Interested Beta Readers?

Denica Winter wants to believe that the destruction of her home planet was a freak accident. And she’s not about to shed any tears over it. After all, it’s not logical to cry. Emotions are weakness.

Denica has always been the best. She doesn’t know what it feels like to be less than first, and she doesn’t want to know. But when she is accepted into the most elite school in the Galactic Federacy, she’s up against students just as smart as or smarter than her. And that doesn’t sit well with her.

There’s always been one thing she never understood. One thing she could never fathom: Emotions. The love of her family, the friendships of the people around her- she can’t make sense out of it. She doesn’t want to think about it because it feels like a deficiency. She makes a habit of ignoring the things she doesn’t understand.

But when her sister is suddenly endangered by the very government she’s always believed in, she needs to decide. Can she confront the side of herself that she has always rejected?

DON’T REMEMBER is a YA novel complete at 96,250 words. It is the first in a planned series.

Just comment below with your preferred contact information, or email avianmelodies@gmail.com by 7/19/2015, 12:00 AM ET if you’re interested.

Thank you for your time!

 

[PC: wallpaperswide.com]

Ender’s Game Movie Review

I should mention beforehand: I’m going to be comparing a lot to the book. Of course I’ll talk about the movie itself as a standalone, but I’m also incorporating the book. So if you’re one of those people who disapprove of book-movie comparisons, feel free to move on.

First off, I want to say that thinking about the movie hurts. It hurts like crazy because the book has so much depth and material to work off of, and the movie doesn’t take advantage of that. Ender’s Game is such a well-crafted piece of writing with well-rounded characters and wonderful world-building. The movie… falls short.

Short, not flat.

By itself, it’s pretty good. It hits the bigger themes of the book. It tells the story of a child who wishes to be good but ends up becoming the destroyer of an entire species. A child who is afraid of his own cruelty and wishes to be good. There’s a lot of identity conflicts, and that’s what makes Ender’s story so unique and special. Despite being set in a futuristic technology-heavy world, the main focus is on him as a person.

Things I liked about the movie script: Bernard’s development. It was a little sudden and idealistic in a could-only-happen-in-a-story way, but I have a soft spot for character development storylines. I also like that that the bugger egg was on an ‘advanced command post near the formic home planet’ (AKA Eros, as it was called in the book). For the purposes of condensing a book into a movie, as is usually necessary with adaptations, this was a good change. It was a smooth way that didn’t detract from the storyline.

About condensing books into movies. Ender’s Game was severely cut. It completely missed out on the development of a lot of side characters. Especially Valentine and Peter. What about the whole Locke and Demosthenes aspect? Where did that go? It was crucial towards developing the personalities of Ender’s siblings. And Valentine and Peter are the idealized polars in Ender’s mind that he constantly struggles between. Those two are crucial towards understanding Ender’s multi-dimensionality. What about the greatest irony of the Wiggin brothers- that kind Ender is remembered as a killer while psycho Peter is remembered as a hero?

And of course, the relationship between Bean and Ender. Bean has an entire book titled Ender’s Shadow for a reason. Bean is a character in himself. He has his own story to tell, his own life, his own personality. What he looked like in the movie: a kid that represented the majority of Ender’s launch group- hating Ender at first, looking to him as a leader at last. He was a manifestation of the general population. He didn’t have his own story.

It makes me feel betrayed.

And it’s not just about Bean. It’s about Ender. In the book, Ender has a complex about treating Bean like Ender’s instructors treated Ender. It’s an important theme in the book: isolation entails excellence. Ender stepping into the role as Bean’s isolator is an important development point for Ender’s character. And the story of how Bean becomes Ender’s right hand man. That development is so much deeper than ‘Bean used to be jealous of Ender but now he likes Ender.’

Ender’s complicated relationship with his friends was also underdeveloped. People like Petra were flattened out a lot. In the book, Petra is both good and bad. She is simultaneously a teacher to Ender and a jealous student. She is both good and bad, as is human nature. You can apply this concept to the majority of the minor characters in book Ender’s Game. They’ve all been flattened to all-good or all-bad (except Bernard, as explained above). What did she look like in the movie? Only a teacher and supporter to Ender.

