A Cornucopia of Gratitude

Stealing a moment this holiday to reflect quietly, to smile joyfully, to feel the prosperity that arrives from being grateful, to say wholeheartedly, “Happy thanksgiving!”  Beyond this, words fail.

Have a joyful, loving day.  In all places, in all worlds.

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Concentricity … 16

Ch 16 ~  In space, do we hear pieces of the self — indeed, the entire self — rejoicing?

They had first seen each other from across a crowded room.  It was the way of an old world movie.  It was the way laid out within an old world romantic song or an exquisitely beautiful poem that transports the heart into the soul.  This was not a superficial harlequin romance.  This was not the manufacturing and selling of a feel-good, featuring a handsome dashing prince rescuing a gorgeous damsel in distress (with those at the center of it all humans or vampires or werewolves or pirates or aliens or any other creature).  This was instead something that possessed not only all of existence within it but also possessed within it so very much more than that.  A shared consciousness.  A truth beyond the ages.  Eternally formed.  Eternally alive. 

They had first seen each other from across a crowded room…in ways depicted by some of those old world ways — like the old world movies, the old world romantic songs, the exquisitely beautiful poems.  Ways that registered instantly within everyone as classics because those ways spoke of universal truths, universal realness so unquestioningly pervasive, so woven into the human heart so woven into the collective spirit as to be instinctively innately immediately understood.   Ways that are somehow without time even while their very existence serves to define all dimensions…even while their very existence serves to meld all dimensions, including that of time.  Some know of these Ways as the beginning of creation.  Some know of them as the ever expanding future.  Some know of them as the Voice of Always in each present moment.  Some — like Miles and Emily — know of them as everything, all-encompassing…carried from the onset of all moments to every moment from every moment and back again.  

There are things that words — as we know the instruments of language to contain — fail to describe.  And so Emily gently coached her mind into silence, resisting the urge at any attempt to form words…to string characters together around that which words failed to capture but what the heart and soul so immediately fused with.  And so instead she listened unquestioningly, and she absorbed those images in her mind for which language in the form of words seemed able to describe.

Suddenly the moments had begun unfolding in a wildly random manner for Emily, with images of how they met coming more distinctly into view.  They had first seen each other from across a crowded room…and it was Forge who had inserted a layer of agenda into what had been fated.  The significance of the energy, the spirit from the good looking redheaded young man far overwhelmed the sense of significance Forge tried to inject into their collective meeting at the Glenwood Cafe.  And yet down any path or dimension — past-present-future — that might take Emily’s inner eye by the hand, Forge remained nothing if not tenacious about putting his agenda front and center.  For some reason, the thought then occurred to her that much of her own inner process for seeing the future could be considered very similar to the process Pat was engaged in with the technology that was embedded behind her eyes.  They were both receiving inner broadcasts afterall.  From what Emily could see, it may only be the source of those broadcasts that proved to be the difference between how Pat and Emily viewed things.  And yet..something about that idea seemed incomplete somehow, but Emily wasn’t knowledgeable in any true way in the ways of science or philosophy or even in the ways of creativity to be able to explore this in a more indepth manner. 

(Clearly, this was true as she wasn’t really exhibiting a high degree of sustainable creativity through this story.  Or certainly, one could argue, the slight woman with the concentric circles wasn’t communicating this with any degree of success no matter how much her fingers tap danced along the QWERTY keyboard.  Although, in all fairness, one could also argue the point that it’s rather difficult for a creator to, well, create when he or she proves to be their biggest heckler.  Certainly there was no fear of group think going on with this endeavor, which — given the theme of this 50,000 word experiment — was rather interesting and ironic, indeed.  She wondered what the slight man with the average build who found his way to the Glenwood Cafe by way of a Black Hole might think about all of that.  She wondered if he would share his views on all of that at some point…) 

Instinct was Emily’s guide now.  Many of these other frameworks — scientific, philosophical, creative — eluded her quite readily and singlehandedly.  But perhaps, she suddenly realized as her inner eye travelled through what looked to be a worm hole, perhaps there was a connection between those musings of hers two paragraphs above.  Indeed, perhaps as she began to think two paragraphs above before her focus was rather rudely interrupted by the slight woman’s thoughts, perhaps that was part of the reason why Forge seemed so determined to get inside of Emily’s head, as it were.  Maybe my processes aren’t all that different from what he wants to try to create with this technology?  Intuitively linking and blurring…but of what though?  She paused, thinking around the edges of that question (and throwing a raised eyebrow up to clearly signal a warning to the slight woman who had begun to rustle in her chair until she caught Emily’s glare and settled herself quietly back down into her booth as a silent observer) only to latch another question onto it:  Does he even know…has he even articulated the broader implications of medium as message as messenger?  Or at least some of those implications that she sensed when she allowed herself to indulge in her sometimes wild and fanciful if not fantastical imaginings?  She asked and waited for the Arrival — past, present, future or past/present/future or past-present-future or pasprefut — to occur in the hopes that from there she might be able to latch onto something, gleen something that would help answer that question.

What arrived for Emily was this undisputed fact, presented and held without expectation while at the same time unquestionably so…a dance of knowing and flowing too spectacular to be described.  They had first seen each other from across a crowded room.  A tender, open smile.  Eyes that danced with curiosity.  A not too slim, not too fat pen twirled between his fingers.  Mousy red hair naturally expressing itself on the head of a genuis and sitting before him a laptop.  Her bedroom eyes fixated with fascination.  Her shy, inviting smile instinctively arrived upon.  Fidgeting hands with a mind of their own.  Mousy brown hair that often caught in her eyelashes and a mind with a particular talent that involved seeing the future by way of any time dimension, separate or combined.

They had first danced in each other’s arms with nothing more than a smile between them.  And quiet strands of mousy hair twining together.  There was music in the air…from somewhere but what they heard more powerfully was the music in their hearts everywhere around them, everywhere in them.  Everywhere of them.  A melody for the ages.  Words that encompassed all languages.  Words that had no sounds, no shapes, but carried with them the most intense, innate meaning.  Words that caused pieces of the self, the wholeness of the selves to rejoice.  Words that were born beyond the cellular level, fused at the spiritual level, coursing in melded ecstacy within their very core.  Time and place and space blurred.  Everything around them stopped, dimmed out by their dance.  Dimmed out by their combined energy, their combined intention.  Unspoken yet so unmistakeably known.   Words of the traditional language failed.  Words of the old world timelessness prevailed, and QWERTY had yet to find the combination of keystrokes to communicate those majestical words as fully as they were known to the two of them.  The good looking young man with the mousy red hair and a laptop…the good looking young woman with the mousy brown hair and a particular talent. 

