Holder and Kale have both told me that one of the most popular genres of story on Earth–both in words and in moving-pictures–is something called ‘science fiction’, which, as best I can tell from what I have seen of it, involves extrapolations either of events in an imagined temporal future, or events stemming from new achievements in human invention or science. Holder says that some of the science fiction films and books he read as a child were directly responsible for the career he chose, because he wanted to see the Sea of Stars. Kale says something similar, although his family had been involved in Earth military service for cycles and cycles before Kale was even born, and it was expected of him.
Besides space exploration and the horizons of technology, one event frequently depicted in science fiction is the idea of ‘first contact’ between the human race and lifekind from other worlds. This contact is shown in many forms: sometimes it is violent, like the events of the film and book “War of the Worlds”; sometimes it is a meeting of the minds in a rational and scientific sense, as shown many times in the television show “Star Trek.” And once in a while it is peaceful and bordering on spiritual, such as in the moving-picture Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which may be my favorite of the science fiction films I have seen. It may seem strange to those humans who read this, but the genre has fast become a favorite of mine.
First contact, when it came for my people, was neither spiritual, rational or scientific. My Memories tell me that the humans came to our world to steal our knowledge of Shaping and healing; to bend and twist it into something they could use in war. Not all humans felt this way–my friend the Maestro, and his father, certainly did not, but they were in the minority. When the humans could not conquer us or use our ways to help them, they came again in ships of steel, on clouds of fire. They tried to destroy what they had not been able to capture. Evohe’s ‘first contact’ with humankind was a bitter thing indeed, and it informed my people’s Memories of Holder’s species for generations.
But my own first contact with humans was far different. It came in the form of a man who was very badly hurt, nearly dead, and very much afraid. It came, for me, in the shock of realization that the people my Memories had taught me to fear were much like my own kind, and, later, my true first contact with Holder’s race became the recognition of love.
I believe that, whatever world we call home, and whether we are human or of some other race, like the children of Evohe, the events of our lives are a series of first contacts, and what we do with those experiences shapes not only our own selves, but helps to shape the world around us.
To use a word that is not really in the vocabulary of my own people, the world itself is ‘alien’ to us when we are first bloomed and born: we all open our eyes upon a horizon that is strange and unexplored. The spirit in which we approach that exploration makes all the difference. “First contact” can consume our own lives in fires of division–or it can color our own horizons with the light of transformation. The choice is ours.
Hello! I am sorry it took me so much longer than the others to post my entry. But, I suppose I treat the craft of words the way Annah treats singing, or Chelries her dancing.
I love music, just as my two sisters do. Chelries might say that I place too much attention on music that has distinct or intelligent words, but I cannot help this. Words are the way my heart understands the world, and how I am understood by others. I am lucky many of the musicians and singers of Earth seemed to feel the same way.
Annah and Chelries would tell you that I love the human singer Tori Amos, and they would be right. Listening to her, I wonder if, like me, she grew up keeping a side of herself secret, fitting in where she could. I know I have. Even the language of the lyrics here is a kind of code–but sometimes words are a mystery. Tori’s words, like her music and–dare I say, herself–are beautiful.
In the time after Annah left us, and before she returned, we all got to know young Erys, the seed-maiden whose Shaping-Talent is painting. One night, Holder played us this song, about a painter from Old Earth named Vincent van Gogh. Gorgeous lyrics, and music to mirror it.
Like Annah, I am fond of the Earth singer Sarah McLachlan. Although I am probably more partial to Tori Amos, I do love Sarah’s music and the skill she had with words.
In the account of the Cycle that brought the Battle of Holdfast written in Annah’s third book; the Cycle when she went to her rest–there is not much said of my reaction to her passing. That is less Annah’s fault than my own. I was not sure how much I had lost until I already had. I think of what she has told me–that one day, I will lead our Circle in her place. I hope I am more ready for that, in time, than I was, more than a cycle ago.
For the last song in my entry, I want to offer a song sung by a male voice–both so you will not think that I cannot hear truth sung by someone with a bloomstalk rather than a blossom–and because truth is its own justification.
Hi! I have been excited since my sister Annah first suggested we share about the types of music we like. Although I am not a singer, like she is, I still love music–and she is not a dancer like me, so I suppose everything is in Balance! *giggles*
I like many different kinds of Earth music, just as Annah does, but one thing that matters most to me is, does it make me want to move?
Here is one human song I love very much, that i think could totally have been written here on Evohe. And surprise–the vidscreen footage has dancing!
One thing I have come to understand about Earth culture is that female beauty on that world is often associated with having a very thin and slim form. Some females even starve themselves to achieve such a thing. Annah looks this way, even though she is of my world, but she does not starve herself–she is that way naturally. My form is rounder–‘curvy’, Holder would probably say–and maybe I am even a little large, for I do enjoy eating, especially fruits and baked things that my mother taught me to make. So this song means much to me–I could have written it myself.
