the council by-laws
The Council does nothing if not listen.
The Council is nothing more than you expect and often quite less.
One representative from every land who requests representation.
All decisions to be open, discussed and decided, with no sub-councils and rare vacations.
Those elected to The Council are exempt from everything else.
No scheduled breaks.
When The Council’s attendance is respectfully requested by an Official of The Roman Family, a unanimous vote is required to request a ½ day break from The Duties of The Council.
Every voice should be heard, with few restrictions.
A member of The Council can exit at any time to exit for necessaries.
Speakers throughout the locked corridor assist everyone in staying on track even as they visit the necessary.
Food and drink are delivered.
In the spirit of open government Roman ordered a large square room of glass for The Council.
Anyone can see, anyone can hear.
All in The Land are responsible for their own education on the process of how they are ruled.
The People walking by The Castle can literally see how The Council works, building trust among The Land.
Every single person speaks and is heard.
Cybil enjoys the open sea. She leaves on mini-vacations whenever the other scribes won’t miss her, or if she’s on deadline and needs to get away. Leaving the land, becoming an island unto itself out there in the midst of great blue waters – somehow it rests her mind, eases her dreams, and the writing flows.
Of course, waves can be treacherous, and she often finds herself at their whim. One wave rises completely over her boat, soaking everything around Cybil, though she only felt wet against her cheek.
Another wave rises up before the first left, and once again her entire boat is soaked and once again Cybil only feels against her cheek and inside her ear.
Until she wakes to the reality that she’s not to sea but in her own bed, that there are no waves, but her dog wants her attention. Another lick to her face and Samuel jigs as only a dog can jig when dependent on an owner fast asleep to allow them to pee. Cybil had built a door for Samuel when he was just a pup, estimating how large his breed usually grows, but he rarely used it. Now that he’s full–grown – she hopes – and his size exceeds her estimate almost threefold, the door is just an easy entry for neighborhood cats who enjoy snacking on Cybil’s tossed parchments. She should patch up the door, Cybil thinks every time that Samuel leads her outside in the dead of night or wee morning hours.
She takes him to their back door and lets the dog romp and do his business while Cybil leans against the house. She’s often just in her robe, bare feet except during the cold, and more times than not Samuel catches her snoozing where she stands. He nods her awake once again, this time to travel inside to fall asleep – hopefully.
Samuel isn’t on his ritual constitution, though, and it makes Cybil nervous. The last time he took this long, he’d met a skunk. Cybil could not handle that today. That was not a happy memory in their small house.
“Samuel?” she calls.
Where is that rustling? Her sleepy mind gets annoyed now. Can’t she just have one night of peace, dreaming of open waves and —
A low howl began, but still no sight of Samuel. There are few things in this world unfamiliar enough to Samuel that he howls.
Then again, Samuel is not entirely of this world, and the howl was not an entirely unfamiliar one, actually. Which makes Cybil even more nervous.
She creeps barefoot two steps towards the howl, the rustle, but lost any signals and now waits again in silence.
It is the time of night when all color turns deep, dense shades of indigo, purple and black – not dark, of course – just black.
Form loses its way to shadow and sounds absorb into their own state of sleep.
Cybil sees movement, maybe it’s Samuel sniffing at his new rose bush. She edges towards it – ow! as her foot slices its side about an inch on a rock or a strong branch, Cybil cannot tell.
Great. now she’’ll actually have wake up, take time to clean and disinfect it. With such a big day ahead!
Cybil lowers herself to the ground to check the damage. Bleeding but not streaming from her foot. It won’t make a mess, at the very least.
Out of nowhere Samuel bounds from the far end of the backyard and stops short directly in front of Cybil’s face; he is surprised to find her there and gestures simply that she should not look behind her.
Quietly, carefully and without much movement, Cybil turns first her eyes towards a breathing, living shadow behind her. She catches merely a glimpse of scales and wings before her eyes blink to fully wake up – to fully see what’s in front of her — and he’s vanished.
