A Shattered Moon: A Hot Potato Collaborative Short Story

22 Aug

Moon

A Shattered Moon

by

Steve Harris, Michael Schmidt,
Shannon Pardoe,
Sam Grainger, Josh Kremer, Jessica Cooke

Illustrations by Sam Grainger

(written collaboratively March-May 2014, as part of our Hot Potato initiative)


Night fell swiftly, like a bird of prey plunging from on high to claim a squeaking victim. The evening was still warm from another baking hot day. Winston lay on his back on the hard concrete yard, the way he always did when he wanted to gaze up at the heavens.

The fragments of broken moon created a dusty ring around the planet that made it harder to see the stars clearly most nights. Only when the once-whole moon would have been dark, when the Earth was between Sol and what remained of the shattered satellite, could Winston see what he wanted to see: constellations, an iridescent miasma of flickering suns burning themselves up billions of miles from where he lay.

Something waited out there. Something wilder and brighter than he would ever find on the sluggish ball of rock and decay where he’d had the misfortune to be born. He had no idea how to express the certainty that for him life lay beyond the atmosphere of his home. He simply knew. The same way he knew when he was hungry or he needed the bathroom. His mother thought he was an idler.

“Winston, get yourself inside and do some school work before bedtime.”

“Do I have to?”

“Of course you have to. There’s work for educated people and nothing but misery for the dumb and the lazy.”

You would know, he thought to himself as he took one last look at the stars, squinting slightly so that the light from them all blended into a fire, like a signal beacon calling him to rise up from the Earth, to seek adventure and meaning.

“What happened to the Moon?”

“Do your school work.”

He knew she wouldn’t answer. Nobody ever answered that question. At school the teachers avoided it, or pretended they had not heard when it was asked countless times a day. The adults kept forbidden knowledge from their children. Sara, his best, his only friend in the bedraggled neighbourhood, once whispered her theories during a particularly evasive science class.

“Must be something terrible. Something they think will scare us to death. Like a huge war or an experiment that went disastrously wrong. Zombies and mutants and stuff.”
“Do you think we will be allowed to know when we’re adults?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” she admitted. Like Winston himself she felt that at ten years old they were already pretty grown up as it was.

“I’m going to find out.”

She did not argue. He sounded utterly convinced.

 

Face
Of course no one could have known what would happen next. Sitting on top of a rock outcropping just above the hole in the ground he now called home. Winston looked out on the skyline of a wasted L.A.. He fumbled through this and other memories as the sun didn’t so much as set, but withdrew into a grey night. Sara’s green eyes sometimes appeared when he closed his. But just like all the other faces he used to know– the nuances in her expressions, the exact impression of the freckles that spread across her cheeks and nose, have slowly faded away over time with every night, with every cigarette, with every jar of moonshine.

He remembers nights outside playing with Sara. He remembers sprinting home for supper after the street lights had come on. He also remembers the suspicion he felt after viewing the U.N.-approved orientation video at his town’s drive-in movie theatre. The video briefly explained how the moon had been hit by a meteor and how there was nothing to worry about as only the tides would be slightly affected. He remembers as nations slowly stopped fighting and focused inward on themselves as if bracing for something. He remembers the intangible panic he felt during those last years of unnatural peace. He remembers waking up one night to shrieks of desperation and the roar of space shuttles full of doctors, scientists, and engineers stealing away from earth in the night. He remembers words like Europa, Titan, Mars—and then of course, he remembers standing outside of the same drive-in movie theatre watching a television feed of those same shuttles colliding, one after another, into the blanket of debris which had been left by the destruction of the moon. They must have known it was a suicide mission, but what did they know that would force their hand in such a gamble? What piece of knowledge had they kept from us that made their suicide mission seem like a safer alternative to staying on Earth? He looked up at the night and gritted his yellow teeth at whatever leviathan of antithesis lay lurking between the stars. He never believed in God, but he believed in this.

He remembers the last lines of a poem and falls asleep out on the rocks as the words ring back in forth in his head–what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Earth to be born?–

—–

Winston woke the following morning disgruntled and listless from a poor night of sleep. He watched in silent indignation as a dusty haze swept across the horizon, bringing with it memories of long summer days and burning skies. Ever since the Event these memories had become his constant companion, playing out in his mind like the old movies he used to watch back at the drive-in theatre. Had she known even then?

