Posts Tagged ‘ WIP ’

Haiku: First Rain

2010.10.22
By

6:30 a.m.,
And behind my coffee cup,
Earth sips her new skies.

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My Contribution to the Tongue Twister Effort

2010.10.15
By

“CHICKEN KITCHEN.”

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Prosatio Silban’s Table Tips: Place

2010.09.15
By

SOMEONE ONCE ASKED PROSATIO SILBAN his thoughts on “presentation;” i.e., how a dish should look when it leaves his kitchen. The Cook For Any Price thought for a moment before replying.

“I suppose it depends on your notion of what the food’s for,” he said. “In ancient and epicurean Pormaris, more than elsewhere in the Commonwell, cooking is an art like music, painting or courtesanry. There, the current fashion is to pile the food as vertically as the ingredients and imagination will allow. I suppose it accents the dinner setting.

“My own customers range from wealthy banqueters to the bowl-of-beans poor, but they have one thing in common: they’re hungry. So I try never to let the food get in the way of itself. A pretty plate pleases the soul, and that’s important. But people don’t always know what to do with too much prettiness.”

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Fists Against The Posts

2010.08.16
By

One kept thinking there had to be another way of looking at it, of really seeing *I*T*, and kept lamenting that particular brand of consciousness so limited in terms of time, space and perception. Oh, to soar as a school of fish — to feel the sea passing between its thousand fins now this way, now that. Or a yearning of swans — the intertwined indefinity of wings passing air down along the silent wind for others to grasp and master; Or roots pushing deep into moisture-thick earth, hardness yielding to an infinitely subtle softness; or to cry with the thousand-voiced dawn, not as birds but their urgeful chirping and its solid unyielding core: ball of life whirling through sunbound courses to push and dive and collide and bend around and back on itself again — and to know the immediate, im-mediated, proxyless and inviolate NOW of all and none of these NOW: … instead of one of a billion desperate afterimages, held in fading fingers as proof.

“Thrustwell’s Tale, or Beware the Bottle”

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE Renaissance Pleasure Faire and a guy named Greg Pursley, who hired me to help him sell fencing lessons in Elizabethan garb and accent. The Cardiff Rose was no mere concession but a virtual privateer, with each crewmember having a complete character history as an aid to improvisational acting. (Fun? “Those who know, grin.”) In the interests of all-in-one-eggbasketry writingwise, I’m including here my own, or rather that of “Will Thrustwell,” purple prose and all, just as written in 198…8? 9? It’s necessarily in-jokey for a tight circle of friends (and includes the origin of “Trolle Sweate,” a particularly potent potable with which “Thrustwell” is synonymous). Some of whom may get a bit of a nostalgic hoot hereout, others may simply enjoy. I know I did. (Even the “heaving, tortured bosom.”)

UPDATE: I just Googled “Will Thrustwell” on a whim. All I can say is, “If it’s not a pirate, it’s not me.”

Will Thrustwell, c. 1987

Fig. 1.

Thrustwell’s Tale, or Beware the Bottle
(Being the Somewhat Revised, yet Mercifully Succinct, History
of
WILL THRUSTWELL,
Senior Pilot of the
CARDIFF ROSE)

Set down by his good friend Peter Boggs, Special Correspondent to the London Illustrated News

Read more

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Prosatio Silban and the Mayor of Ixtachet

2010.08.10
By

EVERYONE WANTS TO BE THE Mayor of Ixtachet, at least until they become so: this Prosatio Silban discovered on a chance visit to the edge of the Blue Void which forms one border of the Uulian Commonwell.

Ixtachet was one of the few villages in the Commonwell not blessed with verdant pasturage and running streams. Instead, its inhabitants lived in a series of cliffside huts, each with a breathtaking view of the Blue Void’s eternal twilight and a small landhold containing a handful of roosts for the precarious-clinging snoat, whose richly flavored eggs were the economic foundation of Ixtachet’s existence. The village consisted solely of the cliffside huts, one public well, and a great warehouse called the Mayor’s House, and was largely unvisited save by those lost or seeking snoat eggs.

As a wandering cook, Prosatio Silban was both – rather, he had been lost until he realized (as one long-schooled in Uulian delicacies) where he was, and the prosperous figure before him had introduced himself as the Mayor of Ixtachet. He certainly looked the part: well-made red and yellow silk robes set with small gems, and well-fed mouth set in a disapproving frown.

