Search results for 'Tell Stella'

‘Stella I’m Bleeding’ by Michael Schmidt (Writer) FreeSpace #2

21 Nov

1a

Image by Justas Marcinkevicius

.

Stella, I’m Bleeding

by Michael Schmidt

.

Death Dances in broken down dreams thumbing my way through idlechatter/whitestatic alcohol-hallucinations wishing I could do something about the screeching quartet that has every intention of stopping just before the height of its crescendo.

.

***

.

Abyssinian monks descended from their holy-gray pedestalic mountains to drown me in mirrors— Air so quiet and cold we can hear the ice crystalline when we stab your lungs with new breath and smoke.

.
I wish I had the patience to keep company with a hunter’s moon and watch her sink behind black mountains  and thin iridescent clouds squinting and unable to turn away from a new sun.

.

I crushed a flaming-white butterfly in my hand by accident in a hazy green and yellow aspen grove when I was young— I’m scared to try now lest my grip falter, or worse!

.
Yips, cackles— tall strong blonde blue-eyed girls with flowers in their hair stumble in high heels and seep into  walls of darkness towards eager coyotes with glowing teeth— When they come back (they always do) their eyes will be grey— and then a conversation or a silence can finally. Begin.

__

.

You can find out more about Michael and his writing from his website: 

http://glitteringafterthoughts.wordpress.com/

.

MIchael’s 3rd FreeSpace Slot will be on Thursday 19th December

_________________

*’FreeSpace’ offers creatives or groups 3 slots on ArtiPeeps which can be taken up in a cluster or in a sequence over a period of months. They can be used for further showcasing, self-expression or for projects.

If you are interested in FreeSpace, don’t hesitate to get in contact via a reply box, or the form on our ‘What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeep

Realm 8: Midgard – Overview and writing prompts, The Nine Realms, an ArtiPeeps Combined Arts Collaboration 2014-2015

6 May

nine realms8

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat= a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

Midgard

(the realm of the people)

 

Vikings Ahoy!

Here we are in early May,  with the deadline for the poetry and writing for the 7th realm Muspelheim due in on Monday 11th May ! I shall be posting out more Helheim poems this week and next week. This month we are outlining the realm of Midgard. The deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for this realm is Friday 5th June 2015.

These monthly posts will draw from a range of primary and secondary source materials and focus on selected gods, themes and stories that circle around the highlighted realm. They will not attempt to cover everything, and writers can embrace any other stories and characters within their writing which is not covered. Month by month we will be building our own magical, contemporary norse world whilst exploring the themes of POWER, NATURE and RELIGION. The project’s overall intention is to embrace orality, translation, storytelling and rhythm all of which are inspired by the origins of the oral tradition of the Norse Sagas.

I may well put out little mini-posts intermittently focusing on orality and poetic form as necessary.  

What is presented below is designed to inspire, present basic information and offer a starting point for individual creativity within the project inspired by the themes, characters and spirit of the myths and stories.

.

Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley

Aurgelmir: Sea from Blood, Sky from Skull (2015) by Raymond Bentley, for The Nine Realms Project

 .

1. A brief Overview of Midgard

 .

Crossley Holland (xx-xxi), explains that Midgard is on the second level of the Norse universe’s ‘tricentric structure’. Midgard is in the middle, surrounded by a sea, which Snorri Sturluson (author of The Prose Edda, See ‘Things of Interest’ below) says ‘to cross it would strike most men impossible’.

When Ymir formed the world he allocated Midgard, the central region, to the human race. Midgard is ringed by a fence made out of Ymir’s eyebrows. Human’s did not make their home in Asgard until Midgard was formed where they created their palatial residences. One root of the The world tree, Yggdrasil, runs through Midgard. It is the place where Odin, in disguise, would go on a quest for more understanding of the world. Midgard is also the only realm that is seen to be visible, the other 8 realms move between visibility and invisibility.

.

Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich

Líf and Lífthrasir by Lorenz Frølich

.

2. Midgard Following  Ragnarök

.

It is said in The Prose and Poetic Eddas that, Midgard will be destroyed at Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world. Out of this  Jörmungandr, the World Serpent, will arise from the ocean, poisoning both land and sea with his venom. He will cause the sea to rear up catastrophically against the land. The final battle will take place on the field of Vígríðr. After this battle Midgard and almost all life, will have been eradicated. The earth will sink into the sea.  The earth, however, will rise again, fertile and green when the cycle repeats and the creation begins again. 

