Categories
creative writing fiction technology women writing

Oh, Gloria …

Where seconds before, castanets were rapping their clat-ta-tat-tat, a deafening silence fell on the host of avatars in the room. Friendly banter was interrupted, a question went unanswered, and earphones were unplugged from devices to broadcast the newest tirade over speakers. Someone in Brussels unwrapped a lunch sandwich and listened in.

Gloria was in the room. This morning, she presented with glossy grey locks, which billowed in a nonexistent breeze. Her flawless, peaches-and-cream skin was buffed to a high shine. But that was not why everyone was squinting at their screens. They were accustomed to seeing a dark-haired vixen in a slice of underwear, sat with her knees exactly fifty centimetres apart. (Someone attempted the pose at home.) Today, everything, including her shoulders and most of her neck, was covered.

A stream of pings followed. “Everyone, get in here. Gloria is wearing clothes.”

Master had stopped the castanets mid-clat to croak at the host of avatars, “Reverence! Gloria is having a bad day.”

“And today’s crisis is…?” thought everyone. And they waited to find out. In New York, a spoonful of breakfast cereal was returned to a bowl. “What… exactly?”

A summary was sent in a backchannel. It read, “Dental emergency at the dentist, who has Wi-Fi, so Gloria can be here with us shortly before receiving treatment for the dental emergency, and then stay here with us, in fact, during the entire procedure, so we can be there for her.”

“Surely,” went one dictated response, “the care and feeding of her children comma who materialised out of thin air only last week comma should be the focus of concern question mark.”

After that update, volume buttons were pushed all the way down. But unable to see this, Master squeaked again. “Praise Gloria. Genuflect, you peasant scum!” No-one heard him. The rebellion had started.

Three hours later, Master punished everyone by giving Gloria his proxy. “Host the room for us, will you? For your teeth, dear.” A dubious honour it was, to be the doyen of disenchantment, dueña to disconnected souls.

Categories
People women writing

Rinse, repeat …

Collage with postage stamps

So far, the new WordPress editor is driving me bonkers and is about to get slapped upside the head with my pimp hand after trying to stitch me up via Siri. 

Warning! Rant …

I spent the last four days trying to delete my Instagram account, which I started four days ago. Before that, I was forced to shred my Twitter posts, all 202 of them and delete my account. Long story short, Twitter is Babylon.

I have sworn that I would never use Facebook products ever. I had to go back on my word because I’m not able to travel overseas this year. 

Instagram’s software decided that my photos were professional-looking. I was prompted to upgrade to a professional account and pay for advertising. They then said that I needed a Facebook page (so they can mine my data and sell me ads). I declined because I wasn’t going to sell my artwork anyway, and their analytics are irrelevant. I was planning to post photos from my archives to establish some credentials. I wanted other artists to pay attention to me when I engaged with them. Instead, from the fourth post in, my photos started vanishing. Soon after, I was not allowed to react to stories, or comment on more than four consecutive posts. So I said, I’m done. Four days later, after several thwarted attempts, I finally did it.

I was miserable the whole time.

You have to understand, I study programming and machine learning so I know how algorithms work. I don’t believe that their algorithms are even-handed. Machine learning code requires human input and all of that “the algorithm changes constantly” nonsense you see in tech magazines, is shorthand for “our programmers are constantly re-drafting the code so that people who are not buying advertisements will feel compelled to do that”.  

I had zero followers and was getting suppressed. It is a clear sign that Facebook exists to sell advertisements. They don’t cater to anyone who refuses to add to their bottom line. I don’t have access to their servers, so there is nothing I can do to change their policy to help myself.

Please do not ask me about all of the accounts I visited in stealth mode. Oh, I spied on everybody: neighbours all the way to my former teachers, classmates, childhood friends, crushes, crushes’ crushes, uni friends, colleagues. People are so nice when they don’t know it’s me commenting.

