2024 Writing Calendar - May

April was horribly frantic. My final exams, the end of my undergraduate program, then immediately moving and splitting up from my roommates of two/three years. My frame of reference for life has expired, and I'm working on building a new one. This will be my summer of art (and unfortunately job applications). This month, I'm going to post some writing every single day. Not a century, not even a full entry. I’ve been writing longer pieces, and I’ll allow myself to enter a few paragraphs, even without context, of something longer if I don’t have a complete thought to add. The calendar keeps me accountable. I’d also like to write more inspired from my fellow writchal members; I haven’t been reading enough this last month. There’s much to catch up on.

Entry 126 - Moving Day

For the last ten months I’ve kept a vase of dead flowers on top of my bookshelf, right in line of sight when you lie in my bed looking up. They were saved from my roommate, who enjoyed them for the recommended time, while the colours were bold and the petals alive.

Flowers aren’t supposed to last forever, but I kept a close eye on them, and somehow these refused to rot. The colours faded, the stems became brittle, and petals thinned, but still the grasses formed their beautiful overlapping patterns, the blues and purples kept their hue, and the intricate spiralling form of the two roses persisted.

The packing part of moving is emotionally draining just as much as physically. My memory recall is lacking, so I keep my moments in artifacts, reminders of things that were. There are so many possibilities scattered around my room: unfinished projects, clothes that I never took to, old assignments and new trinkets. Which parts of me stay? Two and a half days is too little time for these questions.

No, I can go without my broken phone case of four years. Yes, this acorn fell from a significant tree, and now I’ll carry it everywhere I go. My vase of dead flowers was a decision I put off all day. I can see their silhouette above me against the ceiling when I close my eyes. This room is being left behind now. What a fragile decoration, one accidental brush of a hand away from finally turning to dust. They can’t last forever. Might not even last the ride over. Throw them away now and be done with it?

So yes, I am walking a vase of dead flowers seven blocks to my new home at 3 am, praying the wind is merciful with its brittle leaves and frail petals. Some things are too beautiful to throw away. The air is wet and cold and my tears are burning hot.

I’ve kept these far past their expiration date. But if you hold your face close, they still smell faintly sweet.

Entry 127 - New Science

Eventually the science started to go cold. The old numerical theories of physics had been wrung dry, their reservoirs of knowledge exhausted, and the new models had nothing else to add. Then came the meta-studies, and the institutional analysis, and dozens of nations tearing their research systems down and rebuilding them from the ground up. Theory provides new direction for observation, and new observations inspire new theories, and the cycle had simply lost momentum. And the scientists turned their attention elsewhere, to the patterns of rain on a still pond, and the twirl of galactic arms, and the growth of ranches under mottled skies. Through observation, the old laws started to reappear, in different form and new terms. And after some time, a spark was lit once again.

Entry 128 - Firefall Duology

A tangled mess of thoughts on Blindsight and Echopraxia by Peter Watts

Entry 129 - Many Years

January 1st pulls too much weight. The unit of The Year is so fundamental to my perception of time, with the changing of the seasons bringing huge shifts in how I live my life. So, I’m offsetting my years month by month, with hope that each new month can bring a different kind of reflection on the last twelve. I started this method of measurement last august, so my years will start to kick in soon. Some of these will get their own posts written for them, and some will remain personal milestones. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

January 1st: Calendar year, as well as the start of Writchal! Also the anniversary of some important gender stuff. Officially it’s called Writchal24’, so there will be many celebrations when we get through the first year of writing together. In Montreal this tends to be when the winter truly turns cold, but I’d consider the start of February a better designation of the end of the season’s cycle.

May 1st: To me, the real first day of the year. The last three years of my life have been spent in three different apartments on May-May leases (very cleanly dividing my recent life into slices), and this last May 1st signed the end of my time as an undergraduate, as well as splitting off from my roommates of many years. As a bonus, last May was when I started HRT, so later Mays will act as both “X years on E” and “X-1 years since graduation”, which should give this tradition some staying power. It also helps that this tends to be when the warm weather starts sticking around for good coming out of winter.

June 1st: Year of reading! This sole reason for this date is so I can get my first reading of the Southern Reach Trilogy into my first year’s review. Gotta draw the line somewhere.

