Tag Archives: imagination

Listening in Time

(short story,  by Sha’Tara)

“I know you are keen, and willing.  Good traits in a researcher.  But you are missing the key ingredients.  You must sit quietly, by yourself, for hours, maybe days, and listen in time.  Listen to the voices of the dead, and the pre-incarnate.  They are in the voices of “others” and in the sounds of the earth: the wind, the cracking soil, the moving grains of sand, the patter of the rain on scrabbly hard-pan soil.  They come on the heat waves.  Sometimes they get playful and paint mirages which tell stories from within your own heart and soul which your tired and bleary eyes will translate into images of desires.  

If you do not learn to listen, all you will accomplish in these places as you sift through dirt and rubble is collect garbage.  It will be recognizable as works of the people but it will reveal no stories, no myths, no history.  These you will have to create from your own imagination and trust me on this, it will not be the same stories as what was, even if the entire world should buy your interpretations.  Honest archaeologists are a rare breed but there is nothing written, either in this desert or in mountains, that says you can not be one of that small group.  When you teach yourself the secret of time listening the people who made and used the objects you unearth, they will tell you their stories.  Some will seem strange and some will be, to your modern understanding, quite unbelievable, but just listen.  It is not your call to re-interpret the lives of others according to your current knowledge: that is sacrilege.  Let the ghosts speak; let them tell their story, and accept it at face value.  It may be that they lie to you, but let it be: do not add insult to injury by adding to the lies.  After all, as you will discover in time, all of your history is lies.  There is no truth to be found on this world, or in this universe.  We know, we’ve been looking for millions of your years and there is no such chimera.”

I was young then, and I’d been experimenting with the local flora under the auspices of a would-be witch doctor who called himself George but whose real name was an unpronounceable Mexican word that sounded like apple-cotle or aptly cotli.  This particular drug induced “time dreams” he had told me, and… “You should only smoke a small amount at sunset.  Sit against a rock, or a tree if you can find one, and set your mind free to roam.  Do not try anything, just let it all go.  It is the time of the spirits and sometimes one of them will notice you and approach you with a story, or some advice.  Just listen and do not try to make any judgment about what you hear, or think you hear.  Put your own thoughts aside and just absorb.” 

I smoked slowly, not eagerly, trying to practice “wisdom” in my folly.  How long I sat against the rock that dug into my back, feeling the sand getting cold beneath me, I don’t know.  Darkness came and the sky exploded with myriads of pin-points of lights: star, planets, meteors, even satellites and flashing lights of planes.  Time passed and I no longer felt the cold, nor the loneliness or that deep fear of the dark unknown.  I “slept” with eyes open, hearing and learning to listen.  I heard small animals squeaking to one-another, some unrecognizable insects repeating endless calls; owls, even one loud shriek of what could only be some wild cat, cougar perhaps.  It didn’t matter.

It seemed as if I’d become a part of the landscape, an extension of the rock I leaned against.  I felt a deep well-being; a thoroughly unfamiliar certainty.  I was “here” and “here” was where I belonged.  This was “home” like nothing had ever been.  “Here I sit, and here I remain,” I thought, against all common sense.  I felt the cold, hunger and thirst but it did not matter to this “me” that was being absorbed by the land, the air, the sky, the universe, the cosmos.  In that time I was no longer a body-centered, or physical being.  I was a member of the cosmic races, with a part of me resting upon a planet called earth – a very small, very strange planet. 

That’s when the voice came to my mind; when I heard the words I quoted above. 

I have been digging up history in this part of the world for almost fifty years now.  I’ve become old and bent.  My skin is like that of a lizard, dry and scaly, with brown spots.  I’ve loved being naked in the sun and it has left its marks on my body but I don’t care.  He was my lover and I cherish his touch still.  I haven’t become famous.  No best seller came from my notes; no following.  People came here to dig with me, and left to seek fame and fortune.  Some managed it, returning to tell me about it.  Some even provided funds so I could remain here, on my wind-swept plateaus digging up ghost stories; me, the crazy Canadian who should have been more at home on the snowy wilds of northern Canada, than here. 

To the local people, I am “loca perdida” or the crazy one, though many come just to be with me, or to listen to my stories.  They come to get me sometimes, either with a jeep, or even a donkey, and take me to a village feast so they can hear some of my stories about their ancient peoples.  They seem to have no difficulty believing me, and I have wondered about that.  Do they also listen in time? They “pay” me in food, or in new blankets for my tents or shelters.  Good people, all of them.  I’ve always felt safe here; not sure I could have managed that in cities where people crowd unhappily together, hardly ever getting to know each other though rubbing shoulders every day.  How sad is that life, I think.

Here I remain.  Here I belong for my body’s time being.  Here I taught myself to listen in time and it is here that I will die so another archaeologist, another time listener, can find bits and pieces of my presence in this place and unearth my own story – a story that will have meaning only to her and the few who carry our vision of living in time.  

How I wish I could express, in words, how blessed my life has been and how much I look forward to new digs out there in the stars, knowing that when I sit down and look up I will see more stars.

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The Cursed Year, the Year of Bliss

  [short story, by Sha’Tara –  part 6]

“Someone wants to read the story”

Wonder Woman fell asleep at her typewriter, overslept her start time and went down to Mrs. Gray’s place to make a phone call.  (Mrs. Gray is part-time caretaker of the apartment complex with her brother Antoine.)  And Wonder Woman didn’t smell that good either.  Super heroes can be too human. I called the paper, explained my problem, got yelled at and told to get on over as soon as possible and expect to have to stay late to make up.  Par for the course, except that I’d never been late on a job before.  Things were cranking up speed and I was running uphill to keep up.  Then I realized I was trying to do two jobs at the same time.  Moonlighting, so to speak. 

