littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


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You’re All Different: A look at fiction and society

Recently I was thinking about a documentary I once saw. It was about Merlin, that wizard of myth originally created by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Towards the end of that documentary, it talked about JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It said that the two famous authors used to meet in a pub and talk about Merlin; and that characters in both their writings had a character based on him, the one Aslan, and the other Sauron.

I have since wondered whether the documentary got it wrong, and they were really talking about God. I know at least one of them was a Christian man, and by assumption, so is the other. But that thought didn’t sit well with me, so for a while, I pretended it really was Merlin.

I realise, though, that the reason Merlin sits better with me is because I know he isn’t real, and I’m also assuming other people do too. After all, I watched the documentary; I know he isn’t real. But the fact is, other people won’t have seen it. If those people suddenly started saying that Merlin really was the one who created Stonehenge — Geoffrey’s most famous tale, and one he invented to give Merlin some credibility — it would piss me off. Because I know full well (from another documentary) that Stonehenge was actually created in the late Stone Age by early man.

Another popular story about Stonehenge was that aliens helped. That one pisses me off even more; what does it say about how man sees himself? Do we think we’re capable of nothing? Stonehenge was a great human achievement, and far from the last. And we did it all by ourselves.

But I digress: what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t think people believe in Merlin, but they do still believe in God. And that worries me, because stories have power, especially stories people think are true but aren’t. I write stories myself, but I would never try to pass them off as the truth. And yet, at the very least, the writers of the bible have done just that, in order to persuade — manipulate — people to act and think a certain way. They use fear of hell at the very least to inform this.

What pisses me off about God is that it gives people an excuse not to think for themselves. Like those stories of Merlin or aliens, it gives people something to alleviate either responsibility or pressure, and makes them complacent. Perhaps they want to relax, and maybe that’s understandable, but it pushes down our potential, it takes away from us what we could do, it takes away from us self-belief and puts it into something else, so we become little more than sheep or cattle, following a grand master. And I’m not okay with that.

I’ll admit once I thought I was worthless, when I was a kid I even imagined a God and thus believed it. And then when I was a teenager, I continued to struggle. But the point is, I wasn’t worthless. And the fact that we have to make up ridiculous stories just to cope with ourselves or our lives is insulting to me.

Monty Python’s The Life of Brian put it best:

Brian: You’re all individuals!

Crowd: Yes, we are all individuals.

Brian: You’re all different!

Crowd: Yes, we are all different.

Crowd Member 1: I’m not.

Crowd Member 2: Ssh!

Brian: You’ve got to work it out for yourselves! Otherwise–

Brian’s mother ushers him from the window.

Crowd: Ooh, that wasn’t a minute.

Brian’s Mother: Oh, yes it was!

Crowd: Oh, no it wasn’t!

Brian’s Mother: Now, stop that! And go away!

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Trifecta – Reputation in Flight

His friends said he was too beautiful to be a woman; high feminine cheekbones, soft blushing skin, thin curved frame. Women were supposed to be beautiful, that was the whole point.

But his reputation preceded him. Word can fly when petty people whisper.

The man walked through the door, and he was struck by how pale he was. He could see where the reputation had come from, but he was a bit too pale, too platinum blonde. His appearance was stark, not beautiful.

He handed him a slip. He took at it and looked down on what the man had just handed him. ‘Inspection: 7 Sept. 2014’.

“You’re giving me this in person?” he asked the stranger.

“The school asked me to,” he explained. “Caused a stir last week, so I owed them.”

“What did you do?” he asked, curious.

“Indecent exposure. Which wasn’t really my fault, either, but…”

So that was it. The children had spoke about him not out of captivation, but out of scandal. Physical, too…

“What did they do to you?”

“Have you been up to the school? Have you seen the doors in the back?”

“I’m the Superintendent; of course I’ve seen them. Caught you there, huh?”

“I didn’t know they opened. The stalls were all taken. Some school play was going on, and half the grade was there changing too. I thought I could hide in the back room and change, but those doors don’t look. Some kid opened the door. It… was humiliating…”

“Sorry about that. Maybe I can bring it up in my inspection.”

“Thank you,” the man said gratefully.

“Can I get your name?” asked the Superintendent.

“Marley.”

Tale for Trifecta

 


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Trifecta – Rusty

It was still all rather horrifying. From the moment she got the letter in the mail, summoning her to court, she had been walking around, rather shocked. And now, as she stared warily at the plaintiff’s table, she could see the girl who was suing her pull out a rusty, scrap-paged notebook. Her supposed evidence.