As a side note, I don’t know if Hailee Steinfield was the right choice for this role. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love her in other movies. Like Pitch Perfect 2- she embodies those kinds of characters accurately. Just look at Hailee in real life. She doesn’t strike me as a tomboy. She’s not the kind of person who should portray boyish Petra Arkanian. Petra Arkanian in the book never broke until pushed and stressed to the cracking point. She does not cry out of empathy for other people. She cracked because of a personal failure. In the movie, she was close to tears when Ender was about to leave to explore the bugger structure on Eros. That doesn’t align with Petra of the book. Nor does it serve as an improvement.

And I know just because you are something in real life, doesn’t mean you can’t act differently for a movie. But imagine Asa Butterfield was a jumpy and excitable person in real life. I don’t think he could have portrayed silently-suffering Ender Wiggin quite as easily then. What I’m saying is, characters usually have to ring with the actor in order to be portrayed meaningfully. And they have to ring on a deep level, not a wouldn’t-that-be-fun-to-play level.

I believe Gavin Hood had no excuse to saw away at a book that much (keep in mind I’m only talking about his screenplay work with Ender’s Game. I’m in no way criticizing his directing or his other screenplays). Ender’s Game runs just barely under 2 hours, which isn’t too bad, but it could have been longer without raising eyebrows.  It needed to be longer. And even if it was too long, I’m fairly sure it would have had a much more positive reception than the way it is now. Interstellar runs almost 3 hours, but it’s amazing because of the idea of the story. I feel like the amount of times Ender did a voice-over recap of things happening is proof of where the movie could have had more material. And anyways, if the movie had been exactly like the book, it probably would have run about 4 hours. But Titanic is proof that despite the normal movie time of the era, if it’s good, people will like it. Ender’s Game had the potential to be one of those massively long but exceptionally well received movies.

Another side note: I believe the book version of Ender’s Game is just as good as Interstellar, in its own way. Interstellar has its accurate yet interesting-to-the-masses science (who knew that was possible?) + makes-you-think theory thing, and book Ender’s Game has the very human message of internal conflict + attempting to drive your own life when everyone else has their hands all over your future. Interstellar rings with me in a thoughtful way, and Ender’s Game rings with me in an emotional way.

They don’t call it the Enderverse for nothing. There is extremely well-crafted world-building in his world. But it’s all glossed over in the movie. The Polemarch, the thing about Jewish commanders in the Strategos, the Warsaw Pact, the way the world is clinging together only out of a mutual fear of the buggers… Gone. The missing politics completely takes down a dimension to the IF. The International Fleet is keeping the world together against the buggers, thus there’s a certain futility to the Battle School and Ender’s pseudo-victory at the end. The basic They Weren’t Attacking but We Attacked guilt in Ender, but the politics aspect would have compounded that. Made it a more painful thing. It would have rung more.

There’s little things that I want to talk about too. Fly Molo was caricatured as just another Salamander annoyed at inexperienced Ender. He’s even on Bonzo’s side. That’s not true to the book. Of course, there’s little things I like, too. Petra calling the Little Doctor a ‘her.’ That matched her character. It made sense that she would say it. But in general, the characterizations were shaky. Bean is supposed to be a genius. Yet he said “Ender? What kind of name is that?” scoffingly. I’m not sure how I feel about the battle Ender lost. It deconstructs the picture that Orson Scott Card seemed to be drawing of Ender Who Never Loses, but it does build on Perfect Ender Finally Fails and It’s Shocking for Him. It makes his more human. So that boils down to how loyal one wants to be to the author’s creation. I liked the Asp + Salamander vs Dragon battle. Putting Salamander there instead of Leopard and Tiger was a good condensation that developed Bonzo and showed how he hates being beaten by Ender. It also gives a clear reason for the shower scene. The Mind Game was nicely condensed. It kept the important ideas about the Peter-Valentine polarity.

I’m curious as to how this movie’s ratings might have changed had there not been a book to compare it to. Obviously, I have a lot to say about how the movie falls short of the book. I wonder what others think. I’m going to say again that in itself, the movie was pretty good. But the part that hurts inside me is that Ender didn’t get a full story. He’s a wonderful character. He rings so much with me. But he didn’t get his chance to show his full potential on the big screen.

How Spontaneous Are You?

[PC: truity.com]

Disclaimer: You will be hopelessly lost once you get deeper into this post if you are not acquainted with Myers Briggs typology.