And so they danced.  Perfectly so.  Timelessly so.  Eternally so.  With nothing more than a smile between them.  Their lips brushed together ever so slightly, formed around each other’s ever so softly, cradling and breathing …one.

NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter:  1,400; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 25,870

Concentricity … 15

Ch 15 ~ Irrational Rationality one of any Possible Paths to Building a Mystery

Making sense is not always a linear thing.  It often defies logic.

“What else do you see,” Forge nearly whispered.  Pat had long since buzzed away and had set herself back on track to masterfully whirl around the tables in her station taking orders left and right, assisting with hostess duties, checking customers in and checking customers out.  Mainly, Pat leaned heavily toward the checking out part of the equation…at least checking out mentally, with her mind still thoroughly engrossed in the reality television programs that were beaming inside of her skull.

That left Emily and Forge to the booth by themselves.  Forge — nearly hunched over the formica tabletop — managed to freeze the endless motion and noise of the restaurant around the two of them.  The freezing was true for himself at least.  Forge had tunnelled in, something that Emily was fairly adept at doing.  But while she saw different dimensions when she tunnelled in, Forge saw the ideas behind people’s eyes when he tunnelled in because when he did tend to hunker down, as the saying goes, he usually tended to do it around somebody.  The eyes of the somebody were the things that anchored him.  So very much to see and learn there. 

And so he dug his heels in, and he studied Emily’s eyes with unshakable intent. 

How ironic…within precisely that moment, from somewhere not too terribly far away, a flight of geese honked with great objection as they traversed the skies.  Emily heard their animated cries quite distinctly.  She moved her mind in flight to them but she didn’t travel fast enough.  They were already gone, leaving an echo chamber of objection behind in their wake…underneathe which on the ground, on a polite and manicured road, a muscle car silently split the asphalt down the middle.

She’s knee deep into it now, he thought as quietly as he could make himself think, lest he break her concentration.  He always assumed Emily travelled forward when she traveled.  For no particular reason other than it seemed logical to assume, he thought the progression would always be forward.  What many — those who could suspend their disbelief long enough to entertain the possibility of her particular talents — didn’t realize was that for Emily the future sometimes unfolded by way of journeying the past.  A forewarning of a forward progression. 

“Don’t stop believing…hold on to this feeling” 

The lyrics coursed through her head like a river winding to the mouth of the ocean.  She journeyed down its path.  It led in any number of directions, none of which she could trace back again without a great deal of effort.  The path charted itself along multiple levels, multiple dimensions.  Kind of like the inner workings of a rubix cube, she supposed.  Best to just flow with it…center yourself, be in the core, and flow with it.  Arrivals of some possible future existence (even by way of the past) always made their presence known.  It wasn’t like she would miss it when it happened, even though she couldn’t explain what it was like when it happened.  It was just suddenly there and she was just suddenly thrust within it.  How long the Arrival of some possible future state woudl stay…that was always the question.  And exactly what the staying meant…the even larger, more pertinent question.  The one that she usually dwelled upon…once she knew enough about what she was experiencing to even ask the question.

Sometimes Emily was a slow learner.  In those cases, that was when the lesson usually established the deepest roots within her.  But that wasn’t to say that it was ever a particulary pleasant process, no matter how beautifully the lesson blossomed. 

Seeds of understanding were taking hold for her bit by bit with this.  What she knew enough now was how Forge had come across this brainchild of his (even she had to chuckle at the irony in the term “brainchild”).  Whether or not he fully realized it, he definitely had set about the path to connect all the brains in the world.  Already done, some would argue and while that was true, it had already been done by external devices.  What Forge was exploring was a direct plug in, the implications of which were both awe-inspiring and fundamental all at once.  If everyone on the planet carried this mechanism in their heads, behind their eyes or wherever it was, not much would ever or really could ever be the same again. 

“…When a person walks, lifting and dropping each foot in turn, he or she produces a slight sideways force.  If hundreds of people are walking in a confined space, and some happen to walk in step, they can generate enough lateral momentum to move a footbridge — just a little.  Once the footway starts swaying, however subtly, more and more predestrians adjust their gait to get comfortable, stepping to and fro in synch.  As a positive-feedback loop develops between the bridge’s swing and the pedestrian’s stride, the sideways forces can increase dramatically and the bridge can lurch violently.  The investigating engineers termed this process ‘synchronous lateral excitation’ and came up with a mathematical formula to describe it.  …where previously there were diverse views, now there is unanimity:  everybody’s moving in lockstep.  …all the elements that formed a virtuous circle to promote stability now will conspire to undermine it.”  from “Rational Irrationality – the real reason that capitalism is so crash-prone,” New Yorker magazine October 5 2009

Luke could fly and touch the sky even while he was driving his wheelchair through Pages & Crumbs, and he could do so, so incredibly beautifully.

So incredibly beautifully did the next thought reveal itself to her.  The slight woman reinserted herself into the process, inspite of her very best efforts not to do so.  She had just had a thought, about playign with the form and rhythym of this 50,000 word count exercise.  About playing with the form and rhythym of the thought process itself…somehow she convinced herself it was a perfectly sound thing for her to interject into this piece, seeing as this piece flirted quite heavily (albeit a bit clumsily) with the notion of interactive mental processes.  And so her thought went something like this, phrased a bit vaguely if only in an attempt to create a sense of mystery.  So very many relate mystery with poetry, clarity with the prosaic, interestingly enough.  Words and feelings often overlap and as such, so the pattern of the Arrival could make itself known.  At least for this telling, perhaps not beyond these sets of words, but at least for this chapter, if you will, she would see if she could anticipate this pattern and become one with it, instead of being subjected to its whims absent her own participation with it.  (Was the process so binary really?  Was one either in it or was one completely out of it?  Was there no weaving together of the two?)  Although even she admitted to herself that this could be quite difficult, indeed.

