Monday, March 08, 2010

Stories, restoration, cars, and stuff

I’m supposed to be reading my students’ work. I’m not, of course. I’m writing a blog post instead.

Story three of the new anthology has made me unhappy. I’ve set it aside and started outlining story four. The main character in story four isn’t a pixie but a pixie descendant. I’ll have to come up with a name for the non-pixie descendants, I suppose. …

The story, as I see it now, is a quest fulfilled. The main character – funny her name should be Rachael – has been following clues left in medieval documents and more recent diaries and letters she inherited from her grandfather. She’s looking for the field of blood.

Among the clues are bits of Native American legend that coincide with a Dafydd of Wales’ tale of the valley of blue smoke. Got that? Okay … now I need to account for the blue mist. Oh, I know why it’s there, but not how to account for it umm scientifically.

Fairies are hard to kill but not immortal. Once dead they decompose slowly and their bodies give off a blue mist in the summer’s heat. (As far as I know there is no basis in the mythology for this exact thing; I’ve made it up, mostly.) The mist grows faint as their bodies pass into their constituent elements and fainter still when only bones remain.

Most of the story, as I see it now, consists of a walk through the field of blood. It’s told through her observations and reflections. There is a find … that is she finds something and takes it with her. That’s where the story will end.

There is a conversation with the farmer who owns the field. I have imagined this three ways. The basics are easy. She seeks permission to visit the property. He is reluctant to give it because he sees the plot as a bad place. Cattle do not thrive on it. Wheat will not grow on it. It’s unlucky, and he’s rational enough to not want to describe it that way. He finally gives permission. She walks the field, making her observations and collecting bits of things.

This is an anti-magic story. Or more accurately, this is a “there is no magic” story. I see it as a fairly short story, but they have a way of growing that surprises me sometimes.

I don’t feel well today, and many things are annoying me that usually don’t. Fortunately, no one is home to see me this frustrated. I’ll take a nap soon.

I have a long list of things to do. We have a yard sale planned. I really need to get rid of more of the junk stored in our basement. I had the one room in order, but it’s backfilled with boxes from the last room. It is wrong that cleaning should make such mess!

I’ve been reading books from the 1940’s. We lose touch with good writing of past eras, and the 1940’s produced some great writing. Behind this is the need to prune down my library. I have dozens of books from the 1940-50’s. Most of them can go, but I want to keep the best of them. So, I’m re-reading some of them.

I spent parts of yesterday gossiping with a relative – about another relative, of course. Every family has its black sheep. Sometimes I think mine has more than its share. This particular black sheep is prominent in the financial industry. (Let’s call him a usurious banker.) He has finally managed to cut himself off from everyone else, including his own children. I used to find him a sad, even tragic, character. Now I see him as revoltingly greedy – in a common sort of way. I don’t know what to say to his oldest daughter, the last to suffer from his abuse. Probably I’ll say nothing more. She was his last “defender.” A daughter’s lost loyalty will not be easy to regain. He’ll die lonely.

I’ve been taking an alternate rout home at night. It takes me through parts of town I’d usually avoid, but I’ve seen some interesting things. This rout takes me past a collection of auto dealerships. I’m surprised how many people cruise up and down the street looking at cars at two a.m. This can’t be normal human behavior. …

As construction shifts and the rout changes, I see different bits of the old town. Two of the old hotels are being restored. The same company bought them both. The nicest was built in 1915 and has in more recent years been indigent housing. It has been empty for a year. They gutted it and restored the outside to original appearance, but with high tech materials. The outside is almost done, though the inside is still in disarray. I’m really pleased with what they’ve done.

The other hotel, really a motel, is down the street a block. It was built as a Travel Lodge in the mid 1950’s. For a while it was rent by the week apartments. The last four years it’s been vacant. It’s receiving the same treatment as the 1915 structure. I’m not sure of the financial viability of this second restoration, but I am please to see bits of old town coming back to life.

Going home by this rout takes me across two bridges. The interchange at the foot of the first bridge is nasty. It was recently redesigned and rebuilt. The result is less than desirable. I’m just waiting for the accidents to happen.

Oh … I ran some papers out to a specialty metals factory for Knobby Knees. While I was there I got a brief tour of the plant. It stinks. They lubricate the lathes and grinders and what ever those machines are with animal fat based grease. It really stinks. .. and it’s noisy.

There was one really fascinating bit. They have their own wastewater system. The coolant and waste water is processed through a series of large tanks to which various chemicals are added. The metals and pollutants are trapped in a goo that is squeezed out into molds, and clean water is returned to the system. There is a funny odor inside the plant, a very chemical smell, and the noise level is high. But it was the most interesting thing I saw on my tour.

Next to the plant is a row of nearly dead trees. They’re the remains of a farm stead from about 1900, I’m told. I’d like to see more, but the factory doesn’t own that land, and no one seemed to know who does.


  1. Was that Timmy's story that you put aside for now? Keep working on them. I am looking forward to reading the finished book.

    pob lwc gyda'r prosiect!

  2. Yes, I'm giving Timmy's story a rest. I haven't abandoned it though. And thanks for the good wishes!

  3. Anonymous8:52 AM

    he Little Angry Gremlin of Valeria
    by Mikael Blessed

    Through interspersed drums and flowers
    Into trees friendly to dryads
    I strained to look at wonders
    counted best in myriads
    I saw wondrous strange eyes
    looking back into mine
    They seemed quite familiar
    Though they seemed quite blind

    Those shining black orbs
    That looked back at me
    Appeared to have purpose
    And a cold, dark glee
    My blood shed warmth
    and with a shiver unseen
    I tried to flee
    That solitary being

    The evil imp revealed
    upon my fleeting try
    to run away to safety
    my feet to rise too shy
    Motionless I stared
    at my antagonist quite still
    And wondered if it cared
    That my feet defied my will

    Then the truth was well revealed
    As I looked askance at him
    In his indifferent stance
    And expression dull, yet grim
    For he tried just as I did
    To free himself anon
    And his feet were just as frozen
    Yet his will was to be gone

    For the beast it was none other
    Than this very man you see
    In a paralyzed position
    Longing yet to soon be free
    The beast was known as LAG
    That Gremlin we all know
    And as you all come to hear me
    I am sure his power will grow

    For he loves your blessed company
    and on crowds he lives quite well
    As the little angry gremlin
    Makes our daily lives...

    ...quite difficult and fell.

    So I leave you with this warning.
    Take a maiden, take a man
    And find yourselves a lonely spot
    As quickly as you can,
    For the gremlin he loves company
    And in twos you're quite secure
    So be off, you lovers, all
    and make your lover purr.