a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 21 Home Game: Turn back or forge ahead?

Musings 6.25.17

One of my favorite things to do is write in invisible ink

I change the font color to match the background
so I can’t read over what I’ve written so far
and have to just keep forging ahead

It’s all I can do to turn off the criticizing voice
Who is always afraid that I’m wasting my time
Writing nonsense
A useless and unsuitable hobby

But it’s all I can do
Keeping all of those way more interesting realities
Shifting around in my brain from constantly distracting me from real life
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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 21: Current Events

[Warnings Under cut]Here Be Horror, graphic descriptions of violence and death


Felix Clark was officially the oldest student at Cooper Creek. His fellow students were chanting about how he was such a jolly good fellow. The youngest of them standing on the long benches and clapping along.

This moment would remain his happiest memory for a long time to come and Felix is surprised at the realization. How can he be so sure of such a thing?Felix wonders as the students are dismissed for the day. Watching as they scatter over the boundary into the city of Crossroads Felix heads toward the “teacher-age” where a dormitory of sorts had been set up for charity cases; orphans who showed a skill in academics and were worth the investment.

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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 20: Open Topic

Of All The Topics So Far (500 Words)

I wish for my writing to be fearless if not effortless

I wish to write for the fun of escaping and the perverse joy it brings to me

Never mind fame and fortune when hypergraphia overtakes me in the middle of the night

Too many tales wanting to be told

Universes full of elegant airships

An underground dance club in a retro-futuristic dystopia

A post-apocalyptic romance, a Mary Sue
In search of a brother who found himself on the wrong side of the law in a barren outpost far from their own
Along the way, Mary meets a handsome drifter who is also the “Traveling Judge” presiding over the brother’s trial
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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 19: Invitation

The Herald

There is a shadow hovering in the corner.

Julie cannot turn to her head to look but she knows it is there. Just as she knows her hand is at the end of her arm but she cannot move it. She cannot turn her head; she cannot run.

She can breath though,and she can scream.

She does not want to scream but she opens her mouth anyway and begins to to speak in garbled and odd sentences. She is channeling the speech of the masters of the unseen realms that live in in-between spaces by the cliffs and the valleys that are not valleys but roads and the dessert sands. Among doorways and within the dimensions of time.

The shadow descends and they become one and they begin to rise from the bed. They reach the door and stand on the periphery of all things. They step through into the great unknown, the great beyond, the place where here is not there because it was not the here, but the journey.

Julie gasps awake in the light of the afternoon sun streaming in through the holes in the curtains; the dust swirling in the light. Her head aches and she wants to go back to sleep but feels too restless now.

She moves to sit on the side of the bed and slowly rises to her feet. She slips her robe over her shoulders as she walks toward the washroom.

She stops in the doorway suddenly recalling the feeling in her dream with a vivid clarity when she catches her reflection in the mottled reflecting glass above the sink. Then she remembers with vivid clarity cutting her hair with a pair of sewing shears the night before but then she remembers that there is more hash and moves to the window sill where she left it.

She props herself on the end of the cabinet next to the window breathing in a little hair of the dog and trying to recall more of the visions of the night before.

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She reaches into the pocket of her robe and retrieves her notebook but instead of making notes she slides out the small cream colored card she’d stuck in the back.

She’s still feeling impetuous, running her fingertips over her scalp recalling the snip of the scissors as her hair fell away. After she rereads the invitation for the tenth time since she recieved it weeks ago she heads back into the bedroom and begins to pack.

She gets to the end of the pier just in time to watch the last airship lift away from it’s mooring and sail into the clear blue sky. She drops her leather case onto the damp boards beneath her feet and sits on it panting and shading her eyes to watch “The Sailing Junkband” get smaller and smaller.

She's walking back to the boarding house when she sees the tinkerer's cart. She looks back up the street weighing her options. She's heard traveling tinkers will sometimes take on passengers and she did go through all the trouble of packing. She decides it's worth a try before giving up entirely.

He is standing beside the caravan holding a flaming torch and working on some gizmo when she approaches with her hood up to hide her unseemly cropped locks.

"Excuse me, I am looking to ride west,” Julie says loudly, akwardly.

He looks up from his work and turns off the torch.

"What reason have yuou to be heading west?" The tinker asks in a watery voice.

"I'd rather not say."

He nods and turns back to his instrument.

"Someone I love is in trouble," she says. "I need to warn them. I am — it’s not safe for me here."

"It isn’t safe for an unescorted lady most places in the twelve kingdoms, I think you will find."

"I can take care of myself."

"Of that I have no doubt. Do you believe one can find what they are looking for by running away?" He shakes his head in response to his own question. "You girl do not know what you seek and so you will never know when you have found it."

"I can’t stay here," she says, it is the truth at least.

"Can you drive a mech horse?" He asks motioning to the steam powered mechanical next to his cart.

"I can learn," she says.

"The truth suits you young miss."

"You know I am older than I look."

"To be sure, but, when you are as old as I am there is naught that surprises ye much."

"So will you take me along?"

The tinker smiles and waves a beckoning hand to her.

a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 18: Intersection: The Distance Between Us

Full Text Below Audio

Distance Means So Little...

