Another post for Illustration Friday. This time, the theme is Wild. I was going to create a scene featuring a lot of wild animals, but changed my mind and went with a banshee instead. You don’t get anything more wild than a screaming banshee.
Luckily, this one’s quite happy as she’s just been fed. You can still see some of her food in her teeth.
Lady Emeralda Smart.
Walpole E. Epstein.
Reg the Vampire.
Ten different characters, each with a totally different story. Some crossover, and appear in another’s story; some appear only once, never to be seen again. And some simply provide their name, never to return…
But, when I write about these characters, I have to wonder who it is that is steering their tale.
I have a feeling that it’s the characters themselves. They come to life when I write about them, and stop me in my tracks if I want them to do something they don’t want to do, or simply just wouldn’t do.
“I’m not like that”, they’d say, or something similar.
I’d like them to walk down a hill – they end up racing along a river in a speedboat.
I want them to silently watch on – they don’t – I think, can’t – stay silent.
I have an idea for a story… they have other ideas.
Many years ago, the Earth was flat. She was slim, and floated in a vast ocean. A large mountain marked the centre of the Earth, which was many miles high. Around the mountain, there were four continents, Europe, Asia, Africa, and a fourth one, which at the time hadn’t been discovered by anybody from the other three continents; so hadn’t been named.
The Earth’s inhabitants were wary of travelling too far around this amazingly green and blue landmass, for fear of reaching the end of the world. The thought that many folk shared at the time that people, once they reached the end of the world, would simply fall off, was ridiculed by all of the elders and tribesmen and other great leaders of the day. They knew that whoever reached the end of the world would fall in.
Into the great ocean that surrounded everything.
They’d be lost forever should that happen.
The Sun shone in the sky during the day, and the Moon arrived in his place during the night, as they both revolved around the great mountain. Sometimes, the Sun and the Moon got their timings wrong, and appeared in the skies at the same time, which created cause for both great celebration and panic. Usually by the same people, as they knew the Sun brought new life, and the Moon brought calmness. How could they celebrate new life with a great party when the Moon was advising them to be restful and calm?
They partied anyway, but always rued the fact that they had, as the great mountain showed his displeasure by bringing rains, and strong winds… and on occasions thunderous storms with ferocious bolts of lightning were sent down upon the Earth; all because the people didn’t know what to do.
One such person decided to investigate the elders’ claims that if he reached the end of the world he’d fall in, rather than falling off. He thought he’d be careful, and when he reached the edge of the world, he would tie himself onto something. He packed some lengths of vine into a skin, and set off, on foot to find the end of the world. He wouldn’t fall off or in… he just knew it.
For days he walked.
Days turned into nights, as the flat disc continued in its revolutions around the great mountain. He partied with himself and the Sun, and rested with the Moon. When both appeared, he partied inwardly, whilst pretending to rest. He put up with the storms, and the winds, although he wondered how the great mountain could know what he was thinking.
Days turned into weeks… weeks into months… months into years, or so it felt… and yet he still walked. Ever onwards.
He passed through many villages, and told the village elders of his epic journey. The elders, like all of the others before him, ridiculed him. Of course you will fall in, they scoffed, thinking he was out of earshot.
He knew what they were thinking if they said nothing.
One day, in the warm sunshine, he became weary, and needed to rest. The Moon wasn’t visible up in the skies, but he knew that he couldn’t go on. Fearing the wrath of the great mountain, he settled down beneath a large oak tree, and slept.
The Moon was in the skies when he awoke. He opened his eyes, and instantly saw a familiar face. A friend from his own village, and surrounding them, all of the other villagers with whom he’s partied several years before.
“Am I dreaming?” asked the traveller, still weary.
“No” said his friend. “We saw you walking from the direction of the great mountain. We gathered together, in readiness to throw a huge party upon your return. We waited for you to tell us all about the end of the world, and what the great ocean is like.”
“We wanted to know if you fell in…” came a voice from one of the elders standing at the back of the crowd.
“If I’m not dreaming,” said the traveller, “then what are you all doing here? And how did you get here before me?”
“We haven’t travelled anywhere” his friend said again. “You’ve returned to us.”
“Returned?” The traveller was now even more confused. “I haven’t even reached the end of the world yet…”.
Sideview’s weekend theme this week is ‘The end of the world’. I wanted to write about how it would feel to be at the edge of a whole new paradigm. A completely new way of thinking isn’t exactly end of the world stuff per se, but when you move forth into a new way of thinking, and leave the old ways behind, that old way, and that old world, has come to an end.
