Update on Floating to the Ground

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Some of you have only read my personal pieces and don’t know my fictional writing, which was how I named my blog (even though I knew it would feature other genres at times). And some of you are fans of my short story, “Floating to the Ground.” Well, I’ve been working on expanding it into a longer story. I’m far from done, and I decided I won’t post all of my new additions here because someday after I finish it, I’d like to publish it. Maybe there will be a Kickstarter campaign in my future?? (I have a friend who successfully funded his book this way.)

What I’ve added is some preliminary information about the setting, Ethereal, and I labeled this section, “Prelude,” which was originally smaller and located after this. I also took some pre-existing descriptions of Ethereal from other parts of the short story and added them into this new addition. For the expanded version, I’ve re-labeled all of the subsequent sections, but you won’t see that here.  If you’ve never read “Floating to the Ground” in its entirety as a short story, it’s archived on this blog previously revised and updated; just look for the tags that match this post. Enjoy!

Prelude to Floating to the Ground     

Ethereal, a floating city, is a re-creation of an ancient place once known as Eden. Instead of simply existing as a garden, it is surrounded by and interspersed with urban dwellings, business centers, and government buildings. Everything here considered flora was planted because Ethereal is really a livable, hovering craft of sorts, enough to fairly comfortably hold about one-and-a-half million people. The city itself is open air; it kind of reminds me of a giant convertible. There are vines growing on trees, and the trees are everywhere, even inside some of our buildings. It feels tropical, but not excessively hot like a jungle. Gardens of a variety of sizes and small forests were intentionally planted throughout Ethereal, and there is an abundance of lush trees that touch as they line the streets on every avenue. There is a variety of plant-life suitable for the mild climate, some flowering and some only covered with leaves. It seems like nearly every building has life growing on it; there are roof-top gardens and cascading vines descending from balconies. A few people live in what used to be considered traditional homes, detached buildings, sometimes custom-designed, that are situated around parks, giving what land-dwellers consider a more out-in-the-country existence. Many people, however, live in slate or grey-colored high and mid-rise buildings. Each building has its own simple design and a variety of open-work structures for plants and trees to grow in. Condominiums are more ornate than apartments, but all have life on the exterior, making the varying amounts of money invested almost indistinguishable.

The difference between business centers and government buildings is design complexity. Business centers have intricately designed patterns in the building structures themselves, while government buildings have simple lines.  Despite that subtle distinction, the government seems to spare no expense when it comes to their buildings. Ethereal’s main government building, The Tower, is slate-colored with long vertical lines. There is no metal-work art, but there are many slender openings, similar to the Gaudi Cathedral in Spain. Within many of those openings there is dark plant-life growing, perhaps small trees or tall bushes; it’s hard to tell from the ground. The entryway to The Tower is about two stories tall and covered in rectangular metal archways and glass. It feels devoid of life, but yet I know there are hundreds, no thousands, of people who are in there. I don’t recall ever seeing more than one or two people entering or exiting the building.

I hear that a lot of people wish they lived here in Ethereal, but it’s not our choice where we get to live. When or if we ever move is up to officials in The Tower.  The Tower is not a unique name; every metropolis has one. Each city, whether on land or in the air, is connected to a metropolis, and each metropolis has a local government housed in its largest building, always called The Tower.  Each of the floating cities is not a part of any state, but instead they are functions of the larger government called The Confederation. Any land states are also assigned to a Confederation, and the Confederations each answer to Earth’s government, The Dominion. We’re all used to this system because it’s been several generations since The Dominion first came to power and abolished the previous nations and government systems. It was what the people wanted. It seemed to be the perfect solution to all of the conflict in the world at that time. Instead of multiple nations and factions that oftentimes clashed and killed each other, and instead of separate nations fighting against militant terrorist groups, it was thought, Why not have a unified  government and a world- agreed-upon system of laws and law enforcement? It was supposed to bring world peace, eliminate unnecessary national and local spending and redistribute the world’s wealth in an effort to eliminate poverty.

Ethereal is the only place I have known as home, and until recently, it has always felt like my home. Sometimes life gives us a curve ball—and when we want to leave, we can’t.

 

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A Little Looking Back to Look Forward

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A Little Looking Back to Look Forward

Today I had an appointment across town, near where I lived when I was married for the first three years. After the appointment was over I drove by my old townhouse. It still looks dilapidated, as do the other properties in that association. The units still have bars on the windows and doors on the first floor. The asphalt is still crumbling around the complex. The exterior wood siding located on the back side of the units by the parking is still falling apart with paint peeled or peeling. The entryways, which no one really uses, are differing shades of cream or tan. The place still exudes hopelessness because of its look of disrepair. I thought to myself, “How did I live like that?” It felt symbolic of my crumbled marriage, which was unknowingly falling apart before it ever began. I didn’t like living that way, but it was what I had. Prior to us purchasing the place, I should have voiced my opinion more strongly, “I don’t like it here. It’s falling apart, it’s ugly, and it feels unsafe.” But I didn’t. Typical of how I usually operated then, I just went along with it, even though I didn’t like it.

It was good to revisit that place. It’s been almost sixteen years since I lived there, and being there reminded me again that, that chapter of my life has closed. I felt both sadness and relief. The sadness was for what was—what I endured, what I battled, and what could have been but never was. The relief was for the reminder that I am no longer imprisoned; it’s good to be free.

After driving through there I even drove past my childhood home. I haven’t driven by it in many years. The neighborhood I grew up in has significantly changed. The houses look a lot older, and some look really run down. My own childhood home looks quite altered as well. The exterior was redone after my parents moved from there when they were divorcing, and sadly the trees in the front yard are gone. I remembered where different friends lived, where the community pool was once located, and wondered how my immediate neighbors’ houses looked inside. (I could have stopped by because I still know them, but I needed to get home before my daughter was ready to come over.)

All of the looking back at my childhood and the majority of my adulthood encouraged me to look forward. I wonder what God has for me? Where will I live? Who will my husband be? What will my life be like? Will I ever get to the place where I don’t have to work so that I can just write and edit? I don’t have the answer to any of those things, but I know that God does and that He loves me deeply. I know He has plans for my good and to restore the years that have been covered with a locust-type of destruction (Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Joel 2:25-27).