Wednesday January 25th, 2017

The exercise:

Write about something that is: out of focus.

Between helping Kat and the boys get out the door for music class, doing laundry, and getting firewood, this morning slipped past pretty quickly.

This afternoon I took a drive up to Penticton to stock up on groceries, which went as smoothly as could have been expected. Hopefully we've got enough meat in the freezer to get us most of the way through February.

Didn't have much time to work on my writing project but it still occupied a lot of mental space. I'll share more details once things get a little further along. For now I'll just say that my creative focus is on that, which makes coming up with prompts for the blog a little harder than usual.

I'm sure I'll manage though.

I always do.


As I stand up (why was I sitting down?) the world tilts and blurs, and my stomach lurches in response. I shake my head to try to clear the cobwebs and immediately wish that I hadn't. Where did this headache come from?

I close my eyes and try to breathe my way through this disorientation. The cold air hurts my throat (cold?) but I stick with it. My heart rate begins to settle into a more normal rhythm. I open my eyes to test my vision and... I'm sitting down again.

"Wha... ugh." It is an effort to not vomit. Thinking of the torture that would cause my already aching throat helps. I blink a few times. It doesn't help.

Everything is out of focus, like a photograph taken by an addict trying to quit cold turkey. The bright sunshine is not helping, nor is the contrast of the shadows lurking in menacing clusters around the edges of this... clearing?

Are those trees encircling me? They must be, but they don't look like anything I've seen before. Back home we just have pines and fruit trees and... back home. I'm not home. Clearly.

So where am I?


Greg said...

This writing project sounds intriguing! I hope Scrivener is helping you with it, making it easier to organise ideas and move things around as needed :)
Well, apart from the mislocation I've had pretty much the experience you're describing and I'd say you've nailed it. The lack-of-focus, the difficulty in concentrating and the headache from shaking the head... yep, it's all right :) I like the description of the scenery when the narrator can finally see it too, it's nicely worrying.

Out of focus
The ice-shelf shuddered and lumps of ice dropped away into the water causing sudden swells in the mottled-green ocean below; David was laughing.
"That was a stupid thing to say," he said at last. "Well then, it appears that someone involved in this funeral isn't aligned with the rest of us."
"Or some people," said Magdalena. "I don't know much about what's happening here, but I would not have thought Lord Campion was important enough to warrant all this. Even the King is here at, and he doesn't show up at the death of every noble. He didn't even attend his own sister's funeral."
"Indeed." There was icy agreement in David's tone. "Well, one or many then, there is a gap in the defences and the clothing store seems to be part of the breach. Shall we investigate?"
"Isn't that the job of Lord Derby?"
"He and I work together very closely. I am sure he would expect me to investigate rather than go to him and have him have to ask me to come back and find out what can be known. Lord Derby has no magical talent."
"I see," said Magdalena. "I am sorry David, I did not intend to treat you as an employee of his. Lord Derby is highly thought of--"
"And that would be less so if I weren't there at his right hand!"
"Well then. Let us investigate." Magdalena disappeared from the map, and thirty seconds later reappeared in it. "Aren't you coming?"
"I think a physical approach is dangerous. This clothing store... it's out of focus."

Greg said...

The eruption, Magdalena's representation in the magical world, seemed to freeze for a moment. When it resumed motion the lava seemed hotter, redder, somehow.
"It's not out of focus," she said, ignoring the ice-shelf's shudder of annoyance. "There's a secondary focus there."
It was David's turn to go still, and after a moment the whole map wobbled and faded slightly. Then he picked it up again and stabilised it.
"I don't recognise it," he said. "There's something in there that's... non-European?"
"Latin American," said Magdalena. "We've have a visiting delegation from the Peruvians and we've been studying a branch of Diabolism that has deep historical roots. It's been very slow going, they seem to have mingled elements of theocracy and thaumaturgy, and there's a lot of mythology tangled up with it. It gets results, undeniably, but some of it is very, very hard to explain. Our current thinking is that they somehow set up trigger conditions: it's like you or I working five spells simultaneously that interact at specific moments to produce a final effect. And then somehow leaving them to run by themselves."
"At least. But the focus in there is like the Peruvian one. We're calling it Quetzal at the moment after one of their more pronounceable gods, and what I can see looks very like a Quetzal focus."
"Do you know how to contain it?"

Marc said...

Greg - yes, Scrivener is kinda making the project possible. I'm not sure I could attempt it (right now, anyway) without it.

Thanks for the kind words on mine :)

Ooh, yet another intriguing development. I like the inclusion/introduction of the Latin American magic. Though it's rather worrisome that Magdalena doesn't know how to contain this new hurdle!

Madison White said...

Mayhem is keeping up with five college courses, getting enough sleep, and finding time to eat and socialize in between. College is a fun and wonderful experience but very stressful at the same time. Getting an education is important to me but it's also crazy trying to find free time in between it all.