It it too weird to admit that part of my motivation for writing here is so I know how to work this site? I’ve been doing blogspot for a bit, but I’ve been curious about the WordPress format. This is intended to be a writer’s journal, preview stage for some of my work, cookbook, and possible forum for raving about things I saw this one time.
My penname is E Lynne Raab, but my family calls me Aka, for reasons of small child pronunciation issues and the resulting nickname-sticking for all perpetuity thing. I’m a writer whose allegiance lies with fiction, but who produces more poetry simply because it spews out faster. Here’s a secret – the poems are mostly crap. I’ve got bipolar and a form of ADD, I sleep from 3am to 11 and work at night. If beef were the only kind of meat, I would not be displeased. I feel most like myself when my hair is as red as the shiny new penny copper I grew out of.
I have two shelves full of fairy tale books and inspired-novels, myths, history and geography. I really like psychology and the concept of non-human personhood. My cats are well-behaved, observant little shits. I’m a big fan of the affectionate insult. I like big words in informal language – it’s just how I roll.
I have committed myself to writing many books/series. I made the contract in blood!
These concepts are:
Behind the Broken Door, An Eggshell Sky, Primary Flight Risk, Balancing the Scale, and Natives in a Strange Land.
Behind the Broken Door is my prized baby, my opus magnum still gestating in embryonic form. At some point it may graduate to actual fetus status. At present I’m working on Natives in a Strange Land, which is a collection of short stories.
Natives is slipstream fiction where the strange is mundane and the expected slightly twisted. Alien invasions, enchanted tenement buildings, lonely mermaids and some guy named Eluid/Eliud.
I thought I’d share one story from Natives – “Your Regularly Scheduled Invasion, Please Stand By”, which was just submitted to the John Carroll Review for Spring of 2015’s edition. Fingers crossed!
Your Regularly Scheduled Invasion, Please Stand By
West from our usual relocation grounds, a small town, name unimportant. Industrial yet not insubstantial. Comprised mostly of corporate offices, the microchip plant and a grid of cheap, easily rebuilt homes.
We are bringing lawn chairs for the event tonight. Clear starry skies forecasted.
It can be difficult to walk into town from the corporate residential grounds, but if you have shoes with thick soles, you can pick over and around the broken glass and concrete rubble, asphalt cracks and melted utility vehicles and see if the bookstore is still inexplicably expanding its collection of Pohl, Niven and Clarke. We buy most of our produce from the Shell on 6th and highway XO, a good distance from here. They have a regular supply there, and this makes the prices cheaper.
We are like high-income gypsies. Dad’s jobs have a regular turnover rate – most executives’ do. An intelligent and driven father becomes cranky without stimulation, but with good care and a challenging job, he will thrive and stick to abusing televised referees only when they are legitimately stupid.
It really is a lovely job; meaningful, intellectually demanding, with good hours and a well-structured regiment of motivated employees. The building is more or less ergonomically suitable, the smell neither stale nor aggressively chemical, the plumbing, air conditioning and wiring all functioning as they should. The company itself provides valuable services across the globe in a bleeding edge field. It is the leading charity for the town’s restoration and recovery efforts.
The family itself has a great house, school, healthcare and cell reception. Youngest, the brother – he likes it here.
We belong to the company. It’s clear in the lanyards we wear around our necks and the GlowStrong bands on our wrists. Our cars and bikes have little tags, and our house and the corporate grounds are fenced with uniquely beautiful iron fencing. Perhaps ‘belong’ is not the right word. ‘Affiliated.’ I believe the company feels some sort of obligation to the way Dad is saving them millions by increasing leadership efficiency. At times I think our fence fluoresces.
We are bringing lawn chairs for the event tonight, cooler in hand. Clear starry skies forecasted, good viewing.
Tonight’s the night, around again. The company likes to send out an email in advance, so I make a few calls to people I know – they will be bowling tonight in the town over.
There is a prison, you see, in the middle of town. Its location is only strange to strangers to the area. Crime has dropped radically – many police officers do cleanup and repair work as of late.
I am making sandwiches; apple, arugula, cheddar and mustard on dry whole wheat. Sister has baked lemon bars and parceled out hummus and precisely deconstructed vegetables. There is beer and juice in frosty bottles and MREs and bandages and a generator in the back of the SUV. We all have SUVS or pickups.
Star by star by star the night comes in, cool wind. Dad and Mom are sharing a beer with their toes curling in the grass.
Light by light, the ships arrive; never more than three or four, small and hummingbird swift. The hulls are dark, outlined by the town lights. They would sound much like ocean waves roaring towards the coast, but for the explosions following each dropped payload. Wood, brick and concrete buildings crumble to dust.
My family now sits too far away to hear the screams in town. We stopped making that mistake a long time ago.
The power station has caught on fire. This requires brandy. The area will be without power for a week at least. I take a draught from my flask and pass it down our line of lawn chairs and blanketed laps. Younger Sister finishes it off, chin raised to catch the last drops. It appears the sports store will be out of commission, judging by the location of the most recent blast, bully for Mara Swarney; our rock-climbing enthusiast neighbor.
The noises shutter, the ships gently depart. No one is ever sure why they come or what they want. I have certainly never spoken to a ship. But they seem to want an audience, for as long as the town is not completely evacuated, they appear happy to periodically destroy part of our little town. There are other towns much larger than ours in the next county, cities even, but they only come to us. Our town. A small town, name unimportant, a corporate node in a sea of agriculture. Unimportant except for what happens here.
The show is over. Time for clean-up.
The lawn chairs go on the rack atop the Ford, the food stowed mostly uneaten, the blankets clean and folded. We park in a convenient lot within a safe proximity to the disaster zone. The town is strewn with dust and litter, stone. There is half a wall crumbled into the lot, a pathetic Mazda pressed underneath.
Dad’s standing on a slab of street upturned like an ice floe. He’s looking out from his place in the rubble to the country, fields green and gold with corn and dandelions, pristine county roads and bullet-punctuated signs, tall stands of trees, and creeks muddied from rain runoff far upstream. He’s got his cellphone raised, recording for posterity.
No one is ever sure why the ships come or what they want. I have certainly never spoken to a ship. There are other towns much larger than ours in the next county, cities even, but they only come to us. Maybe they like it here. Maybe the post office had to be turned to dust half a dozen times before we could get it just right.
We are not quite sure how we got here either, but the view is truly spectacular. It’s hard to look away.