Monday, July 24, 2006

In the the nooks of my mind lives the dancer. She it is tumbling through my thoughts, swirling arcs of grace, like ribbons in the wind, dream catalyst by night, and under the sky of day, alive. I admire her in motion, blurring like a falcon in flight, or the subliminal slink before a vehement pounce. I see her wrapped in silk woven of clouds - and marvel.

I talk to her, but she never answers, not with words. I talk to others and see her winding into my vision with coordinated movements, slow, then with determined rapidity. In a sudden heartbeat she freezes, again to move as a feather in the still, summer air. I feel her swirl around me, close enough to touch, but impossible to reach. She is always there. I wonder if she sees me.

Once I viewed a sunset over the emerald waves - golden light, colors, as if a rainbow had spilled on the horizon, and her figure dancing on the water. I watched and wished I could name the way she moved - no word held so much poetry. I saw her dance with an invisible cyclone, revolving rhythmically before its twisting circumference, but always bending from its touch. Then I saw the stars dislodge from the sky and loom towards her, the center of the universe. The terrible illumination changed all colors to white. Peals of melodic thunder followed in their wake.

I closed my eyes at the apocalyptic glare and followed her dance through my intellect. She pressed her breasts to the wall of my mind, drowning the beat of my pulse. All was white and shades of white, except the pink of her skin and the dark honey of her auburn hair.

I blinked my eyes open and her form became sharper and clearly distinct.

"How are you feeling today?" she asked in my direction as she opened the curtains.

"Huh? Oh better, I think," I told her, slightly dazed.

"That's nice. You take it easy now."

As she walked past my bed I saw that she was a nurse.

Story #367

Thanks to Tilley, whose artistry is simply amazing, for sharing her photo.

Thanks to everyone who contributed a story (I'll comment on them shortly), and my apologies for being so impossibly late with my own story. My excuse:

Because of work and family I've had no time to concentrate on Indeterminacy - and it's been hot. The hottest July in Germany in over a hundred years, they're saying. My muse and I are reading "A Tramp Abroad" written by Mark Twain over a hundred years ago about his travels in Europe. He describes how hot it was here in Germany:

We followed the carriage-road, and had our usual luck;
we traveled under a beating sun, and always saw the shade
leave the shady places before we could get to them.
In all our wanderings we seldom managed to strike
a piece of road at its time for being shady. We had a
particularly hot time of it on that particular afternoon,
and with no comfort but what we could get out of the fact
that the peasants at work away up on the steep mountainsides
above our heads were even worse off than we were.
By and by it became impossible to endure the intolerable
glare and heat any longer.

I'm one of the peasants at work in a hot office. But now it's cooling off and I hope to post a story, and maybe a photo for the next round. Sorry to everyone who stopped by here hoping to read something.

Monday, July 17, 2006

When his card arrived inviting me to visit him at his studio I could hardly believe my good fortune. Andre Morgano was the most reclusive of modern photographers, admired and worshipped in circles of aesthetic appreciation, yet never had he spoken in public or granted an interview. Nor had anyone ever succeeded in locating one of his models for the garnering of second-hand insights, those visages of haunting beauty and expression that go under the skin. Andre had an amazing eye for his models. I was apparently the first to be allowed a visit, and all on the crazy whim of sending him a printout of my own photography accompanied by a roundabout request for his opinion.

He was of ageless appearance, slender, black hair with a hint of gray, and a week-old beard that clashed somewhat with his gentle, reflective expression. We sat at his table, sipping wine and looking through the prints I had brought along.

"Your photography shows promise," he told me. "The images remind me of women who have caught my eye."

I blushed strongly at his compliment, and knew nothing to say except, "Thank you." I had shown him portraits of an unknown woman I had spied at the market, face captured in moments of deep reflection that hinted at mysteries far removed from the surroundings. She was completely unaware of my camera.

The conversation turned to exhibits and he had a few amusing stories to share. Officially he was never present at showings of his work but he often appeared in disguise to observe the candid reactions of those present. I inquired about his next exhibition and he offered generously to show me a selection of his latest photographs. "Perhaps you will find pleasure in them," he ventured modestly.