Since the moon’s destruction things had fallen into chaos, the seasons had become erratic and with no anchor the raging seas had calmed to a gentle ripple. For those, like himself, who stood in defiance of whatever darkness lay beyond the planet the world had become a dangerous place, far worse than anyone imagined. The floating debris offered little protection from the asteroids that fell from space, crashing into the planet and leaving craters and burning cities in their wake.

But it wasn’t the destruction he feared the most. It was the silence, the emptiness left behind from those who had fled, they had run from the unknown and into the arms of death.

Like Sara and the rest of them he has stayed, too afraid to take the plunge into darkness opting instead to face whatever evil lurked between the stars. Even as a child, before grasping the enormity of what was happening, he had sensed that something was watching them, waiting. There was no way of knowing when it would happen but part of him knew it wouldn’t be long ‘til he found out. Until then he had only one task, one goal that would tip the scale in Earth’s favour – Sara. As shards of light drifted across the remains of his old home he could hear her voice.

“Winston, do you remember the promise we made to each other when the shuttles left Earth?”

Of course, how could he forget.

“You promised that no matter what we would stay together.”

He sighed, even here on the rocky outcrop he called home, far above the desolate streets of L.A she had found him. It was because of her that he had made it this far, the pixie like voice driving him onward, but she was only a voice. Even though he could no longer remember her face something deep inside his chest told him that somehow she was still alive, waiting for him to find her. The last words she had spoken haunted his every moment. He had to do it, he had to go on.

One sleepless night everything changed: he had found Sara’s telephone number, hidden under bags of waste in a dumpster. He had waited for morning to follow up on what he’d found. It’d be safer then. Terrors moved through the streets at night; terrors even he couldn’t face. He rolled the soggy piece of paper around in his mouth. Nothing would take it from him. Nothing. He’d swallow it if he had to, if it came to that.

Images of Sara kept his eyes light through the night, and his thoughts had a constant pulse. It had to be her. It had to be. She was alive. He knew she was. She was the solution. She was his absolution. She was the only hope left.

He’d begun to fear the worst after years of searching. But, in her old abandoned house he’d found it. It caught his eye in a most unlikely place.

The toilet bowl was dry and stained with murky lines. Unknown to him, just out of view, a piece of paper clung to the side of the basin. A small corner came loose from the trickle of his urine and curiosity had made him peel it away. It read:

New – 207 948 9882

Hand

Eventually, the morning came and brought a twist in his gut. He climbed out from the dumpster and made his way to a bar at the end of the street. It was a risk that had to be taken.

The bar held a mist of smoke. The low-lifes vegetated; cigarettes hanging from their bottom lips, drinks resting between their fingers. Empty eyes rolled over him as he entered, and remained fixed. The bartender glanced up in tired recognition.

‘I need to use your phone,’ Winston said.

‘Look, I’ve told you alrea- ’

‘I need to use your phone.’

The bartender nodded towards the end of the bar. ‘You’ve got two minutes – no funny business.’

Winston took the sodden ball of paper from his mouth, smoothed it out and dialled the number; a Maine area code. Why Maine? There was nothing left on the east coast; just wastelands. What was she doing in Maine? His bones vibrated painfully as he held the receiver.

It picked up.

‘Good afternoon, Sara’s Boutique Florists, how may I be of service today?’

It was her. That voice. It was Sara. The relief tasted of melted sugar in his throat. He broke into pieces and clutched the phone with two hands.

‘Sara? Christ, Sara, you’re alive. Fuck! Sara, it’s me, it’s Winston!’

‘Shit…’ the sound suddenly muffled on the other line, ‘Give me a sec, Jill, I’m sorry, it’s him again.’

‘Sara? Sara? I don’t belie – I don’t believe it. Sara, it’s me! It’s me, Winston. Where did you –. Where are you? I thought you were gone. I thought I’d lost you.’

There was no reply.

‘Sara? SARA?’

‘Winston, please don’t call this number again. I thought I made that clear to you last time. I don’t look after you anymore, Winston, I’m sorry. You’re not my responsibility. Please stop calling me. Goodbye.’

The phone clicked.

‘SARA!’

‘Hey!’ The bartender had moved to Winston’s side and ripped the phone from him, ‘Get out of my bar you maniac, I said no funny business. GET OUT.’

All Winston knew was he had to see Sara for real, despite her cold words. He had to go to her, find her. The wasteland of coast was not an easy path to follow, but through the midden of fallen sky and obliterated earth Winston carried on. Every step was somehow more treacherous than the last as fragments of stone, moon, and people’s lives crunched under his heavily lined boots.

