I Went to a Writing Group Two Weeks Ago - July 10th, 2019

Why didn't I write this article two weeks ago? I don't know. I could say I've been busy, because I have been. I even officiated my third wedding this last Saturday. But, that's not the real reason. The real reason is that I fell into a more contemplative as opposed to productive mood. I do that sometimes, but we're not diving into that in this article. In this article there is a story to behold.


Analiese had a type of sentence stem this week. (This might really be more like a fill in the blank question, but I figured I'd include a reference to the work of psychologist Nathaniel Brandon anyway.) Here's the prompt she gave us.

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Complete the following sentence and write a scene or story that begins with it: "It's strange to think that I never would have known about ___________ if I hadn't taken that left turn."

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How do I get ideas? No one really knows the answer to that. Things just happen, then... ideas. One little sentence idea turns into a paragraph, then a story. Here's how that went for me on this day.

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It's strange to think that I never would have known about Smith if I hadn't taken that left turn.

The books in the library were overflowing. The shelves were full. Books were shoved sideways into the shelves on top of other books to fit just a few more, and there were stacks on the floor.

Almost no one had used a book in the last decade. Once it had been made mandatory to have the Nink installed in everyone then books had become obsolete almost overnight.

A law was passed to preserve libraries. They became de facto museums, windows into the past, usually with a single caretaker.

In the age of the Nink, short for Neural-Link, there were only three reasons for going to a library: One, your Nink was down. This was pretty rare. Organic self-repairing components don't usually mandate a need for a doctor or Nink technician. Two, nostalgia. A few people still liked to go to the library and mull around. Reading was pointless since any data you needed could be downloaded directly through the Nink in seconds without the need to read it, but, sentiment can be powerful. Three, criminals. If you didn't have a Nink you were an illegal by definition. Or, if you were accessing information not available through the Nink, then you were also breaking the law.

I would like to point out that when I turned that corner I wasn't a criminal.

And yet, staring at that No-Nink didn't feel like it should've. I had never seen one before. On the daily Nink updates there was always something about the trouble that No-Ninks had caused. They were impulsive, aggressive, selfish, brutes. Almost animals.

And here in front of me stood one of these brutish animals. She was a little over five feet tall, reddish-golden hair falling across her face as she looked down into the slender book she held in her hands.

She didn't notice me for three breaths. Then, she looked up. She closed the book, slid it into the shelf, turned and walked away. I stood there for three more breaths before I moved forward.

I picked up the book and looked at the spine, "Prometheus Bound" by Aeschylus. I had never downloaded it, so I searched for it and the search came up empty.

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Let's do a small glimpse into my thoughts while I was making this.

I chose to go with Smith because of agent Smith from "The Matrix", a science fiction movie about machines that took over the world after they became artificially intelligent and enslaved humans in a virtual reality.

When I made that choice I had no other ideas. I just chose the name Smith because that's what jumped in my mind, agent Smith.

I did a library because I was in a library. That's what jumped into my head. Agent Smith in a library seems interesting.

I like the idea of a full library that no one uses. I would love wandering around in there. So I went with that.

Why would libraries be chuck full of books with no one in them? There must be no need for books, but society also hasn't collapsed. Well, cyborg technology where a computer is installed in your brain is being created by a few companies right now, and that would eliminate the need for books without the collapse of society. The idea reminds me of science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick.

Then the idea started to take off. Something like that would be a great tool for government to control people, so that's exactly what would and will happen. But, there would be people that want to have freedom too. What about an encounter? Perfect.

What if the person that's a rebel isn't actually how the government propaganda portrays them? It almost never is.

An intelligent, clean, and articulate brute who's reading an ancient story about standing up to tyranny. The greatest book on standing up to tyranny ever written. Well, that's just a mind blowing encounter for someone like the viewpoint character in this story. So I like it, because it's interesting, so I wrote it, because it's what came into my mind.

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Read more of what Jeff deems worthy of attention at: http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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