High Street, Bristol, August 15, 2021
I was finishing a snack when the fellow sitting at the next table noticed my hat and asked me what sort of story I wanted to tell. I replied with the standard, "Two minutes for a poem, ten minutes for a story," which didn't answer the question, and he said so.
They were probably a bit younger than me; old enough to have grandchildren, maybe not old enough to retire. She looked bewildered but happy; he looked bewildered and grumpy. They weren't actually wearing tee shirts that said, "Hopelessly Mundane", but they had that look.
So I answered the question honestly, and said that I wrote quasi-medieval fantasy stories and poems. The man said that he guessed they had time for a poem, and did I have any poems that told an adventure story?
That's the kind of question that sets my cranial denizens scrambling. Two minute poems don't lend themselves to complete stories; they tend to be character studies or vignettes. I settled on a piece called, "Wild Hunt's Justice" which actually tells a complete story, told them the title, and dove in.
She smiled happily through the whole thing, he just stared at me intently with a slight scowl. When it was over, she made appreciative noises, and he said, "There's that fellow you mention a couple of times in there, Odin. Is he someone I should recognize?"
Most of my cranial denizens panicked. I did my best to explain as briefly as I could. The particular cranial denizen who REALLY wanted me to start talking about the fact that I had two other poems ready that are actually ABOUT Odin was gagged and shoved into a closet.
They REALLY should have been wearing "Hopelessly Mundane" tee shirts.
I've never been a good man, never even really tried;
I've sampled all the seven sins, I've stolen, and I've lied.
But I've never run from danger; I have always held my place,
So I'm claiming Odin's justice, and I'll look Death in the face.
Cranial Bandwidth and Performance Modes:
A few hours ago I learned that I cannot parse Shakespeare when he is read aloud. It depends to some extent on the passage, of course, but the language is just stilted enough that my brain can't keep up. I have no trouble understanding it when I read it, but that follows different cranial pathways.
Related to this, and with regard to a conversation with Kyla Mead begun elsewhere, I can say with certainty that *I* am a better actor when I am reading than when I am reciting. Once again, it is an issue of cranial bandwidth, and differing pathways. Similarly, I am a better singer when my eyes are closed.
It's always been this way, actually; I didn't take notes in school, because I couldn't listen and write at the same time. Forty years ago, I had a "sponge" mode that let me channel things straight from my ears into long term memory, but that doesn't work so well, anymore.
I have always known that I had a bucket full of low grade learning disabilities, but I was good enough at developing compensatory behaviors to hide them. But there have ALWAYS also been limits...
Well... The web presentation is not QUITE ready for prime time, but it's THERE: Seven fanfic stories by P.D. Haynie that we are giving away, since we can't sell them. Just go out to spiralpathpublications.com and scroll to the bottom of the page, and then select a format. It's all fifteen to thirty years old, and if you have been hanging around here that long, you have already seen most of it, but, well, it's THERE, and it's FREE. Check it out!
Update: The earlier web issues have been solved!
It occurs to me, apropos of nothing, that "Half Guinea Hat" would be a GREAT name for a bowling team or similar organization. (Image of the Hatter and the hat in question.)
Unpopped popcorn in bulk is a fluid with near zero surface tension and near zero viscosity. Just sayin'.
So... There are still obstacles between today and publication, but I think the cover is ready for the world. ("Hero's Heart" cover.)
Wishing a happy birthday to Marc Miller, who designed "Traveller", back in the long ago.
Hyena was yammering about the distinction between "hard science fiction" and "space fantasy."
"Do you know what's wrong with 'Star Wars'"? Dementia asked. "When you get right down to it, it was NOT created by nerds."
"'It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.'" Hyena offered.
(Yes, I know that nerds who love "Star Wars" have retconned that line into something that almost makes sense. Almost. But it wouldn't have been necessary if there had been ANYONE in a position of authority on the set who knew enough to say, "Wait a minute...")
It's Mary Shelley's birthday. She was 20 when her monster made its lasting mark on world literature, though she didn't get her name on it for another five years. Celebrate by creating an archetypal character (or two) that will be remembered 200 years later. (Alternatively, create life in your basement (or attic) lab. Body snatchers are not required; Shelley's Victor did his thing without raiding the local cemeteries, somehow.)