The moon’s breaking seemed an entire lifetime ago. Its pieces still plummeted to earth on occasion, never letting anyone forget the past and grounding them in some strange future. Winston’s steps were slow and deliberate as he navigated the debris of Maine, each step bringing him closer.

For how long had he considered the day the moon was ravaged the changing point in his life? For how long had he been wrong?

All the world had watched, paralyzed, as the moon shattered and ruptured humanity’s trajectory for a bright future—the worst of cataclysms—yet Winston was unchanged by it. He had a strong spirit.

He had changed when he had lost her—and every day since he had blamed the moon, and had felt his heart breaking, healing, and breaking over again. He had become a drifter, floating through whatever came his way, coasting. Drinking.

Maine’s air had a crisp bite as he consulted his pocket map, and carefully measured the last leg towards a facility the world seemed oblivious to. How she had come here, and why, didn’t matter. He had to find her.

He had been lost in his head for so long, he had forgotten she was still alive and not a fragment of the past. He devoted everything to his memory and her face. Her face, piercing, drove him on. It held electrifying beauty.

The scientists had failed. They were meant to be the last, best hope for humanity—and Winston didn’t care. His only hope was Sara, his only vision was of her face. He didn’t register his steps in terms of mileage, but measured them in terms of closing the distance between him and her.

He could at last see an unscorched building, the last structure this part of the world seemed to have, and slipped inside. The door creaked, but no one seemed to hear. A dull hum filled the corridors as he quietly began his search for her. His boots clumped loudly and left scuffs across the floor tiles, so he removed them. He peered in doors only to find empty rooms.

Carefully he continued, turning a corner and—

“Winston?”

“Winston, is that you? Where the devil are your shoes?”

To Maine he had gone, for a woman he only remembered as a girl. He had made a promise to her…had she forgotten that she had made one to him as well?

Sara stood facing him at the end of the corridor. He walked towards her, stepping lightly and slowly, as though she was a tiny animal and so much as a breath less delicate than hers could cause her to break away.

Her hair was twisted high on top of her head in work-mode, and she wore a white surgeon’s coat complete with rubber gloves. A tiny badge pinned to her left breast read, “Sara, Florist.” Little spots of color flecked her gloves and coat. She’d been painting.

“I knew you’d hate me having this job,” she said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t in touch. This was just something I had to do. Something… Without you.”

It had been like traveling a hundred years in the dark. Looking in abandoned places for numbers that might not be there, going into bars asking favors from people that didn’t even want to see you. A hundred years in the dark till now but instead of one light, he felt a thousand burning between the place where his bones meet his skin, and under their glare he felt more lost. He wanted to undo the pin that held her hair, letting it all fall across her shoulders and tell her how pretty she looked.

How much he’d missed her. A decade ago, he wouldn’t have thought twice, but right now one more step and he’d feel like he was breaking the law.

“Do you want to see the lab?” she asked him.

He followed her into a crisp, white room where jars holding pickled flowers lined the rooms. He stared. Roses, tulips, lilacs; each jar held one single flower of a different breed to the last.

Real flowers hadn’t existed like this in years, yet here they were, blurring the line between past and present. The long white petals of a daisy unfurled in the dappled liquid, its base gleaming like a yellow eye, its stem curved, suspended in the jelly.

She brought him to a table just in front of them, and opened the lid of a metal box.
There, inside, a miniature blue flower dipped its head towards its stem, curling into itself. Its leaves fanned out like ghosts in the water.

“Prototype, “Sara said, “Bluebell. Wild flowers are harder to recreate, because they weren’t as artificially engineered as the more popular ones. Rose was the first one, obviously.”

“Obviously,” he repeated, dumbfounded.

“I don’t know. You always seemed so obsessed with the moon, with the past. It was like you blamed it for everything. I needed to get out of LA. I mean, we haven’t had weather like the ancestors did since before we were born. So, I never understood why everybody mourned it so much. It was a terrible thing to happen, sure, but don’t you feel like the more we’re mourning one kind of light, we’re missing out on another?”

“Your flowers are beautiful,” he told her, “but fake.”

She looked down, sighing.

“I thought you’d say that. That’s why I didn’t want to tell you what I was doing. Can’t you see the benefits of the work we’ve done here? It’s only one small thing, but it’s a step towards recreation. Towards life.

“Through art.”