“This could be quite difficult, indeed,” Miles Thomas Brown murmurred in heavy thought…a texture of thought that was unusual for Miles.  His thoughts had more depth and breadth than anyone she had ever met, but evenso, she coudln’t say that she could recall too many instances when his thoughts might also be heavy.  Emily and Miles were flying across the skies at a startling rapid pace yet conversing freely.  They were also driving at what felt like the speed of a million miles a minute trying to get to Forge, who had made a vital mistake and was about to be proven wrong so crushingly proven wrong in one of the most violent of ways.  This was not about saving face.  Miles and Emily raced to save Forge’s very life.

“This could be quite difficult, indeed,” the slight man said out loud.  He spoke to himself increasingly these days, when before he had arrived on the planet Earth he had been defiantly silent.   He sneered at the realizaiton that the planet itself was successfully corrupting his very nature…when it should be quite the other way around.  And he would make it so.  He had convinced Glenwood’s local entrepreneur to embed the technology behind the eyes of the slight man with the average build.  Yes, behind his own eyes.  Forge had enlisted a small group of volunteers to undergo the procedure.  The slight man didn’t bother with questions of how Forge managed to obtain approvals to proceed even this far in his new venture — from idea to actual implementation involving surgical procedure to fuse technology with biology on a permanent internal basis.  Some might be interested in the ethical, legal, and health considerations involved with such a thing.  The slight man was not among those interested in this.  The incremental how was of far less use to him than the overarching what.   If he had wanted to discover the answers to those trivialities, though, he could.  And quite easily.  Because tapping into the collective consciousness  was far more real than ever before…thanks to Forge who, in his rush to be right, didn’t comprehend this fact.  Somehow the true power of his endeavor — the means to create a connected world brain that was embedded within every individual on a cellular level — had never registered with Forge. “This could be quite difficult, indeed,” the slight man repeated to himself.  Tapping into every thought process, shifting through and organizing the unspoken, unrealized entirety, channelling global intent into directed action…directed by himself as one person, for lack of a better word considering that the slight man of average build had found his way to the small town of Glenwood by way of a Black Hole.  If anyone had the resolve to harness the power of the collective consciousness, it was he…an alien personification of Big Brother.

“This could be quite difficult, indeed,” the slight woman — Michele, well, me — said.  Well, I said.  How to face the blank screen and weave a cogent piece (or even minimally cogent…even at the edges would be fine) within 30 days.  Exploring, discovering, wrestling, fusing into, agonizing over, playing with the process.  “The third week…something about the third week seemed to bring my fingers to their knees.  Amazing how QWERTY can be such an ultimate fighter without even saying a word or lifting a finger.  And whether it’s ugly or not or makes sense or not and pushes the reader and the writer both into the center of the creative struggle or not — as oftentimes impolite and ragged as that can sometimes be, such as it always seemed to be in the third week — it is a thing incredibly worth doing.

The slight woman (well, Michele…well, in fact me, myself, and I ) tucked a leg under her rounded bottom.  Her ankle nestled under her firm yet cushiony hip.  Although she was slight, she had a shape…a not unattractive shape, which is a double-negative way of saying an attractive shape.  It was more her movements that were small and quiet, that suggested any kind of “slightness…”  more this than anything at all having to do with her physical form.   She was fairly unobtrusive, not really one to bully her way into the world, confident enough in fact to be in the world in a collaborative way without any attempts — feigned or concerted — to try to push the planet around.  As if that even could be done.  But the creative process was a different and amazing oftentimes confounding world and one just as different and amazing and oftentimes confounding as any other world.  In fact, sometimes the world of the creative process felt like a massive black hole.  Of late, in this third week as it approached and descended on her vocabulary, no words for this story were escaping.  This was most acutely, most particularly true in the third week.  What is it about the third week, she mused, wondering why the words came more slowly to her now.  She couldn’t help but move the napkin front and center again, carefully placing it out of harms way from her coffee cup or carafe or her totebag or any of the other items that were randomly or permanently scattered across the table.  She gazed wistfully at the circles she had placed on the napkin…at her pictograph…her evolving outline rendered in the form of a drawing.  She was certain suddenly that the nearly crushing agony of the third week had something to do with the entire approach to story telling.  The third week was just about in actuality her half-way point in this annual challenge.  Somehow it served as a milestone.  Somehow it served as a trigger to do something more with this process if she allowed herself to focus on that trigger, which she seems to have allowed herself to do.  She half grimaced, half smiled.  She remembered this creative fork in the road last year as well.  The third week, when her vocabulary became increasingly elusive as if in wait of…something.  …there was something nagging at her about the need to develop a character arc, a story arc…a beginning, a middle, an ending.  But the story doesn’t end when the story is about a process.  The story doesn’t end when the story is about eternity.  Past, present, future.  She began fidgeting now.  There was something remarkably uncomfortable for her at this point in this creative endeavor.  How had she not been as aware of the tension at the onset…the mounting tension between the artist or the instrument or whatever she thought herself to be and the muse.  A fickle and flirtateous creature the muse.  First here, then there, then leading her — the instrument through which her muse has a presence — to discover the story’s identity and voice all on her own.  She fidgeted quite a bit more now.  Nearly uncontrollably, uncomfortably so.  If she could get up and pace without risking losing her seat in the restaurant, she most definitely would.  Flitting her eyes back and forth onto anything at all…the napkin, the salt and pepper shakers, the silverware, the fact that the utensils were not lined up perfectly (of course she would notice the messiness in the table setting even if the utensils had nothing whatsoever to do with the process…or did they because her now near obsession with diverting her eyes away from the story arc — whatever that may be — seemed to inject yet another layer onto the creative process.  Maybe the story arc would make itself known when she wasn’t looking.  Or maybe she would find it hidden within the everyday spaces, the everyday minutiae she encountered along the way.  Stories are alive, after all.  Steeped in the ordinary as much as in the extraordinary.  Crossing all dimensions.  Past, present, future.

NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter:  2,470; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 24,470

Concentricity … 14

Ch 14 ~ “I made a note to self on a piece of paper and I can’t remember where it is or what it said  — have you ever done such a thing?”

Continued

“It’s a funny thing…as a kid, I was always the king of ‘why’.  Back in the days before dirt was discovered,” he clarified.  For some reason she never fully understood, Forge indulged in the a habit of making sure that anyone he spoke to understood how old he was.  He liked to come across as if he believed himself to be ancient.  Which he might have believed about himself (Emily tended to doubt this), but nobody else did.  Even if they knew how old he was.  Forge simply defied numbers.  Everyone knew that Forge had been around the block and on either side of it as much, if not more, than the Glenwood Cafe.  But everyone also knew he wasn’t that old.  More immediately, everyone knew that he could easily wear out anyone half his age.  For the most part, Forge really knew this to be true too.  As Emily thought more about it, she was fairly sure the “age thing” was a deflective manuveur.  Of course — she realized when she had found herself in a particularly lucid moment…one not too overwrought with, well, shock — he’s trying to help soften the shock (yes, what else could this be) of this

Emily nodded her head.  She hadn’t taken her eyes off of her friend Pat, who – although entirely physically present with them – had seemed to remove herself entirely from not only their booth, but the whole of the resturant.  She was definitely “in her own world” as the phrase goes.  Emily never much cared for that phrase.  Much like the phrase “real world” tended to grate against her nerves, but then sometimes she was just too literal.  No one lived in a vacuum.  Unless they lived in a black hole, she thought to herself, and nothing much could exist there.  She snickered at the riduculousness in the thought of living in a black hole, but sometimes the riduculous overwhelmed her sense of humor and she just had to roll with it. 

“Last I checked…we’re all in this world together.”  She had muttered this outloud, unaware that any sounds had been streaming out of her mouth.  She simply couldn’t remove her focus from Pat, who appeared to be watching an assortment of some of the world’s best and worst broadcasts and viewing them all from a flat screen tv, if you will, mounted on the inside of her head.  The world busily projected itself onto Pat’s brain and Pat willingly viewed, except for those mediums where she willingly projected herself on to the world…not really knowing if anyone willingly viewed.   At least one did.  At least.

As fantastic as this all was, somehow all of this was very much real…even if she — Emily — didn’t have a front view seat in Pat’s mind to see all of this play itself out.

“We are, indeed,” Forge agreed slowly. 

“So you…I don’t know…one day…you woke up…you said…why not have such a thing as this thing…you know…where it is embedded and all…” with a tilt of her mousy brown head, Emily pointed towards Pat, “…so…I don’t know…but could it be…is that how all of this happened?”

He nodded his head slowly, considering what she had just asked.  Seemed to sum it up pretty succinctly, if a bit hesitantly, he thought and knew this was no time for punishing the air with his voice.  So instead he kept his tone soft and casual.

“Yeah,” he nodded his head a bit more rapidly while he spoke, “yeah.  Pretty much just as simple as that.”

******

“Whoaaaa, man!” Luke spurted out a huge gulp of air, “I just rode up the entire width of that castle!  It’s entire side looks about one-eighth the size of the entire sim!  It just showed up in the sky.  Out of nowhere!”

Miles laughed.  “Castles in the sky.  There’s something poetic about that.”

“Only you, dude.  Only you could look at it that way.  I’m just saying this monstruously huge building with its several turrets nearly sent me into a vertical tailspin.”

“Cruising pretty fast, huh?” Miles grinned each word out with pleasure.

“Yeah…gotta love it!”

And Miles did.  Luke hadn’t yet noticed that Miles had unplugged a few minutes back, and the fact that Luke hadn’t noticed caused Miles’s smile to spread even more widerly.  His friend was completely in his element.  Unencumbered.  Freed from physical disabilities and moving about without limitations of any physical kind.  How could Miles not love that fact…seeing his long time friend stepping, yes stepping so easily so readily so instinctively so naturally into his legs, into the skies, moving all parts of his body freely without hinderance.  Tearing across the heavens.  As he studied his friend weaving and bobbing his torso, no doubt mimmicking the movements he was viewing on the front of his brain while seated in his wheelchair, Miles quietly observed as Luke for all intents and purposes flew right before his eyes, outright taking the skies as if he owned them.  Never mind that he arrived at the heavens by way of the screen within his mind.  Indeed, Miles saw no separation between where this was happening for Luke.  He sailed across the skies that were confined under the ceiling of the local bookstore Pages & Crumbs, a favorite place where Miles and Luke often caught up with each other.  Miles could see Luke’s hands and arms outstretched, nearly grazing the bodies of other Pages & Crumbs patrons as they carefully walked past Miles and Luke who were seated in the reading area that cozied up to the side of the coffee bar in the bookstore.  Miles watched Luke’s head casually turning from side to side, surveying the land until his forehead dove down to view a more localized area on the ground.  And just as clearly, Miles knew Luke had suddenly changed course and had aimed the velocity to the ground, the same velocity that had been propelling his body through the air…all the while, grinning with supreme confidence and joy the entire way until Luke paused just shy of a hard landing and instead casually kipped his legs forward under his body from where they had been extended behind his torso, casually fanning the air slowly in flight. 

Then he stepped so perfectly into his own legs moving in partnership with gravity.  To move.  To be.  To feel.  To feel his feet embrace the ground, caressing the fibers that contorted so automatically from his toes through his arch and heels up into his calves, threading tightly around his shins and knees, weaving impossibily perfectly together inside his quads and hamstrings, pushing up through his flexed buttocks and through this perfect harmony of power and rhythym propelling Luke, causing himself to walk on the surface of the earth as if he had just landed on the most treasured and undiscovered planet in the entire galaxy.  And it was all his.

“Hey, buddy,” Miles laughed because he just couldn’t help bursting with joy for his friend, “Great to see you doing and being!  Speaking of which…I should get a move on myself.” 

“Dude!” Luke chortled playfully, “another power meeting with ‘The Man?'” 

Miles chuckled at the frequency of Luke’s use of the word “dude.”  Typically, Luke was not a “dude” fanatic, but something about this embedded technology brought the word to his lips more often than not.   Miles knew it really had nothing to do with the word.  It really had everything to do with unadulterated joy. 

