I was digging frantically through my morass of electronic accumulated data because a server on which I had hosted an online novel site since around 2001 finally died - and apparently my backups of the site are corrupted. I don't know yet if there will be a happy ending to this one.

However, I found the following snippet, which I wrote in high school. I was tickled enough that I felt it should live on somewhere on the net, but probably didn't deserve a node of its own. Hence, it's here.

Please pardon the juvenilia.

Once upon a time, There was a pristine planet of green and lapis lazuli, shrouded by warm clouds, circling a hospitable yellow sun. On the surface of the planet it was warm, with plenty of land mass and with a textbook oxygen atmosphere. the planet spun silently in its orbit, and one day a small mollusk managed to make its way, crawling, up out of the warm oceans and onto the beach. It lay there for a moment, then began the long climb to the young forests of the world. Eventually many more of the small sea creatures crawled up onto the beach to disappear among the trees.

After a while they managed to evolve into more complex mammals: the simians made their appearance. Much later, the monkeys and apes evolved into a bumbling ape with a larger brain as well as an opposable thumb. In an incredibly short time, the advanced ape developed the wheel, cities, crime, and pollution. Finally, after a brief period of high living, the nuclear weapon was developed and, a very few years later, man reduced the planet to nuclear ash.

Above it, in solar orbit, an alien Starship engaged its drives and accelerated out of the system. Soon after, another Starship pulled up to a small planetoid. The lock opened, and a suited figure stepped out. Walking up to a small pedestal, it inserted a coin in a slot.

Far below a small mollusk managed to make its way out of the water, up onto the beach.

* * *

Apparently, time passes more quickly than I realise.

I'm not entirely sure why I'm here and writing this to be honest. A distraction is my only reasonable explanation - I'm supposed to be designing myself business cards right now, but have hit a combined creative and technical wall, and out of the blue decided to see what's happening in e2 land. Perhaps it's the Damien Rice playing, triggering some nostalgic centre in my mind.

Augustine has messaged me. 'Four years and three months since the last Orpheum writeup. Not sure when the last time someone urged you to come back to us was, but here's another prod.' Actually, you're the first. And if you asked me when the last time I wrote was, 4 years and 3 months would not have been my answer. I probably shouldn't be surprised though - that message was sent to me in April, and I've only just come across it now. I can still remember the thrill of finishing a writeup, and hitting 'submit' (or stumbit), then constantly refreshing the page waiting for votes, comments, anything. I guess things are different these days, to have 7 month old messages unread.

Perhaps time doesn't so much pass more quickly now, as it has a different sound, colour, taste. For the first time in 5 years or so, my homenode picture is new. He's my world. 4 months on from his birth, and it seems like an eternity ago and yesterday. And every night I sleep knowing that when I go into his room first thing in the morning, he'll look at me and smile. There's not so much room for doubt in life when you realise that someone's relying on you - completely and utterly - not to fuck up.

So Augustine, here's to breaking the drought, and while it may not be four years and 3 months until my next contribution, there's a chance it could be. Life moves on, and I'm not entirely sure I recognise the person who wrote most of my contributions here. I miss him sometimes...but then I blow raspberries on my son's tummy, and he laughs with a completely unadulterated joy that only a baby can possess. And I wonder what all the angst was about.

Everything the toddler touches is sticky and covered with dog hair and I cleaned and cleaned and it was all still sticky and covered with dog hair and now I just hold myself and rock quietly in the corner all sticky and covered with dog hair.

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