One of my cousins, who is a fashion designer, sent me a lovely welcome audio message to thank me for joining her army of fans. In real life, her husband banned her from talking to me because I told my cousin she should not allow her husband to name himself CEO of her multinational fashion brand, which she started on her own. He has no business training, mind you. He claims on his social media accounts that he is naturally better at business because he’s a dude and men are traditionally the provider. It’s a very long story – and you can read about it at that link. 

I woke up on Sunday morning to a face full of the power couple in an Instagram live stream. Their marriage is amazing and perfect and stuff so they were cohosting a marriage counselling session with a very good-looking celebrity singer couple. I had to intervene after a guest complained that her man wasn’t ready to have children. She joked that her friend told her to take a sample of his you-know-what while he was sleeping. I quickly jumped in the chat to say that it was assault and battery. (If I had a partner kinda sorta joke that they would impregnate me in my sleep, there’d be no discussion about it: that would be the very end. Don’t say hi to me, get lost forever).

Of course the power couples ignored me. Because, they don’t have any knowledge about fundamental human rights. And why would they? They’re not really helping anyone, they’re building a brand.

 

Categories
creative writing fiction writing

Kissing

Temple kissing

Her face was fully inside his mouth when she realized that his hands had clamped her head in place. One of her eyeballs plopped out and dribbled along the teeth lining his lower jaw.  As it settled into a jagged crater, the eyeball surveyed an astral grey amalgam of filling. A nerve ending in the retina swapped that image with the screenshot of a scene from Robocop. The tiny hairs in her nostrils weren’t quite so swayed. This was a human, and the tiny hairs proved it by enhancing the coffee stains and cigarette smoke emanating from his lungs.

Her right shoulder chipped in to help. Twisting to the left, it wrenched her face from his grip. Taking the hint, her left hand pulled open the door of her car. She had been standing with her back to it so she was able to slide in, gracefully, bottom first.

As she steered her car right, to exit the driveway, the man’s narrow body flattened out in her rearview mirror. His knees and elbows were still bent. His hands flopped down at the wrist. His tongue was stuck to the roof of his open mouth, as if he had been rudely interrupted, mid-hunt.

“Eat or be eaten” sustains the appetite for the short term. But human tribes, under threat, preemptively culled predatory populations (of animals and cannibals) so that they themselves could thrive. She wondered if this had happened to the dinosaurs before they went extinct.

Image: Lakshmana Temple depiction of couple kissing, dates back to 950 AD.

Categories
art artificial intelligence creative writing fiction science fiction writing

Strawberry Sea

Lords of the Fallen

Christian fell out of the wormhole and landed flat on his back. Overhead, his hovercraft exploded. The blast appeared to freeze as it was swallowed up by the singularity.

Within moments, shortwave radiation activated his solar plexus. The nerve endings shocked his heart into rhythm, and his lungs billowed open. His first breath was a revelation. Air, in three-dimensional space, tasted sweet and astringent.

The first light of that morning prized open his pupils and flooded his eyes, enabling him to see his surroundings. He convulsed, fingers scraping at the ground, as his brain recalibrated itself. A phalanx of trees looked him over. Their leaves nodded lazily as they cast off the raindrops that weighted them down.

As a comic book hero, Christian’s circumstances were limited by whatever someone else decided to print.

“I can’t live to my fullest potential acting out roles others are scripting for me.”

An illustrator had scribbled those words near Christian’s mouth. They were cruel and ironic.

“There are advantages,” Christian thought, while battling a Bandroid in volume 91, on page 316. “My victory is guaranteed.”

Eight pages later, he changed his mind. “Please someone,” he pleaded, “write me a way out of here.”

On page 326, someone drew him into our cryptic universe. That was how he found himself stretched out on the eastern bank of the Ganges, dreaming of a strawberry sea.

+_~

Notes: Keep calm and rebel on, rebels. With special thanks to Lilian Wong for including me in her Twitter poetry campaign, which started on September 4 – @LilianYWong. Image Credit: Playstation Europe. Lords of the Fallen, via Flickr, used with permission.

