First published by The Red Forge Publishing House, 2015
Adelaide, South Australia
Copyright © Sutcliffe, Keren
The Wave and the Particle by Keren Sutcliffe
You may be wondering how you came to have all these thoughts and ideas in your head. Well, it is a bit like a dream, dreams can be so marvelous and it has to be wondered: does the brain think of these ideas instantaneously or has some part of the brain being working on stories, philosophies, answers, discoveries to show you when it is ready? Perhaps there is a dream stored away ready for you, or maybe there are years’ worth, all catalogued in the brain’s own way, ready to be presented to you? Except from My Painted Elephant.
Marla stormed into the office of The Red Forge Publishing House just about unable to contain her frustration.
“Breathe” she told herself.
“They’re closing in on us, Tarn. I knew this would happen; we can’t seem to move quickly enough. We need to have a meeting; make it tomorrow 9 am.” Marla barked at Tarnie.
Tarnie set about contacting all the employees of The Red Forge Publishing House. She hadn’t seen Martha quite this agitated before and immediately began to worry about what was going to happen. Marla’s agitation might mean she would expect everyone to work harder and faster. She had a lot going on in her life at the moment and was quite comfortable with the easy pace.
This was going to be a drain on Tarnie’s reserves. She felt the transparent skin under her sleeve twitch.For the umpteenth time she thought to herself, ‘that was so stupid.’
Everyone was early to the meeting the next morning: Leroy, Max, Charlotte, Tarnie, and Martha. They had all been working there for about six weeks now. Martha had slowly begun gathering the team after gaining some traction in the interest of her project.
A few years earlier she had met a lady named Brenda who had written a novella for a literary competition. Marla had taken the project on and had carried on with composing the song and art work to complement the work. Marla had also started writing her own work called The Wave and the Particle that continued on with some of the story lines that Brenda had started.
Marla was finding the writing process as frustrating as Brenda had. She also had the added complexity of marketing on Social Media and trying to establish The Red Forge Publishing House brand. She had met Tarnie at the pub one night and together had been working on, ideas for writing and music, media profiles and shoot off projects.
“OkK guys, we need to really step it up now team. The new logo looks good.”
“So much is going on out there; we are going to get left behind. We need this book printed and the music being played. I want the sculpture completed and entered into an art competition. We have to start getting the product out there. I really think the time is right now. It is just the sort of entertainment the public are looking for; a little bit quirky but offering real substance.”
“Tarnie get that music score done. Kesbooks can promote it online and maybe we can apply for an arts or some sort of business grant.”
Charlotte waded into the conversation; a little timid because she could feel Martha was so tensed up. “Do you think we will get plagiarised or ridiculed if we put it up not quite finished. I would like to see it edited again and Kesbooks is back in Second Life.” She said with a slight eye roll and exasperation. Kesbooks was certainly was getting on Charlotte’s nerves lately.
Martha cut her off “No, I want it out there. Someone is going to beat us to this. My Painted Elephant is OK as is. Leave it a bit rough, it will give it an arty, edgy feel. Besides Brenda lost her laptop with the work unfinished so it is supposed to have an unfinished feel. I want the website to be a record of progress so anyone can see who is the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights on this piece. Max, can you please compose a clear legal strategy on this matter; perhaps have a copyright statement on the first page. But one more edit is needed, I agree. Charlotte, have another look at it and then send to the printers when ready. I want to have hard copies for sale at the Port Festival in October.”
“OK boss” said Tarnie. She continued reiterated what everyone was thinking. “I think we will need an editor in the future.” Martha nodded.
“Are we continuing on with the library site?” asked Max. “Because I have some ideas for some additional services, such as a story time and a short documentary on the Dewey Decimal System.”
“Yes, we will keep the Adelaide Library and Information Services site going, but I really want the book, music and sculpture finished by October, that’s four months. I think that’s do-able. Max, you need to keep up the information work for now. The story time requires us to write the stories that are to be read and that is taking time away from the core tasks. Has the Dewey Decimal thing been done? Kesbooks is nicely placed on the internet, I think it is OK she is back in Second Life. Leroy, I really need you to come up with the believable science for Kesbooks. There is a lot going on with holography. I want it to be the very latest idea and of course the time travel must stay in.”