I recently got a book of “500 Writing Prompts” and whenever things feel tepid in my life, I end up pulling it out.  Well, not just tepid. Also heated. Heated to the point where I decide I need to clear my head.  So “500 Writing Prompts” sweeps in to save me.

First off, tell me about you guys! I’m interested in hearing different viewpoints.

Okay: How Spontaneous Am I? Not very. For a bit in my life, I thought I was. When I go hiking and clamber up the massive boulders off the trail, when I send a Facebook friend request to an intimidating previous math teacher (that one got a lot of my friends laughing), when I hightail to the pantry at random times of the day-

I realized, that’s after I do a lot of calculating in my head. How would I get up that boulder? Does it matter if I get caught? That stone looks like a good step. I don’t care if I get caught because I’m 15 and I’m minor. So nothing can really happen. Also, that’s a really good vantage point. And unassuming, because a lot of people don’t look up. And as for the Facebook episode: How will she react? What’s the worst that can happen? She rejects it, and end of story. Why not? Plus she’s an ENTJ (more on this later) so I doubt she’ll be judging.

And then things play out from there.

I admit that last scenario is an impulse-control problem. I suppose if I’m spontaneous about something, it’s fridge-raiding. That’s pretty much it.

Also, I’m going to use this as an excuse to talk about Myers Briggs. Last time I posted, Tolkien lore was my obsession. Now I’ve shifted to MBTI. Most times I get INTJ, sometimes ENTJ. If there was an Ambiversion category, I believe I would be an ANTJ. But since humanity is too limited to think of such things, I usually identify as an INTJ.

So more on that ENTJ math teacher. I suppose the way she communicated -efficient, blunt, thorough- I liked it right off the bat. The bluntness part really stuck out, and a lot of people consider it insensitive. But that was the most interesting facet of her personality, in my opinion. As a female Thinker, I haven’t met many other females that openly use Thinking. I don’t use it publicly much because then I come off as abrasive.

But she used it, outright, and I admired that. If you were wrong, she told you right away. No sugar coating. That was so refreshing. Intimidating, but refreshing. She would go around the classroom while we did practice problems and clearly say, “Nope, good, nope, good,” just flat-out.

Also the way she taught. She always emphasized logic over memorization. Honestly, the only reason I got by with an acceptable A in that class is because of her fabulous classes. I was spotty with homework and studying, but I got by because I really understood things during the lesson. And when I understand something, I don’t forget it. Unlike memorization.

I suppose for a good while in my life, I’ve been trying to suppress my grating xNTJ tendencies in order to be friends with my Feeler companions. So seeing someone openly embrace their ENTJ self was  intriguing to watch.

Anyways. Any other xNTJs out there?

I was talking with an INFJ, and I told her “I read somewhere that the equivalent of a moral cause for an INFJ is an intellectual pursuit for an INTJ.” I had an INTJ sitting next to me, and she said, “that’s true, I never do anything for a moral cause.”

That rang right into me. Yup, I got her. Morality is a very blurry line for me. That made me wonder, do most INTJs think that?  Then that made me think, that’s actually kind of scary. Imagine not knowing the morals of a friend.

Or maybe that’s just me and my need to know everything about everyone on an analytical level. Emotional concerns, I couldn’t give a crap about. Meaning, I don’t understand what the big deal is. I know it sounds really callous, but I just want to say: “Get over it!”

I wondered for a while why I was so obsessed with MBTI. Then I read somewhere that INTJs usually like MBTI because the first time they read the description of an INTJ is the first time they feel understood. That rang with me for sure.

Now I know there are haters out there who say MBTI is a box. But I just want to voice my opinion about this issue: For me, in particular, reading about INTJs made me feel a lot better. Why? Because I’m surrounded by Feelers. The way they’re always so empathetic and concerned made me feel like an oddity. Of course I can pretend- not very well, but I can pretend I understand to a degree.

So reading about Thinkers, especially how it applies to INTJs, helped me come to terms with myself. It helped me realize that just because I’m not good with empathy, I’m not a psychopath or something. That’s just the way my brain works, and that’s how I am.

MBTI also helped me understand people around me. It helped me understand differences. Of course I’d had the “diversity is good” thing fed to me since who knows when. And on a surface level, I thought I believed it. But I didn’t truly realize that “diversity is good” until a while later, after going through a bit of life and figuring it out myself. MBTI solidified my belief that everyone has their own thing that I shouldn’t be judging. To each their own.