After the cataclysmic events of Midgard it is said that a couple (Lif and Lifthrasir) will survive the destruction hidden in Hoddmimir’s Wood, a dark cavern or forest, where they survive living off dew. From their children life will engender, and offspring will be born, repopulating the earth. 

From The Lay of Vafthrudnir,45, Gylfaginning, The Prose Edda

‘In the place called Hoddmmimr’s Wood, two people will have hidden themselves from Surt’s fire. Called Lif [Life] and Leifthrasir [Life Yearner], they have morning dew for their food. From these will come so many descendents that the whole world will be inhabited. So it says here:

‘Lif and Leifthrasir

will hide themselves

in Hoddmimir’s Holt.

The morning dew

they have for food,

from them springs mankind.’

(Byock: 77-78)

You can find the whole Gylfaginning here

.

 

Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie

Jörmungandr: World Serpent by James Mackenzie for The Nine Realms Project

.

2. Thor and the Midgard Serpent

.

Jormungandr, the world serpent, lives in the ocean surrounding Midgard. He was so long that his tail circled the entirety of the realm.  He is one of the three children of Loki. There are a number of stories attached to the serpent:

.

.

1.  Loki’s Challenge

.

Where Thor comes across the serpent in the form of a huge cat, disguised in this guise by the magic of Loki. Loki challenges Thor to lift the cat as a test of his might. However, Thor is unable to lift Jörmungandr entirely, but does manage to raise the serpent far enough that it lets go of the ground with one of its four feet.

.

Thor and the Midgard Serpent

Thor and the Midgard Serpent

.

.

2.  Thor’s Fishing Trip: Hooking Jörmungandr

.

Thor goes fishing with the giant Hymir. However, the giant refuses to give Thor any bait to catch the fish, so Thor cuts the head off Hymir’s ox to use as a lure.  They fish for a while, but Thor wants to go further out to sea, despite Hymir’s protestations. Once further out Thor gets a strong line on which he hooks the ox’s head. The World Serpent, örmungandr, is hooked and pulled onto their fishing boat. Thor and the serpent face each other,  Jörmungandr, dripping venom and blood. Thor grabs his hammer to kill the serpent, but Hymir cuts the line and the serpent goes free.

For more information see here

See ‘Things of Interest’ below re: The Gosforth Cross

.

Máni and Sól

Máni and Sól

.

4.  Mundilfari, and the Sun and the Moon

.

Mundilfari is the father of Sól , goddess of the sun, and Máni, the son,  named after the moon. Mention of them can be found in The Poetic Edda in the Vafþrúðnismál stanza 23 and in The Prose Edda (chapter 11, Gylfaginning).

Sól married a man, Glenr (‘Opening in the clouds’, responsible for driving the horses across the sky), which angered Odin. Therefore the gods, in retaliation, grabbed both Sól and Máni from Mundilfari, and placed them in the sky to guide the sun and the moon and the constellations (created by the sons of Bor). The world was lit from the sparks from Muspelheim.

.

Themes, Relevance and Questions

.

Stasis and Visibility

It is interesting that  Midgard, the realm of the people, is seen to be the realm that is seen; maybe meant to be seen. It is the place of destruction and the place of rebirth, which to all intents and purposes could be  considered a replication of the fluctuation of all living things. It is powerful that this profound dynamic is embodied within the realm of the people. of man. As if the beginning and the end is rooted in man and how humankind overcome adversity through reformation. A Norse retelling of Eliot’s ‘the end is my beginning’ perhaps? 

Exploration Point:  What is the relationship between humans and the gods in The Prose and Poetic Eddas? What is the dynamic and how is it manifested? 

 

Things of Interest:

.

1.  Snorri Struluson

.

.

Born 1179, Hvammur, Iceland—died Sept. 22, 1241, Reykjaholt, Icelandic poet, historian, and chieftain, author of The Prose Edda and the Heimskringla.

The Heimskringla is a history of the Norwegian kings that begins with the Ynglinga saga and moves through to early medieval Scandinavian history.

See more here.

.

.

 

2. The Gosforth Cross

.

Gosforth Cross World Serpent

 

.

