08 June 2009

Revenant Army Map

I'm beginning work on my summer novel, a modern-day horror piece I'm tentatively titling Revenant Army. It looks like it's going to be a blend of The Seven Samurai, Northern Canadian hijinks, and the dual legacies of the Hudson's Bay Company and Dr. Frankenstein.

Lo, another treeless vista, milady!
I've been collecting images from our North, like these of Prince of Wales Fort, which stands across the Churchill River from Churchill, Manitoba. This fort was built out of logs in 1717; the stone structure that still stands today was begun in 1731.
I wonder if, given the right kinds of weapons, a modern group of vigilantes could hold off something nasty in an old Northern outpost like this one?
ETA: Apparently not. Evidently in my education as a proper Canadian youth, I skipped a significant Vignette!


Now I've got a travel bug as well as a research bug (not to mention a plot-devising bug...).

In any case, as suggested by the first of the Summer of Fantasy challenges, I've been playing around this afternoon with mapmaking / animated gif construction. This is fun, people. I've found some potentially useful fun facts and a hole. First the hole:

Summer of Fantasy,the hole,Revenant Army
And now the fun facts (courtesy of good ol' Wikipedia):
When Earth's gravitational field was mapped starting in the 1960s a large region of below-average gravity was detected in the Hudson Bay region. This was initially thought to be a result of the crust still being depressed from the weight of the Laurentide ice sheet during the most recent Ice Age, but more detailed observations taken by the GRACE satellite suggest that this effect cannot account for the entirety of the gravitational anomaly. It is thought that convection in the underlying mantle may be contributing.

01 June 2009

Sleep

If I'm doing chi kung (qiqong) meditation at home, I have a little routine I like to follow. First I do a little chanting. If I need to, I stretch. And then I sit meditation.

When you go into a sitting chi kung session, you often go very deep. Numerous fascinating things happen: you see colours throbbing and pulsing in front of you. Reality goes in and out of focus. Sometimes there are special guest stars: I recently watched as globs of light dripped down from the ceiling of my room, and two sets of luminous footprints laid themselves out in a counterclockwise circle around me.

When you come out again, you have to settle back down into yourself before you can stand up and walk around. You've been in touch with another, higher level of consciousness. Plus in my case, I've been sitting in half lotus, so things are...numb. I usually have to take a minute or two of just sitting with my legs stretched out before the feeling returns, my energy settles, and I can stand and head out into my day.

One of the things I have on hand for this time is Deng Ming-Dao's book 365 Tao: Daily Mediations. This is a cute little book that gives you a word, a Chinese character done in a gorgeous calligraphy, a snippet of verse, and a prose extension of the snippet of verse that tie in with the word for each day of the year. During my wind-down time after sitting, I'll read the entry for that day and think about it.

The word for June 1 is "Sleep". The poem I thought I'd share because it's uncharacteristically horroresque for a book of cute daily meditations:

Sleep is like a swift train
Plunging into long black tunnels,
Slicing day with red and black light,
No worry about the skeleton engineer.
Head to pillow is like head to track,
Listening to the rumble of destiny,
Knowing that the opening will come.
In sleep, as in the tunnels,
The sound seems ever closer.

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