Another common complaint I hear about personality tests in general: People saying that their typing isn’t correct. Okay, I don’t deny that personality tests aren’t exact. They have to be fudgy. People are different for a reason, after all. But I feel like a lot of people answer the questions based on who they want to be, or what they think they are, rather than what they actually are. Then they complain that personality tests are incorrect.

That mildly irritates me, because it’s not Myers Briggs itself that is pushing the person away from it. It’s the very person’s misconceptions about themself.

I kind of wanted to talk about psychopathy and emotional switches. That’s something I’ve recently been looking into. But I’ll leave that for a separate article.

Happy, Happy, Happy

[PC: Shusterman.com]

“Two weeks, Kaya. Enjoy.”

I nod. “Got it. Thanks.” I take the book from the librarian.

Someone pushes me gently. “Hi Loner.”

I don’t have to look to know it’s Arden. Because she’s my only friend. “Hi Social Butterfly.” I turn to her. “What gives me the privilege of your company today?” We head towards the doors.

“My birthday, idiot. It’s this Friday.” She elbows me. “Halloween, too, but we all know my birthday’s more important.” She gives me a sly smile.

“Can I be a roly poly?”

“And hide at the house? Dream on.” She nudges me. “See you there?”

“I have to ask my parents.”

“What, do they control your life?”

“Well, no, I mean—”

“Kaya.” Arden drags me to a couch. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.” I tug at my jacket sleeves.

“Why do you study so hard?”

I shrug. “My parents say GPA is everything.”

Arden grins. “More than me?”

“Uh…”

Arden stands up briskly. “That’s what I thought.” She waves cheerily. “See you on Saturday!”

 

I didn’t expect anything else. My parents won’t let me.

“You need to study.”

“My exams will be over my then.” I sigh. “And she’s basically my only friend.”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because we’re your parents, and we said so.”

“That’s stupid. You need to have a reason.”

“No. We said so, and you need to listen.”

“That’s completely illogical.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

Choking down my frustration, I head for my room. I stare at my homework. What would happen if I didn’t do my homework one night? Or if I loosened up a little? Got a B on a test?

I push the thoughts away. No, I need to study. I need to get good grades, I need to… I pull out my pencil case and get to work. I need to get good grades, I need to get good grades, I need to…

Arden catches me in science. She winks. “So? Birthday?”

“I…” At that moment, Zach Williams brushes by. He puts his arm around Arden.

“Hey, Arden.”

“Hi Zach!”

I break away and head to Spanish. Quiz about Frida Kahlo. She married Diego Rivera, the two had a rocky relationship, she mostly drew self portraits…

What political party was Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in?

I freeze. What political party… Drawing a blank. I’m drawing a blank. Sweat beads on my palms. What political party… Socialism? Communism? I can hear my heart in my ears. Socialism? Communism? Socialism, communism, socialism, communism…

I finally circle socialism.

“Thank you,” Señora Garcia says when I turn my quiz in. “Are we all finished?”

The sea of faces nods.

“Great, let’s go over it.” As she goes down the questions, a sickening feeling twists my stomach.

“Number 25,” Señora Garcia says. “Last question. Communism.” I missed one. What is that? 96? I can’t get that. Can’t get that. Can’t. I hold back the burning in my eyes. I should have studied more! I should have known that! Stupid. Stupid.

At home, I lay my head down on my desk. And I let the tears flow.

Afterschool the next day, Zach stops me. “Hey, Kaya.”

“Hey.” I continue walking.

“Wait.” He steps in front of me. “You don’t look too happy.”

“Maybe it’s you,” I snap. “Move.” I try to sidestep him, but his arm is in the way.

“Wait.” He rummages in his backpack. “I know something that helps.” He hands me a bag of white powder. “Take some. I promise you’ll feel good right away.”

I freeze. “What is that?”

“I small doozy will make you feel like heaven.” He grins. “It’ll erase that frown.”

“You mean drugs?”

“Same difference. Clears your head.”

Clears my head?”

“Happy, happy, happy,” he sings softly. “Let your imagination fly…”

I remember what my parents said. You have to study. We said so. That doesn’t matter. No.

I snatch the bag and shove it into my pocket.

“You’ll thank me!” Zach calls after me.

