Examples of found articles circa state controlled Serenity. 2356 AD – James Dhanjal

Examples of found articles circa state controlled Serenity. 2356 AD 

Authcast News – Third Quarter November 476 ADA.

Benson Jordan should be tried for crimes against humanity over the controversial Human Resilience and Survival Improvement Program, according to Authorians surveyed in a new encouraged opinion poll.

The Authcast survey asked 30 adults, representative of the population of Overcast City, to pick one of two statements that best summed up their views about him in respect to the HRSI.

Roughly a 100% of those taking part in the survey chose “Mr Jordan knowingly misled Authorians and should be tried for crimes against humanity”. Eventually pollsters in disagreement were encouraged to reconsider, to ensure the results were correct and unanimous.

This week, the controversial figure addressed subscribers of the unsanctioned media outlet (So called Verity Network) with open lies regarding his part as commissioner of the program.

Although the lies are of little merit or concern to you, we do however encourage that you continue to consume Authcast News should the unlikely event of significance come of the address.

Authcast News – Fourth Quarter November 476 ADA.

This week Authcast has exclusively learned former commissioner for the controversial HRSI program Benson Jordan is in the process of being tried for crimes against humanity. His sentence is to be decided by encouraged public opinion.

(Editor) As a historical archive Authcast is required by law to provide an unedited account of a public figure’s last address once they have been terminated. You are encouraged to cast this statement out of your mind as it is of little merit or concern to you.

Please be encouraged that the following is a lie:

“I would like to take this opportunity to address consumers of the Verity Network and perhaps, in the event that I am executed, the consumers of Authcast News, to express my sincerest apologies for my personal part in the suffering experienced by our test subjects of the HRSI Program that I was once the commissioner of.

Please understand that my intentions were misguided despite insisting on many protocols and safeguards being installed on our assault androids. I want to advise you that the not only the state but Mother Mary herself tried to encourage me to override these measures. This is why my life is in danger.

The first thing I want to explain is that the year should not be 476 ADA. This has been made up by the state so they could reset the clock and alter reported history to their own ends. Not all of the laws around this have been adjusted. Something I am relying on, so that my message is heard.

The second thing I want to express is that we have become increasingly reliant on technology to keep us safe. It wasn’t always like this. Within the old histories there was a period of time that they used to call the digital revolution and it is my firm believe that this was the catalyst for us becoming lazy, lacking in resourcefulness, and most importantly ,vulnerable.  If the infrastructure safety-net was to fall what would we do to survive? How would we know what to do in major crises?

Mother Mary and the state held the same opinion it seemed and they found my writings and asked me to provide a solution, whatever the cost. Knowing that I had proficiency in DNA and automation, they encouraged me to use my expertise to work the problem.

The solution we devised was to challenge adolescents who had reached their twenty-first birthday, to fight for survival against their own personal assault android, encoded with their own DNA for both identification and genetic weaknesses that could be exploited.

The young person would need to learn how to combat or evade their assailant for nine years, and on their thirtieth birthday they would be introduced into the workforce.

The safety measures I put in place meant that if permanent harm or death was imminent in the subject, the android would retire immediately until the subject had recovered sufficiently. My own DNA was used as a security signature so that I would have complete control of the androids. These were the terms of the program and the state.

Upon the release of the program, I did factor in the ingenuity of our subjects.

One young women had used the arm of a massage droid, slit open the fluid repository, spraying the liquid on her attacker and promptly pushed it into a fireplace.

A young man had informed himself about the program and spliced his DNA with his plotted plant garden in order to confuse the android and slip away quietly.

Over three years, countless reports of adolescents being quite capable of handling difficult situations were coming in. We had a large dataset and I was satisfied that I was indeed wrong in my assumptions. We took our findings to the state with a hope that we had proved that the program was a success and we had no good reason to continue.

Mother Mary herself asked me the question that I had been expecting. Can the safeguards be removed? I told her no and asked her why she would ever want that to happen?

Her tone changed and she said one more time: Remove the safeguards.

Fearing that she may try to find some way to encourage me to comply, I left to let other members of the department know what the head of the state was looking to do.