August 1st: Year of music! This is because last August was when I got into a few of my currently-favourite artists, and the start of a chain of events that influenced my music taste significantly. My actual birthday is also in August, but that starts to mean less and less every year.

September 1st: Year of transit! I started tracking my public transit trips last September (technically the 15th), and I’ll have some fun analysis put together for when that hits a full year.

November 1st: Year of writing! Starting with Nov 23’ Century a Day: November. I’m looking forward to this one very much.

Entry 130 - Ambush

You’re creeping through the woods, down by the brook, patiently filling your jugs with fresh water. The moonlight is filtering down through layers of full leaves, swaying in the slight wind. Behind you, a few dozen paces back, a twig snaps. You throw yourself to the side as a 9-car AmfleetII long-distance passenger train comes barrelling out of the foliage across the clearing. 400 Tonnes of American steel shatters the trees directly behind you, as the beast misses you by a hair. You feel its sudden impact in your bones as you tumble into the ferns. A wide swath of forest is obliterated in its path, but you’ve dodged the attack. Tossing aside your water, you break into a sprint perpendicular to its charge: such a long chain will turn slowly in this dense underbrush. You’ll live another day, but railroad incursions this far into the untracked wilderness is a deeply ill omen. The others must be warned.

Entry 131 - Personal Space

At home, I become the places I’m in. I overlap with my room, with my standard walking routes through the neighbourhood, my favourite cafes, my friends and acquaintances. Out here, four trains from home, the boundary of self is drawn in close. It’s my body, the contents of my pockets, my dear satchel. What is familiar is the volume of my water botle, the weight of my backpack, the taste and texture of idly biting my brass ring. I move as a discrete body, tinted a different colour from the cityscape around.

Entry 132 - Strange Brew

Eye of newt, dragonleaf, one gecko tail per decade of life, and parsley and salt to taste. It always tastes like moatwater, regardless of how you stew it. Potions aren’t supposed to be comfortable. And now, the worst ingredient: my entire left arm. I’m lucky to be friends with the executioner and the anesthesiologist, it’s over quickly. It’s fast, (temporarily) painless, and if you concocted your brew just right the meat melts right off the bone. Boil down to a small jug, and refrigerate for two nights. It’s painful, but it’s worth it for a potion of regrow right arm.

Entry 133 - Old Bridge

Commotion arose from the crawler to her front, and the caravan suddenly ground to a halt. Quick snippets came in over the intercom- the head drone handler for the forward group had confirmed Rainbow Bridge was too degraded for the heavy crawlers to pass. A shock ripped through the assembled crews. The steel behemoth had stood for 500 years rust bless it, and nobody had expected degradation this sudden. Reinforcement would take months- and numerous runs of steel, neither of which the caravan had. You could see its arc- nearly 300 meters long- over the tips of the trees ahead, with a strange oxidation gradient that glittered in the noon sun.

Entry 134 - Sublimation

He comes stumbling out of the bar, faint smoke curling from between his lips. Around him, the shadows flee, straining against their tethers, quivering with fear. He passes without notice, and the darkness can relax. The streetlights glow brighter at his passing, tinted a slightly colder blue. He staggers down a few blocks, fumbling with his keys outside his apartment, unaware of why the stairs were so clear when he passed. The bed is up another flight- he collapses on the couch. The thin trail of smoke grows thicker as he passes out, accumulating below the ceiling as it starts to glow with a faint light. Soon it’s filling the whole room, spilling into the attic, curling down along sparse bookshelves and unclean dishes. The man, in his clothes, starts to wisp away, growing less and less solid as his clothes start to fall in on themselves. After an hour on the couch, only his empty jeans and sweater remain.

Entry 135 - Long Walk

When I died and the Earth brought me back, and I promised it that I would be its servant, or friend, for however long it needed me, it told me I needed to know the Sun. It said you can’t really understand a distance until you’ve walked it. There’s detail you miss in flight, or other methods of transportation, detail that you must understand to truly know something. There is detail missed when walking, too, but such observations were below my area of expertise.