“In your dreams,” I shout. Why did I do that? Because he said happy, he said my imagination could fly. Maybe I can forget my horrible grades. Maybe.

I step into the car and it only takes two seconds for the yelling to begin.

“I saw your grades! 96? Quizzes are supposed to be review. That should’ve been an automatic 100. Didn’t I tell you GPA comes first? You wanted a reason why you can’t go to that girl’s party? Because of your grades. Ask after your grades are good, and then we might consider it. But not when your grades are down the drain! At this rate, you’ll end up at the community college. Do you want that?”

Somewhere in there, I space out. Her words bounce around, hitting my ears, but I’m not listening.

When I retreat to my room, I hug my pillow to my chest and let the tears come again. So close. So close to a 100. I had a 50/50 chance, and I guessed wrong. Idiot. Stupid. Stupid.

I dig into my pocket and stare at the Ziploc bag. Happy, he said. Happy. But what if I die? From overdose?

It doesn’t matter.

Frantically, I open it and dump it into my mouth. Happy, happy, happy. Make me happy. Please.

And it does. Everything seems to crystallize, so clear. My grades are just a tiny black splotch at the edge of my vision. That’s all.

“I can do it,” I say. I start on my homework eagerly. And for once, everything is smooth. Easy. So crystal clear.

I can even go to bed early today. I bury myself in the blankets and curl up. The black splotch is growing, but it’s not too big yet. Not too big. I’ll think about it later. First, sleep.

The next morning, the black is back. Shrouding my vision. I stare dolefully at the few bits of powder left in the bag. I could take some. And everything would be good.

No. No, that’s getting close to addiction. I shove the bag under a few binders and head for school.

In math, I get back a 99 on a test. I grit my teeth to hold back a moan of frustration. I missed the bonus. One freaking question, and I could’ve had a 104. The kid next to me got a 109. Why couldn’t I get a 109? Because I’m stupid, stupid, stupid.

This time, I find Zach outside. I pull him aside. “Do you have more?”

He grins. “Crack feel good, don’t it?” He winks and hands me another baggie. “You’re hot. Let’s do it someday.”

“Aren’t you with Arden?” I ask sharply. He shrugs.

“It’s not official. So it’s not cheating.”

“Kaya Stafford!” A voice shouts. I wince.

“Sorry, my mom’s here. Bye.”

“Later.”

I shove the bag in my pocket and get in the car. This time, the shouting begins milliseconds after the door closes.

“Kaya! Why are you with a boy? You don’t have time for those things. I thought you were smart enough to know that. Your GPA comes first.”

She continues talking, but I shut her out. I put my hand in my pocket and run my fingers over the grainy surface of the Ziploc bag.

The moment I make it to my room, I shut the door and pull out the bag. A second later, the white powder clogs my mouth. I swallow it eagerly. Then I take a deep breath.

Yes, the test will be okay. Don’t worry about it. Not a big deal. I finish my homework like lightning again and sit back in my chair, a smile on my lips. Finally at peace. Finally, everything seems to make sense.

I glance at my planner. Right, a test tomorrow. But I can handle it. I can do it. Not a big deal. I start shivering. My fingers twitch by themselves. I watch, entranced by the convulsions. My arm moves by itself. Intriguing.

I flip my laptop open and find a movie online. Maybe slightly illegal, but it’s okay. I plug in my earphones and sit back. It’s okay. I’m happy.

 

I crawl out of bed the next day feeling a little hazy. My vision is covered in a black shade. And it seems to rotate, shift, morph into figures. I shake my head. But they keep moving, changing, swirling in my eyes. I do my best to ignore them.

The test is horrible. All the way through, I shout at myself in my head. I can hear the words in my mother’s voice. Idiot! Stupid! You should have studied! Happiness doesn’t matter, GPA comes first! GPA comes first! GPA comes first!

And that continues in my head. GPA comes first! After I turn in my test. GPA comes first! After I leave class, after I go to the library. GPA comes first! GPA comes first!

Someone touches my shoulder. I jerk back violently. The hand disappears. GPA comes first.

“Kaya!” Someone steps in front of me. Hazy. The black shadows peel away from the figure. Golden strings spill from the head. No, not strings. Hair.

“Arden,” I realize.

“You okay?” She reaches for me, but I pull away.

“I’m fine. Don’t worry.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m fine!” I hiss.