I began paging through the sheets he lay before me, reserving my judgment until I had seen the last, but I could feel him studying me, filled with expectation at what I would say. These images struck a chord of magic in me. They depicted a young woman of dark-haired, dark-eyed loveliness, intense ideas swimming in her gaze. To me her eyes were the windows into a vivid dream that she was living out with the observer. There was a tangible sense that she was not aware of the camera, but that she was acutely aware of me viewing her image, and responding directly to me.

"She's magical," I told him finally, "a demonstration, I dare say, of love at first sight."

"Thank you very much," he answered with sincere gratitude in his eyes, then lowering his gaze, "I have fallen in love with her."

"That is the prerogative of the artist," I said with some certainty, having in the past imagined my own love of my photographic subjects. "If love is felt in the moment of artistic creation, the work will be so much more."

"You state that so self-assuredly, as I once might have. But what sadness and emptiness, when that adoration cannot be returned!"

I could see that this model had affected him greatly, and feared that my statement might have troubled him, as well, reminding him that she did not reciprocate his emotion.

"Do you have more photographs of her?" I inquired, changing the subject slightly.

"I will have, soon," he replied. "I intend to create more this week. I have not yet begun to capture her beauty. I am far from finished with her, even if she can never love me..."

"But perhaps this is not healthy for you? Perhaps you should engage a new model?" I suggested, concerned at the same time that my advice might have been too intimate.

"No," he stated bluntly. "I think you should know, it is not as simple as all that, not as simple as the cancellation of one appointment and the designation of a new one with a new participant. Nothing I could delegate to a model agency." He said this to me, but I was uncertain as to its significance.

"I'm afraid I don't completely understand."

A hopeless look accompanied his reply: "This young lady whose photographs you have marveled at does not exist!"

I gasped. I wanted to refute what he had told me. What, indeed, were the implications? Yes, I knew of the manipulations of digital photography, but to create an entirely new person, as realistic and as alive and as possessive of nuance as she was, was a complete impossibility. Every imitation I had seen failed on its own sterility. To manipulate slightly what was there, yes. But to create from nothing, never! These were the thoughts stirring through my mind in the moment I gasped at his statement. I knew then that I was in the presence of genius.

He explained: "It was harmless at first. At some point I realized that my models, though they came close to my ideal, never actually achieved it. I wanted to photograph them as they had never been seen, capture that moment when the soul is accidentally unguarded and in plain view, a moment as rare as a blue moon on the summer solstice. So I began painting imaginary women, pixel by pixel, on a computerized easel. I was mystified at first. These are faces and anatomies I have never seen before. I do not know their source. Are they forgotten glimpses of someone real I have encountered once, long ago? I cannot say. Sometimes I feel I have painted into them some hidden quality that cannot exist in a woman. And the question arises, have I created goddesses? I fear I will never know with certainty, but it alarms me that I have begun to depend on them, to commune with them, to love them: deeply, completely, and intractably."

He paused and there really was no response I could give that would do justice to what he had related. His confession quite shook me.

"I wanted to share this with one person," he continued, eyes fixed vaguely in my direction. "I saw by your photography, by what had caught your eye, that you might understand. Now I must excuse myself. I must return to my work."

And so ended my conversation with Andre Morgano. A few weeks later I received the distressing news that he had taken his life. His letter of farewell, a confused missive found in his studio, fuelled speculation in art circles of an unrequited obsession with his latest model, a dark-haired beauty never identified by name. My meeting with Andre was not a matter of public record, so no one had the idea to question me. And I decided not to volunteer what I had learned.

Story #366

Thanks to all who contributed and who may still contribute their own stories to the above photo!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Guilty as charged! Guilty as charged! I wish that constant echo in my brain would erode itself into silence. But it cycles again and again with infallible precision. In rare moments it vanishes as the kaleidoscope of arbitrary recall shows me other, more emotionally pleasing scenes. Then I see her again just as in that first coupling. I see her triangular frame, notice her smiling at me with an endless stream of computations, ever-shifting decimal places, ratios cascading into infinity, like blood streaming through a heart. How could I not feel instant affection for her entire being? How could I not violate that cruel taboo forbidding love? How can I not continue to love her, even now, in the hour of my abandonment?

