Saturday, July 14, 2012
Scribble the first
Happy Friday the 13th! To stick my tongue in the unlucky superstition's face, I'm about to post something a tad bit different, just because I can... In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was trying to write a story. Oddly enough, I consider myself to be trying to write this story, but I’ve done precious little writing: all of my work has consisted of world building, character building, plotline building, etc etc. With the way I’m being a perfectionist (and slow) about this, I may die before it’s finished… but I figured in the meantime, I really should practice actual writing. Miracle of miracles, as soon as I think of an opening sentence, this story pops into my head… so I just started writing. Yes, the scene’s meant to be like this; I’ll explain it more after you read it.
“Are you writing a story, dear child?” she asked.
“No, mama, I’m drawing a dream!” Despite the enthusiasm in the statement, the child looks sad.
“Child, your paper is covered in letters. That’s called writing…” Suddenly furious, she bursts. “I thought we were making progress!”
“Yes, mama. Writing is a form of visual communication involving the combination of symbols to represent speech.”
“You parrot what you have been told, without understanding!”
“They understand. They do not comprehend.”
“It is I, I, not they!”
“I is singular, meaning the self. They is plural, and means a group outside the self. I speak correctly.”
Mama slaps the child, knocking it to the floor.
“I understand that it is too late to beat the strangeness from you, but I will have you act normally!”
Laying prone, the child does nothing to defend itself, but quotes: “ ‘For them that speak falsehoods, they commit the greatest sin of all; they deny the holiness of the Truth of the World. As such, they align themselves not with the Adversary, but with the Void, and when vanquished shall suffer oblivion and the end of hope.’ “
“I ought to end you. Better to suffer the great death of fire than the thousand continuous deaths of change!”
“Mama, it is backwards; change is a function of living things. You are already dead.”
Face drawn, no emotion showing, Mama kicks at the child. One, twice, thrice, again and again, showing no recognition of the blood soaking her shoes. She kicks until the child is a broken mangle, then walks away calmly.
Time passes, then it is gone. Now, the child is whole, the blood disappeared.
Two voices converse; one the child’s, one a stranger’s. “Do you forgive them?” “Always.” “Then, let us try again.”
“What are you doing, child?”
“I am drawing a dream, Uncle.” Despite the pleasantness in the voice, the child looks angry.
“Your paper is covered in words, dear. Why do you say you are drawing?”
“Drawing is a form of visual communication involving shapes and gradients to represent images. Words are the shapes most effective for describing dreams; the images are too mutable for a photograph.”
“Huh….” Uncle thinks about this statement for a moment, confused, then disregards it. “So, what was your dream like?”
“Why do you ask what you already know?”
“Look, I am sorry I looked over your shoulder earlier, but I said I wouldn’t do it again, and I meant that.”
“Why do you tell me what I already know?”
“Well, how else are you expecting me to know what you’re dreaming?”
“ ‘It hath been said, the mark of a true warrior is his eternal vigilance and attention to his environment; however, this should not be an ideal reserved for the warrior class, but for all people from all walks of life. For we shape our environment, and our environment shapes ourselves, and to let what it tells us slip by is to condemn ourselves to featureless lives.’ “
Uncle blinks, surprised to hear such an advanced quotation from a mere child, but then dismisses it as nothing.
“Well, kid, it was nice talking with you, but I only have a little bit of time to spare.” With that excuse, Uncle walks off, leaving the child behind.
Time passes, and the child dies of starvation, the skin sloughing off, exposing shriveled meat and bone. Then, it is gone; now, the child is whole, the skin disappeared.
Two voices converse; the child’s and the stranger’s. “Do you forgive them?” “Always.” “Then let us try again.”
“What are you writing?”
“Sister, I am drawing a dream.” Despite the dullness to the tone, the child looks happy.
“Oh, cool! Can I see?”
“I am not done yet.”
“Fair enough, I suppose. Wanna come play with me, dear?”
“I would like to finish.”
Sister shrugs and wanders off. After a spell, she comes back with a plate of food. “Here, silly, eat something!”
“Thank you, Sister.”
“No problem. Can I see your dream yet?”
“In a while.”
“Alright! See you in a while.”
Sister wanders off again. Time passes, and the child leaves the paper underneath the empty plate for Sister to find.
Then, it is gone; the paper exposed, the plate disappeared.
Two voices, the child’s and the stranger’s, converse. “You see?” “She’s better, but not perfect.” “Shall we try again?”
The child looks down at the cat quizzically studying it. “What would you like from me?”
The cat comes to a decision, leaps into the child’s lap and looks at it expectantly. Child begins petting it; contented, the cat settles down and purrs. When the child finishes, the cat leaps up, leaving behind a cloud of shed hair… which settles on the paper, complimenting the message on the sheet.
A stranger’s voice, and the child’s, converse. “Is this good?” “It understands already; it needs no further comprehension.” “Again?” “No… I think we have done enough.” “As you wish.”
What the fuck, right? Yes, that was the reaction I was aiming for; this scene is a tip of the iceberg. At some point I might write down to the depths, but in the meantime…
I was actually going for a bit of artistic realization here; it was meant to be read by an audience (yes, even though you are all imaginary, I’m going to write for an audience when I feel like it ANYWAYS :P), to get you to think about assumptions you make. For example, what sex did you assume the child was? How did you imagine the characters? Older, younger, which race, what manner of dress, what manner of personality, etc? Where did you imagine this scene taking place? What language do you assume the child is writing in, and what language do you think they were speaking? How do you think the child is reacting to the characters (paying attention, focused on it’s dream drawing, distracted by the environment)? In the dialogue between child and stranger, who do you think speaks first? What sort of an underlying backstory did you imagine? I tried to give lots of material to fuel all sorts of different twists; how were you making sense of it all? I know, I’m totally going all English Major on you, but still, if you like trying to twist your brain… I can think of three different directions I could build off this scene off the top of my head, and if I tried I could think up more; why not give it a try, if you’re of a scribbling inclination, might be fun.
And, what actually happened is the first scene poured out onto the paper magically (I’ve heard of writers talking about that feeling, but that was the first time I experienced it), then I tried to build off that to give it a bit more substance, to make it clear that the iceberg goes deep indeed. Of course, I have no idea if I succeeded, but if the first scene seems different than the following scenes, that’s why. And pay no mind to the fact it turned morbid… I’m like that sometimes XD. Anyways, that was fun, so I think what I’ll do is keep doing this sort of thing, starting off with little sentences and turning them into a scene with a whole story underneath. Or maybe I’ll experiment with this little writing exercise. Guess you’ll see, dear imaginaries ^.^