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Ferris Wheel on Fire
Topic Started: Jan 14 2018, 01:39 AM (394 Views)
CrossbowPig
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[ *  *  *  * ]
The advantages of reading outdoors were fairly sizable, as far as Violet was concerned. Even though the wind would occasionally blow the pages around all willy-nilly, she was ready to overlook that minor inconvenience so long as she was able to sit in the sunlight and enjoy the warmth that connecting with nature could provide. Today, she was feeling a desire to be near to water, so she went down by the river. A bench on the foot bridge called her name, so she made her way over and sat down. It was warm enough out that she didn't need to put any additional layers over her flannel shirt, but cold enough that she wished she had a blanket to put over her legs, the denim of her jeans not doing much to stop the occasional gust of wind from sending a chill through her body.

In her hands was a copy of "The Middle Pillar", by Israel Regardie. She had been working through some of the exercises in the books at home, stuff that didn't require too much in terms of preparatory work, but some of his theoretical explanations had been lost on her. Violet couldn't help but feel like she would benefit from reading some of Regardie's other works before coming to "The Middle Pillar"; the opening introduction made copious references to his publication of the rituals of the Golden Dawn.

Sound-tracking her reading was a playlist of gentler, more acoustic songs. Some of her selections could be thrown into the "Slowcore" pile, but she was hesitant to give that label to anything she listened to. Spotify had been serving her well with a good shuffle through the playlist; nothing that had come up so far had done anything to pull her out of her reading mood. Not even the song "Engine," by Neutral Milk Hotel, which was very audibly recorded in a subway station in New York, put her off from her reading at all. She shifted a little, reclining on the bench, and one of her earbuds fell out of her ear. Laying her book down on her lap, she picked it up and placed it in her ear just in time for a song change.

A few guitar strums, and she knew she was listening to a song by Low. They were in the running for saddest bad of all time, but in her opinion Carissa's Wierd had them beat in that regard. Unlike Carissa's Wierd, though, all Low songs sounded roughly the same, so it was hard to tell which song was which without digging in her purse for her phone.

Fortunately, the lyrics would inform her soon enough.

"Hold me closer than that,
Hold me cl-"


Violet turned off Bluetooth on her phone and took her earbuds out of her ears. Maybe that was enough music for one afternoon.

With a sigh, she crossed her legs and kept on reading. Regardie was going on about Chakras, and how a good understanding of eastern occultism and symbolism could inform a better understanding of the western esoteric sects. She tried pronouncing some of the words on the page that she guessed were in other languages, just to give them a test run. The act of speaking a word aloud had power, after all, and if the words were of a good, positive kind, then she could expect some of that to rub off on her. Like begets like, and all that.

"Muladhara," she said softly. Another name for the root chakra. That one was simple enough, but the following word gave her some trouble.

"Suh-vad-is-thayn-a?"

That couldn't be right, could it? The double consonant at the start of the word was what was giving her the most trouble, for sure.

She put the book down on the bench next to her page side down, and tried saying the word again a few times, for good measure.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
So this was where her walk had taken her.

((Anna "Roxanne" Herbert, continued from Don't You Think That It's Boring How People Talk?))

To the riverfront. Onto the footbridge; eyes out, camera strap around her neck, waiting for a photo opportunity to rear its head. Tonight was a work night, true, she wasn't really going to be able to indulge the things she wanted to indulge in, but hey. There were still a couple of hours before her shift started, there was still a long way to go before she reached The Blue House, so even if it was more temporary than usual, even though the end of it could be considered in sight, there was still a little time in her day for her to be Roxanne. Still a little bit of time for her to get away from all those things in her life holding her down. Still a little bit of time to do whatever she wanted. Whatever she felt like doing.

And hey, she still had an hour of free time. There was a long way to go regardless of whatever path she went on. Why not take the scenic route? Why not find a place where she could take a couple snapshots and put them on her folio? There was time, there was film, so there wasn't really any harm.

Wasn't really any reason not to indulge herself.

So she was here. At the riverfront, on the footbridge, her eyes out for anything that might make a good snapshot. The sun was still up - way high in the sky - so at the very least if she got something here it'd be a little unique. It'd be taken in the daytime rather than in the evening or nighttime, which was… a rarity in Roxanne's case. She didn't really get many chances to take photos then, which… yeah, sucked, but she could deal. Honestly, the other times of day were just as good - if not better - so it wasn't all too bad. Admittedly, sometimes she wished that she could take some photos in the morning, when the sun was beginning to rise, but she could bear without that.

She could wait.

Once the time came, once she got out of that house, she'd have all the time in the world to do what she wanted.

And honestly, she-

Hey.

Photo op.

She saw it from the corner of her eye. A team of ducks, splashing around in the middle of the river. She took her camera out immediately. Pressed the button to wake it up, raised it over the fence, and:

Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash.

