The Farmer's Night - a Poem

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The Farmer's Night - a Poem

Been a while since I posted here! I owe you all an ode, but for now, this little poem popped into my head, and I wanted to share. Enjoy :)

The Farmer's Night

Sitting in the open barn door
Looking out as evening settles
For once, everything is done
Alone
The light is golden
The smell of green and fertile, virile all around
It might all go to shit
But all is good for now
All is calm
He can't cry
The pain pours through him like the years flow through him
Turning and twisting features beyond recognition
But untouching of the calm inner core
A glass of whiskey on the folding table beside his busted chair
A birthday present - the drink, not the mangled furniture
From a friend with no sense for practicalities
Barely touched
He won't drown himself in it, as some men do
Just wants to feel the burn of it, bursting and crackling on his tongue
Wants to feel something
Those other men, they feel the pain too fiercely, and
Must drink to dull the horror
For him it flows right on by
No more lasting than an eddy in the nearby creek
He must have felt it, once upon a time
The burst and crackle of a passion not yet burnt away by too many droughts
Carved away by too many floods
Eaten away by too many pests
In the eyes of a woman who bore him five strong sons
Before the unrelenting blunt edge of it all wore her away to nothing
Snapping grey eyes, eyes that danced,
Once upon a time
He couldn't even feel for her now
Even if her warm hands were more than just a memory
The edges of the fingers he used to use to grasp at something,
Anything
With meaning
Worn away by work and time
Worn to the nub
Worn to the bone
Worn
Nothing now but dust and time
Too much of one
Little enough of the other
And the cricket song and smell of grass on a fine summer night

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Mechalarum Page-a-Day: Page 32 - Not Very Science

I knew the first book I published had to be science fiction - or at least, science fiction-ish. General fiction was too constricting for me, and though I love reading fantasy, I knew I wouldn't let myself get away with not having some basis in "reality."

I love science shows, I've read quite a few "how things work" books, and the Internet is only a quick click away if I have questions. Then again, I'm not an aerospace engineer, biologist, computer scientist, or mechanic by any stretch of the imagination. I've done my best to explain things without having to employ a full-time fact-checking staff, and certainly taken liberties here and there.

I also have to deal with a heavy dose of wild, baseless, unrelenting hope. Sure, it seems like with our current technologies we may never reach the stars, but maybe, just maybe, some wild leap in scientific understanding will lead to a breakthrough that we never could have expected. So for those who might say "science doesn't work that way," I say - not yet :)

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Mechalarum Page-a-Day: Page 31 - Relating to Technology

Science fiction can very easily overcomplicate itself in terms of technology. It's just so exciting to explore new technological ideas!

Technology is never, actually, complicated. The only thing that keeps us from understanding it is the language and conceptual models used to describe it.

Kiellen and Tash are interacting with an amazing complex piece of technology and doing something that no human on Earth can, at this time, do. Painting the act with recognizable words such as "pattern" and "dance" can bring us a bit closer to something that would otherwise be out of our grasp.

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Mechalarum Page-a-Day: Page 30 - Playfulness

Any novel that doesn't plumb something of the depths of human emotions isn't worth the paper - or pixels - it's written on. Perfectly okay to do it in a subtle way, or to explore something light like laughter or wistfulness, but without some sort of meat, there's just nothing to sink your teeth into.

At the same time, plunging straight from heavy emotional moment to heavy emotional moment can quickly tire and bore readers. If ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING IN THE STORY IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE, there's no break, no mental "period" at the end of a sentence of feeling.

The best stories follow a roller-coaster course from levity to darkness. Even a brief moment of humor can put the serious action before and after it in perspective - or starker relief.

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Mechalarum Page-a-Day: Page 29 - Character Sketch

Not every character gets the full 50 years future-and-history treatment. Some are there just to act as foils or devices. It's still important to leave room for them to grow, in case they end up playing a larger role at a later time. But we don't have to really get to "know" everyone.

That being said, a few broad strokes - an argument, a haughty attitude - can go a long way.

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