“Once upon a time…”
Have you ever wondered who the first hominid was that used this phrase—or something similar? A Homo erectus hunter, explaining about the lion that ate his grandfather? Or maybe a Neanderthal shaman telling the youngsters, that mammoths used to migrate through the valley. When did Homo sapiens sapiens begin to view time as linear? To start creating vocabulary separating the moment that is, from the time that was and the potential that might be?
Memory is fluid. The conflict between what we remember and what we fail to perceive makes us human. Our brains censor the optic inputs and makes us believe life is only the sum of our experiences.
Physicists of all stripes will tell you—quite bluntly—that time is an illusion created by humans who cannot grasp the infinite. Past, present, future are simply constructs of the mind. We base clocks on our planetary rotation and our calendars on the seasonal orbiting of the sun. But every planet, every solar system, every single galaxy in the universe uses a different standard of measuring time.
This matters, because as fiction writers, our brains are genetically wired to the 24-hour/365—plus a fraction—day cycle a year. We can not truly imagine a world of 28-hour days or 18-hour days or 100-day years: it’s not possible because we physically react to time, not just mentally. Every ‘time’ we carve out a place for a character, the genetic—and more importantly, the societal biases we carry, influence the story in thousands of unseen ways, even if we are striving for objectivity.
The portly man—already a suspect—walked with his wire-haired terrier across the viaduct, both hunching slightly under the glowering clouds and occasional spats of moisture; tweed jackets obscured by fluorescent slickers, striped golf umbrella buffeted by swirling gusts, the dog at least, knew to mark his territory.
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Which of the above sentences are fiction? I would argue, neither of them, nor, has anything ever written or ever will be written, actually fictional.
If time and space are infinite, then it must follow, that every single possibility exists somewhere/someplace. If you subscribe to the fanciful notion that: ‘Give a monkey a typewriter, and eventually it will create Shakespeare’, then the corollary is: ‘Give a writer a computer, and every single time, they will describe an actual event.’ This becomes a certainty when quantum mechanics are included—with the theory that for every single instant, from the perspective of every single person, there is the possibility of infinite alternate universes spinning off with every non-choice made.
At the level of quantum foam, everything and nothing is real—yet. Life itself, the universal actions of particles can be dreamed as a perpetual collapsing quantum standing wave of probabilities. Fate, karma, serendipity, chance, luck; throughout recorded human history, one of the strongest shared themes of sagas and journals, is the sheer randomness of life. Coupled at times with a healthy sense of deja vu.
This doesn’t even begin to take into account quantum entanglement, or the persistent belief we all live inside either God’s dreams, or a computer simulation of virtual reality.
That’s why, when we see or hear the words, “Once upon a time…”, we already have set parameters and expectations for the story that follows, based upon our own personal self-created fictional universe.
Mistress Time is cruel: Or so says my Muse, although she is actually my second wife, not linearly, but simultaneously in all aspects. If you get my drift.
So what does any of the above ramblings have to do with spanking or writing? Nothing—and everything. Are we simply an organic-chemical machine with intelligence that is a constantly updating sum of all our actions: Or are we free-flowing souls encased in a shell of free will and water? In other words; do I choose to write because I did so before, or because I will after?
If you are in a D/s or DD relationship of any definition, then at every quantum moment, you either choose to remain, or cease. The bell curve of probabilities states you will choose the action most closely aligned to both entropy and inertia. It takes energy—lots of energy per Newtonian physics—to move into a different orbit. If the Dom is always the one supplying that energy, the D/s or DD relationship will likely fail. A submissive who is a black hole, will only succeed in destroying everything they touch.
My second novella for the Paranormal Erotic Romance group, was called The Witch of Olympus Hollow, part of the Lust in Spring anthology.
This was—except for one chapter—a relatively easy and straightforward story to write. The title came first, then the concept of using diary excerpts, followed by the decision to write in first person from the perspective of the narrator. The Olympus in the title led to Greek mythology and the Spring theme to Gaia. The last part was to place the prologue and epilogue in the present and the bulk of the novella in the past. The location was even easier; far western North Carolina.
