her, watching imagination build a World that rippled, a syncopated accompaniment to Time’s own ripples.
It was going to be a wonderful day, the warmth of the room had already risen by a few degrees. The night was chased away by the galloping sun, fleeing in all directions.
Loud thrum, thrum, thrums of cowhide drums echoed through the dewy morning air and the HSC block of Korgi House stirred with the noise.

“Asiimwe!”

“Yeah, I’m coming!”

Pajini smiled with someone else’s lips, the last vibrating tremors of her call still echoing in her lungs.
This was going to be a fantastic day.

Never ending battles & Micro0109: For the Queen

I wrote a story today.

I liked it. Wasn’t sure anyone else would so for a moment I decided I was going to keep it to myself. Started on something else that did not inspire me and it fell flat like a cake with too much moisture.

Time and time again we’ve heard people say that you need to write for yourself and not try to pander to an audience. The ones who like your story will find it wherever they go, and those who don’t will read other stories. How hard is that to learn and understand? Quite hard, apparently, coz I’m still working on that.

So, in light of that, here is my story, the one I actually wanted to tell, the one that inspired me. Enjoy.

For the Queen

Once upon a time, a woman inherited a kingdom. To the west, grassy knolls rolled over the countryside curving artfully around overflowing gardens that burst with bounty, stretching as far as the eye could see. The eastern border came to an abrupt halt at the jagged edge of plunging cliffs, where the sea writhed and roared and moaned and spat.
The land was rich and the people lacked for nothing and lived in peace with their neighbours, but the crown sat heavily upon her brow, each stone a ton of worry, each pearl a thundering wild horse pounding through her mind.
A spell of great and dire magic had been cast on the kingdom by a Witch Queen, wild and deadly, her bewitchment reaching out with deadly fingers of greed, malcontent, envy.
Sister struck down sister, soaking her garment in the blood, brother struggled against brother, pushing him six feet underground. Chaos reigned and the young woman’s ears were filled with the desperate cries of her people.
She called to the Witch Queen, the fell words like bile against her tongue, and begged her to undo the magic and free her people.
The Witch Queen demanded one thing. Her soul.
The hopeless councillors spread their hands, their pain a Goliath against their own consciences, and they surrendered to fear.
The crown upon her head sunk deep claws into her head refusing to be cast off, perplexing the councillors and angering the Witch Queen. Only the crown bestowed the kingdom upon the wearer and it had a mind of its own.
Urged on by the spell, the young woman’s people dragged her from her throne and marched her eastwards to the edge of the cliff. A vile threat. An action. Collective consciousness stained with the blood of a young Queen who had no choice.
Her body lay broken, the waves smashing her against the toothy wall of the cliff, the weight of the crown dragging her into the depths of the sea.
The spirit of the young woman rose out of her watery grave and fell upon the Witch Queen destroying her utterly. It flowed through her kingdom, raining justice like a thunder roar and ending the years of malcontent and strife. She does not distinguish between friend or foe. So when you pass through the rubble remnants of her kingdom, remember your offering at the cliff’s edge, and bow the knee when a jewel encrusted crown floats your way.

The book that changed my life

A few years ago someone gave me a book. She has been in the practice of sending me books she has enjoyed and I bless her every day for it. She knew I was at Uni and could not afford to purchase novels.

One of the books she sent me was Seed to Harvest.

Prior to this book, I had not read any speculative fiction that had a character who looked like me who I wanted to be. I was in my 30s and my sense of place in story telling was completely transformed. There was no turning back. If you have not read Octavia Butler’s work, please add it to the list of things you MUST do.

With Ms Butler on my mind, I launched into telling stories of a fantastical nature (Chapter One & Two), and the ride through my imagination was a rollercoaster.

So when I’m surfing online and I find pictures like this,

I’m ashamed to say that envy creeps up like a long discarded lover and tries to throttle me for leaving it.

I wish there was a way to tell Ms. Butler how much her work changed my life and my journey through imagining. You are missed, by those who knew you, and those who wish they had.

People Pleasing

Jambo! (means hello)

Was yesterday as fabulous for you as it was for me? Yes? No? I got to walk in the rain and jump in puddles.

A group of fantasy writers came together to talk about the cliches commonly found in RPGs and novels. Apparently, there is a common theme dealing with giant rats in RPGs…  Giant rats?!

There were other familiar themes that  seem no longer desirable like:-

  • The conquering hero also known as the chosen one, who just needs a bit of training in order to save the World.
  • Anything that looks like it was copied from JRR Tolkien, Stephen Lawhead, JK Rowling and George RR Martin. (Elves, warring brothers, fighting houses, magical swords, orcs/Zombies, Wizards with long beards… you get the drift)
  • Zombies
  • Killer chicken

The challenge many writers face is pleasing their audience because a happy audience buys more of your books. Sometimes the reason for writing is because you saw Lord of the Rings and thought it was absolute garbage and wanted to write your own story. However, hobbits, elves, wizards and orcs keep popping up with a floppy disk of power that will down the alien zombie ships using a specially written virus.