After splashing water on my face, running a quick brush through my hair and brushing my teeth, I ran out to the bus stop.  I forgot what time it was and predictably took the wrong bus, got confused, lost.  I was standing on the street wondering what to do next when a tall, slim man in a grey suit, standing by a dark shiny and new car waved and motioned for me to come over.  I approached him, ready to say, “No!” to whatever except that he asked if I knew how to drive.  I was taken a bit off stride with that one but of course, I said “Yes.” 

“Can you drive me to my office?  That’s my car,” points to the shiny new Mercedes, “and I’m drunk and I’m already looking at one impaired, don’t need another, can’t leave that car here and I can’t wait for a tow truck.  You look like the kind of kid can be trusted.  Help me, there’s a hunnerd in it for you.” 

The slurred speech and my need for a ride bought my willingness but drunk… at ten o’clock in the morning?  It sounded contrived, fishy, but I took the bait – I needed that money.  He gave me directions and I drove him to his office which lucky for me, was only a couple of blocks from the paper.  He gave me the hundred dollars – I could scarcely believe it when I saw it! – and his card.  “Like to see you again, call me.  Wait!  He grabs the card and initials it.  This’ll get you to my office.  Please don’t forget.”  Hm.  Joseph. P.  Lonin.  JPL… Jet Propulsion Labs?  I smiled at my own joke, and ran like the White Rabbit for the paper.

Good ol’ Stan was waiting to pounce on me. 

“What’s going on with you?  You know we’re on a deadline and we need your proofs.  You should’ve been here two hours ago.”

“They’re done,” I said, “here.” and I reached in “my” desk and pulled out a stack of sheets.

“Why didn’t you tell me on the phone?”

“I forgot in the confusion.  Then I took the wrong bus but some suit gave me a hundred dollars to drive his Mercedes to his office.  Here’s his card.  Stan studied the card and said, “holy shit.” and yelled,

“Hey George, come see this!  She’s got a card from Joe.” He eyed me quizzically, asked me to sit and George came over, looked at the card and went, “I don’t believe this.” Then he looks at me and says in typical George,

“Do you shit gold bricks too?”

Stan: “Jesus H Christ, George…!”  

“Ok guys, what’s the deal?  Who’s this guy anyway?”

“Lonin?  He owns about a quarter of the town, including this paper.  This is the boss.  The head honcho, the Big Kahuna.”  He rolls his eyes to the ceiling and  holding up the card finishes his rant with, 

“You, girl had an encounter with God!”  He dragged it out like “gawd.”

“God? That explains a whole lot of theological points my catechism failed to make all those years back.  Thanks for the update, I didn’t know God drove a Mercedes in Montreal and got drunk on occasion and early in the morning.  I wonder if he drives a Cadillac in New York?  A ‘Vette in Hollywood?  A Ferrari in Rome?  Enough clowning, I’ve got to get  to work.”

“Hell with the work” says Stan.  “You say this guy wants to see you again?  Go see him, tell him you decided to take the day off… hell no, the week off.  No, tell him we gave it to you ‘cause we’re so damned impressed with your work, which we are by the way and I was going to mention it soon.  Put in a few good words for us…but for Chrissake don’t tell him we put you up to it, huh?  This is the way up  for all of us Helen.  This is gold.  Don’t blow this.”

Full of serious misgivings I cleaned up as best I could, put on the one dress I kept in a back closet for emergencies (like being asked to go for lunch with a client and take notes) and a matching pair of decent heels, fixed my lipstick and brushed my hair, deciding to let it hang freely.  If you asked me I had no idea what I was doing, or why.  I was just doing it.  When I grabbed my briefcase George tried to stop me. 

“You won’t need that; makes you look too serious and out of place.  Doesn’t go with the dress.”

“It’s not meant to.  I’m wearing my coat, it’s cold out there.”

“Coat makes you look frumpy.  Take a taxi, here’s some money.”  And he handed me a ten dollar bill. 

“That’s crazy, I don’t need that much.”

“It’s not a loan, it’s… let’s say it’s a bonus.  Just go.”

“I need that case and I’m not leaving without it.”

“Fine, but forget the coat.  You look hot in that dress.”

“I’m not going on a date, George, I’m going to see an old man in his office.”

“Yeah, right.  Fat lot you know about it.  If I know anything about Lonin, you’ll be going on a date.”  My misgivings rate just shot up ten points on the Richter scale. 

I hate taxis and Montreal taxi drivers seem to all think they’re God’s gift to women, especially cute young ones and rich old ones.  I fit the first category and my dress made a perfect bull’s eye on the target. 

“Anglais où français? (English or French?)

“N’importe” (Don’t matter)

“Alors, ou veut-tu aller, la belle? (So, where to, Babe?)

“Juste un couple de blocs – pas loin.” (Just a couple of blocks – not far)

“Ok, you could have walked it but I’m not complainin’.  Sit back and relax.  And he checks his rear-view constantly – from his eyes to the mirror to my cleavage, or my knees and legs.  Being in the back seat makes me feel almost safe yet I experience intense relief when I get out, pay and turn away from his ravening look.  Sex deprivation seems to be a rampant problem among city males.  I repeated that to myself to see if it would help me paste the obligatory smile on.  It didn’t.

I entered the building where I’d left the car earlier, and asked the doorman the number of Joseph Lonin’s office.  He eyed me with that knowing look and said, “Penthouse” but you’ll need a pass and someone has to accompany you up.  Do you have an appointment?”  I showed him my card.  “There’s no elevator to the top floor, just a locked stairway.  Just stay here, I’ll get a guard. 

