Last week’s upgrade to week long theme’s worked out pretty well considering what I did with the rest of my days that week. At first I wasn’t sure how to select this week’s theme. The theme seems to have picked me. My stats show that someone read “Scars Played Like Music“. When I saw this I wondered what the hell I wrote that day and re-read it. Looks good and might be hard to follow-up, but I’ll give it a shot.
For you convenience I’ll quote the whole 280 words:
Jansa closes her eyes to better inhale the music. Listeners talk of letting the notes flow over them like water, but she’d rather inhale them like air, mixing the melody with her soul then releasing it to the rest–if she releases it at all. This Onsals’ Eve tune grants her the sensation of deciding to cry and then not following through.
The quick tune shouldn’t. It’s brightly played on the wood flute and an easy one to dance. It’s Winter, not a season of sadness. Not Spring.
To her right her mother sits as upright as seventy years will allow her. The old woman’s hands rest in her lap as if abandoned. Jansa snatches one up and holds it closely. She warms her mother’s cool skin with her own, rubbing lightly over the papery surface. Like a page from an ancient text it proclaims no more life will be written here and, soon, no more read. Jansa looks at her mother. She doesn’t steal a glance or polite familial moment, she looks at her and doesn’t turn away.
Juena’s experience reads like the stones of a shallow stream, but her thoughts pass like the water flowing over, always coming, always going. Never. Right. There.
Augur’s scars too close and too many to count, most to old to discern from the wrinkles of age, line her mother’s cheeks like the delicate bipinnate pattern of a honey locust leaf–rough and smooth at the same time. She looks foreign, almost unreal, with her hair shorn.
Unlike last week when I wrote about a subject I’d spent some time on in the past and have developed a little bit of shorthand thinking for I haven’t for this thread. Since it’s late I’m going to cheat with a little meta-writing instead.
I think I’ve glossed over a few things I’ need to get squared away soon if not before what I’ve written thus far—assuming this is the opening of a piece. I need to make sure the reader knows we’re are sitting with a tribe of people around a campfire at a special but simple event. I’m trying to squeeze all that into the Onsals’ eve reference and I’m sure it’s not working in the reader’s head the way it works in mine.
As I recall I had it in my head that these characters were black as well (as sitting around a fire). I’d probably rely on the crutch of changing her mother’s hair to dreads in this case since I’d had the cut hair in there anyway. I’ve got to get a different—or better—crutch for that.
That last paragraph needs to start differently because augur isn’t quickly recognizable as a real word. Following the other to paragraphs that open with characters’ name certainly doesn’t help. And that sentence is characteristically cumbersome the way I like to write, but am never sure reads well. Was it cumbersome for you? Me either.
At the end of the piece as written I indicated that this hadn’t gone where I’d expected. I no longer recall where I expected it to go. I’m guessing I’d meant to follow the music as an environmental character in some way. I know for sure it headed off with Juena, Jansa’s mother, before it came back to Jansa. I was ritually retiring her from her post as augur of the tribe. Jansa would not be allowed to replace her. This of course would lead to friction. Ultimately circumstances or actual tribespeople would expel Jansa.
Jansa possesses the same power her mother wields, but lacks the nuance that comes with experience and age. Juena’s replacement politics much better than Jansa. Jansa’s goal ought to be about homing her craft in the real world rather than the finer scope of a single tribe. Out into the cold cruel world she goes.
Word count: 385