“Unless you are licensed by the Victualer’s Guild, I can sell you no snoat eggs,” said the Mayor of Ixtachet. “They have each one of them been marked or spoken for.”

Prosatio Silban displayed a confidant’s smile. “Surely you could spare a single egg – say, sufficient for a half-dozen custards to adorn the table of a discerning Heir Second, as a complement to clinking crystal and after-dinner laughter?”

“Alas, no,” replied the mayor. “I could no more spare an egg than I could spare an Ixtachetian.”

“Why so?” Prosatio Silban asked.

The Mayor of Ixtachet then related his particulars: that his village was the only spot along the Blue Void’s rim where the tentative snoats would roost, and then only under such conditions as could be guaranteed through constant supervision by the entire village. The eggs brought almost incalculable wealth, but so busy were the Ixtachetians with snoat maintenance that they could spare only one day a year to enjoy it: the day they buried the old Mayor of Ixtachet and elected the new. Everyone wanted to be Mayor of Ixtachet – it meant a rest from the ceaseless toil of snoat-watching – and the election generally picked that year’s most charismatic and beloved person; it was considered an act of both mercy and trust.

But the Mayor’s task it was to guard the village’s health as well as its wealth: the vast treasure would also have been his pleasure were not his the hands which repaired and rebuilt, his the tongue which dealt with (licensed) traders, his the eye which oversaw everything and his the shoulders which carried it all, day by day.

This lesson was only learned on the first day, and confirmed by slow experience, because those who learned it were too enfeebled and used up by their service to warn their successors on Election Day.

“All they see — all I saw — is the robes and the restfulness,” said the Mayor of Ixtachet. “Not the responsibility.”

And as Prosatio Silban bade the village an eggless farewell, he reflected: Everyone wants to be the Mayor of Ixtachet – and probably, always will.

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From the Ashes

2010.08.02
By

AS DETAILED ELSEWHERE, I DID some freelance work in the early 1990s for an eccentric Northern California non-profit called Obscure Research Labs.

Well… when the phone rings at 3 a.m. and the familiar metallic voice offers an occasional work-from-home project featuring fabulous prizes, free virtual travel and a steady below-poverty income, all I could say was http://metaphorager.net/orl: ORL’s new Facebook page. And I’m told that if enough people “like” it, They might even throw in some food chips. True, it’s a long way to the surface from this new office, but They assure me the packaging will prevent most breakage…

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Flash Fiction: Death Finishes His Drink

2010.07.23
By

THE MAN WITH YESTERDAY’S EYES put down his glass.

“Well, it’s 3 a.m.,” he sighed. “I guess those poor bastards aren’t going to terrify themselves.”

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Under Oasine: Chapter 3 Synopsis

2010.07.22
By

WHEN LAST WE MET, OUR heroes (the reluctant Hapler, the wounded Ij, and the idealist Twiz) were either successful or not in their quest to prove Twiz’s Theory of Oasine Connectivity: they did discover a new oasis beyond their native Fint, but have been deterred in their return by some unexpected visitors of unknown intent…

After some tense fumbling, conversation is established. The visitors call themselves Aquans (at least, for now) and call the new-to-our-heroes oasis something translating as “Good Fruit and Game, But Watch Out For Leaping Teeth.” They are led by a young woman (for now named “Possible Love Interest, But Watch It Buster”) and are uncertain what to do with the Finter trespassers, especially since their waterpod is broken and Ij injured by the aforementioned Leaping Teeth.

The Aquans then conduct the party (and pod) to their undersurface city, there to consult the Old Aquan. After a couple of pages of travelogue, they arrive and meet the appropriately named Old Aquan — polite, curious and gruff as he cautions the newcomers that they have entered a bigger world than they expected. He does not elaborate, but urges them to leave at once; when told of their difficulties, he orders PLIBWIB to see to the healing of man and pod.

A week later, Ij is fit as a Finter fiddle, developing a crush on his nurse (much to Hapler’s amusement), and ready for the PLIBWIB-lead journey back to Fint. The four set off in the repaired-and-spiffed-up pod: but after a page or so of narrative feint, they run smack into the bigger world of which the Old Aquan warned them…

And that’s all you get ’til I write the next chapter! (See http://metaphorager.net/under-oasine-synopsis1/, second paragraph; for an Oasine Overview, click to http://metaphorager.net/tag/under-oasine/).

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Spacetime Coordination

2010.07.17
By

“So the first thing is where. My first thought is the Heart of Green.”

