round and round we go…

Plastic is the devil.  Which is interesting, considering that plastic was introduced as the savior of the environment.  “Use plastic bags to carry your groceries and you’ll be saving trees, the world, and, therefore, your souls.”  But, now we’ve learned the error of our ways and it is on to the next.  Round and round we go…

So, in California a law has been signed that outlaws the use of plastic bags in big chain stores starting next July, and rolled out to all stores in 2016.  Instead, consumers are being urged to use cloth bags or pay a surcharge for the use of paper bags.  (Wait, aren’t paper bags bad for the environment too?  Isn’t that why we started using plastic in the first place.  Now I’m confused…  But, I’m sure the ten cents per bag is being used to fund tree planting operations, right?  I’m sure that makes it okay.)

But, since we have proven to be shortsighted on these decisions in the past (really, who could have known all those plastic bags would wind up in riverbeds and clinging to the fences and shrubs that line our roads?) it does beg the question: when cloth bags are determined to also be bad for the environment (water wasted washing them?) or our health (unwashed or improperly washed bags make lovely homes for salmonella) what device for carrying our groceries will be forced upon us next?

How about reusing cardboard boxes to store and transport groceries like Costco and Trader Joe’s do?  Since the stores receive their goods in boxes in the first place, what happens to those?  They should definitely be given out to consumers to transport the goods rather than manufacturing new cloth bags for everyone to buy, spoil, and trash.  Right?  (I suggest buying copious amounts of stock in cardboard companies right now!  Buy early and often, as I always say.  (Yes, I say the same about voting.))  And then, being good stewards of the environment, as we have unanimously shown over the course of human “civilization,” I’m sure all those consumers would recycle the cardboard boxes after they were done with them.  Right?  (They certainly wouldn’t find their way to landfills or riverbeds or city streets…)

Though, there probably aren’t enough boxes to accommodate all purchases on a daily basis, so that option isn’t entirely feasible.  Dilemma, am I right?  But, why do we need bags (or boxes) at all?  Everything was in a cart (or buggy, if you prefer) or basket in the store, why can’t we all just push the carts to our cars and load everything up directly like that?  The onus should be on car manufacturers to install grocery receptacles in trunk spaces rather than trying to figure out how to get the goods from the store to the car in the first place.  We already do that.  Every time.  The goods always show up at our cars (like magic), so why do we need something additional to make that happen?  We don’t!  Problem solved.

We in the kingdom plan on taking that route, forgoing bagging contraptions altogether: one less thing to worry about!  (I’m always forgetting those stupid reusable bags anyway.)  But, we’d love to hear your solutions.  Do you have a brilliant idea?  Do you have a ridiculous idea?  We are open for both and everything in-between.  This is California, after all.

To Fiction Or Not To Fiction?

djmatticus:

The admins over at Stories That Must Not Die need your help. If you’ve ever read a story over there please take part in our poll that will help shape the future of the site.

Also, if you have a story you think would be a good fit for that community, or you just don’t know where else to share it, please consider submitting it through the Share Your Story page, or by emailing storiesthatmustnotdie at gmail dot com.

Thank you!

Originally posted on Stories that Must Not Die:

Yesterday, I asked my Fish of Gold readers for guest posts on Stories That Must Not Die. I was asked whether or not STMND allowed fiction. It was a question we had never considered since no one had asked it.

After much debate amongst the admins, we’re a hung jury on the matter. We’re roughly half for and half against.

I was no help since I vacillated wildly on my answer. At first, I said I thought it would be alright as long as it was fiction rooted in personal experience, or what I call autobiographical fiction.

Then, I changed my vote to no, since perhaps this is more of a place for personal experience, not fiction.

Then, I changed my vote again, because some of my most personal stories have been written through fiction. Sometimes, you need that distance to tell it. So, my final vote was yes with caveats.

View original 37 more words

To Fiction Or Not To Fiction?

1jaded1:

Hi everyone. The Stories team was posed a question to which we debated, but couldn’t come to a conclusion. Should the site include fictional stories, fictional stories based in fact or purely factual stories? We invite you to visit and vote (and follow). Thank you!

Originally posted on Stories that Must Not Die:

Yesterday, I asked my Fish of Gold readers for guest posts on Stories That Must Not Die. I was asked whether or not STMND allowed fiction. It was a question we had never considered since no one had asked it.

After much debate amongst the admins, we’re a hung jury on the matter. We’re roughly half for and half against.

I was no help since I vacillated wildly on my answer. At first, I said I thought it would be alright as long as it was fiction rooted in personal experience, or what I call autobiographical fiction.

Then, I changed my vote to no, since perhaps this is more of a place for personal experience, not fiction.