“Yeah,” Miles said lightheartedly, “Yeah.  He’s not all that bad.  A little wiley coyote but not all that bad at all.”

Luke sighed wistfully as he strode in the garden within his mind.  He strode like power and grace melded together and personified, and as he strode, he murmurred in awe to himself and to the entire world and to Miles, “Not bad…not bad at all…”

Miles smiled, catching his friend’s double meaning.  As he pushed out of the extremely well loved chair (one that Miles imagined might very well have held a couple of employees-as-lovers during the darkened afterstore hours at Pages & Crumbs…afterall, who really knew what happened between the earthy gritty pages in a book or a bookstore when they weren’t opened), he lightly tapped the side of Luke’s arm to let his friend know that he would be heading on his way.  Luke waved, nodded his head, said with great warmth, “Catch you later, dude” and strode through the garden in his mind while he sat in his wheelchair, moving his shoulders quietly with each step in his gait.

Not everyone carrying the embed was as immersed as Luke.  Not everyone attached the same meaning to the depth of power released by this embedded technology to the degree that his friend Luke did.  As much as Miles knew Luke’s history having been friends all their lives, even Miles was pretty sure that even he couldn’t understand fully what this meant to Luke.  What could it mean to be able to walk when you never could before?  The things we take for granted, Miles thought.  The magic in the most surprising of places, the simpliest of ways, he marveled. 

In some ways, there was a wonderful irony about all of this.  Luke challenged himself far more in the physical world than most able-bodied people ever thought to try to do.  The digital world gave form and expression to what Luke always knew to be within his very DNA.  It was as natural to him as breathing air.  And a marvel that some miniscule teeny computer — some widget, if you will — embedded somewhere on the inside of his head would give his mind and body, his entire spirt and soul such greater depth, such a broader range of stories — not only to read, and to passively watch, but to live.  To be.  Right at his fingertips.  For a book person like Luke, this took the notion of writing your own story to an entirely different place that he hadn’t previously considered possible.  It was worthwhile to describe the importance that book held for Luke.  He liked the smell of books.  He liked to feel their weight in his hands.  When he read, he usually carried a pen stuffed between the pages because he interacted with the books.  He liked to draw brackets around particularly noteworthy paragraphs, or write notes or thoughts to himself in the margins of a particularly compelling page.  He usually dog-earred those pages, because Luke was a reader who not only loved to feel the paper in his hands and highlight or circle compelling words across each page, but he typically read each book not only once but several times and kept his books around him as revered friends whose guidance and imagination and teachings Luke would revisit again and again and again.  Books were as much a part of Luke as anything could be.  Anyone who walked into his apartment would immediately know this to be so because Luke was one of those book people who displayed all of collections of novels in plain, majestic view.  In Luke’s case, that meant his thousands of written works were housed meticulously within low-shelf bookcases that snuggled warmly into every open wall space within his apartment.

In yet another jump through time (what is time, if not relative) that is directly related to everything that has already been written is this:

Forge had seen this firsthand.  In fact, it had been proved to provide a pivotal moment for Forge, as odd as that may sound.  (And with all that alliteration in there it sounded a bit odd indeed.)  Oftentimes, pivotal moments arrive on the wings of serendipity.  Or fate.   Forge would bet it was as much an orchestrated happening as a random one, and that was really the true purpose of this latest caper of his.  But he wasn’t in a position to discuss that fact yet because he hadn’t any idea how to get a handle on it.  The crux of the matter, as it were.  He recalled that not too terribly long ago, he had talked briefly around the edges of this topic with a peculiar fellow…not too terribly long ago.  He was a bit of a mystic or something, the fellow.  And not what one thought of when one thought of a mystic.  This one came in the form of a slight man of average build with a perpetual sneer on his face.  Decidedly quiet.  Uncomfortably so.  The kind of quiet that bludgeons and crushes.  The slight man seemed to grasp the intention, as ill-framed as Forge had conveyed it.  But perhaps it was really Forge’s desire to be understood that Forge had been sensing and mistaking it as someone else grasping what he was saying.  He remembered thinking he needed to check in with Emily, run this past her without leading her to any conclusion.  See if she saw in it the same possibilities – or more – that he saw in it.  But he was getting ahead of himself.  Because the pivotal moment that he was currently faced with was playing itself out in Luke’s apartment.

As serendipity or fate or both would have it, Forge had insisted on joining Miles after they had completed an off site meeting; it was after that off site meeting that Miles had scheduled a visit to check in on Luke.  He was curious about this Luke fellow, Forge was.  He had heard a great deal about Luke from Miles when he insisted on pushing off their followup meeting after the off site meeting (because for some mysterious reason as everyone knows, meetings beget meetings beget even more meetings and so on), and Forge had given sway with his time.  Relinquishing his time freely was not something Forge was known to do, but he was a good listener, Forge was, and he could hear in Miles’s expression and the gentle, open yet incredibly confident tone in Miles’s voice that Miles wasn’t about to budge on this one.   It was in this scheduled visit of Miles that Forge had run smack into the pivotal moment and had met what was for Forge the powerful presence that was Luke. 

Luke was a reader.  A voracious reader.  Forge thoroughly admired the vast collection of books that virtually wallpapered every wall in Luke’s comfortable apartment.

“Impressive!” Forge bellowed at the time.  He didn’t bellow to punish the air.  This wasn’t his usual blustering that he resorted to quite strategically when he wanted to create and capture an audience…whether or not they felt the same way.  He bellowed at that moment because Forge was genuinely impressed.  In one fluid movement, he gently tugged a hardbound book out from its home where it lay deeply, tightly nestled in the shelf among countless neighboring books, and he flipped through the pages of the one nestled now warmly within his soft hands.  But Forge moved the pages with great care and with great reverence.  While not a book person in the very real sense that Luke was, Forge loved to learn.  This was something he greatly respected this in others.  Books, in Forge’s view, were often strewn about the paths of learning.  Books and experiences both.  And it was then, in that thought, as Forge tenderly fanned the pages of a particular book nestled protectively within his hands…a particular book, but it wasn’t the book so much that mattered.  What mattered were the pages in that book that lay open before Forge’s eyes, the pages that quietly whispered the essense of Luke’s dreams as it revealed itself and climbed in excitedly scrawled ink up the vertical white space of the margins…it was then, that Forge connected some series of thoughts that had been circling within his mind…that he had been loosely bouncing off of even complete strangers such as the slight man of average build who seemed to have an idea (or was very good at pretending to have an idea) what Forge’s ideas were trying to describe.  However, loosely so. 

