Fiction: A ‘cushy’ job (Scene 1.1)

167890584He finds himself staring at the screen for more than 30 minutes. But his mind is elsewhere.

For eight hours a day, he spends time answering and reading e-mails, responding to some urgent ones, making phone calls, making appointments, and attending meetings that go from morose to gut-wrenching.

For a year, he has worked for this manufacturing company. A creative but an introvert, Smokey has always been lucky to be at the right spot where opportunity opens up and gives him a break. He’s good at spotting these opportunities. Thanks to his wide network of friends, he has found interesting jobs from friends in the “fringes.”

“Coffee?” his office colleague asked him.

“No, I had one at home,” he responded. Besides, the coffee at this popular shop was like a token drink. Every loved it, but hated it. But if you’re working for a big, multiracial company, you didn’t want to be “out” and not be seen as hip. Today’s water cooler conversations have moved to coffee shops or “smoking areas.” Sometimes, business moves there too. So if you’re a smoker, you’re missing out.

The week starts slow. Mondays are spent on alignment meetings, fixing schedules, wading through a sea of e-mail and making sure you’ve got all your pending tasks checked. Smokey is a corporate-animal now. He has learned this the hard way, having been working for smaller companies for years.

His desk, however, hints of his rebellious nature. He has toys on his desk. You don’t see any family photos. He has a stack of books, mostly dealing with pop psychology, music, art, and some obscure “How To” books to show others that he’s also reading such “corporate” favorites. He brings his personal computer to work–just in case he needs to pour some of his creative juices on his secret blog.

He was never an order-taker–at least that’s his own assessment of his capabilities. But he gets ordered around very much of his career. He makes it a point to make his bosses look good. He also goes for bosses who mentors him. But reality always kick in.

“Who am I kidding? Sitting for 8 hours a day, and sometimes pretending to busy is not the way to go achieving your dreams,” he often tells himself.




The Future of Storytelling: Creative Task 1 (Retelling The Star)

Photo Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Note: This a short story by Arthur Clarke, as retold in a creative task for The Future of Storytelling course in Iversity.

Some time in the future, a group of astrophysicists were on their way back to Earth after investigating the “Phoenix Nebula,” a supernova that would explain one of the greatest mysteries in the Universe.

Traveling on a spaceship, these astrophysicists had one goal: investigate the time when this supernova occurred. Supernovas were known to be the last breath of dying stars that eventually exploded, creating enormous energy and light that traveled through space and time. By the time supernovas were seen on Earth, it may have happened hundreds of thousands or even billions of years ago. Throughout history, such phenomenon were recorded, albeit rarely. Supernovas were evidence of what was once a Star or what is “left of a Star.”

Our unnamed protagonist recounted how he was now part of a historical and scientific discovery after traveling in space this far to reconstruct the beginnings of the “Phoenix Nebula.” To his amazement, his group found evidence of a small planet that revolved around the dead star– just as Earth revolved around the Sun. They went on to investigate the God-forsaken planet and stumbled upon a huge monument, a pylon that served as a “marker.” They decided to dig up the site and found a Vault.

To their astonishment, the Vault remained unscathed even after the apocalyptic explosion of their “Sun,” obliterating the planet’s civilization. The Vault was full of treasures but what caught his attention was the well-preserved “history” of the Vault’s content—as if the civilization who left it behind wanted it found.

Just like time capsules, the Vault immortalized a civilization now gone.

The Vault revealed a civilization just like Earth. They were happy. But amid their bliss, they knew their Sun was dying. This time capsule was the only evidence that they existed.

As they traveled back to Earth, the protagonist was torn. After finally making calculations to understand when this cataclysmic event happened–using pieces of evidence they’ve collected from the Vault, he uncovered an unfathomable truth. He was sure. And he didn’t doubt his math. That was his job.

He was conflicted. How would he now show that THIS supernova seen on Earth was THE star that shined so bright in the night sky, allowing a group of wise men find their way into Bethlehem.

Continue reading The Future of Storytelling: Creative Task 1 (Retelling The Star)

Flip-it and how storytelling is changing online

I recently stumbled upon this new platform called Soo Meta, which redefines video storytelling.

Paidcontent offers this summary of the service:

Soo Meta redefines video storytelling by turning Storify-like content curation into great-looking video slideshows. The platform even allows producers to add polls and quizzes to their videos.

Having been in the online journalism/publishing business for years, we are always on the look out for these valuable services that can help transform the way we tell stories. This new online platform is designed to help you transform your videos into how-tos or something more useful.

But as history showed, such services would find other uses–I’m excited to test this out.


Creating a story one word at a time

I got invited to try out Octales. It’s a web 2.0-way of telling a story. I’m starting to love it.