talonkarrde: (color)
There is a certain moment in twilight when the light and the darkness vie for supremacy.

It takes a specific type of room — a personal library, often, with floor-to-ceiling windows — where motion and movement are enhanced by soft edges and softer rugs, where an overstuffed armchair and a mahogany end table with a silver platter and cup of tea on it allow for rest and respite, something that takes up more and more of your time these days.

You sit and sip and watch as the sun hides itself behind the distant mountains, as the last rays shoot over the craggy peaks that you climbed, once, a long long time ago. You think of the rocks and the ledges and the snow and it brings up memories and reveries of the Misty Mountains, of Moria, of Mordor, of the ridges of high fantasy and unexpected journeys there and back again. A brilliant ray of sunshine pierces the clouds and you think of the dragon, of the smoke and the fire, and you remember that one moment where the hero stands his ground, blade drawn and gleaming from the fire, facing certain death with a steadiness that you know, now, having seen in in the eyes of firefighters and soldiers and parents and all sorts of people, standing up for what they believe in.

You've written that scene, once or twice, and you have a collection of letters on the closest shelf where they tell you they cried, knowing what it meant, knowing why he had to, why she didn't flinch.

The sun fades a little more and the light is dimmer, darker, evoking a more monochrome look to the scattered buildings you see below. Without color, it seems almost sterile, in a way, and you think of tight spaces and grey airlocks, of the expanses of space and time as humanity spreads across the stars. You think of starships and Prime Directives and alien species all coming together for a better goal, and a better future, and you think of the multiverses out there with ringworlds and browncoats and four elephants standing on a giant turtle. You smile a bit, don't you?

Because you've written some of those stories, too, and you remember the tears as you read other letters where people wrote to you and they understood. They saw past the technobabble, past the aliens, and saw through to the society you wanted to see, the equality that everyone deserved.

Now it's too dark to see, and you light a candle, watching as the yellow light flickers over the spines of the books that you've read again and again, the worlds that you take solace in and take inspiration from, the lands far away and close to home that you couldn't imagine being without. You've always preferred the soft light of the candle over the hard fluorescents, perhaps because it reminds you of Milton, of Shakespeare, of ancient scribes copying out ancient myths on ancient parchment.

You may have written some of that, too, historical fiction that taught and entertained and inspired all at once, tales which reminded us of how the world was before and of the innummerable shoulders that we have stood on to get where we are, because we forget so quickly.

And as the candle burns steadily, you write a few more words in your own personal journal. Your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions are all in here, and you remember the few times that you've shown others. You remember the hugs, the phone calls, the support that was both given and received and you remember a rule about empathy: shared pain is lessened, and shared joy increased.

And maybe, you think, you'll share this, too.


The candle slowly burns its way down, as the darkness comes like a blanket over you, and your last thought is of a favorite poem of yours, one that you know by heart. You speak it, softly, slowly, out loud, letting the words settle.

And afterwards you think, perhaps, there aren't too many promises left, too many miles to go now. And after all of this, after it ends, you hope that when they remember you, they'll remember one thing first: writer.
talonkarrde: (color)
Insanity is an oddity when you're young. Just because you saw shapes and beings in thin air sometimes and others didn't — it wasn't so weird. Almost all children have imaginary friends, don't they? Especially, of course, the ones that don't have real ones.

Insanity is, when you're older, a label. Maybe you had always seen different things, believed different things, but people accepted it less with every year. Teachers, parents, even classmates who had accepted that there was a fluffy elephant over there and a clown over here when you were six didn't when you were ten. There were still things you had in common with others, and just because you saw some different things — just because you thought differently — didn't mean that you didn't deserve to breathe the same air and eat the same foods as them. In this world, all are created equal, and just because you were different wasn't a problem, right?

Insanity is learning you are wrong, that nothing you learn about rights and equality applies to you.

