On the Importance of “isms”, and the Cryostatically Re-Enabled (3)

(Part 1)

(Part 2)

Hellinder was of the species that professes inexpensive, simple tastes, yet is always willing to go out for lunch or a drink. The kind that is ever poised to introduce vulgarity (literal excrement, for instance) into a sentence, yet demonstrates close attention to grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. After a certain point one must concede that to be confounded is close enough to being charmed, and to being willing to lend a spoon upon occasion1.

A great deal of further illustration is possible, but I will limit it to this – Hellinder was possessed of a good head of waved brown hair, and dark eyes, and he eased human interaction in a manner that defied the laws of pseudophysics. How an extrovert finagled his way into the office I do not know.

So, although I had escaped Tertiary School without forming any close acquaintances, my worknights and weekends were now peppered by gatherings with coworkers, which was the very opposite of what I should have expected out of those two phases of my human development. As I retained some old friends from Secondary School, this left a gap associated with my Tertiary experience with which I have never been quite comfortable, as it seems to indicate that something went wrong. I puzzled over these matters, and coupled as I was at the time, to watch my partner quietly ignoring the bouleversement of my social life (a luxury that I did not have) was to be convinced that a very long joke was in progress. (more…)

On the Importance of “isms”, and the Cryostatically Re-Enabled – (2)

(Part 1)

Ultimately, the Intergenerational Debate confirmed rather than disrupted the theories of prominent sociologists, who already held that humans must cling to some forms of tribalism or “othering”, lest they die of frustration or wither away in motionless introspection. It would appear that accepting a few “isms” here and there is a necessary condition of our existence, and so it is merely a matter of choosing which ones may be the least distasteful. Ageism survives, as does Zoneism1, and fieldism, whose milder subtexts are politically acceptable to most individuals, is thriving.

As may be typical of an inhabitant of the LEZ, I discovered fieldism last of the above. Having passed my teenaged and earlier years in initial schooling, and having fathers who hardly spoke about their workplaces, I had no notion of what intrigue went on amid the grind of working life until I was treated to a speech from my superior (or rather, the only person whom I could identify as a possible superior, hierarchies having become unfashionable again over the past century) in my first few days of work:

Don’t trouble yourself if the marketing people downstairs ask you for something. They don’t seem to appreciate that we’re just as occupied as they are, and they always manage to arrive at the answer they wanted on their own, anyway. There’s some confirmation bias down there, unfortunately. But of course they didn’t study mathematical thought or scientific method in any real depth. It can’t be helped.”

This, to a newly-minted Mathematics major straight out of the sheltered environs of the Amphitrian Tertiary School at 121°06’39.3”2, seemed remarkably backhanded, full of layers to dissect. I must admit that I was impressed. And it proved attractive to draw mental lines and paint invisible markers in the defense of my chosen field of work, which others quite simply could not understand3, especially because it so happened that I had adjustments to make in the transition from university to work. (more…)

On the Importance of “isms”, and the Cryostatically Re-Enabled (1)

A carry-over from the English of Old Earth, the word “teenager” only makes sense with reference to that language, and more specifically, its words for the numbers in an open interval between twelve and twenty. That specific range of numbers, however, is no longer relevant to our understanding of the word; it is now generally understood that the teenaged years of life extend until the mid- to late-twenties. In fact, as I lately read, upon Old Earth it was once a subject of widespread concern that the teenaged years would continue their invasion of later and later years of life unto perpetuity, and that society would be saddled with a majority of its members unprepared for the rigours of adulthood, yet past the age of sympathy and support accorded to children.

This bleak scenario did not come to pass, however. The teenaged years hit a plateau, as if predestined, and there remained despite the passing of millennia and numerous environmental and evolutionary changes (including the loss of much redundant body hair, and thank goodness for that). This may be linked to a similar plateau in education, as one’s initial round of schooling – at least in the Loidial Economic Zone (LEZ) – carries on until the mid-twenties or thirty years of age, excepting those who pursue advanced degrees, throwing themselves in for another ten years or so.


