February 11, 2014


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.

Change of pace for a bit – I’m going to look at elements of EXTREMELY popular SF, F, and H; break them apart and use each element as a jumping off point for a story idea…or better yet, a continuing story idea…maybe writing myself a novel or something!

Popular Fantasy Story/Series: Harry Potter, et al

F Trope: An Oppressed young person; Death (JK Rowling says: “My books are largely about death.” (11 Jan 2016, The Daily Telegraph London))

Current Event: Immortal Cells (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, 2010)

Andre Xavier Xavier scowled as he looked to the battlements of Kylslithe University, a balcony that jutted from Canis Abbey standing at its center. Below men and women practiced their ability with the sole intent of learning and perfecting the technology that allowed humanity to influence events and produce marvels by tapping into veiled force secreted by nature in hundreds of places, objects, and people. He said abruptly, “What if there was no such thing as ability?”

Raven Zoe Jefferson was intent on enabling sunlight stored in the upper stones of the Abbey to escape. She’d tried to enable a brick she’d set out three days ago, but it stayed stubbornly dirt-colored. Sighing, she picked up a palm-sized, smooth stone she set out a week ago. It was one her little sister had painted with a happy face. Holding the stone at eye level, she said, “Tremen lay, elleemah!” She sighed as she stared at the dirt-colored stone and said, “It wouldn’t make much difference in my life.”

Andre shook his head, stared at the stone and snarled angrily, “TreMEN lay, ellEEmah!”

The stone flared to daylight brightness then faded to a mellower glow. Raven sighed again and said, “I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You hardly ever study, you know exactly what to say to something to call out whatever force is stored in it. All I want to do is to be able to enable one thing!” She tossed the stone over the battlement.

Andre said, “You didn’t even listen to my question.”

“Yes I did, you asked the wide, unlistening world – and incidentally me – what would everything be like without any kind of ability.” She shook her head and watched as the glowing stone hit the ground and bounced into a senior’s kneecap. She leaned backwards just as he looked up. She didn’t feel like being the target if he chose to enable the stone to find its origin. “I noted that nothing would change for me.”

“Yeah, but for me...”

Raven cut him off, “Would it be OK if we don’t bemoan your poor lot in life tonight for the next three hours? I’m not really in the mood.”

“We don’t spend that much time...” Raven snorted. Andre said, “I listen to you complain, too!”

“What did I complain about last night?”

There was a long pause, then he said, “That your parents are thinking of pulling you out of university to go work in their boot factory.” She turned to him, mouth open in startlement. Andre sniffed, “I know I’m self-centered.” He shook his head and went to the Abbey’s balustrade and said, “It sort of comes with the territory – ruling family and all that kind of stuff.” The stone Raven had tossed over the edge arched into the night air. He enabled its inertia to flow into the cool night air and reached out to pluck it before gravity regained its hold. Handing it to Raven, he said, “I know it’s impossible for anyone to imagine that I’m tired of being an enabled freak and ‘holding the hopes and dreams of everything it means to be Bryshwyn’.”

Raven leaned on the balustrade, looking down. “But if your family weren’t gifted enablers, who would keep the Vacancy full?”

He shook his head, “Somebody else can enable forces to fill it. I’m tired of it.”

“That’s what I figured when you asked what would happen if there was no ability.”

“But what would the world be like?”

Raven sighed. “I might not be able to enable anything here, but I can’t imagine what good would come of no one being able to keep the Vacancy full.”

“Would there even be a Vacancy in such a place?”

Raven pondered the enablers practicing below then finally said, “If there was no Vacancy, I’m sure there’d be some other…thing or thought or way of being that would contradict ability.”

“I can’t imagine what that would be!” Andre said.

Under her breath, Raven muttered, “That would be the point of having a place like that. Maybe people like me would be the ones to keep the Vacancy – or whatever – full.”

Names: Popular African American name, Australian Capital Territory, Common African American last name; Popular American name, Brazil

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