You protected me even back then Layla
I can say to you now,
And wonder at the bond that has made us soul sisters
Despite all the odds

I was a queermo in a small town
a bad influence on my peers
Because I was intrinsically different

Afraid to test the theory
There was this ever growing chasm between the things that you knew
and I did not
My very thoughts damming me to eternal hellfire

The color guard captain who mixed a clear bitter liquid into our juice when her parents weren’t home

But I remained the bad influence

Because my mother was scandalous
in the small town
where you protected me without my ever even knowing

There were times I spent nights on my knees sobbing to a deity
Who never answered my prayers

I found love
in the arms of a troubled young man who was born into a female body
We picked the scabs off each others souls until we were raw
because we liked the taste of each other’s blood

Grasping the phone to my ear at 2am
I will never make it through this Layla...
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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 14: Topic 4: Nevermind

[Possibly NSFW, warnings under cut]

Allusions to sex work, including descriptions of consentual wax play and drug use

They Say Beyond The City Walls There Are No Cameras

I duck into the alley behind The Parsonage, pressing my hand against the bleeding wound and trying to hold back gasping coughs.

“Janie you look like—”

“I gotta see her Tony.”

“She’s in number ten tonight but—”

I don’t wait to hear the rest as I stumble to the door at the end of the alley.

Tony calls after me but I ignore him as the door swings open and I nearly fall into the corridor. I support myself against the wall with one hand, the other still pressed against my side, as I shuffle towards the door marked ten.

The screen on door ten is blank and I tap it between pulling at my clothes trying to find a barter token, tears stinging my eyes. I give up completely, desperately, and bang against the door with all the strength I have left.

“Sweets,” I cry out, “Sweets!”

My vision starts to blur and I’m swaying forward as the door finally opens.

I’m suddenly in her arms and I breath in her scent, holding on to it like a dying man’s last wish. I hear her voice as if it’s underwater and very far away as everything goes dark.

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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 16: Thunderclap

Cue Thunder

“I have had a vision mistress that Sir Henry will be lost at sea,” says the young actress crossing to the proscenium.

In the small box on stage left a small towheaded boy watches through a peephole as the drawing room of a town house begins transforming into a scene of the open ocean; a back drop painted to look like a churning sea with white capped waves is lowered and a small replica of a double masted ship is rocked back and forth by unseen stagehands.

A soft but sharp whistle interrupts the boy’s enchantment and he turns to the prompter who is glaring crossly at him.

The call-boy moves away from the peephole and the prompter whispers fiercely at him, “Git to the green room lad and tell the actors there’ll be notes after the rehearsal and to meet in the auditorium.”

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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 15: Patchwork Heart

She shoulders her laptop bag and steps into the aisle joining the off boarding line.

When she makes it to the side of the bus she retrieves her pack, checking to be sure Mimzy her stuffed traveling companion is secured to the side, before hoisting the large pack up onto her shoulder and following the crowd into the passenger waiting area inside. She scans the inside of the station noting the restroomsand,the closed for the night food counter.

She checks the clock on the wall and the time on her ticket. She’ll have to wait here for an hour before the next bus north.

She sets her pack on the floor up against the one long bench seatand sits back, sprawls out her legsand stretches her arms.

She reaches into the back pocket of her denim cutoffs and pulls out the worn paper folded in fourths; smooths it out on her knee. It looks like one of those trope movie ransom notes, cut and pasted words in different styles and colors and, she supposes, in a way it sort of was.  It was a map that would lead to the answer. It was more than a game for her it was the only thing she knew.

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a novel by josephine march

LJ Idol 10: Week 14 Sudden Death Write Off: Open Topic

Full text below audio

[Audio Content Warning:]there's a string of curse words near the end

Sestina: The Main Character (MC)

This is a story about an MC afflicted with passion.
Who, like the restless needle of a compass,
was forever seeking the Horizon.
< spoiler alert > the ending of this story is already foretold
and is the same for every single being in creation.
It’s been said we’re all just players of some unseen narrator.

A nameless, unknowable, spiteful, narrator
who in the throes of passion
might decide to kill his creation.
So, this MC has a heartbeat like a needle of a spiraling compass.
For as is true for all, inevitably, death has been foretold.
Even for this MC who loves a thing known as, horizon.

They’re forever stupidly longing for that ever distant, damned Horizon.
Yes, damned, is the opinion of this narrator,
Who is actually wondering if there is even a point, if it’s all been foretold?
But I digress and the MC curses the will of my passion
as we drop them on the shore with naught but map and compass.
Do you see, that this MC is a stubborn, monstrous creation?

(I do confess I also find this fixed verse form to be a monstrous creation.)
What would happen if the MC ever reached their figurative horizon?
Perhaps an HEA* is greater than my abilities can compass?
But what good is an MC to a narrator
if they do not have passion?
We must all live with knowing that eventual, ending foretold.

From your very first breath, there being a last has been foretold.
It’s a bargain; the uncanny act of creation.
But back to the MC with all that all-consuming passion.
(Wanting so badly to reach that god damned fucking gosh darn horizon.)
The one who would dare defy the narrator
but is just a feckless wanderer lead by a faulty compass.

There are always dropped stitches and pricked fingers within the compass
of the tapestry woven as it is being foretold.
Does every narrator
hate his creation
for seeking beyond the horizon?
Being able, as the other is not, to fulfill their passion?

In the end the MC lets passion become the compass
and each moment a horizon. The last moment cannot be foretold,
the MC learns, for any man, or his creation, or even a humble narrator.

*HEA stands for Happily Ever After

with much thanks as always to lolaslaughter for being the best cheerleader a gal could have