Raw Story

May. 22nd, 2017 08:14 am
satyapriya: Macchu Picchu 2009 (Default)
#StoryADay prompt
Societal World Building

The Story A Day website offered the prompt of looking at a story you're writing, and asking how a particular aspect of the story came into being. It can mean research if writing a 'mundane' or literary story, more wild speculation if writing genre.

My mind went straight to a story I never finished, an older one, where Christianity has been side-lined in favour of every other religion in the world. Naturally, I gave St Paul's cathedral to the pagans. Prime real estate.
I never got further than someone on the steps of St Paul's watching Christians march down Swanston St, from the State Library to the Shrine of Remembrance. I remember something about ruined tram lines from the religious riots of twenty years before, and it seemed it was yet another foray of mine into a semi post-apocalyptic Melbourne. I've yet to discover whether all these little Melbourne vignettes are part of one great disaster vision, or separate worlds.

Anyway, so if that's where my mind went, I'm okay with that. Maybe the speculation I'm about to do here, straight onto the page, and without too much seriousness, will respark the story. Maybe not. I don't have much of a stake in the results either way. It's an exercise.

So, partly-ruined Melbourne, or at least, a greatly neglected and run-down Melbourne.
How? When? I want to say it's an offshoot of the Kennett years, which is when this story started. That Kennett's strictures on Victoria tightened and tightened, and somehow, the Christian sects of Melbourne became harsher, to the point where other religions finally revolted.
Did they band together? They'd have to, I think. That would take some organisation. A charismatic leader? This was in the days before Facebook, flash mobs, and the internet being a way to rally people(and for people to say they're coming to something, and then not bother turning up, because there's a turmeric chai latte with their name on it at a hipster café).
What would it take for the Pagans, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and every other mob to take to the streets and wrest control of the church sites, and the dominant religious paradigm of Victoria?
Did it happen worldwide, or just in Australia, or just Victoria?
Interesting if it's just Victoria, because it ties in with a story I wrote, also during the Kennett years, of a wall going up around Victoria, and Kennett continuing as a despot. And harnessing all the magical and psychic folk to control the security of the wall. In the case of my heroine, holding her daughter hostage.
If the tram lines in Melbourne are ruined, it suggests a violent takeover that wrecked Melbourne.
Now that the pagans have St Paul's what are they going to do with it? It's scarcely a grove of trees, an open space, or Stonehenge. Or is it? Do those steps of St Paul's now lead to a new Stonehenge on the site of the church?
Oh, but I would miss the bell turrets, and the gargoyles...
But what was the last straw? What was the incident that broke the camel's back and incited rebellion, rioting, and takeover? Who was it who said 'let them eat cake'?
I truly want to implicate George Pell.
"Christians have only ever done good," he might have said.
And that, my friends, would have pissed off just about everyone not Christian. Not that their hands are clean, by any means, because every religion has dickheads, and oppressors.
But, I can just picture Pell saying something like that, then denying he said it, as he's lead to the chopping block.
Or something equally inflammatory.
When it's broadcast on tv, one person puts down their knife and fork on their dinner plate and says: "That's it. I had enough of this git."
Then they're on the phone to their mates, saying: "Did you see Pell? Yeah? We riot at midnight. Call your friends."
And the biggest phone tree in the history of phone trees is activated.
At midnight, Melbourne starts to fall.

And that's what I can think of at 8.30am, Monday morning, over breakfast on the brown couch.
As an experiment, I didn't go terribly wild, but I am feeling rather worn down by the past week.
Plus, I'm only slowly regaining my ability to 'ask the next question' to get deeper into weird territory.
So much of my original storytelling skill deteriorated in the years after my breakdowns, and in the made scramble to write non-fiction to sell to magazines. My word skills have improved, but I need to work out my speculation muscles, build them up again. They are rather atrophied.
So, morning workout done, I now rise from the brown couch, disturbing both the pup, and Chloe Ballerina Cat, and go about my day.
Ciao for now, world builders.

Raw story

May. 18th, 2017 12:32 pm
satyapriya: Macchu Picchu 2009 (Default)
StoryADay Day 17, straight onto the page here.

