furry arts discussion > furry storytelling

Iara's Writing Corner-Prompt Challenge!

<< < (2/26) > >>

No need to apologize!  I was just making note of it, that's all.

I got a word for you! Just do it after the other guys sentence.

Umm...uhh... Adventure!

Iara Warriorfeather:
It had been many years since she had heard from him. Still, she decided to make her way into the slot canyons alone that morning, to push herself in ways she’d never done before. She had to learn to trust herself again.

As a leopardess, she was more accustomed to her homely, forested den than the harsh desert that surrounded her. She heaved her pack a little higher on her shoulders and sighed, determined to make her way up to the top.

The sun spilled its light over the pale blue horizon. She sipped her water slowly. She knew in a few hours the heat of the day would sag her spirits…and that she had to get to the top of the canyon before it set in.

She began her ascent gradually, picking her way up the gently sloping sands. She loved the sandstone slot canyons, their gray hue shimmering in the light like a mirage. She felt like a fish darting through miniature sea arches.

Her thighs began to burn from the effort of climbing uphill. She drank more water.

She didn’t dare to look down. She knew it would make her vertigo spike. She had to overcome that fear, to trust her body, heart and mind.

The trail wound steadily upward, past larger and larger boulders. It suddenly began to narrow.

She paused at a rickety steel ladder. She took a deep breath. Her heart began to thunder in her chest.

Here we go.

She lowered the bottom half of the ladder. It hit the trail beneath her with a hideous clang, the sound of metal on stone echoing for miles.

She froze. The sound alone caused her heart to pound even faster. She drew her ears and whiskers back instinctively. Then, she drew in several deep breaths, shivering in fear.

You can do this. One paw in front of the other…you can do this.

She gripped the bottom rung, and heaved one leg up. Slowly but surely she moved upward, ensuring her footing was secure as she ascended each rung.

She saw the edge of the trail continue above her, and leaped for it, glad to be on solid ground again.

She smiled, her tail tip waving happily. I did it!

The leopardess kept climbing up, making her way up two more rickety ladders. Finally, she had come to a rather large gap in the trail.

Now what?

She took in the scents of the day—dry riverbeds, mesquite trees, and sage brush flanked the trail. She drank her water. A few warblers chattered in the bushes nearby. She noted the position of the sun—it was almost mid-day. She began to pant, releasing some of the heat from her body.

Which way do I go?

She examined the gap. It was several feet wide, with at least a ten foot drop to the bottom portion of the trail below. She shivered, not willing to hurt herself to enjoy her climb.

She looked up. The scraggly trees on the side of the trail led up to higher ground, and that much closer to her goal.

She sighed. Looks like the only way left is up.

She tested her weight on the trunk of the tree nearest the gap. It didn’t buckle or creak. She dug her claws into the bark, and scrambled up to the highest, thickest branch.

She reached out a paw on the edge of the branch nearest the trunk. It began to bend. She hesitated.

If I move quickly, I can get up to the trail again. It’s just above me.

She closed her pale green eyes and inhaled a shaky yet deep breath.

She gently tapped the branch. It didn’t sound like it would break under her weight. She slowly added more pressure.

Part of the branch suddenly snapped off, falling into the gap far below. The leopardess looked down.

Her eyes widened in terror. The drop was now twenty feet.

She looked away, closed her eyes. Her heart thudded even harder than before. She hugged the tree trunk tightly.

Oh no, oh no…I’m so scared…

Fear began to wrap her mind in a dense fog. She felt uneasy, scattered, and alone. The wind began to pick up, whistling through the slot canyons all around her.

Hey, came a gentle voice in her ear, a distant memory. We’re here for you. Don’t give up. You can do it. We know you can! It was her advisor, from years ago. His gentle encouragement, along with her classmates, coaxed her to jump a gap and land safely on the other side. She took a deep, cleansing breath. The fog lifted as she focused on his words of encouragement.

I can do this. I just have to leap up, my claws can help. I can do this.

She took another deep breath. She crouched and then launched herself into the air, off the branch…
…her paws gripped the edge of the trail above her, tugging on some roots for support. She pulled up, her chest heaving with the effort.

She scrambled up to the top of the trail. The wind whistled in her ears. She laid on her back, panting.

The sun was brilliant in the blue sky above. The clouds were wisps, the trees around her were waving their thin branches in the wind. She suddenly began to laugh.

I did it! I made it! I got through the slot canyon all by myself!

Finally, she could trust herself again. By staying positive and building her journey piece by piece into a whole picture, she was successful in not only her goal, but in trusting herself to achieve it.

And then, after regaining her composure, standing up and shifting her pack, she saw a bright yellow something fluttering in the breeze, caught in the branches of a nearby tree.

She advanced toward it, tilting her head to one side.

She unfurled the yellow paper. On it was written, in the form of a triangle, the following phrase:

Trust is not a scalar.

Iara Warriorfeather:
xracecar, just an update--I am nearly done with Adventure, and will post either tonight or tomorrow! Merry Christmas all!  :D

I enjoyed your portrayal of the phrase; you did a good job with it.

The phrase I gave you was a derivative of "Trust is not a boolean.", which was (to my awareness) first used in a security related discussion sometime in 2006.  The point being made in that post was that trust is something that can't be appropriately modeled by a yes/no statement; if someone has a partial level of trust in a system, that trust cannot be appropriately described as either complete trust or as complete distrust.

From a Google search that I did shortly after making my earlier post, I saw that only two other uses of the phrase "Trust is not a scalar" on the public facing Internet (this thread will probably be added to that list once Google's bot crawls this page).  I intended that phrase to communicate that trust wasn't unidimensional.  For instance, it'd be possible to entirely trust Alice's honesty but not her intentions, entirely trust Bob's intentions but not his honesty, and partially trust both Carol's honesty and intentions.  In such a case, you wouldn't be justified in saying that you trust any of those three strictly more than either of the other two; therefore, you wouldn't be able to effectively model your trust in these individuals with a single number.

You took an entirely different (though it must be noted, equally valid) interpretation of the phrase; specifically, you communicated that trust isn't a quantity that's static in magnitude.  You showed the character's trust in herself as fluctuating with her circumstances and with her self confidence, and while one could model this trust with a number, that number would be prone to change in light of other factors, including time.  Part of what I like about these writing challenges as a prompter is being able to compare the writer's notion of the prompt with my own notion of it; the differences between the two can oftentimes be interesting.

I'll hold off for a bit on submitting another word or phrase in order to give another forum member a chance to submit one of their own (and take advantage of your soon to be empty queue!).  If you'd be OK with it, I'll enqueue myself again in a few days in either case so that you don't find yourself wanting for a queue for too long.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version