“In this notebook, you’ll see the evidence of what I’ve been saying,” she said, handing it over towards the judge. “The song was not an original work by the band on trial –” a glare in her direction — “but by me. When I was a little girl, I wrote all these lyrics myself –”

“Um –” said the judge, “I’m sorry, but this doesn’t appear to be lyrics. This appears to be a diary.”

“Yes, of course it is! If you will look carefully,” she said, pointing, “you’ll see the opening lyrics of the right at the top of the page.”

“Ah, yes…” said the judge.

After scanning the document more thoroughly, she handed it back, however. “This isn’t sufficient. In order to have a case against Mrs. Lee, you have to have composed the actual music and lyrics. Some similar sentiments when you were a child aren’t enough.”

“But it isn’t fair! She stole –”

“Silence!” said the judge, banging her gavel. “Settle down or I will find you in contempt!”

The girl sank back down.

Amy would almost have found it flattering if the situation hadn’t been so serious. The only thing she was guilty of was writing a song that people — including this girl — connected to. Very deeply, she added, at seeing the adamant look on her accuser’s face. She may not have written it, but her accuser certainly felt it, had probably lived, more than anyone else.

Amy made a move, and announced all this to the court. In the end, it was that speech that stuck at the end of the case. Her accuser simply didn’t have any evidence. Amy was cleared.

Maybe they could be friends.

Tale for Trifecta


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Trifecta – Light

He switched on the light. It flared for a moment then flashed off.

“Dammit,” he swore.

“Seth,” she said, “leave it alone.”

“I want to look at you. This isn’t something to talk about in the dark.”

“We are in the dark, though. All of us.”

He frowned. She had to stare to be sure.

“You can see me just fine here,” she said. “Say what you have to say.”

“I have nothing to say.”

“Oh, come off it,” she snapped. “Out with it!”

But instead of talking, he turned around stalked up the stairs.

“Hey!” she called. “I’m not done with you.”

“Well, I’m done with you! Have been for a while.”

“You pansy,” she cried, “you bloody wuss. Man up and talk to me!”

He turned and glared at her. “Did you really just say that?”

“Yeah,” she dared, “yeah, I did. And I meant it. You men, you’re all just –”

“What?” he said, “Just what? Go on!”

“Scared of women! Deep down, you’re all scared because you don’t believe in your own bravado! You’ll never admit it, but I can see right through you.”

He switched the light on as he moved into the next room. As she followed him, he pulled out what she had been looking for.

“Oh, Seth…”

Tale for Trifecta


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Friday Fictioneers – Deserting Home

Copyright - Janet Webb

There was no going out tonight. Not here, not ever again… I couldn’t even take my writing. I left my dress hanging out over the balcony, and my notebook there on my bed.

I felt a tug from my heart as I left my bedroom for the last time. We could take nothing with us. It was too poisonous, the radiation already exceeding the Ukraine.

I was just a teenager. I didn’t want any of this. Leaving everything I knew and loved. My mama held me in her arms. Within hours, the streets would be empty.

Time to leave… Chernobyl.

For Friday Fictioneers.


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Writing is like Exercise

I was recently rewriting my About Me page, when I started thinking about hobbies I enjoy. One of them, which I didn’t mention, is Boxing.

Recently, within the last two months, I’ve started eating healthily and exercising. I now go to the gym and I have a personal trainer named Jess. I often do boxing exercises when I work out with Jess; I find it motivates me, I enjoy it, and I’ve always carried a store of anger with me that it lets me express.

Exercise also helps me in my writing, if for no other reason than my characters live active, dangerous lives, and working my body helps me put myself in theirs.

But I’ve also begun thinking recently that, although many writers don’t do a whole lot of exercise — indeed, for a while in my own writing, I’ve used the fact that I’m a writer as an excuse why I didn’t have to exercise — the two activities aren’t so different.

Both require discipline of sorts. Both are beneficial; one to the mind, and the other to the body. I’ve even begun to think that the two things together are important to the whole, that a person needs both to be a satisfied or balanced person.

Balance, I’ve thought for a while now, is important in anyone. Not extremes, which makes you biased and closed-minded, but a medium between them.

Of course, I believe that bias is inevitable in any person. No matter who you are, I believe there’s always something to overcome. But the point is, in the case of brain vs. brawn, of athletes versus writers, there need not even be a contest.

If books are soul food, then exercise is just as important for movement. That feeling in your muscles… is life speaking to you. And that’s just as important as the words you use to describe it.


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Trifecta – Monsoon

It was his charge to prey on his victims during monsoon, when vampires could survive very easily even in the day.

Each kill was revenge for his family. They were lost last century… drowned.

Forever young.

Tales from Trifecta