Last Words

My entry for a spoken word contest

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a science fiction-themed scene using nothing but dialogue; no prose, no blocking, just dialogue line followed by dialogue line.

I really enjoyed writing this one.  I am proud that I really tested myself and had 5 different speakers in the story instead of going with a more traditional two speaker dialogue. Do tell me if you can follow who is speaking, and to whom. It makes sense in my head, of course, because I already know, but I would like your feedback on whether you could follow it and understand what is going on.

Thanks!

Last Words

“My god, what the hell happened here?”

“That’s what we’re here to find out. Come on.”

“I’ve never seen this much blood… and the smell. Sir, I think…-”

“It’s alright, Sutter. Let it out. Get it out, but we have to keep moving.”

“Captain?”

“Go ahead, Gizinski.”

“Sir, we’ve forced the main engine room doors; should have juice on in a minute.”

“Good work, Sergeant. Sutter? Take a deep breath, Sutter; that’s it. You ready to go on?”

“Not sure I really want to see more than I already have.”

“Maybe the Captain will hold your hand, Sutter.”

“Stow it, DeJung.”

“Sir.”

“…Yes, Sir; I’m ready.”

“Okay; now when Gizinski gets the power back on- speak of the devil, that was quick-”

“Gizinski always finishes quick.”

“Last warning, DeJung! I mean it. Now, you two, get to work bringing the computer back online. We need to find out what went on down here.”

“Sir.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Goddamn Trans-party’s wet dream if the papers get wind of this before we can figure out what really happened. They’ll just take the first thing they can get their claws in and run with whatever wild headline they throw on it. And the first report is always the one people believe…”

“Sir! System’s up, Sir.”

“Good. Can you access the officer’s logs?”

“I think… yes. They’re intact, but I’ll need your authorization code, Sir.”

“All right, there; now see what you can get.”

“And… we’re in.”

“Replay the captain’s log, final entry.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Captain’s log: date… I- I’m not even sure. Audio is down, I can’t make out the numbers on the screen, eyesight is almost gone. I don’t even know if this is recording… god I hope so. Crew casualties are at eighty-seven percent. That was the last report I got from medbay, I think that was yesterday? I sent Turk down to find out what he could; he hasn’t been back.

“The infection… eighty-seven percent in less than a week. Collins, Salyer, Hassan… Hassan’s wife just had a baby. Not a week old, already lost her dad. Oh god. We had a crew of two hundred and seventy.

“I think… I think this will be the last entry. Hard to breathe, now. If anyone finds this… – dear god, this had better be recording – if you’re hearing this, it’s too late. You can’t leave, you’ve got to order your ships to nuke the site. Do you hear me? You can’t carry this back. You’ll wipe out- you’ll kill them all. You’ll kill them all…”

“That… that’s it, Sir.”

“…Sir?”

“Sir? What do we do, Sir?”

“Captain?”

“…Sutter, get the squad up here and assembled. DeJung, contact the Argon. Tell them… we’ll need comm relays to Earth for everyone down here. Ten minutes each. Tell them… tell them to ready nuclear torpedoes.”

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Spinning and Weaving, Pt 1

Sonja Milojevic suggested I show you some of my weaving, but before I can do that, I must show you the first step.   And I keep that first step in this beautiful box:

Well, I don’t keep all of it in the box, it’s not big enough; this holds my smaller quantities of fiber, little samples, in-work projects, etc.  But more importantly, this is the box where I keep my spindles.

I learned to spin on a drop spindle about… ooh… 8 years ago?  Something like that.  I loved it immediately, and it really touched a whole new part of me I hadn’t even known about.  Or rather, I did, I just didn’t know I did.  There is a whole story behind that I’ll go into in another journal (which is in work, but waiting for this to be done first), but I was hooked from the first.

I learned to spin at a medieval reenactment event – I’m part of a group called the SCA: Society for Creative Anachronism, and part of what we do is arts and crafts as they would have been done in the medieval period, generally between 600 AD and 1600 AD.  Which really gives a lot of options for how things were done, depending on when and where.

Using a spindle dates back thousands of years, and it’s almost universal across cultures and continents.

Ancient Egyptian scene depicting spinning and weaving

The entire point of a spinning wheel?  It’s to turn a spindle.  Relative to spindles, the spinning wheel is a very modern tool.  This is the thing that Sleeping Beauty was supposed to prick her finger on and fall into the enchanted sleep.  My spindles aren’t sharp, that’s just silly, I don’t want to go stabbing any part of my body with these things!