The Gosforth Cross is a large stone Anglo-Saxon cross in St Mary’s churchyard at Gosforth in the county of Cumbria, UK. The area was settled by Scandinavians some time in either the 9th or 10th century and was previously part of the kingdom of Northumbria. The cross itself dates to the first half of the 10th century.

For more details see here.

.

3. Icelandic Alphabet

.

.

 You can see more ‘Icelandic Lessons’ here

.

 Optional Poetry and Writing Prompts:

Clerihew

Consists of two rhyming couplets which attempt to encapsulate the life and works of a character or famous figure.  As Vole Cental puts it:

‘Exaggeration, wilful misunderstanding, and even complete fabrication or character assassination, are permitted, and perhaps encouraged. The first line is always the person’s name. ‘

This might work well with a Norse character.

See here for more details.

Writing Word Prompts:  Striding, Killed, Wane, Edge, blood, licked, sky, hostility, ice, path, raised

.

To confirm, the deadline for all writing, poetry and mp3s for the Midgard realm is Friday 5th June 2015.

 .

 Thank you so much for your interest.

.

References

 Allan, T (2010) Vikings, The Battle at the End of Time, London: Watkins Publishing

Crossley-Holland, K (1993) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings, London, Penguin Books

Ellis Davidson, H.R. (1990) Gods and Myths of Northern Europe, Penguin Books

Hollander, L.M. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Austin: University of Texas Press

Larrington, C. (1996) tr. The Poetic Edda, Oxford University Press

Sturluson, S. (2005) The Prose Edda, Penguin Classics, tr. Jesse L. Byock

Vanaheim: ‘ Magic & Wonder’ 2/4′ The Nine Realms- Poems and Writing

5 Jan

World Tree Norse

The Nine Realms

9 months, 22 poets and writers, 22 Artists, 3 composers, 1 Viking boat: a magical reworking of Norse Mythology for contemporary audiences

 

Poems and Writing inspired by the Norse realm of Vanaheim

Featuring:

Richard Biddle, Shirley Golden, Eleanor Perry

and Tom Murphy

 

Mjölnir*

by Richard Biddle

.

I’m Blackjack, the splintering demon
I’m Crumble-Crunch, the shattering spirit
I’m Master-Batterer, the god spike
I’m The Convincer

I’m Bludgeon, the thump engine
I’m Bear-Down, the clobber bomb
I’m Nightstick, the pulveriser
I’m The Divine Beater

I’m Conk-Buster, the thrash contraption
I’m Fragmentize, the king of knock
I’m Quarterstaff, the wallop machine
I’m The Creator-Of-Dust

I’m Lord Cudgel, the blunt
I’m Boomerang, the whomper
I’m Father Pummel, the bang shape
I’m The Almighty Contraption

I’m Billy Battle, the whack gadget
I’m Cosh, the form persuader
I’m Finish-The-Job, the power pestle
I’m The Appliance-Of-Pain

I’m Hickory Wallop, the trouncing baton
I’m Break-Up, the holy apparatus
I’m Crush, the truncheon of defeat
I’m The Deity Mace

I’m Smash Being, the hammerer of all
I’m Gizmo Hit, the machine of strike
I’m Pounding Device, the fashioner of atoms
I’m The Demigod of Battering-Rams

I’m Tap-Tap-Tap, the all-knowing utensil
I’m Murder Mallet, the totem of kill
I’m Head Swatter, the staff of non-compliance
I’m The Absolute Club

I’m Drive-It-Home, the homicidal implementing machine
I’m Whatchamacallit, the idol of heavy
I’m Prime Mover, the omnipotent weapon of means
I’m Total Annihilation

.
*Mjölnir is usually interpreted as meaning “That which smashes”, derived from the verb mölva “To smash” (cognate with English meal, mill); comparable derivations from the same root meaning “hammer” are Slavic molot and Latin malleus (whence English mallet).