The bloody fairies have been at it again. They must sit peering around books on shelves, and behind photo frames as I lumber about the house, wondering where the hell I've stored my belly dance veils, and my small selection of hip scarves.
I'm a retired belly dance teacher, and tomorrow, someone is coming to buy the last few things from me. I never sold everything, thinking that one day I'd go back, but now I know I won't.
I kept some favourites. But, where? Apparently, not where I used to store my costumes, wigs, and the hardware involved with belly dance - finger cymbals, sword, cane, veils, shamadan, dancing flags, Isis wings.
The fairies move things around in this house. Or the spirits. Or the ghost of Little Egypt, turning in her grave at the sight of red-haired, white, round little me in a two piece cabaret costume.
So, I've had enough. I'm getting out the big guns. I borrowed a book on fairy witchcraft from the library. "Fairies, Magic, and You At Home". I'm going to get my stuff back from wherever they've stashed it.
The book says to cast circle by strewing fairy dust. What the-? Who has that lying around? I don't even have packets of sequins any more. Skip that, then, because I have no idea what they're talking about. Who's the author? Lady Morgaine Le Star. Never heard of her.
Next, call in the elements. This book isn't very detailed. I don't think it's for beginners. Well okay. I feel like a nutter, but I don't know what else to do.
I'm in the middle of my lounge room. I can smell the washing drying in front of the space heater.
"Elements, come to me!" I say, with my arms raised, because that seems like the right thing to do. "Hydrogen, helium, lithium....um....nitrogen, aluminium..." Do I really have to name them all? There's a lot, and high school chemistry was a long time ago. "Ah...lead, zinc, and sodium. Hello, greetings, um, yeah."
The book says to invoke the fairies, and ask for their help.
"Oh, fairies, come to me." How do you invoke things you've never seen? I suppose it's like praying to God. "Dear Fairies who move things around, hallowed be your names. Your kingdom is nearby I guess, and you're certainly imposing your wills on me. Please fairies, return to me that which you have moved, or taken, and hidden. Please. I need them for a charity gig tomorrow. Please."
I pause to take a peek at the book. It says to make an offering to the fairies of milk and honey, and little bread, as the fairies 'keep no herds, no hives, and do not farm'.
Soy milk, stevia, and no bread at all. I'm a health nut. I don't do grains. I cut up an apple, and put it in a bowl with the soy milk, and sprinkle it all with stevia powder.
My loungeroom is unchanged, and there's no feeling of magic in the air. But...the book is missing. It was right there on my coffee table, and now it's gone.
"All right, you wise guys. Put it back. Put everything back the way you found it. I'm sick of this. Put. It. All. Back. The. Way. You. Found. It." My voice is strong, and I have my hands on my hips. The old performance adrenaline is running through me. The stuff that kept me addicted to dance well past the time I should have retired, for my health. I kept teaching and dancing, despite the loss of balance, the confusion, the shaking.
Parkinson's is a bitch of a thing.
I sit down before I'm tempted to try a few dance moves, before I start thinking beyond my body's limits, and wanting a life I can't have any more.
Nothing happens. The room is as quiet and still as ever. I flop back against the couch, and soon, I'm dozing. It's easy to sleep time away.

I wake and I'm...not in my lounge. I'm on the couch of my parents old house. The house that has been torn down, and transformed into three townhouses, with ugly straight lines. There's the smell of Mum's vegetable soup cooking, and I'm small again.
I'm...a child. A tiny one, maybe four, I guess. I'm inside this body that doesn't shake, or hurt, isn't weak.
I'm the age....when I saw fairies around the roots of the apricot tree. I remember now. I saw them. I did.
They've put everything back the way they found it. The way they found me.
And then, the memories start to fade. Gone are my fifties, my forties. I'm going back and back in time, losing my adult self. Back through my twenties, and my teens.
I'm four, and Mummy has soup, and I like that. Mummy calls me to dinner, and I run. I like Mummy's soup, and after dinner, she said we could play dancing. We can dance together like big girls.

****

I had no idea where that was going to go when I started it. I'm a bit pleased. I had to go back and alter a couple of things when the true situation of the woman came out, but all the rest is fresh onto the page.
StoryADay done. Writing done for today. Weird itchy feeling released.

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