I am odd, I’ll never claim that I am not. One of the things that people, particularly my husband, think is the most odd about me is that I love cheesy disaster movies. I blame my dad for this one. If he didn’t like watching them, then I wouldn’t have started watching them with him. I also blame my dad for my love of Science Fiction movies and both of my parents for my love of reading. I’m fairly certain that they do not mind being blamed for those things. One of the earliest memories that I have of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles came not from reading the book or seeing it referenced in a movie. It is of an anthology of Science Fiction stories that my dad had on audio tape. These stories were narrated by two of my favorite Star Trek actors. The Ray Bradbury works on that anthology included “There Will Come Soft Rains” and it has stuck with me more than any other single work. These two poems were in part inspired by that story and in part by other works of Science Fiction on page and screen.
Tires screeching, fear binding.
Heat searing, light blinding.
Everyone now scared, now dead.
Burning light flashed first orange, then red.
Last one died seconds after the first.
All of the consequences, this one is worst.
Sadness gropes the rest of the nation,
The government cowers in humiliation.
To me I always thought that “There Will Come Soft Rains” was about an accidental bombing. It wasn’t until much later, when I was able to read the whole anthology that Bradbury wrote about Mars, that I realized it was about war. But, when I was 15, I didn’t understand that human nature is more about war than about accidents. Of course, the odd side of a writer is that we imagine scenarios for almost every circumstance. This means that I put myself in stories to see how it would feel to be there and how it would feel to live that live. This also means that sometimes the habit backfires on me and I end up with nightmares.
Light, the beginning
Flooding over all
Into each and every soul
Into the cracks in every wall
Then comes the realization
That all you knew is gone
You are left alone
But you must continue on
Out into the light you step
To see the destruction of your world
Not caring now what comes to pass
Human pride eternally muraled
You are now the last
The only one to continue
The only one to remember the past
The only one to see the final death of the human race
I would watch random, rerun, episodes of The Twilight Zone growing up and was told a lot about episodes I’d never seen. The one that terrified me the most was about the survivor of the end of the world who finally had time to read, only to have his glasses break. I don’t know why, but that has been more my version of Purgatory than anything else I have seen, heard, or read over the years. As odd as it may seem, that episode convinced me that I would rather die in an apocalypse than be one of only a handful to survive it.
Different styles of writing embrace different traits. For example, the fact that I am odd translates very well into my Fiction writing and the fact that I am edgy translates well into my poetry. In 1999 I was still experimenting with what worked well and where. The Journey towards that goal is far from over, but I am getting there and learning about myself along the way.