Sunday, April 1, 2012

Art Feature: Bartholomew

And Bartholomew burned.

Everything burned before any alarm could be given, and how the fire had started... no one could say. It was almost as if... no, it was exactly as if every tree was lit on fire at exactly the same time, along with nearly every house, mailbox, bush, and quite a few blades of grass. When the blaze died down enough for county fire marshals to close in and put out the embers, the city was a dead zone. Not even a war zone--a dead zone; there was nothing left to save. Arson experts were brought in and left empty handed and none the wiser. Bomb experts were brought in and left scratching their heads.

The city of Bartholomew was gone, and all that remained was ash.

Available on deviantArt

When I started imagining while moving about the world, either being driven around town while I was younger, or walking or riding my bike, I was on the verge of losing my sense that there might still be magic in the world. I still hope that there's magic in the world, other than the magic I have created for myself, but I've stopped looking, because I'm afraid I'll never find it.

That was a step for me. I went from sitting, closed off from the world, and imagining things as they could be, to out experiencing the world, and imagining something magical might be just around the corner.

I would ride my bike down the prairie path, and have a butterfly pass me, and find myself wishing I could follow; step into its wind-stream and be brought to a place or see the world in a different way. I wasn't imagining passively anymore; I was interacting with the world, and interacting with my imagination at the same time.

There were times when I didn't like the town I lived in, for various reasons. More often than not, I wished for something more exciting. In those days, I started discovering subtle science-fiction and fantasy, stories just like those I was imagining: that existed in the real world, but there was something special just around the next corner.

I came up with an idea that has stuck with me a long time, and "Bartholomew" was my first attempt to share that idea with others. It came in two versions.

We all know that there are thousands of satellites in the sky. Some of them are looking down at us, and some are out into space. Consider that one is following me, holding onto and orbit so that anything I can see that's open to the sky. If I look at something, contact the satellite somehow, either through a trigger in my head or button in my shoe, it finds what I'm looking at, and notes the location. Then, when I "tell" it to, it fires a laser down to earth and lights it on fire.

The other version has me firing a small RFID-like tag that's combustible out of my eyes. No orbiting satellite, but more complicated technology.

"The Dark Side of Nowhere" by Neal Shusterman was one of my favorite books around this time, and in some ways, still is.

And one day, I left town, and told the city of Bartholomew to burn.