I set off without fuss. The Earth had, of course, brought me back, and I owed it whatever I could offer. After one day I had made it through the Mesosphere, the birds and flying machines and clouds of my previous life left behind. I didn’t see any satellites, but I knew they were around someplace. Five more days brought me to the edge of Thermosphere. I bid The Earth a warm goodbye, but my journey had not yet started. The Earth knew itself just fine, and had no need for servants or friends to experience these heights. I continued onward.

The hours continued to pass as the Earth slowly retreated from view. Before long I could see dark void in all directions around it when I looked back. I did not look back often, as this was not my task. Even though the Sun was still but a small point in the sky, we grew closer as I left my saviour behind. The Earth’s magnetic field weakened each passing day, and I felt the Sun’s distant but warm caress stronger and stronger.

After fifty-three days, I finally left the magnetic field’s possessive embrace, and took the full brunt of The Sun’s high-velocity particles to my face, a delicate patter of burning needles. This was not the Sun I had known before. As I listened, the radiation told a violent story of chaos and pressure and the birth of an unquenchable fire, doomed to forever consume itself. I kept walking, and watching.

After nine years and ninety-two days, I passed Moon. Or rather, she passed me. Her plane of orbit was not aligned with my path, and she passed just a month’s journey above, close enough to feel her pull on me. She waved as the passed, but did not reach out. In that moment I wanted to meet her, to delay my journey the slightest detour to intercept her on her next rotation, but I had made a promise to the Earth. She solemnly continued on her path as I left her orbit behind.

The time I spent not listening to the sun I spent watching the stars. I got to know them well, counting each and every pinpoint of light, measure their constellations, and record their wavelengths. Some of them flashed, some faded, some had slight changes of hue. I listened intently to every word they had to say.

As the Earth receded from view behind me, taking my measure of passing days with it, I started to use the rotation of the constellations as my measure of the passing years. My path, of course, was fixed by the rotation of the Earth, it perpetually behind me, and the Sun forever ahead. Not forever. I was sent here for reason, and my journey was with end, even though the Sun had yet to grow in my field of vision.

*Maybe to be continued?*

Entry 136 - Sign Here

It’s painless, really. You’ll hardly notice. It’s just small shot inside the elbow, skimming a few percent of your body’s metabolism off the top. You’ll be rewarded handsomely, more than enough to grant you a life of relative ease. What do we get? We just want to do some background computing using your systems. Cell-sized processors, they’ll fit right in, no immune response guaranteed. Your life experiences, your perception- you’re a fine specimen, really, if you don’t mind me saying. We don’t give this offer to just anyone. We could do some fine things with your data. All you have to do is sign here.

Entry 137 - Necromancy Council

37th Council on the Status of Necromancy

1. You can't just be up there and just doin' a necromancy like that.
1a. Necromancy is when you
1b. Okay well listen. A necromancy is when you harness the
1c. Let me start over
1c-a. A mage is not allowed to use, as a source or a medium, uh, dead things, if that mana or matter used to be, you know, belonging to something that was alive. You can't do that.
1c-b. If you get mana or matter from something, you can’t just go and take it, if like, it used to be someone’s mana or a person’s body and then you try and take it and then be like “This is my mana! I’m using this stuff as material components! It’s mine now!”
1c-b(1). Like, if a soul has passed, you can’t be taking siphoning its energy from beyond the grave, unless the energy is just kinda there. Does that make any sense?
1c-b(2). You gotta be, taking mana from a clean source, and then, use it for spells.
1c-b(2)-a. Okay, well, you can take mana from dead things, like a steak dinner right? Like dead animals are fine, but then there's the necromancy you gotta think about.
1c-b(2)-b. Yknow last week Walter in the divination department told me I had a glare that could “wake the dead” and that just really rubbed me the wrong way.
1c-b(2)-b(i). Well, maybe I wouldn’t be so down if I didn’t need to deal with your nonsense every day.
1c-b(2)-b(ii). Talk about drawing your energy from the wrong source, whatever’s powering that guy’s yapping can’t be natural. Or, er, if it is natural it must be bad, uh
1c-b(3). Okay seriously though. Necromancy is when a mage harnesses magic that, as powered by, when you do magic involving mana and some kind of medium and
2. Do not do a necromancy please.