She checked the results. Pretty good. Maybe needed to be a little higher though, get that boat out of the way of the camera frame. All she needed was a higher vantage point…

And there was one right behind her. A park bench. Unfortunately occupied, but that problem could be dealt with because the person on it mumbling to herself was someone Roxanne actually vaguely knew. Violet Schmidt was… a person, she supposed. She was in the George Hunter orchestra - played the violin pretty well. There wasn't a lot more Roxanne could say she knew about her, but she supposed that was enough, for right now.

And hey, she had time before she had to go to work. Maybe Roxanne could use that to make a new friend, or something.

"Uh, hey."

Once she figured out how to talk to someone mumbling random words to themself, of course.

"Would you mind letting me stand on that bench for a moment?" She said, holding up her camera. "I want a little bit of vantage for this."
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"Sv-oh! Hi there!"

Violet sat up straighter on the bench. She knew Roxanne from school, though the two's paths rarely crossed outside of the music department. She wanted up onto the bench, so Violet would have to move for a bit. That was fine with her. It seemed that, with "Closer" coming up on shuffle and the arrival of Roxanne just now, the universe wanted her to get up from the bench, even if it was only to go on and hang around the bench for a few moments in conversation, anyways.

"Gimme a sec," Violet said with a smile. She closed her book and put it into under her arm, standing up and stepping away from the bench. She looked around for what Roxanne was trying to get a photo of for a few moments until her eyes landed on the ducks. Cute! She took her phone out of her purse and got ready to take a few pictures of them for her Instagram. It had been a while since she posted anything substantial, anyway.

She pressed the volume up button on her phone, and it took a couple of pictures. Nothing Instagram worthy, though. Bummer. Hopefully, Roxanne got better shots than Violet.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Thanks," she said, giving Violet a smile as she stepped up onto the park bench. The urge to say 'awesome' to her was on the tip of her tongue, but something in her head held her back. Told her that it wasn't a good idea if she used overtly casual language to someone she wasn't familiar with, which was… weird. It wasn't as if formalness was needed for this, it looked like there wasn't really a problem with it, so why didn't she do it? If this was one of the times where she could do anything she wanted, if this was one of the times time where she could be Roxanne, why did she restrict herself? Why did she decide that she was going to act so formal about this?

...Didn't matter. No real point in obsessing about this, not when there was a photo op, like, right in front of her. She raised the camera, brought it to the ducks again - good thing nothing had made them fly off - and then:

Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash.

She stopped. Looked at the photos she just took, the ducks centred in the water without anything blocking the way of her view.

Perfect.

She stepped down. Put her camera around her neck again. Looked around, saw Violet still on the bench, taking a couple photos of her own. Was she into photography? Evidently probably not given the fact that she was using her phone rather than anything that would like, actually give a good quality photo but hey, Roxanne couldn't really judge. Maybe Violet was just more small time than Roxanne was. Less dedicated. More into doing it for fun rather than viewing it as something more serious, show friends rather than show magazines. Roxanne could get that. She could even take a look, see if Violet should be more professional than she was. World needed more good photographers, so…

Yeah. There was time before she had to go, and she'd already told herself she'd talk to Violet, so hey, she figured she'd start up a conversation.

"You do photography as well?"
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Roxanne asked her question, and Violet sheepishly looked at her phone. Roxanne had a heavy duty professional grade bona fide photographer's camera slung around her neck, and all Violet had was her rinky-dink dumpster fire of a cell phone. Would it be insulting to Roxanne to answer honestly? She didn't want her to get the idea that Violet thought she was some top tier photographer just for posturing with an iPhone.

"A little," Violet said, "Usually just to take pictures of stuff I think is interesting."

She stared down at the photo on her phone screen. She had pressed the button five times, and each shot had something wrong with it. The first had a little bit of Violet's finger covering the lens, the second was blurry, the third wasn't level, the fourth was out of focus, and the fifth was taken as she was lowering the phone and was basically just a photo of the water. She gulped. If Roxanne wanted to look at any of these, just to check out if Violet had any hidden talent, then the one she'd probably want to show off would be...

"I-I'm not any good, though," Violet said, turning her phone towards Roxanne and showing her the third of her photos. "See, this one isn't level. I got shaky hands, heh."

Apart from that, the photo was composed well enough. Violet hoped that Roxanne liked it, or at least appreciated her effort as an amateur.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"You're right."

About the photo not being all that great, she meant. Like, obviously a good amount of the blame was due to the fact that it was a phone camera - there was only really so much you could achieve using one of those - but the fact that the angle was crooked gave an indication that Violet was pretty... amateur with this sort of stuff. Like, more so than some of the people she tended to see on Instagram. Still, it seemed more due to inexperience rather than an actual issue with artistic vision (at least, assuming that Violet was actually inexperienced) and issues with levelling were… pretty easy for people - even her - to make, so hey, at the very least Roxanne could help Violet out. Let her take better photos in the future.

