Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tear Bending

So, first let me say that I am a man in the traditional sense and have no qualms or questions in my masculinity. I’m big, I’m tough, and I have a good deal of facial and body hair. I smell like a man, talk like a man, and even fart in an open room just because I can. All of these things solidly define me, as what people would say is manly. Second, in reference to the first part of this statement let me say this…today at work I cried like a baby. I spilled tears much like a levy bursting forth due to heavy rainfall. My noise ran, calling attention to my tears as I tired to sniff up the running green goop set loose by my teary build up. In short form, I wept openly.
            Not that crying is unmanly, but because we are still bound as a society by the rough guy stereotype of the 1950’s it is not commonplace. The question you might have is what caused a manly man like myself to emotionally fall apart enough to weep openly? The answer is simple, a comic depicting a story from the new Avatar series. If you are aware of what Avatar is (not the James Cameron blue cat people movie), then you can most likely skip this section. If you are unaware of Avatar then I may just cry a bit for your lack of understanding, but will only give a quick explanation.
            Avatar created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The series aired between 2005 and 2008 on the Nickelodeon networks. The story itself was about a world where people moved or bended the four elements air, earth, fire and water. They did this by moving their bodies and hands much like the classic martial arts styles originated by shaolin monks in early China. The main character was a young boy named Aang, who was the last air bender after spending a hundred years sleeping in ice. He also was the last Avatar, which is a person reincarnated each generation and has the ablity to bend all four elements. Aang traveled the world with his friends Katara and Zuko learning the other bending forms so that he could save the world from the oppression of the fire nation. Aang eventually saved the world and fell in love with Katara his water-bending teacher.
As a whole, Avatar was a beautifully fascinating series that was great for both kids and adults alike. For those that did watch all or at least most of it, you can speak of chakras and a good deal of us will imagine the explain of water moving through pools given to Aang. But moving on the whole point to my explanation is that for there to be a new Avatar the old one must pass on and rejoin the collective memories and wisdom inherited in the new incarnation of the Avatar. In the sequel to the original Avatar series The Legend of Kora, there is a new Avatar and the old one, Aang, has passed on. The comic, which made me, cry was a memory told by Kora being taught by her water bending master Katara. Now, you might have made the connection, the new Avatar (Kora) is being taught by the old Avatar’s love. The comic was beautifully simple but epically sad at the end. To view it for yourself click the link below:

            Now after reading my breakdown and the comic are you too now tear bending? If not that is okay, but you may want to check that you have a pulse because obviously you are lacking a heart YOU MONSTER! No, sorry that was out of line and I apologies, but seriously YOU MONSTER! The point I am getting at is the Avatar series was written with the colorful happy presentation for children to enjoy and with a deeply poetic meaning running through its core for adults. I can honestly see myself watching this with my kids (if I had any). At the end of the show they are happy and trying to bend the table with their fists. Me, I’m moved by the understanding that you don’t have to know the purpose only know that there can be balance in everything. (I also might be trying to bend the table).
            With the creation of an after story kids who did not watch the first one would not get the comic more than the face value of having someone that loves you enough to be with you everyday. For the adults and kids that have watched the first series th understanding that comes from change is enormous. The last air bender Aang is now gone and those that loved him and taught him will have to watch his successor go through some of the trials he did. The huge cycle of life and death with the understanding that it will always be in balance should be something respected, especially from a simple cartoon.
            Now that we have spent some time tear bending maybe its time we move on to the other things. If anything take this from what I have written, that just because it’s a cartoon does not mean it cannot teach you what it is to be human. Also crying is a human action, not a womanly or manly action.

(Please note that when I first starting writing this I stopped and came back to it several weeks later. I opened the comic again to remind myself of the message and sure enough I bent tears again.) 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

School Assignment

School, being school assigned a simple assignment to write a scene that built suspense. It needed to be between 200 - 600 words. it need to use whatever methods of dialogue, narrative, and description to exemplify the need to escape a person, place or thing. 
Here is what I cam up with. 

“It burns,” Shel said. Her voice was far away as if she was just awoken from sleep. This was in contrast to the look on her face. Eyes wide in terror, red rings encircled the dark blue of her iris. Her skin white and shallow like the tide gone out from the shore. Mouth agape exposing dried gums crusted with blood inking the white of her teeth

            “That is its purpose child, to burn away the wandering thoughts of a godless actions of heathens such as you,” answered the tin tone voice in the speaker above Shel’s head.

            Shel tried again to turn her head to find the voice. At times it seemed like it was everywhere at once. It always followed the pain marching behind it in parade fashion. A ripping feeling above her eyes, then the warm burst of blood, then the burning, and finally the voice telling her to be still and it would all be okay.
            Shel sat tense for a moment listening; the voice from the speaker said nothing else the burning slowed then stopped. Shel was alone in her room again strapped to cold metallic table. She was still alive but her time was short. If they could not get her to admit she believed in the father they would turn the torches on. Fire would erupt from every corner of the room and she would burn writhing in agony-licked head to toe by cleansing flames. The image of her blackened body smoking as the cleaning crew entered the room to remove her body made Shel vomit bile into the back of her throat. 
“Quite your fear girl, see only the river were you float, not the falls ahead,” said the memory of Xavier. Shel recalled the intensity on his face as he spoke to her of fear and the destructive power it had.
“Okay, you old son of a vapor thief, what am I am I to do then?” asked Shel to her memory. She thought hard and did as she was trained, She breathed out the fear and took in air in that moment alone. Her mind cleared the fog of pain as called her muscles into action.
A camera set high in the celling rotated at a rate of 1 millimeter an second. In a total of 15 seconds it would move from one side of the room to the other. Moving now from right to leave the camera caught a subtle tremor in Shel’s right arm as it passed. On its return trip from left to right the camera caught a similar tremor in Shel’s left arm. In the 72-hour period the camera had been focused on Shel it had passed over her 17,280 times. Each time until now has captured a lifeless form lying on a surgical table. The female was bare and prone on her back. The camera, which was not aware of, was defined life or death could only detect movement. A job it had not needed to do till now.
            A buzzing, pulsating alarm rung out like a rooster calling to the dawn from the speaker above Shel’s head. She kept calm forming her muscles to twitch harder and faster.  Her arm only needed a pace fast enough to breach the molecular bonds of the straps. She pushed harder against the panic building within her, she knew what would come following the alarm.
            Shel stopped only long enough to catch the ever so faint sound of gas being pumped into the room. The next thing she heard was the click, click, click of an electric igniter.