Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Breath Of Kanaloa - #FlashFiction #WEPFF

Photo: Public Domain, NOAA, via Wikimedia Commons



     There are those who are sentenced to death, and those who greedily chase it with every penny, every thought, every heartbeat.
     I have tried to do the math. One cubic meter of ocean equals about one ton. A wave ten meters high, a horizontal portion twenty meters wide, that's some 400 tons barreling along at who knows what speed, chasing you down, curling over you, enough power to rupture your organs, slam you to the seabed, snap your bones in half.
     You say that you are never so "alive" as when you are cheating death.
     I say that I am never so dead as when you are feeling "alive".
     You share an intimacy with this colossus which confounds and exasperates me.
     Go, if you must, and call forth your dreams. 

     "Ku mai! Ku mai! Ka nalu nui mai Kahiki mai..."
         (arise, arise you great surfs from Kahiki)

     The waves have swallowed "us";  may they not swallow you.


POST THIS BADGE UNDER YOUR ENTRY
All of my blog posts are "FCA"
Word count: 166
 ******************************
 Written as part of the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge. We are to "share a paragraph from a novel, or an extract from a poem, or a photograph that stopped your heart with a spectacular setting etc", describe what we liked about the setting, then share our own "setting piece" (new or from WIP). I chose to write a flash.

Big wave surfers pit themselves against one of the most powerful forces on earth. There are better photos available, but this one...well, those surfers look like tiny little stick figures.  It showcases the frailty of humans and the magnificent power of nature.

Thanks for reading! There will be more challenges in the future, so check out the link to WEP if you'd like to join the fun.




JOIN WITH US FOR 3 CHALLENGES!
Click here to join

35 comments:

  1. Li:
    That photograph is beyond amazing. And I never ever considered the weight of the beast barreling down on the surfers. I knew it was a lot of water, but your description brings the terror into clear view. I can't imagine loving someone who did that for fun. Your characters angst, love, and fear are all well formed and spoken in our piece.
    Thank you, Li, for your beautiful contribution to the WEP Spectacular Settings Challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Yolanda.
      I've been knocked over by 5-6 ft waves in the past and it's no joke. I just can't imagine a wave that size towering over me!

      Delete
  2. There is a stunning surf board ride to end all rides in LUCIFER'S HAMMER by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Dean Koontz gives us a surfer heroic duo in FEAR NOTHING. Love your imagery. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roland. I'm familiar with Lucifer's Hammer but not Fear Nothing, so I'll have to check out the latter. Thanks!

      Delete
  3. Wow, Li, amazing. Those little stick figures against those monstrous waves! What a challenge. I sometimes watch the surfing competitions, and can never imagine how someone could pit themselves against such a mountainous surf! You capture the spirit nicely: You say that you are never so "alive" as when you are cheating death.
    'I say that I am never so dead as when you are feeling "alive"'.
    Yeah. Poor us who never take up a challenge like this!
    Great flash.

    Thanks so much for sharing it for the WEP challenge. I'm sure everyone will love the photo and the flash.

    Denise :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise! I love watching surf competitions. This year I saw something even more terrifying - a surfer attacked by a shark during televised competition! Luckily he wasn't hurt.

      Delete
    2. Yep. That was Australia's own Nick Fanning. It was shown over and over on the news here. But when he got back to Australia after that comp. he admitted he was a bit afraid of going back in. Then a couple of days after, another surfer got bitten by a shark. He kicked and fought it, inspired by Nick Fanning. He was saved! Sharks seem to be getting hungrier for a tasty bite of surfers lately!

      Delete
  4. I love it. And yes, too many mothers, lovers feel like death while others challenge life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, I felt really sorry for my Mom once I became a mother. I was a tomboy and a risk-taker as a kid...poor Mom should have had snow white hair.

      Delete
  5. Stunning shot and thought provoking post. Death and destruction. The power and the glory. Yay!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jenny. There really is beauty in such raw power!

      Delete
  6. You've chosen exactly the right shot to complement the story. I love Maths. The calculations have compounded the terror of the crushing waves. A thought provoking story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kiran. I'm not sure if the calculations are absolutely correct, but they are close enough to give an idea of the crushing weight of so much water! (Now I'm tempted to try and work out the downward force.)

      Delete
  7. That is a stunning image, and your words are so powerful! Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you LG! This is a third - or -fourth - draft. :)

      Delete
  8. Outstanding pic and sensational job on the passage. Love the words you use to describe the pic.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great image, stunning showing the scale of humans against a force of nature. Your flash is pumps with adrenaline - some people are thrill seekers while others hold their breath watching loved ones. Great writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sally, I think it's an amazing photo too!

      Delete
  10. Fantastic photo and the piece your wrote is amazing; very convincing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi,
    The picture is fantastic, but even more beautiful is what you wrote. It stirred my heart.
    Excellent!
    Shalom,
    Patricia

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd love to know who this is. Lover? Mother? And why do I picture her as a her? There are plenty of female surfers. Stereotypes will do us in every time :) Loved your piece. And yes, the photo is awe-inspiring. I'd love to see a wave this size. (But from the beach.)
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point, Guilie! I often write pieces and leave the narrator's gender ambiguous. It's always interesting to see comments that assume it's he or she!
      In this case, I envisioned a female, about 20 years old, from southern US, who has fallen in love with a 20 year old male, Native Hawaiian and avid surfer. And then she realizes that she can't stand to watch him tackle these monstrous waves, and that it would be even worse if they had a child some day.

      Delete
  13. WOW. You are uber talented. Fantastic FF. That is something I long to learn to write. SO hard for me. I write picture books, though. So I should find it easier. I am going to figure that out one day. Your piece is striking. And the photo is absolutely stunning. I can't imagine I would stick around either. The last line is perfect. You write well. I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Robyn! I think writing flash is a great writing exercise. Take one of your picture books, eliminate the pictures and use the least amount of detail/description that you can - get to the bare bones of the story. Then flesh it out. Practice using one or two words in place of a long phrase: "a caliginous harbor" instead of "a dark, misty, and somewhat gloomy inlet with several boats anchored..." :)

      Delete
  14. WOW. You are uber talented. Fantastic FF. That is something I long to learn to write. SO hard for me. I write picture books, though. So I should find it easier. I am going to figure that out one day. Your piece is striking. And the photo is absolutely stunning. I can't imagine I would stick around either. The last line is perfect. You write well. I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I always get this 'tummy drop' feeling when I see waves like that, even just on the news (because I haven't yet seen them in person!). We have got some pretty big waves where i live, but never monster waves. But the ones we've got in the past have certainly been enough of a thrill :P

    ReplyDelete
  16. I just can't wrap my mind around the sheer size of that wave and the fact that anyone has the nerve to even try this - over and over again! :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Li!
    Magnificent photo!
    Every word in your piece is perfectly chosen and perfectly positioned.
    Such a powerful opening line.
    It's great to read your work after such a long time.
    Your FF packed a punch!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I loved the photo and simply put, Surfs up!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi, Li,

    LOVED your first few lines... sucked me in like an undertow... Excellent!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Late getting by due to computer problems. I loved that image, and the power of that wave. I came by earlier, but couldn't comment. I think my pc fell off the ethernet. . .had it fixed today. I'm not a water baby, or a surfer, but I love strong images such as this one. Thanks for sharing it.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Powerful image! The line about slamming organs and snapping bones in half really drives it home.

    ReplyDelete