Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weather or Not - Oct. 31, '09

I'm a Connecticut Yankee living in King David's Court, (per bio), so the climate change took some getting used to. In New England, if you don't like the weather, wait a minute, so goes the saying. Here in the Biblical territory, winter means rain, from sometime in October to March, precious rain that is absent for most of the year.

Literary weather affects the characters too. Thunder and lightning is Zeus's idea of target practice, or Rip Van Winkle's bowling buddies, or it precedes the Thunderbird of the Native American myths in the west. A storm can presige disaster or be the perfect time for two antagonist characters to find comfort in each other.

A sunny day can be the first welcome light--or another in a long monotonous series that dries up the earth and stifles the air.

A tornado carried off Dorothy and Toto, earthquakes and tidal waves sunk Atlantis, Mu, and Lemuria, Poe placed his love Annabelle Lee in a kingdom by the sea without fear, though olden sailors never learned to swim for to struggle against the Sea was to try to outwit fate and drowning.

Volcanoes can be the workplace of Haephestus or Pele's home, or the birthplace of dragons. Climate and the elements can enrich tales of all sorts in reflecting moods or set up in opposition.

Smell the earth after a rain and be reminded of a home long lost, or the new garden you just have to plant. Feel the trunk of an ancient tree burned in a forest fire and smile at the new shoots--who needed that fire to encourage the seeds to sprout.

In many legends a flood covered the earth to make way for a new people, or the world shall turn to ice in Ragnarok.

The setting sun is the last sight for the fearful peasant who rushes indoors and bolts the house against the things that go bump in the night. For creatures of darkness--it is always night in some part of the world--or under it.

We can ionize our air, heat and air-condition it, install humidifiers and dehumidifiers to control our personal climates--and then--we can step outside--and feel the power subtle or omnipotent, light as a kiss or devastating as a hurricane.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Info - Or How Do We Know What We Know? - Oct. 25, '09

Let's base this on human experience -- or semi-humaniod even if we're taking aliens and demons here.

Characters are born too, not necessarily with the nine-month gestation. Immediate sensation come through deeper than with sight and sound, scent, taste and feel conveys more than we acknowledge.

Development comes with how the characters know what they know. Parents, siblings, children, lovers, friends, sales people, religious functionaries, and others provided a social network of lessons, crafts, how to do things, how to act in a situation, who's in what kind of health state, when to plant and reap, animal husbandry, weather wisdom, and much more.

This knowledge broadens with the character's level of education, travel, the level of technology or magic for gathering information.

Scribes and couriers expand on the orders of royalty and other leaders; traveling bards, physics, and war-weary mercenaries carry tales. Merchants and map-makers transfer knowledge of other places and the goods and customs found there. Sorcerous means come via scrying with assorted tools like water or crystal, or seeing through another's eyes and taking in impressions through another's senses.

The vast overview of a general on a battlefield, or a sailor swaying in the crow's nest leads into details of colors and motion.

Today, I have at my command millions of alternatives for printed matter, news and blogs, corporate white pages, updates, links, sound and vision into almost every corner of the world and a smattering outside of it.

Then comes the drama--is what is taught and provided, true? Is it free of any taint of favortism or slant on the part of the deliverer of such news? Every 'up-to-the-minute' relay comes based on who pays for the information to be transmitted, and how can that information be used?

'Buy this or that' because the advertiser supports the local newscast. The TV personalities in their booths, dressed down but with the subtle inference of power based on the sharing of disasters, takeovers, horrors and such, live for the audience who sees the coiffed, poised puppets read off a teleprompter.

This artificiality robs the personal touch, numbers are glossed over for one close-up of mayhem.

The Hindenberg disaster was covered by a reporter, Herbert Morrison who was there for the docking of the queen of the sky...

"It's practically standing still now. They've dropped ropes out of the nose of the ship, and they've been taken ahold of down on the field by a number of men. It's starting to rain again; it's — the rain had slacked up a little bit. The back motors of the ship are just holding it just, just enough to keep it from — It burst into flames! It burst into flames, and it's falling, it's crashing! Watch it! Watch it, folks! Get out of the way! Get out of the way! Get this, Charlie! Get this, Charlie! It's fire — and it's crashing! It's crashing terrible! Oh, my, get out of the way, please! It's burning and bursting into flames, and the — and it's falling on the mooring-mast and all the folks agree that this is terrible, this is the worst of the worst catastrophes in the world. Ohhhhh! It's–it's–it's the flames, [indecipherable, 'enty' syllable] oh, four- or five-hundred feet into the sky and it ... it's a terrific crash, ladies and gentlemen. It's smoke, and it's flames now ... and the frame is crashing to the ground, not quite to the mooring-mast. Oh, the humanity and all the passengers screaming around here. I told you, I can't even talk to people whose friends are on there. Ah! It's–it's–it's–it's ... o–ohhh! I–I can't talk, ladies and gentlemen. Honest, it's just laying there, a mass of smoking wreckage. Ah! And everybody can hardly breathe and talk, and the screaming. Lady, I–I'm sorry. Honest: I–I can hardly breathe. I–I'm going to step inside, for I cannot see it. Charlie, that's terrible. Ah, ah — I can't. I, listen, folks, I–I'm gonna have to stop for a minute because I've lost my voice. This is the worst thing I've ever witnessed."

The drama is in the sharing of humanity, not just the retelling it.