Where was I?

Right!  Drop spindle.  This is my very first one:

It’s called a drop spindle (there are other kinds) because it hangs from the spun thread above, unsupported from below.  It “drops” as you work, the length of yarn growing longer as it is spun, and hence the name.  Here’s a very short video to give you a visual on how it works.

The lady who taught the aforementioned class offered them for $5.00 each.  That’s a steal, people!  So I snatched one up with a handful of wool (not what’s in the picture, but that *is* a gorgeous burnt orange wool, isn’t it?  I saw two balls of roving for sale and snatched them up) and thus began my love affair with this craft.

I now get far more excited over roving than any normal, sane person ought.  But that’s alright, I’m not either of those things 😀

I’ve also purchased a few more spindles, not just so I can justify moving on to the next ball of roving before I’ve finished the first (because I never do that…) but because their sizes and weights lend themselves to different uses.  The one above is a really good ‘all purpose’.  The one below is very light and I use that for my finer silk threads:

But this next one, though not my first, though not my ‘finest’, is one I will always cherish.  It was given to me by a friend who discovered my love of spinning.  She buys artifacts, the kind that they find so often that they sell them instead of putting them in museums.  Among these artifacts she gets are spindle whirls, the round thing on the top.  This one is a stone whirl found in northern Europe (perhaps the British Isles) and is estimated to be about 500 years old.

500 years old.  Five.  Hundred.  Years old.  For all I know, my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great+a lot more greats grandmother spun yarn using this whirl!  Isn’t it just gorgeous!?  I love it so much!  (yes… yes it is on a chopstick.  Don’t judge me.)

Now, several years ago, I worked at a job where the hours and the location allowed me to ride the bus instead of drive.  I really miss that, it was far better on the budget and it gave me one and a half hours per day to spin.   I got so much done!  The great thing about drop spindles is they’re so perfectly portable!  So it didn’t take all that long before I had lots of tiny little skeins of sheep’s wool, … and goat, and alpaca, and flax (linen), and silk, and bamboo, and rabbit, and bison, and I think I even tried camel once?  All sorts of great fibers to play with!

Here’s just a small sampling of them:

I don’t crochet, or knit, but I do embroider and sew and weave, so I have used my hand spun yarns to repair clothes, embellish embroideries, and weave wonderful, thin strips which can be used for trip, straps, draw strings, shoe laces… pretty much whatever you might need small, narrow strips for.

And that… will be in my next entry.  🙂

Now obviously, I spin because I enjoy it, not because I rely on it to clothe myself or create functional, useful items.

But when I do… I feel a connection to women across time, culture and geography.

Miao woman in China using a spindle

Woman in Greece using a drop spindle.

Woman in Peru using a drop spindle

Prescription (Rx)

Prescription (Rx)

Burn desire out of every moment;
The essential oil of life
Distilled and extracted
Then drip-fed through an IV
To burn the veins and singe the heart.

Fill apothecary jars with experience
Arranged, corked and labeled
On the spice rack of daily doses –
A pinch of fear, a dash of wonder –
The aroma of fresh brewed excitement.

Hold you breath until your lungs
Remember what it is to ache for air
Then break the surface and shout.
Leave the casts to the broken bones,
These medicines shall mend your soul.

Forgot to post this Wednesday when I wrote it, but here it is.  Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt

For this week’s poetry prompt, I want you to take one of the following lines and make it the first line of your poem. All these lines are taken from my personal notebooks, so they’re not especially wonderful–just some random places to start. Feel free to take liberties with these openings (the important part is the poeming).

  • She’s been thinking about things that don’t need thinking
  • I’m not sure who I am or what I want
  • The world, a helicopter seed spinning
  • Burn the want out of every moment
  • My bed is a planet
  • Trees hide the better views

 

This is also my 100th entry on this blog!  🙂

Mother Earth

nrhatch‘s suggestion:

Challenge: Take one of these paintings:
https://creativemetaphor.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/weekend-watercolor/

And write a short essay about it ~ include at least one quote for us to ponder and mull over.