I’m exaggerating, of course, but the sentiment remains. How do you write an incredible Zombie story without upsetting those who don’t want to read about Zombies?

Many solutions abound. Mine? I write what I want to read.

Osibegye! (Stay well!)

Bee-bee-dee Boop!

Are you doing okay? Wanna talk about it?  Leave your comment.

Today is a smoggy day and I’m grateful to have and be near my computer. It also means that I’ve got to find a way to be productive and allow my fingers to speak for my brain. Telepathy will come soon enough. If we cannot figure out a way for our brains to do it, then we’re going to make machines do it for us! HURRAH!

I began a story yesterday. It is complicated and rough and filled with all the familiar tropes I’ve been trying to get away from. I had the opportunity to check out a post regarding challenging those familiar plots we have all come to accept as the truth or reality.

Writing stories is a way for me to live an adventure that I could never really have away from the story. Magical things are all around us in nature, but magic itself remains hidden. I read about new scientific discoveries every day and see how technology is going to shape our future, but right now I’m just breathing in Toronto’s smog and driving places instead of teleporting. So in my stories I can do things and experience life that is more grand than I think it is right now. I can be fabulous doing those grand things.

So enter new story. Great story. Wonderful tale. Things exploding everywhere, people running in all directions, blood guts and gore. All is well with the World until I realize that my main character is way too human for an alien. We have not met them yet, but when we do I’m not quite sure they’ll feel the same way about things the way we do. I’m not sure the multiverse is populated with Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans, Cardassians, Ferengi, Wraith, Aasgard, Nox and Gua’uld. You know what I’m sayin?

I’m heading back to the drawing board and working through this again. Coz if I’m writing for me, then what has that got to do with an alien species?

Kapla!

World Building

Hello! Happy Tuesday!

One of my favorite writing exercises is building Worlds. It feels like a child-like thing to do sometimes, making up names for stuff that no one has ever seen, but it is incredibly fulfilling. It makes me think that within each one of us is an innate sense that is only satisfied when we allow our imagination to ‘run away with us’.

My first novel (as yet unpublished) starts on Earth where the adventure begins and then continues in a fascinating place, where I could literally smell the air and touch the plants and walls and creatures as I wrote the story. I enjoyed the process so much that I’m sharing one of the creatures with you today.

Umdit

One of the lesser known creatures that communicates using a tubular protrusion on the top of its body. When it honks, blue puffs of smoke can be seen coming out of the protrusion which smell fresh and dewy.  The soft gelatinous form of its body is held together by green leathery belt. It can stretch its form through the leather so that there is more gel above the belt than below. Retractible sensory tentacles are used to smell the air and feel vibrations. Though the Umdit is not a shy creature, it prefers the comforts of  tall plants where it is less likely to be trodden on by larger creatures.

UMDIT

Umdit

I’m going to have to learn how to model these creatures properly, or hand them over to an artist who is well versed in 3D modelling. If I ever get there. You’ll find out.

Have a fabulous day!

Being Called a Girl (and not in a nice way)

Welcome back M. Anonymous!

For a long time I did not like who I was. I’m a girly-girl in conflict. I’d rather wear a pretty blouse and a skirt than a buttoned shirt and dress pants. However, I prefer the look of short nails painted with unconventional colors and/or patterns to long french tipped nails. I love all things interior design, but I’m also interested in the structural bones of a building and its internal workings. Dramatic stories will always have my attention, but sometimes I need a good action packed thriller. I’m a militant feminist who craves the friendship and opinions of men. I have had this conflict all my life and struggled fitting into the neat gender boxes that society demands.

Because femininity is often equated to weakness, less intelligence and a general lack of concern for anything other than romance, perfume and flowers I rejected my own, choosing instead to identify as a softer tomboy mash-up. It was horribly confusing. I’m getting better now.

This struggle is often reflected in my writing. In my head, fantastic things are always about to happen and when I write a story something fantastic happens. Then I remember that fantasy writing is reserved for the ladies and PROPER science fiction is a man’s realm and my feminist horns unfurl (it’s a special power reserved for feminists).

I can’t get with that. I refuse to join the masses that claim that to be how it is supposed to be. So I’m on a mission.

MISSION: Scour the Globe for more women who write Science Fiction, read their material and make recommendations.

VISION: The opportunity for greater visibility within the Sci-Fi community and publishing, and recognition for good work and great stories.

If you have recommendations for a good story, pass it along. THANKS!

 


Further reading (If you’re interested):