She Has Never Felt the Rain

Four years ago after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, I wrote this fiction story about a girl who had never felt the rain, living in a post-apocalyptic underground where people occupied themselves primarily in a virtual world.

Then this morning I read a true story about a child who, because of California’s drought, had never felt the rain. I was astounded. When I wrote the story, I had no idea that its poignant backstory of a child who had never felt the rain, would come true –so soon, in my life, and in the place that I call home.

Girl in the Rain

RainOnWindow

She Has Never Felt the Rain

by Bay Sweetwater

The old man beckons her to come forward, the small girl twirling her hair and holding onto her mother’s hand a dozen or so spaces behind him in the line. She points her tiny finger at her chest and mouths “me?” in disbelief.   Her eyes are wide; she chews her lower lip. He nods. The girl takes a quick breath and turns questioning eyes to her mother. “Go ahead, then,” the mother says. “You know Mr. Sanders. Maybe you’ll get your chance today.”

The pale redheaded four-year-old runs up to the old man, the way she runs no matter where she goes, too full of hope and eagerness to waste time walking.   She balls her fish against her mouth, standing on one leg, her other leg bent slightly with her foot nervously tapping the ground behind her, and gazes up at him.

The old man smiles and holds his ticket out to her, then bends down and whispers into her ear, “Tell me all about it tomorrow, huh?” She shakes her head up and down, too excited to speak. The man turns to me as I consult the roster for today. “She has never felt the rain,” he explains. I nod. He steps out of the line.

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Summer, a houseboat, and a new story

It’s summer, and I’ve got my houseboat at last. I’ve been wanting it for so long. Go to sleep rocking on the pond’s waves, hearing the swans settle in for the night, and watching the koi fish dreaming. There’s a story brewing inside me here. It’s got something to do with a woman, a windswept beach where seagulls cry and long grasses grow, and a man is looking for a lost sailboat. Haven’t got much further than that … but it’ll come. When it does, you’ll find it here. Soon. Continue Reading “Summer, a houseboat, and a new story”

She Has Never Felt the Rain, a story

As I shiver this week and wonder who will blink first, America or North Korea, here is my gentle post-apocalyptic tale in which kindness endures, and even prevails.

Girl in Rain

 

She Has Never Felt the Rain

by Bay Sweetwater

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Why Joey’s note caused tears

This is the note left by the young hero Joey in my machinima Pieces of Your Heart (part of the University of Western Australia MachinimUWA V film competition) before he embarks on a fantastic space voyage in his Radio Flyer wagon to find the lost world of a stranded alien robot he finds hiding in his backyard. As you can imagine, it made his mother cry.

Both the mother’s crying and the note took some doing to pull off in a Second Life machinima. But the note in particular took far more attention than any 10-year-old would ever give it. I thought I would tell you the story of its building, since the whole affair touched my heart and had quite a lot to do with how the machinima’s story itself unfolded. Also, it shows just how much goes into the making of machinima in a virtual world. Continue Reading “Why Joey’s note caused tears”

The trials of being a famous movie producer

Whenever you make a famous movie, all the relatives start climbing out of the woodwork wanting a part in the sequel. RoboMom in my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart has a distant cousin in the biz, and now he wants in. Sigh. ROFL

This Is Your Heart Speaking

One of the more astute watchers of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart is very troubled by it. “I wish they’d stop calling it sweet and beautiful,” he told me, referring to some of the online comments. “It’s one of the darkest movies in the whole bunch. You have a kid who runs away from home and fantasizes about going to a world of robots where everything is sweet and loving like he wishes his home was. And then there’s the note he leaves for his Mom saying he’s gone to another planet with a “friend.” What must she think? We all know what happens these days when a young kid goes off with a “friend.” I mean it has the poor woman in tears. But really, the kid just goes down the block to the park and hangs out on his own there. I’m not buying this trip to outer space with robots and all. He fantasizes all that, right? This is one disturbed kid. And then, who knows what happens to him in the park?  He just disappears in a flash of light. I hate to think.”

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Wagon Fly Home

by Bay Sweetwater

THIS would take him home. It had to. The scared little alien had tried everything else. Wings, rotors, his beam-me-up antenna, all had failed. But Joey said his Radio Flyer wagon could take you ANYWHERE. The boy had spent all day Saturday in his garage fixing it up just for Flexar. He’d put wings and a propeller on it, and a magic engine that could take you anywhere, even up to the stars . . . if you had the courage.

[This is Episode #1, the story of a homesick alien who finds an unusual way home – future episodes will be added as they happen; links to other episodes below.]

Episode 2

Episode 3

Lost Alien in wagon

A(nother) star is born

Dreams are hard things to catch. If you even try, they usually slip right out of your hands and sometimes never return. But if you take them off the leash and let them have their freedom, sometimes they come back to you when you least expect it.

And so it was with the dream that my Twinkle’s Journey video and its little star might reach out to the world. When the dream slipped away last week after the video failed to place in the MachinimUWA III competition, I just let the dream go. I cried a few tears, yes, but I knew better than to run after it.

Well, to my heart’s surprise and wonder, my dream just came back! The event’s organizer, Jay Jay, is taking a copy of Twinkle’s Journey next week to a whole new audience at North Woodvale primary school in Western Australia! I was so heartened to hear this that I searched for North Woodvale on the Internet and found a wonderful school that loves children and supports their full expression and growth.

And don’t you just love coincidences! I found a small news items tucked away in the school newsletter saying that a North Woodvale student had just won the competition to design the logo for the school’s 21st Birthday and Fete celebration. The winning logo is, you guessed it, a star! I won’t mention the winner’s name for privacy reasons, but here is a heartfelt congratulations to her and her winning emblem. And I hope it will welcome another star to keep it company when Twinkle arrives this Tuesday.

North Woodvale Primary School
21st Birthday Celebration & Fete logo

She Has Never Felt the Rain, a story

I wrote in a blog post the other day here about my dream that RL and SL had switched places, and it gave me the chills. Here’s the story that came of it:

She Has Never Felt the Rain
by Bay Sweetwater

The old man crooks his finger toward the small girl waiting a dozen or so spaces behind him in the line and motions her to come forward and take his place. She points her tiny finger at her chest and mouths “me?” in disbelief. Her eyes are wide; she chews her lower lip. He nods. The girl takes a quick breath and turns questioning eyes to her mother. “Go ahead, then,” the mother says. “You know Mr. Sanders. Maybe you’ll get your chance today.”

Continue Reading “She Has Never Felt the Rain, a story”

The Lonely Snowman

The snowman had his first real date,

He waited long, he waited late;

She never came, and O he felt

His snowman heart begin to melt.