Friday, October 27, 2006
Mainly the parts with his personal history of blood. The author is quite interesting himself. Not many seem to be so open (or is it that there are not so many?) about being a gay man. Some of the stories he adds in about his family (he is the only son among five sisters) or about his lover (Steve) and him. This could all be a baised opinion from just finishing An Unquiet Mind (written by Kay Jamison) which was dull, dull and very dull (quite the opposite, it seems, from everyone else's opinion). Or possibly from my lack of complete enjoyment from non-fiction. Non-fiction, if not interesting from the start, is very boring to me (and hence my lack of enjoyment of An Unquiet Mind).
I would recommend it to other people, most certainly. It has quite a few things to learn from. As a very important daily substance, blood is overlooked. People do not want to talk about it. It is just one of those social forbiddens. Reading the book is exquisitely informative. Little things that make you go "Ah!!! I get it now!!" (One example would be why we wear wedding bands on our fourth finger on our left hand). Little fun trivial facts (and I do ever so love those).
Overall, the style of Bill Hayes is a bit put-offish, a bit like Tracey Kidder, who wrote Mountains Beyond Mountains. However unlike Kidder's or Jamison's style, it is more on the mediocre side. A voice that, if not in the mood, would seem dreadfully boring, but if in the mood, be interesting. It all depends. A book that you must read with something else to break it apart (for me, it was Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things, another book to not read in one sitting... but for a completely different reason*). In conclusion, if you find a book about blood interesting, go out and buy it. If not at all, then do not bother. Not yet, at least.
* Fragile Things is a collection of short fictions, and if you read them all at once, they clash and run together and ruin themselves. If spaced out, they're wonderful.
One of the issued soldiers was staring at the Private Peter Henley, who was crouched and hugging himself, facing the rubble landscape and muttering to himself of his insanity.
The last Private, Bernard Lindleman watched the landscape, taking in the beauty of destruction. He didn't touch his hot chocolate, but held a clean head, unlike Private Peter Henley or Private Charles Finn or Private Kent Bramble, who were lost to the world. He did not touch his hot chocolate because he tended to feel as though it did not suit him to drink hot chocolate. He then took in the rubbled church in which was to be their dying ground. It found him ironic, for he refused in the belief of gods.
The four Privates awaited the Final Order. An army jeep's engine was heard and after a few moments it appeared. Within it was a the man to give the orders and the witness. The witness was a photographer and so took the last photo Private Charles Finn, Private Kent Bramble, Private Peter Finley and Private Bernard Lindleman would ever have.
The seven soldiers who recieved the orders took a draw, to take which rifle. Private Charles Finn was ordered to stand over to a spot and had his crimes read to him. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. He stood, thinking about the reason why he didn't drink his hot chocolate. He refused it for his French wife would make the best he could remember. She had died though, in Verdun, from German cannon fire. As he was thinking of the first time he had tasted her hot chocolate and knew that they would be together by marriage, he was shot. He was glad for that last memory, for it was one of his favourites.
The rifles were given back and the process was repeated as the dead person was put into the jeep. Private Kent Bramble stood in his spot to die. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. He thought of how the soldier, who he wished would be the man to kill him, was his brother. He looked like him, held the same manner as him. It made Private Kent Bramble sad to think that his brother would not survive the war. Or that he died several months ago, helping his mother flee Marne. The seven soldiers fired. Private Kent Bramble stared at the soldier who killed him. His brother, he was sure, had killed him.
The Private Peter Finley screamed out his insanity as he was pulled to his dying spot. He was read his crimes, as he screamed how he was insane. His crime was refusal to orders and cowardice. His mind replayed images of his long months of laying in a sickly bed, recovering from shellshock. With his fever, he deliriumed of his wife bringing him baked pies and bowls of his favourite soups. Two months after his shellshock he was brought news from a fellow soldier that his wife and his children had fleed to the States. It broke him, for he felt them leave him to die in this war. He would refuse to fight, saying he was not well. He, in his yelling, felt warm blood spreading and soaking his uniform. It was when he realised that he had no children and refused to believe in his wife.
Private Bernard Lindleman was lost in his viewing of the fine scenery he would die in. He heard the last shot and stood up uncounsiously. While he was drowning in the beauty of destruction, he had counted the shots. One of the men led him to his spot to die. They asked if he wanted a blindfold and he told them no, there was too much destruction to look at. He heard the men read his crimes and found it monotonous. His crime was refusal to orders. He was never a coward. As he searched with his eyes, he found a piece of broken church that was positively lovely. He was shot there, sketching the piece of rubble in his mind.
