in november 2014 i got the opportunity to host a sci-fi writing workshop at Facing Race – it was called Dreaming Change.
here is our story about a future where race was actually being faced. our prompt – ‘not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced’ – james baldwin
– xol, a child on earth aware that they are a direct channel to ancestors
– mar, a birth giving latina, undocumented, from melvabuvalia (a dying planet)
– the wizard of kurt, a 3000 year old brain (has a mouse companion who is the archnemesis of the snake)
– there is a snake that goes around and bites people. their light goes off and they become the snake’s service.
– a baggage carrier
air is a resource – it is not free. it is precious. speaking is rare. living spaces are alive. nothing is thrown away – reuse it! trees drip colostrum. children are born from intention – willed from the thoughts of people.
it is a dark world. light comes from living things (mood effects your light, and light is transferable. others try to take your light without permission – and of course there are people without light. light is a resource too.)
there is a total evolution every 1000 years, a time for renegotiation and remembering. laws are formed by 13-19 year olds. they consult kurt (he has pre-recorded messages from his 3000 years. the teens decide to listen to him, decide if his thinking works in current time).
face-ing – you choose your face in a ritual at a certain age. at the face-ing ceremony, people decide whether to birth a new planet.
some of the people can communicate with ancestors and nature. ancestral food is music, and being remembered. everyone carries ancestral wisdom in their teeth – some can pull their teeth out of their mouth and throw them like bones.
some people can disintegrate into particles and travel via windstreams. you can connect particles with another being.
there is a museum of hate, under lock. it can be released – danger! there is a struggle to contain. there is an unhappy demon who was hurt by hate, he protects the museum.
something mysterious is keeping particles from coming together. air control is effecting wind patterns and communication, travel. trees are starting to be destroyed, but colostrum is needed for divination. it’s impacting communications with ancestors and nature.
folks are shining their own lights so much they’ve forgotten how to harness their own light. the cost of light is love, including self love. children are being born unable to interpret the light…this is impacting the laws.
and xol is born of love, not intention. they hear food and nature, and feel all intentions. xol is an important connector. xol’s differences connect them to the world and makes them a threat and they’re in danger. food comes on sound waves but xol can no longer tell if they’re being nourished.
next total evolution is coming – old ways are breaking down
The Willing Servant by Erika Turner
The Demon holds the key to the Museum of Hate, lest the world forget what they left behind. But who cast her there? Who decided that she should bear the weight of the world’s darkness – what was her great sin?
Was it not self-love? So bright and intense that it overcame the world’s original intention – that is, that she should serve one who claimed greatness above all? Who bestowed upon this Creator that power; that Great Intention?
Was it not Ego? Why is one born of Ego faulted for recognizing the strength of her own? One wonders.
Why do we hate this demon so?
I have stood outside the Museum of Hate for years, aching to go in, to see the great horrors of our past and understand the birth of hatred; its origin. Were I a stronger being, I might make the attempt. But I am told that my curiosity is born from a lack of light; that I seek to understand hate because I do not have enough love.
I don’t know if that’s true. But I have been told. All my life, I have been told. I suppose I believe them.
But the Demon, they say…the Demon had too much love. Sought too much. She was filled to the brim and spilled over – she needed to be contained, to be kept in place, to be subdued.
What is too much? What is too little? What is enough?
I wonder…I wonder.
I was never bitten by the Snake, though our people think I was. I chose to follow him; to understand him. I needed to know where I belong.
They always told me that my light was not enough, but they never told me why, or how to fix it, or where to find more.
They will not tell me. I’m not sure they know.
Those who have what our world deems suitable never need look too far to understand why.
Mother, please understand that I have not left the light or our people completely. Please understand that I am not trying to steal or take what is not mine.
The Snake did not bite me because he did not need to; I was enough for him. This is the only time I have ever been enough.
Please try to understand.
Xol felt like a song inside of me that needed to be sung. All my life I wanted to sing but our people needed me to sustain. So I sustained.
Xol was my decision to love and forget what I thought our world needed from me; Xol was what I needed.
Xol feels like a song inside me excited to be sung. You haven’t been born. I’m not even sure you’re real yet but I know you’re there. How is it possible I love you from the deepest parts of myself and I’ve never met you?
Xol. I know your name. I know you’re real. I know you’re here and if not here I know you’re coming. I love you like the way I love ancestors I’ve never met. You’re in my bones. Solid like the words I only say with the certainty of intention.
Xol, you are my ancestor incarnate and although logically this world tells me I can’t manifest a child on my own the song of you grows inside me with the stars.
Xol feels like a song inside me I want so desperately to sing loudly. Today I held the hands of an elder whose light was dimming before my eyes. I had her sip from the breast milk trees and it seemed to ease the fear of breathing. I held her close to my chest as I often do when I know I can do no more to soothe the dimming. Today, like everyday, Xol, I thought of you. I held your name in my mouth. You, the recurring dream that shores up in my dreams like ocean water, espuma and caracol surfacing the blessing of change on every emerald green on agua’s infinite faces.
Xol, when you be come real, remember water is the oldest ancestor.