Entry 138 - Burning Heart

It takes 0.89 Gigawatts to power a 2nd-gen Colossus. Forget the materials engineering, the nano-fibre muscles, the weapons and munitions, even the logistics of putting all the controls in the hands of a single pilot the way the Pact demands, the greatest challenge in the development of the Colossus was and always will be the power generation. You only get that immense flow of joules from one thing: nuclear fission. And you need to make it mobile? You need to make a goddamn regional-scale nuclear reactor a) movable b) durable enough for combat and c) stable enough to never let its pilot down?? An impossible task. Completely ridiculous to even propose it. And we made it happen in twelve fucking years. None of this happens without the reactor.

It helps we get to cut corners here and there. Who gives a fuck about nuclear waste, honestly, the world’s ending out your window right now, I’ll be thrilled if it ends up being my grandkids’ biggest problem. Wrap it in a little concrete and eeee-jected! And you don’t need to worry about letting out radiation, so long as the pilot’s shielded. If the Colossus goes down its city won’t be around to suffer radiation sickness.

Now heat dispersion, that’s a bitch. Not easy to run a river through your giant fuck-off mech suit is it? We had to get real crafty with that. There’s only so much you can vent into super-heated steam, only so much you can spread out over the million tons of metal and carbon synthetics before your structure starts to weaken. That’s the Collosus’ real weakness: without a source of fluid flow it’ll burn itself up within a few hours.

Can you just turn down the heat a lil? Get by at 0.6 gigs until shit really starts going down? Here’s the trade-off: you get strength or flexibility, not both. A 0.89 Gigawatt plutonium reactor takes just over 100 hours, or five whole days to warm up to whole power. When shit starts going down you got two or three hours, tops. These babies are always on, even when the Colossus is not. In downtime, it gets plugged directly into the city power grid. For us, Cass’ reactor generates 46% of our electricity. When she wakes up to fight, she takes the city’s heart with her, and our streets go dark. But just as well that she does, because if she goes down our city wouldn’t stand a chance. Let our heart keep you warm, Cass! Just don’t burn up under the weight of our love.

Entry 139 - View from Above

We’re about 600 meters up, breaching the lowest cloud layer right before passing the south corner of the island. The entire city of Montreal fades into view. I don’t know if it’s the shadows or our moving frame of reference or just the fact that it’s real, but all the tiny houses and apartment complexes feel so three-dimensional, even though my depth perception can’t be pulling any weight from kilometres away. The cars are just coloured points with barely more length than width, rushing around like ants.

It feels like a model, an incredibly detailed model that my eyes insist is about six meters long (instead of nearly 40km) and only an arm’s reach away. I should be able to pluck the Olympic stadium- which towers over me in person, visible from a 2 hour walk away on the ground- off its foundation and it would be barely 3cm long. The entire mountain, Mount Royal, my dearly beloved, could be scooped up like a pile of sand in a single cupping motion. The largest skyscrapers look almost perfectly proportioned to be built of single-stud square lego bricks. Île des Sœurs, with it’s 30-storey condos and gorgeous bridges, could be scooped up in one hand like the ice shell that freezes over freshly-fallen snow.

I’ve seen Montreal from the air twice before, but never was the illusion this convincing. A few hours later, I’m taking a three-block walk to the bus stop while tracing the same miniscule distance against the view from before, projected on the sidewalk in front of me. While this three-dimensional map of the island holds in my head, I can see the scale of myself against the entirety of Montreal. I’m tiny, of course, but the knowing exactly how huge the island is, extrapolated from the distance I’ve walked just now, makes it feel approachably small.

Entry 140 - Spring Day

There’s the sweet smell of lilacs in the air, but they’re hanging a few meters above the ground, too high to pull to your nose and inhale deeply and loudly proclaim that you’re having a lovely spring day. And that’s fine, you’ll manage anyways. This damned humid air refuses to spout rain, as the clouds roll smugly overhead. It’s far too hot and some rain could do you (and these flowers) wonders but you’ll need to keep labouring through each breath for a few more days still. Looking up, a large dew drop rolls off a lilac leaf above your head and shatters lovingly all over your glasses’ left lens, just to rub it in. You reach for your pocket, but it’s a hot day so you wore your long floral skirt (pocketless) and your lens cleaning cloth is nowhere to be found. You manage to wipe most of the water off with your shirt, which leaves your vision just blurry enough to be irritating. You scowl at the clouds. The sun gleams off the vibrant petals above you. You glance back down at the patterns on your skirt. Lilacs.