He shoved his hands into the pockets of the white coat she’d given him to hide their trembling.

“This isn’t Art. This is synthetic. Like, most of outside, what’s natural, what’s life is not synthetic flowers. I’d rather give my girlfriend a bouquet of moon! Because that’s what’s real. At least when she smelled she’d smell a piece of something that did exist, that was blown up, and that hurt everybody. It wasn’t nice that it happened, but I’m not about to forget that it did happen. This world has been changed, and no amount of chemical flowers is going to make me forget that life doesn’t exist any more.”

“What is the difference? Yes, they’re chemical, yes we made them and we painted them! But they’re here! They’re something! A step towards rebuilding! A step towards finally being happy!”

“It’s not about being happy. It’s about truth. Denial of the truth is the worst thing anyone can do to another person.”

“Is that why you came here? Hoping that I could be your truth, hoping that I’d want to go off with you and wander around, picking up bits of broken moon and imagining what life could have been like? We’re not kids any more, Wints.”

“I just wanted to see you. I had to see you,” he paused, “I still want you, even… even if this is what you want.”

“This is what I want.”

“I know. When I called you I just had to see it for myself.”

“I’m moving to New York,” she said suddenly.

“When?”

“Tomorrow, they have a new lab opening. They have a project opening; they’re planning to recreate the whole of Central park, but with lots of flowers ahead,” her voice sped up, excited, “We think we can manipulate the roses to grow right out of the bark in the trees, can you imagine how beautiful that would be?”

“When do you leave?”

“In 2 days.”

Winston could see it now. The stuff of dreams. But how real was a dream when it hadn’t come from within? When it had come from someone placing it there, someone constructing it. He would never be able to visit the park without feeling like he was a trespasser in someone else’s garden.

“I should go,” he told her.

She didn’t blink.

“Okay.”

A hundred years in the dark, for only a flash of light.

He left the building into the dust swirling street. Charcoal grey shimmied in the thick air around the emaciated branches of a tree. There was something beautiful in its wasteful figure. The way it held itself, proud of its bareness, unashamed.

He bent down, scooping a piece of moon up from the gravel and placed it in his pocket.

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards the Earth to be born?

Sara could have her garden, they all could. The moon felt coarse and hard in its pocket, its jagged edges scratched his legs through the thin fabric of his pants but he did not remove it. It would remain there all day, every day, a rough beast in his shallow life.

Sara and her friends would create a garden, inventing Nature in a way that no one had intended, and in decades no one would know the difference.

He put his hand in his pocket, holding the piece of moon. A hundred years in the dark with only a reminder of light.

Writers’ Information

Steve Harris:

http://theplanetharris.com
https://twitter.com/theplanetharris

Michael Schmidt

http://glitteringafterthoughts.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/geometric_auras

Shannon Pardoe:

https://twitter.com/shannongpardoe

Sam Grainger:

http://sgraingy.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/SGraingy
http://sgraingy2.tumblr.com/

Josh Kremer:

https://twitter.com/joshuaDkremer

Jessica Cooke:

http://madramblingsss.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/JessicaCooke5

If you would like to take part in our next Hot Potato short story collaboration do get in touch via the comment box or via the Contact form on the What’s On page. You would be welcome.

Countdown to Transformations Week 2/4

21 Aug

new-badge5

Supported with public funding by Arts Council England

and assisted by Norfolk County Council

.

As part of an attempt to document this whole process I have decided to post out on a weekly basis during the 4-week build up towards our exhibition in Hanse House, King’s Lynn. Preparation-wise a lot is going on each week and I want to record it- not only for the  purposes of evaluation afterwards, but as  a record for myself.

 

Week 2

This week has been nothing else but very varied…

Frames, the Comic Strip and Schools

On Monday I went to PhotoArtGB Ltd  in Pampisford to choose frames for the pictures that are being framed by us because either the Transformer lives outside the UK or is unable to get to the exhibition. This means that we have created these particular exhibition pictures from high resolution Jpegs and PNG files that the artist has sent us. Other Transformers will be bringing their pictures in person.  The originals are for sale from the artists themselves via us with no commission.

In relation to the frames I  ended up choosing a very simple black frame that would stay within our budget but still look good. My intention with the framing has been to not detract from the images as much as possible. Whilst at the PhotoArt studio, the PhotoArt boys revealed The Code Crimson 2 x 2 metre comic strip was there, and they rolled it out before my very eyes in all its glory!

