Thursday December 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the healer.

Feeling pretty good today. I've got basic movement back in the pain-free zone, though I still need to be careful as there are still movements that can tweak things enough to make me stop to pay attention. But I'm generally feeling like things are going in the right direction.

Good thing, too. I've got a 4 to 9 shift at the community centre tomorrow night, followed by an 8 to closing shift at the bakery on Saturday. Fairly ideal timing as it turns out.

At least, that's how I feel about it at the moment. We'll see what I think in a couple days.


Bring me your innocent and pure of heart. Let their illnesses gaze upon me and tremble. Allow me to bear witness to their weaknesses, their frailties, their maladies and viruses.

I will ease them of their burdens. They shall breath out their black clouds, I shall breathe them in. I will invite their diseases and mental disorders and deteriorating organs in to be my guests.

And make no mistake, that is all they are: guests. They will not be permanent residents. They cannot be. I do not have strength enough for such feats. I myself would succumb all too quickly. But I have strength enough.

Enough strength to be their temporary host. To take them away from those who suffer so dearly and so unfairly. To carry them with me until such a time as I find a more... deserving host to bestow them upon.


Greg said...

It sounds like you're well on the mend, and I know what it's like to be mostly healed but still have things that bring you up short and realise that it's not all over yet (good old squash...). I suspect that it's the bakery shift that will determine if you're really all healed yet or not, because standing up for that long is hard work (as you already know). Good luck!
Hah, your tale today reminds me a little of the Sin Eaters, although I'm not sure the sin eaters ever rebestowed the sins on anyone else. Your healer sounds quite terrifying, in fact, when I re-read it. But... were I injured or sick, I think your healer might be exactly the kind of person I'd benefit from. Really beautiful language in the first two paragraphs, almost poetical!

The healer
Stars fell from the Milky Way, blazing past like cannon-balls. David didn't flinch, but Ernest looked distinctly uncomfortable. The shower of stars became a rain, then a deluge, then there was practically a wall of silvery light flickering around them. Moments later it ended, and as their vision adjusted again they found themselves stood outside the lifts on the fourth floor of the hotel. Across from the lifts were a small cluster of hard wooden chairs with music stands set in front of them. Samual was sitting on one chair browsing through a notepad like the ones Ernest used to communicate with people around the Empire, and he looked up when they appeared. For a moment he appeared not to recognise them, then he double-took and leapt to his feet. The notepad fell to the floor, the pages sprawling open and the writing on them blurring into illegibility as it became exposed.
"My Lord!" he said, bowing hastily. Ernest walked across the floor and picked the notepad up. At his touch the pages unblurred, but he averted his gaze as he neatly folded them page together and handed it to Samual.
"Did you enter Andy's domain and then leave again, or were you denied entry?"
"Andy, Sir?"
"Drat, Memneth. Lord Vileburn. I'll never know why some people are so reluctant to own their own names."
"I came out of the lift here, Sir, and when I looked for you you'd vanished. I thought it best to wait."
"Indeed," said David. "Such places can have a disturbing effect on a weak or unprepared mind. You were far safer back here."
"I rather liked it," said Ernest pleasantly. "For all it was Memneth's lair. Tell me Samual, since you've been waiting for us so patiently, did you say this morning that Father Ignatz was seeing Jane Melody today?"
"A musician, Ernest? Really?" David sniffed.
"I have my interests, David," said Ernest with a smile. "As I recall you're a member of at least two societies where the membership, you've said, is so hard to obtain that there are fewer than 20 people in the world eligible to join."
"Well yes," said David. "But that's exclusivity. There are thousands of musicians in the world. Some of them are even competent."
"Quite," said Ernest.

Greg said...

"I believe it was Father Ignatz himself who told you who was he meeting," said Samual. His eyes were averted, looking intently at his shoes again while the other men gently bickered. "I can ask where he is if you'd like?"
"Please," said Ernest. David humphed.
"Really Ernest, I've no idea why you permit that healer so much leeway," he said. "He's a waste of your time; all his kind are. They prey on people, they apply the Will in subtle, unclean ways. They demand belief where pure rational thought is a true guide, and they are hasty and clumsy."
Samual turned away, writing hastily on his pad, his shoulders hunching as though to block out the sound of the words.
"Thank-you David," said Ernest. "I shall think on what you've said. Perhaps then you'd prefer to spend time elsewhere?"
"I should think so," said David. "I shall call on Lord Thereau since he's here in the hotel. Perhaps we might lunch together, Ernest? Unless you're planning on lunching with the priesthood, of course."
"I find I have little appetite," said Ernest. "But should that change I shall let you know."
David pressed the lift call button, and as the doors slid open Samual passed the notepad to Ernest.
"Father Ignatz is in the Sonata Room," he said. "Jane Melody is still with him."
"Then lead on," said Ernest clapping Samual on the shoulder. The lift doors slid shut behind them, taking David away. "I would very much like to hear what Jane Melody believes happened when Lord Campion died."

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

Art helps.

My art of choice lately has been sound, primarily audio fiction. I've been listening more than making—burnout is a greedy little sinkhole—but there's so much great stuff out there. Cheaper technology and curiosity have given way to a great wave of new and brilliant stories, all spun in sound.

So much of it has given me a lot to think about—audio and narrative craft, how people work together, the information needs of made-up people—but fun and beautiful things feel nice, and we need that from time to time. I certainly have.