Irish Mother Earth by Eliza Murdock

Mother Earth

There are several cultures who view or viewed Earth as being a goddess, a mother, a living thing which gave us life.  I would say it is a shame that we’ve lost this wonder and see the world instead as merely a rocky planet with an iron/nickle core and accidentally capable of sustaining life.  We take, use, exploit – in the most graphic of terms, we rape the earth for our own needs in seeming ignorance that we have no where else to go when we’ve ruined this home.

I am fully convinced that mankind was happier 5,000 years ago.  I don’t like all the documentaries that show imagined scenes of our ancestors as being fearful, dreary, bent over from hard labor and strained from a life of struggle.  Do I believe their lives were hard?  Undoubtedly they were in many ways.  But what every single one of those re-enactments failed to remember was they were still human!  They laughed, they played games, they were probably happy!

How could I know that?  Surely I have some romanticized view of ancient peoples based on a general disillusionment with modern society and if only I could really experience the hardship of blah blah blah I can’t even finish that train of thought.  No, this isn’t just wistful speculation, I know.  I know, because of tribes of people who live in Amazonian jungles whose lives are probably unchanged since 5,000 years ago, and they are happy!

They are happy in a way we never can be, because they don’t have mortgages and alcoholism and the stresses of modern expectations – a complete disassociation with the world around us beyond what we can take from it or build on it.  Do they sometimes die from what we consider preventable causes?  Yes.  I’m quite sure they don’t have advanced heart surgery techniques – though I would argue they also have less need of them.  Do they sometimes die from conflicts within or between tribes?  Yes.  Do they sometimes die because we are destroying their way of life, their cultures, the environment upon which they depend?  Sadly, yes.

Do I want to run off into the jungle and live like them?  No.  I admit it, there are things that, having been born into a world where they exist, I would not want to now leave.  I like my computer, all my friends live there!  I like traveling to see other places, I love learning about things that I would never have even known about had I no access to modern technologies and scientific discoveries.

But I do fear that we have placed such a moral superiority upon what we call the modern western way of life that we don’t just try to impose it on others, we think that those who don’t follow it are actually less intelligent, less advanced, and in a way we consider them less human.  But they are the ones who have lived for thousands of years, and we are the ones fast-tracking ourselves to destruction.

Intelligence isn’t what we know, it’s our capacity to understand.  Ancient man was just as intelligent as we are, they were just as human, they had the same emotions, the same desires, the same drives; and they lived in a far greater balance with their world.  Not perfect balance, but far closer than we.

Ancient man remembered who their mother was.

Yo momma so fat, she is capable of sustaining all the life that she has produced, if only we would humble ourselves, denounce the greed of money and power, and act in the best interest of all our brothers and sisters.  White, yellow, red, brown, black: we all have the same mother.

Sure, this may all seem like idealistic drivel, but if we can’t aim for the ideal, how ever will we reach it?

PS: I used “we” because chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re part of the ‘we’.

First Down and Genocide

Sorry for the football reference, tis the season here in the US.

I’m going to go through all your suggestions from yesterday one by one – for the Daily Post Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different (which, this is the first time I’ve decided to broach social and political issues so it counts as something completely different) – and I’ll be starting with Tammy‘s suggestion of:

Try documentary poetry about a current event.

Which works out really well because it’s also another season, when we “celebrate” the “discovery” by Christopher Columbus, that ambitious Italian who sailed for Spain, searching for a short route to India and instead landed in the Americas.

However, the problem with this is that not only was he not the first person to land in America (HELLO, Native American anyone?!) but he wasn’t even the first European to set foot in the Americas – that distinction is generally granted to Leif Eriksson.

In fact, today is Leif Eriksson Day.  Let’s observe that, instead.  (I propose the following to observe the day: don’t be dicks to people you meet, give to local charities, and then drink copious amounts of mead and praise Odin that at least one of our ancestors wasn’t a complete douche-wad.  We’ll decorate with Celtic knots and watch the movie Thor, based on Marvel comics, based on the bastardization of Norse mythology.  It’s horribly inaccurate, but the actors are delicious.)  Hey, maybe Leif was  dick, too, but at least *he* didn’t slaughter 90% of the people he came in contact with.  Much better first impression.  Too bad the subsequent impressions weren’t so good.  The remains of his settlement in Canada have been found.