I do not know where Holder found this next song, but I love, love, love it.
Besides dancing, I also love playing the instrument that in the language of the humans, is called a ‘drum.’ And I like the recorded drum music I have found from among the records of Earth cultures. Besides, drums were meant to dance to:
I must say, I did not know the type of music called “punk rock” existed before Holder came to my world and became a part of Annah’s life–of all our lives. This is a ‘punk rock’ song I love, by a band called the Ramones, whose music is easy to dance to…even if the kind of dancing it makes me want to do is just bouncing up and down!
I think it embarrasses Holder and Annah both that I love this next song as much as I do. Holder says he thinks it was forgotten in Earth cultural history ‘for a reason.’ *laughter* I still like it. And I will claim one small victory–I got Annah to dance with me to it, once. Holder, Goodman and Liara fell over themselves laughing. Annah made Holder sleep on the far side of their fire–outside her bedding-blankets–for two nights after. *giggles*
Here is a group of females from Old Earth I wish I could have met. This song reminds me of myself, Liara and Annah, and what we mean to each other. If I do take a mate some day–and I honestly hope I will–he had better respect Annah and Liara as much as he does me. These ‘Spice Girls’ had the right idea.
Now, not everything I like has to be about dancing, although my sisters tease me that is all I enjoy doing. I do like slower music from time to time–they are good to fall asleep to. *giggles*
One last one–and this one is back to dancing. I had no idea where Holder had found this one when he and Annah first played it for me, and showed me how to dance to it. Then they showed me the–movie, yes that is the word–it came from. Such love!
This will be an unusual journal entry, I feel I should warn you. Music is a fundamental part of life on my homeworld of Evohe, and as a song-Shaper myself, it has been as close to me as my own breath since I was first bloomed and born. I know it is dear to the hearts of my two best friends, Chelries and Liara, as well. As a bloonling, and later as a young seed-maiden, I had little but my own voice and the melodies in my head to stitch together songs from.
Later, when Holder and I met, he opened my mind to the vast wealth of music that human culture had produced. I will always love the songs and melodies of my people, for their echoes lie in my own heart. But I have learned to love the songs of Holder’s distant world of Earth, as well, as have my two shenai-khori–my heart-sisters.
I like many styles of music produced by humankind, but I will try my best to give two or three examples from each type with which I am familiar, and then I have asked Chelries and Liara to do the same.
Heavy metal: I am familiar with it, as it is one of the types of music my beloved mate, Holder, loves most in the world. Much of it hurts my ears, but there are a few songs of this kind that I like. Here is one of them–but not quite all 😉
Rock: There is so MUCH Earth music that fits in this category that I cannot really even begin to list everything here that I like. Many of my very favorites are by female singers, which will probably not be surprising, and I will give a couple examples of these:
Sarah McLachlan is probably my favorite single Earth singer of those I have heard. I wish I could have heard her–as does Holder, actually–but she lived during the era of Old Earth history, long before now, and she has been at rest for a long time. But her music still survives. This is one song I love, very much. I find in it echoes of some of the things I have tried to teach others, and I have played it for our Circle more than once.
Although Holder likes a lot of ‘hard rock’ and ‘heavy metal’ music, his favorite band is a group of musicians collectively called by the strange name of The Grateful Dead. They made beautiful music, and I like a lot of it. Here is maybe my favorite song by them, though.
Although my tastes in Earth music—like the music of my homeworld–are fairly diverse, I find myself drawn to the stories I hear in melodies, even some melodies without words. I will get to some of those soon, but for now, here is a story-song which reminds both Holder and I of our earliest days together on Evohe.
I have said that many of my favorite Earth singers are females, and this is another example–Tori Amos. There are many songs of hers that I am fond of; I like the things she does with her voice and the way she puts melodies with words. I wish I could have met her. My sister Liara agrees, although I expect her reasons are not exactly the same as mine. 😉
Before I move on to another form of music entirely, here is one more song, by a group of musicians comprised of both males and females, with another curious name–the Arcade Fire. I am still not certain I understand that name, but I love this song.
Country music: Much of this kind of music sounds like music that might be made on my own homeworld, if we had the technology to build instruments, and if we could all sing in Galactic Standard. I love many songs of this kind, but I will start with one whose melody I actually learned from my friend Rynn Handel, deep inside Gracegate Prison. She sang it to me as a lullaby, although the words were different. When I found this version and was finally able to play it for her, she was amused at the name the Earth musician John Denver had chosen for it. I do not believe in accidents. I have not seen Rynn in many cycles now, and I miss my friend, and her voice, that I hope to hear again some day.
And here is one more. Laughing Waters Grove, where I grew up, and the Valley Country on Evohe where it lies, is much like some of the places John Denver sings about. Holder teases me sometimes that I am what he calls a ‘country girl’, and perhaps he is right.
