Well, #FP-verse … here it is. We’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time. On December 5th, 2016, we quietly celebrated our 2nd anniversary with Friday Phrases, which is just amazing. For two years it has been part of our life and it will be for many years more. For two years, we got to be here and share things we honestly never thought we’d share with the world!
A chance of a lifetime, we thought, when we agreed to adopt Friday Phrases.
But chances are not given freely.
And then we almost lost our chance to do to this for many years to come. Because, for a second year, we were in deep financial trouble, and could have lost everything we’d built over that period of time.
I think our level of desperation is hard to describe, because we live for the things we do. And we only know how to do this.
And what the time came, something nothing short of a miracle to us happened and that was Chris Mahan, offering to pay for Friday Phrases hosting fee.
It sounds small to the ear. But it opened doors to new days we didn’t think we’d even see with #FP. It gave us a chance again to finish business that was too long left undone.
This is not a chance that will fade away, ever. I will live and breathe this till the day I die, because I believe in it. I believe in art, in expression, in writing to help change the way we view the world, to illustrate great questions we as a race need to ask, and answers we need to find. It’s a way for us to fight the ills we see threatening it and defending the good that is left. The little things we love to do that keeps us humane and in touch with the rest of us, searching for some stretch of silence upon which to paint the heart.
This is a small thing and yet such an infinite thing saved by one man, when we did not have the facilities to do so.
And this, in his words, is the ode to art we’ll never forget.
And a thank you from us behind Friday Phrases that still seems too small for what the gesture meant to us.
And now, here is Futures, written by Chris Mahan, edited by Zee Southcombe.
by Chris Mahan
What does it mean to be a writer, an artist, a poet, in 2017?
What does it mean to write, to express, when the very air we breathe seems to spy on us; suffocate us? Would it not be easier to just be quiet? To go along with the programmed death, in time, we all ascribe to?
Arentha Good saw sheets of parchment on the museum floor. The beam of her LED flashlight swept the abandoned building left to right, looking for clues.
To her left, Chief Explorer Yam Gordon stepped over scattered displays and mangled metal scaffolding.
“What am I looking for?”
Yam looked at her.
“Anything with writings.”
She thought about it for a moment. Not a big chance of that, not since the great digital age had wiped out the written world.
She picked up the parchment. There was writing. A little bit of writing.
Yam came closer.
“Can you read it? What does it say?”
Arentha squinted at the faint letters. “I think so.”
Her finger traced the line of symbols.
“West… Building… “
Yam smiled. “Go on!”
“Not sure about this word. Dinosaur? Yes, that’s right.”
She shifted the parchment. ‘Here, this word is harder. Exib. No. Exhibit.”
Arentha kept reading. “Third floor.”
Ungam Tebogo came up from behind. Her tall frame lit in the halo of light. “What has our linguist been able to find?”
Yam turned to Ungam: “Dinosaur Exhibit, third floor.”
Ungam looked at Yam. “What’s a die-nosor?”
“Dinosaur, large reptilian creature, both herbivore and carnivore.”
“Large? How large?”
“Like an elephant, except three… four times bigger?”
Ungam pulled her phone out of her pocket. The glow of the screen lit the worry on her face. “Everybody out now, meet back at the ship.”
She pointed at Yam and Arentha. “You too. Come with me.”
As they ran out Yam asked: “Can’t we just check it out?”
Ungam replied without turning her head. “No, back to the ship!”
Arentha saw Meo, Hiak, and Urgano running to their left.
They arrived at the ship and once inside pilots Gren and Muma took it to 1,000 meters, circling the museum building.
Starship Commander Treek Bloom met them in Dock Assembly.
“Commander Treek, we have to destroy that building.”
“Sharga Ungam, are you sure?” He had used her military title, acknowledging her command status.
Yam was about to speak. Arentha put her hand on his arm and mouthed “No.”
Treek turned to the weapons engineer: “Ylana, vaporize the museum.”
She lifted her phone to her face and tapped with her finger. Within seconds the high-pitched sound of the plasma accelerator resonated through the ship.
“Museum vaporized, Sir.”
Ungam walked closer to Arentha and Yam. She looked at each of them in the eye.
“Yam, I understand you wanted to explore. We all have a thirst for knowledge of this ancient world we come from.”
She paused and her face grew hard. “Remember what happened at the zoo. I could not take a chance with your lives. You’re too valuable.”
An easy smile returned to her face. “We’re the luckiest crew in the fleet. The best linguist and the best explorer.”
Treek Bloom walked back to them showing his phone. “We’ve found another museum, on a hill near the sea. Wanna go in?”
Ungam turned to Yam with a smile. “What do you think?”
“What is it called, commander?”
Treek looked at his phone, zoomed with a pinch-out. “The synthetic voice said: “JP Getty.”
Yam beamed. “The Getty? Yeah!”
Treek tapped his phone. “Sharga Ungam, get your crew ready. We’re going in.”
The story could go on, and you’re welcome to make whatever story you like, dear reader.
The point I tried to make with this story is that the art of writing could someday disappear, along with the corresponding ability to read. The second point is that I wrote a story about a future that implied massive changes, yet one not terribly worse.
This is the most important point: we can, by writing, create visions of where we want to go, of the worlds we want to live in. We are not constrained by the vision of our political leaders, by the doom of religious prophecies, by the cynicism of demagogues. The future is what we want to build, and the first step is to write the story we imagine.
Artists by their art express this yearning for different, better, even if the change we hope for is personal. Sometimes it resonates with others and they find themselves drawn into the fantasy. If enough people embrace this alternate vision, together they can make it become reality.
Artists, to your art. We’re going in.
Chris Mahan can be found at:
Zee Southcombe can be found at: