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Katsushika Hokusai.  Phoenix, n.d. WikiArt.

Katsushika Hokusai. Phoenix, n.d. WikiArt.

The map to Atlantis smoldered on her back: in talons of fire and feathers of smoke, and a hiss that did not end, not even when she plunged into the water.  She was part phoenix, after all – a firebird in search of a fable in water – a creature without a home – a myth in search of peace and light and love and acceptance.  So she fanned her wings under the waves and pushed on – and on – trusting the high priest’s thaumaturgy. 

He had chanted the map into existence.  And as each note emerged from behind his blue-gray beard, it plunged into her back with daggers. Each wave of his hand bore a cloud that seeped and burned like magma.  And she bit her lip until it bled.

Trust, he warned – just trust.

So she trusted. 

And now, underwater, she had no choice but to follow his burning tattoo as it spoke to her wings.  Left, her wings cried!  And a rift opened beneath her – with green waves funneling down – down – into the void.  Right, her wings shouted! And she found herself weaving through thermal vents with black plumes of death.  Quick! Right again!  Her wings screeched – and she narrowly missed a treacherous shelf – lined with row upon row of tubular creatures with razor sharp teeth. 

Now, DIVE! her wings cried – and they flared into fireworks of laughter as the darkness burst into peach starlight.  Atlantis sprawled below her – gleaming – and its music rose all around.

And the water grew thinner – thinner – till she could no longer swim.  She plunged – shrieking – with the shimmering city growing nearer.  The men and women of Atlantis pointed into the water – the water? – the sky! – her sky! and the miraculous wings laughed even louder: Fly! Fly! Fly!

So she flew: trusting magic – embracing fables – wrapped in peace and light and love. 

But she never lost her fire.

Linked to the Fairy Tale Prompt at MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie, where we were to explore Atlantis.  Thanks to Chèvrefeuille for a great prompt!

A bit of an experiment – using Kerouac’s tips for spontaneous prose.  I was shooting for his trance-like vision.  [Not sure if I achieved that or not – but it was fun!]   

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41 thoughts on “Searching for Atlantis (Prose)

  1. Having read another post – in the dungeon, perhaps? – about ‘adventures’ on the tattooist’s table, I seem to detect an element of personal mythologising here… Ah but that’s always the danger when you have snippets of an author’s bio to hand 😉

    I thought you tied in the phoenix motif with Atlantis very nicely, didn’t feel forced at all. So, have there been any more Kerouac inspired experiments?

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    • Oh yes …. quite a bit of personal mythology! 😉
      I’m glad the piece worked – even with that added bit of knowledge! LOL!!!
      Haven’t worked too much with Kerouac-ish prose — but — he’s been in haiku a bit. Perhaps it would be another interesting experiment. Here or elsewhere .. hmmmm……

      😉

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        • Even with the little clue I hadn’t guessed that it was ‘her’! I’m so glad it was – in your place I would simply have stood stunned 🙂

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        • I did — for several minutes. Then realized — hey — why not try a photo? So carefully … carefully… carefully took the photo. And she didn’t move! She stood very still. Then crossed the creek a bit later. It was great!!!! Amazing.

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  2. You took me on a wonderful journey Jen, full of vivid images, of perilous moments and a sense of urgency that made me want to read more and go with you on the trip. Excellently written piece.

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  3. Well you are exploring prose Paloma and these Fairy Tale prompts are for inspiration … as Atlantis inspired you to write about the Phoenix than that’s certainly ok … maybe Atlantis will turn out to be a Phoenix than it will return … so there is certainly the inspiration … the base of your prose.
    Thank you for your response on this Fairy Tale.

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    • Thank YOU for a great prompt -and for being so understanding 🙂

      As I was writing I had this vision of a magic map, a dangerous voyage, and destination where everyone is accepted – no matter how different. Atlantis as a type of paradise! That would be the best thing of all!

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  4. To be honest .. i’ve only skimmed this for the moment and I’m going to print it as I read better in hard-copy with longer stuff and I want to see what you’ve done with Kerouac’s idea. Love that you’re experimenting with prose! That opening image is stupendous, really caught my eye. I’ll be back on this asap! ❤

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    • Thanks Georgia 🙂
      Neat that you read better in hard copy too.
      Kerouac might have done in a more condensed style — but like you said with online reading — that’s hard on the eyes. 😛

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      • Oh wow … what an exhilarating story! I really flew with her … heart stopping moments and what a glorious ending! This is really wonderful Jen … bravo!

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        • Oh, thanks Georgia! It felt good to write it — but I’ve been a bit afraid to revisit! o.O
          Felt like it should delve into Atlantis more — but then — this is a fairy tale ending, right? “And she lived happily ever after.” 🙂

          This means a lot 🙂

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        • Shoot … you did this perfectly .. I do love your posts and all the extras you put into them … but maybe sometimes there’s no need to delve more into a subject … especially in something so fantastic as a fairy tale or fantasy. let the reader’s imagination connect its own dots … xx

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        • It’s weird — the muse takes me in one direction, then the “conscience” says — um, did you forget THIS? Did you forget THAT?
          In this case it just felt done at a certain point and it was tough but — you know — just had to wrap it up at that point. 🙂

          Perhaps it IS time to let go a little bit. 🙂

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        • I think maybe yes … though I think you’ll have a bit of a fight with “Conscience” … but you needn’t not add background all the time …

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      • Don’t know exactly why I’ve got this thing with reading on-line … noticed my son has the same problem, so I think it may be more common than I’d thought at first. Thing is though if I really want to read properly I’ve got to print it up or convert it to pdf, so I can read it on my reader …

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    • Oh, what a GREAT emblem! That’s awesome! 😀
      Our school emblem was a Trojan. Yup. [Insert off-color joke here.] 😉

      Glad you liked the writing — again, a bit of an experiment – wasn’t sure if it would work but it was fun. 🙂
      Thanks!

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    • Much more about the Phoenix than the prompt of Atlantis – so I hope our host forgives me! But I was drawn into this vision of *finding* Atlantis – and would they accept a total outsider???

      Thanks Dom – an experiment – I hope to experiment with this Kerouac- trance more often. Perhaps with practice….

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