Forums → Art, Music, and Writing → Like an Early Autumn
Hey all! I just started become active on the site again, and thought I should do my part to contribute to activity in the AMW as well as the community (forum?) as a whole. So, I'm writing some stuff up and will be posting it here periodically; hope you enjoy!
The thing about an Early Autumn
An Early Autumn is much more than a time and season. It is its own sort of transition. Some words you can use to describe an Early Autumn are: golden. Breathing. Tangible. An Early Autumn holds the vibrancy of Summer's waning glory but has not yet succumbed to winter's numb decay. That is why this piece is called, "Like an Early Autumn," because there is no Fall in this picture. There is instead a proud everything, holding old and strong in the wake of Summer, and bursting with color in the face of Winter. Encompassing and inspiring, like an Early Autumn.
Insomuch as there is an Early Autumn, there is much to this season. Just as an Early Autumn is not just brown-gold leaves or a crisp, playful breeze, this piece is not just a narrative, or a poem, or an account. There are many parts. However, as you read, do not make the mistake of generalizing these words. See them in your own way, because no story is written for its own sake. This is for you.
There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. 26 is the difference between fifty-two and itself. It is also the number of famine.
But an Early Autumn is a time of harvest.
- 41 Replies
Now there's two of us here! *2009 montage*
It is also the number of famine.
"And this it became the law - even unto this day - that one fifth of all autumn shalt be reserved for the playing of football, that the people might have enjoyment between the times of baseball and of basketball."
I like the allusion, but it seems a little forced, almost clipped. There's a very nice flow to the piece that gets disrupted at this line. I think if there was more transition towards where you're going with it, because it would seem the emphSis ought to be on the last line, but the break draws it to this one instead.
I agree. Re-reading it, its job is to sort of suck you in, and really what's supposed to be a profound line falls flat.
Wednesday morning at five o'clock
as the day begins
silently closing her bedroom door
leaving the note that she'd hoped would say more
Lea put her hands in her pockets, and exhaled. She looked down at the rabbit hopping about her feet, sniffing at green stalks shooting out of the hard earth.
"If only I could say, 'look at me, I'm a volcano!'"
The rabbit was indifferent to her exclamation.
Lea re-entered the house and took her gloves off, one by one. Her mother was in the kitchen, a large wooden spoon in her hand. Passing into the den, she saw her father, bowl in hand. Climbing up the stairs, she hesitated at the top, because there were tufts of golden fur scattered about the railing.
Sure enough, there was a jaguar laid out upon her bed.
"That's my bed." Lea said, annoyed.
"Go eat your soup." The jaguar replied, annoyed.
Sure enough, upon her arrival back at the kitchen, her mother beckoned to an empty chair at the table.
"Have a seat, Leonida, I've just finished your favorite; cabbage stew." Although Lea was slowly starting to suspect she hated cabbage stew, she took a seat anyway. She swallowed her guilt and began to eat.
"Oh, and Leonida? Fetch your father, he's been waiting with his bowl all day."
Lea fetched her father, who patted her head before heading to the kitchen. He ate more stew than Lea and her mother together. The jaguar did not come down for soup, and Lea's parents concurred that it was very much the jaguar's decision. Lea wished she could make that decision for herself.
That night, Lea lay awake on her bed, blowing golden tufts of fur into the air and letting them settle on her forehead. From her open window, the sounds of clashing swords and animal cries were loud, and exciting. There was a stirring in her stomach, and she realized she felt pensive, for the first time in her life.
A single leaf, golden in the candlelight, floated gently through the window and alighted on Lea's chest. She stared at it, blankly at first, but then with growing understanding. Taking it in thumb and forefinger around the stem, she smiled, small at first, then broader and broader before a helpless laugh escaped her lips.
She didn't pack any soup. She would be fine without it. There was no rabbit outside to greet her, but that was all right. There were plenty of rabbits in the forest.
Lea recalled conversations she'd had with her mother during her childhood, in which she and her father had tried explaining the ways of the world to Lea.
"Lea, people will try to tell you many different things, but not all of these things will be true. It will be important that differentiate between the two."
"How can I do that, mama?" Lea would ask patiently.
"You must heed your father and mother, and trust them. The key is trust."
Even as the words echoed in her head, Lea pressed onwards, scarf pulled over her mouth to protect her from the brisk chill of the an early autumn. She looked fondly up at the young sun climbing steadily towards the cradle in the sky.