An alternative suggestion compares the name to Russian молния (molniya) and the Welsh word mellt, both words are taken as meaning “lightning”. This second theory would make Mjölnir the weapon of the storm god identified with lightning, as in the lightning-bolt or vajra in other Indo-European mythologies.[4]

In the Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is identified as hamarr “a hammer”, a word that in Old Norse and some modern Norwegian dialects can mean “hammer” as well as “stone, rock, cliff”, ultimately derived from an Indo-European word for “stone, stone tool”, h₂éḱmō; as such it is cognate with Sanskrit aśman, meaning “stone, rock, stone tool; hammer” as well as “thunderbolt”.[5]

Mjøl in modern Norwegian (nynorsk) literally means “flour” or “powder”, so “Mjølner” (Norwegian spelling) can mean “Pulverizer” or “Grinder”.

.

.

.

The Music-Speak of Kvasir

by Shirley Golden

.

Born of Aesir and Vanir’s mouth-juices and truces, I am fashioned into this bone-cage, but no clothes quite fit. I’m sought far and wide, and I close my eyes and bear all burdens. I ponder predicaments, but only ever suggest and guide. For who am I to command another the best track to tread?

 The dwarfs invite me to their feast, and I accept in good faith. I sit at their tables of hammered gold. They mutter and lead me away from the merriment. They stab at my chest and heart; they collect three flagons of battle-sweat. They seal snug my mind-insight and take care not to brag of their prize. They stir in honey and make mead, creamy with music-speak, and they are so pleased with their hidden hoard. But such covetous pleasure is only ever short lived.

Now the giant, Suttung, keeps me, and his daughter, Gunnod, guards me. But she is seduced by Odin, and surrenders her secret stash. The wish-giver draws me into his food-cavern. And we take to the skies, soaring as an eagle over the mountains, and on to Asgard. Odin dives behind the stone-shield, but in his haste, a piece of me is expelled. He distributes my remains into assembled crocks.

The gods, aware of the spillage, deem it unworthy of retrieval: ‘the bad poets’ portion’ has no place in their realm. They discount the droplets as easily as a sprig of mistletoe, newly unfurled. They do not fret over the fate of the waste; for who would be foolish enough to use only the ill-conceived, unconsidered parts? But I yearn to draw the leakage back to my liquid heart.

It spreads, and stains, drips and trickles, flows and floods. With each age, it slops unchecked as ink spilled over page, print and screen. It streams into the lungs of new technologies where it is read, absorbed, given questionable gravitas. It seeps into the ether as dashed out titbits of text, words freely uploaded, dregs and haste; speak best not saved. The parts best served for poets’ growth. The parts best kept on the other side of the wall.

.

.

.

2.

slick theory

by Eleanor Perry

.

wolfhusks mock the pines the
scaly parts ] scrape out their
grit and jewel ] and bleached
thread is all that the mineral
will sing tricks for ] still the
quotas of star and stone are
only known in metrics ] or in
shrines.

they calculate the skin ] more
wolves and axes ] needles: this,
the latest speculation in reeling
particles ] til song or something
shudders from the pile ] to print
the value of each question ] oh
but there was so much heart
though

in the margins ] clay blue shells
worn and crashed like rubble
] in a lottery of constellation ]
wow, just look at how the carbon
scares ] plucked shimmering
from the balance sheet ] the
rockery ] to still the heart ] but
then, the heart is awkward.

.

MP3 to come

.

Vanaheim

by Tom Murphy

.

inside the fence
as I hang
I remember I am my own little ghost

there is the wound
stitched up for now

there is the flagstone
beneath which lies molten rock
thick and limitless and orange

then there is the small empty thing
formless and light
and when certain words are spoken
I cough it up
but it leaves behind its emptiness
and the emptiness is a tiny speck of infinite burden
containing time and all the feelings of lost
as a reminder

.

.

.

 .

You can read the overview of Vanaheim here , and see some Asgard poems here

.

Find out more about Richard, Shirley, Eleanor and Tom:

Richard Biddle

writings43.blogspot.co.uk

https://twitter.com/littledeaths68

Shirley Golden

shirleygolden.net

https://twitter.com/shirl1001

Eleanor Perry

https://twitter.com/nellperry

Tom Murphy

https://twitter.com/sandcave

 

As always, thank you for your interest.

.

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.

That Moment by Estrella Azul (FreeSpace #3)

19 May

Raindrops

.

