Free Fall in 1000 Words

I have to start somewhere. Here is as good a place as any. This dot, this sentence, this word. What did Archimedes promise?

  • Give me a firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth.

Yes, I know. Some versions of the quote he mentions the lever or the fulcrum too. And already the sand runs through my fingers.

I’m in free fall – I built myself specifically to ignore problems like these. I left the real world to its own devices. I have always believed, needed to believe, that we beat back the darkness with art. That making makes light, makes heat, makes a calm rhythm on the street. Everyone else can go to work, go to church, go to the store and buy milk. I do some of those things, but not really, not truly – I’m a phantom in this world, or I want to be. I make enough to live, I own very little. If my girlfriend threw me out I’d be gone without even a mattress to my name. I grew up in nowhere Georgia, which is to say a place dreaming itself. I grew up in books, flinging myself further and further away through any door, through every door. The most revolutionary act is Transformation – new eyes, new lives, new skin and bone. Every time I was ripped back here it was an insult, an umbrage, a soggy disappointment.

But I grew older. A four word opera. There were things I wanted here in this world, so I learned to Appear. To Seem. When you’re a ghost pulling levers it’s easy to pull together a pleasant machine. Take this laugh and that rhythm and those lines of words unspooling across his brow and cobble together an Almost Person. And I lumbered forward and I crammed a lot of this world into my gob. Take this part and that part and this smile and that heart and the machine is without chink.

Until one day. Three word tragedy. A bullet broke the machine, right over my heart, and I remembered I was a ghost after all. And I was here again and could feel again and I was falling. Like now. Like then I wanted out and the ghost that is me remembered the trick of opening the doors, always another door, always another Transformation. And I found, to my true surprise, that other people wanted to find the doors, needed help opening the doors, would follow me through if I sang just right.

This is it, I said. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m addicted to narrative, and we always want to find out we are the Hero that Hides. All the time in the mines, running through the shadow, all the time wandering on the edge of things, it was all for this. The real world has enough people watching it – I have my own worlds to tend.

But it’s not true. It wasn’t true. It was lucky and privileged and ignorant and vain. I’ve had time and peace and food and roof to scrawl dragons in the dirt. I have white skin and hazel eyes and can walk where I please in This world or That. I have lived idly on the edge of a great battle my entire life and have barely even offered to wear the colors of justice.

In my stories, though it may not always be clear, I’m trying to give something, say something – something useful. The power of the bonds of love. The nobility of the fight against the inevitable. But what good is it?

I’m a ghost and I’m falling. I can open door after door but I’m only bringing forth more phantoms. I can sing you a story about a city on fire but I can’t get more tax allocations for the fire department.

Because here. Now. I don’t know what to do. I called my Senators, I called my Congressman. It helped, it was worthwhile. But it’s not enough. The amount of my relief far outweighs the amount of good I did. I’m reading up on my entire state federal legislature, desperately trying to cram knowledge that I should have already mastered. I voted, I’ll vote every time, I’m ready to throw myself behind any true-heart champion on any level. I have some money I can donate to the right side of the important fights. It doesn’t feel like enough.

I’m not looking for absolution, I’m just stammering out a resolution. I’m a ghost and a broken machine and there are so many doors – but here is where the fight is. With people. With blood and bone and fire and stone. I’m falling like before, but this time I don’t have the lightning bolt in my belly. I don’t have the secret gift. I have no elixir and it’s getting dark.

I’m looking for that firm place to stand. The spot, even a dot where I can rally. There isn’t one, this isn’t a song or a fable or a run across the jazzman’s table. Just falling and air and fear. And this is where I was content to leave the rest of the worldNo door, no light, no dancing in the twilight. 

I can’t stop being a ghost or a broken machine or a sad little boy on the edge of a forest. But I can do more. I can do my best. I can keep making, I can keep opening doors, but I have to find my way into the fray. The most revolutionary act is that of Transformation – I’ve changed to suit my own purposes, I can change to better suit the times, to better suit the defense of my fellow humans.

And here we are at the end. This was mostly about me, I don’t know if I can shed that. Help me get in the fight. Instruct me. Inform me. I come from a people that love means duty. I have not done mine.

The Circle

Stand in the circle

and  hold,

hold light in

the circle and stand.

made of song, made of ink

made of water overflowing the sink

circle of salt

circle of bone

circle of holly all green and alone

circle of hands

circle of eyes

forget this charm and the last fire dies

we are the circle

and the howl is the wind

singing of  moon

singing of End.

Not tonight

not today

not while the circle is we

standing and demanding

our blood be more than the sea

burn like the lightning

sing like the sun

remember remember the charm’s twice done

all of us fall and all of us die

but the Circle still stands

and we give our reply:

as long as we stand

as long as we hold

as long as the circle

burns hot in the cold

 

riddle of heart

rot in the bone

we stand and dissolve

but our legend is stone.

Wind up the charm

thrice bound against harm.

Hold.

Hold.

Hold.

AMOD appears in BookBathBox!

bookbathbox-2

At last, I can talk about this! After months of secrecy I can finally blab and gush and turn into a small imp of excitement. This is quite honestly one of the most fun projects I’ve been able to work on with Asteroid Made of Dragons.

BookBathBox is a subscription box service filled to the brim with a panoply of delights constructed around an optimal experience for reading in the tub. Scents! Candy! Tea! And, shockingly for the Autumn box, my book.  The proprietor of the service, Winx, also runs a fantastic Booktube which I implore you to navigate to now. I sort of knew Booktube was a thing before this year – but never took the time to really investigate.  Holy crap it’s like Narnia – a Narnia of people quietly and pleasantly losing their minds about books and tea. The sort of people that would find me INCREDIBLY ANNOYING in real life – I could never interact with them in the wild. But here on YouTube, I can sit quietly and listen and imagine a life where we all sip tea together in a giant library. Just quiet slurpin’ and reading and sudden animated conversations about plot.

But how did all this happen? How did my mutant book find its way into the hands of such refined readers?

As I said, I only had the vague concept that Booktube was a thing – when a fellow author mentioned that they had spotted a review of their book on YouTube. In a FRENZY, I opened a tab and immediately searched my title and was blown away to discover a couple of reviews of AMOD. (Any of my Twitter followers may remember – I was, shall we say, elated.) The first one I found was from Winx & Ink. Normally, I keep a pretty hard policy of not commenting on reviews I find online – positive or negative. It’s not my place and it’s just this side of creepy – BUT I WAS SO EXCITED YOU GUYS. So, of course I commented on the video and gushed without reserve. Luckily I didn’t make it too weird- Winx and I became Twitter pals and all was well.

A few weeks later, she contacted me with the idea of using AMOD for the ‘Science of Fantasy’ themed Autumn box. Let’s be clear – she did ALL the work. I sent over some goodies and then she handled all the logistics, packaging, delivery – the alchemy of the box contents. I’m just left to watch in wonder -and awe as I get to watch the various reviews and unboxing videos pop up online. Like this!

or this!

or these!

It’s just wonderful and fun. And like many things that contain those adjectives I had almost nothing to do with it! Just sit back with a smile on my face and sip my imaginary tea.

Please go support Winx and Book Bath Box – you can still order the Winter Box, which is themed “Faeries in History” (AWWW SHIT) and I recommend that you do this immediately.