"Nothing up my sleeve," she murmured on the stage in the empty theatre, pulling the sleeve down to show how empty it was. "No hidden devices," she said, watching her hands as she pulled off the gloves, "Nothing hidden anywhere." With that, she pushed up her right sleeve then the left, clapping her hands and holding them palms-out to the imagined audience. She put on her best sly smile, aware that it made a few of the wrinkles on her face all the more visible. Oh, well. She wasn't trying to be a model. Behind her, Carl stood with his best 'grave expression' as if he were watching the work of a master, her cape, tuxedo jacket and gloves draped over his bared forearms.
Going through the motions, practiced and deliberate, Joan hoped the illusion was as complete as it had seemed the hundred or so times she'd practiced it in front of the mirror, rehearsed eyebrow motions doing their part to show how much she knew compared to the audience, what strange mysteries she must be a master of; to say nothing of pulling attention to her face when they should be watching her hands. "Debunk this," she whispered under her breath as she squeezed the deck just so and sent the cards flying outward toward her other hand. The cards landed in place with a familiar flicking sound. "What's that?" she said to the empty seats, smiling her most slippery smile. "You say you want something else?" The crowd, knowing their part in the act, would scream an affirmation, the eternal white noise of the throng while Carl took a moment to conspicuously head offstage to put her things away.
( Of course you do, you greedy little monkeys. Collapse )
Crossposted to my journal.
I had no drive whatsoever to write last night. None. But that didn't stop me from picking up a pen and paper and grinding away a few more pages of a short story that just would not come.
I think I learned something doing that. Despite the fact that I had no desire to write, I was able to find something worth putting to paper. Granted, not worth MUCH, but it was something.
I ended up thinking of something I read in my English 101 class. It's a paper called "Shitty First Drafts". Google it if you're interested, it's easy to find.
For those of you who are less interested, I'll continue on like normal. Sometimes the thing to do is to sit down, pen in hand, notebook staring back at you defiantly, and write. It doesn't matter WHAT comes out of your fool head, as long as words end up on the paper.
When I wrote last night, I felt less like a writer and more like an enraged mongoose, slashing away at the paper who entered my den. I came up with some really great lines, some really terrible lines, and about two pages of scratched out gibberish.
What's left is a tangle of words that only I really understand. And that leaves room for editing and revising.
That's all for today kiddies. I'll be back later on as I need to blow off steam from the writing process.
((Sequel to this.))
The summer night was warm and clear and from the hill, the sky seeped to go on for ages and ages, the stars a sea of dancing, glittering lights. And dominating it all was the great silver disc of the moon, the world bathed in its silver light as it might have been bathed in gold under the sun.
This is my rough draft for a paper in Eng 101. Just thought I'd throw it up here. Enjoy...
It’s easy to take the environment for granted. I do it every day. When I wake up and force myself to once again exist in the waking world, I don’t boldly march to the windows, rip open the shades and greet the rising sun as an old friend. When it rains (And trust me, it always rains in Washington), one would generally find me bundled snuggly in my room, quietly dozing to the tat tat tat of drops on the panes. If it’s warm out, one can spy my window open, to invite the cool breeze and fresh rain smell into my humble home. My footsteps are generally soft despite walking on once molten asphalt as I weave my way in and out of semi-clean city streets to the nearest bus stop. I take the environment for granted, and that’s the only way to view it.
Abby states “I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with a nonhuman world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock.” I find fault in this line, simply because I find nature where ever I look, even in the “nonhuman world”. The perfect representation of the paradox Abby speaks of is all around us, in the homes and towns and cities we all live in. There are days when I find myself so overwhelmed by nature that I am struck dumb with the awe and power of it all. The first time I saw a sunset striking Mt. Rainer’s snow covered peak, awash in orange fire, it seemed to take hours to learn how to breathe again.
While it’s wonderful to purposefully seek out the oneness with nature Abby actively hunts and see the world away from the shackles of “the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus”, the simple desire of doing so is a uniquely human trait. I think I’ll take my cue from the animals in the land, who experience the land by taking it for granted. They simply exist, and invite the cool breezes into their homes.
Is is possible for someone to live up to their own Legend? This is one of those questions asked more often in this day and age than, say, fifty years ago. We have the ability now to craft ourselves into anything we want to be and broadcast it to half the population of the planet in a matter of seconds. You can potentially receive more first impressions in a single personal ad than the number of actual people you'd meet in your entire life. With that kind of attention, there are bound to be people who are given near mythic abilities (well, as far as they can be bestowed in this day and age) in the minds of the masses.
For some of you, this will not be a name that you recognize. For a select few, this name has been with you since the beginning of your friendship with Aleph. She has gone from not being real to a force of fury that can barely be contained. We've all joked about who she may really be, but all of our minds eyes portray some form of super-being when we think of her. After all, we only know of her what Aleph tells us.
When I think of this Beth, I think of a woman who is a head taller than me, is nothing but pure muscle (which is, somehow still soft yet strong), and has the ability to crush a mortal mans skull with a normal headbutt. She's able to take extreme amounts of damage without shedding a tear, can eat strange foods that make me shiver quietly inside, and can speak two languages with little to no effort. She can exceed my endurance for drinking (and believe me folks, that's saying something!), could turn any man into a pile of jello at the mere hint of what she could do in the bedroom, and quite possibly melt your mind with her power of metal.The Beth of my mind is also a fan of Buffy, and this confuses me to no end.
