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Author Topic: PodCastle Interlude: Wing (Miniature 78)  (Read 2771 times)

Talia

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on: January 10, 2014, 02:04:31 PM
PodCastle Interlude: Wing (Miniature 78)

by Amal El-Mohtar

Read by Danielle Daly

Originally published in Strange Horizons. Read it here!

In a cafe lit by morning, a girl with a book around her neck sits quietly at a table.

She reads—not the book around her neck, which is small, only as long and as wide as her thumb, black cord threaded through a sewn leather spine, knotted shut. She reads a book of maps and women, turns every page as if it were a lock of hair, gently. Every so often, her fingers stray to the book that sits above her sternum, twist it one way, then the other; every so often, she sips her tea.

“What is written in your book?” asks the man who brought her the tea. She looks up.


Rated PG.

Editors’ Note: This week, we’re taking a small break and bringing you a miniature by one of our favorite authors. We’ll be back next week with a feature length story.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!



Unblinking

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Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 02:51:11 PM
Hmmm...  I'm guessing I am just not the audience for me, or maybe I missed something important.  I understood it as it was going, but in the end I'm not really sure what it was about other than people who share strange habits--I didn't really get into it, and it just kind of washed over me like surf.



Listener

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Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 08:25:35 PM
I appreciated the story for its lyrical and poetic nature, but I had some difficulty finding the plot beyond figuring out that there would be three beats to it and the third would be some sort of happy ending. And then they turned into birds. I didn't get that at all. But then, I really don't care for poetry in general so I probably wasn't the intended audience either.

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Varda

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Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 11:04:43 PM
Listener pretty much summed up my thoughts as well. Pretty, poetic, pleasant to listen to... but I didn't particularly connect with it, or entirely understand its meaning. I'm going to say it was supposed to have a dreamlike quality, like one of those really good dreams where you wake up feeling unbelievably happy and peaceful, then try to explain it to someone else and realize it doesn't make a lick of sense. :)

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Devoted135

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Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 04:33:08 AM
I guess I'm with the rest on this one. It certainly was a pleasant interlude though! ;D



dirk.bruere

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Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 06:27:28 PM
A man with small bird-like features sits in an empty room, cross legged in a posture of contemplation as he lifts the warm jade cup filled with exquisitely prepared green tea to his lips. As the bitter liquid unleashes a tsunami of delicate recollections that cascade through the infinity of associations only one arises, as a dolphin breaking the waves of the perpetual ocean of all minds. Needs some sugar. He gently farts.
Fin.



danooli

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Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 06:35:15 PM
I liked the images evoked by this. It's pretty and lyrical.



Procyon

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Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 07:26:32 PM
I wonder if this story suffers somewhat for being read aloud on a podcast rather than read silently to oneself. It seems like the kind of thing one must digest slowly, at one's own pace. You sort of want to pause and ponder the choice of words, ruminate on the delicate salt bones of waves, put the book down and read it again a week later, or a year later. Podcasts, for better or for worse, are about the now, the future. Finished this episode, start the next! Don't want to fall behind in my queue. I wonder if this story is too slow to be spoken.

On the other hand, dirk.bruere, you made me actually laugh out loud.



dirk.bruere

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Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 08:44:23 PM
On the other hand, dirk.bruere, you made me actually laugh out loud.
Well, here is Part 2 and a lesson in how to turn a boring, yet sublimely artistic, story around without losing one iota of its perfection. Read on...

"...He gently farted..."
At which point a soft mellifluous voice quietly intoned, with hints of triumph underlying the words... "Got you, you bastard!"
The speaker was a well dressed middle aged women whose description was dominated by what she carried in her hand - a gun. Slowly the man turned towards her, a serene look on his face. As he opened his mouth to speak there was an enormous explosion and the 0.75" caliber explosive slug turned the wall behind his head into a parody of a Jackson Pollack painting in red and grey.
"Yes", she mused, perhaps to herself or perhaps to the now departed sipping on the bitter tea of Nothingness in Nirvana. "You thought you had got away with it didn't you? But you made one fatal error, just like all the rest. Real mystics don't fart".
Fin



Scattercat

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Reply #9 on: February 15, 2014, 01:09:03 PM
Well, *I* liked the original story.

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danooli

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Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 12:49:13 PM
Well, *I* liked the original story.

You and me both, Scattercat. :-)



Tango Alpha Delta

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Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 03:20:23 AM
I heard this in the car on the way in this morning, and (unlike my esteemed fellow commenters) I was utterly stricken by it.

This is odd for me, because I'm not usually moved by such esoteric lyricism, but THIS hit all the right notes for me:

The book on the cord is the secret each of us carries inside us, and it's the same secret for everyone (which is why there are no words in the book).

The stories the girl tells each person are the stories we all tell each other all the time - they have meaning, just like any story (ahem, not to get too meta) but you have to actively listen to them and project a piece of yourself into them to make sense of them.

If you're familiar with your Ecclesiastes (Vanity, vanity! All is Vanity!) this whole story, with its embroidered prose and seemingly pointless denouement wraps that sense of futility in beauty and mystery. It reminded me today just how beautiful and mysterious you can make the world around you just by sitting still and watching it.

Thank Amal El-Mohtar for me!

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danooli

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Reply #12 on: October 20, 2014, 01:41:23 PM
Yay :) another person who liked this!