“Off to the Right?”

“No, before that and down hill. At the base of the Stairstream.”

“Oh. Under that cliffy flat place that leads to Blasted Heath, over the cliffs.”

“Yes, where Keith started cursing out the valley in neo-Sumerian.”

“—hole.”

“Quite. Anyway, what about there?”

“Okay. Sure. Then we could go by Elven Rocks…”

“The rocks on the right, or the ones on top of the hill with the view down the back and, what is that, north?”

“Yeah … I think they filmed part of Harold and Maude out there. Looks like it. The bridge scene.”

“That was San Mateo.”

“Right, but if it wasn’t, then there. But on the from where the view is.”

“Roger Dean Rocks.”

“Roger Dean Rocks. Right. The acorn mortars.”

“Right. And through that sort of on top of the hill lane. You know? By the rock by the tree.”

“Oh! Yeah! The birthday rock!”

“Didn’t you play the flute up there once?”

“I’ll bring it.”

“Who else can we invite?”

“Who else knows the way?”

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Wanted: Art Factory

2010.07.06
By

BRIGHT-EYED BUT LIMP-TAILED creator — more ideas than Warhol or Lucas with one-tenth the energy, no pretensions and no contacts — seeks talented but inspiration-dry makers to loose entertaining visions on unsuspecting populace. Preferred media disciplines: comix; publishing; publicity; cartography; lost-wax casting; rocketry and aeronautical/transorbital fabrication; costume design; beekeeping; gaming, including RPG and videotronics; orchestra; robotics; armory; theater and film/video; MOOG synthesizer; CG and model-building; architecture; laser optics.

No pay necessary — work from home in your spare time. Equal returns and credit guaranteed Scout’s honor (“A Cheery Coproduction of _YOUR NAME HERE_ and Neal’s Brain Unlimited”). No poseurs, players or funless wimps need apply. Please direct all serious inquiries (no phone calls please) to scoop at sonic dot net.

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Prosatio Silban and the Disconsolate Wineherd

2010.06.25
By

EVEN OVER THE CLANK OF his galleywagon, Prosatio Silban could hear the sobs.

The weeper, a well-to-do farmer by his dress, was standing beside a well-appointed and -laden wagon at the crossroads leading out of Vineol, a town renowned throughout the Uulian Commonwell for the delicacy and refinement of its wines. The day was hot for the region and season, and had been so for many days – hot, cloudless but with an occasional breeze at the right moment. Prosatio Silban wondered why the man was giving such unguarded vent, and reined his galleywagon to a halt.

“It’s too warm a day for such distress,” Prosatio Silban offered, dismounting.

The farmer produced a large handkerchief, blew noisily. “Not if the sun has blasted your crop, and with it your hopes for wintertime eating,” he said, and bowed. “Pars Killiup.”

“Prosatio Silban, The Cook for Any Price. May I be of service to you?”

Pars Killiup turned to his carriage. “Only if you can turn dross into gold, or rot into bounty. Look.” He drew back the wagon’s canvas cover, revealing several barrels, then pried the lid off of one. Inside was a tight-packed mass of what looked like black wrinkled berries, glinting here and there with rainbow sparks. A musky, tangy aroma rose from the barrel; unfamiliar, yet not unpleasant.

“Some of the finest winefruit this side of the Rimless Sea, or was before the heat ruined it,” he said. “I harvested the raisings anyway, just to give the lads something to do, and was taking it to the river. But the thought was more than I could bear, and so you found me.”

Prosatio Silban thought of the Uulian proverb, Disaster: Opportunity for the attentive. Aloud, he said, “Everything has its proper place. We will take these to market.”

“What? Why? So my neighbors can share my disgrace?”

“Not in Vineol. In Pastisi.”

“Pastisi? But Pastisi is nothing but brewers and bakers! They don’t even buy wine, let alone winefruit. Besides, it’s at least a dayride from here.”

“Nevertheless,” said Prosatio Silban. “You will sell these for more than they would bring if fresh.”

“Eh? Are you some sort of wizard?”

“No. Simply a cook who knows his customers.”

“Well, then. I have already lost my livelihood; I suppose you can’t make things worse.”

And so, following a journey divided by supper (grilled something and beets with a half-bottle of white duliac), a peaceful sleep, and breakfast (eggs with gravy, biscuits, sliced citrion and a bracing pot of yava), masters Silban and Killiup wedged themselves into the bustling marketplace of Pastisi.