Here are some snippets from the overall banner. It was so large I couldn’t just take one picture.

 

The  comic strip acts as an entry point to our exhibition and focuses on Book 1 which is on the syllabus for Classical Civilisations AS. The strip is spotted with quotes from Metamorphoses and we hope this will inspire children, young adults and adults to move forward into the full exhibition.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with the art, literature and classical civilisations teachers so we can organise the schools day to their advantage. It will be exciting to see what they make of the mini- workshops we are going to hold and the poetry and art!

Thursday Update: The schools meeting went brilliantly and the art, literature and classical civilisations classes are coming! Great!

The Backer Wordle is also about to be printed too, and that looks very colourful too: 1 x 1 metre to thank all 29 backers for their support!

Community Radio, Future Partners and Volunteers?

I  have also been in contact with Future Radio in Norwich. It is a community radio station and I am hoping they may be able to help us out with two volunteers across the three days, and I’m hoping they might do a live broadcast or interview at the actual event….. I have a lot of time for community radio as they offer really great creative opportunities and serve a real purpose with communities.  I am going to a meeting next week with them so I’ll let you know how that goes. I am also looking to find long time partners that we can take forward into future projects. This will be particularly important with the The Nine Realms, which is driven by language…radio would be a brilliant expression of this….Watch this space!

Logistics, Exhibition Layout, Budgeting What’s On

We’re giving a lot of attention to the layout of the exhibition at the moment: ie. how many cubes will be needed per book etc. This is important for budgetary reasons and for working out the space needed within The Blue Drawing Room: where best to place everything, where to hold the poetry readings, how many foam boards per side etc? There are 75 foam boards all of which have to be hung and have hooks glued on the back….

Over the last 2 days I have also set up our in-house budgeting system for ArtiPeeps and for the exhibition. I was informed yesterday that the money from the Arts Council England will be with us in 5 working days, and it is important that there are systems set up so I can monitor all the ins and outs of our project. There are two funders grants plus the backers’ contributions all in one ArtiPeeps account and I feel the responsibility of that, as payments will start to be due. I have learned that it may well be advantageous to have a separate account created for each project. One to remember, again, for The Nine Realms.  So I  have now set up 2 systems one for ArtiPeeps and one for ACE so I can keep hold of the actual and original costs as money comes in and out. So far-so-good it all adds up!

I have also been concentrating on spreading the word about Transformations via various online What’s Ons and we are now featured on The Norwich Writers’ Centres What’s On, which you can see here:

 http://www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/Events-all/transformations.aspx

PDF

My goal by the end of this week is to have completely finished the interactive PDF for the exhibition. This has been particularly designed for access reasons- for any non-abled bodied people who wish to see the exhibition. The PDF will be put on an Ipad which will be available on the ground floor so nobody will miss out. The pdf contains all the material from the exhibition, hyperlinks to source material and educational material and to the participants websites. I am also, if I have time, toying with the idea of creating some sort of video that could be on the Ipad as another point of access. The Ipad has been funded by Arts Council England, which is a fabulous and useful thing, and will be used in all our other forth coming projects.

We’re talking posters for next week….as many as possible going up…..

Thank you, as ever, for your interest.

Nicky

 

 

Countdown to Transformations Week 1/4

15 Aug

new-badge5

Supported with public funding by Arts Council England

and assisted by Norfolk County Council

.

As part of an attempt to document this whole process I have decided to post out on a weekly basis during the 4-week build up towards our exhibition in Hanse House, King’s Lynn. Preparation-wise a lot is going on each week and I want to record it- not only for the  purposes of evaluation afterwards, but as  a record for myself.

 

Yesterday, the scaffolding came to build a prototype  of one of a number of cubes we are going to build to exhibit the poetry foam boards and artwork on.   We put one together last night and it looks great. Here’s what it looked like before we put it up….I’m keeping what it looks likes together under my belt for a bit… so there’s some surprise attached to the exhibition…. The urban feel will work very well considering the contemporary nature of the project.

 

photo(1)

 

The flyer for the exhibition was also printed this week, so we can begin to distribute them as widely as possible. We had to hang on for the funder logos, but it was well worth it. The posters will be ready on Monday. If you click on the link below you can see what it looks like. Dan Roberts from Minute Man in King’s Lynn has done a really interesting design based on the Origami theme of our exhibition logo designed by  Gary Caldwell I’ll put out the poster next week…..