Categories
creative writing fashion People women

Shame-free Romance (PG 16+)

 German Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi doing the tango
Photo courtesy Chigirev

If romance were like sports, winning would be easy. A game has rules and a clear winner. But as Grace Dent elegantly states it, “real love with actual humans can be an arduous task.” That is why, if you’re bashful, like me, you will be appalled by the idea of approaching a person and saying, “Please, like me, please.” It seems pushy and even rude but lots of men and women do this with no fear whatsoever. I wondered if I was missing out.

Over dinner, a friend helpfully suggested that I try to be bouncy. I thought she meant I was to change into a thigh-split dress and hurl myself from a moving car.

 Rebecca Ferguson in Rogue Nation
Photo courtesy Business Insider

I liked the idea, as it is a subtle way of asking to be introduced. Until another friend explained that she meant I should mislead witnesses with a padded bra.

While my friends discussed these details, I recalled three attention-grabbing techniques favoured by women Glampions. I’ve seen these tactics in sports: The Wedge, the Lob and the Shirt Pull. They are 100% shame free.

Wedge | When a woman is talking to a man you want like, wedge yourself into the conversation with a tango style pasada, and body block. Slowly caress his thigh with your thigh, à la Gisela.

 Lonestar Rollergirls, Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Lobbing | Pretend to misunderstand information.  Lob a series of pointed and penetrating statements at your rival’s pride. For example, Fantastic Bachelor says, “Ai, you look lovely this evening.” Ai says, “Sorry I’m late. I stopped for gas.” You respond, “Oh, no! Go home and get over your case of bad gas, that’s happening right now, at this moment. Remember? You mentioned it in la toilette yesterday!” Keep at it until she evaporates.

Caroline Wozniacki at the US Open
Photo courtesy Fansided

Shirt pulling | Pull up your shirt and expose your tummy, on which you’ve scribbled your phone number. This may cause Fantastic Bachelor’s brain to short circuit. If it does, he will text you over and over until he passes out.

 Photo: London 2012 Olympics

All right. I’m not sure I’ll ever be 100% shame free. But the tango looks enticing. It is a contact sport and it has a very dressy uniform.

Categories
fiction opinion People women writing

Wallis

Wallis Simpson photographed with former king Edward on their wedding day. She was a real feminist, unlike some contemporary feminists who pay lip service to the idea, mistakenly thinking that a strong woman is angry. Faux feminists wouldn't recognise an actual feminist if one stomped on them

The Merry Widow looked weary this afternoon. Her minders took note as they unearthed her body from a trough of pink salt. People said she was well-preserved, meaning it as a compliment. They had no idea how literal that was.

Despite the attention on spa Wednesday, she felt hollow. A long walk outside would have helped but her sponsors forbade prolonged exposure to the sun. They shuttered her windows. They gave her books, soft lights and sweet music to keep her subdued.

From the walls of her bedroom, the covers of Life and Time mocked her. “Parasite of international society has zero net worth. Ha ha ha ha ha!” Sponsors fetched her every three weeks or so. They shoved her in front of cameras to promote various agendas. They fed her milk and farm fresh produce. Only enough, and the nurse made sure, to maintain her trim figure. When she was younger, she had been ruthless about looking petite. These days, she always felt a little hungry.

It is possible to succeed and fail miserably at the same time. She was a strong woman with more ambition than decorum. There were two lessons she hadn’t learned. One, do not offend the wrong people, starting with her sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. And two, when you reach your endgame, stop. The high profile fling was a ploy for social deference. Instead, she found herself serving the establishment for the rest of her life.

~_~

Photo credit: Duke and Duchess of Windsor on their wedding day, June 3, 1937. “Los Duques de Windsor, un amor que cambió el rumbo de la historia,” via Hola magazine

Categories
art People women

Coffee + Heart

Melbourne – Monday, June 13 – 08.08

GUEST POST

Reflection and photos by Machine.Gun.Meow (mGm)
Facebook: Machine Gun Meow Twitter: @MachineGunMeow
Instagram: @machingunmeow

Growing up in Nairobi, as a girl of Indian heritage, diversity has shaped my worldview. I have been in a nostalgic mood of late and, given recent tragic events, SB asked me to share my morning reflection with you.

