Archive for November 6th, 2022


NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Ten

I was sitting by myself in Kristen’s virtuality thing, the one called Hints of Home.

I was sitting in (let’s see if I can get this right) a private instance of the public copy of her virtuality, because that way she’d be able to see that I’d spent time in it, and she’d like that, I thought.

And I’d also made my own private copy of the thing, too, because she’d also be able to see that I’d done that, and she’d like that, too, I would think?

But then she might think that it was weird that I’d made a private copy, but was also using a private instance of the public copy instead of using my private copy. She might laugh and ask why I’d done that, and then I’d feel stupid.

I know I’m not stupid.

I just want to make her happy, and show her that she’s great at stuff, because she is.

We had a complicated talk about that once, where I said that she’s obviously great at stuff, and she’s smart so she knows that she’s great at stuff, so she shouldn’t have doubts about that, whatever I do or say. She didn’t like that, I don’t think; she said that even if she knows it, she likes it when I tell her and show her, and that makes sense, really, so I try to tell her and show her.

When I remember, anyway.

The virtuality was sweet and peaceful, but without being cutesy or silly, with just enough edge, especially if you wanted to see edge, to keep it real. You can walk along a really high cliff, and drop rocks down off the edge of the cliff, and they crash perfectly down into the trees and branches way down there. If feels tense there at the edge of the cliff, and I don’t know if it’s just because it’s a really realistic-looking huge cliff, or if there’s something in the virtuality itself that makes you tense with I don’t know subsonics or whatever they have now?

The sky is a good color in Hints of Home, mostly blue and white with clouds, and some pink when the sun is in the right place low in the sky. The sun doesn’t move in the usual real-world way, for some reason, but goes like up and down and then up again, without it being night, unless you’re in some places where it’s I think always night. That sounds kind of lame when I say it, I guess, maybe I should edit that out; but it works when you’re actually there in it, not lame at all.

And sometimes clouds form in the sky, in big graceful lumps of cloud that look like a foam mattress (only way better of course!) and the sun shines on them, and it’s just gorgeous.

Being in Kristen’s virtuality, this little like world that she poured a lot of herself into when she built it or whatever, and arranged for those clouds to look like that with that sun and everything, felt good. It was like being with her, in a way, but without being afraid I’d do something wrong, or annoy her, or make her think I’m stupid.

I’d gotten the rig tuned just like I wanted it, stable and just eager enough to tilt forward and take off, and I didn’t want to touch it anymore until the next desert run. And Kristen was still at her work, translating technical documents and novels and stuff between African and English and West Slavic languages, which is what she does, somehow.

So I was in her virtuality, relaxing, hoping that when I got to see her later I wouldn’t get nervous or do anything wrong. It was like, I thought to myself, having a really touchy alert in the rig, where it would go off even if nothing was wrong, and distract you from your run at the wrong time. You can adjust some of the alerts down, I thought, but you also have to learn them, so you know when an alert’s about to sound even though everything’s fine, so it’s not really an alert anymore, it’s just a sound or a light that the rig makes sometimes, and you can expect and even enjoy them.

Can’t adjust Kristen’s alert levels down, I thought, or I wouldn’t want to if I could, would I? So I guess I have to…

Hey, I thought. That makes far too much sense.

If her voice or her face or her breathing does something that makes me think something’s wrong, but there’s really nothing wrong, it’s my fault if I worry about it, and react like she’s really alerting, when it’s really just a sounds or a light that she makes sometimes, and I can expect and even enjoy them. Like I enjoy everything else about her.

Well, hell, that’s simple.

I got up and walked through some of the hanging vines under a broad tree, thinking about it.

She’s not a rig, she’s a girl. And if her alerts mean that she’s really unhappy, I shouldn’t ignore the alerts even if they aren’t going to lead to a crash, because I don’t want her to be unhappy, even if there isn’t a whole crash.

The light shifted subtly as I walked under the arched limb, and the hanging vines touched my face and shoulders, cool and gentle. I smelled something familiar, and kept walking forward.

She says that she doesn’t mind things, though, and that she never thinks I’m stupid. But it seems like she does. The same way that an alert makes it seem like the rig has a problem, even though it doesn’t.

Walking forward without really thinking where I was going, I went down a gentle slope, the light dimming and turning richer as I went. Something in the air reminded me of her.

I’m getting to know her as well as I know the rig, I thought. So I should be as happy and easy with her as I am with the rig! I don’t get sad because the rig laughs at me and makes me feel stupid; I just fix whatever’s wrong or out of balance.

Well, okay, it’s a rig, it’s not a girl. I care more about what Kristen thinks of me than what … well, the rig doesn’t have any opinion about me. Does it? I mean, of course it doesn’t, but it’s like a metaphor or something. I shouldn’t be afraid Kris thinks I’m stupid, because I’m not and she doesn’t. She laughs because I surprise her, and that makes her happy, and she laughs.