Unholy shit, Cybil says through slight tears as she grasps onto Samuels’ coat and they hug, comfort one another, as they have for as many years as she lives.
Isadora always wanted everything to happen to her, as soon as she hears about it. She hates not knowing any experience firsthand. As a young girl, they recall, she ran from room to room, catching a bit of conversation here and latching on to a bit of chatter there so she never felt she missed a thing. Often this running continued until Roman grabbed his young daughter and placed her onto his lap, laughing and telling him all she had learned.
Isadora claims she hears secrets, and all guests in their house freeze at the idea until Roman himself laughs and explains Isadora’s little game. Secretly, he takes everything she says very seriously. Within the imagination of this young and already stunning girl lurks some very useful information, especially for a Ruler always on the verge of war.
Even when it doesn’t sound appealing, Isadora wants to know all, experience all. Her mother Claudia taught her of The Curse, that malady sent to women once a month to prove their only worth is to bear children. At least, that’s how she views it and how she passes down the story to Isadora. Claudia never enjoys the effect this Curse has on her and how it gives Roman permission to dismiss her feelings. Claudia can’t help but wonder if all of the symptoms were learned rather than actually felt, and so it happens that when she describes The Curse to Isadora, she downplays all of its effects.
Claudia believed The Higher Being, who devised such a trial for women, must want to keep them separate, keep them constantly aware that if they aren’t bearing children while the men work, play and kill, then all that women should do is sit there and bleed from their pleasure center. Other cultures in the past even went so far as to keep the female in isolation from males during this time, although certainly never in Roman’s household.
Claudia was sure not to pass down this gem between mother and daughter. Thus Isadora has no fear, and only fascination, of her own body. If anything, Claudia instilled a great sense of pride in her daughter that could overcome any idea of frailty purely on her sex.
So when Isadora starts bleeding she is thrilled.
The morning it enters her life, she feels tied to her bed, as if her entire center of gravity changed, pinning her down between her stomach and vagina. Since she is known to wake earlier than anyone else in her household – and Elsie didn’t count, since she rarely slept and hardly in their room anyway – Isadora begins her morning’s secretive exploration. Years earlier, through no one else’s telling, she had found that her own fingers sent ripples of pleasure through her young body, pleasure not to be found in other places. She surmised these convulsions were the same as she heard from her parents’ room, but they needed each other. Isadora feels her own power.
Recently she’d heard somewhat of the same noises when Logan or Colin spend a lot of time in the washroom. Isadora doesn’t understand their shame, however, slinking past whoever had been waiting as if they’d committed the most heinous of crimes.
No, Isadora revels in such a pleasure she could only give herself, and the independence known from her early encounters with her body.
This day, however, nothing feels the same, or actually – more of the same only better, and when she took her hand away from her parts, it hangs heavy with a dark syrup.
Isadora squeals with a glee as she tears off her covers and reveals the unmistakable pool of blood. She laughs and claps until Elsie stumbles out of the shadows, quite the dark girl even then.
“What makes you so happy, Sister?”
“The Curse!” And Isadora shows her sister, five years younger, who eyes the puddle with eyes grown wide.
So dark, Elsie thinks. Much more than the blood from a fresh wound.
“Don’t you understand, Elsie? I’ve got it! I’ve got The Curse! I’m a woman!”
“All the good that does you,” Her sister replies, still eyeing the bed with dark curiosity. “That…came out of your vagina?” Elsie is always one for accuracy.
“Yes, without my even knowing, just this morning. I thought I would feel it, and it’s awfully darker than I imagined, but then the blood we’ve seen is so fresh, and this has been here for some hours…fetch me the napkins, will you? Don’t you know where Mother keeps them?”