Then, I changed my vote again, because some of my most personal stories have been written through fiction. Sometimes, you need that distance to tell it. So, my final vote was yes with caveats.

View original 37 more words

this is complicated, and that’s okay

What you are about to read is a bit messy and, at over 1,100 words, rather long.  I’d say it is worth the read, but I think that’s really up to you whether or not it is actually worth it.  A story of life and death and choices and perspective… there is a section in the middle where you can choose one of two options, but the result is the same, and then I think you might be surprised by the ending…

Anyway, happy reading, if you choose to do so, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments after you have finished.

………………..

“Tell me what happened.”

“Am I dead?”

“Your story should answer most of your questions.”

“My story?”

“Yes, we all have a story, and yours must be told before you can continue.  Take a moment, there is plenty of time.  Collect your thoughts and then tell me what happened.”

“…

We killed them all.

It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.  The terrorists were causing such a mess, blowing themselves up, and innocents with them, their psychological toll on the rest of the world was devastating.  But we couldn’t catch those responsible.  They were too good at hiding behind other innocents.  Eventually the world grew tired of their tactics and, unanimously, decided to completely suppress that region.

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120512131914/hitlerrantsparodies/images/2/2f/Hitler%27s_pencil_of_mass_destruction_II.png
Image Credit: Unknown (click on the picture to view the page I found it)

 

Blown away.  All of it.

I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised how quickly the resultant period of peace was replaced for further conflict.  Once that nuclear option had been visited, countries were more and more willing to use it to quell other disturbances and disagreements.

With nations decimating each other globally, local issues also escalated quickly: North against South, Red against Blue, and neighbor against neighbor.  Fathers turned against the sons they didn’t understand.  The youngest generations pleaded for peace even as they were placed with their backs against a wall.  The oldest generations cackled with madness and slipped away as they were forgotten.  Everyone else fought, and bled, and died.

Except for me…

Somehow I went unnoticed through the bulk of the strife.  I didn’t spew politics on street corners.  I didn’t judge those different from me.  I kept my mouth shut and my head down.  When things got really bad I hid until the shooting stopped.  I think I was lucky to be missed by the wandering rogues and mobs that swept through the cities.  It wasn’t skill or cunning.  I was curled into a ball in the closet, sobbing in fear.

When things got quiet, I eventually found the bravery to leave the house and go look for other survivors, others who had hidden away while society imploded.  I traveled the Earth for two years before giving up and returning home, alone, the last of the humans.

I did the best I could to take care of myself.  I found clean water.  I grew healthy food.  I had a good shelter.  I thrived.  I thrived until…”

….. (option 1) …..

“I thrived until I got lonely. 

Humans are, were, social creatures and my mind split, shattered, so I could fill that void.  Even that wasn’t enough.  The split personalities, the delusions, the hallucinations, couldn’t replace actual interaction. 

And, once I realized how little joy I had left there was only one thing left to do.”

….. (option 2) …..

“I thrived until I got sick.

 I’m not sure if the water wasn’t actually as clean as I’d thought, or if I hadn’t grown healthy food, or if I just wasn’t equipped and knowledgeable enough to combat the diseases that doctors and nurses used to hold in check. 

It doesn’t matter what the culprit was, the end result was the same.”

…..

“Thank you for sharing your story, and now…  If you would please…

I’m sorry for the break in protocol, but stay with me for a moment.  Normally I would place you in the boat and send you on your way to find whatever waits for you next, but, I’ve been told this is the last story I will ever collect and I’m feeling an emotion that is foreign to me.  I think it was you would call sadness.  And perhaps a touch of fear as I’m uncertain what will happen to me next.”

“You don’t know what happens next?”

“My role has ever been the final scribe.  I take down the stories and send the tellers on their way once they are done.  I don’t know where the boat takes them.  I think the destination is different for all of them, but I do not know that for sure.  The currents of the river swirl chaotically at times.  The boat disappears at different points in the gloom…

I’m sorry.  I’m rambling.  I’m not used to talking this much.

To answer your question, no, I don’t know what happens next.”

“What are you going to do when I get in the boat and fade away like all the others?”

“I’ll wait and see if the boat comes back for me.  If it does, I will get in and see where I end up.  If it doesn’t, then I will wait here until I’m told to start collecting stories again or the boat does return.”

http://www.conceptart.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=1196923&stc=1&d=1300928809
Image Credit: RAMBOZO

“This is disappointing.”

“What?”

“Death.  I hoped there would be more structure, that it would make more sense than living.  This all seems just as muddled as my time on Earth.  Nothing is certain.”

“Who said this was death?”

“… I assumed, based on my exit from the world…”

“Death is a word that humans made up to describe the specific change that marks the end of their life on Earth.  That’s all it is, just a word.  Why would you expect anything that came after to provide more worth to who you are?”