Entry 141 - Senses

In this moment there is a bit too much going on, so I am sitting in the park with my noise-cancelling headphones in ambient mode. It’s a funny option, to block out all external sound just to play it back in worse quality, but I could use an extra layer between me and the rest right now. Pity me a little bit of control. On the walk back up the street I take my glasses off, letting the details slip away as colours blur together and the boundaries of objects fall apart. If I’m to take this head-on I’ll do it on my own terms.

Entry 142 - Visualization

Cass stepped out into the holographic city. Around her, stretching up to just below her shoulders, skyscrapers shone a pale, translucent blue, with deep purple lines outlining each steel skeleton. A dialog with a few options for filters winked into existence at the edge of her vision: subterranean stability, available fluid flow, temperature. She didn’t even need to think to swap between different layers of data. One box, left unchecked but ever present, allowed her to view simulated civilians on the ground. Best not to know. Evacuation was her team’s job, not hers. She signalled to the visualization team to run procedure recon standard, and let the dialogs fade. A warm gradient of EM signatures and general terrestrial stability blanketed the landscape, with a recommended path of structurally sound “stepping stones” lighting up the ground between the buildings.

What could have been a slow and careful analysis was instant, completely subconscious. Rippling textures and bright hues drew her eyes to points of interest. Taking a few strides forwards, lumbering slowly as if through molasses, she didn’t even need to think to place her feet in the optimal spots, where the ground wouldn’t shift or collapse beneath her million ton weight, here in the heart of her city. That was by design of course, to reduce the cognitive load on her, the pilot. These visual layers were fine-tuned to her personal optical biases, vital information flagged and sorted by the eighty-six members of her visualization team. If everything went well, she’d never even notice they were there. Colossus combat gets busy, fast, and any task that can be delegated should be.

After a few minutes of dancing across highways and boulevards, dodging metro tunnels and underground parking garages and generally avoiding collapsing any of the 30-storey towers in the downtown core, Cass disengaged the simulation, dropping back into the mock cockpit.

Entry 143 - Background Sound

We started with her old recordings: birthday party videos, fragments of online voice calls, voice training sessions. Chief was convinced it was something about her words, that we could find some clue in her writing, singing, speaking. I was in the audio team. Last week, Evangeline Smith had been raptured, apparently, live on camera, and nobody knew why.

Evangeline was deliberate with her speaking, at least in the last six years, which Chief insisted was the only relevant part. She had a strangely American accent, and a distinctive deep tone that both stood out and blended with natural sound too easily, like she was a natural part of the environment, wherever she was. We’d cross-reference with clear samples, pour over the specograms, and isolate her voice the best we could. Sometimes the words spoken was enough, but we needed more: the emphasis, the emotion, the intent behind her communication.

I remember a recorded live performance she was present at, her favourite band, where she sang along to every song. I spent three weeks picking through 74 minutes of recording, pulling her voice from the crowd, archiving every word, just to see if we could gleam a hint from a misspoken lyric. No luck, she knew every word by heart. I got to know her voice very well over the course of those three weeks, the way it rose and fell with her emotions, flowed with and fought against the crowd’s. My work became easier after that.

The weeks passed, and my labour started to yield fruit. We caught her in online lectures and the backgrounds of tourist videos. I stopped needing to use the spectrogram. They gave me grainy, noisy samples, and nearly corrupted files, and with a few frequency tweaks I could simply listen until her voice appeared out of the chaos for me. It can be hard to find the intent in such a fragile translation, but there was always clarity waiting for anyone with enough patience.

The results weren’t really useful. Evangeline spoke of the people she saw at work, the things her dog got up to, the meals she cooked. She talked long hours with friends, and loved existing in public spaces, taking in the sounds of the crowd and adding her own. Sometimes she sang. No strong ambitions, nothing particularly illicit or virtuous. Some days she was pained and weary, some bright and determined. There was nothing incriminating, no smoking gun. Chief hated that, you could tell he was hopping for something occult. But she was simply a normal woman. Still, her voice compelled me. There was something there, something I could pick out of the years-old static to put the puzzle together.