“Of course.” Elsie didn’t tell her sister that she dissected the special napkins once, out of boredom and investigation. Elsie conducts a lot of experiments she doesn’t feel the family would understand. “Does this mean you must visit the nasty doctor? He’ll prod you and make you frown and upset as he does to Mother.”
Isadora laughs again. “That’s because Mother hates The Curse. I believe I shall love it. Now, go!”
Elsie leaves their small shared room and tries to move silently to the drawer in the washroom. No one else is up yet, thank goodness. She rustles and pushes past the myriad of other items which she as the youngest won’t ever need to use until everyone else in the household is well finished with them. She finds the napkins, takes a few in case Isadora bleeds profusely – how much does one bleed, she wonders. It must have to do with your behavior, or meals, or something else mysterious.
When Elsie emerges, however, their entire household stands at the doorway, curious about the foraging noises they heard. Elsie stands straight, fighting embarassment at the objects in her hands and says proudly and loudly:
“Isadora has gotten The Curse. She is a woman now.”
And she leaves the family, dumbfounded, following the trail of Isadora’s laugh.
“Does she need–” Claudia asks, wondering if her daughter would want her Mother, who was, after all, specifically supposed to be their guard during female times.
“No I don’t bloody think so, Mother.” Elsie says, much too harshly and she knows it, just wanting to get back inside the room, get another look at the blood, away from the ashamed looks of the family.
And inside the room, Isadora laughs.
Excerpt from work-in-progress “The Song of Isadora”
Cybil jumps awake in a cold sweat. Shivering, without thinking, without knowing, she pulls on a robe and finds Sebastian. His dander is up and she knows her instinct is right.
WIth that, she throws a leg over Sebastian, who increases in size and decreases in hair before taking off through hidden corridors, in a time not seen by any.
This is not a time for subtlety, Cybil believes. Certainly not in front of Elsie. She must know. She must know quickly and she must know now.
As if reading her thoughts – and who knows, Sebastian probably can – he speeds up his pace, reaching Elsie’s room before the door to Cybil’s swings closed.
Elsie.Elsie, come out. Open the–
It swings open. No need to tell me what to do, Elsie speaks in a voice not her own and unheard. Except she’s listened to it her entire life.
Of course. I thought you were the one who gave me this curse.
Gift, Elsie, it is a gift.
You still really think so? I think it shall be nothing but a curse.
Cybil tries not to show how worried this, everything makes her tonight. Sebastian reminds her why they are there at all with a low growl.
Elsie, we will talk longer later. We must–
Elsie’s eyes cloud with concern and start crying against her will. Isadora? I dreamed, no, I didn’t even sleep this night, but —
Something went wrong. Come with me.
I have to see her. I have to–
Elsie, come with me now. Cybil stares long and hard at this young girl, this girl-soon-to-be-woman whose eyes turn darker with every word. By month’s end, Cybil thinks without saying, Elsie’s eyes will be pure indigo as her own.
Elsie. I’m trying to explain this as calmly as I can. We have no time.
Cybil suddenly tenderly touches Elsie’s shoulders, as much to calm her own heart as this girl’s.
Elsie, they will blame you.
It’s true, then?
Cybil hears more wonder and pain than she remembers ever feeling herself, as a girl that young.
Something went wrong Elsie. They are going to blame you and I can’t — we can’t let that happen.
There was no lack of dragons to be found in Walt Disney World or Universal either. Here are just a few pictures of my favorites created out of Legos:
That last one is me, fighting dragons! Or protecting dragons from humans, who knows?
I visited Orlando last week, hitting up the theme parks around town. I really loved experiencing the rides and parks while paying attention to the stories. Lots of new experiences and thoughts unleashed for my writing.
(I miss the old Figment ride, but did get to create my own. She’s called Cond because the keyboard was so rubbed raw that I couldn’t figure out which key was which:
- I’d met this brother and sister duo before this day. The Little Fireman is a young guy about four or five years-old with a sister somewhere in the terrible twos, except for the fact that she’s not terrible in the slightest. He nearly always wears some semblance of a full-on fireman outfit. Often the outfit is paired with his version of a fire truck siren, as he runs around the sidewalk patio. These sights uplift even the jaded soul in her comfy pants on a caffeine constitutional.
