Welcome, Walk Free

I arrive in the US at six AM and stand in the customs and passport line to find the first news greeting me is CNN, playing on the television set that hangs on a column and that, in my past experience, usually played TSA adverts. Not this time. No, now it is telling all new arrivals that George Zimmerman, according to the tag line running below the newscasters pink faces, has been acquitted after a sixteen hour-long jury deliberation. This is supposed to be some triumph of democracy, although the image in my head is of pillars crumbling to dust. The newscasters play a clip of Zimmerman’s lawyer, looking tragic for a guy who got what he wanted, and who also looks like the main guy from Breaking Bad but without the moustache and soul. The lawyer is saying that he’s grateful that the tragedy didn’t turn into a travesty. The travesty, I deduce, according to him, would have been his client being punished for murdering a teenager. Determined to enhance my already torrential nausea, the newscasters then turn to discussing the fact that the prosecution lawyer’s not shaking the defense lawyer’s hand is big news, something that “just isn’t done”. Yes. Clearly. The handshake is the real issue at hand, so to speak and pardon the pun.
All I can think of is how accurate a portrayal this is of the current media’s mirroring the symptoms of a nation exemplified in the amusement it consumes (Today, on GENERIC REALITY TV, let’s see who was mean on the playground and who didn’t play fair!), and how sickened I am by it.

Ready… Set… Write!

Okay, so this post might just have the single most corny title I’ve ever written. I hope you’ll all forgive me for it, because it’s actually reflecting what my feeling has been since this morning.

NaNoWriMo is starting tomorrow – so one minute after midnight, I am going to start writing, and hopefully get to my entire word count before going to bed. This is the second year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo,while last year I was living at home, someone else was doing my laundry, and I had very little that I needed to do besides write, this year I have so much to do that the 1667 words I need to write a day seem extremely daunting and threatening.

Unlike last year, I haven’t created an outline for my novel. I have a cast of characters, and I know, in general, what I want them to deal with. I know some of their motives, some of their histories, some of their attitudes and voices, and that’s helpful, but I don’t know where I want them all to end up, so I’m very unclear about where they’re going exactly. But that’s exciting – writing is, for me, a lot like reading in that I discover things along the way.

I’m writing literary fiction this year rather than steampunk/fantasy, so that’s going to be very different as well, since I feel that I write the genres quite differently.

It also happens to be Halloween today. I didn’t dress up as anything, and I probably won’t, since I feel like I’m storing up all my creativity for 00:01AM tonight when I start writing. I really feel like I’ve spent the past couple weeks crouching low, ready for the gunshot that will announce that the race is on. It’s strange.

Finally, let me end this extremely disorganized and badly composed post by saying that I will probably be posting to my blog less in the coming month because of NaNoWriMo. However, I succeeded in posting every single day of October! Huzzah!

Halfling

“Let’s look at the third problem now. Seven-hundred and twelve divided by fifteen.” The chalk squealed against the board, but Mrs. Pipridge didn’t even flinch. “How about,” she said, back still to the class as she finished writing. “Donald.” She turned, and her eyes gleamed with something malicious as she pointed them in the boy’s direction. “Donald?”

“Yes, Mrs. Pipridge?”

“Will you please explain how we can find the answer to the question on the board?” It was incredible how her voice became sharper the more polite she was. Donald looked at her, his mind shutting down as the numbers swam in front of his eyes. He lowered his head and saw that the answer was written carefully, painstakingly, in his notebook. He’d worked so hard with his tutor to learn long-division, and he’d finally got the hang of it. But he couldn’t manage to get a word out. He stared, terrified, at Mrs. Pipridge’s leering face and opened his mouth, willing himself to speak.

Mrs. Pipridge sighed, and Donald felt as if her breath was like the iciest of December winds, penetrating through his sweater and right into his ribs, making his heart freeze and contract. “Fine. I see you have nothing to contribute, as usual. Laura, how about you?”

Donald heard titters from behind him and felt something sticky and wet hit the back of his head. He didn’t turn around, though. He knew that if he did, he’d receive a spitball right in the middle of his forehead. It was no use telling, either, because Mick and Tommy, the boys behind him, always managed to hide all evidence of straws and chewed-up paper by the time any teacher reached their desk. They were pros.

The new school was exactly like the old one. It was supposed to be liberal and progressive – Donald didn’t know what the words meant, but he’d heard his house-mother throwing them around a lot in meetings – but the kids here were just like kids everywhere. Sure, there was another halfling here, but she got as much crap as Donald did. She just shut up about it, like him, because that was the only way to get through the day.

The Other One, as Donald thought of her, had it better than him, though. Everyone knew that she’d got it on her father’s side and that her mother, a war-hero, had killed the one who’d injected her. The Other One could at least embrace her humanity entirely and disown those parts of her that were so different. But Donald didn’t know who either of his parents were. For all he knew he wasn’t even a halfling; he might be pure Aylyen, although he didn’t think so. His skin wasn’t nearly green enough for that, and while he did only have three long fingers to each hand, his toes were absolutely normal, pink and stubby just like any other kid’s, and the doctors said that was a sure sign that one of his parents had been an H, not an A.

He sometimes wondered whether the Other One ever wondered if she’d be happier with other A’s. Donald wished sometimes that he’d been taken along when the A’s left Earth, but he knew it was a pipe-dream. Aylyens wouldn’t want a halfling either, would they? He was stuck in the middle, between two vastly different worlds, and there was absolutely no way out that he could see.

Ode to SNES

Love

Love

I plugged you in,
You seemed to work,
Until I discovered,
A little quirk.

Lines appeared
Upon the screen,
They made me sad
At what they did mean.

Earthbound, Batman,
Aladin and Racecar,
All worked slightly,
But not enough by far.

I shall not give up,
I refuse to, I do!
For I love you so much
That it’s almost not true.

So hang in there, SNES,
My consoling friend,
Don’t let this be
Your one final end.