“Oh, okay.” She smiles. “My birthday party’s tonight. I wanted to know if you were coming.”

“Can’t.” GPA comes first.

“Aw, why not?” She makes a pleading face. “Just to have some fun?” She puts a hand on my arm. “What would you want to do? I’ll make it happen.”

I shake my head. “I can’t.” GPA comes first.

“But why—”

“I can’t!” I exclaim. My voice rings in the quiet air. Several students give me odd looks. Arden steps backward.

“I’m sorry,” she says quickly. “I didn’t mean to be pushy.”

I walk away. “GPA comes first,” I whisper.

Afterschool, I grab three bags from Zach and hurry away.

“Hey, Kaya, wait up!”

“No!” I shout. “Leave me alone!”

I slip into the car and sit back, letting the shouts rattle around. Every once in a while, a snippet gets into my head. Should have. Idiot. What’s wrong with you? Stupid. GPA comes first. I rub my hand over the Ziploc bags. Slowly, round and round. Over the bumps. Next to the bumps.

As soon as we pull into the garage, I take off. I run to my room.

“Stop running!” My mom shouts. I race into my room and slam the door. I exhale when the lock is in place. Then I grab the powder and dump them into my mouth. First, second, and third bag. The door is rumbling.

“Open the door!” My mom screams.

“Leave me alone,” I choke out. Leave me alone. My heart thuds through my body. I can feel each pulse in my fingertips. I start shivering. I can’t control it. Shivering wildly. I can’t stop. My legs give way and I hit the floor. Pain lances through me. The shadows. They’re getting closer. They’re crawling on my walls, they have claws.

The door is rattling. A murderer is trying to get in. There’s thunder in my ears. Drums. Drums, deep in my ears. The drums are roaring. The murderer is roaring. The murderer is speaking. GPA comes first.

The door crashes open. The shadows are grabbing at me, pulling at my feet, my arms, my hair. Get up! They’re telling me. Stop pretending! But what am I pretending about? Do your homework! Didn’t I do it yesterday? And the day before? And the day before that?

The drums. So many drums, coursing through my limbs. Boom. So many. Boom Boom. So many shadows, sliding through my skin. Boom. Boom. Boom. So many.

Happy, happy, happy, I can hear him singing. Happy, happy, happy. Let your imagination fly.

Everything is okay. It’s not my imagination anymore. It really is over.

So loud. So many.

I let out a shuddering breath. It’s okay.

It’s over.

Name one thing you wish your cell phone did for you that it currently does not.

(Photocredits: tommmyboy.deviantart.com)

Be nonexistent due to the nanobots in our brain capillaries that render physical electronics useless. So instead of a clunky device, everything can be displayed to our [bionic] eyes. No one else can see because it’s quite literally in your head, and your eyes are basically the devices augmenting reality with the internet/laptop/whatever layered on top of the real world. We could interact via physical motions (yes, to all others it would look like nonsensical waving in the air) or thoughts.

Can thoughts really be translated into clear commands? My head is a big jumble, so I for one know that if we ended up using thoughts, I would suffer because my thoughts are never coherent. I would never be able to get my screen to stay in place. A book would flash up out of nowhere, then suddenly a google search that morphs into a youtube video, which morphs into another youtube video, then a movie that stops midway for another google search…

The “internet” could be redefined as a kind of server in which all our nanobot-augmented-reality screens could use for the world to see, floating wherever each person chooses to put it. Basically, our bionic eyes access the “World Server,” which can be thought of as an augmented layer on reality, through which we can put our screens. And a VPN (virtual private network) could be like a private server, so no one else can see what the person’s doing since they’re not on the World Server.

There would also be the choice to enter full virtual reality, in which the nanobots temporarily plug our physical action neurons and move them over into actions in a digitized world. Imagine how great that would be! We could work in office buildings that defy physics, fly in style wherever we wanted, visit digitized versions of Tenochtitlan… School could be an adventure, instead of the vapid state of staring at textbooks.

If we all started living in virtual reality more, another social class would probably develop. Like a parallel of the people who do construction work and clean the backstreets of Earth. They’re essential and occupy an incredibly important part of society, despite many of us not noticing them. So this new job would be like taking care of the Earth and making sure it doesn’t turn into a dilapidated ruin while the rest of us frolic in virtual reality.