An audible groan was heard from Leroy. He had a good idea about holograms having lasers coming out of their eyes but didn’t think Marla would like this. While popular science writing jobs were hard to come by, he thought it best to save the more contentious aspects of technology development quiet. ‘Next she will ask me about Kesbook’s Diary,’ he thought to himself.
Martha was shocked. “Stop it Leroy, I know the time entanglement angle irks you but it is staying. It really is the whole point.”
“It just isn’t realistic because of the changing the past paradox etc. um..higgaldy pickledy as Brenda puts it.” Leroy ventured. He had read My Painted Elephant and did think it had some good ideas in it but it was written by some ‘forty-something’ woman from nowhere.
“Yes and she then proceeds to ignore the higgeldy pickledy.”Martha flashed back. “It could be possible to travel on your own time line and not change anything. Just travel forward and back. Just go and have a look,” she explained.
“What is the point of that?” argued Leroy .
“That is what we are trying to find out, for fuck sake you are the science writer, that is why I employed you. Also I don’t get what Brenda was saying about the derivatives of the theodorus spiral. And didn’t I ask for you to continue on writing Kesbook’s diary?”
Charlotte waded in, trying to protect Leroy. She is often shy in the meetings, not sure of herself. “I’ve been thinking of a human interest segment on our website. I have been thinking about interviewing some people, talk about their aspirations, loves etc. I think it will get a regular return to our website.”
Martha was nodding, encouraging Charlotte to tell them her ideas.
“And I have been thinking we could set up a studio and stream live music via the website too.” interjected Tarnie.
Martha raised her hand. “OK, one at a time please.”
“That’s a great idea, Charlotte, you could to do the interviews or get someone else to do it. Go a head and get a couple of interviews recorded and we will have a look. It will be good to build up a following on the website. Now, I am writing the next part of My Painted Elephant, it is called The Wave and the Particle.”
Martha was addressing the whole group and then looked at Leroy.
“Leroy, we need a check out on the website. I want to sell the book as an e-book directly from the website. I don’t think we can keep My Painted Elephant as a free book either. As a business we really need to start making some money. Now I hope you are all wearing your t-shirts out and about. We really need to saturate the community with our product. Live music would be great Tarnie but are you going to do it. Let’s find a professional singer and band. Perhaps once we start getting some sales we can look at doing more. I would like to do surveys too, how many people out there know what hypertext fiction is?”
“I want to get Andrew, the mathematician a bit more involved. The idea is to get some of this maths and science in action not just in fiction.We need the skills base, here at TRFPH. Again once we start getting sales on the books and merchandise we can start expanding out with other functions.”
“Let’s do a maths competition on the The Theodorus Spiral Company website.” Leroy suggested.
“Yes, put that attempted proof Andrew did on the website and see if anyone spots the mistake but what is the prize going to be?” Martha questioned. Money was a little tight.
“Theodorus Spiral Company t-shirts.” They all chimed together.
“I’ve been reading about Linked Data. I want our site to have a Five Star rating. Leroy get on to that.” Martha knew she was going too far.
Max saw his opportunity. “I’ve been working on a project with SA Libraries and Data SA. Adelaide Library and Information Services could get their name out their with in the open data and linked data circuit.”
“Brilliant, keep up the good work. OK team, that is enough for today.” Martha finished up.
Tarnie was a bit surprised but very relieved. Pretty much status quo the same for her. Just keep working on the music score. She began trying work out when she was going to fit this task in. She already knew she would be going back in time to use some of time she wasted in the past. ‘This, Leroy, is why we like time travel,’ she muttered to herself as she caught up to Max and started walking along side him down the path to the river.
“Max, are you still organising tours back to the past?” Tarnie asked.
“Yes and I want to investigate bringing some people forward from the past, a lot less effort for everyone concerned.” Max replied.
