Expunged from “Aqaara”

Fragments are getting set adrift from Aqaara as I trudge through Draft One:

“Lying to your maker, Em. That won’t get you anywhere.”

“I miss you, Dee. I really do. I look forward to seeing you. I think about coming here. I look forward to coming here to see you and my cat.” Em opened her Bearing, glancing through the images. “And then I don’t.”

“There’s nothing worse than high expectations.”

“I keep mine very low.”

“This is cellular,” Liyuan interjected. “This exchange, all of this is cellular. That’s who is speaking to each other, your cells.”

“Ignore him,”’ Dee replied. “And tell us about your politics. They make you a senator yet?”

“Lai got me an Ethi for a present.”

“What do you get out of it? To do your bidding?”

“Her name’s Emma.”

“I mean, what’s the point of it? Does it tell you how great you are?”

“Dee, why don’t I bring Emma here so you can insult her, like you do with me.”

“Insult you? Em, I only talk to you like you were me.”

“That’s it, isn’t it?”

Seven-Week Writing Session Done

Seven straight weeks of writing an average of 3-5 hours a day, culminating in 55,000 words, more than half of my second science fiction work has left me feeling empty. I think that I have done something – a summer well spent – and then I think, “So much for what?”

The Ark: Pitching the Trilogy

The Ark: A speculative fiction trilogy, chronicling a transgenerational journey to a galaxy lights years from Earth. Stark and startling, the story conveys an essentially tragic aspect of humanity, impossibly aspiring to escape its barbarous nature. screenshot-1081Part One: Anori The opening of the trilogy follows Dee Sinclair, an animal psychologist, as she learns of Anori (Greenlandic for ‘wind’), a highly advanced space venture, privately funded by a technological empire. After visiting the expedition base in Greenland, she joins a scientific team to collect animal specimens from across the world. Dee eventually returns to New York where she learns of the program’s experiments in cloning and meets the very replica of herself. As world powers attempt to gain control of the Anori, Dee escapes back to Greenland, where she is soon joined by her clone, Em, on the final liftoff to leave Earth. 20150708_130213Part Two: Aqaara The Aqaara (meaning both ‘close’ and ‘far’ in Greenlandic) waits in lunar orbit as they attempt to placate the authorities on Earth and finally depart on their interstellar migration. Mourning the loss of families and friends, Dee and the 3,000 other Aqaarians adapt to life on the vessel, constructing a society dependent on technology, including The Bearing, an information and gaming implant, and create new social norms, such as The Hive, a zone for hedonistic behaviors. Murder and betrayal challenge the community’s standards, and an essential law is introduced to maintain order – F1 is the law. There is no force other than the ship. A previously undiscovered planet appears as an opportunity for colonization, resulting in a near mutiny. The Aqaara stays its course and, at last, enters Mina’s orbit, a planet that truly is much like Earth. screenshot-962Part Three: Mina Mina (meaning ‘taking home’) appears much like Earth, offering a wide range of climates, vegetation and species, as well as an oxygen-rich atmosphere. A Greater Sun dominates the planet, with a Lesser Sun in a parallel orbit, meaning the planet is rarely in darkness. The initial exploratory mission encounters many species – both predatory and intelligent – while they cope with their internal struggles, having spent 30 years on board The Aqaara. Other missions arrive and the community begins. Many people remain aboard the ship, mining nearby moons, as well as considering continuing the mission. The two groups become polarized, verging at times on violent conflict when further explorations of Mina yield an astonishing result – they are being observed. 20150801_110528

It’s time to go. 

Ice Friday: Non-Dialogue

“He was small.” D couldn’t remember exactly where she was and had to review the room, her hands, the view from the window to get herself back. “And he talked a lot. Incessant, that’s what my mother called him.”

“This guy just left me seven texts.” E selected ‘all’ and punched delete. 20150717_140907“He couldn’t drive, didn’t have his driver’s license. We were driving up to Lake George, and I left him in my car, in front of a liquor store. I was gone for less than two minutes. When I came out, there’s a cop writing a ticket, and this guy is just sitting in the car, pretending he doesn’t see anything.”

“Seven messages. Who does that?”

“He could have said something to the cop. Right?”

“Just leave one message. One.”

The sun was low across the water, making the world look like it had drowned. 20150714_221138“I asked him to talk to someone for me, to introduce me to a client. He wouldn’t do it.”

“I am so done with crap like this.”

“And then he got into Jesus.”

“Is that why you dumped him?”

“We never went out.”

“Un-friended him then.”

She wanted to get up but couldn’t work up the desire.

Leaving Home As a Kid

“I wandered off as a kid, just kind of left. I never wanted to run away, nothing like that, but I liked being in my own head and staying there, alone.” Och squeezed the brim of his hat between his hands, bending the thick material together. “I remember once coming home from school, pretending to sleep, just so I could miss my stop. That’s how I thought. I had to pretend to sleep and wake up in case someone was watching. It was just…I just wanted to see where the bus went. I always got off at the same stop and I didn’t know where it went. I wanted to know where it went. And so I opened my eyes like, ‘Oh, no, I missed it. What do I do now?’ And there wasn’t anything. It was all the same, streets and stores and apartments. I stared out the window as we went north. And then it was only apartment buildings, wide avenues and then empty fields. The bus came to a turnaround and the driver asked me if I was lost. I told him that I had missed my stop.”