The Council of Xol was founded on December 3, 3035 to celebrate the birth of the world’s first love child “Xol”. This council is responsible for creating & implementing governing laws that resonate love; laws that promote love, healing and results in love based solutions. The Council of Xol are Xol’s first cousins who are between the ages of 13-19! The council created “The Hug Oasis” where community members can go to feast on hugs and positive energy day and night….at anytime. The Council of Xol also created “Siesta de Breathe”. You see, everything in their world runs on air……”Siesta de Breathe” happens everyday at noon to allow people to properly manage their precious living sources. The Council also approved the world’s anti negativity law! If you are caught using negative words, thinking negative thoughts, spreading negative news….you must report to the Wizard of Kurt’s den to sit under artificially produced light. Yessssssss……the Council of Xol is on the move. Neon colors are mandatory to help accentuate the light of each living space. Dark colors are against the law! Did I tell you the best news?? There’s a “Positive Poetry Pipeline Cafe” on every corner that allows citizens to vent inner mental frustrations that deter illegal activities that would’ve landed them in jail in another world. There’s microphones and art canvasses and paint in each cafe! There’s also musical instruments and dance studios. This is the Council’s way of insuring every soul is at peace <3. The Council of Xol……The Council of Xol……young ideas, youth in action, youth in leadership…the love of light the light of love.
The snake. A destructive part of the ecosystem but born by the same love that guides the planet is stealing the light of world. The youth council has been tasked to decided whether or not they should Kill the snake or accept it as a natural part of life that they must endure. Extinguishing light is part of life but the snake has filled the planet with fear and is tarnishing the light of all inhabitants. Relationships are disintegrating and war is imminent. The wizard, the council, and the sol can not come to a conclusion. The impending collective evolution make their thoughts hazy. They realize that they cannot answer this question and decide that it’s time to repopulate and regenerate the planet. They send a message to the people using the air streams to carry their voice from community to community.
“it’s time to become new”
The message reaches brillar
A small agrarian village that Harvest colostrum and feeds their people through song and dance ritual.
The message is heard during the morning communal dance feast.
The people hearing the message gather around birthing tank.
The people sing their intentions. They sing their pain. They sing their song of love and they dance with one another.
Their internal light radiates and flows from them.
A swirl of brilliant light in all colors forms above them.
The village collectively sings the song of their ancestors and the light above them blends into a single beam and flows into the birthing tank.
The villagers kneel and pray to the ancestors that the children born of their song be ready to face the world born new.
by Kymberlie Quong Charles
Before she was the Baggage Carrier, when she was seven, she was invited to her Face-ing ceremony. Other children wait for years in anticipation of of the rite of passage; she hardly knew anything of it. Her ancestors’ stories had been lost during a great migration and her family was too busy/scared/occupied to tell her much.
When the message came from the Wizard Kurt, her mother dropped it in her lap with all the other messages from the day. She learned later that other families made ceremonies even out of the delivery of the invitation but for her mother only used half a unit of air to share it. No one told her that her Face-ing ceremony would mark the path for her life, and that her choice should be made carefully and with intention.
She had no idea how to choose, or how her own mother chose. Years later she would wonder whether her mother regretted the face she chose. This was one of the first and heaviest baggage items she would carry.
On the day of the ceremony only a few other family members came. There were no festive decorations or special foods. When Kurt called her forward she looked back at her mother who stood sternly behind her, arms crossed, and waived at her impatiently to walk forward, to get it done with.
She wanted to make a choice hastily because she felt embarrassed. She didn’t want anyone to realize what she’d realized; that she was unprepared, really cheated, of one of the most important celebrations of her life. Instead, it was a chore to get done.
She stood there, infinite possibilities before her, and closed her eyes. Without opening them she pointed indicating “that one,” and Kurt turned the light of her new face skyward to announce to the world that she had come of age, that this was Her Face that henceforth everyone would recognize. The small crowd of attendees clapped. Kurt placed her face gently on her and she walked back to her family.
They looked at her, barely registering her new façade. She searched their emitting light for some kind of reaction but could – her back pain started that day. She knew instantly she’d chosen the wrong face.
the light was spinning out from xol, leaving light shadows on the thick fern leaves and wide roots of the tree parents. here, where they felt utterly and absolutely safe, they were brighter than any sun of myth and memory, and seeing their own light uncover the bright strange colors of the world made them dance and glow even more.
xol pulled themselves up with a low hanging branch and perched there, listening to the laughter of the forest. they thought: this planet must be laughing at me, for what else was as humorous as a living thing with no roots of it’s own?
xol leaned forward, sensing a fullness billowing just above them. mouth open, xol listened as the sweet juice of the tree, that living milk, eased its way out of a leaf taut and heavy in the darkness above and then there it was, a mouthful of life dripped into xol’s thirsty throat.
with the meeting of xol’s cells with the warmth of the tree’s essence, xol went into a momentary bliss. they knew something that they hadn’t known a moment before, a taste of something absolutely true spilling into them, light opening the heart cage, heat spilling down the walls of their belly. xol tried to be patient, knowing that it wasn’t until they were full that they could know what the tree was saying. xol was of a slow people, they could hear nature but not just know it.
xol opened their mouths once again, eager, frightened – the truth felt larger than usual, shivering up their legs.
another drip, another mouthful, another swallowing, another breath and it was clear.
it was time for the great change, it was time for everything to go.