Could she really trust her parents? They said it was, "key". But even as she wondered, she realized she longed for her mother's stew.
The Old Man and the Sea Owl
"...And any general rowdiness will be met with appropriate repercussionary action."
The rabbit looked up at Lea, confused. She smiled down at it.
"That's just in-game. Besides, I don't think repercussionary is a real world. These flash artists... they're artists in more ways than one." The rabbit just wiggled its nose.
Lea had been out in the woods for a few days. She'd waited expectantly for a letter from her parents, but upon thinking about it realized there was really no way for them to reach her. But it wasn't that big of a deal. These few days among the pines and spruces had started to open Lea up; the air felt fresher, and the weight of life in her parent's cottage began to slip from her shoulders. She'd reach down into the soil and tug stray carrots from the fertile soil, and offer them to the rabbits with a smile. More and more of them began to show up; not all following her at once, but poking their head around trees and occasionally begging for a scratch between the ears with liquid blue eyes.
A skeleton, brandishing a rusted halberd, strolled out of the foliage and saluted smartly with the haft of his weapon. "General Tuc, we have visual on the enemy; they'll be upon our camp by nightfall."
Lea considered this for a moment, biting her lower lip as the rabbit rather uncharacteristically tugged at her pants leg. "I see. Make sure the men.. er.. skeletons are ready to form up at any time. I'm talking about eating, drinking, and sleeping in loose formation. By the way, what have we made up for tonight?"
"Cabbage stew, ma'am."
"I see. You're dismissed, Osbourne. Be sure to send a scout if there are any other developments."
A few hours later, Lea walked among the corpses, patting skeletal warriors on the back and giving the occasional order. Behind her, a few rabbits clambered over bright blue breastplates and gleaming silver greaves. Lea smiled. So this was life in the forest.
She was a warrior, she was a leader, she was a courier and she was a healer. No one knew her name, none but the apparitions becoming more and more familiar to her, because there was no one like her around. This loneliness, however, was welcome to her. No jaguars stalked her, except maybe in her dreams. She wanted not for warmth and light, but instead wrapped herself each night in a blanket of solitude, nothing to keep her company but the stars and rabbits.
The days became weeks, and the weeks became months. Cleaving though tribes of savages, and battling valiantly against fire-breathing dragons, Lea was becoming one with the forest, and that was why she wasn't surprised to see an old man, owl perched upon his staff, shamble out from the trees and stop a few feet from her.
She looked down at the rabbit and smiled. "I love it here. But beware of the owls." She said with a capricious wink.
"You obviously don't understand the concept of pellets. Rabbits are wholesomely inconvenient to eat. And, they're furry." The voice startled Lea, and she turned to find the old man standing where he'd been previously. The owl on his staff blinked.
"Who... who's there?" Lea said, her voice trembling.
"That would be me." The owl's beak moved, and words came out, but it took Lea a few moments to realize it was the owl who'd spoken. "And you are?"
"I'm Lea." She said, taking a moment to regain her composure before picking her rabbit up and hugging it tight, both protectively and subconsciously. "You're real. Like, you're from outside the forest."
"Yes. We've been appreciating the art as well. But we've never run into, er, non-game material. If you don't mind being described that way."
Lea vaguely registered what the owl meant by non-game, but she was so surprised that she didn't pay it much heed.
The owl placed a wing upon the shoulder of the old man. "This is my companion. The old man, if you're sight-impaired. He doesn't talk much, and believe it or not, neither do I."
Lea sized the two of them up for a moment, before giving a genuine smile and holding her rabbit out towards them.
"Perhaps, if you don't like eating rabbits, you'd like petting them?"
Grab my wing and... Adventure!!!
"It's a whole new world!" The own sang loudly as he pushed away ferns with his dappled brown wings. "Scott-free of trademark royalties!" He turned back to Lea and gave her a beaked smile: Lea smiled back, carefree. As they reached the clearing, the old man took the ball in his hand and tossed it to her. She caught it with her knee and dribbled it between her feet before kicking it deftly towards the owl, who unfortunately could not handle it well with wings and stalk-like legs.
The owl had politely introduced himself as The Cheater. Lea knew full well what it meant to be a cheater, but the title was very charming and her cheeks reddened accordingly. His companion, the old man, was named McDonald. He would scratch his beard often, and stare sullenly at nothing in particular, but he was nice, and was very kind to Lea.