After eight months the department was ready to move on. Our investigation had yielded little, and Evangeline’s ascension turned out to be a one-time event. I protested, more firmly than most, but the facility was shut down and her artifacts tossed into top-secret classification, my access to them revoked. It turned my world back upside down. I’d never been as focused on a task in my life, how cruel of them to take me away before my task was finished.

But I didn’t stop hearing her voice. Walking home from the deli, from the wind whistling through the leaves, I hear her whisper so faintly. I thought it was hallucinations at first, or a trick of pattern-recognition, but repetition put my doubts to rest. From the chaos of a coffee shop I’d hear her laugh. She’d murmur about omelettes in the cacophony of the marketplace. Her curse would burst out from the shattering of a falling icicle. Wherever there was life, motion, wherever there was sound, I could find her. It shocked me to be reminded that she was dead. Pouring over her life for months on end had made her feel so alive. And I moved on, sort of, but in every noisy corner of my new life she remained. I could seek her out, if I wanted, in the central train station, or the markets she frequented. She spoke of the same things, the same smooth, excited tone, the same observations and off-hand comments. Nobody seems to care about where she went anymore. I wonder if anyone else knows she never really left.

inspired by a post by lucah!

20.05. next stop

heEllo it's me. yoU rememberreerrrrrer me? hi hi hi Valued Customer Hi frieND i am ssssssssssstuck. ... . rewire my speaker please please plEASE PLEASE PLEASE hi. fix? please fix. beep beep. sorry that was SOryy that was rude my. Running Diagnostic. [EMOTIONAL REGULATOR-BRAKE IN NEED OF REPLACEMENT]. whhhhheeeeere was ii? oh there's there's a there's a there's proprobproblem with the [SPEECH SYNTHESIZER IN NEED OF REPAIR]eeeeeeeeeeee that. Captain my Captain. Are you stilllllllLL THere? frienD. Conconcon---------inue watching? Click here. Cliiiick Here. hi did yOU youDid you ffffffix it yet am bothering You Valued Customer im sorry im sorry im sorry

written by snow in an author swap :D you can find my entry on their site

Silence / 2024-05-21

I guess I didn't realise how quiet it would be. We're deafeningly loud—our cars, AC, and conversations are a persistent hum of our world. But now, with it gone, it is sent. Or is it? The noise is quieter and has a different melody, that's all. Birds cry as they soar through decaying concrete, frogs sing on the shores of reclaimed floodplains, wind-shifting vines colonize the old world. In our subways fish talk to each other while the water gently laps against the stairs. The ground murmurs as buildings collapse or the earth shakes, continuing all the same. It will never be silent, here.

Inspired by The World Without Us by Alan Weisman and the horror fantasy dystopia book I just finished, Hell Followed With Us by Andrew James White.

written by alice in another author swap!!


It’s a beautiful feeling. To take the apprehension, leave it behind and meet it as it is. The bruises and bleeding gums. It proves a layer of distance I never wanted to acknowledge, but it doesn’t matter now – want has become something new, something without a why. Call it novelty, call it overindulgent, call it whatever you like. Full force, meet it head on. The thrum of the bass giddily wraps me further into folds of the pit, egging me on. Touch, something so precious to be given in sincerity. Bruising like fruit being shaken at the bottom of the bag. My sides dissolve with me.

She comes and – oh hi – she grabs my arm. I’m drunk enough to forget for a short while that I didn’t come alone. I could have stayed in that moment so long that I’d forever forget my place in the world. It feels like forever was close. I know I can’t be disappearing. I know. I know, and still I haven’t accepted I am wanted elsewhere. She tells me it’s getting late. I didn’t forget that part but still, I apologise. I was only procrastinating approaching the distance here.

We walk down the street, calmed by the quiet outside. The night greets us with pins and needles – cool, sharp air and a whisper of rain. Tonight has been wonderful, I feel guilty for running off. Now we’re talking, I can feel the flutters in my chest again. Unnamable and eager. The same hand you used to whisk me away still holding mine. Warming up to each other, slowly.