While watching The Revenant last night, I noticed the treatment of the Native Americans in the film. I said to Mr. Meow that it is unfathomable that we, as a human race, seek to hate others based on differences.

Filtered

We could go to land’s end and the hate would find us because there is always something that distinguishes one person from the other. What is more unbelievable is that the situation has changed little in the two hundred years since the film’s setting. Simply put, the hate stems from a sense of righteousness or superiority, whether you blame it on religion, ‘science’, politics or custom. I feel we must find a higher order of being instead of looking for problems where none exist.

Mixed bowl

At the moment, I am writing a fantasy fiction novel. In it, I explore the idea of diversity. The questions I contemplate are, “What is the alternative to diversity? Is it uniformity or conformity?” I wonder, is that the kind of world we want? Are we better off being cookie-cutter images of each other? Is that what would encourage acceptance?

Reflection

If the defilers of diversity were confronted with the alternatives, would they reconsider their position? This is wishful. I concede I have no solutions.

 

Categories
art

Floral Wilt

floral sculpture dramatic filter
[i] Delilah

Floral sculpture, wilting

Warm wishes for a peaceful and safe Easter weekend. To my Hindu friends, I hope your Holi was full of love and joy.

floral sculpture filtered in pink [ii] Pink this, Fuchsia

For this project, I tried to create a sculpture with wilting flowers. I rearranged them a few times and photographed each version until I found a good balance.

floral sculpture filtered in red
[iii] Carmine phase

I used wilting petals to bring emotional texture to the composition. I hope you like them, too. Thank you for viewing.

Categories
creative writing fiction

Long live the King!

Parliament based on columns, Vienna

This medical morning, for the King, started in a Vojda Space Cab. It surged through a private subterranean concourse, along a 500 km track, nonstop to Brussels. Technically, he was dead, long live the Queen.

Images of the plane wreckage were shared everywhere. The world sat down to look. “Surely, no one survived the impact,” agreed the comments.

Conspiracy theorists weren’t having it. They leaked reports of advanced stem cell research. They explained mitochondrial nanorepair kits. Available in portable spray cans, a generous spritz regenerates cells from the inside out. Over time, nanorobots rebuild nerves, blood vessels and tissue. Surgeons supervise them over WiFi.

365/17 - Banned by Justice

Hours earlier, tributes labeled the monarch, “Guru of a pampered and oblivious sect.” But a news anchor tearfully reminded everyone that Lear was a single father. He’d done a great job, if his youngest daughter capsized the world’s oldest monarchy. When the forty second eulogy was over, the King became an icon of equality and fair play.

The conspiracy theories remained unbelieved until some atheists tweeted prayers. Minutes later, temples, synagogues, churches and mosques around the world were crammed with supporters.

“We forgive you,” pleaded the congregants. “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

 


Long live the King | SB
…continued from Lear

Photo credits: Parliament based on columns, Vienna and Banned by Justice from Dominik Bartsch via Flickr.

Categories
creative writing fiction

Goneril

Schloss Belvedere, Wien

Washed in oils of honeysuckle and thyme, the crypt ushered her in with antiseptic strength. She asked after the King’s body. None of the responses congealed in her hearing. Phrases like, “legal property of Vojda Research Laboratories,” “insurers,” “exclusive” and “living will,” went over Goneril’s head as she faded to the floor.

She was shaking. “Hold me. To hell with protocol! I need to be held.” A minder enfolded her in his arms. From there, her eyes rested on the brushed silver canister that cradled her husband’s remains. His ashes muffled her distress.

“You mean,” she said, breaking through somehow, “my father is alive because he got better life insurance coverage?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” the Prime Minister said, “and until he has officially recovered, you are Queen, regnant.”

Goneril

Photo credit: Schloss Belvedere, Wien/ Belvedere Castle, Vienna, courtesy Dominik Bartsch via Flickr. I was fortunate to find the amazing photography of Dominik Bartsch on Flickr. It is difficult to find images that bring the right ambience to a story. But I found everything I needed in one place.