To be honest, I don’t think virtual reality should be all-consuming, as just described. The fact is, the physical world is where the real progress happens. It’s where we can explore space and be the all-conquering people we’ve historically acted as, time and time again. Virtual reality would a sandbox of sorts to indulge creativities in, a rich and complex world to explore, a megalithic library to glutton yourself on knowledge with… [Insert everything awesome about the internet here].

As with all things, too much is never good. So we could use virtual reality for entertainment purposes, and Earth for exploration and work purposes.

I wonder when this could actually happen. Has anyone heard of the 2045 Initiative? It’s not exactly this idea, but it’s definitely food for thought. You can check it out here. As far as I know, there hasn’t been any huge updates recently, but I hope they’re making good progress. I like their goal. A lot. Actually, I’m kind of desperate for them to succeed.

A lot of times, when I start spacing out and fantasizing about the future, I feel like my biggest regret is that I was born too early. Yeah, yeah, I know this is a great age of technology and whatnot. But I’m greedy, and I want more. I.E., those aforementioned nanobots.

To be honest, I think it’s quite feasible. BCIs (brain-computer interfaces) should be sophisticated enough within a decade or two, and from there the output devices would be bionic eyes. Nanobots, the input devices, can pick up what our motions are so we can interact with these nanobot-screens. Bionic eyes could also enhance vision and grant the sightless sight. I’m very nearly legally blind, and lasik may soon become a no-go due to my eyesight being too bad for it, so you can see why I’d very much like enhanced awesome bionic eyes.

As you’ve probably guessed, I’m an avid futurist. An under-qualified, overtly dreamy futurist, but a futurist nonetheless. I also used this prompt as an excuse to talk about the stuff I really wanted to talk about. And not something lame (for me) like what I’d like my phone to do. I’d like our world to be too good for devices like cell phones, and very soon.

(battle cry) Go nanobots!

Skye out.

 

Shards of Dreams

The Prologue

When the days began to dim in night
And frosty snows scattered into flight,
Circinus forked lights into the skies,
And met the dove of Columba’s eyes.
Herein the stars placed in such singularity,
Our God bestowed a gift of clarity,
A daughter of God to fill a waiting space
Within the family she was God’s grace.
Purest of hearts and sweetest of souls
Innocence and kindness was her role
She rode the waves of space and time
Every movement of dance as a golden chime
And when there came a new face at home,
She loved the little boy as her own.
But there came the fourteenth winter
That the kingdom sat in tinder,
So the king called for the prophesy.
The compass and the dove’s odyssey
Was said to join in alignment of stars
As ender of ends, finisher of wars.
To be an finality to chaos
And redeem the five failed prophesies
God’s Grace was called from her dance,
Asked to enter this game of chance.
Offered another destiny far from the known,
Told she would not return until full grown.
So her mother took her by the hand,
Told her she’d see strange, fearful lands,
And a golden locket she was gifted,
Radiant as the sun and empty when lifted,
Love and soul would fill the space,
The two she loved to enter this golden place.
And her young mind fluttered in confusion,
Wondering of inclusion without exclusion,
And her mother embraced her with a laugh
For all is unneeded if the graces lie in half.
Hand to heart, soul to soul, she left in belief
That there she must excel and achieve.
Thus training passed within year half twenty,
And contenders for the prophesy were many,
But only the finest and highest student
Could be the hero of a life well spent.

 