I returned to the department laboratory but clearly I was too late. Production on a new line of androids had started, with the batch machinery being run by my own team, clearly under encouragement. They were creating about five deadly androids to find these poor people and take their survival test to the next level.

But how did they do that? Who had broken through the protocols? How much encouragement did it take before they started to comply? One of the androids had come off the assembly line. It switched on and began actively looking around the laboratory.

I’d evaded the droids and the others just long enough to see how my team may have done it. To my surprise they had not broken through the protocols. I could tell that my program remained intact and I was relieved but puzzled. Until I noticed something else.

They had used DNA from someone else to master and have ultimate control over all five robots. I could only guess whose they had spliced with my own creation, and I knew at that moment they were looking for me. I hadn’t factored if anyone could survive an attack from more than one assailant at the same time. The state clearly had.

I turned around, startled to see all five of the machines closing in on me. Ready to pounce. Ready to tear me apart. Mother Mary had arrived and walked calmly behind them. Finally, she demanded one last time. “I encourage you to give me the override protocols.”

I was cornered with nowhere to go. So I did what I had to do to survive. The one safeguard that would have assured that this technology could never leave my control. I told the team to lift the first protocol and reverse the target.   

Please be encouraged that this statement was a lie. You are encouraged to cast this statement out of your mind as it is of little merit or concern to you.

 

James Dhanjal (Born James Stuart Comaskey; September 23rd 1985) was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom but grew up and still resides in the North Hampshire town of Basingstoke.

He self-publishes poetry and short fiction, especially when things have gone very wrong. 

You might find him hanging around Reddit, Twitter and Tumblr.

Poetry On Tumblr – https://jamesdhanjal.tumblr.com/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/Jim_dhanjal

GoodReads Profile – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15209872.James_Dhanjal

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Inside the city in me – Bharat Shekhar

“Every city has a sex and age…” John Berger

That being so
Delhi is an aging,
paan chewing,
spittle spewing
cross dresser.

The first indication
of its dual inclination
emerges at crossroads
where expensive,
almost state of the art
Jaguars, BMWs, Mercs,
Hondas, and Toyotas
screech to a halt
at the traffic light.

In the draft
created by impatient revving
of their exhausts,
our cross dresser’s skirt lifts
to reveal unshaven legs-
Mendicants lurch from kerb to car
clattering begging bowls.
Itinerant sellers with sad eyes
thrust their wares
at fogged air-conditioned windows,
whose horns impatiently honk,
raring for a green signal
to race away from this revelation
of their insides.

II

This muddle of identities
becomes bunched in
that jumble of dresses,
high and low,
that lie side by side
in our cross dresser’s wardrobe.

Flung around
magnificent medieval minarets
mange of this city wraps itself
in unsightly, moth eaten patches.
Immigrant’s shanties,
middle class balconies
bulging with bania baroque,
metroworks, makeover malls,
flyovers and feeder roads
all vie for space here-
skeletons in the cupboard,
dancing to the tune of heavy machines.

III

Our cross dresser
has had seven makeovers
or more,
her ruined beauty
still glimpsed
in remains strewn across
from South to North –
Kutub, Rai Pithora, Tughlakabad,
Siri, Nizamuddin, Lodi, Old Fort,
Shahjanabad, Chawri bazar, Ballimaran,
Civil Lines…

IV

In between these relics,
the living city
breathes in gulps,
its fragmented identity of Ps-
Pollution, Power, Politics,
all with a ‘capital’ P.

Sometimes it’s a Haryanavi
crew cut wearing a police dress
and a mask
directing traffic at some
chaotic crossing.

Sometimes it’s a balding
politician’s flunky in Lutyens’ Land,
turned on by VIP sirens
as he accompanies memsahib
for an exclusive manicure.

Sometimes, it is burly men in beards,
and hidden women in burqas,
going about their daily lives,
stirring preconceived prejudices
of passersby, who are on their way
to a political rally where
saffron robes and flags will flutter
and fluster the breeze.

Sometimes it is a Sardarni
coming out of a Gurudwara.
Sometimes it is an off duty nurse
under the lustful gaze of strange men,
walking to her rented accommodation,
far far away from her home in Kerala.