"Sports are not my forte." The Cheater would announce proudly from time to time. "And that doesn't just have to do with my... physiology. I am a strategist... and a cheater."
"Likewise, I am also a strategist." McDonald would say as he strapped on a breastplate and led Lea and the Cheater into a dank dungeon. "But I am also a healer of hearts, and music." I am also a healer Lea thought, with what she realized was grimness.
As they spent their days growing older and taller (not McDonald, for sure) and wiser, Lea would often think back to her days in the prairies, arguing heatedly with a jaguar and doing chores around the cottage for her doting parents. Who, now, was there to dote for her? Lea realized she needed no such person. But she admittedly still longed for some steaming cabbage stew.
One night, Lea woke up unexpectedly in the dead of night. She lay there for a moment, in the wet grass, and listened to McDonald's light snoring, and The Cheater's low whistling. She rose, brushing clippings off her shirt, and walked a little ways to the closest cluster of trees. Looking down, she saw a praying mantis, brown with age, being devoured by a swarm of ants. They climbed to and fro over its body, waving their antennae and raising their jaws to the sky. Lea watched for a moment more, but felt the sudden urge to return to sleep. She did not dream.
the next morning, as McDonald prepared a light repast, Lea walked over to where she'd been the night before. The mantis lay where she'd left it, but the ants were gone. Disappeared. Lea was surprised to find that the mantis seemed to have maintained an untouched appearance, with no signs of bites or fractures. But it was still dead. Lea turned from the scene and began walking away; there was an odd feeling in her stomach, and she couldn't quite place why.
I circumvent the ilk of a double post by pointing out that this is my thread and claiming the right of Dublius Postus.
Just a note: while I write, I try to pay heed to the rules of written english, and not always those that differ from written to spoken. As it is, however, truly "correct" written english sometimes creates an overly-simplistic sentence and ruins the flow of a certain piece. Above, you may notice I add a lot of unnecessary commas, separating sentences into dependent clauses and the like. But the commas indicate pause, or can draw attention to what was just written or is about to be written. Not to mention, while I wouldn't describe Like an Early Autumn as informal, it is a sort of narrative, or account. So, a certain amount of "informality", if it were, benefits the piece from a personal standpoint, for the author and hopefully the reader. Something to keep in mind if you've noticed.
This thread smells like trouble. Not that I can smell virtual data, of course, but it just...gah...I can't explain it.
Heard of it?
Dumb, dumb dumb. Once, in English class, we read shakespeare. Tall, precocious women raised their hands eagerly to weigh in, and gay men snorted in response. I was quiet. But then the reading started. I raised my hand, too, and was called upon because I wore glasses and had relatively long hair. I wanted to seem indifferent, because I was, but I could hear the fervor in my own voice as I stated, "a mender of bad soles is a poor play on words. It is no more than an observation. I see no way in which this cobbler mends souls." My instructor said nothing, but instead went on to the next raised hand; she wished to respond, but wanted to appear as if it were beneath her. Quite the conundrum.
Lea came to a stop, looking down into the mist. She heard the clumsy flutter of wings, and The Cheater alighted next to her. McDonald followed, planting his staff lightly in the earth.
The cobblestone bridge went off aways away from them, before disappearing far further away. Lea looked back with a puzzled expression at the two; The Cheater wore a rueful half-smile.
"The truth is, Lea, we ran into you on our way back to the city. See, we'd left to have some fun, but all fun must come to and end. And ours, for now, has ended."
"Lea, you can join us if you'd like?" The Cheater said hopefully. "With us, you'd be better off as a new citizen than most who pass through. Penniless. Lonely. But you'd have us."
Lea twisted her mouth downwards. "Often the natives who build cities are the most foolish of the lot."
"There are those in this land who think as you." McDonald said sagely. "So they went ahead and built the city for you." Lea couldn't help but break into a wide grin.
Before setting foot onto the bridge, she heard a small voice below her. An ant, one like she'd seen the other night, was looking up at her.
"I can't explain it, but this smells like trouble." It said. Without another word, it turned and began scuttling away from Lea; away from the bridge.
Lea reached a hand out, and called out noiselessly to the ant. She had questions. But it was gone. As she watched it go, there was a distant trumpeting, and as the noise grew louder, Lea saw a cloud of dust from way off; it grew closer and closer until a herd of stampeding elephants came caroming into her. Quite sudden, in more ways than one. As she was swept among them and onto the bridge, The Cheater took flight over them, laughing on the way up.
