Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mab to Mysterious Three Flash Fiction Challenge

I've been a little MIA the past week and a half, but you know, real life and kids and such.  On the up side, their plays were a hit!  And hey, no more scenery painting for yours truly - at least until next year.  But since I've been busy, I haven't had a chance to really do any of Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenges the past two Fridays.  I really wanted to, because they were very interesting, but I didn't have the time let alone the energy.  However, this weeks I'm definitely in for!

His challenge this time is all about interesting fables and fairy tales...of a sort.  We were asked to go to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the "M" section to be more precise, chose a phrase or name that struck our fancy, then write a Flash Fiction about it.  It took me a while to pick one, but I finally did, and of course it's Norse Mythology.  Gotta love those Vikings!  Don't forget to check out the other entries.  I intend to spend a few days this week enjoying the heck out of what they've come up with, because it's always entertaining.

So, without further adieu, here is my entry for Terriblemind's From Mab to the Mysterious Three Flash Fiction Challenge:


* Muninn Memory; one of the two ravens that sit perched on the shoulders of Odin; the other is Hugin (thought). *

He sat on the hard, rounded shoulder, claws dug into giving flesh.  Golden hair rolled in the unseen wind, wrapping thick tendrils around his dark wings.  His master gave him an absent stroke, dislodging the blond strands and focusing his attention on the small lake.  The ripples of water cleared, slowly calming to reveal the sights which he, Muninn, had so recently witnessed.

“These were the warriors,” his master wanted to know.  “These men cried out for me?”

Muninn’s caw rumbled in his throat, mixing with the expanded magic in his chest, until it emerged as a human voice.  “They cried gloriously for Odin.  They battled for the land, and asked for your favor.”

Odin nodded, his brow furrowed with the weight of the truth.  “You bring me their memories, Muninn.”

With that, his master laid a gentle forefinger on his head, and Muninn felt the sudden rush as all the images were pulled from him.  It only took a few moments for Odin to absorb all that the bird had seen.

“I worried for you, my friend.  More than for your brother.”

Muninn tilted his head and eyed the god.  “Hugin has not the nerve.”

Odin smiled, an amused grin of beauty.  “I have given you that curse, Muninn.  Bravery is too akin to stupidity if not used with caution.”

“What caution when they kill themselves?”  Muninn blinked, puzzled by his master’s concern.

“Yes, indeed.”  Another stroke of his feathers, then a long sigh.  “They must fight, or be wiped from the earth.  Strength is what I have given them, cunning is what they have learned, bravery is what they have fashioned.  All these dead will have a place at my table.”

“Then will fight again.”  He momentarily spread is wings, indignant.  “They have blood lust that is never curbed.”

His master laughed, deep and sure.  “Not all, my friend, but without it they would never survive.  What you see has made you too cynical.  Think you of the women, strong in their own way, of the children, pure of heart, of the joyous feasts and passionate songs.”

“They make poetry and then make war.  Killing and pillaging what they praise.”  A shake of his dark head showed disapproval.

“Perhaps I shall give you the soul of a human.  Mayhap I shall conjure you into a great warrior.”

“Rather to be roasted over a fire.”

Odin’s laugh this time was a boom that rolled like thunder.  “Then I shall send you to my table, and you shall feed the hungry horde.”

Muninn cawed, annoyed, understanding the god was teasing, but still perturbed by the idea.  “You would only have my brother, Hugin, for company, and then only thought and not memory.  You would see but forget.”

Odin plucked him from his shoulder, cradling him delicately in his monstrous hands.  “You are too wise, my friend.  Much too wise…or much too brave.”

A sound erupted from below, the call of a horn, the cry of crazed men, the clashing of steel.  It was too loud to be a small skirmish; another bloody battle had begun.  When the god slowly opened his hands, the bird readily stretched his great black wings for flight.

“Bring me their memories, Muninn.”

The reply was a rumbled screech as the bird glided toward the conflict, the sun of Asgard glinted on the tips of his dark feathers.  Behind him the riotous sounds of Valhalla turned to roars of delight as the fallen warriors tumbled out of the doors of the great hall.  More would join them today, and Muninn would gather their memories for his master.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Word Monogamy

So, I've been writing like a crazed woman.  Head bent over laptop, warning sign posted on my door, eyes glazed over and brain in book world.  I tend to write for hours, without going back, without pausing to breathe (okay, maybe I breathe, but I do forget to eat).  But before every writing session, I go back to read what's come before, not necessarily to edit myself, but to get back into the feel of the story so the continuity will continue to flow.

Here's where I found the problem.  I've been falling in love with one particular word every writing session.  What I mean is, I use a word over and over, until you'd think I was married to it.  It's in every second or third paragraph.  It's like I can't let the word go.  But then I get all fickle - which is actually a good thing with this problem - and find a new word to be monogamous with in the next writing jag.  I just can't figure out why.

It's not like I have a limited vocabulary.  Okay, maybe it's that I like to think I don't have a limited vocabulary.  Whatever.  The fact is, I know at least four different variations of the word blue.  I can recite them right now.  So why do I become obsessed with the word blue?  Other, more complicated and less complicated words, like independent, or secrecy, or, heck, even hard, have been subjected to my constant keyboard abuse.  There are other ways to say it, but my brain just latches on like a rat terrier and won't ease off the jugular.

I'm beginning to suspect it's because I become so focused on all those other words that I have this word monogamy problem.  My mind says, "Hey, if I gotta work so darn hard on all this other stuff, then you've got to let me glitch and burp on something."  And without conscious thought, it randomly chooses a word and that's that, at least for the few hours I'm hunkered down over the bright glow of the monitor.  I suppose it could be worse.  At least I have a thesaurus handy.  Plus I can probably tell you the origins of the word extraordinary, not to mention spout out several synonyms.  Does that make me a grammar geek?  I thought so.

Anybody else have this word monogamy issue?