“I Love You Dark”

My love’s not pure nor glorious as the day
As dark and coarse as skin is fair and bright
It shines, but without light to guide its way
Not holy or of perfect, lacy white
It clads itself in simple, dirty scabs
In scars and bone and curling, muddy hair
My pulse it quickens and my hear it grabs
Without decorum, rules, or playing fair
As old as earth, as dark as dawn is light
It twists and writhes; it shudders like the frost
My love is neither perfect nor alright
But hard and dark and all too eas’ly lost
My love is simply man and shades of skin
So dark they mold this golden heart within

M.
May 13/15

The God Beneath

I am a nation. I am the fabric of pride, nationalism, and community. Rippling in the breeze, the heavy folds of cloth remind me of my importance, the fact that no expense is spared in me, and no sky is above my conquering gaze.

I fly. The gentle wind lifts me and the shining sun casts my shadow down below, where among heaps of fallen bricks the ants run around in a frenzy. I can hear snatches of conversation from them.

“Left my textbook in the math hall,” they say.

“Wonder if she’ll go with me,” they say.

I neither care nor understand.

Each day I guard the ants and make their courage rise up in their chests, make their feet run faster, and make the day so much brighter. In red and blue glory, I watch their meager attempts, their futile squabbles and short-lived victories. I am timeless.

Each evening I sink with the sun, coaxed downwards by the gentle slap of rope against pole, folded like a child, and carried to a boxed bed of finest silk like the treasure I am. Each evening my stars lie folded, and I die – and in the morning I rise again, the first to wake. Drawn aloft by the threads of spider’s silk, newly coated with dew, I come to watch again over the bustling anthill of mankind.

I am timeless. I have existed as long as I can remember, which must be a very long time indeed. No one has come before me, and no one would dare follow. The ants, however, aren’t timeless at all. They come and go, and when they go I am sure they die.

“The flag’s getting a worn patch,” they say.

“I’m so screwed for that English final,” they say.

“Look into getting a new one,” they say. “The pride of America.”

I am right, see? They leave and when they leave, they die. That is what they say. The word America means death, or maybe heaven, I think. At least, that is what I’ve discovered.

This is a day like every other day, except that I do a thing I’ve never done before. I have experienced all, and yet today I do the thing I’ve never done before: I touch The God Beneath.

The God Beneath is big, and it is mottled. It is the only thing bigger than myself, because so matter how far I stretch, my folds of painted skin can never quite obscure it completely, whereas the ants are blocked out easily.

The God Beneath is something beyond me, something too vast for me, but today, as I am gently drawn down towards it to be put away, it rises up to meet me.

I don’t quite know what happens.

“Don’t let it slip-” says a voice.

“You’re letting go,” replies a second voice.

They are loud voices, much louder down here than when I am flying above them. My ant servants hold me gently, but I tip, and the God Beneath jumps up and grabs hold of one of my corners – the one that’s blue with a star in it.

The exhilaration is too much. I am flushed beyond comprehension, alive with the fire of a presence so much bigger and more important than myself. I’ve never felt this before. It feels like ice so hot it burns me up, and I feel this so strongly that the flames spring from my imagination and suddenly coat me in a fire feeding hungrily on my red and blue flesh.

“Well, it was getting worn anyways,” says the first voice.

“Shouldn’t have dropped it though. Shame we have to burn it,” says the second.

The Flames consume me, and before I pass into America, the last thing I feel is the God Beneath embracing me.

M.
Jun 2015
photo credits: http://ilimage.com/american-flag-2/

Graduation

Graduation has a way of creeping up to you and freezing everything else… including blog posts. Now I’m back again after a wild ride. In the words of one of my very favorite teachers: Thank you for flying with us.

Graduation

Breathe deeply, breathe a sigh
And let no word distract
From your presence
– your fully being here.
Hear the wind
Breathe sighs within you
The way it holds your cries
And sweeps them out
Into the world

Sweet wind that moves the ageless trees
I know no what distraction sees
But feel an earthen heartbeat
Sway beneath your gentle breeze

You are a song
Which, in singing, we remember
And soft melodies so old
They fade to myth
Still resound in our clanging spirits,
Our hearty souls
And our growing consciousnesses

You are a songbird in these trees
I know not what the wind believes
But I am calm
And know to never let the future freeze

We never know what we will do
We are out of our minds
And into this silent world
That shouts and whispers
While all we think of
Are the embers of an end,
The soft flames licking up
Into a new beginning

M.
written Jun 13/15
photo credits: Damara Moe Photography

Fame

Listen to this story, children
This riddle:

They stake their lives
On crowds and soft cries
Put their hands on the line
Wait for the train
As the train tracks
Are a line in a line
A line within a line, I said