Jazz music: I am very fond of what the humans call ‘jazz music’. It reminds me of flying in a star-vessel, with its openness and ease of changing directions. I love many different jazz musicians, but here is a short piece by one of my favorites.
Classical music: Holder tried to explain to me once why this type of music was named as it was, but it made little sense to me, having something to do with time, a time so long distant from that which he and I live in that it is hard even for me to comprehend, even knowing how long some of my race sometimes live. Nonetheless, i find much beauty in this type of music, and here are two of my favorites.
And with this last piece, I should end this–Chelries wants to set down her own chapter of this journal, and of my two shenai-toyen, she is the most difficult to argue with. So I will leave you with this:
Although the reckoning of time is different here on Evohe than on Holder’s homeworld of Earth, he reminds me that there, today is the second seventh-day–Sunday, in their words–of the month they call May. That is the day, he tells me, most humans once celebrated a day called Mother’s Day. It is one celebration, like so many others, that the corrupt Earth government known as Homesec have tried to eradicate. There are those who celebrate it, nonetheless. But I do not write this to talk of what is called ‘politics.’ I write this to talk of mothers. I do not understand how those who have a mother can hate one another for differences; can wage wars against one another to try and place one set of differences above another. When I was bloomed and born, my own mother knew I was different–the shape of my body; the color of my eyes and hair, and, very early, the questions I asked about our world and its life, all set me apart. But my mother saw beneath the surface of my difference, a part of herself, and of my father–and she loved me, although I often think she must have been afraid for me, and perhaps even a bit afraid of me.
I have my own bloomlings–children–now: Linnah and Laren. And they are Holder’s, too, and so they, too, are different. The laws of Earth say they are an abomination. Those here are more accepting, but they do not know that I see the small flickers of unease or even distaste that sometimes cross their faces when they see the children, who look like neither the people of Earth, nor the children of Evohe. To Holder and I, that does not matter. They are soil and stardust woven together from our own joined flesh and shared love, and they are precious beyond measure to us. Our people ought to show them understanding, for, through Linnah and Laren, the missing pieces of the shared Memories of our world have been woven back together. But many seem to care only that those memories have returned, and not how. That does not matter, either. I will be happy if they show mine and Holder’s bloomlings the care and love all young ones–all life-forms, really–deserve. Change, and the restoration of that which is broken, takes time. Each new birth is a chance for life to restore itself. That is something every mother knows, and I do not think I knew it, myself, until Laren and Linnah were bloomed and born. There is at least one thing my people share, at their core, with the people of Earth and many other worlds besides: we all have a mother, to bring us into the waking-world, guide us along paths both even and rough, well-lit and darkened, and help steady our feet until we must walk on our own. If we could each see life through our mothers’ eyes, this world–and indeed, the vast Sea of Stars it floats in–could know peace at last.
On Evohe, we think of ages differently than I have found humans do. We celebrate our own Cycle Days–that being the day we were bloomed and born into the waking-world–and those of others. We know that at a certain age, when one begins one’s Becoming and our body begins the Change that will allow us to participate in bringing new life into the world, we pass from being bloomlings into being seed-youths and seed-maidens. Motherhood or fatherhood is yet another stage along life’s Wheel. But we do not assign arbitrary lines and specifics to these stages; rather, they flow like music, the way we ourselves flow through the melodies and measures that are our own lives.
I am now twenty-two cycles old, strictly speaking. I went to my rest–some would say I ‘died’–for the first time when I was barely twenty cycles old; when mine and Holder’s two children were newly born But that is yet another thing that is different between my kind and humankind. What Holder’s people call ‘death’ is, for us, only a stage to be passed through, a rest that we take in the waking-world a number of times before the final passage from this life into what waits beyond. I have seen what lies beyond the shores of the spirit-river, and I will not fear it when I must return.
When one knows life as a dance of sunlight and stardust, what is age but a number, and what is time but a song to be danced to?
Still, I believe it is a song to be treasured, and I celebrate each day when I may rise and sing that song again, for even a single measure more.
I would not have imagined, when I was a bloomling, how early the First Ones would call me to the far shores of the Essei-Khai, or how unprepared I would be to leave my friends, my beloved mate, and my own bloomlings behind me.
And for that reason I write this to you: do not worry about the number of your days. Celebrate each new sunrise and each new Cycle’s coming as a thing of joy, but do not count them, striking them away as if they were chores to be accomplished. Treat them instead as gifts given by ones you love, and who love you. And share them with those you love, and who love you–for that is exactly what they are.
Sing songs of life to one another, and invite each other to add to the melody of your own days.
Make the turning of your days a song worth remembering. I do not know if any beyond my own loved ones will remember the song of my life when I have gone to take my rest for the final time. But that does not matter so much to me. What matters, I have learned, is how well I sing it now, and how many others I invite to share in the singing.