“Time’s a prancing ninny, the practical joker of the universe,” says the marriage merchant, the Matcher, to none of us in particular. He hasn’t shut up once since we left Earth bound for Phlida. “Space, on the other hand, has no sense of humor whatsoever. It just broods out there like a lonely, tongue-tied bachelor. Well, see for yourself.”
We take the cue, all six of us who are stuck for the duration in the saferoom with the loquacious Matcher and his ceaseless attempts to spark conversation. We all look toward the single viewport overhead that serves up a slice of darkness pierced by pinpoints of light. The starview is meant to keep claustrophobia at bay during the journey. The conversation is meant to keep us sane.
Really, what choice do we have but to look up? What else can any of us do, bound as we are by our seats, bound together by the stabilizers that keep us in a single timestream, bound by the yearnings that have driven us from the home planet? Tell us to look, we look. Tell us to sleep, we sleep. Tell us to press that spot in our earlobes to quell the spacesickness, and we press. Tell us to sip nutrients, we sip. Tell us to forget who we are and we just may forget, if we knew to begin with.
But don’t make me talk, Matcher.
I’m a novice to space travel, but I have read and heard the stories of what can happen once the gravity of homeworld ceases to bind you. Everything loosens. Things fly free. Secrets escape. And the only ones unaffected, so I’ve read, are the Loners, those genetically-gifted few who live in the belly of spaceships, navigating, maintaining, recording. They fly without risk, immune to the strange effects of these outer wilds—yes, utterly free of any susceptibility to space madness—and they are themselves bound to the normal timeflow by the complex mechanism implanted in their bodies. The operation, they say, is irrevocable.
I find it easy to believe such tales of space and spacemen.Another story (also speculative) is in this (now out of print) anthology.
My Rhysling Award nominated poem is found in the 2007 anthology.
You can read some of the cool poems in that issue here on Google books for free, but the preview is cut off before mine on page 39. I still get high seeing something I created in a book sharing space with the amazing Ursula Le Guin, the prolifically talented Bruce Boston, the justly often-awarded Joe Haldeman, and some of my personal fave SF poets. I'm a puny, neurotic midget among giants. But hey, I'm still in there. :D
I haven't written creatively for, um, almost there years. Part was really bad depression. Part was my neurotic tendency to self-sabotage in utter fear of failure whenever a hint of success comes my way (and yes, including dieting, I do that there, too). I had 3 editors wanting to see my manuscript after reading the opening chapter(s), and I freaked. Totally freaked. Second time this happened. Back in 2003, on a differnt novel, I had 2 editors wanting to see it. I freaked and turned reclusive and stopped writing.
It's a repulsive habit of mine. And I will conquer it THIS YEAR. No more freaking when things are going well. No more!
So, I want to give it as shot again. Without freaking or running away. If I fail giving it my best, then I fail. But I will do this, too. The weight...the words. Both. For the last 3 years, it's like my brain was dry.
Just posting about haiku made me want to get back to poetry.
Yesterday, I actually shot myself an email with an image and sketchy premise for a story or chapter (unsure at this point, just a seed). Seeds should grow, right?