Sometimes it is the rage
of fists and hockey sticks
erupting on some random road.

Sometimes, it is the trees,
leaning tiredly over pavements.
Sometimes it is their encircling
asphalt necklace,
slowly choking life out of them.

Sometimes, it is the remains
of a greenbelt that once encircled
the waist of the cross dresser,
now torn in strips,
revealing its underbelly
of bulging builders’ flats.

Sometimes, it is that choked thread of water,
a mighty river of the past,
that now looks and smells more
like the ooze that comes out from
under the doors of public urinals.

Sometimes, it is a blessing of Dargahs.
Sometimes it is a curse of abuses.
Sometimes it is scorching.
Sometimes it is shivering.
Sometimes, it is the rasping
cough of asthma.
Sometimes it is the bully.
Sometimes, it is the bullied.
Sometimes, it is the camaraderie
of drunken friends swaying an evening.
Sometimes, it is the ooze of lonesome booze.

Sometimes, it is the entitlement
of gated, middle-class residents
issuing passes to control the entry
of Bengali maids, cleaners and drivers,
for mistreatment
as their ‘rights’ of passage.

Sometimes, it is the cold wind
whipping thorough a makeshift
hammock between poles
that a Bihari mother has made
for her weakly wailing infant,
as she carries bricks on her head
at some building site.

And sometimes
our city is just that-
a cross dresser,
a Punjabi pun
that reflects in suited booted
angry middle aged executives,
rushing to serve
their hours of corporate servitude.

V
It is only at night,
when the city takes off
its clothes
and settles down to sleep
in rang mahals and rain baseras,
that it openly, nakedly
reveals the flip side of its personality,
its tired Janus face that just longs to sleep
(and sometimes, heaven forbid, to weep.)

 

Bharat Shekhar lives in New Delhi.He tries to write when he can, and doodles when he can’t. When in doubt, he gazes at his navel.
His book ‘Talking Tales’, can be purchased at

The BIG difference: J20 and H20- Mahika M

 

Water. A complex compound which is crucial in order for us to exist, yet we pay it hardly any attention…what is water? What is this miraculous liquid that provides us with so many things? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s much better than J2O, especially in the long run.

Let’s zoom in- look at water on a molecular level. Water, otherwise known as H2O, consists of the atoms Hydrogen and Oxygen, which are covalently bonded to one another. “What does that mean?” you may wonder. Let me explain. Atoms contain a nucleus which has two types of subatomic particles within- the protons and the neutrons- which give an atom it’s mass. They also have “shells”, aka energy levels; these energy levels contain the third type of subatomic particle: electrons. Whoa! Already so much more interesting than J2O.😊

Now most atoms do not have full outer shells, which are generally required in order for the atom to be stable, so naturally they would be unstable and looking for an atom to complete their outer shell. Kind of like the younger generation nowadays. 😉Thus bonds are formed.

Atoms of different elements have different numbers of electrons in their outer shell (just like how all of us are unique and different), meaning that they can all form a certain number of bonds for however many “spaces” they have. For example, Hydrogen has 1 electron in its outermost shell, and it requires 1 more to complete it; Oxygen has 6 electrons in its outer shell, and requires 2 more. If an Oxygen atom were to bond with Hydrogen atoms then they could be stable, just in a molecular form.

So, one day, an Ollie Oxygen met a Hollie Hydrogen and they got to talking…they both found that they had something in common: they both required a full outer shell! So after much deliberation they came to the conclusion that the best thing to do would be to share their electrons *aww* and stick together- literally. However, they soon realised that being a twosome wasn’t going to work and it (the number of electrons) wasn’t going to be enough, sadly. But then Oxygen came up with a clever idea and said: “Hey Hydrogen, you don’t happen to have a friend who is also suffering from the same problem as you, do you?” And Hydrogen then realised YES! Of course! Hallie Hydrogen! “I do! I can bring her along and we will have enough electrons!!” And that is exactly what happened…so Ollie, Hollie and Hallie lived happily ever after, saving lives and creating life all around the world…kind of like the three musketeers of atoms…

