Sunday, March 4, 2012

Timed Writing 3/4/2012


Time: 10 minutes
Source photo: Clouding Over by Steven Fudge

In Olivia's dream world, the water is all that matters.

There is air for her to breathe and there is a sun above to give light and heat. There are no stars in the sky though, nor a moon. Perhaps, if Olivia were concerned about what made the water move, about tides, she would have dreamt a moon. If she had cared more about what gave the ocean its color or if she had ever spent time looking up, while awake, she might also have dreamt a blue sky, Rayleigh scattering, all that. Instead, the sky of her dreams is black, or maybe partially clouded, but the water is always sapphire.

Some physical laws and other features of reality are present in Olivia's dreams. The gas laws, pressure differentials, effective volumes of compressed air, rates of consumption at specified depths -- these are important. Maximum safe bottom time, as calculated by PADI dive tables, by US Navy algorithms, by her wrist-mounted Suunto dive computer -- these matter. Dissolved nitrogen in her bloodstream, decompression stops, adequate numbers of spare bottles tethered at fifty feet on the anchor line. These are fully textured. They are painted on the canvas of her dreams in exquisite detail. Where life and limb, lungs, sinuses, air embolisms and rapture of the deep are concerned, Olivia spares no mental expense, cuts no hallucinatory corners. Safety is fixed, assured, closed for discussion. When she is under the water, no accidents or injuries can distract her from the work.

I asked her why she even bothered with all of the equipment. It was her world, after all, built by her. Why did she not just allow herself to breath under water or turn herself into a fish or a mermaid. She said that her work required all of her concentration and that she couldn't afford to imagine any such frivolous luxuries.

(about my timed writing exercises)

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