Monday, April 22, 2013

Parcae and Lost Canyons

We are back from Connecticut. Whenever I'm in Norwich, I think of my grandma's description of the place when she was growing up: pastures, walking barefoot along cow paths between farms, ponds and little lakes where boys impressed girls by jumping off (sort of) high rocks. It's not the Norwich I knew growing up, but was super-imposed over it, a sunny day with green fields shimmering over a translucent present. Somehow, even that past now seems closed to me. The proverbial chapter is closed--though I have mementos, which made it difficult to fit my luggage back in the car when I was finished. Not enough, of course. But my home in Michigan seems warmer, somehow, with old pictures on the wall, and, among other things, a ceramic terrier dog with broken paw (think I did that when I was nine) keeping the ashes of our old Jo company.

Blogger is so silly with all that captcha nonsense. I'm never sure what it's trying to do--it must be more than just a way to verify I'm an authentic human being. The options have all got such a science fiction bent to them. In the tiny notebook I carry everywhere, I write down things: seeds of story ideas, titles, character names. And certain captchas that, *cough*, captured my attention. For example, Upple and Randaleen. Don't those sound like the names of cities on alien planets? 76 Arjart is the address where Parcae, dress laden with spool-filled pockets, walked to find a room for the night. How tiring it is on earth, all those mortals behaving as if they possessed the tiny golden scissors that cut the thread of their own lives. Parcae in her heavy gown has escaped, for a while, to Venus, to the dusty, winding narrow streets of Upple, for one night. She is meeting Temerin, her half-mortal lover, who knows which pocket the spool of his own life is in, but whose fingers never go searching for it. Instead, he cuts the ribbon at her neck, allowing the gown to fall to the floor, while shadows course the city, galactic dogs whipping between stars on the scent of poor Parcae.

A rented room for the night, paid for with the promise of an inch of extra thread. An innkeeper who bars the door to the hounds when they come sniffing, laying out pomegranate in smashed fistfuls to divert them. And Temerin, who doesn't want the spool in her pocket that is attached to his soul -- no, Temerin wants another spool. The thread belonging to his son, his only son and his only secret from Parcae.

Somewhere, in the Lost Canyons outside the city, a woman whose voice is like broken wind chimes strings an arrow. She is not the only one hunting tonight; she says a prayer to her own gods that the hounds don't find Temerin's lover before she does.

Captcha! Did you give me all that? Now I want pictures of languid goddesses, gowns beside the bed in heaps of white fabric, and night skies flecked with diamond stars.

Today is a good day. It is mine. It was a tomorrow that came true, however awful and brilliant that may be. I have such trouble with the present. But today, it is mine.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Renaissance" now up at 101 Fiction

Mr. Xero hosts a teacup-sized Renaissance over at 101 Fiction. Thank you, John, for allowing my wisp of a... story to parade about on your stage.

It's strange how things work. I had forgotten the date for Renaissance was to appear, and on the day it does, we are waiting for my grandfather to die. I am waiting for a phone call this morning, as I have the last several.

Real life intrudes in its graceless way upon our fiction. It's almost rude, in the way it reminds us that the words we write are nothing compared to the truth of the moments at our heels, a present that never stops being -- except in those moments when we write. When we escape into the vortex, there is no sound but our own voices. How I love that. I write things that sweeten and smooth out life for me. It's a comfort. Is there a theatre when we die? Are we the only one in line for the show, will we be shown in by a barker in a striped suit, arm on our shoulder, welcoming us warmly? Will we find our seat and then see ourselves on the stage, in the rafters, behind the lights?

No. It's a nice little story I told myself there, some months ago. Before my grandfather, my favorite person in the world, fell and broke his collarbone and then there was this downward spiral of health which had already started outperforming itself in terms of sheer dignity-stripping velocity. Not before, mind you, my mother had died -- that when I was twelve, so you would think I would write about death with a bit more... knowledge? Clarity?

All I know is that today, I couldn't write Renaissance if I tried. There would be more heartbreak. More gross, appalling hurt. No theatre, not even a small film. If this is a lesson, then universe, I am listening, but perhaps you won't mind if, just for a little while, I tune you out while I sip my tea and write something else this morning, because I am goddamned sick of death.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CARGO: short film

One of the most compelling films in a while, CARGO was a finalist in an Australian film festival and does what I think the best zombie tales do: present a small slice, one of the billions of stories that might occur in the wake of disaster, steeped in humanity. Clever, with a growing sense of urgency and anxiety. Tissue alert for those of delicate emotional constitution. ;)

CARGO: Stranded in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, a man puts into motion an unlikely plan to protect the precious cargo he carries--his infant daughter.