We went up, 84 floors, exited the elevator.  The guard unlocked the stairs doors and I was ushered up and into the penthouse.  I was shown to a plush couch and offered a drink.  I declined the wine, accepted a lemonade and sipped slowly.  Muted conversation between the guard and a woman I guessed was an assistant to Lonin.  Sly looks my way, knowing smiles, more looks.  I pretended to shuffle my notes in my briefcase and demurely bending my legs to one side, pulled my dress down over my knees, finished the lemonade and set the glass down on a glass-topped table that was probably worth a year of my wages. 

I waited, re-reading my notes and shuffling the half-dozen pathetic yellow pages detailing my late night experiences, making changes, inserting marginal notes.  I pulled out a fresh sheet and was about to start a new page when I was approached by the “assistant” who looked me over with a bit of a frown, then smiled, introduced herself as Lana, Mr. Lonin’s private secretary, and asked me to follow her.

Into the inner sanctum of the God.  I should have been quaking in my boots but I wasn’t wearing boots and I was way past the times of quaking.  I was tense, yes, but I was also angry.  Anger helped me prepare for whatever ordeal the next Alpha wolf in the pack was going to pull on me, and I already knew enough about Lonin to be beyond “on guard.”  I was ready and in full attack mode.  Just give me one reason, just one. 

Lana:  “You seem a bit tense miss… sorry, we didn’t get your name…?”

“I’m sorry.  My name is Helen Kristofson.” Cut and dry.

“Interesting name.”  More than just a comment, asking for a response.

“My father’s from Montana.  His parents came from Norway.”  I’m really into my new fictional identity now.

“Ah, can I get you anything while you wait for Mr. Lonin?  Are you hungry?  A salad perhaps, or croissant and a coffee?”

“Oh no, thank you, I’m quite fine.”  So phoney, after mocking me within eyesight.  But there was probably a time when miss Private Secretary was the one on her back on the office’s plush carpet, or leaning on the mini fridge and moaning her fake pleasure. I reached for my notes once again, reading and frowning at all the typos and missing key information.  What a mess I’d made of those notes.  I was tired.  Not an excuse, just a fact. 

A sliding door snicked open suddenly and the man himself stood behind the opening.  He looked and didn’t recognize me.  Frowned.  “Yes?  You wanted to see me and you have some credentials, an invitation, I’m told?  Do we know each other?”

“Yes sir.  I drove you to work this morning in your Mercedes.  I’m Helen.”

“Ah well, of course.”  Peremptorily: “Come in.”

I quickly push my notes back in the case and walk through the door opening.  It whooshes shut and whatever sounds existed and travelled through the building were instantly blanked out.  Silence.  Dead silence.  Muted breathing.  His voice:

“Please sit down, Helen.  And tell me why you decided to follow up on my offer so promptly.  It’s just half past one.”

“I’m not supposed to tell you why I’m here, so I’m going to tell you why I’m supposed to be here.”  He chuckled at that. 

“You work for “The Journal” and the boys down there recognized my card and signature.  They saw an opportunity and sent you over to soften the front, so to speak?”

“Basically, yes.  They gave me a week off, presumably a paid vacation week, or a week for me to do some investigating and reporting on my own, however you would prefer the concoction, and I was so eager to meet you in your office I just rushed on over here.  What I’m not here for is to put in a good word for them.”

“Of course, that wouldn’t do at all, would it.  Conflict of interest and all that.  Let’s leave them out of this and talk about you instead.  Why don’t you tell me who you are, a bit of your story and what you have in that case that seems so important to you?  After all, you probably know by now that you already actually work for me so let’s hear how you like to spend your time.”

“Sure.  On the clock time, or on my own, sir?”

“Call me Joe.  I already know what brain-numbing job you have at “The Journal” so let’s talk about your own time.  And do sit down.” 

“Ok, here are my preliminary rough notes.”  I pull out several dog-eared sheets of yellow paper and sat down in a very comfortable chair that doesn’t achieve the purpose of making me feel comfortable about my rough notes, so I quickly add, 

“I’ve begun to write notes for a story, or series of article I don’t know quite how to manage, direct or finish.  It’s a bit dangerous, and the notes are beyond rough.  I hardly slept at all last night, I was out on the streets, watching, listening and recording.  I want to write about the streets, the slums particularly, and about the kind of people who live there, and why they live there in such inhuman conditions.  I was raised on a homestead, practically in the wilderness you see and knew nothing of any city until earlier this year when I ended up in Edmonton.  And then, some colourful months later I’m here.  In this City.  And I know nothing about it.  Because of that I thought I’d be the best investigative and descriptive reporter any paper could get.  Totally open minded, somewhat naïve due to lack of knowledge and suitably credulous to engage in serious research.   I’m tired of reading proofs: I want to become a reporter… sir, I mean Joe.  So I’ve begun: last night I took an interesting first stroll in my story.”

I watched his eyes.  He didn’t blink, or smirk or lower his gaze.  He looked me straight in the eyes: “I think that’s an excellent idea, and that you should get a chance at becoming a real reporter.  I like your style, your gutsiness, and your dangerous naivety, though I’m thinking that part is somewhat deceptive.”  He smiled at that and added, probably to get my full attention, “I’ll let you know when my interest in your career wanes and has switched to studying your body.  That by way of letting you know  I can be just as candid as you, Helen. 

“I want you to think about this:  there are only two basic differences between us: one, I’m a man and you’re a woman.  Two, I’m rich and you are poor.  Between us is a very deep valley.  Between us walks every aspect of humanity.  Between us lies every human interest story ever lived.

