Wrandom Writing: hah! OK – I’m a smartass: I know. I always have been. I thought I’d use this page to post links to random (not novel related) stuff I write from time to time. Much of this is material I’ve written as homework for my Pen to Paper writing group (which is a wonderful group!). I’ll add new pieces occasionally. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and will let me know.
Links to stories:
“Delia” is a gentle story about a young girl and her great-great-aunt’s ghost.
“Independence, Someday ” is about a woman coming to terms with a loss.
tap on the link to view in PDF
Written by Carolyn Melander Osborne
This was inspired by Greg Egan’s Diaspora.
When Arnhi and Gerye made contact, it was at the suggestion of one of the components of Pettre. They agreed to meet on Earth as avatars, at a hotel tea parlor near Delhi in the 1870’s. They had no gender themselves, of course, but had each, separately, chosen to be female, assuming the bodies of young Victorian British ladies. They wore lace trimmed white dresses and flowered hats, and enjoyed their tea on a shady veranda.
Gerye loved the dressing up and thought the tea delicious, but was a bit nervous. Ahrni saw this and put ell’s fears to rest easily.
“Back in time this, what we’re doing, was called a ‘blind date’,” Ahrni sipped some tea. “Beings made arrangements to meet a person they didn’t yet know, usually of opposite genders – there were genders then – at the suggestion of a third party. This was done with a possible further relationship in mind. They usually met in public locations, for safety from the problems corporeality brought with it – physical imperfections, bad matches, even possible violence: we’ve all heard the terrible stories. But, my great-grands met on a blind date, so they were good things also, it seems. It’s a very strange idea: getting one’s avatar dressed to impress someone else, and wondering how the other entity will look. So mu8ch energy expended for a facasde which gives you so few ways of learning who ell really is. So, this is quite novel, quite nice, though not enough in itself. Gerye, tell me, who in Pettre do you know?”
“Really only Myrwen, who is my mentor. Ell told me I am much less experienced than you; my entity was formed only a few cycles back. I’m nearly done with my basics now, though, and Myrwen said you’d be good for my advanced emotional learning. Ell holds you in great regard.”
Staying in type, Arnhi’s avatar blushed and looked down for a minute. “Myrwen has been one of my close partners for many cycles. Ell is special to me, and I value ell’s opinion. It was Myrwen who suggested you to me, as well. Gerye, do you want me to love you? Do you want to love me? Are you ready for that?”
Gerye considered, feeling so nervous that ell nearly blinked out, but then looked at their reflections in the restaurant window: two almost unnaturally lovely Victorian ladies. “We each chose a beautiful avatar: symmetrical in features and, as it turned out, symmetrical to each other, as well. We started this date trying to please each other, and I think that’s a good sign. But, Arnhi, you are right – what you said about dressing up. Of course, I need to consider more, to know you more, before we start involvement.”
“I agree. I like you, and Myrwen cares about you. That’s a good start. I believe I’d enjoy your being one of those I love. But, we need to grow understanding of each other to become lovers. And, we can. We have all the time in the cosmos.” Arnhi stood up. “Let’s have fun together while we do that.”
Agreeing, and trusting, Gerye took ell’s hand. They paid the bill, left a large tip, walked a discreet distance from the veranda and then blinked out of the physical state. They floated, together, through the Solar system, visiting Ceres, passing Jupiter and Saturn, and the moons of Pluto, then moved into the cold rockiness of the Kuyper Belt. They attached themselves to a comet and rode it for a while, and then moved much farther away from Sol, passing dark, giant planets. In their non-corporeal state, time had no relevance, only experience: for eons, or seconds, they traveled through brilliantly spangled arms of the galaxy. Sharing thoughts, ideas and stories, they spent all that folded time of travel learning each other.
As they were circling Alpha Centuri Gerye ventured, “I think now I could love you, Arnhi.”
“And I, you.” Arnhi moved closer to Gerye, pulling ell into an embrace. They melded together entirely, filling each other with their being. Moving as one toward Sol’s planets, they chose to love corporally, too, choosing Earth as a playground, and human form, freely interchanging between male and female. Then they loved in the forms of other Earth mammals. Finally tired out, they became two perfectly symmetrical, beautiful bronze seals lying in the surf and sand of a quiet Pacific island. There they slept together for the first time, for a very long or a very short time.
At the Pettre compound, Myrwen smiled and closed another pod of Gerye’s developmental curriculum. Ell transmitted the message: “Thank you, Arnhi, Gerye. Come to me soon. I love you both.”
Written by Carolyn Melander Osborne
“Raul! Tus zapatos?” Mama looks worried. My shoes were almost new when we got them. They cost so much that she had to sew and embroider after work, late into the night, every day for ten days just to pay for them. Mama sews traditional huipiles, embroidered with roses, for the tourists. To them, it’s another pretty shirt: to us, it’s part of our history. A lot went into buying these shoes; I never forget about them.
“Mama, they have sand on them: I set them by the door. Paco and I walked by the lagoon after school. Look! Una turista gave us each 10 pesos to take our picture by the herons’ nests.” It feels good to hand her the coin. Mama always works but still we’re poor, like everyone else here. I’m ten and I’m not big. I can’t earn much to help her, yet.
But the sand on my shoes is sort of a lie. I did not wear them to walk by the lagoon. I walk barefoot almost all day, but Mama doesn’t know it. Her brother died when he was young. He stepped on a nail and got sick. She doesn’t like bare feet: she says shoes protect us from evil. How can it be evil, though, to feel warm sand between my toes with cool lagoon water beneath? I don’t understand this.
Mama says we’re blessed: she has regular work to do cleaning at the Spa; we’re in a dry room and we have food. Both the Virgin and the Feathered Serpent watch out for us, she says, as she lights the candles in our shrine. But, I know her eyes are sore and tired, and her hands hurt. I want to leave school, get a job and become a man. I’m small, but I’m strong. Maybe if I stay small and light, and am lucky, in a few years I can become a volador, costumed in feathers and paint, swinging upside down, to the ground from a tall pole. This pleases the gods, and the tourists, and would make some money. But that’s later. For now, I run errands when I can.
Our room smells so good from the spices, tomatoes, and peppers in Mama’s stew. We eat and say our prayers. I do my studies and go to bed while she sews. I know she’s tired, but Mama looks solid and strong and beautiful in the lamplight. I know that someday I will help her….
“Raul! Wake up!”
I roll over. “Paco. . . leave me alone. I need to sleep.”
Paco starts shaking me again. “Juan’s back from work and it’s his turn to use the bed. Get up!”
So I get up, shaking the happy dreams out of my head. “Paco, I dreamed of home: it was so beautiful. Do you remember how short I was five years ago?”
Paco snorted: “You weren’t short: you were invisible! Hey, we don’t have to go out to the fields until seven. Let’s walk on the shore.”
The shore is damp and the morning is gray. Endless New Jersey farmland is waiting for us today, but it feels good to walk on sand again. I am blessed: I’m 15, strong and not injured; I have work and I can send money to Mama; and I’m here with Paco, my friend, safely away from the gangs of Veracruz.
We’re blessed that we made our difficult crossing to America safely and that we got here at all, and that we haven’t been caught and sent back. But, I understand now why sometimes I must buy a candle and light it and why I must pray. I always pray. I also always, here in the North, wear mis zapatos, my shoes, even on the sand. Maybe they will keep me safe, and get me home someday, as a man.