But the more immediate and lasting articulation for Forge had been found in Luke’s handwritten thoughts along the margins in his books.  Gazing at the letters as they joined themselves together into words and shape and form and pictures and meaning, it was then that Forge could see the very real importance and significance of what he and Miles were doing.

NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter:  2,762; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 22,000

 

Aliens Get into the Groove

Dancing at a very fun club the other night, I cammed the club after everything had rezzed and after I got myself situated only to discover lo and behold that I was fluttering around with my cyberpixie wings dancing not too terribly far away from an Alien.  Not just *any* Alien, no.  I’m talking *the* Alien with a capital “A”…the one along with its freakin scary Queen and colony of soldiers that did all their nasty things to humans and tormented Ripley through all those sequels. 

I wondered why I would be seeing this at a club, but after a while inworld we all learn not to question these things.  Still.  After three years inworld this is the first time in a very long time that I’d been surprised by a look.  No doubt this look was pulled out of the closet for the club’s best “Bad Ass” contest.  What a great great look for that, and really what a killer look for something wildly and completely different.  In my book, this look won the contest hands down (or is that pincers down or tallons down or two-foot extending snapping jaw down).  Frankly, I was a bit nervous to be standing so close to that tail.  Not to mention that I found it a bit unsettling to see this formidable and downright scary creature (in look only because in local chat the resident wearing this look was incredibly nice and funny) unwinding.  Like this…

And this…

And this…

Aliens get their groove on too and with a very impressive degree of quality.  I think I studied every detail of this look extensively and I know I wasn’t the only one doing so.  When you see the scariest thing in outer space putting on dancehud smexy moves, it’s not something one can casually look away from.  It was — yes — most definitely the best “Bad Ass” outfit there.  And definitely most definitely completely out of this world.

Concentricity … 13

Ch 13 ~ I believe I can fly

“Imagine, Luke Grady.  Imagine this.  And it isn’t a dream,” he paused, looked at his friend with a glint of joy in his smile before he continued forward, in actions and in words.  “Imagine that you can fly.”  

He lifted up into the air as if an invisible and massive exhale had collected itself from deep under the surface of the ground, had reached a critical mass and had pushed silently and gently — despite its gigantic force — against the soles of his feet, causing his body to become airborne.  Suddenly, then, there he was, Miles Thomas Brown, effortlessly accelerating into the heavens without any equipment or instrumentation.  Completely free from any machinery (ironically), his clothed body utterly exposed to the sky and the clouds.  He faced the world and its horizons, an act that was for Miles Thomas Brown something within the very fiber of his being…everywhere he went.  And so it had to be that he would and did face the world and all of its potential and all of its doings with an open mind, an open heart, an open spirit, watching with generous quiet and engaged delight as the world beneathe his feet danced about and rapidly began to unfold while he continued to ascend higher and higher…flying across the sky in perfect unison with the heavens.  As if doing this act was all as natural a thing as it could be.  As if doing this act was as natural as breathing air.   Whoosh.

“Fly!” Luke just about squealed.  He would have felt a little bit silly about shouting out a word like a child or squealing in surprise like another excited child.  But this thing — what Miles was doing right before his eyes — this thing was a very, very, very big thing for Luke.  And although he was very much a young man a grown man who had seen a bit of life with more long stretches of it to come, in some ways Luke Grady was also really very much a little child, an excited child because the notion of being able to engage in any kind of extended motion previously had been, for him, an impossibility.  Until now.  Luke Grady had been born with a genetic condition that had rendered him unable to walk for all of his life.  He wasn’t exactly paralyzed, but the effect was just about the same.  And in the physical world, Luke’s condition, as he sometimes liked to call it, could be challenging.  It wasn’t the world so much that was challenging.  Not if you asked Luke.  If you asked Luke, he would tell you it was the limitations we place on ourselves, the way we hold ourselves back from learning and growing.  The way we view ourselves — through defensive distortions in either direction.  Those were the challenges.  And sometimes Luke’s condition factored into those challenges.  That is, until Luke found a way to remove his near paralysis out of the equation.  And it had to be so, that Luke wouldn’t give in to this disability.  He was thoroughly able.  His very young life promised a very long stretch of days in front of him, but all of which were days when he would — without question — continue to face the relentess truth that his body voiced so insistently whenever he tried to move about.  He simply couldn’t.  Not without his wheelchair.  He thought about naming it once, the wheelchair.  May have even named it for a time, but he fell in and out of that fancy.  While the wheelchair was just as much a part of Luke as anything on his person, and Luke had gotten to a place where he was okay with that fact, he was not okay with any suggestion that he should be defined by the wheelchair or the effect his physical form had on his person.  In his mind, that would be the same as judging someone by how they looked or the color of their skin or how ample their breasts were or how big their shoe sizes were.  Ridiculous.  So Luke rarely talked about it.  It wasn’t that he denied it.  No, he never did that.  But he refused to let it become a crutch, as ironic as that might be on some level.  One of the ways he claimed back his power and ensured that it didn’t define him was to not think about it much.  As a consequence, anyone who might ask Luke why he was wheelchair bound usually came away with only a vague sense of whatever had caused his body not to allow Luke to stand and walk or run. 

But watching Miles Thomas as he curved through a low floating series of clouds, Luke allowed himself the luxury of squealing wildly like an overly excited child who had just received the best gift ever.  Because now Luke could not only stand and walk and run like all his friends and like just about everyone he knew could do.  But not only that…now, Luke could fly!  There was no one in the physical world that Luke knew who could do that.  And while he didn’t know everyone on the planet, he was willing to lay money down that he and Miles were the only two in the entire world who could actually fly.

