With Your Grace

1) Muse’s directive: “Write about a noise– or a silence– that won’t go away.”

Vanguard Log: March 20th, 2075. 103rd day of her voyage to Mars

We are at the end of our rope. I am the only survivor now. The Vanguard has been without power for 18 days and 21 hours. I am floating in an abyss of stars and the flotsam of trash we have been sending up here since we managed to penetrate our own orbit.

God, I admit I am beginning to unravel.

And, while we’re talking, is it so wrong for me to ask you for a sign? The tiniest shred of assurance that they are on their way would sustain me. Even if they are not going to make it before the food stores are depleted.  Christ, I don’t want my body floating out here in this coffin of metal and dead light.

Everything has been so quiet since Jared…Commander Stance, went silent. Emily, should this account ever be retrieved for you, know that your husband’s death does honor to his memory. I beg your forgiveness, but that is all I shall say on the subject.

I’ve decided to implement my plan. I found one more battery hiding among Jared’s things. I’ll have one chance. If the jump works, I’ll be able to signal MarsArk as they enter the 8th quadrant. Dear God, if they’ve postponed that mission…

If it should fail, Lord, I call on your mercy. I have designed my own end, and I ask that you forgive your forsaken wanderer.

It’s the silence I can no longer endure. One moment it haunts the darkness all around me, and the next it stands upon my shoulders like a giant. It is the only gravity left.

The language of silence is memory, and it is most fluent in pain. It decorates itself in tears, and it is fortified by the shrieking and wailing of my utter defeat.

Oh master of torture, give me your cold, jagged edges and hungry fire, but leave me not alone with silence. Silence, chiefly savage, covers my ears and conjures memories that swell my mind to bursting under his pressing palms.

I wake in his grip and I see those things in my past which revealed to me the true identity of happiness: a duplicitous witch with her own conniving devices.

I see my kitten cradled in my young hands, bleeding from mortal wounds when I realized I couldn’t save her. And the dog, chastised and confused.

I see my knee, blooming with blood and gravel that day I was miles from home and realized no one would come to save me–that I alone could carry me to the comfort of home.

I see that smirk on every boy’s face, that attitude of ridicule that I’m sure I painted there, each time I realized that I was the only one in love.

Dear Lord, I have tried and tried to sing. But all I hear is silence reminding me that I am helpless. That no one is coming. And I leave no love behind. Please bless my last resort, or accept my end.

With Your Grace,

~Evelyn Rossi, Flight Engineer

2) My current word count for my novel is: 15,199/30,000.

3) Muse’s next directive: “Write about a less-than-remarkable aspect of your life.”

“My students were middle-class kids who were ashamed of their background. They felt like unless they grew up in poverty, they had nothing to write about…I felt sorry for these kids, that they thought their whole past was absolutely worthless because it was less than remarkable.”

~David Sedaris

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5 thoughts on “With Your Grace

  1. Bob

    Quite a musing..! Enjoyed the read, flowed very well to me. The plight was portaied in a balanced manner that allows the reader to get to glimpse Evelyn and her motivations while still leaving plenty of morsels to the imagination. If this were the beginning of a short story I would be drawn in. Also enjoyed the use of memories to provide supporting background. “The language of silence is memory…”: well said and easily quotable! The emotion of the moment and those which led up to it were easily felt for so few words. Keep it up!

    Reply
    1. amusing1 Post author

      Bob, thanks for the review! I’m glad you enjoyed this exercise, as melancholy as it was…
      That quote hit me at about 9am Saturday morning halfway through my second cup of coffee! I’m afraid coffee is my official writing companion and my kidneys may eventually protest…In the future, do let me know if there was something you noticed in particular that might have reached you more readily or made the setting more real for you 🙂

      Reply
  2. Andrej Dukalev

    The thing that I liked best about this post was the middle bit. It was the meatiest and had so much poetry. Because of this it seemed like the beginning was almost out of place, as if you wrote the two parts independently and then put them together. I am given the vision of floating in space, the silence, then memories past. It does make a play on someone that is delusional and going mad, but its all so jarring.
    I started visualizing the character from “Dead Space,” a video game that I know about. It seems like it is always easier to connect with something you are already familiar with. After reading it several times I got the picture repined in my head, as the character from Dead Space is a survival horror and this is pure loneliness with nothing but nothing to haunt the main character.
    Who did it remind me of? Umm Edger Allen Poe? I don’t know too many authors by name beyond the classics.

    Reply
  3. bethy

    So I’m afraid I’m going to read and respond to these in a random timeliness, please forgive, I’m sure you can understand when i say my schedule is not forgiving and i am not always able to get to a computer. I enjoyed the short story feel of this piece. It had a draw to it that would make it a great beginning because it makes you at once interested while leaving so much unsaid. It makes you want to know who this person is and how they got to this state and who they may have been before. While emotionally dark, the character leaves a mark and forces the reader to crave fuller understanding. It’s not just a sad person, it’s a person who is completely unraveling. I think many of us can relate to at least the beginning of those types of feelings without needing to be in a setting like outer space. Life has bleak moments where hope is lost and our grip on our lives, our selves and our thought process is quickly dissipating as well. Although i did enjoy the sci-fi feeling of the story based on the setting, it was really the only part that i found science fiction-ish. Take the character and put her in another setting and you have a completely different type of story, though just as thoroughly compelling. (I’m sure you know all this already, some of this is just my honest response as if i was reading anyone’s story or writing, the actual critic without any prior knowledge or favoritism, I’m letting it happen naturally). My only complaints, (forgive me) the narrative started out as we but then made a mention that she was all alone and also said I. A sign of the madness i wonder, if so quite justified and foretells quite a bit. And lastly the story starts out talking as if the character is a man, (“Emily, should this account ever be retrieved for you, know that your husband’s death does honor to his memory.”) and then switches to make the character a woman, “I see that smirk on every boy’s face, that attitude of ridicule that I’m sure I painted there, each time I realized that I was the only one in love. With Your Grace,~Evelyn Rossi, Flight Engineer”.
    Now it could just be me not understanding the context well enough and i apologize for writing a book back to you when this should have been just a simple response. feel free to respond to my inquiries and critics anytime.

    Reply
    1. amusing1 Post author

      Thanks for your thorough response! Your input is always welcome and valued. I’m glad you made mention of the aspects that you found awkward or contradictory. It helps me realize that I need to take more time between writing and editing so that I can step back and have an objective viewpoint for critique.

      I did intentionally have Evelyn say “We” as if it was her habit in the ship’s logbook, but then she realizes she’s only recording events affecting her, therefore it has more of a journal feel soon after she begins.

      I’m glad you mentioned the disconnect you felt about how at first, based on the note the narrator is jotting Emily, you get the impression that the narrator is male. What I meant to imply was that Evelyn was writing to Jared’s wife, Emily, in case the Vanguard was retrieved at some point in the future. Because Evelyn herself has no one she left behind, she reaches out for Jared’s sake to his widow.

      I’m so glad you found you could readily empathize with Evelyn. I worried over this entry because I feel I have a lot of room for growth as a writer when it comes to dramatic prose. I feel I may actually use too much flowery language as a crutch, instead of surrendering myself fully to experience the negative emotions that I’m trying to convey. This week was difficult. I’m realizing what a toll the writing process can have on you mentally and emotionally, as it takes a certain willingness to experience the emotions relevant to the writing.

      Reply

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