There are stories that are told about her that we all seem to know. The time she cleaned her leg injury with vodka and didn't wince comes to mind with surprising ease. The melted glasses is another one. I find myself sitting here, with mere minutes to go, and nothing but a short ride up to Sea Tac ahead of me before I meet this person. Because of the space restrictions in my truck, she'll probably end up sitting between me and Aleph. I will have this persons leg pressed against mine for the trip. I'm pretty sure that the ride back will feel like seventeen hours (unless Beth can control time as well. But I doubt this...for now.).
We all want to meet her, but all of us are nervous about it. The reason why comes back to my opening question. Is it possible to live up to your own Legend? If Aleph has given you a similar image of Beth in your mind, then I wonder what he's told her about us.
Thanks to the broken arm, it took him a month of near constant work, but at least it was clean. He had never expected the Good Doctor to have had such a large headquarters, but then again, the bastard had to create his fleet somewhere. That's not to say the place was really massive. Patchwork estimated the entire place took up about as much area as a good sized warehouse, but spread out across several acres of city sewer and natural cave formation.
I'm not trying to be the Bat. He told himself again. This was the Gestalt's old hide-out. I'm just following my usual pattern. The hero's "usual pattern" in this case being to copy, rip off, or otherwise steal the Good Doctor's tech and use it for his own devices, something that's made his life considerably easier as he's improved in his heroing. His eyes flittered back to his newest version of his costume, smiling slightly as he saw the barest glint of polarized steel from his new 'hooks. The old ones were fantastic, but the electromagnetic grip held much stronger in this version, and used less power. And with the new place, he'd be able to make them even more efficent.
From that point, he checked one of the computer monitors to look at his latest toy. The mortorcycle's tires looked flat at first glance, but the hero could just faintly make out their design dispite the poor resolution. The "tires" were actually thousands of strong, telescoping legs with rubber tips on the end. As the bike rode, sensors in the nose and back sent data to the wheels, telling the spokes when to extend and contract, and which portion of the pad would grant the most traction. The spokes would extend out if a pothole was ahead, or retract if a speedbump was coming up. Coupled with the GPS that tracked weather reports, the end result was amazing: Patchwork could drive that baby through a rockslide and not feel a jolt.
Granted, he did have the same type of system in his boots, with the wheels doubling as threads, but he was never able to get them to contstruct a motor for those wheels, and had to resort into his now famous latchings onto traffic.
He glanced back to the area where their latest climatic final battle occured, in the section of tunnel that connected the main area to the methane powered generator (which, on Patchwork's' cruder days, he called the Shit Stirrer), and wondered how long it would take the spirit to return to harrass him again. Luckily, the Good Doctor would leave his current hold alone, since it was a place he had been defeated at. Spirits were weird, the hero guessed. Didn't like to revisit horrible memories.
Still, the tech was nice, but he was glad to still rely on a few standards unchanged. The rebar quarterstaff still hung in its standard harness next to his utility belt with its "boomerhangers". Roots were important to him now. They were all he had left. The vicious scars left on the top of his skull (Thanks Lobo-timizer, he thought ruefully), were just too hard to disguise normally, and he refused to start wearing a hat like that damned Cowboy. Besides, the family didn't need to hear from him nearly as much since the cousins got adopted. They were alot happier, thinking their boy had died a hero, saving the city from Samson and Duluth in their attempt to purge the land and create a new Eden. Fucken morons. He thought, and took a bite of his ice cream. Oh, they probably knew it wasn't Joseph that took up the mantle after his untimely death, but they never tried to get in touch with him, and he never tried to reach them. It was just, better this way.
He glanced up at the engraving that rested above his costume. He had made it shortly after his first horrific night of heroing. It was his promise to himself, the city, and the world.
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. I am the one. I am Disposable.
I look back on that night sometimes, and I wonder why I didn't let you die. I didn't have to stop you, it was harder than it would have been to help you. The reasons were selfish. I did it for the love of a woman, who's love I would never have, who's touch I'd never know. I knew it at the time, but I was able to convince myself that I would one day hold her and love her. I Ikept that shell of a lie at least long enough to stop your death and save your life.
And what good has come of it? To waste your life, rotting in a small room, in a filthy apartment, and surrounded by people who you feel can smell your mistrust, sense your disquiet? Did I save you to wallow in self-pity and hatred of thine own self? I'd imagine so.
I see you, I see you every single day and I see you waste everyday that I gave you. You'd be rotten now, meat spoiled and useless if I had allowed your death, and yet you still waste away in living flesh. You allow yourself to feel hatred that's not there, seek love that isn't there. You spend your life, wanting the things in the darkness when the light is preparing to blind you.
Stop wasting my time. Stop wasting everyone else's with your petty emotional baggage. You, who are stronger than this, who I have seen fight off several people at once, both physically and mentally, who has endured more than many, but not suffered more than most. Get over yourself, you sorry sap.
I didn't have to, but I saved you, so you could live many more years, and possibly, if you're lucky, die warm and old in your bed, instead of with a hole in your head, alone in a deer stand.
It's often said to write what you know, what you feel. This should more aptly be called "A Letter to Myself", but I don't really consider it being written to me personally. It's more to my self-doubts, my sins and reservations that I feel hold me back.
As the author of this piece, I find the most intersting part of this to be very ineternal. I felt no hate, nor self-pity, nor any other negitive emotions as I wrote this. I felt like writing a story about myself, and this is what came back. Granted, at this point in time I'm horribly exausted, and will probably think this piece is terrible tomorrow, but for now, I like it. And maybe it'll inspire me more when I wake up.
So, any good/bad crit?