Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Word

The Word
with the weight of release
waxing woke with a spoken grief
groaning turn of the earth and thief
of the still and the cold and the think
and its cease
of time and not
and name forgot
shaped as naught
close eyes tear chest and trust
new hands wash the world to dust
and dream old fall
and hope all dulls
as skin and ship and horses pale
ride in
begin
cast out a veil
outcast a hole black mass 
of the space of which once was
floats
overtakes in dark and flame
and takes
the coil it snakes
in hand
now shakes try and blink the mind awake
as black waves loom forth and break
and wash away
The Word

Monday, February 6, 2017

Assignment Draft 1 - Space Garbage

A high pitched whine escaped the stabilizers as the ship drifted downwards. Mark sighed. He was doing that a lot lately.

"We have reached the designated work site on Eriandus." chirped Nav.

"I had noticed." Mark grimaced.

The jolt in travel had been rather hard to miss. Nav had chosen a route through a subspace highway, which for organisms like Mark nearly always proved to be a jarring experience. Regularly bending reality often isn’t that great for your joints, or for your relationships, considering subspace jumping has the nasty side effect of killing everyone you ever knew due to the relative nature of time.

Mark sighed again. This had the frustrating effect of fogging up the inside of his suit helmet. He paused, and gathering all of his disdain into a single motion, uncurled himself and dropped from his cockpit chair on to the spongy planet surface. Despite a seemingly temperate biome, the atmosphere clung to him, hazy and thick. Mark's ventilators oscillated furiously to compensate as he trudged to the edge of the cliff where his ship had perched. Far below the cliffside lay the rubble of what appeared to be an entire civilization. Partially melted spires speckled the ravine, and distantly from under some of the metal debris, poked what appeared to be a few limbs. A stench soon followed.

"Great." Mark said.

"Mass extinction is not great!" offered Nav.

"That wasn't... Forget it." Mark turned back to the ship. "You know, it's getting pretty old only having you for conversation."

"My system is currently 23,640 years old." Nav said brightly.

Mark sighed a third time, not that anyone was counting. Unloading his work gear from the ship down to the maintenance point was tedious work, and Mark was trying very hard to not be alone with his thoughts. In order to pass the time, he wondered idly about what might have caused his current project. Perhaps this planet had been obliterated at the hands of a neighboring planetary warlord, or a terribly bored BIGBOT, or just a very embarrassed intern. There was probably some clues hidden among the ruins, but Mark didn't particularly care enough to investigate. He just had to clean it up.


 The mustard soil stuck to Mark’s legs as he shuffled down along the ravine. It gummed between the fingers of his gloves, and misted his mask. He picked his way through the greyish growths that peppered up the slope for a good while before pausing his descent to rest. Mark raised his arm to wipe his goggles of the mist as it calcified, but the slog beneath him shifted as he did. Slipping, he lurched over to brace himself with one of the stilted grey bits but it crumbled in his grip. Sliding now, Mark wheeled furiously to stay upright but the planet’s gravity had other plans. Mark bounced as he fell, as gracefully as a water balloon might, before tumbling into a thicket of grey. As if only to spite Mark further, the ground beneath the thicket gave way, and half of the entire sorry mountainside fell in on itself, and into darkness.


Mark wheezed, and the suit hissed, and the cave groaned. Mark thought those were some very undignified sounds to die with. Empowered by this thought, Mark rolled over to push himself up before hearing a groan that didn’t belong to him, or the cave for that matter. He blinked and sat up, which this time produced a gurgle, which also was not his. Mark found the source of the noises in the form of a disembodied head belonging to one of the unfortunate members of the now eradicated city below. The creature hadn’t had the good fortune to die yet, and was rather upset about it. It garbled at Mark, apparently distressed at its dismemberment, and also because Mark was sitting on its trunk. Mark rolled over, the other way this time, and sat up against the wall opposite the head.

“Nav?” Mark called.  

A small flashlight flipped open on the shoulder of Mark’s suit and Nav blinked to life.

“Howdy!” said Nav.

“Can you talk to this thing? It won’t shut up.”

The trunk wiggled reproachfully.

“I know this one!” said Nav. “It’s saying something about a prophecy … Its lineage is really great I guess... Now something about a beacon? Oh! I think it wants to pass its quest on to you! Seems awfully dire.”