Well, if she was someone who'd actually take criticism, at the very least.

"But, like, it's more due to a lack of experience than anything else. You're right about the levelling, is what I'm saying - it's a pretty easy mistake for anyone to make if they're not being careful."

She looked at the water. Saw that the ducks were still playing, even if they were in a different position.

Well, she supposed the best way to teach someone was by giving them experience.

"Do you wanna, um, try again? I can give you pointers, if you want me to."
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"S-sure!" Violet said. In her mind, she breathed a deep sigh of relief. She had expected Roxanne to be a bit harsher than that, for some reason. In the end, though, everything turned out just fine. Even if Roxanne had decided to be harsher, Violet still wouldn't have refused any constructive advice or pointers. Plebeian as she was when it came to photography, there was still some desire to get better at the craft in her heart. She was unsure if she'd be able to help the issue with things being level, though - if she wanted to see how Violet was handling the phone, she'd be looking at an upward angle no matter what she did, unless she got back on the bench.

"Any tips?" she asked. Violet knew it was an open-ended question, and that her equipment wasn't ideal, but she wanted to see if she could get any verbal pointers before Roxanne tried to look over her shoulder or, god forbid, try to guide her hands.

The ducks sat out in the water, splish-splashing each other with water. Even if she didn't take a photo, Violet probably would have looked out at the scene for a good deal of time on her own. Long enough to create a good mental picture, at least. Even if the photo didn't turn out well, she could recall the memory of making a friend out on the foot bridge and remember the ducks in clarity that physical devices could not capture: clarity provided by her mind's eye.

She raised her phone, and looked out at the ducks through the screen, ready to take a picture.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
"Um…"

Tips were… admittedly hard to give, at least when the person was in the process of taking the photo. Once Violet was done, once Violet could actually show her the photo she could give some pointers, but right now, the only thing that she could really do was go 'hey, just go for it, it'll go great I swear,' which she wasn't really big on. Like, live critique - learning what you're doing wrong as you were doing it - was good. Leaving Violet out to dry here… wasn't.

Oh well, she could maybe learn. Maybe there was a way of helping someone take a photo as they did it. She didn't know.

Honestly, maybe just stating the obvious was for the best here.

"Just… try to get yourself steady. Give yourself as much time as possible before you take it, make sure there's nothing obvious that's wrong with your view, and you'll be fine."
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Steady?

She could do steady.

Yeah.

Yeah!

Violet looked out at the river. The ducks were starting to disperse a little, but they were still in the same general area. She took a deep breath, and tried to center herself. When she looked at her phone and noticed it was still having trouble focusing, she knew she needed something a little more effective. Normal breathing just wasn't going to cut it.

She closed her eyes, and started to breathe deeper. Visualized the air entering her lungs through her nose, filling her with blue light energy, and leaving her mouth. All of her attention focused on the process of respiration, and the world outside of her fell out of her perception. A serene calm fell over her body, and she could feel the nervous shaking in her hands subside. Her surface mind was placated. It was only a few seconds of time, but it was enough for her to picture what the perfect shot might possibly look like in her mind's eye. Violet's eyes opened, and she exhaled. It was there, right in front of her, and she knew what she had to do to get it.

Thumb.

Camera button.

Hold it down.

HDR turns on.

Let it go bananas.





Finally, she looked at the picture on her phone screen. It seemed like it came out good enough. No motion blur, no weird tilt, no finger in front of the lens, nothing. She couldn't even make out any lens flare from the sun. Just a competent photo of ducks in a lake. Proud and grinning like a fool, she turned the phone to Roxanne, hoping that she'd have something nice to say about it.

Even if she didn't, that was okay too. Everything seemed pretty okay at the moment.
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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Yugikun
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[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Roxanne just… sorta watched, stared as Violet did her thing. There were two reasons for that. The first was so that she wouldn't interrupt Violet as she did her thing - it looked as if she was trying to… calm herself, in some way, and if Roxanne suddenly acted or said something to Violet she might throw off her groove, which wouldn't really be conductive to getting a good photo from her. Furthermore, if Roxanne watched, she could see whatever Violet was doing, so if Violet was making a mistake - tilting the camera in a bad direction, getting ready to take the photo when there was something in the frame that would mess it up - Roxanne could smooth herself in. Help her. Try to tell Violet what she was doing without properly distracting her.

That was her first reason for staying silent. The second reason was that Roxanne… didn't really know what Violet was doing. Meditation, maybe? She wasn't sure. She'd have to ask when Violet was done what she was doing. Maybe it'd help Roxanne for her own photo ops in the future.

Eventually, though, the click sounded. There were no problems with taking it that Roxanne could see, so the camera went off without a hitch. Violet (...near-immediately, she supposed Violet really wanted her critique) showed Roxanne the photo. She took a look and…

...It was pretty good?