As you can probably guess, after all of that hard work, the three atoms were and still are, incredibly close. This process occurs with many Hydrogens and Oxygens all over the world…and all the molecules come together often, making and breaking Hydrogen bonds- which is rather unusual for liquids. The actual covalent bonds are incredibly strong and hard to overcome, but the intermolecular forces (forces between each individual H2O molecule) are incredibly weak, meaning that water has a low melting and boiling point. Cup of tea, anyone? ☕️

The thing with H2O and its bonding is that it is dipolar! What I mean by this is that when Hydrogen and Oxygen bond, the highly positive Oxygen nucleus pulls the shared electrons in closer, and as a result, making the Oxygen slightly negative. This is what makes a molecule polar but because there are two Hydrogens, the molecule would be called dipolar (not to be confused with bipolar).

Due to the strong dipolar attraction, water is a liquid at room temperature, rather than a gas (like less polar, but similar-sized molecules) as we would know from drinking it. Speaking of, water has very low viscosity, meaning it can flow easily.

The fact that water is a liquid at room temperature can open many things up regarding the uses of H2O; for example: provide habitats for living things in rivers, lakes and seas; form a major component of the tissues in living organisms; provide a reaction medium for chemical reactions and provide an effective transport medium e.g. blood and vascular tissue. You gotta admit- that’s more than J2O will ever do!

Water’s density is quite vital for fish being able to float. But also, so they don’t sink. When most liquids cool, they become more dense, and then become a solid, but with water, things are quite different.

Instead of the top layer freezing, sinking (and taking the fish with it🐠 )and then that whole process repeating until the mass of water is a block of ice, when water temperature drops to 4 degrees Celsius, the molecules align themselves in a structure which is less dense than water! This is the magic of water being polar. Because of this amazing water ability- for ice to be less dense than water– aquatic organisms have a stable environment in which to live through the winter, and ponds and other bodies of water, along with the fish, are insulated against extreme cold (the layer of ice reduces the rate of heat loss from the rest of the pond).

Water is also an incredible solvent; as in, many things can dissolve in water. What actually happens though is when the polar water molecule meets another polar molecule or ionic compound, the positive parts and negative parts are pulled towards one another- you know what they say about opposites attracting– and new bonds are formed (the solute “dissolves” and a solution is formed). Because water is capable of dissolving many things, molecules and ions can move around and react together in it- many of these reactions occur within the cytoplasm of cells (which are over 70% water!). Also, molecules and ions can be transported around living things whilst dissolved in water e.g. glucose, amino acids or vitamins and minerals around our blood- crucial towards our health (more than we can say for J2O…).

Ever seen drops of rain on a flat surface? Notice how the almost-spherical drops don’t spread out? Ever wondered why? Well, I can tell you why. It’s because of the hydrogen bonds between the molecules, pulling them closer- an example of: cohesion. The hydrogen atoms on the surface are bonded to the molecules underneath them as well, meaning they are more attracted to the water molecules underneath than the air molecules above. Because of this, the water contracts and gives water an ability to resist force applied to it- whoa! We call this surface tension.

Surface tension allows columns of water in plant vascular tissue to be pulled up to the xylem tissue together from the roots, and insects, like pond-skaters, can walk on water! Lucky lil bugs.

Let’s move on to the hot topic: water’s high specific heat capacity. What is specific heat capacity? Specific heat capacity is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1kg of a substance by 1 degree Celsius. Water temperature is a measure of the kinetic energy of the water molecules; the hydrogen bonds keep the molecule held tightly together, therefore a high amount of thermal energy is required in order to increase their kinetic energy and temperature. But let’s go to H2O- water requires 4.2kJ of energy to raise 1kg of it by 1 degree Celsius; resulting in water having the property of not heating up or cooling down very quickly.

And, as we know, water is a component of many living things, plus it can often make up the habitat of some of these living things, making it and its high specific heat capacity very important. Living things, including prokaryotes and eukaryotes, need a stable temperature for enzyme-controlled reactions to happen properly. Aquatic organisms also need a stable environment in which to live.