The Tale

The first day passed, and she was excited.
The court of elites sang of legends delighted,
They studied tradition and history,
They studied the languages of mystery.
Things to do, readings and writ thereof,
And all of it she found to love.
The first week passed, and suns circled fast.
The classes visited the royal mast,
Lessons were learned of the old King Pree
Next to the ash trees by the sea,
Watching the nightingales dance to a gigue.
And all these things she watched intrigued.
The first month passed, the night-eye sighed.
The contenders visited the river side,
Sought and cared for the leaping critters,
Taught the science by those of verse.
But the sleep was a difficult thing to come,
For home was a long and lonely drum,
Wishing for family, the whole myriad.
And all of it she found good and sad.
The first year passed, leaves fell to snow,
She watched the flurries twist and blow,
Wondered of her brother, long since seen,
For a winter had gone and she was fifteen.
Time had passed like a wheeling ring,
And all of it she found empty and missing.
Five years passed, a lonely time too.
Studies were high and trips went adieu.
Grammar, rhetoric, arithmetic, astronomy,
And far the days of ash trees by the sea.
Every day grades trapped her like a fence,
And all of it she found dejectedly tense.
Ten years passed, and thus the question rose,
The ender selected by the pros.
Reader, herein lies not the question.
For she was chosen, that much was won,
And that night six hundred turned east to home,
But one went west to the sea’s frothy foam.
Six hundred lost but saw their families,
One won and saw naught but the western breeze.
Four years and the mountains rose and died,
She and freedom stood a great divide,
Only the melting sun became the guide
She followed to fulfill prophesied
Stories she was chosen to become.
Past the snows and rains that made her numb
From cold and icy pricks in her face,
The dying sun she would have to chase
Past the crumbling plants of drying time,
Past the bellies of giants to climb
And chase a duty she needed done.
When night turned into the midnight sun
She brought the grasses out of the sands
And wove small trinkets within her hands,
Each strand of green so pure, like before
When she played with her brother, before
She left and many years passed, chasing
A prophesy in that small craving
That took the light of the small school she
Thought would set her future to a free
And successful life of richness.
With the grass she gently twisted cress
Greens and whites. Ribboned to a lily
And dancing underneath the sky-eye,
Each movement sang of the past and gone,
Each childhood she set aside at dawn
To pour over studies in dark rooms,
Past afternoons and while night blooms
Called the scattering of diamond shards
That she missed, studying dusty words.
And now God opened his fist again
So the pieces of night-lights took reign,
And she finally opened her eyes
So the moment took her soul and rose,
And she saw the moment as it is,
The sweetness of now, the truthful bliss.
And when she saw her hands she realized
How the grass and cress had crystallized
Into the skyful wings of high flight,
So she let it soar into the night,
Following ephemeral whispers,
“It’s okay.” And down her back, shivers.
When the wings became twin stars far off,
She realized the prophesy thereof
Stood for no more than legend or myth.
The jealous twin of fear, it came with
Hopeless wishes for a miracle
That would inevitably freefall
Unless grabbed by substance and effort.
For the still, war would forever thwart
Efforts to snatch a fickle prophesy.
So she saw, so she set herself free.
For four more years she turned the east way,
To home she began walking night and day,
For she knew why five failed prophesies
Was all history could find and comprise,
And she knew the truth to finding peace
Called for useless prophesies to cease.
Eighteen winters passed since she saw her
Family, since the light of home’s fire
Warmed a family of four in the cold.
She stopped with a hand on the wooden door
Fearing something she’d ne’er felt before:
Rejection as a failed prophesy.
But she knew what she had to do, to be.
So she lowered her hood and entered,
Finding all as she had remembered.
No questions in homecoming embrace
Were asked, only the accepting grace
She found in her family, the love of
Love, not greed, only love of above.
When the sun was born at dawn she took
Her brother to a murmuring brook,
Told him the ways of peace and kindness,
The ways not to fall into blindness,
Not to lose the beauty of here-now,
To enjoy life. These things she endowed
As the fingers of the sun’s fire gave
Light over rolling hills like a wave.
For her, fame would be all she received
And fame was all she wanted to leave
And let the prophesy fade away.
Before the sun the palm branches sway,
The herald of fresh air and new sights
She hoped helped her brother set to rights
Things she had not done and could not do
As the prophesy, which was untrue.
She wanted to fade like night does day,
So the lands might forget, turn away,
Learn to help themselves, open their eye
To see that myths and legends will die.
As the sun rose from the sleeping earth
It seemed the land had taken new birth.
Along the curvature of the Earth,
Where the heavens met the earthly dirt
Phantom wings of grass and cress glided
O’er the brisk waves of morning and danced.
And so she took out that golden chain,
Same but not so small, as she again
Regarded the two worn expansive
Pockets she found to be reflective.
“How can you fit anyone in there?”
Her brother asked her with confused stare.
“It isn’t too small,” she said, smiling.
Far away, grass and cress were flying
Into the feathers draping the skies
As the sun continued on its rise.
“There is always more than what you see.”
She thought of the western sea, the ash tree
Of eighteen winters back, nightingales
That sang in the sweet and sunny dales.
Overhead, the sun was warm and soft,
The token of dreams that leapt aloft.

All things writerly and random.

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