“You’re a philosopher, Joe.”

“Perhaps…”  Distant, pensive look, “I’ll read your notes, Helen.  In fact I want to read them now, before they’re ruined by embellishments deemed necessary in making the story acceptable to a lukewarm mainstream media and its equally lukewarm readership. 

“Now listen to me.  I want you to continue investigating the slums, and to write your discoveries exactly as you perceive them.  I want to read your opinions and I want you to slant your articles towards a comparison of the city streets to your own world back on the homestead; what you observed about nature.  Differences and similarities, what each could learn from the other – like you and me.  Time to put an end to stale reporting at ‘The Journal.’

“Show me you’re serious about this you’ll have an equally serious advance on your work, guaranteed as of this moment, and you’ll be assured of copyright protection before we leave this office today.  One condition: you must find a safer method of investigating your story.  I have some ideas on how to resolve that to our mutual satisfaction.”  And as if he’d almost forgotten, he added,

“One more thing: when you see your Journal bosses tell them I want to see them.  I’m going to make some changes over there and I have to win them over – I don’t want inter-office sniping or worse, an all out revolt.   Get them excited, tell them I want to introduce colour in the format.  

Finally he smiles at me with a hand under his chin, studying me.  It’s a nice, warm smile I take to be sincere.  I smile back at him, careful not to put in more than necessary to indicate agreement only.  The games we must play with rules we grab from the air as we move along. 

[end of part 6: Someone wants to read the story]   

 

An Explanation for “There were Violets”

From “There were Violets” – about those last two lines:

… we feed upon the flesh of dead men…

For those who know me, or about me, you will probably already know what I’m going to write.  This is for those of you new to “my” philosophy.  I’ll try not to be overly wordy or boring, and I will explain.

Some 30 years ago my life intersected with non-Earth energies, or entities/people if you will.  This intersection resulted in a miraculous healing of a debilitating and worsening back condition, and a change of mind about… everything.

I call these people “The Teachers” and I’ve received some pretty amazing information from them.  I’ve also been faced with very difficult challenges upon which my continued healing and good health depended.  In other words, we’ll look after certain aspects of your life and you will accept us as your teachers and way showers.  Deal, take it or leave it.

So began a series of teachings that surpassed anything any earth-type teacher or leader could ever hope to accomplish.  But instead of allowing me to rely on them, these entities taught me the necessity of making up my own mind about literally everything.  I call it self-empowerment.  That means that when I think, say, write something, that is my truth – and that truth is subject to change without notice moment by moment, because there is no such thing as “the truth” as any observing person must know by now.  “The Truth” belongs to belief systems and it’s the kind of poison brainwashed believers (in any kind of system) or insecure adherents need to push on all comers.  I have no truth to give to anyone, I have dreams, visions, awareness, remembrances and observations as well as experiences.  That’s the extent of my truth. 

Now to the explanation: we feed upon the flesh of dead men.  Violets are truly beautiful flowers, aren’t they?  And where does this beauty originate?  As all Earthian beauty, or what man considers beautiful, it originates in dying, decaying or dead matter.  This is a truism, but not one that people usually like to link to their observation of beauty.  That link has often been made by both, poets and prophets, but not by “ordinary” people.  Ordinary people see the obvious: ugly, pretty, nice, disgusting, beautiful, horrible – the judgments flow one after the other non-stop.

Nothing wrong with judgments: only the dead cease making judgments.  To be alive means to be in a constant state of judgment, about everything.  The problem arises when the judgments are simply based upon belief systems rather than on honest observation.  Judgments are often misleading or false and give rise to bias which gives rise to some pretty terrible events and unbelievable cruelty. 

We feed upon the flesh of dead men refers directly to the worst, and terminal virus infecting this entire world.  The virus is predation. 

Predation (from Word Web dictionary) “An act of plundering and pillaging and marauding” and “The act of preying by a predator who kills and eats the prey.”

Predation is a fact of life so common, so ubiquitous here that it is taken for granted; in fact evolutionary “science” teaches that it is not just legitimate, but an absolutely necessary part of life.  As an Earthian you are not even allowed to imagine a world without predation.  The standard response is always the same: life grows from dead matter and that’s the way it is and must be.  The predator virus is so completely established here that no one questions it.  Dead matter is needed as fertilizer for new life.  That’s the Credo.  That’s the over-riding belief system.

That being the case, all the beautiful things that rise out of “the ground” on earth take their food from dead matter.  Violets feed on the flesh of dead men.  The earth is fertilized by death. 

Well, you’d probably think, nothing wrong with that.  Things die, we’re in a closed system, therefore the dead have to give life to the living.  We eat to feed our bodies.  Much of what we eat comes from the inanimate part of earth life, but much also comes from the shedding of blood of innocent sentient creatures man has declared himself the master and owner of. 

There’s a very serious side effect to all predatory life:  because it is completely dependent on dying, decaying or dead matter, the more life is desired, the more death ensues.  Cause and effect, no way out of the spiral.  Man, caught in this vicious spiral which is also called entropy, is expanding his numbers and for that more and more of the planet has/must die.  No way out.  If man reaches out to space to feed his numbers, then the nearest planets, then solar systems, will also fall into this insatiable maw and they too will die. 

According to The Teachers, and I have seen demonstration of this, real life does not depend on predation, quite the opposite.  Real life expands itself by feeding new life and nothing is ever threatened.  Nothing needs to die in a real world.  Predation is not a “natural” process at all.  It’s an op, a controlling feature of ancient forces man has been the slave of since inception and has little or no idea what, or who, these “farmers of worlds” actually are.  Without going into novel-length explanations, I can say this of man’s “authorities and powers and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” that they are fallen creatures and they are the ones who feed on lesser life-forms.  They are the original and real predators.  Man’s programming simply extends predation to this particular quite insignificant little world. 