One morning The Little Fireman came over and talked to me about his dog. We shared stories of shedding, which toys our respective pets enjoyed (his: tennis ball; mine: none), how eager they are to greet us when we walk through the door —
You know, dog-owner stuff. I won’t get into it here. You understand.
His Mom is a lovely woman with a knack for letting her kids play without shadowing and always alert to encourage them to be polite. She came over and told The Little Fireman they were leaving. He said goodbye to Sadie and left. I smiled and told his Mother:
He was telling me about his dog. He sounds like a great owner.
To describe the look on her face …. I don’t know if I can until I am a Mother. She stared at Her Little Fireman and said softly:
He really wants a dog. We don’t have room right now.
The History of The Union is the official story. We will post folk tales and artwork as we uncover it.
TODAY | YEAR 24
We celebrate the wedding of Isadora and Logan
The New Order Began
The Sickness Took Elsie
The Dry Years Began
Roman Marries Claudia, Uniting The East Lands.
The Old Ways
MYTHistory of the Son
All rights reserved © 2011.
Last week the Blue Dragon Scribe Shoppe appeared as a character in my new play, unbeknownst to the writer until I wrote it. That event completely fits into my mythology and ongoing writing development. Thanks to LA Writers Center for plugging through the pages with me.
The Blue Dragon Scribe Shoppe
(THE HALF-BREED travels through The City. Whenever he turns in one direction, everything changes and he finds he is lost again.
He sees evils of The City: burglaries being committed, graffiti, prostitution, cheating at cards. He sees it all and shields his eyes. After getting more lost, HALF-BREED shudders and falls to the ground in horror and over-stimulation. When he opens his eyes again, the small stand he was searching for is right in front of him. Its awning has faded so dimly that we can only make out some sort of scaled creature and “BD”. BD SCRIBE hands THE HALF-BREED a glass of wine.)
I’m beyond even wondering how you know my name.
Did you see what’s out there? Did you see the creature with claws, dripping in–?
Strange things exist.
Do you have the – why I came here?
Where did my Hairy Friend pick you up?
Back. Well, very far. From very far away.
And he didn’t tell you what to find here?
No, he doesn’t tell me a lot. He just said, he said it wouldn’t look like much.
There he is right.
(She hands him a lumpy scroll.)
Thank you—I’m sorry. He didn’t even tell me your name.
Cybil. Then you are a She?
I am. (pause) No shame, Young One. I am much too old to care.
Why do you wait?
In your bag.
(He checks. It is.)
Just waiting for you.
You have what you wanted. Why stay?
I – don’t know. But I want to.
We’ve traveled a long time and I haven’t really wanted to stay anywhere, isn’t that strange?
How do you know my friend? Do you know his name? I can’t get him to tell me anythi—
It would be crude in our culture not to recognize another Teller.
Teller….? What are you? Where am I? How do I get back?
So many questions. Yes. A Teller. We clearly established earlier that I am a She and I believe it is clear to anyone with eyes that I am a Scribe. From the Blue Dragon breed, to be exact. This is my shoppe. To return to the palace, just follow back the way you came.
Can I come back?
If you look.
But I won’t be here again.
What do you mean?
Can you take just one more step outside, please?
(As he does:) Well, sure but is there anything I can ever find out–?
(But the BD Scribe Shoppe is gone and The City remains. HALF-BREED searches unbelievingly through The City, a little less disturbing than before, and exits.)
written 10/2/2011 at Barnes & Noble
I enjoy experimenting with the new forms of special features and how they help build audience. Is this something you’d enjoy reading? Please comment with thoughts and ideas.
“Where I used to pick up so many dates”