Sunday, July 4, 2010

Land's Edge Contest Winner- Mike Robertson

As noted in my official announcement, Mike Robertson of Columbia, Missouri is the winner of the first Land's Edge flash fiction contest. His story Festival of the Lift captured the imaginations of the judges. It is a well-written tale hypnotically describing the arrival a universal event. The art shown to the right is a surreal monotype by Marius Starkey and I thought it fit well with this story. You can link to his site here.

I was not familiar with Mr. Robertson prior to the contest but I'm aware that some within the #fridayflash circle are. He is a self-taught musician, composer, writer, poet and philosopher. Some of you may have read his entry this weekend as he posted it as his #fridayflash story for this week. For those that haven't read it, I present it to you now. Enjoy.



Festival of the Lift

None of us knew why they called it the Festival of the Lift. Word went out, be ready on this date. Settle whatever you need to settle because we're lifting off. We didn't really care what it meant, Jackie and me. It was a party, no question. We were ready for that.

Of course, things had been getting strange for some time, what with the sounds coming from everywhere, deep whines and sighs and hums, indistinct at first, then louder and clearer, a buzz in our ears that everyone got used to because we had to. No one knew what it was, and truth is, no one cared that much, because what came with it was a rising sense of … what? Peacefulness, a kind of relaxed cheer that held a sense of optimism.

We talked less as the Day approached. Some of us, Jackie included, stopped speaking completely. She didn't need to, at least not to me. I knew what she meant by every gesture, every expression. As she grew silent, her eyes seemed to grow larger and to shine. It seemed to me she was seeing something, maybe many things, that the rest of us could not see.

On the final day the bells began, chiming away the hours, then the minutes. The colors of things, which had been growing brighter and sharper daily since the announcement, began to mix with each other, to shimmer and glow. Night had been gone for some time now – the light and colors had been different, but always present, always visible.

Our imaginations were in high gear for this event. It felt like every thought we had, every memory, every fantasy, could become real at any moment.

The morning of the Lift, the sky changed from flaming yellows and oranges of the night to morning's magenta and pink. It was like the changing hues of the wings of a monarch butterfly caught in the morning sun.

Vague motions near the horizon. My body felt ever larger and lighter. My mind too. Conversation was getting a little hard to imagine under the circumstances. “How you feeling?”

Jackie grinned at me, her face like a piano wire being drawn tighter. “Ha,” she said finally. “Ha!”

Things began lifting around us, rising gently into the air. An old hotel model armchair, overstuffed and dusty, rose without rocking from the front yard of a house. In it sat a tiny woman, hands clasped, body relaxed, a comforting aura about her, wearing a beatific smile. She looked down on us as she rose. The chair turned like a leaf in an eddy until she had beamed her smile down on all below. We smiled back at her, sensing that our turn would come. Then a bench rose, and stones and a tree, and then … everyone.

I felt colors playing over my skin, under and through me, like music. I realized I wore no clothes and couldn't decide if I had actually been wearing any before, maybe not for a long time. All around me people arched their backs, facing the eastern sky and then I realized there was no direction; there was only up. The earth had dropped away, or gone transparent, and in that boundless sky, I saw there were planets, it seemed you could touch them, all lined up in an arc, Jupiter leading Saturn and Venus and the rest, moving closer in perfect time to the music we sensed but could no longer hear. I realized that was it, it was the music from the planets, we heard it all the time without knowing we heard it and it made all other music comically weak by comparison, making us yearn to hear more and join in that song, hearts ringing like bells and and yes! we were bells ringing joyously to this music ... and I was happy yes! except there was no longer a me, we were a union just perfectly happy to be moving toward those spheres, toward a body I could find no words to describe, could not even imagine, but I could see Jackie's face, a cloud of joy before me, and she knew ... she knew ... she knew.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Mike has been rarely published but has been writing fiction since age twelve. He turned from word to music in his twenties, having realized he wanted to be a writer more than he actually wanted to write. Music (and zen) seems to have cured that malady over time, and having raised his family and finally retired, he has returned to his first creative love. He has written a number of short stories (all unpublished), a novelette and most of his first novel. You may find more of his flash fiction at http://lazlokovaks.com/Flash%20Fiction/FridayFlash_Story.php?ff=4.

20 comments:

K.Hinny said...

Congrats on first place Mike! This was a very unique and entertaining story! Great work!! Enjoyed it muchly, Thanks!

David Barber said...

Well done Mike. A great story, packed full of great images. Congratulations.

Bukowski's Basement said...

Certainly unique, Mike... Great flow. Congrats on winning.

Cathy Olliffe said...

I tracked you down on your blog, intrepid, nosy person that I am, and was bowled over by this story. As everyone else has said, it has great flow and is full of interesting images. I am particularly struck by the last line. Am wondering what she knew... the whole story is mysterious, like the line, and wonderful. Congratulations on a most deserving win.

Julie (Okami) said...

Congrats!! What a wonderful story.

Michael Solender said...

very different slant and creative twist..cool write.

Laurita said...

The part I liked best about this story was the description of the old lady in the chair and the mood that created. Very visual story.

Mike Robertson said...

My thanks and deep respect to all commentors. I just returned from a gig this weekend and finally saw this post or I would have happily replied earlier. Cathy, thanks for the comment on my flash fiction site. Means a lot. Laurita, I appreciate your mention of the beatifically smiling old lady (I was remembering my grandmother) casting her blessings. Michael, I'm honored that you commented. I have been inspired by your work. Cheers all!

Danielle Ferries said...

I agree - an entertaining read. Well done.

Mike Robertson said...

Thanks much Danielle!

Lynn said...

Way to go, Web Guy!!!!!

Mental_Pictures said...

This was a very interesting read, I think my favourite part overall was each judges 'take' on the entries.

I enjoyed this entry.

katey said...

Just lovely. Perfectly played-- so difficult not to overdo something like this, and this walked the line with grace.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Such rhythm, beat, and motion to this, mixed with sci fi- just wow. Win well deserved, Mike. Congrats!

Jodi MacArthur said...

Wow. That piece above is Mike's too? Amazing. I was just checking out the art site.

Mike Robertson said...

Thanks much Lynn, Mental Pictures, Katey and Jodi. Wonderful feedback. Jodi, "Festival of the Lift" was mine, none of others nor the art.

kathryn said...

Congratulations on first place and for telling a truly original, amazing story. I'd no idea where you were going with it but enjoyed the ride all the same. Well done!

Mike Robertson said...

Thanks so much kathryn!

pegjet said...

Where do I find each judges' "take" on the entries? I've explored and (yes, I'm a computer idiot at times) can't find their comments.

Mike, this story gave me such a feeling of wonder as I read it, and hope. I've read a bit about how we are united, all the same; we are all each other (I know, philosophical crap that can take decades to argue, but still interests me) and this story captured that feeling I get when I read those philosphies. The touch of music, underneath yet overt... beautiful.

Glad more people discovered your writing.

Mike Robertson said...

Peg,

blush