Lon­don—If I have my time-zone cal­cu­la­tions right, then as I lay ensconced and asleep in my com­fort­able bed, peo­ple were dying in Lon­don. By now this is news to no one, I’m sure.

I don’t know what to say. I just don’t know.

Here at home—I’ve been struck by the Inspi­ra­tion Fairy (or maybe I should call her my muse, or maybe it’s even Ter­ry Pratch­et­t’s Inspi­ra­tion Par­ti­cles at work). Of all things, a Dil­bert car­toon plant­ed the seed of a sto­ry in my head. In it, Alice tells Asok that “Now I have to kill you.” Asok, a Hin­du (I think), says, “Please do. Rein­car­na­tion is my only hope.”

And I was off and run­ning. Here’s the first bit, writ­ten at lunch hour:

The entrance to the bar­do was a baroque arch, a sin­gle mas­sive piece of san­dal­wood carved near­ly fil­i­gree-thin with inset images: goat-foot­ed satyrs, ravens in flight, sauvastikas and man­jis, entwined ser­pents, fat cherubs of the Renais­sance, caper­ing mon­keys, a sin­gle mas­sive ele­phant with a bro­ken tusk, and a seem­ing infin­i­ty of oth­er signs and sym­bols, wrap­ping around and over each oth­er in a gestalt that was def­i­nite­ly more than the sum of its parts. It burned, too, burned with a flame that did not con­sume, but mere­ly hov­ered above the sur­face of the wood like the breath of some lost angel.

She passed through the arch, and from one instant to the next her mem­o­ries fell away from her, burned by that white-hot flame. All she had known, all she had been, float­ed away as ash, car­ried up and up on the ris­ing air, into the bright blue sky. All that was left was the knowl­edge that she was dead.

A line of peo­ple stretched long before her and (cran­ing her head around) behind her too. Were they all dead? she won­dered. But of course they were. If they weren’t, how had they come here, and why?

She tried to remem­ber dying, but it was gone, float­ing with the ash of all her mem­o­ries, gone, gone, gone against the sun-bright sky.

So far it has two pos­si­ble titles: “The Ash of Mem­o­ry” or “The World Beyond The World”.

It’s not the first time I’ve done a sto­ry about rein­car­na­tion, I know, but hey. It’s a dif­fer­ent angle, and I hope to do some­thing inter­est­ing with it.

On anoth­er note: I real­ly have to get into this whole blog­ging idea. Force myself, even when I don’t feel like it, to sit down and do an entry a night. Find some­thing inter­est­ing to say, about anything.

I guess maybe my prob­lem is, I’m self-con­scious. And maybe blog­ging isn’t exact­ly the activ­i­ty of choice for an introvert…

Oh yeah… Asi­mov’s SF reject­ed “Out­side, Look­ing In”. So on to the next one. F&SF, I think. (I know, Doug, I know.)

One thought on “Inspiration

  1. Don’t you love Asi­mov’s rejec­tion let­ter? For sheer fart-in-your face bad­ness, it’s a corker.

    Your snip­pet remind­ed me, I don’t know why, of the begin­ning to Niv­en & Pour­nelle’s Infer­no. Nowa­days, all I can remem­ber from that book is that they snark­i­ly stuck Von­negut in hell with a tomb­stone, “So It Goes”.

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