001 Artipeeps – A5 Flyer

 

We began to budget for this exhibition many months ago. We had to make assumptions about our costs and what we would need so we could apply for grants.  When it actually comes to the ‘nitty gritty’ of the finances and your in the ‘now’ of the project re-instigating quotes etc,  the reality can be quite different. You may have to shift funds from one spending stream to another. This is something I have learned this week as our promotional material and exhibition costs have gone up and our framing costs down.  Luckily, The Arts Council England, who is our primary funder, understands this and allows us to redistribute the money as long as we stay within the £2694 of public funds that they have given us towards our project. This has meant that we can shift money over to where we need it. It has also confirmed to me that the overall figure we set was adequate.  Also, marketing and promotional costs must not be underestimated. I’m grateful I’ve learned that so early on, and it will help with The Nine Realms. I’ve also learned that a 15% contingency fund is a comforting thing!

We made contact with schools this week too, primarily King Edward VII’s  in King’s Lynn.  The art and literary departments are excited about what we are doing and will be hopefully coming to our Schools Day on the Friday (12th September). We go back for a formal meeting next week where we will also talk to the Classical Civilisations teacher again. This connection is one I instigated last year.

The educational element of what ArtiPeeps is  trying to do with its large-scale projects is very important to us, and we are dedicated to the use of comic strips as an access point for our projects. I’ll be able to say more about all of this after the meeting next week.

I have also started to advertise what we’re doing online via The Norwich Writer’s Centre via their ‘What’s On’ which should be up shortly and we are in ‘The Heritage Open Day directory’ which is great. I have also approached KLFM, the local radio station, and next week I’ll be connecting with the community radio station in Norwich.

Oh yes, having had to re-do the document for the poetry foams to bring down costs, I bid them a fond farewell today and they have now gone to the printers to be printed. It was hard to let go and stop fiddling.

I think that’s about it!  Thank you, as ever, for your interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Showcase : Anna Angell (Poet, Singer-Songwriter)

15 Aug

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

.

Anna Angell

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.

 

 

Biography

Anna started off life in the beautiful Peak District and now resides in beautiful North Wales – jammy.  She qualified as a Speech and Language Therapist in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, then working mainly in Chester and Ellesmere Port.  She now spends most of her time laughing, crying and getting loco with her two delightful pre-school children.   She wrote a lot of poetry as a child but has only recently got back into it, thanks to the consistent nagging of her persistent husband.  This has also extended into song-writing with her beloved ukulele.  She tries to write honestly about the normal stuff in her life and is convinced that the things of the everyday are the porthole to eternity.  She hopes that by making the most of the short chances for creativity in between nappy changes and swimming lessons she can encourage other busy people to try this as well – and reap the benefits to mind body and soul.

 

Twitter             @a_a_angell
Bandcamp       http://annaangell.bandcamp.com/releases

…………………….debut EP ‘Love’s Life’

Email………… ..anna_angell@yahoo.co.uk

 

 

 

*If you would like to have a ‘Weekend Showcase’ or take part in one of our collaborations do get in touch via the contact form on the What’s On page, or via the comments section. You would be welcome.

Weekend Showcase : Ana Caballero (Poet)

8 Aug

Spotlight

Every Friday, 1 creative, letting their work speak for itself.

______

Ana Caballero

 

In this particular showcase Ana has chosen two poems that represent her work at the moment.

 

Oh, Zelda

 
Pretty much, you

were a crazy bitch.

 

Incensed by beauty

in others, talent in others.

 

No one else was Zelda.

Zelda painting. Zelda

 

writing. Zelda dancing.

Zelda loving. Zelda

 

interrupting. No one had

your husband. Or your

 

name. A belle,

at times, more often

 

a tease. Bad Zelda, who

silenced entire books.

 

Drunk Zelda, who shut

them down like boys.

 

All the rage, all of it,

yours. Sorry Zelda,

 

making the cottage

beds, blowing softly

 

at the suffering fire.

Sweet Zelda, who says

 

it won’t be so. Again

the happy host. Again

 

the righteous muse, who,

for a second, stood right

 

upon the floor. But,

silly Zelda, you boiled

 

a pot of rings and gold,

and you got taken

 

to the crazy home.

The unwell woman

 

in the attic, with you,

told decades too late.

 

No new love

or worried young girl

 

could save you from

the locked doors above,

 

the savage blaze below.