That moment…

by Estrella Azul

.
Four hours… passed by in a flash.
A cup of fragrant Jasmine tea in a cozy cafe,
gave way to a long walk as the wind made them shiver.
A fire lit up inside as dusk turned into night,
as drizzle turned into rain, as two lips touched.
That moment… it felt like eternity.
For her, that moment felt like a hike.
It felt like sunbathing on a hilltop,
surrounded by mountains covered in sparkly snow.
She felt her soul fill with warmth and calmness.
That moment… it felt like perfection,
in her world filled to the brim with uncertainty.


Estrella Azul

Estrella Azul is a writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life, who shadows well. Estrella shares with her readers some of her thoughts and daily happenings, along with her creative writing on Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.

https://twitter.com/EstrellaAzul

You can find Estella’s Weekend Showcase here and her last FreeSpace here.

.

As always, thank you for your interest. 

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

.

BE THERE AT THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL

Transformations Kickstarter Campaign

14 poets, 15 artists, 1 Contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Do Take A Look

Project :

http://kck.st/1i2e721

Campaign Video

http://goo.gl/khucJx

new-badge5

In These Fast Paced Everydays by Estrella Azul (FreeSpace #2)

29 Apr

fastlane[1]

.

In these fast-paced everydays, also think of…

 by Estrella Azul

.

It is considered a virtue to love the people around us, but self love should also be considered a virtue. All the more because we ourselves are the objects of our own feelings, thoughts and attitude.

Treasuring ourselves, treating the self with care, respect, looking inside to gain self knowledge is all interdependent. The more we treasure ourselves, the more we will treasure others. So, we should love ourselves enough to do the things we love, too.

During our “left over” 8 hrs, are we going where our heart leads us? If we follow that lead, what would we be doing, who would we be with, what would we be eating, how would we be helping, creating, living, loving, learning?

After answering honestly and realistically (I’d love to travel to Paris and spend every afternoon there crisscrossing the Seine, but that isn’t possible), we should follow through with practical “gifts” to the self to express self love.

What will make the self happy? Would we be in the park, would we be walking around aimlessly in town looking at the buildings and our surroundings through a tourist’s eyes? Would we be with a dear friend, an old acquaintance catching up on each other’s lives, or simply alone trying out that new restaurant we’ve wanted to try ever since it opened two months ago, ordering Baby Spinach, Mandarin and Red Onion salad? Would we be helping out in a soup kitchen, creating written/doodled/photographed art? Would we be living truer to who we are, loving those we met ten or twenty years ago and never openly admitted to our feelings? Would we be learning new skills in a class or simply through reading anything and everything we can get our hands on?

As a closing, I’ll leave you with the following thoughts. Back in March 2013, I wrote someone a letter. After I finished and reread my thoughts, I realized I might as well have addressed it to myself.

“Dear Self,

I know how acutely the sadness of life can be felt. I’ve felt it. I feel it myself. It has the ability to numb one’s mind, to keep one from moving along. It makes one cry themselves to sleep.

But we have to get out from there. Walk out and follow our own yellow brick road leading us to where we should be: in the present. I think that is where Dorothy was heading. From a place of sadness, through the world of her perceptions, imagination and dreams. Into the present.

Where wonderful things can happen if we allow them to unfold. We have to wake up to being right where we are supposed to be.

There truly is no place like home; the home provided by leaving behind worries of the past and future!

Love,

~E.A.”

Go on, write a love letter to yourself. Then follow your own yellow brick road, your heart’s advice, and give yourself a “gift” of self love.

 

Estrella Azul

Estrella Azul is a writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life, who shadows well. Estrella shares with her readers some of her thoughts and daily happenings, along with her creative writing on Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.

https://twitter.com/EstrellaAzul

You can find Estella’s Weekend Showcase here and her last FreeSpace here.

.

Estrella’s third FreeSpace will be on Monday 19th May, and tomorrow you can catch up with what’s afoot with an ArtiPeeps Update tomorrow.  As always, thank you for your interest. 

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

BE THERE AT THE START AND HELP US MAKE THE VIRTUAL REAL

Transformations Kickstarter Campaign

14 poets, 15 artists, 1 Contemporary reworking of Ovid’s Metamorphoses

Do Take A Look

Project :

http://kck.st/1i2e721

Campaign Video

http://goo.gl/khucJx

A Glance Under the Surface by Estrella Azul (FreeSpace #1)

18 Mar

surface

A Glance Under the Surface

 by Estrella Azul

.

