Friday, April 27, 2012


I come to speak of art, of the arts I know and love.

I come to speak of music. You have heard, I am sure, of the beauty of the song. Of the absolute spell-binding soulfulness, of comparisons to religion that may not fit, but do fit as well as anything in our language can. Of the flow, of the heart, of the wonder. Of everything we think of with, "art".

Those who speak of the work speak more quietly, or less frequently. Of long hours and difficult days. It may be for pride or humility, or simply for fear of scaring another artist from the land we know and love so well. And we do speak of the smooth, cornered, orderly side, of math and new languages, but we often speak only among ourselves, for too many have learned to fear math, or that they can't learn languages. For we know it doesn't matter if the beliefs are true, only if they believe.

I come to speak of math. You have heard, I am sure, of difficult equations. Of long hours and difficult days. It may be for pride or humility, or simply excusing one's own fear of the mathematical domain. We speak of the sharp, cornered, orderly side, of formulae and diagrams memorized.

It is difficult to speak up, for we have few role models who spoke the words. When someone, even an artist, a lover of music, says unapplied mathematics is useless, boring, it is difficult to speak back. I do not know a song to let play in my mind, to push me forward; I know no grand speeches.

Yes, math builds things. Music can inspire armies. But, at its heart, the beauty of math, the song and color and life, is intrinsic. One need not add anything to math to make it good, anymore than one need add to music.

Music has math in it, and math art.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rose and Briar

Rose's first thought had been, Me?

She was pretty; she knew it. Catalogued it, in fact. Nothing memorable--brown eyes, skin actually pretty similar to 'nude' clothing, mouse brown hair in a practical cut--but symmetrical. No scars from before her turning, and, of course, nothing she got afterward had stuck.

The vampire tried not to use this to her advantage too much, because an attractive woman could be memorable. Rose didn't mind being remembered for a few minutes, but she valued her freedom. Memory was fine, recognizing and calling her from across a room was not.

"Yes, you." Melia was her sire, and so had access to any unguarded thoughts. That first, Me? had been too sudden to guard, and her face would have given it away regardless. "He asked for someone no human would miss. You are the only one who fits."

"...And if I do not go?"

Melia held Rose's gaze. "Then," Melia said, as if the idea had only just occurred to her, "I will."

Rose took a breath. Avery liked her, but would move on quickly enough. Melia's Harmony would not. And, of course--Melia would never have asked Rose had there been a better candidate--only
Harmony was human.

"Why?" Why no humans?

From the outside, Melia gave Rose a neutral look.He had a bad experience with a human in the past, apparently. Torches and pitchforks sort of thing. He avoids them now, whenever he can.

Rose nodded. She knew the Beast. Had seen what he had done, and how little he understood. There was no bargaining; he would not understand he was hurting you. Like a dominance fight with a gorilla.

But he had never gone back on his word. He understood that. If he had promised to stay in the palace, and his one request was company...

It will only be dangerous for me, she thought, guarding, unsure how Melia would feel about that thought.

"When do I leave?"

Friday, April 13, 2012


There's a thrill to this, she thinks. And she knows that there's supposed to be. Each story she's heard of this sort of hunt speaks of something special. Seasoned hunters, warriors, soldiers, suddenly tensing up, getting oddly irritable, or just running. And the stories often speak of exactly the feeling she's getting: shivers down the spine, hair raised on the back of her neck, fidgeting because she wants to move. (It isn't the right thrill. The thrill isn't supposed to call her closer.)

Katherine blinks, then replays her thoughts. Hunter-warrior-soldier, tensing-irritable-running, shivers-nape-fidgets. Three groups of three. She'd heard of threes being important. But surely that wasn't so. It didn't happen like that--people told stories, but unicorns couldn't actually influence one's mind so finely, not by simple proximity.

A twig snapped. Her breath was speeding, and she should be afraid, but wasn't. What was it? This was a creature who had killed her kin, who had a horn more wicked than many swords, who defended the forest without a second thought--

Wait. What? She hadn't been thinking that last one.

The stories are true, then. Kate nocked an arrow, trying to find the thing. A twig had snapped, where had that been? Right. Near the rising sun. That was east, to her right. And there, right there, framed by the glow of a sun yet beneath the horizon, stood the unicorn.

He came toward her at a gentle trot.

She should be doing...something? (She lowered her bow. Katherine didn't want to shoot an ally, and there were no enemies near.)

A unicorn's horn, though wicked sharp, would heal things. Purge waters, wounds, sickness. That was all she thought of when he leaned closed to her, touched his horn to her forehead. (For surely, it was all he thought of.) The touch lifted an old pain, an old weight, one she had stopped recognizing when it became too consistent. (She dropped the bow and arrow, the beautiful bow. Remembering, that was always the part that baffled her the most. She could have put it away, it would have taken barely a moment.)

"Kate!" someone unimportant called. She heard a whistling sound, and then--

It lay dead at her feet. She blinked. The weight and pain were still gone, and the fearful beast was gone. It would make a splendid story for David to tell around the campfire, she supposed, him having saved her life, and her having been hypnotized by the unicorn.

He looked at her. Two dead eyes, in the wrong place for a horse's skull, looked at her. They had spoken for a moment. Communicated. Communed.

She wondered if Dave had needed to kill the unicorn. (She wondered if that was another trick of unicorn hypnotism, or her own thoughts. She wondered if she would ever be able to not-wonder that again.)

She shook her head to (loosen her mane) clear her head. The unicorn had taken blood of her tribe, and her tribe had taken blood of his to stop it. There was no shame in that.

"The beast is dead!"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Clean, Or: The Half-hidden Muse

There's a phrase-pattern I've heard from a few artists that interests me. It's...the worship of the untouched piece, I suppose. The chunk of marble for a sculptor, or the blank page for a writer, or a blank canvas for a painter. The first few times I heard it, it seemed like grandstanding. 'Anyone could do this, I just do it.'

But, having written with the idea in mind...I think I get it. I've gotten the advice, 'Start writing, then don't stop,' from a variety of reputable sources, and sometimes I even follow it. Often, this leaves me with a disorganized bundle of things that I can then sort out into a functioning piece because I've at least gotten them down.* The editing comes in, and then I understand my thoughts, so I can rewrite most of it and re-arrange what's salvageable.

And then I get these oddball things. Like, I was writing a paper in English class. It was on power, and I wrote a blog post on it before I even really knew how I was going to write the paper. The problem was, even after I figured out the basics of what I wanted to do, I didn't really have a starting point. I knew I wanted to make the point that power and choice were essentially synonymous, and I had some examples from Hamlet to back that up, but none were really worth starting the essay on.

Finally, I sat down. Step one: 'Start writing.'

Midas would work well here, said the blank computer screen. And I went, Oh, of course. Midas's turning-everything-to-gold thing seems like a blessing of power, and then he turns his daughter to gold and we realize that it's a weakness too, because he has no control over it.

Blank spaces are magic. Clear water, clear skies, random patterns in the clouds, bits of grain in the wood or lines in the stone. Something that is beautiful and inspires something by saying only, A thing could be here is magic, if anything ever was.
* I can also get it falling more or less into place, but if it falls that neatly, I probably didn't need someone to tell me to write.
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