About Me

My photo
I am nothing. I am a single grain of sand amongst billions. I am a single voice within a crowd. I am human, I am god, I am here, and this is what I have to say:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Original Work Update---A Dismal Place

I'm not going to say much about this next piece first except that it is fairly old and never became anything more than a first draft. I had written it years ago with the intention of making it quite a bit longer story of a story. I really wanted to make sure the analogy, I was trying to make got hammered home, but it was a project that just didn't ever seem worth finishing. Interestingly enough, looking back at it now I think, despite a bit of an abrupt ending, it might have worked at showing what I was trying to accomplish, but it is hard to judge that for one's self.

I awoke to find myself no longer surrounded by the comforts of pillow and down but upon a bed of leaves and sand so dry and course it scratched my skin. Looking up wearily, a gloomy sky dressed in shades of black and gray loomed above me. I heard a tremble in the air, and in the distance there was a bright, white flash, but it was quickly gone even before I might blink. Sweat dripped from my hair and ran down my shirtless back. The air was painful to breathe, each breath came thick and raspy. The heat and humidity was unbearable.
Rain began to fall, slowly at first, but soon became a downpour. The drops felt unnaturally warm and brought no comfort as they beat upon me savagely. Weariness was quickly washed away and I looked around wide eyed, slowly.
The sights I took in made me jerk my ahead away and cover my eyes, but eventually I forced myself to look. I saw a beach, discolored and polluted. The sands were black and gray, thick, and rough. The waters were even darker still. Life, in various stages of death washed, or crawled, upon the shores in a vain attempt to escape the black waters. The pungent stench of oil wafted into my nostrils and I tried desperately to cover my nose.
There was no sun, no moon. No stars in the sky, but everything was cast in a grayish light like the color of fog. It was then that I noticed the wings, feathery and black, that were attached to my back, and I regarded them with no more attention then I would give my arms. Just as easily as I might have walked I flew, small and obsolete, in an infinite world of black and gray. I left the decaying beach behind me and flew over the waters. However, I could not escape the smell or the sight of the dying creatures that had embedded themselves into my eyes no matter how far I left that land behind.
The only thing above me was the constant rain and the dark, cloudless sky. Below, the waters churned and swirled, threatening to devour me. I flew higher straight up, allowing the rain to pelt my face, and further awaken my senses. My eyes stretched from horizon to horizon, and drowned in the heavy sky above and the deadly oil below. I wondered when and how I had come to such a dismal place as this and tried to remember where I went astray. I could recall nothing. My face turned up to the sky, eyes wide open, welcoming the painful drops to wash away my tears,
I tried to convince myself that I had not always been here. That it was not by any cruel fate, but by my own accord that I was confined in such a state. I could not believe it. I saw no way in and no way out. The thick, black waters continued to bubble and froth below me. There I could see my way out. It would be simple to let myself drop, I realized. To allow myself to be swallowed by the dark water. Yet, even as I contemplated that final plummet, the rains slowed, and finally stopped. Above me stretched from behind its blanket the warmth of the sun. Just a glimpse, peering out and sharing its rays, but it was enough. My vision was drawn suddenly, to a great white heron, its wings spread, and slicing through the air, speeding away from me.
Immediately, I set off in pursuit of that white heron. The sun's rays warming to my flesh I followed as quickly as I could, but it's majestic wings far outreached mine of borrowed feathers and wax and soon it was a white speck in the murky distance. I flew in that direction for as long as I could, out over the open waters that were below me. It was sometime, before I realized that looking down in the waters below, I saw reflected above me, the blinding beauty of the sun in all it's glory, and bright blue skies above. Even the pungent waters below that had before been death, now seemed clear and still.
I was hot, and my body was weary, but still I flew after the bird that had brought me hope. As my wings began to falter I saw an island, lush with life and trees. Untouched by anything that would destroy such beauty, and I was awed. I collapsed there on it's white sand beach to catch my breath. The wings that had once held me so distant above the ground blew gently from my back, in a passing breeze. And for the first time in what I thought an eternity I fell asleep.
There is no way of knowing how long I had slept, but when at last the warmth of the sun aroused me from my slumber, I sat up slowly, and stretched my body, feeling alive as if for the first time. I blinked and took a deep breath, enjoying the air passing through my lungs for no other reason but that I wanted to enjoy. A
blanket had been lifted from my eyes and looking around I saw now the same landscape that had once been bleak, cold, and dreary. What had changed? What had changed in such a short period of time that what was before death was now too pristine for words? What had happened to cause this change?
I stood upon the beach peering into the forest, thinking of my white heron and contemplating this. At length I realized my sadness, even here amongst so much beauty. Sad, because the heron had slipped from me. I could not push aside it's majestic beauty piercing my darkness and offering me hope, when I had none and so it's purity drove me. I set forth further into this paradise, with a single goal: to find this heron and learn from it. To become it, if I may, or to become as close a creature to it as I possibly could.
For hours I searched but to no prevail. I swam around shimmering rocks with water dancing over them as I searched one pool after another, or behind one tree and than another. There was nothing, but still I could not get the sight of my heron away from my eyes.
I searched the entire island to find myself back where I had landed and then I searched the island again.
Now, despair had set upon me and the same beauty in this paradise that had sparked in me awe, now only reminded me of how lonely I was. I did not realize that I was beginning to lose sight of the beauty around, only for the beauty in my mind. I collapsed upon a rock that sat in the midst of a stream that ran through this place.
The waters turned black and thick and swirled around me, but I never saw them change. One second things were beautiful, and the next the fog returned and everything had gone back to gray. I could hear thunder roaming in the sky above.
It was than in my despair and loneliness that a fairy appeared before me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear, it was keen to me, for reasons I knew not why, and it promised me wealth and riches and happiness if I would only come along with it.
It calmed the black waters around me and made them blue again and promised that it could stave off the rain. My heart was heavy, but the world the fairy offered was far better than the black. Reluctantly, I agreed to go with it. I had forgotten my white heron.