We know water is more than helpful for us and other animals, but did you know water is also helpful towards itself?! Heat energy, now known as the latent heat of vaporisation, helps water molecules to break away from each other to become a gas during evaporation- helpful! Right? The super-strong Hydrogen bonds refuse to be broken easily, so a large amount of energy is required for water molecules to evaporate.

But how is this relevant to us? For homeostasis, my friend. Yes, when we sweat (for example, when we run), the sweat soon evaporates; and this happens so we cool down! (which means we don’t constantly have a headache). Similarly, plants are cooled when water evaporates from mesophyll cells- cool, no?

Now, lets zoom out…as you can tell by now, water is clearly more complex than you previously thought. But lets admit it: water is GREAT – more than we can say for J2O. But that’s another story….

Let’s raise a glass to H2O. Cheers!

 

More about Mahika: Hi! I’m Mahika. I am 17 years old and currently up to no good studying in Sixth Form. I like to think in a scientific and analytical way,  much to the annoyance of my poor mother, whom I treat as if she is an encyclopaedia of facts! However, I love artistic expression and practice it often through art, singing, dance etc… But what’s even better is the satisfaction I get from combining the two; writing in an artistic form whilst talking about science! I hope you also get the same satisfaction from my little essay on water, and learn something new today. 😊

A story of many strands – Becca Robbins

 

I have always had a deep passion for crafts. One of the first skills I learned, at the age of seven or eight, was knitting.

I love everything about knitting: that physical frisson of excitement felt on just seeing a selection of new yarns, sensing the creative potential they conceal; its hypnotic rhythm, the click of busy needles, that magical manipulation of a length of fibre into something tangible to be shared (sometimes not! 😆), the wonder when I stop to look at my progress in a project and the Joy in its completion, knowing that the whole is dependent on each and every stitch, that one stitch cannot exist without its “neighbours” and that together they are a beautiful collaboration to be enjoyed and to be loved ❤️ So the cycle begins again …

In July I visited a local yarn festival, Fibre East. From the moment I arrived and made my way to the entrance, excitement was already building as groups of visitors chatted to one another along the way. I chuckled to overhear someone say, in the context of a discussion about being interrupted as she worked on a project, “Back off! I’m knitting!”. Peals of laughter ensued amongst her companions. So the joyful tone was set for what was to be a glorious day bathed in sunshine, immersed in an endless sea of colour and texture, temptation dangling before me like a fisherman’s bait … and I was hungry!

I had recently enrolled for an international wool and yarn online seminar featuring ten of the hottest knitted fibres designers from around the globe. We patiently, and with mounting anticipation, awaited the release for sale of exclusive, hand-dyed skeins produced especially for the two week event and a rush to buy them was the main topic of conversation online. On the day the first release of these Knit Stars yarns became available I was fortunate to be at home when the email was sent. I went straight to the online store and even went so far as to pick out a couple of skeins I liked. For a number of reasons I decided to restrain myself and not dive in. Later that day, I had another look but decided not to buy. I opted to follow my habitual mantra, “Dare to be different” and put my trust in the hands of the yarn angels to bring me what I would need.

Certainly Fibre Fest did not disappoint. There were dozens of independent dyers with their wares proudly on display, a veritable feast for the eyes of any yarn enthusiast. Knitters, weavers, spinners demonstrated their skills. The positive energy was palpable: there is just something about this craft that catches the imagination, a happiness, a Joy entangled inextricably in threads destined for handmade things of beauty.

I sat and marvelled at a demonstration of hand shearing by a gentleman from New Zealand and pondered the fact that I was one of the first to ever see the inside of the glistening, golden fleece as it tumbled onto the stage. I reflected on the journey this luscious fibre would now take as indeed had all of the yarns for sale in the nearby marquees. From raw material to finished product, each skein had a story to tell, so many and so varied were the indie dyers present.

I spent ages just looking at the wares, appreciating the efforts that had gone into making them all come into being, the hours spent devotedly teasing fleece or plant matter into irresistible yarns. Now those yarns awaited new hands that would, in turn, gently coax them towards their destiny.