Back to Columbus… Columbus was a dick (<- If you don’t click on any other link in this entire post, click on this one.)  He wasn’t your average, everyday white explorer dick like, say, John Smith.  Oh no, he was a very special kind of dick on the level of Hitler and Pol Pot.  Even some of his own people were horrified at what he did, and the attempt to arrest him for his crimes was thwarted by the fact the King and Queen of Spain were growing quite fat on the gold with which he was filling their coffers.  Within 50 years of landing in the Bahamas, he had managed a complete genocide of the native population.

So, to Tammy’s request to write a documentary poem about current events, I wrote about this.  But Eliza, you cry, this isn’t current events, this is history!  Well, so long as we continue to celebrate and honour the man responsible for beginning the genocide across this continent, it will continue to be current events.

Who Discovered What Now?

In fourteen-hundred and ninety two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue
But history class, it was the worst
‘Cause Leif Eriksson landed first
Except, no wait, that’s still not right
Neither men were first to sight
The continent of North America
Cause there were already people here – DUH!
Sorry, Columbus, I know you tried;
You started a 500-year genocide.
So how can history open our eyes
When we’re just taught a bunch of lies?

Oh dear, oh dear!

I don’t usually follow the Word Press challenges, not that they aren’t interesting, but often times the challenge they come out with is something I’ve just done, which then always feels a bit odd to try to redo it just for that.  Or it’s something that isn’t quite my focus, or something that catches my attention but then I forget about it, or any other number of reasons why I don’t end up doing them.
But this week’s challenge presents me with a real challenge. Weekly Writing Challenge: And Now For Something Completely Different.

Which states:

So this week, we challenge you to step outside your blogging box and try something totally different:

  • If you normally write non-fiction, try fiction.
  • If you normally write fiction, try poetry.
  • If you normally post photos, try writing.
  • If you normally just write, try including photos.

And therein lies my problem.  I already write.  I already write fiction.  I already write poetry.  I already post photos (art).  And I do, occasionally, post non-fiction.  I’ve even posted environmental stuff.

I’m actually having trouble figuring out exactly what I haven’t done already to try!

So for you lovely people who follow me and/or stumble across my blog, I have a request to make of you: what would you challenge me to do?  What ideas do you have that I haven’t tried yet?  I am all ears and eager to have at some new spark of inspiration, so please share whatever comes to mind!

🙂

Tools of the Trade?

So, someone asked what I use to paint with.  It seems a somewhat odd question, doesn’t it?  I’m watercolor painting, so I’m painting with… watercolor.

Okay, after a few minutes thought, I realized maybe it isn’t quite as straightforward and obvious as it sounds.  So I decided to show you what I paint with.

I use the water-filled brush that came with my water color kit, a small square brush that I’ve used for years with my acrylic paints, then a few days ago I bought the large soft brush in the middle – a number 12 round – and the fan brush at the bottom – a number 4 fan – to have some greater options in coverage and brush strokes.

The pen is a proper fountain pen, which is what I use to add detail lines, outlines and my signature block.

The water colors themselves are part of a small travel kit I bought myself last Christmas as a present to me.  I got it on Amazon because it was on sale (and it looks to be again!) and I thought, hey, I can afford that price, and it’ll be a good kit to play with to get a feel for the medium.  I really didn’t expect it to be such high quality!  (Or maybe it isn’t and I just don’t know the difference?)

Here’s my well loved inside view:

So that’s the basics.  I’ll be lazy on the paper and say… it’s water color paper.  The large size I got as a gift from my friend who hasn’t painted in a while and passed on a pad of it to me to use, so I don’t know what weight it is, but it isn’t *super* heavy.  The postcard stock is just a postcard water color paper pad.

The only other tools I use are the board I mount the paper on (it’s an old, large chess board, but thin and light.)  I tape it down using basic blue painters tape which both holds the paper still, keeps it from warping too badly when wet, and gives it that lovely finished edge I’m loving so much!

And, of course, you can’t have water color without water.  I have two reservoirs I use, the small one is an old jam jar (yay, recycling!) which works great for travel as it fits in little pockets well.  The daily use one is an old veganaise jar, and the top can double as another mixing tray in a pinch.

There you have it, this is what I use to paint.  It isn’t terribly expensive, depending on what your budget is.  A few brushes, a water color kit on sale, and some blue painter’s tape with something to tape it to, and you’re ready to go!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a fun little play I did, painting my “cave art tools”

🙂