Sci-Fi Narration: ”A Brief Version of Time,” by Alan Lightman (1993)

Changing things up with a short sci-fi-style reading: “A Brief Version of Time” by Alan Lightman – physicist, author, and apparently underrated renaissance man – originally published in the February 8, 1993 edition of the New York Times.

This “article” about the philosophical what-ifs of immortality really captivated my imagination when we studied it back in high school AP English, and I hope you enjoy it too! (even if it is a bit bleak)

“Illustration” by me.  See more photography on my Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/tnw24/

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Placeholder Poetry: “The Odds” (2013)

This is Why We Don't Visit You Guys

Well, not in so many words, but…

So I could have sworn I shared this one before, but I can’t find it anywhere on the site.  What may’ve happened is that I nixed the original post in advance of submitting it to a journal a few years ago (to no avail).  Or maybe aliens deleted it!

Beyond Belief

In any event, this is another piece I wrote while studying creative writing at the UW — Advanced Poetry, to be precise.  This time, exploring two opposing perspectives was the focus.  So, consummate geek that I am, I thought:  what if when extraterrestrials do visit the Earth, they’re just as impressed by finding other life?  At least… at first.

The Odds

What are they,
these green-gilled, ten-limbed creatures?
In what world could such features flourish?
How do they go about their days
and yet find time to sculpt such ships,
raptors’ curves ‘round ventricles of light?

What’ve we found, touching down­
in this land of two-armed, soft-skinned hue-men?
Their shades do vary, but their clout astounds.
How can such simple, slender beasts survive
training ranks for spears, not gears,
as the flag on their pallid moon droops, collecting stardust?

Now, how’re we to speak
to them? To which words would they respond
or language listen? Their eyes compacted,
ears concealed, our promises of peace may crash
like satellite static—or worse, they’ll misinterpret it
as calls to war we couldn’t win.

Their gestures hint they think us dim,
but, at once, we sense their intents
like a shallow grave under brilliant blooms.
Round faces surround us, imploring “meet our leader,”
but the grins within have torn
meat from marrow and pride from the poor.

What’re the odds?
Centuries, we search—
scanning sky, loosing computers
in paternal spurts of fuel and tax dollars
to capture languid nebulae and sullen suns,
‘cross spans new units were coined to comprehend—
and another life finds us first.
We might need to steal some machines,
dissect a couple of “natural” deaths,
but who knows what we’ll learn!

What’re the chances? We’re even
in this infinity. One thousand solar-cycles journeyed,
working ‘til our tails numbed cataloging charts and channels,
all fifty fingers pinching a dwindling budget.
Hoping the last galaxies held knowledge to spare:
cleaner engines, illness’s end, peace after death.
Yet our complement is a wet and mottled mirror
in the grip of these fraught and frightened creatures.
Our work paid off,
but the currency? Worthless.

New Page: “Top Stories!”

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A shelf full of inspiration.

For ease of access, I added a dedicated page on the sidebar for “top stories!” It’s pretty much every one, but I called it that because there’s some stories I posted that are rough drafts of ones in Love&Darkness or, well, just filler from creative writing class back in undergrad.

So check it out to read anew or revisit a favorite:

Top Stories!

“Feeding Day” – Election Day 2016 Story

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Always remember to find your local feeding station online in advance!

Happy election day, everybody!

Yeah… I don’t know too many people who are psyched about the choices for Who Wants to Be the Next POTUS, as this reality show has shaped up. With all the legitimate humor and horror that’s arisen over what both major candidates and their compatriots have (allegedly) done, though, I felt an unprecedented need to write an Election Day story this year. At least, how often does an author get a chance to be so timely? I’d have to wait another four years otherwise!

A Halloween deadline got away from me, what with the new job (and, last week, various celebrations for my 25th birthday!), but I decided I didn’t mind. Because this story, more than anything else, is admittedly just… strange. It’s about the political system, overall, but it’s also about how I feel like the world looks when we question too little, campaign too much, and value our own idea of a cause over any real person who actually cares about it.

So whether you lean right, left, somewhere in the middle, or couldn’t care less either way, assemble your offerings, grab your tickets for the White Womb, and try not to get too much blood on you. November 8th has come, but it’s better known as…

Feeding Day

“Haunted House Call”: A #NightmareForce Case File

It's just a scary story... what's the worst that could happen?

It’s just a scary story… what’s the worst that could happen?

Happy Halloween! It’s been a busier one than most for me–in-between prepping for tests, essays, and moot court competitions, I’ve scare-cly found time to even carve a Jack-o-Lantern since… ever? Now there’s a frightening thought!

Yet I still managed to utilize Spirit Halloween‘s generous two-day shipping discounts to assemble a costume. My choice: The Babadook, titular bogeyman of the 2014 Australian sleeper-hit horror flick (now streaming on Netflix!). The most critical element–stage makeup–couldn’t be ferried by plane for some probably-TSA-related reason (are the terrorists just raring to smuggle powdered explosives in canisters of Chaplin-esque grease paint?), but fortunately the local Spirit branch at Ithaca Mall pulled through. Add some black construction paper, and there you have it–instant nightmares:

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But onto the main attraction: As customary, I aim to provide a scary story every year for Halloween, even if it’s a matter of hours before November. Since the last story I even wrote was 2014’s Halloween tale (Pruritus), I felt especially compelled to produce one for 2015–come hell, high water, or lesser academic obligations.

As such, I present another Nightmare Force “Case File.” When we last checked in with the Nightmare Force, they were (spoiler alert!) busting a child-snatching interdimensional parasite that took up residence in one of Cardinal University’s computer labs. In this installment, we learn a bit more about how they live and interact when they’re on–and off–the job. Where do “DEMONS” come from, and how can any human weapons stop them? What shocking secrets and talents does the rest of Aron’s team have? And just who really leads the Nightmare Force, and keeps their missions under wraps?

It all starts to reveal itself on Halloween night, when a sinister spirit comes calling on one average college kid who read the wrong email…

Guns. Ghosts. Gore. Graphics cards. Time to delete some evil.

Haunted House Call

– – –

[Source for the original creepypasta of La Muerta Blanca by someone else. In the world of Nightmare Force, the idea is that this story already exists online, though I tried to put a new twist on it for this adaptation. Also, I am the polar opposite of Angela and Rip when it comes to crunching numbers–you’ll know when I probably screwed up, but hopefully the scene’s purpose in the plot will still make sense.]