Choices

Prompt: Express

Crossroads In The Forest

“Are you sure you understand what we are about to do?”

Ivy nodded her head. She looked down the narrow path that wound among tall, leafless trees until it disappeared into a yellowish fog.

“Nodding isn’t good enough, Ivy,” said Sable. “Do you understand your choices? You have to tell me clearly. I know you are only twelve but I can’t make this decision for you.”

“Yes,” said Ivy peevishly. “You’ve told me a hundred times. I can go back if I want to, instead of staying here. I don’t want to go back. My grandmother is dead.”

“And your parents? Your friends?”

Her cat was her greatest friend, and he was wandering somewhere in the cave or in this strange, misty landscape. He would come find her.

As for her parents, she had a sudden snapshot image of them— her mother in front of the mirror at her dressing table, applying impossibly crimson lipstick, and he with his hand on her shoulder, wearing that ring, the gold one with the square cut emerald.

The snapshot turned into a moving vision, and her mother turned her gaze slightly in the mirror until her eyes were locked with Ivy’s.

“I don’t want to go back,” said Ivy.

“You can’t change your mind, after this,” said Sable.

Ivy sighed. How many times?

“And,” said Sable carefully, “the dying. To come back here again, and we must, you will have to die again.”

“It didn’t hurt,” said Ivy.

“It might this time,” said Sable. She reached out and touched Ivy’s freshly cut hair, short and practical, like her own, but without the curls.

“I don’t have any choice,” said Ivy. She frowned. Couldn’t they just get on with this?

“You do, honey,” said Sable. “You could stay here.”

Here? What here? An endless cave, lit by distant fires, smokey, barren, lifeless— or this plateau, with an invisible landscape, colourless, stifling?

Ivy said, “Can we go now? I can’t breathe here. Can we just go?”

Sable burst into a broad smile. “Let’s go have some fun.”

They started down the well-trodden path. “We’ll arrive just outside Nettle River,” said Sable. “We can hike into town, find the outfitters and get directions to the ranch.

“It’ll be a lark.”

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Sunblock

Prompt: Brave


Dear Wednesday,

What day is it? Are we close to Nanowrimo? I’m not ready to write my 1600 words per day. This takes courage. I don’t have any!

As in, I’m not brave, which is the daily prompt.

Why am I scared of a laptop and a keyboard and a story half-formed in my head? There are killers and monsters of all kinds out there roaming the earth, most disguised as human beings. Every time we step outside our door we risk being struck by lightning, attacked by a vicious dog, being in the line of fire when our neighbour cleans his rifle, looking up to see a nuclear warhead directed towards our front porch, or, sure, getting hit by a runaway bus. Yet I am ‘asceered’ of a number (albeit a large number) of words.

I forgot to mention other perils when we set forth into the world, which include failure, falling on our face, trailing toilet paper under our shoe, tucking our skirt into our undies, getting publicly caught in a lie, losing an ethical battle, being unable to pick up the fragments of our shattered lives and… well, you get the picture.

National Novel Writing Month challenges us to face failure– and win, or at least die trying. Not die exactly, but expend as much toil and angst as if he had written the full complement of 50,000 words. Which, they tell us, is an accomplishment, too!

Sure it is. Fine.

But I am a competitive person. Not with you, your him, or them, but with myself. It’s how I quit smoking! It’s how I managed to ‘win’ all previous Nanos. A better word might be stubborn. And, I love the couple of days after completing the challenge, when family and friends are so damn proud, even though they have not yet seen a word I’ve written and are taking my achievement on faith.

So to lessen the anxiety of the swiftly approaching November 1st, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, precisely none of which relate to today’s word prompt:

cartoon book of sunblock


cartoon Cat-Guru


cartoon image lineup


Have a happy, productive, courageous week.

~~FP

 

Interview with the Immortals

Prompt: Cloaked

old rembrandt man with headphones

In which Globe journalist Lindsay Hatcher shares his exclusive individual interviews with members of the six-person team, The Immortals.

Lindsay Hatcher: Hello, Sable. So are the Immortals like The Avengers or The Guardians of the Galaxy? What are your plans to save the world?

Sable:  We aren’t heroes. Who said we were heroes? We are simply people who can’t die. We don’t care about saving the world. We want to have a lark.

LH: A lark?

Sable: We want adventures. See the world. Have fun. Get scared. Have a lark.

LH: Want adventures, or need them?

Sable: What’s the difference?

LH: Where did you come from? It’s hard to tell from your appearance. I thought you were a boy at first.

Sable: It doesn’t matter. I think my parents were artists. I forget.


LH: Hi, Ivy. You are the youngest member of the Immortals. How did you happen to join their group?

Ivy: When I woke up, there was Sable. She helped me move from the cave into the light, and watched over me while I slept. She also said she would help me find my cat, who came with me to the cave.

LH: Have you been on any adventures?

Ivy: Sable says I’m not ready. Anyway, we have to wait for a couple of the others to get back. So I’m going to learn to ride a horse.


LH: Goff, as the eldest Immortal, do you guide and counsel the younger ones?

Goff: Hell, no.

LH: Why not? Surely you’ve gathered a lot of wisdom in your— how many years?

Goff: Countless years. I can’t remember how long. That happens when you get older, you forget things.