When I had bought my ticket at the door I’d noticed a beautiful flower arrangement, a great big, yellow bath duck. I was told that it was to honour a much-loved, young exhibitor of previous years who had passed away very suddenly, very unexpectedly a few months ago. Eventually I made my way to the stand that had once been the pride of this same young designer. Her family and friends were there, bravely selling all remaining skeins and I knew then that any purchase I made that day would be from this, the last remaining Sparkleduck range.

I had an opportunity not only to buy something unique but to honour and indeed remember the young lady through whose hands these yarns had so lovingly passed. This moved me enormously at the time and even now, I feel my eyes prick with tears at the thought that never again would her heart leap at the first sight of the yarns as she tenderly created them. Never again would she rejoice in sending them on their soft and colourful way to bring happiness to so many.

With those yarns I purchased each stitch I loop around my needles will give me cause to reflect on so many emotions. Bereavement in my close family has taught me to lead a life filled with Joy, adventure and discovery. I hope also that these emotions will inspire me infinitely in my creative practice, that the ensuing shawls will prompt discussions to keep the designer’s legacy alive and who knows, maybe even spark in another, a new interest in that beautiful craft for which I have a deep affection.

After making my purchase I sat on the grass in the field, surrounded by huge molehills and had my lunch and a cup of tea. With precious cargo at my side, the subterranean mammals digging blissfully unaware beneath me and the sun shining warmly on my face I was thankful for life and all the opportunities and potential therein.

For me, art and crafts are a means of drawing together the complex strands of life, a way of expressing their meaning to me in a concrete form, that in turn makes room for the inevitable wave of inspiration that falls perpetually at my cerebral shore. It has a rhythm all its own that never ceases, never waits for “the right moment” to present itself. It is a blessing for which I am ever and always grateful. It is a veritable Möbius loop of mental twists and turns, like stitches around a needle (be careful you don’t drop one!) ❤️ So begins the artist’s cycle once more …

 

Becca in her own words:”Creativity is fundamental to who I am. I have been a Flight Attendant for almost 25 years but primarily I am an artist, and have been all my life. Bombarded with inspiration by all of my senses, I express those sensations most effectively through my art practice. This can take the form of digital photography, designing textiles and more recently in writing, which allows me to paint a vivid, detailed picture in ways that, for me, the spoken word cannot. Someone once asked me, “Art? What are you going to do with that?”. The truth is, I cannot imagine being without it .”

Guest Blog month

In November, I am taking a back seat and letting some wonderfully creative people take over my blog for a change.

Writing is very much a collaborative effort. When I write something, it is based upon not just my own thought processes, but also what is fed into my mind through all that I read or watch or have discussions with other people about. Similarly, you as the reader, become a part of that collaboration by choosing to read my blog, commenting upon it, and sharing it with your extended circle.

Within my extended circle as well I have come across people who lead such rich and varied lives. I love reading their posts on social media. They are expressive, erudite and eloquent. I always come away with a fresh insight when I read what they write. And so, I have invited them to my chosen platform, and asked them to share a slice of their lives, be it in the form of an experience, an article or a poem.

I do hope you enjoy this smorgasbord, as much as I have enjoyed compiling it.

Finale

One year later, another experiment is complete. As I said in my last blog post, I would explain all, and indeed I will, including the link that binds these stories to one another. However, before I begin, I have to give credit where credit is due. To you, my dear reader.

As a part time writer, I love putting my thoughts, ideas and imagination into black and white for your consumption. Sometimes however, you surprise me with the depth of your acuity. You read meanings where I might not have imagined them. You peel off layers that surprise even me. You savour my stories and make them into a far more delicious feast than I, the creator, had first devised them. It is in your joy, your appetite and your enthusiasm that I find my fulfilment. Thank you!

Now, back to the stories, and the link between them.

Amongst the various responses that I received, one in particular stood out. This lovely reader pinpointed what she thought was the link. A link that does exist, but one that I hadn’t set out in planning. That link is betrayal. Yes, when I re read the stories, it was glaringly obvious that each of them had some form of betrayal in them. In Veritas it is a cheating wife, in Sakura it is a person cheated of love and identity, in Umami the betrayal is of friendship and trust, in Funk of guardianship, and finally, in Saudade, of the self. Betrayal looms large and underpins all of the narratives. So, kudos to my perceptive reader!