“Now then.” Prosatio Silban opened the barrel they’d unloaded. “Within an hour, you’ll be the richest man in Vineol.”

“How so?”

Prosatio Silban was cut off by a gruff “What are these?” from a brawny chap in a brown baker’s tunic.

“‘These?’” Prosatio Silban replied, raising his voice a trifle. “’‘These’ have never before been seen on this side of the Rimless Sea. Taste one.”

The baker sniffed, raised an eyebrow. “Hm. Sweet.” He chewed, eyes closed, nodding. “Not cloying. Fruity. What are they?”

“That is the secret,” Prosatio Silban said. “My friend, Pars Killiup, has developed a method whereby the essence of a fruit may be concentrated within its skin by removing its waters.”

“Eh? Magik?” asked an old woman who had stopped to listen.

“No, madam,” Prosatio Silban replied. “Not magik, but a simple process sanctioned by the Flickering Gods—and, of course, Pars Killiup.”

The woman wrinkled her brow. “Looks like ruined winefruit to me,” she said.

Prosatio Silban closed his eyes as if in pain. “Ruined fruit is garbage. One does not sell garbage in the marketplace of Pastisi.”

“True,” said a boy leading a goat. “What are you selling?”

The old woman chewed, raised her eyebrows. “Something tasty, whatever else it be,” she said.

“How much d’you want for them?” asked the baker.

“What are you selling?” asked a man in the livery of a Pastisi noble.

“Something good for custard,” said the boy with the goat.

“Or bread,” said the baker.

“Or biscuits,” said the woman.

“How much for that barrel?” asked the liveried noble.

That evening, Prosatio Silban and PK dined on a truffled squab apiece atop a rich pilaf of rice, jo-beans and cashews – sweetened with the last handful of Pars Killiup’s accidental discovery. “This is delicious,” he said, raising his empty glass. “But how did you know?”

“Everything has its proper place,” Prosatio Silban replied, pouring the last of the duliac. “You just have to know where it is.”

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Under Oasine: Chapter Two Synopsis

2010.05.16
By

NO ONE WAS MORE SURPRISED than I to have finished the second chapter of my novel[1], nor when the characters hijacked the plot (at about the 0.23 mark. Stephen King said that was going to happen eventually). Thus, in all its synoptic glory[2]:

In our previous chapter, our three heroes (one reluctant), in their quaint craft the Deeper, tumbled deep into the oasis of Fint to surface only the Hydrator knows where. Are they lost, or is their hometown, or…?

After a brief discussion, Twiz and Ij take the Deeper’s small-boat (and a variety of weapons) for a closer look at their new surroundings while Hapler putters with the quaint craft’s gomaker: a complex assembly of pith and vegetative muscle, now damaged from the Deeper’s tumble.

Twiz and Ij soon discover that, wherever they are, at least they won’t starve. Fish are plentiful within the oasis lagoon, and fruit from its overhanging palm trees; but these are as unfamiliar to the explorers as the songs of afternoon insects. Ij is so taken by a clump of flowers that he doesn’t notice the beast until it leaps on him. A quick struggle, some deft spear-work by Twiz, and the sharp spindly thing lies dead.

Meanwhile, Hapler has troubleshot the damage and is heartened to see that it’s minimal. He is about to effect repairs when a banging on the hull draws his attention: Twiz, with the delirious form of Ij. The two lash their stricken companion into his hammock, then medicate him into sleep.

After a fitful dinner, Twiz and Hapler divide the night between them. Nothing happens during Twiz’ watch (beyond some intense apprehension and self-castigation); Hapler is just beginning to enjoy the strange insect-song when he notices a ring of eyes all around the Deeper. The eyes belong to slender grey-green figures — about a dozen of them — who swarm over the craft and subdue its astonished occupants.

Tune in next time (say, another 5,000 words) for the next thrilling chapter of Under Oasine!

[1] “My novel” (I love saying that; insert Peewee Herman giggle) is called “Under Oasine.” It’s set in an otherwise desert world, and everything I blog about it is tagged, well, http://metaphorager.net/tag/under-oasine/.

[2] Sorry, that’s all you get ’til the whole thing is done. (See http://metaphorager.net/under-oasine-synopsis1/, second paragraph.)

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You Can't Stop The Signal:
Celebrating the remaining days:hours:etc until Apophis II. Live it up, Earthlings.

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