Recently you may have seen a round of ‘earth from above’ pictures looping around the Internet. Seems like we get a new batch of these every six or nine months. A couple made it to my ‘inspire’ tag in my reader. This is one:
I’ll serve up a bit of brainstorming for you rather than a disjointed ending-free story.
Unlike the Veleme, who are isolationistic, the people that live here are adventurous. They could each live out their lives in complete solitude, but they choose to gather together to take advantage of each other. Not in a survivalistic way but in a increasing our fortune kind of way. It’s a gathering of striking individuals that suspend their individualism in this one place. However, since they are such individuals the community could lose half it’s people and still survive because each one person is self sustaining.
For this reason they are perpetually misunderstood by other communities. Other communities gather to give things up, to allow small groups within the community to perform tasks they are suited for. Divers dive, soldiers protect, merchants sell, weavers weave. These kinds of people—that kind that give things up to specialize—cannot understand a group that never needs to give things up to become a community.
Seasonally, probably Neap Tide, the sea level drops enough that only pockets of water remain surrounding the stilt houses. At this time new houses grow and cleave to the existing ones while the existing ones get repaired. This ought to either follow some very strict community rules or nearly none at all. For these folks everything is either good or bad. Done or not done might be a better way of putting it. Actually maybe the best way to put it. Here if you do something then it should have been done and if you don’t do a thing then it should not have been done. That ought to make for some interesting perceptions on the part of neighbors.
OK so where’s the drama stem from then? We’ll have to upset something. Put someone in the community that cannot be an individual? Someone so dependent on others it drags the rest down, cramps their style so to speak? But what could do such a thing in a community of individuals existing in a rather relaxed anarchy? How could one person’s desire/need/requirement for dependency be met with anything but bemused indifference? Some kind of doomsday situation: if Bill dies, we all die. So, what? Bill explodes? Has some magical disease? Maybe Bill represents an unexpected dependency the people of this place hadn’t realized existed before.
I’m going to have to learn about equipment free diving and the ocean and living in and near salt water for this one. Plus survival in an unusual niche. Where do they get water and food and power? How much technology does a place like this require (or disdain)? If you show up with a propane stove will you be derided as some anti-traditionalist or a hero? Begrudging respect? Something like that could be a sign of dependence on others for propane.
What do these folks do for entertainment? Are their lives so full of activity eking out a living that they crash in bed at the end of the day? Wake early to get enough time to feed their family? Thus there is no need for entertainment—no down time? Or is food in the form of fish so abundant that they loaf around all day after a busy morning of fishing? How many fish do you need to catch to support your family.