“C’mon!” Miles yelled from behind the whisps of a giant white cloud just before his bulletted form cut through its edge and jetted forth with the robin’s egg blue sky as his backdrop.  “What are you waiting for, Luke!  Get off your ass!” Miles laughed from a place of deepest caring and friendship, “Hop to it, buddy, and FLY!”

Yes even in space, you can hear your friends urging you forward.  Brave new, strange new, wonderful new world.

Nearly hyperventilating, Luke’s breathing and adrenalin both went into overdrive.  His hands shook from it all, he couldn’t deny this.  To say he was excited was an understatement.  This wasn’t just an emotion, oh no.  The truth of the matter was that Luke was excited enough to feelphysically feel — his purpose, his focus.  His focus in motion.  In the act of moving about.  This was a very, very, very big thing for Luke.  He never realized until this moment that intention had dimension and texture, but he could feel it.  It tingled.  He could feel his entire cellular structure steeped in it.  And he could just about physically see it, actually envision it with his eyes looking upon it…just not in the usual way of seeing.  Intention was more pervasive, more entwined than any free standing image taken in isolation.  There wasn’t necessarily a clean outline.  It was simply and wildly complexily everywhere.  Too impossibly improbably but (without question Luke could attest) literally everywhere to see.  Yet, in this moment, for Luke, intention was too impossibly improbably vital to miss. 

And then it happened.  Luke squeezed something…from somewhere in the back of his head.  He couldn’t tell you what he lay pressure around or where it was or how he could even do this.  He could only tell you that doing so had brought as much meaning to his life as anything, that it had brought even much more meaning to his life than anything had before.  Doing this had enlarged his spirit more than any piece of equipment in which he was bound could ever hope to do.  And yet both served their purpose.  One, the wheelchair, contained him in the physical world while giving him motion to be and to do.  The other, some series of cogs and wheels some tiny miniscule mechanism in his mind’s eye, gave Luke Grady his dreams…unshackled him and stood him upright solidly into his legs so solidly forward that with no effort at all oh my god without a second’s hesitation or question “WHOOSH!!!  I CAN FLY!!,” Luke yelled like the roar of an entire football staduium when the favorite team wins a world championship after several years history of coming up short. 

“Dude,” Miles Thomas laughed from deep within the schmooshed cushions of an overused club chair in the local bookstore.  He playfully tossed a loosely balled up scrap of paper that bounced off of Luke’s shoulder but registered enough within Luke’s brain…the part that wasn’t gaping in awe at the image of himself soaring through the skies on the back (or front) of his own brain.  The part of Luke’s brain that took note of being lightly hit with a wad of paper…that was the part that caused Luke’s head to twitch.

“Dude!” Luke barked and laughed all at once.  “Hey!  I’m FLYING here!”

“Yeah…” Miles chuckled deep within his navel, “And don’t we *all* know it, bud.  Volume’s a touch *loud* up in the higher reaches of the atmosphere I noticed.”  Miles lobbed another volley of crumbled papers Luke’s way.

“Hey!  Don’t throw me off track, man!”

And instead of saying another word, Miles unplugged his mind, pushed his body even further back into what was clearly a very loved chair, one that gave way to any pressure whatsoever.  From there, in this physical space in the physical world, Miles watched his friend with glee.  He didn’t need to be watching the simulation that they were both in to know what was happening for Luke.  The kid’s smile was so big it completely swallowed up his other facial features.  It completely swallowed up the entire store.  And his torso swayed with each cruising, banking turn that he steered straight into the sky.

Whoosh…

There were others, a small group of others trying this new technology.  This was an experiment in embedding in a whole different way.  Not all of those in the small group of others were like Luke Grady.  In fact that would be a crass generalization to say that they were all alike…even the ones who looked and behaved and sounded and thought the same ways.  They were all different.  Some, like Luke, shared the reality of living fairly immobilized in the physical world, doing the best that they could in all places even in the face of sometimes bad or off days.  Others, quite contrary to Luke’s experience, where immobilized in a completely different way…within their own heads and hearts.  But still doing the best that they could, given the constraints they dealt with, in all places…in good and bad and indifferent days.  Still others in this small group thought of themselves as average (or thereabouts) everyday souls, fairly well balanced in heart and mind and spirit and physical capabilities who were also doing their best in all places even suffering sometimes bad or off days.  Then there were the rare few…the very rare few (Emily knew of only one really)…those who were something somewhat more than genuises…doing the best that they could in all places and sometimes having off days.  The rarest of the rare would say that each of us was among the rare few, being uniquely us, and no one would argue this.  Collectively, we were all uniquely us.  Collectively individual.  Global intimacy…within the world of billions in whatever way intimacy had meaning to the world of one.

As much as he wasn’t particularly a fan of this song, Miles still appreciated how it resonated with the small group of others that had this new technology embedded behind their eyes.  Indeed, how it resonated in so many ways with everyone in all worlds.

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I’m leaning on the everlasting arms

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

See I was on the verge of breaking down
Sometimes silence can seem so loud
There are miracles in life I must achieve
But first I know it starts inside of me, oh

If I can see it, then I can be it
If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it

Hey, cuz I believe in me, oh

If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there’s nothign to it

Hey, if I just spread my wings
I can fly
I can fly
I can fly, hey
If I just spread my wings
I can fly
Fly

….

Ch 14 ~ “I made a note to self on a piece of paper and I can’t remember where it is or what it said  — have you ever done such a thing?”

“You see finally,” Forge said quietly, his voice narrowed and congealing around itself.  It directed itself with laser-like precision to her ears.  An amazing feat all by itself.  Emily noticed that Forge had somehow targeted his sound waves in such a way as to create what amounted to a private line of convesration between the two of them…even out in the open in a restaurant where there were twice as many ears as mouths.  Well that would be true anywhere, with two ears for each mouth.  By doing this though somehow Forge had just achieved an out of body demonstration of something that he was suggesting could be done entirely, quiet silently in body, from brain to brain.  In essence.  And transmitted, broadcasted silently from there too.  In essence, steampunk telepathy or some such thing.

“You see finally what I’ve been trying to describe to you, my easily distracted friend.”