Changing times are exciting times… it isn’t always bad at the end of the world.
Yesterday, in a post featured on this blog, I declared that I was going to ‘follow the signs’ and take a break from blogging. I declared this, despite saying in the post that I wasn’t taking a full break, as I would continue with various blogging features I participate in.
I also said that visitor numbers are down; but in fact, they are up each month compared to the entire first year I was blogging, so they’re not down at all, all things considered. And I still receive regular comments from my regular visitors anyway, so that’s no reason to have a break. Thank you, commenters!
Maybe the signs were actually steering me away from having a break… merely pointing out things that I need to notice.
However, that said, yesterday I was set on taking a break and left it at that.
I went to bed last night, and had a night full of vivid dreams. Dreams featuring people I know, hundreds of people I know (some who I haven’t seen for a very long time).
We were all at a rally of some kind in a town centre. I was originally there with one of my cousins and his wife, but as I was chatting to all of the other people who I met, they had eventually mingled into the crowd. Others coming forward when others stepped back. Dreams always have a surreal feel to them, even though they feel real at the time!
Whilst I was chatting to an old work colleague, who was pregnant incidentally, a spotlight shone on me, and a well known TV personality appeared from the crowd. His name isn’t important, as he’s a British TV show host, and I’m not sure if he’s known around the world. He advised me, and the hordes of others present, that I had come second in something I have no idea what (that’s the power of dreams – the most important facts seem to be the easiest forgotten as well!!!). I felt good at coming second, and that’s what’s important.
From the rally, my pregnant colleague and I had to take a passenger lift in a building to the next floor down. How we ended up inside this building when we were originally outside, is beyond me. The lift was one of those olde worldie ones, where there was an outer and an inner door that opened separately. The outer door opened first, and then the inner one, which revealed that the lift hadn’t reached the floor properly. It jolted down, causing the people inside to gasp, and then they all left the lift quickly.
My colleague and I got into the lift, and an electronic voice said “Doors closing.” as voices in lifts tend to do. The lift started to move, and then the voice said “Brace yourselves for impact. Obtain the crash position”. My colleague and I instantly crouched to our knees, the ceiling of the lift came down to just above our heads, and we felt the lift fall down the shaft to the next floor.
An alarm sounded, which at first I thought was the lift alarm, but it was actually my alarm clock trying to wake me up for the day.
In my dream, the lift doors opened again, and both my colleague and I got out, unharmed. There were more people standing there, and one of them asked me what it felt like to come second. I was about to speak when I heard another voice say “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Odd. Yes, I know.
It was then that I woke up, ten minutes after my alarm, and had to dash around to get myself ready for the day. Oversleeping wouldn’t have been the best course of action for today.
But, as my bath was running, I had a quick glance at both my blog, and the news on the BBC.
Andra has advised about some changes that may have had an effect on blogging visitor numbers around the world (please see the previous post for more details) and the BBC revealed that all online content, including blogs, is going to be stored in a library or two somewhere. Maybe not every blog, but that got me thinking.
The reason the online content is being stored, is for future historians, and research. Click here for the news article. Tweets and Facebook status updates will also be stored (only public ones, that is) – and the aim is for all websites to be archived and stored. This idea has come about due to some websites being deleted that would have contained very useful information relating to the time they were on line. This makes sense to me, as long as it is only information that is publicly available… which publicly available blogs are.
My posts may be mere drivel at times, but for a future historian looking back onto our ancient civilisation they may be invaluable, once they’re discovered in some dark and dusty cellar somewhere and deciphered.
And here’s the reason I started thinking: what if bloggers are being quietly pushed to one side… Being coerced into taking a break, and then never returning to the fantastic world of blogging? Many a suggestion can be filtered between the words we read…
The changes that I have noticed in the blogging world have become very noticeable of late. It is fun, blogging, and visitor numbers don’t matter unless we’re selling anything. In my first month of blogging I felt as though I was writing only to myself, nobody visited… yet I continued. Now, my visitor numbers are much higher than they were back then, but as they are lower than I feel they should be I’m feeling something is lacking. I had the feeling that, because of this, I needed to take a break. Something isn’t right there.
We could now be in an ideal time to add a voice to how the normal folk live, in addition to all of the usual famous folk who usually fill the pages of history books… although we won’t be able to, if we don’t blog.
Yes, we are busy in our real lives.
Yes, we sometimes lack inspiration for our blog posts.