Like, yeah, the quality of the photo itself was dirt because of the fact that it was a phone camera and not an actual camera but even though it was hard to judge the rest of the photo because that big, undeniable fact that the photo quality wasn't good was standing right there Roxanne figured she could judge just the other areas? Just saying that Violet would need a better camera wouldn't be the best way to encourage improvement from her, so she had to look at the other areas. Angle, frame, all that. She'd looked at the photo, tried to ignore the phone quality, and yeah! Pretty good for someone less experienced with things.

There was just one small problem, though.

"One tip I'd give you is to make sure whatever you want in the frame is actually in the frame, and zoom out if its not," she said, pointing to the edges of the photo. "Some of the ducks are only partially in the frame, and that's, like, a thing people would notice immediately if you showed this somewhere."

Well, probably a thing professionals would notice more than people, but still. Best that things were perfect.

"Pretty good otherwise, though. I'd tell you to shill out the money for a proper camera if you really wanna make this good, but not having one isn't your fault."
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"Thanks," Violet said sheepishly, "I'm not too good with saving up my allowance, so I just make do with what I have."

She was excited, and was having trouble hiding it. Roxanne had liked the photo, and her tip was a very useful one. Violet looked at the photo herself for a few moments, trying to study it with something approaching an academic lens of her own, but found that she was too happy to focus on it. Her book had fallen out from under her arm a couple of minutes ago, but she hadn't noticed. Right now, she was in photo-world, and nothing could take her out.

"Bzzzt bzzzt!"

Her phone vibrated in her hands, and a notification banner dropped down from the top of the screen. Someone on one of her discord servers had decided that whatever they had sent was important enough to warrant tagging everyone. Violet knew it was probably some dumb meme, or something. Still, it served as a reminder that she should probably get on her way soon, an anchor that dropped down back into reality. She stuffed her phone in her purse, and looked at Roxanne, beaming.

"I gotta run now," she said hurriedly, "but I'll remember what you told me, for sure!"

Indeed, she was in a hurry, though she knew not where to except for the pull in her heart and the glow on the horizon. The pull exerted the same force on her that the bench had, earlier this morning, and she knew better than to disobey its call. Maybe it was a pull towards new photographs, waiting to be taken, hiding out in untold nooks and crannies out in the world. She didn't know, and didn't care. All she knew was that it was calling her, and all she cared about was following its call to the source.

"Seeya later, Roxanne!"

She jogged off, leaving her book behind.

[Violet Schmidt continued elsewhere.]
~~~~~ Creativity's Burning Pyre ~~~~~

NOW: V7

DEAD: V6

MAYBE: V?
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"That's fair," Roxanne replied. It was sorta regretful that Violet wouldn't be able to properly become a good photographer, but her reasoning was fair enough. Cameras - at least, the good kinds of cameras - were expensive, which… sucked - meant that there was gonna be a hole in her bank account if she ever had to buy a new one, a hole she'd have to explain to her parents. To someone who might be more casual, who just wanted to take stuff for themselves (or post it on their Instagram, whatever) they might not want to fork out the cash a proper camera needed, which… yeah, it sucked, meant that they couldn't possibly achieve what they could with a real camera, but it couldn't be avoided. According to mom and dad, that was how the world worked. Much as Roxanne hated that, there wasn't really anything she could really do about it.

Again, still sucked. Meant that she couldn't really help Violet improve any further. Meant that there was only so much she could do to help with Violet's photography.

...Not that she could have helped much anyway, given the fact that Violet was leaving right now, but… oh well. Guess that was the way things went. Violet would leave, Roxanne would still be here, and while she wished that they could have talked for a little longer, she wished that this could've turned into like, a proper friendship, there wasn't anything more to it.

Just the way the world worked, according to mom and dad.

She gave a wave to Violet as she ran off, out of sight. She stood up herself, putting her camera into its case. She supposed that now that her diversion was over, she'd just have to head over to Blue House now. Do work there. Go home - hoping that her parents were asleep - and let the day pass. End just like how all the others ended.

Oh well, she supposed that at least tomorrow was a Roxanne day. That was a day where she could be her. She looked around. Maybe she wouldn't be able to talk with Violet again but maybe-

Oh.

Huh.

She looked at the bench. Saw the book on top. Violet's, she was pretty sure. Not one she'd read, not one she'd keep, but…

Well, she supposed that this meant she'd be meeting up with Violet again at some point.

And hey, if she did, maybe this time she'd be able to properly bridge the gap. Get to know her. Maybe make a new friend, or something.

Yeah.

That'd be nice.

So she took the book, put it into the satchel where her camera was.

Took one last look around the place her walk had taken her before she resumed her walk to work.

((Anna "Roxanne" Herbert, continued elsewhere))
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