Red Pill Blues

Over at the Karma Linguist blog, Nicholas Gagnier just posted an intriguing poem that explores the uneasy relationship between love and sanity. It includes a reference to The Matrix, a tremendous film that in my opinion has suffered through two dismal sequels (fell asleep during the second film, decided not even to bother with the third). Rumors circulated a few years back that the series may be rebooted, but fortunately the energy in that wave seems to have expired. More is not always better; the pill might look just as red, but it doesn’t take you to the same place any longer. 

Smart car 10 AUTOpsy

Fiction about cars fascinates me. When drafting my novel, many of the scenes I’ve enjoyed most have taken place within automobiles; some dynamic exists in those moments (the occupants can’t avoid each other, there’s a shared destination, a finite amout of time to kill, and limited options for distraction) that make them ripe for meaningful conversations. I’ve also used car ownership within the novel to reveal character — Coach Dan’s sedan (beat up and durable), Double-J’s coupe (flashy and loud), Jimmy’s van (creaky and utilitarian), the Hutchinson’s Cadillac (large and stately). Occurs to me that somebody needs a pick-up; maybe Butch’s family.
Thoughts such as these make me curious about other uses for cars in fiction, and that curiosity is in part what leads me today to Doug Hawley’s recent story on Nugget Tales. This isn’t a conversation within a car, but a conversation with a car, and an engaging parody of artificial intelligence and the “smart car” concept. I seriously doubt there will be communicative cars in my novel, but it’s an idea I may pursue in a short work such as this. 

Don’t Poke The Dinosaur

Another post inspired by another blogger, Tony Single on the Unbolt blog

Shh! Don’t disturb him, whatever you do.
Leave him reclining in that plush rocket ship,
His remote-control wand sating his appetite for banality.

He’ll only get angry if you rouse him,
Demonstrate that the happiness he feels
Is merely pain with a painted face.

Let him watch the meteors falling from the sky,
Allow him to be amused by the celestial light show
As they doomfall around him.

Well that’s my advice, anyway.
You want to poke that dinosaur, knock yourself out!
Just don’t expect any help from me.

Dysphonia

My source for today is a powerful poem from Malicai Frost, Dysphonia.

For over half of the fifteen-minute drive from the school to her mother’s house, The Bird had regretted accepting (or having to accept, her only other choice being to walk) the offer of a ride from Mr. Jacobs.  She only relaxed when the volunteer coach of the Bark Bay High School fencing team, his bearded face illuminated by the dashboard lights of the sedan, asked if she ever wondered why they practiced in the cafeteria.

The Bird admitted to wondering why the team didn’t use either of the school’s two basketball courts. Mr. Jacobs (they called him Coach Dan during practice) darted his head towards her — “So why didn’t you ask?” The Bird said she didn’t know.

“Curiosity, my friend.” His smiling face now focused on the road in front of him, yet she still felt his attention on her. “It is the spark of our imagination, it fuels our ambition. Never suppress your curiosity.” He then provided a lengthy explanation for why the fencing team practiced in the cafeteria; she listened patiently, not really processing his words, until he finished speaking.

She then asked if her being at practice bothered him. She rarely saw Mr. Jacobs surprised, had never seen him look defensive; she did not enjoy the pale look that fell over him.

He licked his lips, eyes seeming to focus more intently on the road in front of him. “I’m — if I’ve ever said, or anybody on the team has said — ”

The Bird cut him off, quickly explaining that her question had nothing to do with any of that. It was what she did, she explained, or rather what she didn’t do at practice. Always at the end of the line during footwork drills. Excusing herself from most blade lessons. Rarely participating in practice bouts.

to be continued