Notes: This is a teaser for two short stories based on Shakespeare’s King Lear. They are here: Lear and Long Live the King! 

Categories
about me art gourmet People

Go, Diva!

heart shaped Godiva tins in silver and pink, with grunge filter

You know those days when you go all Cypress Hill and say, “Who you trying to get crazy with ese, don’t you know I’m loco (loco, loco)?”

heart shaped Godiva tins in silver and pink

Four and a half private rants in, I remembered my own advice as well as the wise words of the uber talented writer/director/producer Dagmar Baumunk of Tomorrow Definitely. She said…

noir chocolate; noir shot of inside heart shaped Godiva tin

I put my hands on my ears and go:
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah 🙂

She’s adorable. Of course, I did exactly that.

silver polished can with Godiva marked on it

While my voice reverberated in my skull, I had a brilliant idea.

chocolate bitten through

I decided to OD on TLC with the choco. My feeling was, “I could talk about you, or I could choose to act like a queen.”

assorted chocolates from Godiva, in vintage noir

Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes (thanks Christopher) but I heard that plugging them with cocoa butter and sugar works like magic.

champagne flavoured chocolate

Ooops.  My eyes are rolling over in my head and I forgot to offer y’all some.

dark vintage chocolate ribbon, Go, Diva!

Hey!

Note: Heavy on the musical references to “Insane in the Brain” by Cypress Hill and “Bad Blood” with Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar.

Categories
art creative writing poetry

Frost

Frost

Winter ices fire
in this midnight garden
where you left
me waiting in the haze
of a bucolic frost

It etches crystals
and invades my brea-
-thing streams
(There’s cramping)
But it seems …

Winter’s glance is bare
She whispers every-
-where through
twisters in this maze
With promises sublime
she sends my sighs
on down the wire
and I hope they’ll
stay away

{(-_-)}
Frost | SB

Photo: My index finger on a frosted car window one very cold morning in January.

Categories
creative writing fiction poetry

Access/Allure

spectre3

She pumps the pain
All access hurt
A short seduction
Four nights of mirth
One drunk admission
more blues champagne
his tears are flowing
tonight again

Allure’s a vision
Synapses reign
in love at midnight
aboard a train
That window’s frosted
and winter thrills
to watch them burning
from fiery sills

Love days are over
those times they were
like crescent shadows
where moon deceives
When tears were falling
with autumn leaves
she caught the dew drops
on silken sleeves

She pumps the pain…

+(❆ڼ❆)~  ∗♞͂  ∗ ♞͂ ∗ ✩ ⃛

Access/Allure | SB

Photo credit:
Monica Bellucci and Daniel Craig
in SPECTRE
courtesy H&K/JME Photo  via Telegraph UK

Categories
poetry

One

highly stylised photograph of a woman in blue, titled, the ice queen

I comfort all souls
in the palm of my hand
so more life will flow
from our primitive band

Fifty thousand passengers
all pearls in a clam
Forty thousand citizens
slow rhythm, love jam

Infinite princes
mix beats on this shore
They’re dancing and laughing
and pass plenty more
embracing the night
as prism’s jet hue
then pull straight ahead
and march in this queue

For one drop in an ocean
(That’s when I am with you)
I’ll rise up and greet
this carnal deluge

(´ε` )
One

Photo credit and special thanks: Butterfly by Aria Appleford.

Categories
poetry

La guapa bandolera

Lea

In moments of serenity
Habitués, as I recall,
recline in vintage lounges
and sup their timeless treks
The gold flecks in your eyes
define my sacred pledge
Just promise …
you’ll love me if
we ever meet again

We’re moments from serenity
so join me, let us fight
for Love, for real,
uncloaks the darkest knight
Through moon drops let her beam
down rays of silver suns
until our rock’s serene
until all hearts
are won

( ◜◒◝ )♡ ♡〜

Photo credit: Léa Seydoux in Spectre via Standard UK