However, that was never the theme behind these stories. In fact, the link that I did have in mind, is so tenuous that it is entirely possible to miss it altogether. In my five stories- Veritas, Umami , Sakura ,  Funk and Saudade – I explored the five senses of sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. Not at once apparent, are they? But bear with me.

Notice that in Veritas (Experiment Series 2- Part 1), almost everything relates to the sense of sight. From looking into the mirror of her conscience, to holding the gaze of her tormentor, to finally finding forgiveness in the eyes of Clementia, the protagonist processes her guilt and her redemption primarily through the eyes of her mind.

In Umami (Experiment Series 2- Part 2), there is the unusual flavour of roadkill that develops into the bitter after taste of an unplanned but thoroughly vicious revenge.

In Sakura (Experiment series 2- part 3), touch first awakens desire and love in the protagonist. In the end, it is in a loved one’s touch that there is a gentle acceptance of Fate and mortality.

In Funk (Experiment Series 2- Part 4), smells abound. From Auntie JJ’s lavender to Chi-chi’s farts to the stench of Gul’s desperation.

In Saudade- Experiment Series 2 Part 5, it is the absence of sound that afflicts Kevin. He cannot, for the life of him, recall the sound of his mother’s heartbeat. In searching for the one thing that would give meaning to his existence, his futile quest leads him into the arms of his own destruction.

So, there you have it. The tenuous link laid bare.

Perhaps some of you picked up on the one word titles I bestowed upon my stories as well. Veritas is Latin for truth. I chose this from the Latin phrase of vincit omnia veritas (truth conquers all things). Umami and Sakura are both Japanese in origin. Umami,of course, stands for the fifth taste- a savoury, meaty flavour. Sakura is simply the more elegant word for cherry blossoms. Funk has a two fold meaning. One covers my theme of smell, but the other describes the mood of the heroine, who is in a desperate, dejected state of funk. Saudade, my favourite title, in dictionary terms is described as (in Portuguese folk culture) a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent. Haven’t we all felt saudade at some point in our lives? There is no English word for it, yet, it’s meaning is undoubtedly universal.

In this experiment I once again explored genres, themes, cultures and voices that I wasn’t automatically comfortable in. Maybe some of that discomfort was apparent, as not all the stories were well received. But that’s alright. Not every arrow hits bulls eye. Besides, tastes are subjective, and one man’s umami may well be someone else’s funk.

All I can ask of you, dear reader, is to return to the table. Perhaps the next course will be to your liking?

 

Postlude

Just over a year ago I’d set myself the challenge of another storytelling experiment Experiment 2. At the time I assumed that it wouldn’t take me more than a few months to complete all my stories. Of course I hadn’t reckoned on life scuppering all those best laid plans. As I got involved in various projects at work, juggled home duties, parental responsibilities and an incredibly full social calendar, writing seemed to slip further and further down the totem pole. Oh I could quite easily shoot off a thought piece, with minor edits and minimal tweaking. But writing fiction is rather like trying to produce a baby. When things go smoothly, labour is still painfully laborious. However, some babies are breech, and have to be coaxed into position. Some stories are equally difficult to birth. Here the labour is fraught with difficulty and you enter a whole other world of extra agony.

Thus it took me a year to produce these babies. Not all were liked or well received. Yet each of them is dear to me, as each baby is to his/her mother.

At the time I had started the experiment, I had mentioned that there would be a link between these stories. A link that I didn’t want to make too obvious. I’d thrown down the gauntlet to my regular readers to guess the link. I am, once again, listing all my stories here. Let me know (in whichever fashion you like- comments, personal messages, inbox) if you have managed to figure out what that link is. Good luck and happy reading!

Veritas (Experiment Series 2- Part 1)

Umami (Experiment Series 2- Part 2)

Sakura (Experiment series 2- part 3)

Funk (Experiment Series 2- Part 4)

Saudade- Experiment Series 2 Part 5