Insanity is a locked room, padded walls, and a straightjacket. It's a lack of a physical freedom, but more than that, it's a declaration that you are not just different but ill, inferior. It's being hidden away from society so thoroughly that even your parents forget about you, sometimes — it's the one call a week to those bound to you by blood, hearing them pick up and say hello, saying 'Hey, this is ____' — and hearing the pause as they try and remember who you are, and then the unconcealable depression as they — your parents — respond with a quiet 'oh...'

Insanity, your shrink tells you, is this condition you have, but it's okay, because with enough time and a smorgasbord of pills, maybe you'll get better. But is it really that? It seems like it's really about not believing what everyone else believes; it's about seeing something different and unacceptable, even if it's beautiful. It's not about reality, because their perception is reality. If you see the sky as green instead of blue, if you see ghosts, you are insane. And only by hiding what you see can you stop being insane.

Insanity is an excuse to treat you like an animal.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome, you hear one day. It's not your experience; what you know makes that statement a mockery. And yet, from the knowledge of the outside world, of your time before the asylum, it makes sense in a morbid way, doesn't it? All of those people out there do the same thing over and over, and don't they all expect different outcomes? Don't they all think that they'll get raises, or win the lottery, or pay off their debts, or get in shape, even though they don't really do anything different from day to day? And yet, you're the one locked in here, forced to wet the bed sometimes because they won't let you go to the bathroom like a human being.

Insanity is jumping off a building, thinking you'll spread wings and fly. Insanity is seeing voices where there are none, or believing things that aren't true. Insanity is being a danger to yourself, or others, and not properly integrating with society. That's what you hear from one of your fellow inmates, who still thinks he can make it out of here, but you know better than that now.

Insanity is not jumping off a building when you have the chance, but choosing instead to be locked up forever.
talonkarrde: (color)
We sit here, facing each other across this coffee table, mugs in hand. A moment passes, and then another, and one more — and nothing happens.

"Isn't it getting to be that time?" You'll eventually ask, and I will ponder the sentiment for a multitude of moments. And just when I know that you're about to tell me that, in fact, I'm definitely running out of time, I'll start speaking, and after a few words, we'll suddenly be somewhere else and the fake-familiar construct fades away, irrelevant, forgotten.

Where we are instead — well, that's why we’re here, isn't it?

It may be an endless, rolling wave of sand dunes, as I point towards the horizon, describing the silvery ships that will soon come to rain death on the defenseless colony behind us. But look closely, and you’ll see one of the pilots does not fire; she’s the one who will lead the fight against her former comrades. We'll explore her past and see why she joined up, and then turn our eyes to the future, and see how she'll start — and end — the revolution.

Another week, and it may be our future we’re walking through, yours and mine, ravaged by war or uplifted by technology, as we journey through the fallen/rebuilt/floating testaments to humanity's yearning for the stars. They are astounding creations — and yet, in the grand scope of a story, are simply set pieces that the characters we're concerned with will flit around. In story after story, we see that even the problems of just a few people do, in fact, amount to more than a hill of beans in this crazy world.

We'll dive down even further, and go inside someone's mind — a soldier, or maybe a poet — and learn of the struggles they face in their particular age and time, be it a speculative far future or historical distant past, and experience their lives as they surpass their challenges or fall victim to their trials. We'll see that conflicts inherently crystallize not around lofty ideas like freedom and liberty, but instead on specific people and their personal journeys — a small child who has his parents taken away; a brother who is estranged from his sister; two friends who fight on different sides of a war.

My goal is to tell you an interesting, provocative, different story every week. It will almost always be fiction and it will generally be fantastical, but those are guidelines, not rules. There are no rules — and no roads — where we're going. There, is, however, a hope — that eventually, when you return to this world, the real world, you'll leave the one you just left with a touch of regret, and a desire to come back for more.


Jan. 1st, 2013 08:42 pm
talonkarrde: (color)
2012 was a year. Not a bad year, by any means, it just doesn't seem like it will be a year that will last in my memory. My job/career/workplace/coworkers are awesome, my friends are super, and my family is wonderful; I could not ask for more.

