Writing 101: Don’t Panic

A blank page can be intimidating. Sometimes it’s helpful to use someone else’s words to give you a boost. Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

Here’s the epigraph for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird:

Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.

— Charles Lamb

You can write about anything for today’s post — the only requirement is that you begin with a blockquote, which you can create in your post editor by clicking the quotation mark icon:

The type of quote you choose is up to you. Maybe the passage is something you’d like to comment on, or is one of your favorite quotes. Or maybe you read a great essay the other day, and one of its lines made you think.

Pull a quote of any length, but ideally between one sentence to a short paragraph. If you can’t find one, go to the quotes section on Goodreads.com, where you’re bound to find a line that speaks to you.

Cheri and the WordPress.com Team

“Don’t Panic.”
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Is it is a known fact that the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything cannot exist in the same universe as it’s answer. However as any politician, priest or Gardener* will tell you just because a fact is well known doesn’t make it true.

*Gardens and wisdom go together like ice-cream and pleasure. Sooner or later you’ll find one inside in the other. 

Arthur Dent awoke with a scream in the old shack on a hill in paradise. it was Thursday. It was always Thursday.

The planet Fertilia is a class 9 paradise planet hidden in an otherwise uninhabitable part of the horsehead nebula. it was built by the planet manufacturing empire of Magrathea and is in many ways as close as you can get to being in paradise without being carried out of this dimension by a pan dimensional hyper being and placed in one. Due to some funky environmental and temporal tomfoolery there was no death and distress on Fertilia only everlasting “pleasure”.

Only 5 class nines were ever built.

Four were said, (By the Magrathean’s themsleves), to have folded in on themselves under the sheer weight of the ecstasy of their inhabitants.

The fifth, which is largely uninhabited save for Arthur Dent and some wildlife, was being built at the time of the Magrathean collapse and ended up being dumped PARTIALLY FINISHED in a forgotten storage yard in the aforementioned nebula and now orbits a perfect little yellow star waiting for Magrathea to rise again and collect it.

Arthur lay on his back weeping. He had been dreaming about Fenchurch, his one true love. He had lost her when she fell through a hole in reality only to see her return and somehow slingshot hiim to Fertilia to take her place.

He enjoyed his morning weeps. It would not be long before the “Everything Is Ok” field (as he had come to name it) kicked in and his mind would not be his own again.

Arthur was technically three times as old as the universe due to his earlier travels in time and space and even though he had experienced only a hundred years of that eternity he still looked like he was in his mid thirties. It occurred to Arthur that somewhere the Angel of Death had probably given up on him and was even now rendering his tender mercies on those living who actually appreciated his time and effort.

In his hundred years he had seen a thing or two and no amount of artificial control could delude Arthur from the innate unfairness of the universe. Day by day little by little, his mind had learnt to fight the EIO field.

Every morning he woke from the same nightmare. Fenchurch appearing out of thin air. Her smile, their joy and then a cold feeling in the pit of his soul. Fenny’s screams. She reaches out. Fenny’s hands fading, becoming insubstantial as she tried to grab his hand, He felt himself falling backwards, falling out of his seat, falling into darkness.

Fertilia’s artificially generated Euphoria field rose up and drowned his anguish leaving a vague feeling of uncertainty not dissimilar to the feeling you get just before you step out of your house and it suddenly occurs to that perhaps your keys and your wallet are on the kitchen table and you’re about to be seriously inconvenienced.

The temporal lock installed in the planet meant that every day Arthur woke up as fresh as the day he arrived.  Enforced satisfaction, no change, no power to alter his world.

Typical, thought Arthur. The Magratheans designed paradise and built hell.

He got up out off of the flimsy bed fully clothed as he had arrived decades ago.

He washed his face, toileted and took the eggs and coffee from the shelf by the stove. Every morning. The same eggs. The same brewed coffee. Over and over again. Fertilia was meant to be a paradise, a perfect day lived over and over again. If I ever get my hands on Slartibartfast*, thought Arthur.

*Super intelligent Magrathean who designed* the fjords on the Planet Earth.

*Yes designed. It’s a long story

There was a knock on the door. It was terrifying,

Unless you’ve lived alone for nearly 40 years on a timelocked artificial planet that’s actively messing with your head you probably don’t know how terrifying a knock on the door can be. Unbidden the thought rose up: who on earth can that be? After a moment the EIO field kicked in and the terror was gone.

Arthur happily bounced over to the doorway and opened the door. And then screamed.

The shabby figure in the doorway raised its hand as if to demand a respectful silence and Arthur complied.

“Don’t panic but you’re about to faint” said the Shabby Old Man. “This is important. You’re about to return to her. Remember the portal is broken. Remember one person in, one person out, and the answer is in the last place you looked”

Arthur’s consciousness gave up under the strain. The Shabby Old Man’s identity and what it meant crushed his spirit and as predicted he fainted and fell at the Shabby Man’s feet.

For a moment Arthur was beside himself. Then the portal kicked in and transported him away through space. And time.

The Shabby Old Man calmly watched him fade away. Then he strolled over to the gas stove and turned it off. He tidied up for a while absentmindedly, distracted. Then feeling his time coming upon him he lay on the bed closed and peacefully went off to sleep one last time.

5 thoughts on “Writing 101: Don’t Panic

  1. Hi Smiley! I nominated you for the WakuWafu Award! Lol yep…that’s what it’s called! Anyhooo stop on by my blog and follow the instructions on how receive your award 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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