Friday, July 11, 2008

Odyssey -- Day 4

The writing workshop continues its inexorable tide. It's going well, I think, and there are odd moments when I remember what it's like to be a student on a college campus. Last evening, crossing a stretch of lawn on my way back from the dining hall, the bell carillon chimed the hour. The shadows were long on the freshly mowed grass, and if I closed my eyes, I could put myself back forty years to my own college campus, re-creating almost exactly, for one brief moment, that younger and lost self .

In one respect, however, this campus is different from my summer experiences at college. The place is almost deserted. The only people on campus are we SF writers, a huge gaggle of teenage girls here for hockey camp, and a monastery full of Benedictine monks. As you might imagine, the three groups have nothing to do with each other.

Although it might be interesting if we did.


Steven Francis Murphy said...

Now the short story exercise might be coming up with a science fictional situation that is not cliche that provides a reason for the three groups to have something to do with each other.

S. F. Murphy

TheOFloinn said...

Random nexus points:

1. Jody Bottum, in First Things (Thursday, July 10, 2008) wrote in an essay, "The Red Planet"

"Vibrant cultures want something; exhausted cultures don’t. And what do we actually want, today? For a thought experiment, imagine hearing this on tomorrow evening’s news shows:

The Vatican announced today that it will soon begin colonizing the planet Mars. Many parts of the mission remain unclear, but the plans to launch the first rocket from a pad on the island of Malta appear definite, with a tentative launch date in July 2010. The goal will be to establish a colony capable of sustaining itself within 20 years, with the long-range aim of completing the terraforming of Mars within 100 years. Accompanying the initial group of 142 Catholic settlers on the 297-day flight will be a priest and an auxiliary bishop from the diocese of Rio de Janeiro."

2. Then, too, we have the Benedictine monk, Stanley Jaki, who holds doctorates in theology and in physics and who observed the implication of Goedel's theorem on the Theory of Everything a long time ago.

3. Not to mention The Space Vulture, a sci-fi space opera co-authored by the Archbishop of Newark, who is not a Benedictine monk, but what the heck. How many archbishops write space opera anyway?

So there is a nexus between the monks and the SF.

4. I'm still working on the girls' hockey team. But all that makes it through the haze of medication is something to do with elastic collisions and frictionless surfaces. Flubber on Ice. A puck made of unobtanium.

5. Benedictine nuns playing hockey....

6. Alien Benedictine nuns playing hockey.... Wait. Too cliche....

Connecting the three might be a challenge for a writing class. I'm reminded of Fr. Brown's suggestions in "The Honour of Israel Gow," in suggesting fanciful connections among three clues.

Nancy Kress said...

Mike-- Even in a "haze of medication" your mind is an amazing and strange thing.

TheOFloinn said...

You should see me off my meds.....

Steven Francis Murphy said...

That's pretty cool, Mike.

S. F. Murphy