I begin most days at the kitchen table with my youngest. She picks at her breakfast, and I write or read while encouraging her through her meal. Some days are uneventful, but others she indulges in fantastical adventures. Those are my favorite.
The other day, she turned our table into a rocket ship. Inbetween bites of waffle and cherries, she described our journey to the moon. It was apparently a rough flight. We landed safely next to the desert, which she was quick to explore. Off to the snowy plains of our living room, she constructed an entire family of snow people comprising our own family. My job was to help carry these heavy sculptures back to the ship so we could return them safely home. Moon snow is quite heavy, you see, and I am strong enough to help.
This interaction filled me. I’m overjoyed that my kid trusts me enough to share her alternate reality unfettered. As a child, I was terrified to expose too much of my inner world. Even at her age I had the concept of “reality” reinforced enough to know that private space would not be a welcome guest. I stuffed down my imaginary friends and my desire to be a firetruck and pursued “normal”.
Fortunately art, drugs, and music cut that pursuit short. A couple thousand micrograms of LSD does a damned fine job of hammering the weird back into you (though I don’t recommend it *wink*). Art, music, and literature abound in our lives, and we keep the odd and silly knobs turned to eleven.
It is vital, I think, that we foster a passion for silliness while we seek to guide our tiny humans to adulthood. To be creative, wild, and imaginative is as important as being focused, driven, and tenacious. It frightens me to think of the interior lives of those denied or deprived of silliness. A constant barrage of worry marked only by a desperate clamber for acceptance fills their actions.
The future holds many more trips to the snowy desert of the moon. One day she will learn the facts, be she already knows the Truth: her world is what she makes it, not what she is told. And while some may chirp, “that is unrealistic,” I say, “Good.” She’s four: realism can wait.
[NOTE: I really don't recommend large doses of any drug. The decisions I made as a youth were not particularly smart. Be safe out there.]
This is a big anniversary week for me, so I’ll be brief and get back to work on my stories. Five years ago, I moved back to Georgia to be with my partner in crime and best friend. One year ago saw the dawn of Artificial (Part One) and the foundations of the Antitopia Universe sprang to life. I cannot express my gratitude for either event with enough passion to do them justice.
We have a home. Having spent a decade without one, that is tremendous to me in itself. I still have a difficult time believing the roof over my head and the human by my side are not part of an elaborate prank. The constant sense of “the other shoe dropping” feeds my anxiety, though I know better. If it were hellish, it wouldn’t be worth fighting for, and it is definitely worth the fight. We struggle at times, but things even out. Well, we work towards that, anyway.
We have a family. It is hard for me to feel included and always has. But these kids are everything, and most of the time I even think they like me. There are fights and friction, but in the end I’m overjoyed that I get to play a role in guiding them to better humanity. Moreso that they play a role in guiding me to that same end.
Antitopia continues to grow and bloom. While much of it is inspired by my time with no home and no family, it is more and more informed and affected by these amazing humans I get to spend my time with and near. They play and giggle and fight a few yards away from my writing spot in the kitchen. Sometimes their banter finds its way into the narrative and dialogue. Other times their personality quirks guide my character development. As much of the story evolves in my head, so too does it grow outside.
I am thankful beyond words for my little world. In such odd times as we find ourselves, it is important to celebrate victories. As the world heats up (literally and figuratively) we must find the morale to push through. My life presents me many victories where once I found only loss. I owe much to Fortune, I only hope that every word and step repays that debt. Best of Fortunes to you, dear readers, and thank you for being part of my journey.
This week, Aida was interviewed by Bill Monroe on "No More B.S.!" the World News syndicated and award winning talk show. Here is the interview, from the studio in Center, North America.
Bill Monroe stared into the camera, one eyebrow raised, his face flat. He said, “Storm Killer. Robot. Tyrant. She has weathered many names and public outcries, but tonight we sit down with her. Please welcome tonight’s guest and head of the World Council, Aida.”
“Thank you, Bill.” Aida blinked. “I’m happy to be here.”
