Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ground Rules

Do not be coaxed into a plot too soon.
There is a danger in a plot.
Nor should you be coaxed into character.
Once you create a character they require a lot of attention.
Right now there is enough.
There is the narrator.
There is the reader.
Both surreal to the other.
Both important in this dance.
So when I tell you the story that I'm going to unfold just keep in mind
None of it's real at all.
Think how a narrator never experienced anything.
Think how a reader experiences something all their own.
Together we will look for the first time at this particular set of circumstances.
They may or may not lead to a story.

Setting: New York, 9999CE

As you can see there are no characters around whatsoever. There are many different animals, those that walk on four legs, insects, birds, but no people. The remains of great monuments and feats of construction have given way to the earth's apparent immortality and thick vegetation has taken hold of the concrete. The whole sprawling metropolis of the east coast is a playground for the descendants of elk, and foxes, and osprey.

Our species can never have really hoped to accomplish anything truly monumental (in a world as precious and balanced as ours what monument could represent insignificant little us?). Then look at the stars, their infinite complexity to the power of possibility. How can anything on its own , even the earth, ever be given a special place?

When I speak of time (especially since we're taking a tour of 9999CE) I must think of it in terms of the earth, and space, and the mystery. It's all a matter of time, and, more specifically, the scope of time.

We've also got to think of location. I visited here on a holiday I took back in 9999BCE and I've got to say that it looked pretty similar. I just guess it's lucky that I visited both in warm patches, because if you've got a cold spell going on it's best to just get right back in the phone booth. Once when I visited Okinawa, or should I say where Okinawa was to one day be, it was so frigging cold that the words froze in mid sentence right there on the page.

Again though, New York is much the same as my pre-history visit, but with a few differences. Look to the east there and you can see some odd shaped hills that resemble a game of Tetris gone terribly wrong. If we got down closer you'd see the ocean surging through the farthest archways of what was the greatest city when the crest of man's wave broke and washed back out to sea.

7 comments: said...


Hi. Your have really shone a light into this dark cave.
I've been obsessed over plot and character pretty well half my life.

Quality blog!

Jon said...

Thanks for stopping by and for your compliment, though I'm not sure whether all I do most of the time is further obscure things that seemed clear. I'm a fan of your blog and the characters and plots you post there... catch up with you again soon.

Harlequin said...

this is quite intriguing and innovative... especially how you move into different shapes of words as you move into different times and spaces/places, and all this while taking up these givens about plot and character... I hope you keep this going...

I liked the phrase about getting back in the phone booth... a great visual and especially so with the accompanying cold

also really like the way your blog looks ( as well as how it sounds, reads, feels....)

Devin said...

I couldn't agree with the other commenters here more Jon! What a wonderful blog and story ideas/places/times/characters! Thanks so very much for visiting me at my history blog-I knew when I started that one it wouldn't get very many comments because people aren't overall interested in history as a rule-or so it seems to me. I will try to get caught up here on your work in between things-I am going to put this blog on my "main" blogs page -until a year ago I never envisioned having one blog much less 3 now!
I think you also have a beautiful template for this. I would like to try a different style template for at least one of my blogs-but someone told me it isn't that easy. I am pretty much a techno-moron so that put me out of the running! some might say i am an all around moron but hopefully not my friends!
Beautiful blog and words indeed here -in fact I am going to put your blog on my "great links" section where Ivan's blog is at My Favorite Monsters.
I hope to be back again very soon and again thanks so much for visiting "Dev's ?s"
all the best to you!!

Escapist said...

Ah...that was very different.. kind of post for my day have got the post up beautifully to explain certain things...


P.S:- Thnkx for linking my blog...

christopher said...

You must have meant Okinawa where it was then even though the ice was on it, a modestly different location from however many years later. Plate tectonics matters when you get more distant on the timeline. I always get confused and want a book explicitly on continental drift so I can track things. Dinosaurs in the mid west. Only it wasn't the mid west when they were there. South America really did fit against Africa but in those days both were disconnected from Europe and the Alps did not yet exist.

Like I said, it's hard to keep track. Okinawa is an outrigger and near where the Pacific Plate dives down into the Mariana Trench. I assume that the Plates west of the trench are changing too under that pressure. Down by Indonesia over the hump is the most active movement zone on the planet, why earthquake maps tend to center there. The India Plate is still moving northward and the Himalayas are still growing.

But down under, the Australian Plate is the least active oldest stable place on the planet. Rocks are in general far older in Australia than anywhere else because these movements slowly turn everything under and new rock appears everywhere else.

One day the fires in the center will cool down and the tectonics will stop. The world will die then, and turn into something like Mars. After that things will freeze in place.

Jon said...

Like how you picked up on the Dr. Who and Bill and Ted phone booth... I always wanted to get me one of those so that I could just drip in and out of time/place. Thanks for your comment.

Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked this post and the blending. And you must have been having a kind of surreal day if this resonates on that level! Welcome to the twilight zone. ;)

You've just given me an inspiration for a revamped version of this post.It didn't cross my mind before, but what you say is correct... 10000 years is not such a long time, but definitely long enough for this kind of change.
(I'm told that the island on the east coast of Canada that I'm from was once connected to Africa!)
I'm quite interested in geology and think that I'll go and do some reading now.
Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope to see you in cyberspace again soon.