This took place... well... not precisely during WWI or WWII. It took place in a world of the collaboration of the two. Think of it as the setting of WWI and the ideals of WWII (well... the same type of ideals, not the exact same reasonings). ((Ah, and yes. I realise that they would most certainly have their eyes covered, but this is a different world. The times are not so soft. There is a high honour system and these men were probably worse than dirt to a proud citizen of the empire they belonged to.)) There are times when I write about this war. Not in chronological order, but they're there. The reason why I wrote this was because of an article a while ago that appeared on the BBC newsletter: pardoned soldiers.
I must say, Private Bernard Lindleman was probably my most favourite of them. He was initially an artist, really. He was sort of that solemn, serious, heavy-reader, quiet artist. I'm pretty sure he took photographs. He isn't the painter sort.
Private Kent Bramble must have been my second favourite. He loved his brother. After he was bedridden (trench fever, the same for all of them... well, except Lindleman), he recieved news that his brother and mother died in a sort of Blitzkrieg. Devestated, he wanted some sort of realise. Having a man who looked incredibly alike his brother gave him the precise realise he would have wanted. ((Of course, you don't get all of this in the story, really. Ah... well. Faulty writing?))
Anyways, that would be the reason why I do not have as much as I wanted up here. It is not a writer's block that stops me, really, but a stubborn block that just doesn't want to do work anymore. Ah, well... I shall try and post up some of my older stuff tonight. (And hopefully edit them along the way).
Sunday, October 22, 2006
The Story of the Monsoon
The Fire Bird always told the coming of the monsoon. She rose, chasing the bones of her lover in the same fate as Sisyphus to his rock and stone. Impossibilities to no end.
They would note the coming from the Fire Bird’s blazing display. She would rise, her feathers moulting the white flame and her shrieking cries never-ending for two weeks. By the end of her warning her shrieks and cries died out and white flames burned to nothing.
The men and women uncharacteristically equalled shares in the work and preparations during the two weeks warning. No time must be spared unless one wished for the monsoon to devour them.
Men sprinkled un-birthing elixir among the plants and fields as women dismantled the homes of mud and planted their doors of ash. Children kissed their rocks goodbye and returned to the land.
As garments unravelled and stone sheep returned to bone and flesh, the winds of the monsoon would sound in the deep-hearted men and the Bones of the Lover of the Fire Bird entered into the sky. With their last look at their rumbling husbands, the women entered the rivers.
The men stood in the barrenness of their undoing and boomed. The longer they stood, the longer they rumbled. The leader of all men fell into the monsoon first, as all leaders tend to do. As the followers of all men, the men did their duty and entered into monsoon.
With the men gone, and the rumbling wind everywhere, the sheep shivered and the doors shook as the children started quaking. The leader of all children did as a leader did and the Earth broke by his power. The child had entered monsoon. Children are all leader and all followers, and so the Earth was torn as they entered into monsoon.
The Earth dampened and the sky fell as the leader of all women washed away the life. The water rose and all sheep were lost and all doors floated like the forests from the olden days. The followers of all women did as followers do and drowned all life.
The Bones of the Lover of the Fire Bird shimmered n a briefest moment, but then the Fire Bird came upon the horizon. She caught just the glimpse of his bone-tail and her white flame ended monsoon.
This was written a while ago, in the summer. It was in the first week of school. Must have been. I remember myself freaking out that I needed to sleep, but I could not and so I knew I would be tired the next day. It was around 3am and I was half asleep. Was laying there in bed and went into one of those "I'm perfectly aware of this dream, yet I am asleep" type dreams. It all started with this people, in tunics or weird tribal-esque clothing, in this terribly barren wasteland. Or rather, "not lush". The houses were of mud and there were sparse fields of plants in the dirt (not sand, a sort of dirt) and door-trees (rather, doors stuck in the ground as though a tree) and a single river that was behind the village. The sun was a giant fire bird, rather like a phoenix. There was positively nothing to do, it seemed.
So I woke up. I snatched up a pen and sketched this down (in a rather untidy and sleepy fashion). I thought that if the sun was a giant fire bird, than she must be chasing something. And so I thought "bones". The moon was her dead lover. Decomposed to nothing but silver-white bones. And due to a spell, she must chase them forever (all she wishes to do is to breath life back into them, but a cruel witch or god placed a curse so for her to never be able to reach them).
And so what IS the monsoon? I do not know. I am not sure if I truly wish to know. It seems as though that it is night. I suppose it could be dreams or possibly it is just what it is: a storm. I like the thought of it to be the people entering dreamland, though. If you think about it, it makes it lose its beauty and illusions. It is better off as a "monsoon". ((On the contrary, I do not know why that popped into my mind in the first place. Monsoon is such a weird thing to think of.))
I had a lot of fun with this story, I must say. It is so random and weird. I remember, after writing it, looking over it quickly and not understanding one bit as to why I wrote it. I never thought about it, really. It was just written down. One of those little special pieces given from the gods, I suppose.