But this art has also been incredibly edifying in this very strange point. Never mind the noxious and unquenchable dumpster fire the calendar year has been; I'm not in school for the first time in nineteen years, the legs of more complete independence are still incredibly wobbly, and it's tricky figuring out how to Be in the world. But this art, listening to it, talking about it with people who so love it, having a hand in making some of it, it's all been assuring me that I needn't worry about it, that getting excited about odd and wonderful ideas is still perfectly fine. Simply put, adult nerds are a Thing, and in this Weird moment knowing that is more settling than I can adequately express.

And I'm just starting to feel the stir of ideas again, faint but unmistakable. It's picked one hell of a time to come back, but art is going to be so, so important now, because art helps. It doesn't Fix everything, but it helps.

Dragonfly Oracle said...

Marc: I LOVE that you see others' pains as a "guest" - yes - a temporary resident for the purposes of transmutation by the healer, who then relinquishes it again.
Greg: - amazing. I get that you are extracting pieces froma longer story/novel?
g2: wow!

The Healer

She was talking to him, nonchalantly, about nothing in particular. They'd known one another for ages, not years, but decades - for so long, in fact, it was easy to take certain things about the other for granted.
She squirmed in her chair in obvious discomfort.

He asked if there was a problem.
She said she'd had this ache in one part of her back for ages - months, if not years. She'd tried everything from conventional medicine to alternatives. Nothing seemed to work, at least, not long-term.
He asked if he might "take a look" at it.
"Sure, okay", she answered, unsure of what he meant, but trusting him enough to place herself in his hands.

He had he stand in front of him and he scanned over her back with his hand, not touching it. On his own body, he pointed to area of pain and showed her. She concurred it was exactly where she was hurting.
"But why?" she asked, wondering what the source of the pain could be.

"Allow me a moment, if you will..." and he stood silently, still not touching her, but waving his hand, gently and slowly, to and fro, over the affected area. A vision opened up - a youngish man, not dressed for battle, but sporting a long knife all the same, approached the woman from behind - except she wasn't a woman, she was also a man, around the same age - as if they were friends, or maybe rivals. They were dressed in puffy shirts and pantaloons, certainly not from the current era. He was seeing her in a past life vision. The man with the knife launched his arm aloft and thrust the knife deeply into the back, taking his victim by surprise, who then died from the attack. As he watched, he pulled out the envisioned knife, making motions of extraction as if it were real, in this time. He then used his hand to "dress the wound" as her called it later, making cross motions over the imaginary wound with layers of imaginary gauze and iodine. Then he stopped.

She asked what was happening and he told her.

"Who was the man in the vision?" she asked, unable to stem the tide of questions entering her mind. He told her who it had been in this life and she said confirmed it explained everything. She asked why on earth would she attract such a person back into this life if he had been a back-stabber in the past. He answered by looking at her astrology chart and there it was, plain as day - the lesson was about standing up for yourself, despite the odds placed against you. It gelled in her mind.

She sat down again, feeling no change. Her pain was still there. She asked if she should still see her alternative therapist about it.

"It's your choice, of course. If you think you need to process it more and double-check, then sure, by all means", and left her with that.

A few days later they crossed paths again, He asked how she was feeling and if she'd seen her therapist yet. She said, "No need - that pain is completely gone! It's crazy! I carried that around for months, no, years, I think. No one could fix it and now it's gone! Thank you isn't enough to say how I feel..."

He cut her short with a polite wave of the hand. It was just his way. He never intended anything, but his calling as a person of compassion with a bit of honed intuition had been met, yet again, as one of the many unsung heroes that roam this world, quietly working away with no agenda other than to restore balance to any who needed it. Again, this call was met.
The healer.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, the bakery will be the big test. Feeling ready for it though.

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Another fine continuation, with the usual vivid details and intricate dialogue. Are you collecting this all somewhere or is the whole thing scattered about the blog?

g2 - !

Hello! Good to see you here again :D I hope you've been well? Or as well as can be, with all the nonsense of 2016 going on?

Ah, I believe I have an idea now of how you've been. I'm so very glad that art has helped you on your way through this, as you say, dumpster fire of a year.

Also: out of school now? What (other than art, of course) is keeping you busy?

Dragonfly - thanks! That was the idea that, once it came to me, made sure the prompt was used and gave me something to write around.

Really enjoyed your description of the healing, with the vision and the imaginary bandaging. Very clever take on the prompt - the whole thing works together rather delightfully!

Greg said...

@Marc: Since you ask, it's all scattered about the blog.
@Dragonfly: It's more than I'm kind of writing a novel here and there, but as Marc can tell you, I've always had the habit of continuing stories and reusing characters -- I'm kind of dull that way.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

@Marc: I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. ^^ I've finished up my first masters' in library science, and currently a temp job at one of the local university libraries is keeping me busy these days. And I've had the chance to help out a community radio theater company with two live performances—some mystery stories in the summer (practical sound effects for Holmes' "Adventure of the Speckled Band"; it involved walloping a sand bag with a long dowel rod in the dark, good times), and digital sounds for their Halloween show (which involved frightfully perfect music selections, and realizing an ambiguously-described rending of reality in sound). Most recently I finished one of the first proper ideas I've had in about two years for a contest of very short audio fiction; it's not shortlisted, but I'm so pleased with it holy snood ( ; headphones recommended)

And listening to far too many audio dramas, of course. I'm more than happy to pass along recommendations.