Yes, we may write drivel.
But we can do it. We have the facility to do so. Even if only one person reads what we have to write, that other person may be inspired to do similar, or do something different in their life. We have the ability to inspire others. Regardless of what search engines or social media sites do to try to change things. If we can’t be found through search engines, we need to come up with better ways in which we can be found.
If you dream of a room that shouldn’t be there,
Or a stranger you know with the fairest of hair,
Or of a time that’s not now,
Or a place that’s not here,
You may have been visited by a special sightseer
Starweaver floats through the dreams of the sleeper
Sometimes you wake, sometimes you drift deeper
Into a realm where anything can exist
Where time lasts as long as your dream will persist
He watches events as your dream unfolds…
He guides you, he watches you,
He offers suggestions,
He lets you see things that you know you should question
He hopes that your dreams will help you feel good,
And he’ll make them come true
If only he could.
Recently I posted, as an experiment, a request for readers of my blog to try to categorise eight of my posts. I wanted to gather if by reading one hundred words, the reader could tell if the post was based on a real event, a dream, a revelation or it was complete fiction.
Thanks to those who took the time to cast their votes. The instructions could have been clearer, in hindsight, but when I first read through the post, before publishing it, it made perfect sense to me… but then, I understood what I wanted from it.
Some of the posts seemed to carry on where the previous one ended, which was done deliberately, as I secretly didn’t want anybody to get any category correct. I didn’t say so, but that also came across in the post. It was Me against the Rest of the World… and a tally of points was needed. The Rest of the World got a point whenever they categorised a post correctly, but I got a point if they categorised it incorrectly.
My aim was to get the full allocation of available points to win. I wanted to beat the Rest of the World completely. And, as I didn’t do this, I lost this part of the challenge.
So, that’s a win for the Rest of the World.
For the first part.
I can now reveal the results of the vote. One point was available for each vote, either going to the Rest of the World if the voter was correct in their vote (guess / choice / inkling) or to me if they weren’t correct.
Six readers very kindly took part in this experiment. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: thank you! So six points were available for each post…
The House was actually a revelation. An image that I received whilst trying to do a guided meditation. In the moment of the revelation, I could feel the coolness that surrounded me, and I could clearly see the flickering of the candle inside the window. Nobody selected the category ‘revelation’ for this post, so I was the clear winner with this post.
Another Staircase was a dream. It’s actually a recurring dream that I have where I find a staircase, usually tucked away behind a curtain, or door, that usually leads to a hidden floor or room… or rooftop garden. One person thought this was a dream, so that’s one point to the Rest of the World. Five to me, but as I didn’t get the full six points it isn’t a complete outright win.
The Corridor was another revelation, from the same guided meditation as before, although it wasn’t part of the house. Again, nobody selected the revelation category, so another win for me!
Anticipation was based on a real event. I’d somehow managed to get myself roped into singing at a talent evening, and word had got out about it. It had seemed to get out far and wide as the room was packed, far busier than usual. I started singing, quietly, but then left the stage when a voice heckled from the back “What does the dummy do?” Never again have I attempted to perform in public. Two people said this was a real event, so two more points go the Rest of the World.
The Book was completely made up. Total fiction. I wanted to link it to a couple of the earlier posts in this experiment for continuity purposes, but it had nothing to do with them at all. Two readers said this was made up, so another two points go to the Rest of the World.
The Comet was also made up.There was a comet recently that should have been visible, but I never got to see it. And what gives this post its fictional edge is the mention of it being warm. We’ve just gone through the coldest March in fifty years – I was trying to warm things up a little! No reader thought this was a made up event, so I get all six points. Hehehe!
Existence was based on a real event. I have a ghostly visitor every now and again, who I’ve named Dot. I’ve mentioned her a few times in my posts, most recently in this post. Two readers said this was real, so another two points to the Rest of the World.
The Plummet was also based on a real event. Once again, I’d been roped into doing a bungee swing whilst enjoying a break at the seaside. Myself and two friends were hoisted what seemed like thousands of feet into the air, by a crane, and then we had to take out a pin to release us, when we were in free fall for several seconds before the rope caught once again. The swinging was nice, but the falling not so. Two readers correctly said that this was a real event.
So, going off points alone, I was the clear winner, 39 – 9. But, with the Rest of the World winning the first part of the challenge, the overall outcome was a draw. A point each!
World domination isn’t in my blood anyway, so I’m perfectly happy with a draw. At least I’m keeping up with the world, which is always a good thing!