22 August, 2015

Cracked Flash Fiction - "The Seige" (my first blogspot post in eons)

Cracked Flash Fiction
The Seige
300 words
by Alana Dill
@alanapaints on Twitter & Instagram



“I hate it. I wish it would stop.” Sarah watched through a chink in the second-floor shutters. They'd barricaded the stairs. “Goats climb, right?”

On the bed, her guide, Jeb, opened his eyes with effort. Smeared blood had glued his lashes together. “Yeah.” The deer attack had left him woozy and weak.

“We're surrounded. Deer, raccoons... a wolverine?” She wondered if they could climb the cabin's exterior walls.

“They can't climb up to the second story.”

“Bears can.”

Jeb sighed. “They're already hibernating,” and sat up dizzily. “Any food left?”

“Just a SlimJim and a banana.” She turned to him. “How are we gonna get out of this alive?”

“Someone will come looking,” he said. Both doubted that.

They'd awoken to sudden, deep snow. A last few leaves had fallen atop the drifts, leaving red-orange puddles on the white forest floor, like too-fresh blood.

He'd opened the SUV's hood to find an incinerated raccoon. It had chewed through the battery cable. 

The animals had chased them back inside.

He said, “I shouldn't have left the buck strapped to the roof overnight.”

“This isn't normal animal behavior.”


In the distance, coyotes squealed, drawing closer.

She shivered, “What are we gonna do?”

“Can you climb up to the roof? Write 'HELP' on it with kindling sticks?”

“The roof.”

“Yeah. Maybe a passing small plane or helicopter...”

“We're miles from nowhere and there's another storm coming in.”

“So hurry.”


Sarah climbed out the window onto the porch roof, then climbed up on to the main roof. Jeb handed sticks up to her. She was halfway through E when a distant rushing sound caught her ear. The black tree branches swayed at their tips, swarming from every direction, a furry, terrifying rumor approaching all around them.

She screamed.

18 April, 2012

Sing it Out

I think humans are born with an innate need to sing. Babies sing before they can talk. The last 100 years' generations in the modern world have sadly been brought up comparing themselves to the recorded voice, and it gets worse and worse as Autotune and synthesizers make the recorded voice superhuman. I have nothing against Annie Lennox manipulating her voice so we can hear the deliberate trick, but taking someone of mediocre talent and artificially turning them into someone with less mediocre talent... not so much. And I despise Simon Cowell and his ilk, who skewer vulnerable aspiring artists for fun... and teach those watching that it's ok to do so. It's not ok to shame someone for doing something they love.

All over the world, throughout human history, people have sung together - around the fire or the table or at worship or in the tavern, at war and at peace. It bonds us, helps us express emotion otherwise inexpressable. Singing is so good for us, it ought to be written into the bill of rights.

Not everyone can or should be a soloist, but everyone should be able to use their voice. Good for you that you help your boy conquer his fears!

26 March, 2011

Individual human Growth vs Humanity as a Whole

Michael L wrote:
>I think there has been a movement toward change, that the people can stand-up for themselves and fight for what they want, which essentially is to take back what has been stolen over the past 30 years. Obama inspired the youth in Cairo when he was there and, and look at how that inspiration has spread throughout the Muslim countries. This kicking-up of the right to continue to take all they can is their last-ditch effort and I think it is destined to work against them.

I agree with this whole-heartedly. If we were to look at the history of humanity as a macrocosm, look at "man" as a person going through developmental stages, then it seems pretty clear. Compare the most primitive folks to "nasty, brutish and short" toddlerhood. 4-year-olds are sweet, crazy-fun, and very imaginative; 5-year-olds are starting to find their place in the world; 6 year olds fall into very striated social groups, girls vs boys, etc., and on and on.

Our brains keep growing several years after legal adulthood; particularly the frontal lobe where decision making and recognition of consequences are regulated. I think that, down the line, someone is going to do research on what happens in the brain around age 27, when there's a subtle transition from youth to true adulthood, and not just in the waistline.

I'm not sure what stage humanity is in, but it seems like we're around 18. We've gone through grade school, we've been soaked in hormones, we're beginning to scratch the surface of understanding consequences, we've had some losses and some triumphs which we can remember and put into perspective; we're looking at the stars and wondering how we'll change the world. Question is, does humanity as a whole want to make its first million before 30, or does it want to join the peace corps, or does it want to get married straight out of high school and open up an auto shop? And how will the internet and media connection worldwide foster this growth, a sense of connection in our worldwide personality which would parallel the integration of an adult's sense of self?

Watching the news last night about Libya, I was struck by the mention of tribes being used against one another by Kadafi. Here in the Bay Area, I see a LOT of people obsessed with "tribe", and doing body art means a lot of exposure to tribal art and the permutations adapted/adopted by these folks. It's easy to romanticize the noble tribal archetype, but truth is that tribalism can be a trap. I'm charmed by cultural practices as they relate to art, and can see how survival would have dictated such things as ritual circumcision and scarification and food laws. I think we developed tribalism to evenly distribute resources without any one area being too pressured and depleted. It works well in a hunter-gatherer situation. It doesn't work so well when anything more advanced than a spear becomes available to do harm.

America has its own tribalism going on. Elephants and donkeys, red states and blue states (isn't it hilarious how the reds used to be communists, then republican states became red, now Wisconsin's labor movement colors are red and white? Dang, we need a new color!) The totemism of our ancestors is still seen in the iconography of our marketing.

Maybe we who wish to move forward and make the world a fairer place should be green dragons, or purple lions, or orange lotuses. I don't know. I sure wouldn't want my affiliations symbolized by a used-up tea bag.

The Door is Open

I took this phrase from two sources:
the U2 song "Gloria", and my favorite Rumi poem:

"The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep
you must ask for what you really want
Don't go back to sleep
People are going back and forth
Across the doorway where the two worlds touch
The door is round, and open
Don't go back to sleep"

I have spent a fair amount of my life wide awake and dreaming, other times sleeping where my dreams were so vivid I wanted to go back and figure out how to make them real. How do I bring dreams into the waking world - dreams of creativity, of joy, of peace, of fun? How to take the shadow of my psyche and use it to heal myself and others instead of hurt?

I have eclectic taste - possibly insane taste - ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. I like silly humor more than I like sarcasm. I have a lifelong interest in why the heck the world is the way it is... cause and effect? G/d/s? Quarks? Who knows. Even if I thought I knew, that would be faith. The intersection between faith and knowledge - a dangerous and blurry place.

As the Firesign Theater states ".... a force that can only be used for good... or evillllll..." but I don't remember what they were talking about, was it a time machine?

I'm blessed with brilliant and creative friends; you'll find links to their blogs, art and ideas here. I'll add my own art and interests as time permits. Daring to put ourselves out there is one of the greatest challenges many artists face. Creating is easy, sometimes it happens all by itself. Communicating... hard.