Beauty as we perceive it is but a tool to hide the depravity, ugliness and corruption of all that is predatory.  War is man’s ultimate enslavement to the predatory concept, and it is so vile that any even remotely empathetic, decent mind would utterly reject it in any of its forms and for any of its purported reasons to be.

Perhaps food for thought, and in closing, here are the first two stanzas of the famous poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, written in 1915 and the height of the madness now known as World War l. 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Next time you look at something truly beautiful, ask this question: could this beauty be possible without the death that lies beneath it?  Even if the beauty is that of a lover, or a child, think of those who came before and are now gone; who gave their “seed” to this beauty, and think further to what happens to beauty grown out of death, how quickly it too will age, wither, die and decay and how ephemeral new life will spring from its death.  How long must man accept such a skewed, debilitating and degrading system? 

If all other lessons were forgotten, this one I could never forget:  “As long as the problem of predation and death continues on your world entropy will increase and eventually it will be all dead – nothing new will sprout here, certainly no new beauty will ever be seen on its surface again.”

And how do I know these people speak truth?  I have seen their world, a world where “death” is gone, banished, unknown to their younger generations.  And how can this be, you will ask?  How about food, and living space if things just keep on growing? 

That is programmed earth-thinking limiting concepts.

Hint: how vast is space?  Where does infinity begin, and end?  There is your answer.    

The Blue Dragon – Chap. 3

Chapter 3 – First Necessary Lessons

They find an all-night shop that caters to the less fussy clientele.  Old Van War uniforms smelling of mildew are stuffed in dirty barrels along one wall.  On shelves and hanging from odd-shaped racks one can find a variety of tops and pants.  Boots are piled under shelves, few of them mated, some with suspicious dark splotches on them indicating they were pulled off victims of foul play and flogged to whomever would take them for a flasher-1, enough to buy a bottle of rotgut liquor.  Zelleus sets the boy to look through the place and pick up what he can find suitable to wear aboard the ship.  Choices completed, Zelleus pays and they leave, the boy holding his roll of new clothes as if they were the most precious thing he’d ever held.  

At the edge of the warren Thane guides Zelleus to an underground rooming house he knew about that had plenty of rooms to let.  Zelleus chooses one with a secondary emergency tunnel exit.  He pays in advance and once in the room, barricades the door with a heavy steel chair while ordering Thane to wash himself and change.  For a long time the water runs.  He can hear soft moans of pleasure coming from the bath area and even a gasp of surprise.  After a long time Thane emerges in his new clothes, the rags carefully tied together in a bundle.  His long hair is tied neatly in a thick pony tail, giving the boy a clean, ascetic look.  His large blue eyes are intent on Zelleus.  He goes to stash his bundle under his bed.

“No Thane.  You will not keep those rags.   They stink.  Place them by the tunnel exit near the vent.  In the morning we will throw them in one of the burning barrels.  I do not want to take any of your past with you.  Inside yourself, in there – he points to the boy’s head and heart –  you can keep what you are until you develop into a new person. Then you will leave the old behind, not because I say so, but because you will know you are a better person for it, yes?” The boy shrugs and does as he’s told, then drops on the bed and promptly falls into a dreamless sleep.

The night is uneventful but to be safe Zelleus takes the emergency tunnel exit out of the rooming house in the early morning.  At the first intersection in the warren he collapses the tunnel leading to the house.

The boy looks shocked.   “Why Zelleus?”

“Because my lad I heard noises and eager voices back there and it’s too early in the morning for such.  Our landlord is getting a handful of heavy flashers from some who want to get even with me.  I have many enemies and they have the distinction of hating me without reserve.  So I’m always careful in port. . .  and also in space.  As below, so above boy.  Remember that.  You can be ten light years from this place and encounter the same cretin who tried to slit your throat today.  Life is like that, see? You can never outrun your enemy, your nemesis or your fate.  All you can do is become better at what and who you are.  Develop a superior mind to face them and defeat them, or bend them to your own needs.  Insist on working and living only with the best– not necessarily the strongest, fastest or smartest.  Just the best at what it is they do.  My crew, though you will certainly find many of them odd, is the best.   Because of that it is easier to be the best commander in any situation involving similar type minds.  

“Of course logic dictates, and we suspect, there are alien minds in the universe far more advanced than our own.  I have not met any, as yet, at least that I have been able to become aware of as such, but then we haven’t gone very far within our own galaxy, and what we have we spend most of our time fighting over and consolidating. Soon, I swear, I’m going to break through the imposed blockade and go exploring. We’ll talk about that, hm?”

Thane shakes his head affirmatively and suddenly the floor seems to rush up to meet them.  The open corkscrew contraption is what passes as elevators on much of Pallarti and because of its lesser gravity no one gets really hurt, even if they fall off.  They are propelled upward and with a quick lean, jump on a rotating platform. Zelleus grabs the boy’s shoulder to steady him and propels him headlong through an opening in a stone wall. He jumps off on the second turn of the platform and they are in the town’s industrial area, not far from the space dock that remains partially obscured by yellow fog, a combination of sea fog, smog and pre-dawn coloring.  

The sun is just rising, chasing Pallarti’s large yellow moon from the sky, and all remains quiet.  Zelleus, taking his long strides towards the dock, locates a burning garbage barrel on the way and points.  Thane following behind with some difficulty, having to run and walk, run and walk, throws his bundle of rags in the barrel.  He cannot help but look apprehensively as the bundle catches fire and begins to smoke. Then he runs after his captain.

At the edge of the space port, Zelleus stops and sends a coded signal.  Various sensors come to life, marking a safe path of intermittent flashes for him and the boy to walk through in single file.  

“Run! We have less than six minutes to cover the distance.  Run!” A test, of course. They have enough time to walk it, but he wants to see Thane’s reaction.  The boy runs fast and was about to pass Zelleus who firmly holds him back.  “OK Thane. That’s fast enough.  You cannot pass me or you will be blown to bits.  Stay behind me.  When we get to the checkpoint, I’ll sign you in.”

“Yes Zelleus.  Thank you.”

“Now you must call me captain.  See how things shift? How you have to adapt, moment by moment to those shifts, or changes? Always be ready to respond to the unexpected. Saves your life, but more, makes it that much more fascinating.  It’s what you don’t know but your mind suspects that makes life worthwhile, Thane, for that is what you want to know.”

As they jog along the marked path, Zelleus continues his explanations.  “And one more thing: no matter how difficult life becomes never allow yourself the false comfort of feeling sorry for yourself. Remember that life never feels sorry for itself: it just goes on and if it can’t go over, it goes under, or it piles up until it overflows, but it continues.  What to us appears to die is simply life changing forms, always changing.  Are you alive Thane?  Do you want to be a full partner with life? In life? Then you must prove that to yourself day after day, moment by moment.  You must.” 

Zelleus clears his new crew member through security with a hastily concocted family history linked to the great houses.  Such a one, however strange or distant the relationship, would get consideration and quick approval in most docking facilities, or in encounters with patrol ships.  During the questioning and registration Thane remains absolutely silent, observing his surroundings and Zelleus’ performance wide-eyed and disbelieving.  How easy it seems for Zelleus to fool the security agents, their droids and their computers! This violates everything Thane had been led to believe about the mental superiority and power of these people.  Yes, he feels he is losing himself in Zelleus’ wake.  But though he is afraid, he does not mind. This crazy, radical change represents the greatest hope he’s ever known.  And soon to actually step aboard a starship? Not as a work slave but as crew?  And to have a powerful protector.  Do what you’re told? He can do that.  It’s how he survived until now.

He sees the battered Blue Dragon surrounded by a brilliant mantle of light emanating from the ceiling of the great hangar.  Argonium gas, spread thinly over the plasteel and fired from fusion-driven generators built deep below Pallarti’s hard rocky mantle glows like cool sunlight over the whole place leaving hardly a shadow anywhere. Working droids on hydraulic scaffolds and on “giraffes” — long slim cranes arching gracefully over the ship — equipped with sensors, test the integrity of the hull or float along the skin in a zero-g field, patching the ship’s skin as they go, leaving a smooth, gleaming surface in their wake.  

She may be old and battered but to Thane she is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.  He feels tears coming on and wipes his eyes.   This beautiful blue starship, in a few minutes, would become his home, the only real home he’s ever known.  

He hesitantly breaks into Zelleus’ silence as the tall dark man also surveys the craft, but not with any emotional or romantic attachment.  He watches the droids, knowing how much each move is costing him and not trusting to their programming.  One mistake and he can bargain the contractor down a full ten percent.   ‘Come on you bastards, make a mistake,’ he  thinks to himself, smiling.  Ten percent: enough for a full load of fuel for the massive torch drive.  

“Sorry captain, but is it possible to go aboard now?”

“You’d go aboard with all that noise and vibration? Any idea what that sounds like in there?  I have a private suite reserved in the living quarters.  Wouldn’t you rather go there?”

“No captain.  I’m afraid you’ll change your mind and send me back.  I think if I were on board, found my berth, settled in, then I’d be sure to launch with you.  I cannot go back there.”  And he points to the city beyond the hangar’s walls.

“Fear huh? Well, that’s a good thing.  You aren’t cocky.  I hate cocky bastards.  Now listen good Thane.  I’m a man of my word.  I will repeat only this once: you are now ship’s boy.  You are a full crew member, part of a necessary complement.  I need you on this next trip, boy.  Now listen to this also: This is the last time I’m calling you “boy” understand? To the crew of the Blue Dragon including myself, you are Thane.  You are no longer a homeless waif.  I entered your “pedigree” in the computers as the bastard son of a member, to remain anonymous of course, of the Van Dradden family.  You will be known as Thane Van Dradden.  Learn that name well.  It is yours. Once we are in space I will code in all necessary information so that when we dock again you will be in the computers as Thane Van Dradden for all to see. . .  and weep over, hah!”  Zelleus clicks his tongue in a satisfied way.   

Thane goes to answer but Zelleus cuts him short, “Not now, not yet.  I want you to get to know me, my crew, my ship and my purpose before you decide to thank me for this particular heavy intrusion into your life.  One more thing: not a word of this subterfuge to anyone, understood? You are Thane Van Dradden, rebel son, who chose to sail with the Blue Dragon in search of adventure.  You paid me a very substantial sum of money for the privilege to serve aboard this ship.  That’s the story.”  

“Yes captain.  Is it proper for a crew member to thank one’s captain even if others may overhear?”

“Yes Thane, that it is.  And a good question, to boot.”

“Thank you sir.  I will serve you. . .  and if I have questions sir, I will ask them.”

Zelleus watches him as he turns once more to the ship and eyes it hungrily.  Oh well, if he wants to be inside the drum while it is being played, let him. ­­

  1. Flasher: local jargon for Pallarti (local) currency, coins or cubes of steel or plasteel in various denominations strictly for exchanges planet-side. 

