Here I am out in White Bear Lake at Your Mom’s Basement, a gaming cafe where Tuesday nights see tournaments for Magic, the Gathering, among other tabletop and computer games. (Absolutely awesome for random snippets of arcana from someone else’s fictional universe, just saying.)
After a marathon write-in with colleagues yesterday and on the weekend, my work on 2013 taxes is done, and the detailed documentation printed for my accountant.
In 2013 and 2014 the hurricane at Ye Olde Day Jobbe reached category 5. Both years, I was obliged to file an extension on my taxes. As I put together this year’s return, I lost hours tracking down the caches of documents and preliminary work all over my apartment (luckily, not so on my computer, because all the paper stuff gets boiled down into one gigantic multi-sheet spreadsheet).
This morning I met with my accountant, and that work is done. Alongside my colleagues who have just finished final exams, I am full of energy and resolution.
So tonight I’m working on the next scenes of Ship’s Heart. The following excerpt was written yesterday, by way of break from the tax work. This is the vortex dance, the traditional community dance held at Sarronny Dome at the annual arrival of the supply ships without which the colony cannot live.
Yasmin found herself oddly without fear; she had worried that she might not catch the baton properly in her turn, or manage the hand-drums or striking-sticks, but once she was part of the great vortex, she flowed with it; she felt her chest vibrate with the song outside and the song inside. Music surrounded her as the great drums beat out heart’s-thunder. She followed the song, as Sarronny Dome, great-hearted, rang with it; one to the other, they all danced. The Captains, brother and sister, the Quartermaster and the Doctor and the Engineer, turned in the Crew’s Dance, all three drawing in and turning back to back as one unit, with the Captains and the Ship’s-Heart orbiting outside them. Vortices inside the great vortex, dances within the great dance.
Yasmin laughed, as Matar and Altair and Sita and Estrel, the gene-parents, spun by, mixing up the action by briefly lifting each other to chest-height and passing the hand-drums overhead. Jehen was spinning in her own circle, eyes closed and the ribbons of her regalia twisting and swinging out from their yoke like the arms of a miniature galaxy. Ferenc grabbed her hands, and they leaned backward, spinning about their common center like a binary star.
The vortex-dance was the dance of the universe, and all things swam in it. At the festival of the supply ships, some number of the kin returned from the Road of the Stars to remind them of the greater world.
Why? How? For the moment, her questions hung in abeyance.
Just like this, all of it aflow like a single organism.
Just like this, each to each.