Monday, August 14, 2006

OtherWorld

OtherWorld


(note: I wanted to write more stories about my time in Laredo, but got sidetracked by this “OtherWorld” idea, and got totally lost in it. I ended up writing it down as a potential outline for a three act play, but will just share the meat of it all here, without knowing what it will eventually become, if anything. )(Yes, I know writers usually do not share their “process”, but I figure it someone wants to take this idea and fly with it, more power to them. There plenty more where this came from. )

This forming story takes place in the future, some time after the “Siege and Collapse” (of the American Dream) Probably due to a long period of unrelenting devastating terrorists attacks that eventually took down the economy, the government, most of the infrastructure, and most of our major urban areas including residential areas. No corporate structure survived; no airports, no mass communication, very limited access to power, sort of like Baghdad is now. The wealthy who managed to survive the attacks, were all left homeless and penniless, because money was no longer any kind of power or safety, without the market in operation.

But somehow, (?) public housing units were left standing, along with senior buildings, nursing homes, board and care settings, and other facilities that housed the disabled. Most were nearly deserted, as residents/patients had been evacuated by families, if they had any, or moved to what was perceived as safer shelter during the siege.

And in some of these places people had stayed because they had no where else to go. Small groups of widely diverse people of all ages, all poor, many physically disabled or frail, many elderly, but people of all ages and races, gay and straight.. their ranks swelled by the homeless who found there way to shelter with them. Then swelled further by their relatives from across all generations, who had been displaced from their homes, and had no where to go, no more jobs to support them, whose savings were now as worthless as doggie dung.

The story takes place in one such setting, modeled after the 100 unit senior building in which I now reside. (because it’s handy!) It explores a world in which everything has been tipped upside down; the entire pyramid shaped power structure that had existed forever. Mainstream American was gone: it was the “OtherWorld” now.

It was the old ones who had memories of getting by with little to nothings, whose counsel was sought. It was the storytellers who knew of times even earlier, of the simpler wisdoms of how together, people can survive, around whom people gathered in the evenings, in a world without any electronic distractions to turn to. It was those in wheelchairs and on walkers who had the skills of patience, so long gone in this society, to teach and to share.

It was the coming together of the new knowledge of the young with the wisdom of the old. It was the exchange of ancient wisdom across cultures, and the blending of gender strengths in a world that needed the very best from all of us and had to time for such nonsense as separation of gender power. It was gays and straights working side by side, because now, none of that seemed to matter very much anymore. It was able bodied people tapping into the incredibly innovative, creative energies of those who were NOT able bodied, who had learned so much about adapting and finding new ways to do things. It was about combining the different strengths of all involved, valuing none more than the other, for all were needed equally, if any were to survive. It was a time for people of all kinds who, having been forcefully evicted from all of their separate “boxes” and tossed in the soup together, to sink or to swim, together.

The core group who had stayed behind in this building were a cross section of the world: people of age from Somalia, the Middle East, America, Asia, the Netherlands and other countries and of many religious backgrounds as well as those who embraced none, and younger people with disabilities, from age 40 up, as well as an “ illegal” immigrant or two! From among themselves, they chose a council, in the early days after the Collapse to oversee the initial survival matters at hand, leaning heavily on the able bodies and minds of the younger among us, who had come here for shelter. That football field next door would make one hell of a garden space, along with all that park space across the street by the lake!

I see this story evolving to include how this group of main characters came together, across all the old barriers, and began again, with only what was left, to set up a community that might have a chance of being part of a new society that could turn out differently than the one that had just imploded, for all concerned.

I see the unexpected arrival of a group of CEO’s (?) who had miraculously survived (because they had been off on an annual meeting cruise somewhere, (?) then getting back here to find everything they knew all gone, and there was only the “others” to turn to. But then, of course, deciding they could do it all much more efficiently, maybe even eventually turn this place into a profit making enterprise! (The comedic possibilities of some of this are pretty awesome!)

I’m still waiting for the resolution of this tale to come to me, knowing full well it probably won’t, and I’ll never know why this whole concept has occupied my mind for the past three days, only to end up in the round file where a whole lot of my stuff goes to R.I.P! But maybe not, too, because this one sure begs for a stage, as a serious/comedic social commentary piece.

Anyway, what about it? What do you think it might be like after the dust settles, if BushCo actually does manage to piss off enough of the wrong people in enough of the wrong places, and they decide to join forces to really hit a target too big to miss?

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