LH: As their leader, do you make the decisions about where you’ll go next?

Goff: I’m not their leader. I know about places, but I don’t tell anyone what to do. I’ve learned to keep my head down with this group.

LH: You look like you’ve been somewhere… possibly Medieval, with the leather cloak and leggings.

Goff: This is just my outfit of choice. I get bored trying to pick out something new to wear every day, for millennia.


LH: Hello, Jonah. How long have you been one of the Immortals?

Jonah: Time kind of loses meaning, you know? So, a very long time, longer than anyone other than Goff.

LH: He says he is not your leader or guide. Who is?

Jonah: We are ostensibly a democracy, though I find if you take command, others follow.

LH: So you are the leader of the Immortals?

Jonah: No.


LH: Donny, why are you laughing?

Donny: This sucks. So I laugh.

LH: I see you have wings. None of the other Immortals have wings. Do you each have special talents?

Donny: We have the same special talent— you can’t kill us. We come back. And these aren’t real wings; they’re a prop. Like a hat or a fake beard.


LH: Hello, Harp. How many adventures have you been on with the Immortals?

Harp: Six or seven. Sometimes it is hard to coordinate. We all have to begin at the cave at the same time. It can take years. So while I wait I go do my own thing.

LH: You have your own adventures separately from the Immortals?

Harp: Of course. We aren’t joined at the hip. You could get tired of a person’s face or beard or accent over the course of a hundred years or so. But they aren’t adventures, or “larks”, as Sable insists on calling them. I just go hang out somewhere interesting, see what’s going on, learn things.

LH: Do all the Immortals go back and have individual adventures?

Harp: I have no idea. Ask them.


The Emergence of Language

Prompt: Exceptional


Wednesday! Already?

You know, Nanowrimo is swiftly approaching. This is an event in which writers and would-be writers are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It can be done! This is my fifth or sixth year. I’ve always submitted the required wordage, and a book of sorts, but to the dismay of family and friends, never a novel I would readily share.

I’m hoping this year will be an exceptional year. My premise for the novel is based on a dream, but as I play with the concept I see there might possibly be a book in there, somewhere.

What is this premise? That there are a group of people called the Immortals, because they simply cannot die. When they are “killed” they retreat to a cave, from which they go forth again. My story germ revolves about a group of six “immortals”, of varying ages, who join together to enjoy adventures with no thought of being heroes or changing the world or doing anything actually positive. They’ve found themselves in a fantasy cum horror story, and decide not to play along.

They are kind of selfish.

So the story arc possibilities are quite prolific, and so I might start with my immortals come November 1, even though sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult fiction are not exactly my wheelhouse genres.

So I might play with this concept here on the blog, too, so please indulge me.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, the first of which is tangentially related to the Daily Prompt, “exceptional”:

cartoon penquin identity crisis


cartoon gorilla in bath


cartoon cave people language


Have a happy Thursday (and Friday. And oh hell, Saturday too.)

~~FP

Black Angel [Repost]

Prompt: Fashionable

dark angel

Black never comes back, because it never goes away.

Black has been my constant, steady, reliable fashion companion and confidant since I was old enough to feel angst. And when the angst goes away, the black is still there, pure and angelic.

A black cashmere turtleneck sweater is as angelic and pure as a heavenly choir.

I’ve strayed from my choir, sometimes wearing red and turquoise together in rebellion. My deep, dense black companion doesn’t care, chuckles to itself, and waits patiently for my rebirth.

Then, it slaps me on the bum. Reminds me how flattering the choir is. We have black tea, and watch film noir, and paint black outlines around our eyes.

Black is not the negative of white. Black is an angelic choir.


Lock the Door

Prompt: Deny


Dear Wednesday,

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name.
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.

As a young teenager, my girlfriends and I saw the Franco Zeffirelli film version of Romeo and Juliet, and one of my friends had the “record” featuring the soundtrack and highlights of the movie, which we played over and over. We were all hormonally insane, and dramatically wept and howled at the tragedy of it all. Good times.

The first of my favourite cartoons involves a different sort of denial, and far less poetic, but possibly just as tragic:

cartoon bed denial

The following have nothing to do with denial, unless doctors are delusional and bears ignore their instincts:
cartoon doctors strike

cartoon 3 bears


 

Romeo:
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.

Juliet:
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

Romeo:
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Juliet:
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

Romeo:
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Juliet:
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

Romeo:
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged.

Juliet:
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Romeo:
Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

Gulp.
~~FP

Amazing Coincidence

Prompt: Coincidence


Dear Wednesday,

Coincidence in the first of today’s cartoons refers to a board of directors in hell.

I don’t wish ill on anyone, as a rule, but I have to say, some of the greedy corporate monsters who put lives in peril, consider profit more important than health and safety, who weigh pros and cons based on income only even when men, women, and children are adversely affected, who betray every sense of caring and decency in the name of greed and power… well, I wish hell existed for you. I’m sorry, you need to spend something close to eternity contemplating the harm you have done— and the good you might have accomplished with the resources you controlled.

For the rest of us, how about some rabbits and squirrels?

cartoon directors in hell


cartoon squirrels


cartoon rabbit job


Let’s all write a little bit more!

~~FP