 

* Originally published in East Coast Ink Magazine

 

 

A Notion of Marriage

 

Because I am a poet,

I read about things like the

center of skin.

About warm bodies coming together in the dark,

and how it’s the meaning of life

when someone gets it right.

 

And I know I should write about things

like a moving chest and a naked back.

About the coming together of life in the dark,

about our common desire

and the verbs that it took.

 

And it should be universal,

but personal.

My moving chest, your naked back.

The notion of marriage,

of children, of daily love.

Shrinking rooms

beneath the surface of

different meaning words.

 

But I don’t see the dark jaw

in the night,

or the soft center of touch spring alive.

There is effort and a plan.

There is marriage,

a shrinking room,

daily love,

and a baby that eats time.

 

We do not say flesh when we mean sex.

We say it’s about right.

And, it would be nice.

We confirm how long it’s been

before we ask the other

to get up and make the bedroom

dark.

 

* Originally published in Aviary Lit Magazine

 


Biography

 

I worked in finance, journalism, wine importation, and even for the Colombian government before recently becoming a mom.  Now I focus my efforts on writing poetry and book thoughts, which can be read at www.thedrugstorenotebook.co.

My work has appeared in Big River Poetry Review, Elephant Journal, East Coast Ink, Really Systems, Aviary Review, CutBank, Ghost House Review, Dagda Publishing, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Boston Poetry Magazine, among others. It is forthcoming on Pea River Review and Smoking Glue Gun. I also write a weekly poetry post for Zeteo Journal’s “Zeteo is Reading” section.

 

 

 

We’re Funded! (ArtiPeeps Update)

7 Aug

new-badge5

I haven’t put out an ArtiPeeps Update for a while because I’ve been immersed in all things Transformations. However, I received very good news this week that the grant bid I put in to The Arts Council, England has been successful and because of that too we now have match funding from Norfolk County Council who are helping towards the costs of the hire Hanse House.

 

So I am honoured to say that we are now funded by:

Print

 

 

 

and supported by:

 

New-NCC-logos-3

 

 

The fact we have secured this support is a real testament to the talents of all those involved: The Transformers and The Code Crimson and the quality of their work. They have all contributed to the success of this application. The Arts Council grant is also particularly significant as it is public money. I don’t take this fact lightly.

I am also thrilled because it means that the sort of large-scale, collaborative projects that ArtiPeeps is providing is fundable. It is very rewarding to feel that funders have seen the  artistic and creative merit in what we are trying to do.  This bodes very well for our next project starting in October called The Nine Realms which will follow in a similar pattern to Transformations but will last nine months.

The exhibition is now just over a month away and thanks to our funding I can now instigate services such as the framing of the 7 pictures for the Transformers who are outside of the UK, or who can’t get to the exhibition geographically within the UK. Everything, I have to say, is feeling very real (in a good way).  Printing the leaflets and posters has also had to wait because all the promotional material has to have funder logos on them. However, now we have them we’re away! The flyer and leaflet should be available next week. Watch this space….

The next few weeks will have me finishing off the soft copy book and pdf and ebook (if there is time…this might now have to be completed after the exhibition…). We’re also  going to various schools in King’s Lynn to promote the exhibition and comic strip so they can take part in our schools day.      

The Arts Council grant is given to projects and initiatives that show artistic excellence, and it is my intention to keep providing new, high quality and varied  opportunities for creatives as we move forward and grow as an organisation.

I’ll post another update shortly.

 As ever, thank you for your interest!

Vikings Ahoy ! The Nine Realms Is A-coming

6 Aug

Vikings

 

In preparation for our new large-scale collaboration ‘The Nine Realms’  inspired by the Norse Sagas starting this October,  I’ve pulled together this post- a basic overview of the history, myth and culture of The Vikings. I’ve done this to put what we will be  doing in the Autumn into a broad context for the Viking participants involved and anyone else who is interested.

FYI. In this collaboration 40 poets, artists, musicians and sculptors will be working together over 9 months responding to the nine realms through contemporary eyes.

 

An Overview of The Vikings

Between the 8th to mid 11th centuries Vikings transformed Europe. Iceland created the foundation of Russia, Norwegian settlers founded Icelandic cities and in Constantinople Swedes provided military support to the Byzantine emperor. As the Vikings traveled they spread their culture, stories, beliefs and myths along with them.