“How old were you?” Dee asked.

“I don’t know. I think maybe Grade Three.”

“You rode the bus alone when you were eight?”

“I did the same thing on the subway another time. I went to the end of the line. I collected a transfer from every station.” I stared into the water as if he could see his small hands clutching bits of colored paper. “I was never scared or anything. I was just getting off and on the train, collecting transfers. It was so great…like magic.”

I Will Be Content After This Drink

I just need this drink to be content. 20140828_160719Just that, the refreshment, the alcohol in my blood at the right percentage. 20140917_183324Ah, yes…there! I am content, genuinely and truly so.

It’s nice to feel like this, to have everything set, the holidays approaching, the weather cool and crisp, all emails answered, assignments managed, my work going fine. Screenshot (1014)My Bad Side will be published one day, The Ark is finally coming together, and the first draft of Glenayr is almost there. Friends and family are healthy – Micaela happy and More Art prospering – and the Leafs are actually winning.Screenshot (406)

Yes, everything is all right…although, now that I think about it, the Leafs could be more consistent, especially in the defensive end.

20140323_201436And, well, my brother won’t talk to me, and More Art could use more grant money.  Glenayr lacks a clear antagonist, and, to be honest, The Ark will be impossible to finish. images-4An email from Fedex? Claim rejected? Damn it, I forgot to call my doctor, and I have to set up the website for next week. Yeah, and it’s going to snow.

blizz1What? And the bar is closed? 20140404_221149No, that’s not good.

The Noise of Everything Else

It is almost silent. DSCN2523There is the air outside, that vague sound, but it is low, quieter than the buzz in my ears. My fingers tap and stop. I adjust myself, scrape my shoe along the floor. I think. The city could be dead. 20140228_180433It is empty in my head. The sirens are broken, the streets deserted. There is nothing out there. I am alone. The apocalypse has been. The noise of everything else is only in my head.Crown8I am in a forest, and now a desert, and now in space, where I have always been, destined for another place, waiting to get there, so that I might find a place to be quiet again and write about that, alone in the silence, the air, the world reduced to the buzzing in my ears.

How Not To Write

I am a little stuck with my writing at the moment. While iI like to use the excuse that I have begun a new teaching job as the reason for my procrastination, the truth is that I will do anything to avoid the page.

I will shovel. 20140209_123928Chop up the ice on the driveway. 20140209_115229Do the dishes.20140209_113620Burn the garbage. 20140209_113409Sweep out the ant. 20140209_113854I will even watch Mitt Romney iron his sleeve. (A ridiculous film by the way.)Screenshot (773)Anything to avoid opening that document.Screenshot (779)

“The Ark”: A New Beginning

I am back to work on my science fiction book, The Ark, at the beginning again. 

I edged out further, holding hard to the balcony rail, and looked down to the street, 28 floors below, at the neat rows of sandbags banked up around the Custom House grates.IMAG1225A howling gust snapped sharply over the trees as a line of Japanese tourists, ensconced in cheap clear ponchos, suddenly appeared out of the park, some stopping to take pictures, followed by a police car, its blue lights mute and slow. IMAG1254They had stopped broadcasting the evacuation order hours ago. Zone A was closed. The surge was almost here.

I slid the balcony door closed, and the curtains lulled back. Apollo circled away, eyeing the black sky and buffeting glass.

“This morning’s high tide was at 8:30 am. Eleven hours ago.” The weather guy was earnest, his sleeves rolled up, his square jaw pushed out for this soap-opera apocalypse. IMAG1252“That tide surged over the walls into the city this morning. It has already been here. This tide is a full moon high tide; it’s much worse. This is the one we have to watch. This one could be anywhere from 8 feet up to 11, 12, 13 feet. 13 feet! Think about that.” He had his hand stretched up like he might sing. “In just 15 minutes. 13 feet in 15 minutes. This is as serious as it gets. This is it.”

The Generators: Excerpt from “The Ark”

From the opening chapter of The Ark, Dee takes Apollo out for a walk after Hurricane Sandy:

I took Apollo out toward Broadway. A threatening row of generators, inert grey metal boxes the size of trucks, lined the streets, steel bars and locks, red electric bolts along the rusted edges, thick cables and tubes clumped out across the sidewalk, into doorways, droning fierce metal on metal. IMAG1702A misery came into me, a weighty nothing, the tininess in my head gone. I was worthless. I knew that. It wasn’t just death, the meaningless of that, my stupid realization of my impending deterioration, but the clear pathetic thud of utter meaninglessness. IMAG1579It was this street, this fleeting attempt against the waters taking everything back, the cables and machines, the buildings and walls, huddled in the sharp early light, waiting for the inevitable next. IMAG2357Apollo pulled hard to the garbage truck and pissed.