So I ask, what do you think? Is this too subtle, or does it suffer from being way too painfully obvious? Or something else entirely? Or would you like to discuss todays weather? As always, all comments are welcome.


PrettySiren said...

I like it. As always, I dig the vivid descriptions, which is a true gift indeed. It's hard to show the reader what you see, without telling them, and without droning on ridiculously.

But you -- you've got a knack for descriptions. I enjoyed it!

Carol said...

I think the abrupt ending works well in this case and I am not usually a fan of such endings. I don't think this is too subtle or too obvious. Your descriptions are wonderful and the story itself leaves room for the reader's own interpretation of what you mean which draws the reader in & makes the story personal & personally emotional.

AmberInGlass said...

Wow, thank you both for the compliments. I'm actually really surprised. I truly did not expect anyone to enjoy this one. To me, it just feels like the story is severely lacking and I feel like I did a poor job at trying to portray exactly what I wanted.

Obviously, the story is pretty symbolic and I feel like maybe I could have presented them better. I wonder if my negative feelings towards this one has anything to do with the fact I still have the rest of the intended story mapped out in my head.

I'll probably never, know, but I'm really glad that it could be found personable to be read this way.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Carol.

Thank you very much Carrie, for the awesome compliment about the descriptions. Everytime I write something, the biggest question on my mind is "how are my descriptions and detail?" I always try to show what I have pictured in my mind, but I can never tell if the end result actually works for others or not, and it is really nice to hear that it is!

jill said...

If I make a public request about what the white heron symbolizes to you, will I have more luck getting an answer?

AmberInGlass said...

Noooo, Jillian. That would ruin the beauty of it. It might mean something to me that means something totally different to somebody else.

Think Joyce Carol Oates "Where are you going, Where Have You Been?" Except I have no where near her talent at using symbology. Here's a link to the short story, if anyone hasn't read it, I would say you definitly should. http://jco.usfca.edu/works/wgoing/text.html

All that matters in the case of my story is that it means something. If it doesn't mean anything to you then, I failed to relate it to you, and that's okay. All that means is I'll have to try harder next time I attempt to do something like this again and write better.