“Oh Max that is great,” exclaimed Tarnie. “Please bring Janis Joplin forward. I’d really like to see her.”
“You know that you can go back and see her?” Max half stated, half asked.
“Yes, but I can’t fit any more time travel in.” Tarnie grumbled.”It should be infinite amount of time with going backward and forward but it doesn’t seem to be way.” Max speculated.
At her home in suburban Chicago, Marla sat down at her computer and start writing a list:
- Holograms – science (quantum computers, optics, space/time travel, worm holes, energy sources in the air)
- Commercialisation of business – merchandise sales, subscription fees, book sales, shields (factory producing Aluminium/Bronze shields and trinkets), music royalties, film script.
- Marketing; is social media working?
After a massive sigh she began writing another list titled POSITIONS VACANT:
- Writers for the The Red Forge Publishing House concept and children’s story time pieces (educational) for Adelaide Library and Information Services
- Search Engine Marketing and Branding Experts
- Physicist (Optics and Theoretical)
- Librarians and Information Managers
- Manufacturers of Theodorus Shields (or wall hangings)
- Clothing retailers
- Musicians and singers (Modern classical and jazz)
Before long Marla found herself designing a sign with the words FOR SALE:
$100, 000 $10,000 or nearest offer.
2. Saving Hypatia.
Later that evening, Marla was thinking about what Brenda had been writing about in My Painted Elephant: a world where time entanglement or time travel was a trivial matter and what the reaction would be in the community as it was discovered. It seemed obvious to her that not everyone would ‘jump in’ and do it. They would be too afraid to do too much in case they altered their own history so much that they can’t be born. She marveled at the thought that maybe people were time travelling back and forth in their own time line and that explained all the different coincidences and déjà vu in their lives. She shook her head; almost regretting meeting Brenda. “What a nutter” she muttered to herself.
While Marla was toiling away at home. Max met up with Charlotte at the book shop. When Angela, the store owner, was busy with a customer they lent on the secret shelf and slipped into the cavity that appeared. Down the familiar corridor onto the little caboose with the brightly knitted cushions and arrived at Scarlet’s Bar just in time for the meeting that they really needed to be at.
A crowd had gathered in the bar, jostling to buy a drink and get settled before the meeting began. The news had reached Max that Kembla was going to make an appearance. Even Kesbooks Skytower had turned up. Max recalled the last screen shot he had of her.
The reason for the meeting was to decide who was going to be the lucky historical figure that could be saved in the past. Max and Charlotte had on their Save Hypatia t-shirts. It was all very exciting. Even though Time Travel had been officially banned, a group of underground travelers had kept the old skills alive and felt confident with the right moves they could make minute changes in history that could save the world from ruin.
Kesbooks and Max stood together discussing the scene. Kesbooks knew Saving Hypatia was only a small part of the bigger achievements that were required to pull the human race back on track.
“Kembla seems distracted by trying to save Hypatia” Kesbooks.whispered to Max.
“What do you mean?” Max asked.
“We are supposed to be pulling together all the great thinkers from all the ages and getting them together to work out solutions for the future – which we know does actually happen but it still has to be done.” Kesbooks replied.
She continued, “How many times have you been back to try to save Hypatia?”
“Several times, she never follows our advice.” Max shook his head, eyes welling up, as he recalled the scene over again in his head. The horror of Hypatia being dragged out into the street and torn apart.
Kesbooks start to say something but the crowd hushed and Kembla again appealed to the crowd to save her daughter.
3. The Port Festival
The crowd admired the iron artifacts especially the candelabra that had been hand forged at Birkenhead Blacksmithing; the first ever blacksmithing forge on the northern side of the river. The TRFPH team couldn’t keep with the sales of the flip book of My Painted Elephant and The Wave and the Particle. But the main attraction was the Theodorus Spiral on the Pedestal.
People had flocked to the spiral like a magnet. It seemed to draw the crowd that sauntered around the grounds. Young and old stood mesmerised by it.
They had all come looking for something special, something a little different. They had certainly found it at The Red Forge Publishing House stand at The Port Festival that year.