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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you my entry for Sonia M’s May writing challenge. I call it “Fiction or Non?” and it is based in part of a real experience. Enjoy.

“Things are not as they seem.”

That’s what the scrap of paper said, tucked inside of a book in the drop at the library where I work on the weekends. What did it mean?

Mind racing, I immediately thought of movies with like The Matrix, The Pagemaster, Dark City, even The Neverending Story. All dealt with things like this, but this was happening to ME, not some character on the big screen. I looked around, and realized that the hands on the clock behind my station weren’t moving. I glanced back to the paper in my hand. Still there.

“Things are not as they seem.”

Looking back up, I saw that the ladies I worked with were no longer there. Neither were the patrons or the security guards. Turning full circle, paper in hand, I realized that I was alone. “What the hell?” Never had the library been so still, even after hours. It was as though my world had stopped.

“Things are not as they seem.”

“Where did you come from?” I asked the paper. It was unlike any paper I’d ever seen, more like parchment. As if responding, the paper blew out of my hand on a non-existent breeze, wafting through the air toward the stacks. I followed, not knowing what else to do, and guessing that even if I tried, I would be unable to open the front doors. I followed the paper farther back than the library should have gone, passing new books, non-fiction, sci-fi, romance, and mystery, until the paper finally turned at row 55 (out of 43), and found myself in a chamber large enough to hold the entire facility of my library twenty times over. Mouth agape, I gazed upon the unending rows of shelves of tomes that no mortal eye had ever seen. I looked behind me for the path that I’d followed here, though I knew deep down that I wouldn’t see it. That world was long gone.

“Things are not as they seem.”

This time I heard the voice, an old woman’s voice, whispering all around me.

“What is this place?!”

“You have been chosen, young one. Guard this place, for it contains the knowledge of all worlds. Once I was young, but now my time has come. I pass my station to you.”

A rush of air hit me as the world seemed to come to life once more. My old clothes were gone. In their place were tunic, breeches, cloak, sandals. In my left hand was a simple staff, in my right, the scrap of paper that started all of this.

“Things are not as they seem.”

No, they’re not. They’re better. I have a new library, and I will guard it, and in time, I too will choose a successor. I will write the words in the great book of worlds, and they will make their way into the hands of a worthy guardian, the next librarian. It is my duty.

“Things are not as they seem.”

As you know, I love to share the things I found elsewhere on the internet. For your enjoyment, I have five things for you today.

Thing 1: A list of the one hundred most beautiful words in the English language. Take a look at it here.

Thing 2: A reason to accept whatever other people say to you.

Thing 3: One of the most amazing reading areas I’ve ever seen. I want one of these.

Thing 4: A second list of awesome words. As a writer, I want to use as many of these as possible.

Thing V: A little something for my fellow writers. Keep this in mind.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery-celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from-it’s where you take them to.”

-Jim Jarmusch

Okay, friends who know me well enough to know my reading tastes. Why have I not read Ursula Le Guin before today? Seriously. Her work has been out for over 40 years, and I’ve not read them until now. This is ridiculous. I finally picked up “The Left Hand of Darkness” from the public library yesterday, and her intro alone was enough to hook me. It’s a rarity to find a powerful female writer in sci-fi of that era, and I’m sad that it took me so long to discover her writing.

Le Guin does something fascinating in her depictions of the planet Winter. She intersperses chapters telling myths and legends of the planet’s people with the chapters that tell the primary narration. I love this. I’d been considering having Zach tell some stories throughout the main narration of my as-yet-unnamed book, but now I’m considering utilizing Le Guin’s technique. This would mean that my narration would potentially be interrupted every few chapters as Zach tells the other characters stories of the world they inhabit. Thoughts?

Part 2 will be out soon, for those of you who have been wondering. I’m working on a few side projects now, though. Chief among these is a crash course on Linux. I hope it proves useful. Then there’s my reading. I’m reading the third book in a trilogy that’s been incredibly popular of late. I’m realizing that the hype is not just that. It’s true. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games books are amazing. I’m more hooked by them than almost anything on the market of late. I’m quite impressed, and I may have more about them when I’m done with the last one tonight. In the midst of this and two part time jobs (plus a little extra project for an old boss), I’m keeping busy. It’s tiring, but it’s the satisfied “I did my best today” kind of tired. There’s also some continued job hunting. As one of my retail compatriots said, I feel like I’m rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Anyway, more later/soon. Until then.

(Note: I may soon be creating a separate tab on the home page that will link you to my Writing Challenge entries and other “microfiction” pieces.)