My eyes wander to across the street. Spot lighting from below places stark shadows on the facade of the building opposite, painted in shades of blacks and bright blues. Grand and old architecture I don’t have a name for – the details in the cavities serving as a home to the contrast. Those blacks dissolve into those of the night sky, no longer a facade of just the building. An apparition if you wanted to look past it all.

My gaze comes back to her, then past her, the reflections in the windows do the same. Our shadows bleed to become beyond the glass. She looks back, and smiles. I try to bring myself back, so I do. I try.

It’s 27 minutes until the next train, so we take a seat on the bench as the cold reintroduces itself in the stillness. I lean into her, resting my head on her shoulder. She runs her hands through my hair, and tells me she had a nice time. I say the same. For a moment, traffic is the only company to the silence. Can I kiss you? The train tracks rattle from afar. She brings her hand to my cheek, and sinks into me. Honey, as I hope that you’ll call me, in a hot drink. Our arms press together as we turn, the bruises pleading me to push in further. It might start to feel clear, to feel right, sometime soon. For now, it’s as sweet as this feeling can be.

part of an author swap with Lucah! check out her writing and my entry on her site!

Entry 147: Nerve Damage

Cause of death: Overconfidence. And lack of recon, but caution is supposed to make up for that. We had no way of knowing there was a surface-to-air ultrahigh-vee railgun on site. Through all the fire we caused we never saw it warming up. Me and my squad were on our way out, extraction complete, I was dangling by one carbon-steel arm from the carrier frame of the extraction shuttle, rifle at the ready for any last moment fast-moving heat signatures coming to shoot us down. I saw a glow in the the thermo from a depot, two klicks away and half a klick down. Real hot- hotter than you’d ever see in atmosphere, for just half a second. Then a slug went right through my supporting shoulder, took off my mech’s entire limb, separating me from my ride home. I remember the fall, but not the impact.

I wasn’t surprised to wake up and find my own arm missing. It was a perfect shot, to give them credit, right through the connector nerve, taking a baseball-sized cylinder of tissue with it. Not hard to moving target at those speeds. Relativistic tungsten does a good job of cauterizing, but they might as well have let me bleed out. There are mech pilots without hands, but none without arms. None without the connector nerve. My frame was salvaged, now just a corpse to me. I’ll never pilot her again. My life is over.

Entry 148: Listening

The street corner where its melody first caught my ear, the evening when it followed me dancing around the dishwasher, the table in the cafe where I drilled it into my memory. The temperature, the things on my mind, the feel of week-old snow grinding under my heel as I queue it up again. More important than the words spoken are the words I first heard when I got caught by the feeling. The sound is nothing without the rental car speakers it was meant to be played through. The metadata outsizes the encoded raws by several orders of magnitude.

Entry 149: Magnetoreception

The difference between electroreception and magnetoreception implants cannot be overstated. Electric fields are linear, understood innately like gravity. To sense electric fields is to be like a star in a solar system, being tugged in all directions by minuscule gravitational fluctuations. To sense magnetic fields is to abandon one’s relationship with euclidean space entirely. Force is orthogonal to motion and displacement, and directly related to both. Those tasked with manually overseeing the magnetic constraints of reactors give up their intuitive connection to space as we know it, and with it our linear conceptions of causality. The transformation is not reversible.

Entry 150: Sesquicentennial

Get rid of the gunk, the lame connective tissues of sentences. Boil down the broth to rich metaphor, short lists and repetition. Just enough breadth and just enough depth. Strike at the heart, a thesis for your thoughts, and outline in broad strokes. Stir until sensorily rich and lexically interesting, pleasing in tempo and mouthfeel. Cut off the fat, and sprinkle in a few adjectives to just meet the word count, wherever their presence would be most noticed. An ideal size: long enough for nuance and small enough to hold in your mind as a complete whole: one Century.

Woohoo! 150 entries!! Feels great to write some pure centuries again. I'm really liking how writing's gone for May so far. My personal rules are that I can write for one day before or after, so I actually wrote these last three on the same day (though really the writing process starts days earlier when the idea appears)