[end 3rd instalment]

Conundrum: To be in the World but not of the World – an essay

(I got a request to speak of “partials” and I found the following.  While it doesn’t actually explain the concept, it does show some of what understanding “partials” means.)

                     [thoughts from     ~burning woman~     by Sha’Tara]

There is a necessary realization all those who aspire to rise above the common tic-toc life must make, and that is, in order to rise above, one must first be ‘of’ it, or at least of a part of it. You cannot [spiritually, mentally or even physically] rise above, or for that matter plunge below, something you are not a part of.

In Buddhist philosophy, the Earthian being is made up of countless fragments of different souls. Having determined that ‘soul’ is not the proper term to use (a ‘soul’ is nothing more than an implant used by the Time Lords’ bureaucracy to program and re-program the Earthian at will) we1 simplify the philosophy by using the more correct term: mind. Our mind is who we are as individuals, not spirit and not the body.   This mind is a complex entity indeed, but to return to the original thought, it is in the mind that an individual sees its reality, observes and analyzes, and decides which thought to follow through, either in spirit or in body. For clarity only, not in disparagement, think of spirit as “up” and body as “down”.

This mind is all the more complex because in it exist, in part, many other entities, attracted there through our endless thirst for self-awareness.   The ‘fragment of souls’ of Buddhist thought in our understanding becomes, more simply, ‘partials’ of the individual.   Our mind contains many thoughts, or parts of thoughts, not our own. When we enter into a belief system, for example, we allow something ‘alien’ to enter in, and take control of, our own mind. Often that alien entity is permitted to take over completely and the individual is changed, becomes something other than it was known to be.   This is seen regularly in those who become religious, or plunge into destructive addictions. In Christian parlance the ‘down’ aspect is often referred to as demon possession. Interestingly, the ‘up’ aspect is not referred to as the God possession, yet that is exactly what it is. When an alien ‘partial’ takes over the individual, for a time, or for the duration of its life, it loses its free will.

As difficult as the subject of ‘partials’ appears to be—not because it is new but because it uses different and a more accurate terminology than previously used in organized religion—it is not so onerous a concept. It can be simplified simply by ignoring the more temporary aspects of it and concentrating on those that appear to have more permanence in the mind. Basically then, we are not the sum total of what our minds contain, but more accurately those aspects that have permanence there.

I think this is where my original idea of the conundrum can be ‘explained’.

First I eliminate all “partials” (thinking patterns and ideas not yet absorbed, not yet become ‘me’) and decide who I am, not in relation to, but in comparison to, basically everything else. I must separate myself from my reality, or realities to give myself an identity. An identifiable identity other than, separate from, any other identity. I must ‘dispossess’ myself entirely of everything that isn’t the ‘me’ that exists in that moment. I must, in that moment, taste the dregs of emptiness and aloneness, face the great and frightening void as the only ‘thing’ extant in the cosmos. Obviously, this is done in a state of complete clarity: no outside influence (including and especially that of God or any other spirit entity), no crutch (such as a meditative state brought on by chanting, or music) and no drugs.

Only when I see myself thus I can know who I am. Only thus can I understand the concept of free will. Only from this exercise can self-empowerment mean anything at all and ultimately all these discussions are aimed at explaining and understanding self-empowerment because at our stage of development only through self-empowerment can we hope to finally overcome the terror, the dreadful meaninglessness, the emptiness, the fear and attendant foolishness that accompanies Earthian life, admitted or denied. No one can be truly said to be ‘born again’ until they individually, willingly, and alone, pass this test.

Fine, and let’s say you pass this test—you’ll know if you did, no worries—what next? Well, you’re still here. You have changed, but nothing else has, nor is it going to. Now you look at your world from a heightened clarity of vision.   You know you are spirit, that you are a mind which possesses a physical body and you live on a physical world with which you must interact, for better or worse. You become aware of your place in it, as well as your non-place outside of it.   You reconnect with your temporarily banned partial aspects. You reconnect with your body and its needs and desires.  

Resultant conundrum: now you realize you are in the world but not of the world. The common needs, the common desires, the hopes, the faith, the dreams as well as the despair and emptiness of the common body politic are no longer yours simply because they are totally yours. Nothing matters ‘here’ or even ‘there’ because you created your own reality, your own universe, your own cosmos and if in wisdom you created these from/of compassion, you have empowered yourself to enter into the world or worlds to serve, and having no great needs of your own, no driving desires to be fulfilled, you can abandon yourself to the task of, at best, helping others make the same leap to their own realization, or at least, helping them die peacefully.

  1. Note: I use ‘we’ in this instance to remind readers that some of the ideas expressed are from a world of empaths where I also exist. In that place, we share all things and any idea or thought, however original it appears, is credited to all. ‘We’ think, speak and act as one—by nature, and volitionally, never by force. The wisdom of the *Altarians comes from their willingness to work as one Mind. ‘I’ always changes to mean ‘we’. One’s breakthrough is everyone’s.   One’s mistake or sin is everyone’s.  
  1. *Altarians:  Entities (people) from a world known to me as Altaria which exists in what the Teachers call “the Nexus” or non-place between universes.  Altaria is a teaching and training world for “Avatars” of compassion, of prophets, healers, instructors, teachers, way-showers, guides and observers who, upon successful completion of certain tasks are then sent out into “worlds” to do what they trained to do.  This world has seen quite a number of them, and martyred most. 

 

Introduction to “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish” by Douglas Adams

The following is the introduction to the book, “So long, and thanks for all the fish”  by Douglas Adams

== Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable  end  of the  western  spiral  arm  of  the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. 

Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two  million  miles is  an  utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape- descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that  they  still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. 

This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of  the  people  on  it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were  largely  concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t  the  small green pieces of paper that were unhappy. 

And so the problem remained; lots of the people  were  mean,  and most of them were miserable, even the ones with digital watches. 

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a  big mistake  in  coming  down  from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move,  and  that  no one should ever have left the oceans. 

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after  one  man had  been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on  her  own  in  a small  cafe  in  Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how  the world  could  be  made  a  good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would  have  to  get  nailed  to anything. 

Sadly, however, before she could get to a phone  to  tell  anyone about  it,  a  terribly stupid catastrophe occurred, and the idea was lost forever. 

This is her story.

 

The Letter

“A lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth.” —Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

A short story,   by Sha’Tara 

       She ran across the freshly ploughed field, bare feet digging in soft loam, long dress held up with one hand, the other waving a yellow envelope as she jumped uneven furrows.

     “Samuel, Samuel!”

    The team stopped and the man waited, leaning on the arms of the plough, sweat pouring down his dirt-streaked face and opened homespun shirt.

     “A letter from Timmy…! she cried, breathless from her race across the rough ground.

     “Now, easy, woman. How d’you know it’s from the boy?” he answered cautiously in a soft drawl.

     “I jes’ know! Please, Sam, let’s go have it read!” Her eyes danced with excitement.”

     “Now, Susanna? Ya know the preacher’s on his rounds and teacher’s off for the summer… and the notary charges for readings.”

     “Please, I’ve got to know how he’s doin’! Please?”

     He sighed heavily and looked up for a moment: “Alright, woman, we’ll go. Hitch up the gelding. I’ll bring these in and feed ’em. Reckon the ploughin’ can wait one more day.”

     As they rode their battered surrey into town, she tried to imagine the contents of the letter, all the things her son would be doing and seeing. Even though the war was raging, he’d have seen the mansions with their armies of servants, the women in their pretty getups, maybe even been to some fancy do… “I jes’ hope he ain’t fallen for none of them fancy types. Who knows with young un’s away from home so long? Two years, three months and nineteen days…”

     She was jolted from her dreaming when the rig stopped in front of the notary’s office. They went in, Susanna holding herself shyly, a distance behind Sam. They waited patiently until the rotund man sitting at a desk, a shade on his balding head, stopped shuffling the pages of a paper, took a cigar from his mouth, blowing the smoke to the low ceiling, and nodded for them to approach.

     “Can I help you folks?” He had studied them and smirked inwardly. He already knew what they wanted by the envelope the woman was now holding tightly to her breast. He savored the momentary power their ignorance and threadbare poverty allowed him.

     “We need a letter read, sir.” Sam said, matter of factly.

     “Sure, no problem.” He snapped his fingers, “You got the two-bits?”

     “Two-bits? Ain’t that a heap o’ money for a readin’?” The farmer was incredulous.

     “‘Tis the goin’ rate these days, folks, what with the war on an’ all.”

     “Look, please, Mr. Raines” she came forward, daring to interrupt, holding out the letter to him, “it’s a letter from my son in the army, sir, from the war, an’ I jes’ want to know what it says… please?”

     Pushing out his chair, placing his feet on the desk and looking past her at a rider on the street, he answered arrogantly, “This here’s a business, ma’am. Gotta have money to make it run. If I read your letter for nothin’ everyone’d want the same priv’lege an’ I’d be outta business, see?”

     “Please…” she hesitated briefly, then tried again, “would you take some eggs, or milk, or a chicken, maybe?”

     “Didn’t you read my sign? ‘Course not, you cain’t read! Look at these here big letters” -he struggled his bulk out of the swivel chair, stood up and poked viciously at the sign on his desk, then slammed his fist down -“How many times do I have to tell you people the same thing? NO PAYMENT IN KIND ACCEPTED. That means, cash, understand? Good day!”

     He went back to his chair, relit his cigar and exhaled with extra satisfaction. He flicked open his paper with a noncha­lant gesture, ignoring Sam and Susanna who turned and left the office, the droop of their shoulders accented by another of life’s endless defeats.

     “I tried to tell you, woman” Sam said to her, not unsympathetically, as he helped her into the rig. “Edjicashun cos’s money and Ben’s edjicated and we’re jes’ dumb farmers. Like preacher says, we gotta accept this from the Lord an’ not go put on airs. Jus’ wait ’til Timmy returns and he’ll read us the letter. By the look o’ that envelope, I reckon it’s a mighty fine letter.”

     Moved by her silent, bitter tears, he reached for her with his large, calloused hand and brought her close to himself, flicking the reins with his free hand. She turned her face to him for a moment, then leaned against him, holding the letter between them.

     She rode the rest of the way silently, crushed by her ignor­ance and shamed at having taken Sam from his work.  Approach­ing their homestead in the early fall twilight, she did not experience the usual sense of happiness and security which the sight always gave her. She could not articulate the deep sadness which held her as she disembarked and entered the shack.

     She placed the letter on the small wall shelf above the table, next to the Bible and the faded blue ribbon Timmy had won at school in a spelling bee.

     Sometimes, on sleepless nights, Susanna would take the letter and hold it tenderly, visualizing her son standing by her side. She saw his green eyes sparkle as her hand went through his unruly reddish hair, his freckled face open in that special smile he had always kept for her alone. She would cry a little, then put it back. She never again dared to have it opened and read, although the preacher passed through several times, and the schoolmarm returned for another year.

     Rumors that the war had ended began to circulate through the county, but it was only when some of the boys returned and Timmy did not, nor send any more letters, that Samuel realized he had not written the letter and that Susanna had always known.