“No thanks.” said Mark. “Besides, from what I saw out there it looks like you kinda already missed the boat anyways.”

“Aw.” said Nav.

The creature gargled, and in its anguish, died.

“…Oh no.” Mark mourned quietly. “These things are carbon based. Do you have any idea how much harder that is to clean up?”

-------------

To the layman, the pack Mark had strapped to his back would have resembled a simple vacuum cleaner. To a professional, the pack would have also resembled a vacuum cleaner – but only because it happens to essentially be a vacuum cleaner. This model however would make any veteran door salesman shake in their boots – because any vacuum salesman worth his salt knows that as the standards set by the Union of Intergalactic Waste Transport mandate that vacuums carried by workers such as Mark contain a smallish black hole as its power source.


Smallish is a technical term in the industry which denotes the size of a black hole that ranges between tiny and small. More absolute terms cannot be used because the black hole grows in size as it is fed more mass, and also because the potential range in size of black holes is so large, that numbers lose any real sense of value. Beyond a certain limit in either direction, the black hole reaches a critical point at which the union no longer offers coverage over. When a black hole container grows too large to be used safely, or it is messing with space-time in an amount that is no longer convenient, the tubes are dumped through the nearest wormhole receptacle. 

-------------


Friday, January 27, 2017

The Shit That Sticks

The biggest hurdle is beginning. Even in this post, the first sentence took me 40 hours to start, and I can't imagine anything I will write past this point could be as aggravating.

I can't claim to be a writer. All my life I've had plenty ideas and thought-out opinions about the world, but its never been something I've expressed. The closest I come is in deeper conversations, but in a lot of ways that's cheating because it's a dialogue we tease out of one another. Writing is a statement from you. A back and forth may reveal truths, but writing anything remains a single uninterrupted line of thought- and trying to make your point convincingly and totally within that space you create to a reader is intimidating to say the least. I trust the conclusions I arrive at in my head, but until I am good at communicating them, the answers I arrive at will only satisfy the Me in my head. But I guess that just isn't satisfying enough anymore.

I'm hesitant of beginning because I know it won't be pretty. There is a fixation on mastery with mystery. The child prodigies, the wise hermits, and the geniuses are all revered because they don't show weakness. They simply produce brilliance. What they create and what they solve is bold- it's beautiful in its simplicity and totality. What they make is perfect because they made it with no compromise. It simply is. The minute I hash out a process to myself or anyone else, that spontaneous creation is lost. I can't afford to play quiet and insightful anymore. That's daunting. It's a concession of my flaws, and my willingness to move past them. I even came up with the title of this blog partially as a way to self-depreciate my way out of respectable expectations. I've had this issue during the process of attempting to master several things in my lifetime. I am not good at slogging through the initial part of being bad at things. I'd much rather bide my time and study up so I can be good- or at least passable- right out of the gate. At some point however that simply isn't an effective way to improve. Experience is simply too valuable to forego in any medium worth its salt, and besides muscle memory, experience in a craft really just boils down to figuring out what doesn't work.

I've had this wake up call a few different times in my multiple competitive careers, but I only recently had one for my art. I would be happy to pretend that you learn a life lesson once and that's enough, but apparently that just isn't the case. After all, I am writing this at an alarmingly late hour yet again because holding sleep hostage seems to be the ultimate motivator. It seems procrastination is next on the list of my problem confronting. The specific indecent that spurred this artistic wake up call will actually be my next blog post. It is not related to any in class experiments, but it is a rather critical step in my journey as an artist, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't rather proud of it.

Fortunately, during all that forced development I've picked up an understanding of the efficiency in improving. Unfortunately, a massive part of great efficiency in improvement is practice. Conscious practice, but also the sheer number of attempts, regardless of quality. And yes, this involves the bits that are miserable and ugly failures. Michelangelo once said something about how his brilliance wouldn't look so brilliant if you saw all the trial and error involved, but it would be dishonest for me to paste the exact quote and pretend I remembered it. I hope it was Michelangelo. The point is, at some point on your path to doing anything worth anyone's time you have to throw your shit at the wall, and you have to figure out what sticks. So excuse whatever it is that happens to ooze out of this blog, and I will try to do the same for others. I cant pretend I've enjoyed every fledgling artistic expression that has been shared with me in my adventures in creative workshops, but each attempt remains better than mine already because at least they've shared something with the world. And eventually, that something is bound to stick.