Thursday, August 5, 2010

The next writing projects...

At the risk of courting controversy, I think I will do a series of short stories that tackle the topic of societal break down from an in-genre perspective.

A 5,000 word story is comparable to a single chapter in a book however some ideas I have can be done in about 2,000 words.

For me it is important to not only entertain but to examine some aspect of the human condition. And the break down of the system of governance disturbs me.

I don't talk politics. I express myself at the ballot booth and who I vote for is my business. My opinions are strong, but they are MY opinions and I'm not running for office.

However, I see a dangerous, dysfunctional trend in the way the public and government influence each other. It's all or nothing, do or die and that really concerns me.

Before anyone pitches me their position... I'm not trying to establish a platform.

In short, I believe a primary role of government, be it local, state or federal, is to find better ways for opposing groups to express their wants and demands without us doing bodily harm to each other.

That is something I think I can address in fiction without campaigning for anyone. Social breakdowns have been covered in the past, nothing new from the general notion but I think I have a few thought-provoking ideas.

A long while back I mentioned my "Voting Bloc" story. In a nutshell, a new colony is to be established for mankind with a total clean slate. But along the way to that colony, the "inmates take over the asylum." All laws for the future colony will be determined by blocs of prison inmates, the people who broke the laws of the old world. In order to pass legislation, the inmates engage in killing games. The bloc with the most kills during regulation time determines if the law is ratified or not.

The inmates form temporary alliances as needed to get legislation moving. In exchange, the inmates are offered certain privileges such as communication with a family member for two minutes. The idea is the inmates are detached from the direct outcome of the laws, at least in theory. There is more to say in the actual story.


The other idea has no working title. The country has fallen into highly divisive camps. No organized governments beyond neighborhood consensus. If you don't agree with your neighbors, you get driven out by force if they let you leave at all. G-men exist to safeguard banks and gold reserves but that's it. Everything else, you're on your own. Really extreme opinions are allowed to run loose and nothing exists to keep opposing sides from having at each other.

So there you go. Those are my next ideas for short stories.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away