Guess their names, child
What are their names?
No one knows, which is sad
But the secret is
I know it of the train:
“Rumble”

Soft cries, crowds, I said
They cheer either side
Though the stakes are high
“The train is coming!”
Wild they stand and scream
For either side at the end

Screams, I said
Though I cannot describe
Those horrible screams on their faces
While blood
In thick streams
Runs down the iron rails
Sound fades
As the train Rumbles away

And the lull lasts
When the train has passed
Their hands, bruised and swollen
Lie broken and unmoving, mostly
While some are gone

“Thank you
For the sacrifice –
I know you lost and I know who won
We cheer for the train now
But thank you for the show
We bandage your hands
With kisses before you go
And I say
We salute the loss.”
They said. “We salute the loss.”

But children, know their names –
Children know my name
And remember this story
For I lost my hands for this,
For fame.

M.
written Aug 26/13 under the title “We Salute the Loss”

The Wonderful World of “FWB”

Fantasy World Building. The art of creation; the ultimate achievement in imagination. At least, I’d like to think so.

FWB is simply creating unique places from scratch. Often based on vaguely medieval or futuristic elements, these places are as detailed or simple as the creator wishes, and can be used for anything – from nothing, to video games, to book universes, to hobby projects.

I first got into FWB because of a story I was writing. It needed a setting, and certain – ah – magical elements prevented me from setting it in the “real world.” Ergo, I made up my own.
While I am aware that the tried and throttled “Medieval World of Magic” thing has become more stumbling block cliche than artistic extension, there is still value in creating a loosely inspired universe. As always, however, there are things to avoid, dos and don’ts to consider, and a whole whack-load of information to sift through. More on this in the future.

Disclaimer:

In working on my personal little world, I have done extensive research on different world building elements. Please keep in mind that I’m by no means an expert in anything. At all. However, I’m one heck of a researcher and I promise that the excerpts, designs, and facts I post are always thoroughly researched and not just pasted off of Wikipedia. Any specific work posted will be my own unless otherwise referenced and credited.

My World:

IMG_2037My world has no name, because naming things is hard, but it does have a rough landscape and two defined countries, as well as a detailed city (with more to follow).

This city layout is one I drew up last year. Inspired by a type of flower called a Protea, this design has concentric walls accessed by bridges (not seen in this picture). The street design is perhaps a bit too linear, but it does look quite dramatic from a bird’s-eye view.

Fantasy Map 1 001Although a lot of my layouts are done on paper, I have also started experimenting with drawing software. Though my work here is hardly worth showing as I don’t have much experience, I do want to say that fooling around on programs like GIMP is awesome.

This second map is a much larger scale depiction of one of my countries. Thanks to an incredibly helpful tutorial by RobA from Cartographers’ Guild, it actually looks almost decent. The link to his tutorial is posted below.

M.

Further Reading:

For anyone interested in more information, here are a few sites that I’ve found useful. From demographics calculators, to some basic world building information, to a bit of cartography, these sites are some of the first I got into when I started creating my world.

http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/demog.htm
“Medieval Demographics Made Easy”: Sometimes it’s all in the name.

http://www.eclecticco.net/Worldbuilding.htm
A general conglomeration of interesting links.
Note: some of the links on this site are broken or outdated. The ones that work, however, are great.

http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/A_Magical_Medieval_City_Guide_(DnD_Other)
Note: yes, you read correctly; this is indeed from Dungeons and Dragons. However, most of it is really great information. So it’s on here.

http://www.welshpiper.com/medieval-demographics-online/
A handy demographics calculator. Just in case crunching numbers is (or isn’t) your thing.

http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=1142
Cartographers’ Guild‘s map making tutorial. If you want to go in depth, prepare to spend a lot of your time.

“Hello World”

“Hello World”: these are the first two words an aspiring programmer is supposed to type into his python (or java) engine. I figure it’s good enough for a blog too – it has the feel of saluting a grand audience of electronically connected listeners, a sea of invisible ears (eyes, really) with little mouths and vocal chords attached to the fingers.

Welcome to the wonderful world of “my blog”: an as-of-yet unformed entity that will eventually consist of a series of essays, informative paragraphs, pictures, stories, and excerpts. The goal of [insertcleverwordplay] is to educate and exhibit interesting things within the scope of three general categories: Writing, Art, and Fantasy World Building (a wondrous topic which I will introduce you to in a future post). As an aspiring artist and writer I hope to interest you in the topics I have come to love. By writing about my interests, passions, successes, failures, and ideas, I hope to spur your imagination and expose you to new topics, teaching you something novel and exciting about my small corner of this beautiful world.

M.

accidentally inspired; purposefully written