Good news; the city provides postal service. Funny, because this "service" gives the term an entirely different connotative meaning to me, as I'd only ever heard the word when you complained about the Jaguar "going postal". Now that I'm actually using the service to communicate, the saying just seems silly.
I just want you to know all is going well. I met some friends in the forest (and you said it wasn't safe) who have helped me on my way; they've given me a place to stay and a little money to spend. I'm still trying to find a job, or perhaps something else to occupy my time, but know I am always thinking of you.
The transition from your house to this city has been awe-inspiring. Oh, if you but saw the grande spiraling towers, or the gleaming battlements, or the people. Oh mother, the people. Not to detract from you, of course, or father or the Jaguar, but the cacophony of personality is absolutely wondrous. I really think you'd like it here. Alas, it is a place you cannot find.
I know little now. But I console myself by saying I knew littler while under your watch. That is not a testimony of your parenting, but rather of my own juvenile arrogance. Trust me mother, I am arrogant no more.
I shall send more letters. Like I said, I am always thinking of you, and maybe if you aren't too mad, I may visit again one day. I love you.
Return Address: Error/
Huh, this is pretty great. The development of Lea's character, or at least the ironies in her own statements, make for an interesting style that I find altogether amusing and drawing.
Anyways, I think I am going to reread this a few times, as I can almost taste a certain underlying symbolism or even a simple implication that I didn't catch the first time. Stay strong, my dear infamous rabbit friend. :3
Thanks very much for your input, Jeol!
Stay strong, my dear infamous rabbit friend. :3
Why am I awake?
Nothing frustrates me more than when people don't understand irony. Not just that, but they insist upon misusing it and assuming its phantom meaning. It seems like you can't say anything these days without someone responding "oh, that's ironic." No. No it's not.
But some people mean well. You may say, "I saw a homeless man today. He seemed hungry. Then, on my way back home, I saw him battling another homeless man for a half-eating hummus and locks sandwich." The person with whom you are conversing may remark, "Oh, that's ironic." Because they recognize the continuity in your tone and story, and mistake it cognitively as a contrast, when in fact it is not. Irony is the unexpected. Seeing as the homeless man was hungry, it was very much expected that he'd fight over food, even something as disgusting as a hummus and locks sandwich.
What does an owl have to do to get a drink around here?
The situation regarding irony is as insane as the situation regarding literalness. I feel your pain.
Life in the City
... doesn't always require a drastic exposition. In this situation, it has already been given.
Walking along the cobblestone streets, marveling as always at the sheer sheerness of the city, Lea was bumped lightly by a passerby and his companion. He was rather faceless, with a normal nose and normal eyes and a normal hat. His counterpart wore a full-length brown cloak with a hood that obscured his face. Lea wondered how the mysterious figure could see his way around.
The man gave no sign of being affected, and continued on his way, remarking to the hooded figure, "Yes. I cannot imagine a more disgusting substance on the planet than cabbage stew. Simply repulsive."
Lea whirled around like an angry dervish, and proceeded to stomp after them and grab the man by the shoulder. She was surprised by her own sudden anger. "Excuse me? Cabbage stew is delicious!"
The man simply laughed, and his counterpart laughed too, muffled by the hood. "You must be joking. Why, anyone who could actually enjoy cabbage stew is nothing but a bumbling simpleton." Lea's face reddened considerably at the insult.
"Well... you're a bumbling simpleton!" Lea nearly screamed, feeling the blood rushing to her head. "Besides, you're never had my mother's cabbage stew!"
"Well, I'd say all evidence points to your mother's cabbage stew being just as undesirable as anyone else's" The man said snidely, then turned on his heel and began walking away. Lea took another step forward, but before she could begin after them again, she was stopped in her tracks. She felt a hand on her shoulder, but when she turned, there was no one there. Turning again, she saw nothing, but instead heard a voice behind her.
"No more tomfoolery. Stop with the loud voices, or there'll be someone to answer to." Lea didn't know why, but she felt a sudden pit in her stomach. As soon as the shadow had arrived, it had disappeared.
As Lea watched the two offenders walk off into the distance, she noticed the trajectory of the cloaked figure's head, and realized dully how they kept on with their face obscured. He, or she, or it, was following the footsteps of the other man, very intently.
*Dully, as in with a dull sensation, as opposed to properly. Although I believe when used in that turn of phrase, it is more commonly (and correctly) spelled "duly", as in "Duly noted".
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