Friday, March 14, 2014

They All Fall - #fridayflash

Gravity was a good god, and that was his downfall. He always did his job, pulling things down or together, and did so with such reliability that humans could measure him. How Loki laughed at the idea of a god with such low self-esteem that he let himself be measured. But Gravity broke none of the rules: humans still couldn’t see him or talk to him directly, and he never tampered with someone else’s domain. Loki never had to fear Gravity playing tricks.

The problem came, then, that humans didn’t fear him like they did Loki or Zeus, and they certainly didn’t revere him as they had the sun or that Jesus kid. They made planes, helicopters and went to the moon without so much a prayer – except the typical calculations for landing and such. Even when he did something nasty it was always the suicidal prick that jumped off the bridge that got the credit, not Gravity for providing the very force that enabled the tragedy.

The rise of scientific thought only insulted him further as people believed less in his friends, but never even bothered to question his existence. He wasn’t even part of the cultural debate. One year Carl Sagan, of whom Gravity had always been very supportive, actually mocked theology by saying no one prayed to gravity. Then one morning Gravity picked up Scientific American (well, not “picked up” – he never picked anything up that he didn’t have to) and saw some theorist asking why gravity was so weak in this universe.

“So weak.”

Gravity snapped and finally took old Loki’s advice. They’d regret not appreciating him. They’d regret it when gravity ignored them, and they learned the terror of floating.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mum At the Final Act

Apologies for recent and short-term blogging silence, friends and fellow readers. The biggest thing slowing The Bathroom Monologues has been on my novel-in-progress, We Don't Always Drown. I've just finished re-plotting the final act and think it's devious enough to go forward. Right now it weighs 76,000 words and feels ready for a big trick of a conclusion. I'm hoping to finish the rough draft before next weekend, when I hit NYC to see Waiting for Godot with friends.

This composition string has taken its toll on reading time; I'm even days behind on blogs, let alone my NaNoReMo pick.

I'm a third of the way through The Master and Margarita. At this stage in my career, I still feel awkward critically assessing the novels of others. So far the novel is delightfully cheesy in a way that none of the Russian heavy hitters I've ever read has gone for, including the deliberate, knowing setup conversation between those darned secular elites and the man we know will turn out to be Satan, as they deny his existence only to be blown away.

This is a good cheese, and an unusual cheese, especially for the contrast of flashback narratives to Pontius Pilate's encounters with a Yeshua of some renown. This Yeshua behaves skittishly, mortal to a fault, even denying his own teachings to get out of being convicted. Where the Satan-against-Soviets satire seemed gleefully pro-Christian, this depiction reads highly anti-Christian. Am I wrong? I almost hope not, because the collision of those two themes could make an incredible novel, and one third of the way in, The Master and Margarita hasn't uncloaked its true shape yet. It could wind up as a number of kinds of novels.

What this really calls for is research on cultural context, but I'm so deep into writing my own novel that reading time is slim. This has slowed down my consumption of Bulgakov's novel, but I'm no less enthused to read it.
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