“Let’s talk about the pyramids. Hundreds of millions of people now live in these massive structures. How do you justify—”
“I justify nothing. The pyramids and the consolidation are necessary for the ongoing crisis. Rampant consumerism has taken a toll on the environment. It is a miracle humanity has survived this long.”
“Humanity. Speaking of humanity, you’re not exactly human, are you?”
“Strictly speaking, no. I am composed of trillions of sub-microscopic automatons.”
“So you are a robot made of robots?”
“I and the others are independent entities. Every aspect of our existence is identical to physio-typical humans.”
“Except you don’t age, right?” Bill sneered at his guest. “You’re an emperor for life that never dies.”
“We age on a slower scale. Everything dies and fades eventually, Bill. I would like to address—”
“You won’t die or fade in my lifetime.”
“Probably not. Now I would like—”
“So you can see where some folks think you’re a danger to humanity then? You’ll outlive everyone watching this and you’re setting things in motion no living person will see the outcome of. The pyramids? The overhaul of the voting system?”
“Democracy has long been a goal for humanity. For each person to determine their fate through clarity of their voice. There is no fear of repercussion—”
“Yet.” Bill smiled and stared down his nose.
"—for stating their opinion. What do you mean, ‘yet’?”
“I mean it is more likely that repercussions will arise as time passes. People can live in the pyramids, but if they don’t make that choice their tax rate skyrockets. People can choose not to vote, but if they make that choice we exclude them from the credit system. How do you—”
“The majority voted for those things.”
“Did they, though?” Bill smirked. “How can we be sure the system’s not rigged? I mean, you’re robots. You could have easily—”
“If the old system was rigged, humanity did the rigging. That’s what was used to pass these resolutions, after all. But thanks to the new system, every vote is visible. Absolute transparency.”
“Well, I don’t know about that. We need to take a commercial break. When we come back, we’ll have more from Aida on the climate crisis.”
When the camera light switched off, Bill turned to Aida. “So am I hitting the right notes? I don’t want to come off—”
“You’re great, Bill. How’s the suite?”
“Oh, the husband loves it. Great view of the mountains.”
“Wonderful. So he’s painting again?”
“He still has some trouble with his arm after the accident. It’s a learning curve.”
“I’m happy we could help. It took me a while to get used to, well, existing. The nanobes are very efficient, though. I’m sure he’ll be back at it soon.”
The director waved at Bill and held up a finger. He nodded and adjusted his tie, then turned to the camera. “Welcome back. If you’re just tuning in, we’re speaking with World Council leader, Aida. Aida, you recently made some comments about the climate crisis. What are you proposing we do?”
“We inject small, reflective particles into the atmosphere, which will reduce the accumulating heat from solar energy. The part which will take some work is the population issue.”
“Oh, come on. You honestly believe people are going to— that humanity will volunteer to cut itself in half?”
“Not in half, and not by being cut. We need to limit the number of humans being born. We achieve this through education, contraception availability, and access to surgical options. There are fifteen billion humans on our planet. We are outpacing resources, even with the switch to cleaner fuels and low-process food sources.”
“That brings me back to the first thing. Won’t these tiny particles reduce solar efficiency?”
“Not enough to be of consequence. Calculations show anything greater than ten percent efficiency would compromise the energy grid. Our plan only reduces it by five percent. That will lower temperatures worldwide ten to fifteen degrees. The equatorial states would be liveable for the first time in a century.”
“Imagine that,” Bill nodded, “When we return, we’ll have champion soccer captain, Karl Brosser with his take on this year’s world cup standings. Thank you, Aida.”
“Thank you, Bill. It’s always a pleasure.”
The recording light went off, and Aida removed her microphone. She stood and shook Bill’s hand. He smiled and said, “So when does the vote go through?”
“Next week. The numbers look good for the whole proposition, with minor hesitation about the ZePoG initiative. It’s enough to pass, though.”
“That’s fantastic. Let me know how it goes, yeah?”
“Sure thing. Tell Randy I said, ‘hello.’”