For 2013, I want to read more and write more, I think. I still owe a few stories to a few friends, and Idol Season the Last should be this year, but more than that, I think I've spent a year - or, perhaps, many years now - absorbing and consuming, and maybe it's time to spend some time more time creating.

Happy New Year, everyone.
talonkarrde: (color)
Hey guys,

I'm doing this thing again for the holidays. I'm heading out to Austin, Texas, for a week, and I'd like to get some writing done. Last year, it was a mishmash of requests, and while I still owe some people a few (which you'll see in the next few days, I promise), I also think it was also some of my best writing — including a long form steampunk fantasy, a science-fiction exploration, and, of course, love and loss.

So, here we are again: No promises for Christmas Day, but I will say that these will be delivered before New Years (likely one a day, because I've gotten more organized). Give me a prompt, as detailed or vague as you'd like (with or without a genre/word count), and let me know if you'd like it posted here or emailed to you.

No refunds! No returns! I may refuse if you ask me to write something that I have no idea whatsoever about (but I'd much rather do research and try and make it good, so this should be quite rare). Insert other disclaimers here, yadda yadda yadda.

making fire

Aug. 2nd, 2010 09:23 pm
talonkarrde: (color)
Once upon a time, I wrote an entry on Making Fire; and in that entry, I paid tribute to the writers that I was competing with then. Today, with that topic once again given, I thought that it would only be fitting to again pay tribute my fellow writers — as has been done in the final rounds of seasons past!

This entry was the easiest to write for me, because it is one that has been on my mind for a long time. I am going to do something slightly different and not link to individual entries, but rather try and paint you a picture of who they are as writers overall, and the magic that they bring to writing.

[livejournal.com profile] beautyofgrey  is someone that, simply put, deserves happiness. That to me is the alpha and the omega, and her happiness makes me a bit happier, and when she writes about her suffering, I feel that it is suffering that we should all bear to ease it on her. She has been through a lot, no doubt, and her writing shows that — without, indeed, expoiting it. She talks about difficulties and terrible things that I could never think about facing, but even as she writes to connect to people, to show them the debts of dark hurt and the height of great happiness, it never, for a moment, feels cheap, it never feels that it was written simply to make you go ‘oh no’.

Do you know why that is? It’s because it wasn’t. It was written to connect to people, to inspire and to delight and to show that even in the darkest of times, there is hope. And that’s why she’s the Spirit of LJ Idol, something she fully deserves, and that’s why she should win. There is little more to be said — except that there is a lot(!) more to be said, about her fantastic fiction (and beautiful fables), her ability to weave a tale, her ability to take you to lands that only she has ever seen.

But at the end of it all, I think she is a writer that, with a line, a paragraph, and then, an entry, has drawn you into a world and made you feel what she felt. That is power.

[livejournal.com profile] rattsu  takes a different path. She can connect, oh, yes, but her skill, her ability, is in teaching. Instead of drawing you inside, she takes you outside, to everything around us, and shows us what things are, and what things could be. She can write a post on something that we think is very familiar to us — elephants, perhaps — and show us a stunning, incredible other side, one that we would never have known existed without her. She reveals the unknown in the known, and then takes us on journeys to those worlds that we didn’t, letting us be tourists and her playing the part of the intelligent, excellent guide.

It's writing like this that will change the world, really change the world, by changing viewpoints and inspiring action. And that's why she should win.

But(!) she also writes fiction, and she writes it as well as her educational nonfiction, with characters that are incredible and scenes that draw you in. It shouldn't be to anyone's surprise that she's published, and I would only be incredibly surprised if she doesn't continue to be.

Typically, at this point, we've also been told to write a bit about why we should win. But see, that wasn't in this week's topic, so I won't interpret it that way.

These are my fellow writers, my friends, and this is the the incredibly bright, light-giving, life-giving fire that they create.


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