Emily rounded her lips.  She tilted her head in a sluggish manner to the side.  Her eyebrows threatened to crawl down the bridge of her nose she frowned so intensely.  A hand wafted above the table.  It was her hand, wafting, but she almost didn’t register that fact in her mind.  Her hand was as perplexed as the rest of her, and at the moment “the rest of her” would primarily be her mind.  Her extreme hesitation in extending her pointer finger served as more than a few exclamation points, bookending her confusion.  !!!!!Exclamation points in front and exclamation points in back!!!!!  Just like that.  Uber confused.  So much so she couldn’t even form her hand into the ubiqutious “Now, wait a minute here” or “Now, listen here” or the “Now, first of all” sign of authority…or at the very least they were all signs of an attempt at authority.  She couldn’t even attempt it. 

“I won’t ask how,” she verily whispered through tightly compressed rounded lips that posed themselves into a perpetual o.O.

“A wise choice,” Forge said calmly, keeping his eyes glued on her.  Pat’s eye continued wizzing about, he was certain.  She was uncharacteristically quiet and subdued…no doubt, re-immersed in her favorite Real Trashmen episode. 

“The better question would probably be,”

“Why,” Emily and Forge said together.  But Emily secretly feared that the answer Forge was about to give would prove to be even more information overload.

NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter:  2,540; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 19,240

Concentricity … 12

Ch 12 ~ In Space, Do they hear traces of the self screaming?

Some people – the very few who knew him – thought him to be an alien.   Not that he looked odd.  But he definitely behaved in a manner that some people, the very few who might have known of him at one time (not many people knew of him for any length of time) thought of as from another planet.

The slight man in the booth who had arrived at the Glenwood Cafe by way of a Black Hole from which he had been born in some galaxy somewhere…perhaps one that was indeed far, far away…could have been anybody on the planet, really.  The planet Earth, that is.  He didn’t walk like an Alien from Outerspace.  He didn’t look like an Alien from Outerspace (athough the sneer in his eyes sort of resembled that same grim-eyed slightly annoyingly tortured focus as delivered by the actor who played Luke’s father during the pre-dark side days).

Although who would really know?  “…Would anybody really care?  About Time?  No, I can’t imagine why…” 

But what everyone really could accept without hesitation is that like everyone else in the Glenwood Cafe, and on the planet Earth, for that matter, the slight man had had a thought.  And despite the slightness of the man, his thought was a doozy.  So much so, it had propelled him down this path…to find a way to give voice to his thought.  The urge to do so had only magnified now, as he listened to the ramblings of Forge and his two female friends.  They both looked rather perturbed, the two young ladies.  How could that not be the case, he wondered knowing the answer full well.  Computers embedded within our very bodies.  Tied inexorably into biological structure.  Literally plugging right in.  Directly.  Could he emphasize the remarkableness of that enough times, he wondered; would it ever be too many times.  Frankly, no, because it was just that wildly astounding.  He dwelled a bit on the implications of such a thing.  The Singularity was not his religion, as it was for so very many, but it was not something he would desecrate either, despite the perpetual sneer in his eyes.  He sneered perpetually at everything.  It was probably the sunlight that bothered him so, coming from a birth as crushing as one from a Black Hole.  Desecrating religions of any variety wasn’t for him a particularly worthwhile activity.  In fact, the opposite.  Others’s belief systems actually served his doozy-of-a-thought perfectly…because exploiting others’s belief systems gave him the power to control.  And now Forge sat and casually talked quite in the open about unending access.  Would anybody ever be unplugged again, he mused randomly to himself all the while knowing the answer full well.  And all the while envisioning the population as they indulged themselves with images and sounds and screens and links of their favorite serious news, entertainments, amusement, research, collborations, corporate agenda, political campaigns, water-cooler socializing, brain candy reality tv and badly written multiple versions of the same scripted dramas each and every minute.  Leaving their DNA behind on every electronic field that they visited.  Physically leaving traces of their genetic code on every digital space that they entered and interacted with.  Literally leaving the keys to themselves wide open for someone…he paused a moment, bristling with the thought…leaving the keys to themselves wide, he repeated in his mind, for someone clever enough like me to pick up and unlock their entire life’s history with a single tumble of the locks.  Without them ever knowing it.   Belief systems exposed.  Habits and behaviors as often dictated by belief systems exposed.  Vunerabilities laid bare for his use.  A completely new layer of transparency in a connected world that innocently thinks its seen it all.  They haven’t yet seen who’s behind the curtain mining the meta data of all the meta data.  And if slight man (who continues insisting upon remaining nameless) has his way, they never will see him holding all the keys.  This was what he was thinking, the slight man in the booth who had arrived at the Glenwood Cafe by way of a Black Hole from which he had been born in some galaxy somewhere…perhaps one that was indeed far, far away.   He couldn’t tell you what his childhood had been like…there wasn’t much that escaped the Black Hole, but somehow by some freak or fate of science, he had.  He was convinced it was to dominate with his thoughts and his thoughts alone.  Stifling the Tower of Babel that was freed upon the world from this great global conversation.  A tower of Babel with endless permetations of convesrations occurring but all of them, really, in the same language.  Voices crying out noisily like hungry little chicks looking to for nourishment and attention…what started as a word turned into a cacophony of noise exploding out indefinitely.  Think of the energy, the world of wildly chirping tweeters waiting for the attention that only he could bring to them…once he knew what really movitated them.  He could harness their energy for his purposes.  The ultimate in the Age of Hyber Me-ism.  The world as his oyster, if he even knew what that phrase really meant.  Having been born from the Black Hole, one could argue that he probably never saw or heard of an oyster before.  In truth, he hadn’t seen or heard much of anything but crushing nothingness.  And he had emerged into a world on Earth of crushing everythingness. 

This was an easy thing, the doing of this, the pursuing of this path, he thought to himself without a moment’s pause.  There was a greater danger in *not* pursuing this path.  The crushing everythingness — one more powerful than that made up of zeros and ones — extended beyond this little planet.  The crushing everythingness extended beyond into All.  And that was not something that the slight man from the Black Hole could allow anyone to latch onto…not anyone, expect for himself.

Somewhere not far away…not too terribly far away at all…a flock of ducks took the air and sliced through the sky in perfect unison.  Whoosh.

NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter:  1,000; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 16,700.