What Was Left

In piles high, the gold of olden kings
And silver goblets set with polished jade;
Great iron gates and dainty wire-wrought things.
The cream and crest of all the Earth once made.

A sword of steel unmatched before or since:
Damascus wrought, the proof its patterned sheen.
A cut-quartz circlet fit to crown a prince,
With single, giant emerald glinting green.

The heady scent of spices stored in bulk
And clearest honey, in the rarest jars.
A bottled squid — formaldehyde-drenched hulk —
Its wall-set jar a window to the stars.

A treasure ark, on dying sunbeams hurled,
To bear the wonders of a finished world.

Long In Returning

Prepare now for the plunge into the deep:
To slumber through that sea of currents strange,
To flee the storms rampaging as we sleep,
And know we'll waken to a world of change.

We fall to face the grim Leviathan,
Who once survived the storms that now return.
From such an ancient mind, we'll dare to learn
A history we hope contains a plan.

To floods, we leave the rooms that were our home.
To thunderstorms, the towers of our song.
To leaf and thorn, the lands we made our own.
To hope and pride, our boasts when we were strong.

Our wisdom, both witheld and not yet won,
We'll save till we can rise and face the sun.

ROW80 Week 12: Close

(other ROW80 participants)

Final check-in

This week, I read the anthology Steampunk!, edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. It’s been a while since I read a proper short-story collection, and it reminded me just how much impact a short story can have.

My short story last week was partly inspired by it, but this week I wrote sonnets instead; nonetheless, I still managed to write three days out of these last four.

I’ve also done the computer setup I wanted to do before I left, although I haven’t got all the paperwork printed out yet.

Round Summary

On paper, I’m pretty close to my goals: I read six books in the 12 weeks or so of the round, wrote five or six days most weeks, and got most of my travel preparations done ahead of time.

However, I don’t feel very satisfied with my progress.

With the Europe trip, that’s probably just because I’m not actually there yet. I did just discover an issue with my luggage, but I’ve still got a week to sort that out.

More generally, I think I’m still getting used to some new patterns in my life.
Continue reading

ROW80 Week 11: In Motion

(other participants)

This week has been a good one for writing. I managed to write every day, and all the mysteries I’ve been reading inspired me to start on a mystery-ish short story yesterday.

Travel preparations are still moving on; I bought a phrasebook and a new raincoat this week, and made decisions about a few more things.

My main goals now are setting up my laptop for the trip and printing out the rest of my documents; next week I’ll start seriously packing for the trip.

Good luck and happy writing!

King of our Dreams

You summoned me from depths of dreams unknown;
You had me swear — "I'll serve against all need."
You crowned my head and sat me on a throne,
And bowing down, commanded me to lead.

I sent out ships to ports, and roads to towns.
I hunted thieves till order claimed the night,
Commanded songs to where the world wore frowns.
Told what to do, I vowed to do it right.

For battles won, I heard when cities wept;
The hungry fed, I saw the curse of fat;
And in the suburbs debt had claimed and kept,
The taste of triumph fled, and left me flat.

I shake to watch my laws and fortunes fade:
A legacy by my own acts unmade.

Not Habit Yet

(other ROW80 participants)

This week, I didn’t keep to my rule of working on my goals first, and ended up having to rush through everything on the weekend.

As a result, I only wrote four days out of seven.

For the Europe trip, I handed most of my backup documents over to relatives, finished installing music on my MP3 player, and made a start on packing. There’s still a lot to do, but it’s not quite as daunting any more.

And I read The Aware, by Glenda Larke. I was particularly impressed by the fight scenes, which fit the needs of the plot despite being quite simple.

Like The Eternal Flame last week, it was also a bit of a mystery novel. I haven’t seen the Sherlock Holmes thing of “I’ve solved the mystery but I’m waiting for the right time to announce it” done in the first person before.

Good luck and happy writing

ROW80 Week 9: Coasting

(other ROW80 participants)

I’m pretty happy with my writing progress this week — I met my goal of writing six days out of seven, and used some of that time to have my roleplaying preparation finished in good time.

My biggest progress with travel preparations was picking up my tickets from the travel agent on Sunday. Some of those things came with backup copies, and I’ve made a bit of progress copying other things, but I haven’t quite got everything sorted yet.

For the coming week, I’m aiming to keep up on my reading, finish organising documents, and maybe start to pack.

Good luck and happy writing!