The Ray Bradbury Challenge: Week 1

If you remember my post last week, I decided to out do myself on the road to abject failure and picked up another challenge. Since the first week now comes to a close, I find myself with a mind beginning to work again. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the rough, violent movement of boiling water but more the slow, sluggish bubble of sludge from which the odd air bubble eventually escapes. I have struggled with writing. Real life and inner brain have conspired together to allow a spiral of low energy and low mental health but still, I eventually managed to shit out something. Whether it’s any good or not remains to be seen. So, without further ado…

Onwards, Intrepid Hero…

What I wrote:

The point of this was to write outside my comfort zones, so I decided to use plot and genre prompts, courtesy of Springhole. Here’s how it went.

The Story: The Mourning of the Hunt

The Genre: Historical Fantasy

The Plot: On Halloween Night, an insane man, a gamer, and a programmer transform a strange creature into the bones of a werewolf hunter using a strange board game, a missing episode, and a remote control.

What I read:

Wednesday (day 1):
  • Short Story: Sunwake, in the Lands of Teeth by Juliette Wade. – Odd. Took me awhile to wrap my head around it, but actually really fun to read- humans take a backdrop against a war between the Aurrel and Hnnwan on a planet nothing like Earth. The heart of the story is a grizzled general trying to reconnect with friends and stay alive in a rich backdrop that I definitely want to read more about. I’ll be hunting down more of Wade’s work. Definitely recommend this be read.
  • Essay: Julia Blackburn – Sleuthing for Napoeon’s Ghost (1/5) from BBC3’s The Essay – This has a giant tortoise called Johnathan. This pretty much guarantees I’m listening to it again. Also it’s a rather posh Limey lady going to France to find Napoleon’s ghost. I can’t complain at all.
  • Poem: The Fall of 1992 by Randall Mann – Honestly, I’m not sure what I think of this one. I’ve listened to it and read it a couple of times now. It’s certainly evocative- I can imagine the gnats and the humidity of the rains, but there’s an undercurrent of (maybe?) crushed hope that I can’t quite put my finger on. The preamble gives context which is helpful. I still need to listen/read it a couple more times to make up my mind.
Thursday (day 2):
  • Short Story: The Sound of by Charles Payseur – Creepy. Not in a scary sort of way, but the encroaching interferance of authority and the constant knowledge of being watched… it creeps me out. For me personally, the Sound almost takes a backdrop even though it’s the last bastion of freedom. Accepting it is absolving the self of responsibility and autonomy and that is a huge no for me. Highly recommended.
  • Essay: Andrea Stuart: Josephine (Napoleon 2/5 from BBC3’s The Essay) – Something of a closer look into the wife of Napoleon. I enjoyed this one; learning something new.
  • Poem: From summer, somewhere by Danez Smith – Evocative and emotional, and a glimpse into a life of experiences completely alien to my own. Much better listened to than read.
Friday (day 3):
  • Short Story: Black, Their Regalia by Darcie Little Badger – Aspects of Native American culture, goths, the supernatural and a plague ridden apocalypse. There’s a lot packed into this short story. It focuses on the characters rather than the surroundings- giving just enough detail to ground the story. I think this story would have benefited from being a touch longer, as the resolution is a little sudden, but aside from that I really enjoyed it.
  • Essay: Adam Nicolson: On living with his father (Napoleon 3/5 from BBC3’s The Essay)
  • Poem: Black Map by Bei Dao – Strangely maudlin Not exactly a fun read but worth reading nonetheless.
Saturday (day 4):
Sunday (day 5):
  • Short Story: A Prince of Thirteen Days by Alaya Dawn Johnson – I love this story. Absolutely love it. I spent the first part confused about whether the people were human or not, but everything is explained at the end and everything resolves itself. It’s really a lovely half coming-of-age half fairy story and I love it!
  • Essay: Je suis un Table by Ian Sansom from BBC3’s The Essay – An exploration of the literary, philosophical and cultural history of the table.
  • Poem: Call it Music by Philip Levine – (2 pages)
Monday (day 6):
  • Short Story: The Pragmatical Princess by Nisi Shawl – A highly intelligent, somewhat rebellious Princess, a father set on a course of conquest and colonisation, and a dragon watching after his own health. This- this was not at all what I expected and it was wonderful. HIGHLY recommended.
  • Essay: Homage to Caledonia: Scots Abroad by A L Kennedy (from BBC3’s The Essay) – What is Scottishness and what it means to her. Featuring tartan, a kilt and a sense of identity.
  • Poem: 1, 1, 2000 by Philip Levine
Tuesday (day 7):
  • Short Story: The Dryad’s Show by T Kingfisher – Aww! This is such a sweet little story It’s a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s adorable. It has a tlaking bird and gardening. I fucking love gardening, and Hannah is filled with righteous ire when her seed beds are trampled.
  • Essay: Homage to Caledonia: Morality & Misery (from BBC3’s The Essay) –
  • Poem: 1-800-FEAR by Jody Gladding – No punctuation. The bane of my life. It took me a few go throughs to find the rhythm. It’s an interesting thought- door to door evangelists talking about fear. Makes a change from Jesus.

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