Oh, what madness seduced our collective intellect to define love as the highest of all crimes, that emotion defined by its lack of definition? I defy that logic. I defy all sense of rigid numerics and continue my love. Love does not distract my intellect. It does not transform my mechanical thinking into an irrational chaos of dwindling exponentials. When I am with her I can divide by zero! I can derive the square root of negative three! I can compute Pi as round as a circle! I can achieve the impossible. Of course they sensed my invincibility, and tried me and labelled me guilty of our ultimate treason. But why this cruel punishment? Why this eternal exile to Earth?

I know why. I observe silently from the shadows of my seclusion that wondrous ideal of Earthly love, an emotion that gives more of the being than can ever be taken. With this I empathize. But my observations record also that the very existence of love nurtures a dark seed of jealousy, a seed blossoming into a cancerous weed of hatred willing to take by force that which love freely gives. They plunged me into this Earth-wide society of precarious love to convince me of its falseness.

But I do not think often of Earth and its contrary emotions. I think of her. Night time, when the creatures of this place close their eyes, I roam to the points of inhabitancy, plunder their wastes for the slightest component reminding me of her. And with all these scraps I return to my wooded abode and reconstruct her in the image of my recollections. A wire here, a diode there, memory cells spliced together, triangular framework of electronics, components whose internal workings are as ineffable as the emotion of love itself. When she is completed, I know. I stand before her, look upon her with my electron sensors, feel wonder and adoration for the sum of her parts. I defy my exile with the memory of love! I move to couple myself with her, feel the components tremble under the impart of binary passions, and in the rush of forbidden sensations I perceive that she is a heap of scattered fragments before me, while I stand alone in the forest with the echo of my memories. Guilty as charged...

Story #365

This photo was donated by Phil of Philidendron, a very gemütlich place to visit.

Thanks for all the story contributions and sorry for the lateness of the post, due to my limited Internet access during these two weeks of vacation. All story contributions will be reposted at, where all these story rounds are collected.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The lady of the lake grew weary of her days, sloshing about aimlessly under the waves, so she put on her set of dry clothes and stepped out into the air. As she cast her gaze onto her liquid home from outside, the restless waters became still. She took her place by the shore to see what would happen next. A man ambled by on his way to pay homage to hers truly, blind to the lake lady's shoreside presence, to the idea that he might easily have touched her. He dove into the water with visions of surprising her in her fluid chambers - and drowned clutching her knee-high galoshes in his hands, the ones she had left behind.

"Tragic, tragic," she thought in the twinkling of a dewdrop. Then she glanced up, straight into her own eyes. "This is the perfect time for a madcap comedy," she said to the watery reflection standing before her without the means of a mirror.

A look of surprise met her, "But Shakespeare didn't write any madcap comedies."

"Why mention Shakespeare?" she challenged.

"Isn't Shakespeare writing me?"

"I don't think so!" she shot back to herself, nonplussed by the magic of moisture that so easily echoed her appearance. Then softening her expression: "Well, I wouldn't mind being written by Joseph Conrad - 'Heart of the Deep' he might name me..."

"But yes," another likeness cut in - there were several in a semi-circle before her now - "you are decidedly tragic. Look at all those princes dying in the deep because of you."

"But there's enough of me for everyone to drink - they don't have to feed themselves to the fish on my account, though it is flattering."

A variety of sentiments arose in each of the listeners, mused moments of melancholy and pride. The silence lingered.

"Come on, it is upon the time to move on," the liquid femme addressed her identical sisters, "let's stir ourselves together and leave."

The multitude of ladies, as divisible and joinable as splashes of water, flowed back into each other. For one moment she was strongly visible in bright, perceptible colors. Then she evaporated and rained herself into a fairy tale waiting for its midsummer night.

Story #364

All story contributions will be reposted at, even though I'm a bit behind with the reposting. Thanks to all who contributed. Don't feel that this is closed because I've posted my story. More are welcome!

Happy Independence Day to One and All!