The Contest Chevelure was a time-honored competition held in a modest town in the middle of a modest country. It was a contest to see who could have the most extravagant and beautiful head of hair. Only, there was one notable detail. None of the people in the town had any hair on their heads.
“Why does there have to be winter?”
The asker was my little niece, all bundled up in black-and-silver fleece blankets. Her favorite colors. She didn’t ask the question just out of curiosity. She was frowning slightly. Winter had swallowed up her favorite season, autumn. (The season to which her only objection was, “why does there have to be so much orange?”).
I smiled. “Do you want the scientific explanation or the non-scientific explanation?”
This week’s story will be posted soon. This is the anniversary post for Storyfeather’s fifth year!
The Year of S.T.E.A.M. is done! That was the theme for Storyfeather Year Five. Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. Mathematics. Year Five’s stories aimed to center around one of the aforementioned elements. It was quite the challenge.
Also a challenge, keeping the bar for the artwork as high as I could manage after the visual upgrade the site received in Year Four.
Thank you to everyone who read even a single story. And if you liked or commented, thank you again. Thank you for your time and interest, and for being a part of Storyfeather, especially Year Five.
A lot happened in the fifth year stories. A cast and crew of middle school students put on an original play about cosmic heroes and deadly aliens. A malfunctioning beauty product gave whole new meaning to the term “vanishing cream.” An explorer got lost in a spatiotemporal anomaly that was once the treasure vault of an alien pirate. And a woman started turning into a cartoon…
I’ve written over 250 stories now. And I’ve produced 52 podcast episodes (one for each story from Year One). Year Five was a (sometimes delirious) struggle, but well worth it. Storytelling is still my true love, still my destiny, still my path.
Year Six is on the horizon. Here’s to seeing what stories will brew. I hope you’ll come along.
I have stories to tell you.
“It will change nothing. I know this. I didn’t do it out of defiance, or for justice, or even fame. No one knows it is me. And no one will know. If they did, they would say it was unholy, what I’ve wrought. They would say it was unnatural. They would say it must be destroyed. As it is, they are charmed at least, mildly amused, at least. At best, they are cheered, enchanted, even inspired. So perhaps in some way, I’ve done it for vengeance? No, that’s not right either. No one should paint out of vengeance. No, if you paint, you should paint out of love.”
I watched my friend sit back and take a sip. Elna set down her cup and presented her hands to me, all eleven of them.
“The volcano was so huge that when the sun rose in the east, it would crest upon the highest peak of the volcano, and it would look like the volcano was bringing the light of the sun to the people who lived below.”
They say that a sculptor doesn’t create what she sculpts. She only reveals what is already there in the medium. I was not finding that to be true. Either there was nothing to be revealed in the lump of clay that sat on the workbench before me, or I didn’t have the skill that a real sculptor is supposed to have. The skill of sight. The skill to see what it is that is seeking to be revealed in the medium.
Come on, I thought. Reveal yourself.
When he was young and heard the stories of the mythical birds and flying beasts of legend, he imagined himself as one of them. Powerful, ferocious, graceful, wise, and heroic. He imagined that one day, he would grow up to be like Phoenix, with its flaming wings and healing tears. He dreamed of being like Quetzlcóatl, worshipped by the two-leggers who otherwise ruled over all other beasts. When he heard the stories of Garuda, he was Garuda, flying the ancient gods to and fro on their quests. The thunderbird. The trickster raven. The creator heron known as Benu.
He was in awe of them all. And he wanted to learn to acquire their qualities. Cleverness, strength, knowledge. And wings so magnificent that all creatures great and small were gripped with awe at their sight.
But whenever he would voice such longings, he was always ridiculed, for he was so small that all who knew him called him the flea bird, and soon that became his name, “Flea.”
“They live in the mysterious depths,” I said. “The deep depths.”
Once upon a time, there was a thriving civilization living under the light of a warm yellow sun. As eons passed, the civilization spread. It advanced. It regressed. It advanced again. It rose. It declined. And it rose again. It changed, became unrecognizable from its past self. And as the civilization did, so did the sun that burned above it and smiled down upon it. The warm yellow sun was aging, and as it did, it grew warmer and warmer, and bigger and bigger, darker and darker, yellow to orange to red, until the smiling yellow sun became a glaring red giant.
The quacking of a duck startled me awake. It was more a honk actually. The first time I heard it in the middle of the night, it was a horrific sound. Because I couldn’t place it. I never expected to hear a duck in the middle of the night where I live. But we have a pool, and they like to land in the pool sometimes.
In the middle of the night, some of the sounds that are innocuous or even unnoticeable during the day trigger worry or fear. The creak of a stair. The weird sounds that fridges make when they’re cycling through their…cycles. A duck honking.
The epitome of sound is music. I lie awake and listen for it. The chirping of crickets is the chorus of the night. But they have some accompaniment. The distant barking of a dog, answered by another. Engines revving, droning or trumpeting, as cars pass by on the nearby cross street. The sounds begin to sooth me.
I slip off into sleep.