Although the novella already had a ‘green’ tinge to it simply by the theme and characters, it wasn’t until I settled on both a god and goddess, that the eco-organic arc of the plot became the driving force for the protagonist. By the time the novella wraps up all the loose ends, Olympus Hollow had morphed into a symbol of sustainability.
The following excerpt was originally posted on my other blog, and can be read there as well. It is the prologue plus a portion of the first chapter.
“Once upon a time…”
As the title says, people round these parts think I’m a witch: these parts being Olympus Hollow. There you go; I repeated the title for y’all. No applause needed, we’re good. Or as the saying goes: word.
My name is Gale Johnson, of the Johnsons of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on the Main Line. How I ended up in the far southern reaches of Appalachia, that story is the fault of my mother: harsh but true. I was angry with her for a long time, besides being a stuck-up bitch when I arrived.
I believe I was likely manic-depressive or bi-polar back then, but that doesn’t excuse rudeness. All that’s long past now. I’m eighty-five, or will be next April 1st, the joke’s on me, right?
Leastwise you think I’m a bitter old woman, nothing could be further from the truth. The tale I shall shortly relate here shall only be released upon my death. Ergo, I am currently deceased—with several mitigating circumstances.
I’m not trying to be lawyerly here. As you’ll discover at the end of my memoir, the situation was not exactly cut and dried. In all honesty, I’m probably confusing you—I like to talk—so rather than work backwards in a logical manner, I will instead start at the beginning.
It’s a good thing I kept up my diaries all these years. I’d forgotten I’d written them in first person, present tense back then. The conceit of a recent college graduate I’m afraid, trying to be grownup and sophisticated.
I decided to share excerpts within the prose to highlight my state of mind. I apologize if my lack of empathy shines through my journal entries of those days in 1952, but I will not censor to meet modern sensibilities. I’m too damn old to be PC.
I was young and sheltered: a northern white girl dropped into the segregated South. I did not know of course, that Pennsylvania and the other states of the Union were just as divided as any Confederate state. I had always naively assumed people lived within racial and ethnic boundaries because they wanted to by choice.
So many changes in my lifetime, including the internet and access to a world of information. It’s a lot easier these days to write your thoughts and store them in the cloud.
I do enjoy the spanking blogs; I’m a connoisseur you might say, although my experiences would beat the pants off most of the fiction. Just sayin’: not braggin’.
I’m rambling again, my apologies.
I’m sure you saw the snarky tweets from Clear Cut Resort LLC? The ones where they bitched and whined in 140 characters about the fabulous luxury vacation homes and world-class golf course they wanted to build, but were denied? Or maybe you viewed their lovely Facebook page, with the glossy retouched digital pictures and the CGI video of happy families bathing in the hot spring, frolicking in the natural pool and riding horses through the manicured forest.
I told their Armani wearing lawyers to shove it on more than one occasion. That is our land the fuckers wanted, and they will never get it.
The following is an excerpt of an audio recording by the late Gale Johnson.
Is this thing on? Damn technology. Used to just push a button.
I got it. Chill, dude.
Well, if you’re hearing this, I’m dead. Nothing like my beyond-the-grave voice in stereo, is there? My lawyer, don’t start, insists that I express my wishes verbally, due to the salacious contents I intend to have published.
So here goes.
Like I said, I’m not worried about Olympus Hollow.
I left the land in good hands, very good hands.
What do you mean you want a will and last testament?
Fine! You’re all a bunch of blood-sucking parasites.
Being of sound mind and body, I hereby bequeath all my knowledge and worldly goods to my anointed successor as per the agreement with the principles notated in my memoirs.
Everything you are about to read actually happened to me.
I personally vouch for the authenticity of my interactions with every named person.
All mortal persons, mentioned in the main body of work, are now deceased.
Any persons named in the epilogue, have signed affidavits allowing their likenesses to be utilized in print.
All proceeds from the sale of my memoirs, and any profits from future visual media productions, shall accrue to the Olympus Hollow Charitable Foundation, Inc.
April 1st, 1952
Happy Birthday to me! Today I turn 21 and only three weeks to graduation! My sorority sisters fooled me again and made a BIG deal out of my birthday. That’s why I’m standing at the moment. The paddles are no fun, even though I should be used to them after four years.
