Wednesday October 15th, 2014

The exercise:

It has, as usual, been too long. Let us revisit the Random Book Prompt by selecting a book as randomly as possible and borrowing its first line for our own use. After that, and credit having been given where it is due, each of us can take our opening wherever inspiration directs us.

If you don't have any books within reach, Amazon's Look Inside feature should come in handy.

We had a lot of rain here last night, so rather than trying to slog a wheelbarrow full of squash through mud I decided to run a few errands in town this morning. It's supposed to be nicer tomorrow, so hopefully I can get some work done then.

Apparently it's my birthday in a week and a half. Does not feel like it at all, probably because I'm far more interested in the birthday that follows less than two weeks later.


Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean

Sometimes the world can be such a busy, noisy place. It can overwhelm a young man such as yourself, the way life comes at you in ceaseless, battering waves. Footing is lost, there is nothing to grasp to prevent yourself from being washed away.

Before you know what's happened you're lost. Alone. Helpless. Hopeless.

It doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes it's best to step out of the river and sit on the banks for a spell. Let the stream and all its fish and leaves and sticks and garbage do their thing while you fill your lungs with fresh air, fill your soul with fresh resolve. You don't have to fight for every inch, for every second. You can't.

It is simply not sustainable.

After enough time has passed, when you are ready to rejoin the river, then do so. Not a moment sooner. Don't let others rush you. They are too busy losing their own battles to see what is best for you. Those reaching fingers are not there to help you stand strong, but instead to drag you under with them.

The world is not always this way, of course. And there will be those who genuinely wish to help, to be at your side. Pick your allies wisely. Aid them as they aid you. Be their rock, their tree branch when the river runs too strong for them. They will do the same for you.

And always know, never forget, that should they let you down, should their eyes be turned away at just the perfectly wrong moment, I will be there to dive into the rushing waters to bring you back to the shore for another rest.


Greg said...

Peaceful piggy meditation? Was that a random choice, or do you actually have that book? And why do I think it's more likely to be Kat's than Max's? :)
Well I'm sure your family think your birthday is important too: they can get you some new wellies for hauling squash in during the rain, maybe a new wheelbarrow, and a motivational poster with a picture of a rabbit being advanced upon by a combine harvester :)
I like the sense of peacefulness you've picked up from your title and first line, and the wisdom that the narrator conveys. The metaphor is expertly managed, and even the paragraph lengths deliver part of the reading experience. All in all, very nicely done! (Though I'm sure the last time I read a story by you involving a river there were man-eating crocodiles in it, so I'm not entirely certain that this river is as mundane as you're making out...!)

Large Networks and Graph Limits by Laszlo Lovasz
Within a couple of months in 2003, in the Theory Group of Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington, three questions were asked by three colleagues. The first was innocuous enough: "Who put bloody Windows on my Macbook?" and elicited much laughter around the room. The second, however, silenced everybody: "Who's drawn the runes of Dnah Tfel and printed them out?" Marianne, who had been expecting to get her printed tickets to Marrakech at the weekend from the printer held up the offending page, and her colleagues all ducked. The page rustled as though tugged at by wind that none of them could feel, and ice formed on the edge of the printer. There was a faint howl, like a dog shut out in the rain, that set people's teeth on edge and made tingles run up and down spines. It fell to Albert to ask the third question:
"How many printers have got those runes on them?"
It turned out to be all of them, and the colleagues, a group of six men and women with wives, girlfriends, children or parakeets, huddled together in the middle of the room, away from the windows. The blinds had been drawn early because of the mid-afternoon sun, and no-one wanted to risk opening them now.
"Can we call for help?" asked Marianne, now seriously worried that her weekend away with her girlfriend was in danger of being cancelled. Albert picked a phone receiver up, and they all heard the dull chirp.
"Foreign ringtones?" suggested Beth, but they all knew better.
"Who did it?" said Albert at last. "It must be someone from a rival office."
All eyes turned to the Macbook loaded with Windows, wondering just what else might have been installed on it then.

Marc said...

Greg - Kat has it out from the library, but Max enjoys looking through it now and then. Mostly to find the balls...

Hah, that is a surprisingly good opening line you've borrowed. That ending really makes it quite workable - I was not expecting that when I read the title you'd chosen!

Also: great details in the story itself, and you've left us at a point I would be pleased to see it continued on from.