A parting still

Image result for sky painting

My lady, a voluptuous sky her only rest,

The bedchamber become a bower, become a glade,

Sings fain to dampen cheeks and furrow brows

All her own

Of what she sees, I know nothing save

She spoke of rays cleaving Apollo’s dome

Of antique palettes creeping ‘pon the clouds

Once, long ago

And here this mawkish discontent of mine

Amid notes spilling chamber to chamber

Amid wonder dulled to erasure

Within my breast

My lady, an unknown sky her only rest,

Seeks strings over vanished, varnished curves

And burgeoning days of warmth gone by

Now lonesome


Elizabeth Cook, 2016

Imagine from Landscape Painting Gallery

Murcan Sun – 3/3

Part 1/3

Part 2/3

Renneyeh’s first daughter is a ways out in the empty acres of scrub and dried grass that lie between house and road and school downriver, but Nulba’s eagle eye can spot her. Tight on the ground, red marks on the arms. There are no brackens in her fist. Instead there is blood.

Pualan, he been irregular of a thirdday for this reason.

It’s a minute while Nulba says nothing but feels the pounding in her veins, and first daughter stares at the ground, face hid but insides showing.

“Back an’ we go.”

“He told me here, hard-like. So I sent the sisters away by road.”

Frightened but not entirely. Already thinking the sisters too young for what she is, thinking maybe it’s a mark of some fine kind; in the first daughter there is that pride-shame to make Nulba rage. Nearing the house, the girl slips inside rather than be pulled out into the field, but Renneyeh sees and comes to Nulba.

“You gone, what for? She out of the school?”

“She out to stay.” Nulba pulls her hoe out of the earth, metal hot and strong. “That girl never a child anymore. Nothing more of noting or figuring or games in her head.”

Renneyeh doesn’t hear. “Now you comfort in the sun! Maybe she sick or idling, but she go on back. There been –”

“You-on try an’ have Pualan send her back, an’ maybe then she go, but she won’t get nothing of noting or figuring.” Nulba spits. “Ill thing for girl-uns to be lost of their school, an’ not even twelve.”

Renneyeh shakes her head, still pleasant. “You have haze troubles?”

“Girl never a child anymore, an’ hardly twelve. You go in an’ see.”

“Now, still daylight an’ I got plenty left at my end of the field. Let the daughter be,” Renneyeh says, and she’s smiling but she’s looking at nothing but earth, not the sun nor the sky nor Nulba. (more…)

Murcan Sun – 2/3

Part 1/3

Nulba goes out into the field and the sweat makes runnels between the cords in her arms and her back. She sees the tall figure that is Pualan coming, sees it only out of the corner of her eye. She pulls the weeds in vigorous motions and does no listening for hours until Pualan recedes and Renneyah comes out of the house – she’s not solid like Nulba but she still has a full round look.

Nulba shifts so that Renneyeh can get at the same clump of weeds.

“You showin’ all your face.” Nulba’s mouth is over-full; she spits to the side and it is soaked up almost instantly.

“Maybe, maybe-so.”

He come to eat and lay here an’ there, an’ never lift a finger. Thick roots make the ground split as Nulba tugs.

By evening Renneyeh’s daughters return to the house, and the first daughter is laughing over-easy so that Nulba watches her closely. But there’s nothing that night and Nulba takes her sleep alongside Renneyeh’s warm, comfort flesh just as always, that comfort that is unlike the sun. (more…)

Murcan Sun – 1/3

“Gone. Gone ‘cross the middle sea on their cobble boats.”

“All for that life they seen in pictures.”

They sit comfortably, reiterating to each other what they live every day. At the sun’s highest, hottest, and driest, they sit on the porch. At the sound of their voices Renneyeh’s first daughter comes up from the dust, rounding the corner of their three-room house. She has wilted brackens in her fist – for a game of some sort.

“They say at school they was never so many here in Murca. Always been more girl-uns than boy-uns here.”

Renneyeh smiles. Her daughter’s eyes are odd-green like hers.

“Them as took the boats, they were an’ they went.”

“Maybe, maybe-so,” Nulbah rejoins, but diffidently. “Could be long legend. That once there was boats, not like us-uns who go dead to the wolves an’ the mites an’ such. But here we are.”

“No one seen boats. No one gone ‘cross the middle sea,” Renneyah’s daughter protests. Yet Renneyeh is placid. (more…)