 The Vikings were seafaring people, and the actual word itself means ‘raiding’. They came from what is now Denmark, Sweden and Norway. They were brought up on a culture of courage, strength and loyalty, and had a reputation for confronting death fearlessly. The Vikings shared a knowledge of Old Norse and their religion was underpinned by the worship of Odin, Thor and other gods.

runes

They wrote with the runic alphabet, which was not only useful and clear but was also imbued with an element of magic. There are very few runic remains thanks to the coming of Christianity. The god Odin fights for the mastery of writing in the Poetic Edda, by undergoing a near death experience:

 

‘I know that I hung/On the windswept tree/For nine whole nights/

Pierced by the spear/And given to Odin/ Myself to myself/

On that tree/Whose roots/ Nobody knows//

They gave me no bread/Nor drink from the horn/ I peered into the depths/

I grasped the runes/ Screaming I grasped them/And then fell back’

(Taken from the Poetic  Edda, Allan: 27)

 The Vikings venerate gods in their own image. Stories of the gods were passed down from generation to generation, sitting by firesides:   Odin, the omnipotent schemer and leader in battle; Thor, the fighter  and Freya, the Goddess of fertility. Also tales of spirits, giants, elves and trolls were passed down.

Apocalypse

Overarching these stories and the mindsets of The Vikings was a feeling of catastrophe and apocalypse, in which the world ends through a confrontation between the forces of good and evil. This conflict the Vikings called Ragnorok (see below).

The Cosmos

The world grew out of a gigantic chasm called Ginnungagap, the yawning void. This void was bordered by Muspell, the abode from where Surt, the giant stood guard. To the North lay the land of Nifelheim (the land of the dead). where 12 rivers bubble up from a cauldron called Hvergelmir.

 

World Tree Norse

The world Tree Yggdrasil- is the pivot around which the worlds of the Norse span. Three main roots rise from the middle of Asgard and stretch down to Nifelheim and Hvergelmir. The roots are nourished by the well of Knowledge. The tree is the symbol of life itself.

 

Aesir and Vanir

Aesir and Vanir

The gods are divided up into two families which are always in conflict with each other. The Aesir, gods, based in Asgard, with their leaders Odin, Thor, Baldar, Heimdall, Tyr and the goddesses Frigg, Sif, Nanna and Iduna. The Vanir, Freya, the goddess of love and promiscuity and Njord who were broadly linked to agriculture and fertility.

 

Serpants and Dragons

Serpents and Dragons

Snakes, in the Viking culture, always had negative connotations. Dragons engendered even greater fear as they lived underground and would emerge at sunset. Dragon’s in German and Scandinavian culture were the guardians of buried treasure. They were also founts of knowledge. The World Serpent, the Jormungand, is one of the most famous as it was one of the 3 horrific children born to Loki and the giant Angrboda.

 

Ragnerok

Ragnarok!

The doom of the gods had a profound effect on the Viking’s world view, which fed their overwhelming feeling of fatalism. It told of of a world where both men and gods were swept away. However, from this destruction did arise a new earth. New beginnings.

From this catastrophe also came VALHALLA (the feasting hall of the dead Vikings who had given up their lives for war).

Ritual and Belief

The Viking world did not separate religion from the secular. Sacrifice was central to the Norse Religions, and was governed by seasonal turning points.

Magic and Metamorphoses

Particular gods regularly changed shape and could alter other peoples’ shape too. They could also bring the dead back to life, and giants could take on animal form. There was a  a particular word ‘Seid’- malicious intent’ attached to the form of magic the Vanir practiced, specifically in relation to Freya.


Poetic Edda

 

The Poetic and Prose Eddas

The Poetic Edda is a collection of Norse poems primarily preserved in a  thirteenth century Icelandic medieval manuscript called the Codex Regius. Alongside the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson the Poetic Edda is the most important surviving source of Norse mythology and Germanic legend.

Both the poetic and prose sagas were based on an oral tradition that had its roots in a pre-Viking age (800-1100). They were written in the native language and were meant to be read aloud which allowed all those literate and otherwise to understand. The text and verse delved into the lives and exploits of both men and the gods.

 

Our project, The Nine Realms, will be using both Eddas, amongst other texts as a point of inspiration for the creatives involved. The project will start in October after Transformations. Watch out for more posts about our next collaborative project.

 

 Bibliography:

Allan, Tony (2010) Vikings: The Battle At the End of Time, Watkins Publishing

Sturluson, Snorri, (2005) The Prose Edda, translated by Jesse. L. Byock

 

 

 

 

 

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