I made a wish, of course I did! Chance is so dreamy. He promised me a very special surprise for our date this weekend.
April 23rd, 1952
Thank God I got my monthly!
Chance is beastly! I never should have believed him. Thankfully Mother will never find out or else her hairbrush would be worn out on my hiney. Sabrina says you can’t get knocked up French kissing or heavy mouth petting but I’m glad anyway. I never knew keeping my knees together would be so difficult in the heat of the moment.
May 3rd, 1952
Guess what! Great-Aunt Abigail—my namesake I’m told, although I’ve never even heard of her—has invited me to her home! I’m very excited! NOT! An urgent family matter says my dear mother.
Mother says I’m to obey my aunt in all manners. I argued that I’m a college graduate and a grown up, but she packed my hairbrush anyway and even said that G-A.A—aka Great-Aunt Abigail—knew I needed an occasional good dose of discipline! I am so EMBARRASSED!
My beloved parent told me I’d be standing on the train ride to Washington if I didn’t zip it. Daddy only grunted and refused to take my side. He never takes my side!
May 9th, 1952
And so it comes to this. A present for my college degree, the sharp Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe in Olympic Blue, is sitting outside in the rain back home. While I, after three separate train rides, followed by an ancient bus that trundled up into wild Injun country in far western North Carolina, have finally arrived at the thriving metropolis of Olympus Hollow, population 243.
This is my stop; the driver is calling.
“You mussa be Miss Gale.”
I glanced around in distaste. The bus stop was not a proper station with water fountains and lavatories but merely a wide spot in the road. Wild chickens and feral dogs kicked up dust, while several old white men in denim overalls and seed caps rocked in chairs on the porch of Jebediah’s General Store and spat long streams of brown juice into the dusty gravel parking area.
The speaker was a Negro and his mode of transportation a mule wagon. I was evidently on another planet. This was most defiantly not Cavalcade of Stars with Jackie Gleason. There was no sophisticated sketch comedy in these characters.
I had no congress with the Negro in Bryn Mawr—there were none—although there were plenty to be seen in Philadelphia. Unsure of how to respond, I stuck to politeness.
“Yes, I am Gale Johnson. I am here at the invitation of my Great-Aunt Abigail to spend the month. I was told she would pick me up.”
“Isa be yur ride, Miss Gale. Miss Abigail, she beein’ a touch unda da weatha.” He hopped down and placed my luggage in the back of the wagon. “Ifin ya’ have a seat, Miss, I’lla havin’ ya’ up da mountain ri’ quick.”
“You be careful now, boy, ya here?” one of the white men called out. “Dat be pree-shee-us cargo you be haulin’. Miss Abigail liken to give ya boils iffen ‘er niece ruffles ‘er purty dress. Ain’t that right, sweet thang?”
“Yes, sar, Massa Bohannon.” My driver clucked to his mule and we lurched forward.
I could feel my cheeks flame and stared stiffly ahead while the men guffawed and slapped their thighs and whistled. The harsh ammonia smell of sweat and the sharp scent of fresh dung assaulted my pampered nostrils. We were not moving fast enough to ward off the black flies and soon my hands were in near constant motion in a futile effort to remain pest free.
Then we turned off the narrow highway onto an even narrower track and it was as though we entered another land.
As far into the distance as I could see were rafts of azaleas, rhododendrons and flowering trees and shrubs of every description in a riotous explosion of reds, pinks and whites. The flies and the offensive odors vanished. A shiver ran through me as if were dunked in ice water. An electric current sizzled in the air and my hairs stood up on end.
We passed a large quartz granite marker set off to the right. I heard a loud crack as if thunder had come to the smoky blue sky.
“Did you hear that?” I yelped and clapped my hands over my ears in reflexive protection. “Is there a storm coming?”
“No, Miss Gale, it be a fine day. Isa don’ heard nothin’ but da birds and da bees iffen ya please.”
I looked at him suspiciously but since all I could hear now was the creak of the wheels and the mule’s labored breath, I let it go, and lost myself in the incredible display of vernal color. I’d been annually to the Philadelphia Flower Show as long as I could remember, but this natural extravaganza was beyond anything I had ever seen.