Now I was in a low glen somewhere in the heart of Hints of Home, and the air around me was softly bright with golden light, and I found myself lying on the softest glass you can imagine.

And I heard her laugh, happy and kind.

And I thought I heard her say my name, and it felt so good.

Fling Eleven


NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Nine

Every time I open my eyes, the world becomes narrower, and wider.

What I see tells me that certain things are impossible; what I see tells me that so many things are possible.

Every time I move my elbow and touch the world, the world becomes narrower, and wider.

What I touch, what I feel, tell me that certain things are impossible; what I touch, what I feel, tells me that so many, so very many, things are possible.

When I floated unseeing, unfeeling, in an endless void, everything was possible.

And nothing was possible.

Here is an image of trees set among oddly pointed hills. On the ground, in the image, white trails snake everywhere.

The white trails might be ancient lava flows, might be modern water runnels, might be plants of different colors growing in stripes because of the underlying chemical differences caused by ancient lava. Or modern water.

Trees are shelter from the rain, trees are habitats, are not-yet-decayed masses of food for saprophytes, are just one of the things that happen when you get an area very very hot, and then let it cool very very slowly.

We circle the tree, each of us thinking our own thoughts, each of our thoughts reflecting everyone’s thoughts. The trees are prisms for our thoughts, taking them in as white beams and redistributing them as rainbow tracks; rainbow tracks for the trains of ages, rainbow tracks for the steam-engines of understanding.

Here is another image, of trees set among oddly pointed hills. On the ground, in the image, white trails snake everywhere.

Are these photographs, and has the photographer only turned from east to west, or north to south, between one and the other?

Are these impressionist, semi-abstract, paintings from life, and has the artist turned the easel in one direction on one day, and the other direction on another day?

The artist sits on a hillside, under the outermost reaching branches of a dense dark tree with deep green foliage, and as the artist slowly paints, small animals and large insects rustle in the tree, and in the crevices of the ground cover.

If these are paintings from life, what does the artist smell, moving the brush slowly over the canvas, there under the edge of the tree’s shadow, where stripes run over the ground, or where the ground inspires the artist to paint stripes where, in plain reality, there may be none?

Every time the artist breathes, and scents the air, the world becomes narrower, and wider.

What the artist smells, scents, breathes, makes olfactory note of, tells the artist that certain things are possible. What the artist smells, makes olfactory note of, tells the artist that many things are possible.

The brush of the artist spells out on the canvas what is possible, what is impossible.

With every touch of the brush, the universe becomes narrower, and wider.

When the canvas was blank, everything was possible.

And nothing was possible.

Time passes, for us circling the trees, for the artist painting, for the trees refracting all our thoughts. For the photographer on the hilltop and for the writer in the old overstuffed armchair.

As time passes, as we see and hear and feel and smell (and taste), the world becomes narrower, and wider.

With every tick of the universal clock, what we experience tells us that certain things are impossible.

With every tick of the universal clock, what we experience tells us that so many things are possible.

Circle the tree with me, with love; give the trees the white beams of your thoughts, and accept from the trees the rainbow diffractions of mine. Love is the result of all of it, and love is the cause of all of it. Love and light are the same, trees and stripes on the ground are the same. Darkness and stillness are the same.

Here is a mystery. Here is a question. What will the next moment declare impossible? What will the moment after reveal as possible?

Here is another image, of a river of stripes flowing between thick dark trees, among oddly pointed hills. Under one tree, a feline form melds with the shadows, resting or waiting, relaxed or alert, its ears a pair of points in the dimness, listening, its whiskers quivering in the air.

Every sound the cat hears tells it that certain things are impossible. Every sound the cat hears, tells it that so many things are possible. The sound of prey in the brush, the sound of splashes in the river, the sound of another cat, distant among the trees, raising a brief and plaintive call toward the sun, the moon, the spirits of prey in the trees. The cat’s body is full of potential, full of watching and patience and the thought of sudden fatal motion.

Did the artist see the cat waiting in that shadow, and capture a hint with that moving brush? Or is the cat the diffraction of a thought of the artist, from patterns in the artist’s mind, from memories of the artist’s past? Is the artist also a traveler, a reader, a composer of fiction or symphonies?

Music makes no claims, cannot be judged or faulted for adding imaginary cats to real tree-shadows. Can I lie with music? Can I lie with a photograph, with a painting, with a loaf of bread?

If these images on the table before us came with no words, no labels or cover-letter, nothing claiming anything with words, then perhaps they cannot lie to us, either; they can only be what they are, and we are free to take them (the rainbows from the trees) and use them in any way at all. They tell us that some things are impossible (now that the envelope has proven to contain only these two images, we are not in a universe where it contains something else, as well or instead), and that many things are possible: the images as photographs, as paintings, as narrative, as hallucination, as music; the sending as a gift, a threat, as braggadocio or the fulfillment of a contract.

Hold them near your face and breathe. What is possible?

Fling Ten