June 18, 2013


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

F Trope: Talking animals
Current Event: http://www.newsminer.com/article_a5663fec-92d2-57c6-b57c-743b4adf4194.html

Noah Rhydderch shook his head angrily, “No, I know what I heard!”

Machig Labdrön pursed her lips, then took her lower lip between her thumb and finger. Finally she said, “Ravens can’t really speak, you know.”

Noah rolled his eyes. “I know that they aren’t supposed to speak English. I know they’re mimics – but the bird wasn’t just mimicking me. It was trying to tell me something!”

Machig sighed. “Look, Noah. I know we want our research to show that they’re smarter than we’ve given them credit for...”

“Machig! Don’t patronize me!” He shook his head and dropped down onto the lab stool. The raven loft was attached to the lab building of the International Wolf Institute. They were working under a grant from the National Science Foundation – but that did little to make Noah forget his ancestral involvement with the birds. Machig had the same connections – ancient Hebrews, the Welsh and Bhutanese cultures all revered the raven. It was what had drawn them together in the first place (though in a distressingly asexual way). He continued, “Don’t you think I’m weirded out by what I think I heard?”

She dropped down on the stool next to him and put her hand on his knee, though she didn’t look at him. She said, “So tell me again – what did Katoohk say to you?” They’d named raven #13 of their survey flock an Anglicized version of an Far Eastern Russian creator god.

“See that was what was weird, he didn’t actually say anything to me. I...” he paused, shot her a look and said, “I dreamed it.”

She took her hand away, rolling her eyes as she stood up. “Oh, great! I can just see the section in our paper on ‘Dream Interpretation and Communication Skills of Corvus corax’!”
“I didn’t ask for the dream! I’m just telling you about it!”

“You’re acting like it’s significant to our studies!”
“I’m not the one who said it was – Kahoohk said what he had to tell me was significant!”

Machig took a deep breath, sat back down and faced Noah. She said, “All right. I’ll listen to your dream – but don’t interpret for me. Just tell me what happened to the best of your memory.” She set her ipik down and turned it on. “If what you say is relevant in any way, I’ll think about it and let you know if I think it has any significance.”
“You mean you get last say? That’s not fair! This is my research, too!”
She snorted, “That’s exactly what’s fair! It’s yours ‘too’! My name will be attached to it and I don’t know if I want it attached to some fairy tale!”
He opened his mouth. Shut it. Dropped back down on the stool and said, “All right. This is what Kahoohk said: “A hero of Ireland, Cú Chulainn had a son whose name was Connla, by Aífe. Connla has been long separated from his father and seeking him to sit with him and do the things fathers and sons enjoy, comes to Ireland in search of him. Cú Chulainn takes the son he does not recognize as an intruder and kills him when he refuses to identify himself. Connla's last words to his father as he dies are that they would have ‘carried the flag of Ulster to the gates of Rome and beyond’, leaving Cú Chulainn both without an heir and grief-stricken and with no understanding of what he did.”
Machig made a face and sagged in the chair. “I thought you were going to say something significant.” She laughed. “You don’t even have a kid!” When she looked at him again, his face was white. “What?”
“I suppose before we move any farther ahead or back in our relationship – or non-relationship as the case may be, I have something I should tell you…”
Names: Bhutan; Hebrew, Welsh

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