“I.., I don’t have an answer to that.”

“Good, you aren’t supposed to.”

“What?”

“It’s okay to not know everything, to not have an answer to every question, to exist and react to new situations based solely on your feelings and your hopes.  As you said in the beginning of your story, you did what you thought was best at the time.  That’s all that was ever expected of you.”

“And now I’m expected to get in the boat?”

“Everyone who came before you did.”

“But, that doesn’t mean that I have to… right?  If I feel like staying here and continuing to talk with you, what will happen then?”

“I have no idea.”

“I think I’ll stay for awhile, if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.”

“Are there pages left in your book?”

“Yes.”

“And your pen still has ink in it?”

“It has never run out.”

http://www.mednetstudy.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/OldBookQuilPen-Medium.jpg
Image Credit: Unknown (click on the picture to view the page I found it)

“Then, perhaps we could write some stories together?”

“Go ahead and talk.  I’ll write down your words.  That is what I have always done.”

“Where should I start?  Oh…  I know.  Are you ready? 

Okay. 

In the beginning…”

………………..

… out of the void a world was formed.  It was a masterpiece of beauty and a shining beacon of hope in the darkness.  It was created from the collective desires and joy of all who had come before it, and all who would one day walk its surface.  It was violent and peaceful.  It was complicated and simple.  It was perfect because of all its imperfections.

 photo earthfromspace344_zps08c16996.jpg
Image Credit: kemochron

………………..

“This is going to be a good story.  I can feel it.”

“Shall I continue?”

honor

“You could be righ’,” his voice snatched at the air with vicious intent, “an’ mayhap I’ll be forced to pay for ma sins one day down tha road, but I’ll take ma chances.”  His sun battered face tilted back to soak in the glory of the blue sky, and his right hand scratched the salt and pepper beard hanging low from his chin.  “I’ll not miss out on tha spoils o’ tha sea.  I’ll not miss out on the glitterin’ and sparklin’ treasure I can get ma hands on.  An’… I’ll not have the likes o’ you judgin’ me.  Not today.  So, will you be havin’ tha plank or tha sword?”

Charles Cordan III, a man of some renown and wealth on the British Isles, looked up at his captor with equal parts fear and disbelief.  When he found the voice to reply, he stumbled over his words, “I had hoped you would seek some sort of ransom for my safe return…  You know who I am, don’t you?”

“Aye,” the pirate responded briskly, dropping his gaze from the heavens back to access the irritating voice sprawled at his feet and taking up room on his deck.  “You’re tha man I’m about to kill.”  A glint of mischief sparked from his eyes and carried down the gleaming steel of his saber as he pulled it from of its sheath.

“My family would pay handsomely for my release!”

“And tha beasts o’ tha sea will eat handsomely when we toss your corpse o’erboard.  You should have kept your tongue from wagging on about sins an’ redemption, a mistake you won’ be makin’ again.  Now I’m givin’ you tha honor of choosin’ how you leave this world, decide ‘fore I lose ma patience: tha plank or tha sword?  There are far worse fates you could suffer.”

Charles’ face contorted from fear to rage.  “You are no gentleman.  You are no man of honor, no matter how you try to pretty up your words. How dare you threaten me.”

“How dare you bring up ma sins an’ need for redemption on ma ship, ma home.”  He pressed the sword against his captive’s throat until the man winced.  “We all mus’ make our way in this world, and none of us have tha righ’ to force our moral values an’ choices on anyone else.  You may think I’m a sinner, and I may be a sinner, but in ma house, you should have kept your thoughts on tha matta to yourself.  Again, I ask, tha plank or tha sword?”

“It’s not too late,” Charles whimpered, dropping his gaze to the salt stained boards.  “You could change your ways.  You could ask for forgiveness and we could both live on.  Do you hear that?  Both of us.  There is no need for anyone to die.”

“You could be righ’ and mayhap there is no need in the next action I take, but our lives aren’t built to run on needs alone.  There is greed an’ and pleasure an’ vengeance to consider.  An’ honor too.  You say I am no man of honor, and yet that is just your opinion, based on your understanding on tha word.”  He deftly removed the saber from the man’s throat, and leaned in so their faces were mere inches apart.  “Life needs death, and getting to pick how you face that is a great honor.”

With a swift kick, the pirate launched Charles Cordan III over the railing of his ship to disappear below the dark waves lapping at the sides.  There was no scream.  There was only the shock and silence of surprise.  There was no wild thrashing.  There was only a single splash and then, after a sporadic outburst, the bubbles rising to the surface ceased altogether.

“An’ that is another mistake you won’ be makin’ again.”

Whatever it will be…

You must write every single day of your life...

...You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

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