I noticed too, the gravel drive was smooth and the grass verge was neatly mowed. Certainly, a motor vehicle would have no problems ascending the slight grade. Which begged the question, why the mule and driver?
I snuck another peek at the Negro on my left. I felt uneasy. My social upbringing and schooling did not address this situation. I took the easy way out and decided to let Great-Aunt Abigail perform the introduction to her servant.
May 9th, 1952
The Negro’s name is Leroy. G-A.A. explained he and his family live a mile away and farm the land for produce and raise livestock for meat. They are neighbors, not sharecroppers nor employees. I sensed there was much more to the situation but I at least loosened my tongue enough to speak coherent sentences to Leroy.
I felt diminished by my reticence and got the impression Leroy was not awed with my whiteness but would tolerate my ignorance unless I proved malicious.
It was near lunchtime and G-A.A. had prepared ham, cornbread, green beans and either sweet tea or lemonade. After we finished eating she gave me a quick tour.
“This isn’t what I was expecting, Great-Aunt Abigail,” I said as I studied the modern Kenmore kitchen under the glow of electric lights.
“Well,” she admitted, “if you saw some of the folk round here, your preconceptions of dirt floor hovels, outhouses and candles would not be remiss. I do what I can to support the local crafters, like purchasing furniture and linens and labor. I’d like to do more, but these are proud people, Gale—black, white and red—and don’t take kindly to charity. This was Cherokee territory. The Scotch-Irish who eventually settled here cling to Old World traditions and Indian heritage through pure cussedness.”
According to my Great-Aunt, the dwelling was cozy: warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The house sat on a small knoll and faced southwest. The outside foundation to three feet up was constructed of weathered fieldstone held together by gravity. The remainder of the exterior to the eaves was American chestnut, harvested when the blight swept through the Eastern part of the country in the early part of the 20th century. The wide porch was laid with Longleaf Pine planks that matched the interior floors.
At her urging, I took time to wash off the travel grime with hot running water and then laid down for a short nap.
This beginning highlights many possible angles: Mental illness, racism, classism, corporate control and even spanking. It also demonstrates the malleability of time. For Gale Johnson, writing her memoirs sixty years after the events recorded in diaries, it showed that what her mind remembered wasn’t always what actually happened.
The spanking in this novella is primarily between Gale and her Great-Aunt Abigail as was quite common in 1950’s America as an accepted/expected form of discipline. There is also a scene between Gale and the Greek god she meets. As she stated in the prologue though, she implied there was constant spanking going on that was likely erotic and submissive in nature, but I ran out of words.
To my disappointment, he had not come again in my mouth. I was puzzled when instead he leaned over the ledge and raised his buttocks above the surface of the water. It was shallow enough for me to stand so I moved next to him and asked what he was doing.
“Since I am the cause of your next punishment,” he said, “I offer myself in recompense for your future suffering.”
“But how will Miss Abby know?” I complained with a pout.
He twisted his torso to pin me with glowing emerald eyes. “Because you will tell Abigail the truth. You will always tell the truth, Gale, it is required of the Guardian.”
He faced away once more. “Spank me, Gale.”
I bit my lip in consternation. His buttocks were round and taut as a pair of ripe cantaloupes. I gave a tentative tap, and light bloomed for an instant at the point of impact. I slapped his cheeks again and again. Colors flared. He encouraged me to strike harder so I did. I spanked as hard as I could. On his solid backside, iridescent shimmers darted like a school of silver minnows.
“Ow!” I cried out and shook the sting from my wrist.
“Try slightly less strength and keep your arm loose,” he recommended. “Keep a steady pace and vary the location. After all, you’ve been on the receiving end often enough, Gale, to know how it works.”
My eyes narrowed at his flippant remark. I tried it his way. It worked.
I spanked his luscious bottom hard. The silver sparks grew deeper in tone until the entire surface turned a pale blue phosphorescence that offered hints of deep ocean currents.
Every blow echoed in my mind. Emotional memories flooded: silent tears rolled down my face. I kept going faster and faster as bitter anger from past punishments was purged from a place I’d unknowingly locked away.
I stopped abruptly.
I was drained.
I was free.
Hope you enjoyed this newsletter and see you next month here, or get your daily spanking, at Spank Me Hard… Please?.