As the house quieted down, the kids’ giggles muffling into soft whispers and then peacefully slipping off to dreamland, she swept through the rooms trying to tidy up their lives just before bed.

Reaching the kitchen she paused in front of the fridge, its door full of notes, drawings and haphazardly jotted down gems her kids have said over the years.

A couple of them stood out from the rest. She smiled as she read them once more.

Her little boy was upfront and unafraid.

“Thank you for the amazing water pistol bday present. I will have a lot of laughs using it.”

What the note didn’t explain was the hours and hours of fun he had had squirting water at her and his sister when ever she was researching something. She recalled her desperate attempts of getting the laptop out of harms way.

Her sweet little girl was full of great advice.

“If the sweater I got from Santa fits, I will love you for eternity.”

Behind these words hid the resolve to make her mom buy the sweater for her in every color as she refused to wear anything else for the following two months.

Thinking about these sweet episodes, she cleared the table, turned her laptop on, opened a new Word document and started typing next week’s article for her weekly column:

“For those of you who recently got a seemingly sweet card from your family on a Hallmark-created holiday that looks and feels authentic? Look under the surface. It’s what you can’t see at first sight that will really trip you up if you’re not careful…”

.

Estrella Azul

Estrella Azul is a writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life, who shadows well. Estrella shares with her readers some of her thoughts and daily happenings, along with her creative writing on Life’s a stage – WebBlog©.

https://twitter.com/EstrellaAzul

You can find Estella’s Weekend Showcase here

.

Estrella’s second FreeSpace will be on Tuesday 29th of April, and tomorrow you can catch up with poet Lauren Coulson’s 3rd residency poem. If you missed the first two you can find them here and here.

.

.

*FreeSpace offers 3 post slots on ArtiPeeps to any creative or group. They can be taken in a cluster or over a period of months for showcasing, projects (encouraged) or self expression. If you’re interested in FreeSpace do get in touch via the reply box on this post or the contact form on the What’s On page. 

Hot Potato 2 ! Short Story Collaboration #1-Steve Harris

12 Mar


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

6 writers over 12 weeks, writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

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

.

 

Today’s first fortnightly instalment, features writer Steve Harris who is starting the whole collaborative short story off! 

.

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.

.

Steve’s text has been passed to the second potato  Michael Schmidt. Michael  is now writing the second ‘beginning’ section. Each potato is free to take the narrative wherever they like.

The next instalment of the short story will be on Thursday 27th April. Do come back and see where Michael takes us next! The writers are collectively and progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end.

.

 You can find more out about Steve here:

http://doctorbeatnik.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/theplanetharris

 

 

’40’s and Chocolate Bars’ by Michael Schmidt (Writer) FreeSpace #3

19 Dec

Flock of Pigeons - Watercolor Painting of Birds

.

40’s and Chocolate Bars

by Michael Schmidt

.

40’s and chocolate bars and butterfly wings
and whispers so soft you can feel them trickle like marmalade and hot water down your spine
and cold nights
That dripped in big fat spaced out rain drops and tangled our hair while we shouted at strangers out of the window of a moving car.

.
It hurts to walk in the mornings.

.
We laughed and fed pizza crusts to pigeons only because we thought they had finally made it home.

.
But what about the doves?
And about you?
And what about I?
And what about the millions of things we say/said/did and the things we forget?

.
The feeling comes in waves.

.
My toes are always wet but I’ll never get in,
I remember dreams that I can’t forget.

.
You’re always there in rain and in a look…

.
And what about snow and lilies and white sun-light and sun-burnt angels?
We scrambled over broken planks
And choked on saw dust.

.
I am pink.
A King of pigeons…

.
I cough and you cough back.

 

.

You can find out more about Michael and his writing from his website: 

http://glitteringafterthoughts.wordpress.com/

.

This is Michael’s last FreeSpace but he will be back next season (March-May 2014).

His other two FreeSpace pieces were ‘Phantasmogoria’ and ‘Stella I’m Bleeding’

.

_________________

*’FreeSpace’ offers creatives or groups 3 slots on ArtiPeeps which can be taken up in a cluster or in a sequence over a period of months. They can be used for further showcasing, self-expression or for projects.

If you are interested in FreeSpace, don’t hesitate to get in contact via a reply box, or the form on our ‘What’s On’ Page or via @ArtiPeep

%d bloggers like this: