A Pattern of Creativity: An Interview with Knitter and Musician Lucy Hague — Discover

 

When it comes to creativity, Lucy Hague applies it to everything. Not only does she knit her own intricate designs, she plays in several bands. We had to learn more about this prolific artist’s motivation and approach to her work.


Knitting and music! How do these creative pursuits inform one another?

I moved to Edinburgh to complete a degree in music technology — this involved studies in acoustics, mathematics, web design, and coding. I fell into knitwear design by accident! I’d always been interested in sewing and knitting, but just as something to play around with. Just after graduating from university, knitting had a rebirth with sites like Knitty and Ravelry gaining in popularity, changing the way knitters accessed (and created) patterns.

The work I’m doing now could not exist without Ravelry — they provide an excellent platform for selling PDF patterns, and they’ve created a vast community where people can share projects, ideas, and get inspiration. Other knitters encouraged me to start writing and publishing my patterns through Ravelry and it all took off from there. The thing I love most about design and pattern writing is that it brings together two sides of my brain that otherwise don’t have a chance to interact very much: the creative side that can visualize lots of different ideas, and the technical side that enjoys translating it all logically into a written format.

Writing a pattern has a lot in common with coding. Different pattern writers approach and translate problems in different ways. Often there isn’t even really one right way to express something; the main challenge is taking a complex idea and trying to distill it into concise and elegant instructions. When I started writing knitting patterns, I started playing with a few different folk bands, including Jacob’s Pillow and Pictism; we often go on short tours, usually around Scotland and I’m usually knitting on the road!

The thing I love most about design and pattern writing is that it brings together two sides of my brain: the creative side that can visualize lots of different ideas, and the technical side that enjoys translating it all logically into a written format.

Your knitted designs are incredibly intricate — can you share your process from inspiration, to pattern design, to completed project?

My design process is always changing. When I started out I would design “on the needles,” and try to reverse engineer the written pattern from the finished object. Now I’m more methodical about how I approach a design. I usually have a very clear idea of what I want the finished object to look like, and I will sketch it several times before beginning. For my complex cable patterns — which are all unique stitch patterns I design from scratch — I have a very long and laborious process that involves sketching and swatching (knitting up test versions of the pattern to see how it looks).

Durrow shawl sketches.

It’s something I’ve become quicker at with more experience designing cables, but it still takes time — my Durrow shawl design took several months from initial conception to the finished pattern! I’m ruthless about unravelling a project and starting over again if I’m unhappy with anything. Once the initial swatches look how I want them to, I write a draft of the pattern and work off that to produce the final sample. This gives me a chance to check out how the pattern flows and change anything that doesn’t make sense. After that, I have a team of test knitters and a technical editor who go over the pattern to check for errors and inconsistencies, and then the pattern is ready to launch.

The Durrow shawl.

Your Illuminated Knits series — the Durrow shawl, the Lindisfarne shawl, and the Iona throw — are all inspired by an illuminated Celtic manuscript. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

My first book, Celtic Cable Shawls, used similar pieces of Insular Celtic art for inspiration. I had the idea for “Illuminated Knits” based on a slip-stitch technique that I wanted to explore further (a technique that allows you to achieve contrasting color results quite easily, without having to use more complex colorwork techniques like intarsia or stranded knitting). I became fascinated by this technique despite (or perhaps because of!) its constraints — the way it pulls the fabric in, the way the cables pull in — it really works best when the knitting is worked in the round, rather than flat.

This meant I had to create interesting ways to make pieces that could be worked in the round that would normally be worked flat. Durrow is an example of this. It looks like a regular triangular shawl (a very familiar shape to knitters, normally worked flat), however the border is made of modular squares worked individually in the round, then joined together. It was really fun to play around with colors and try to find hues that evoked illuminated manuscripts. The slipped-stitch technique I used is based on stripes, so you end up with two contrasting colors on a background that is a mix of those two colors — like mixing inks! My main source of inspiration is the enigmatic Pictish symbol stones (there are many surviving across Scotland). No Pictish illuminated manuscripts survive today, although there’s evidence to suggest that some must have existed. It’s interesting (if a little melancholy) to think about all the examples of Pictish art that may have been lost and the way they might have approached using color in their beautiful designs.

The Iona throw.

Of all your pieces and patterns, which was the most satisfying to put make?

All the pieces in Illuminated Knits have been uniquely challenging to me as a designer. The collection has taken a long time to put together but I’m proud of how they turned out, and glad that I put the effort in to make these designs extra special. I also really enjoyed working on a design for fellow designer Kate Davies’ The Book of Haps. Several designers responded in different ways to the initial brief. My design “Uncia” was inspired by cathedral architecture, and I had a lot of fun working different motifs into the cables and lace of the shawl.

If someone has an interest in knitting, which resources can you recommend?

Ravelry.com is a great resource — it’s a huge website with forums, a massive pattern database, project pages, information about yarn — absolutely everything you need as a beginning knitter or crocheter (you need an account to access all the features, which is free).

There’s also a lot of info on spinning and weaving — all sorts of fibre arts. Probably the best thing you can do as a beginner is find something you really love and want to make and then just jump in! If you have a local yarn shop, ask about classes or knitting groups — people are often more than happy to help out beginners, and whilst YouTube tutorials are great, sometimes you can’t beat a bit of in-person help.


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Women Who Draw — Discover

Women Who Draw is an open directory of female illustrators, artists, and cartoonists created by two women artists, Julia Rothman and Wendy MacNaughton, in an effort to increase visibility of women, women of color, LBTQ , trans, and gender non-conforming artists in all fields.

via Women Who Draw — Discover

Another day without him.  — Free to express

It has been around a month,  I haven’t heard his voice once. And days are passing like tiny drops of water. I regularly  go to my WhatsApp  list open the Archived  messages the first contact  name which is him glows.

You don’t have any idea how many times in a day I unblock you,  and only back space knows the urge within me.

But my question to self is   “do I really want  him?”  “After 7years I’m back again from where I had started.  My journey  has been again on the same verge  of  life which I had left long ago. He was the one who pulled you back,  he was the one who left you behind, so is there any reason left to hear his voice?”
Giving him all myself  I did love him.  At some point of time I had only aim in my life  to marry him and make him happy.  But who knew making him happy could cost  me my own like.

For an instance I would  have forgiven him too,  if he wouldn’t  had trashed me in public.  That event is still circulating in my mind and I start bubbling in anger.

Though being stuck in life just because of him I’m contented that he’s settled, it was a terrible night when I saw his wedding card, within 2 months  he moved on, only my pillow knew the pain of my heart.

But I don’t know still why on every morning I have to remind myself,

Good morning dear, it’s another day without him. 

asked by my beloved to post 

The Book of Job — rachelmankowitz

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I like bible study at my synagogue. It’s nothing like the way we read the books of the bible in my schools growing up. In elementary school (liberal) we read each book like a story, straight through, looking for plot twists and heroes and villains. In Junior high and high school (orthodox) we read everything line by line, or word by word, with three sets of commentators arguing about the deeper meaning of each spelling oddity.

My current rabbi likes to take a literary/historical approach, giving us a sense of when each book was written, and what lessons the stories were meant to convey, and who decided to include them in the canon.

I was in class for a few of the early chapters of the book of Job, where Job is pissed off at God, and wishing for an early death, and his “friends” are self-righteously correcting his thinking and telling him to trust in God and he’ll be fine.

Bullshit. That’s what I was thinking as I sat there reading those annoying passages about how a good person would think and act and speak, accepting fate and God’s judgement and blah blah blah. I came very close to screaming at my poor rabbi for making us read this crap. Can’t they see that this man is in pain?! What kind of friends would have such a lack of compassion?!

            Okay, so I actually said this out loud. But my synagogue is full of social workers and teachers and social activists, so I was not alone in my plaint.

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The rabbi rolled his eyes at me (he does this a lot) and said, they’re not really his friends. It’s a literary device (with a look at me, like I should have recognized this).Job gets to criticize God and cry out and get his words published for the world to see, as long as these straw men can put up their empty counter arguments too. Why else would the rabbis have chosen to include the Book of Job, about a non-Jewish man, in the Jewish Canon, if not to offer room for anger at God? They know their people. The Jews need to complain and rail at God, and this was a way for the rabbis to give them permission.

            You have no idea how disappointing this was for me. All this time I thought that my railing against God and orthodoxy and, you know, the weather, was unique to me and a sign of my special insight and intelligence and bravery. But, no. Everyone feels this way, or at least a lot of us, and the rabbis wanted to give us a safe container to express those feelings, without getting excommunicated.

I know that the trend is to do gratitude journals and focus on the positive and say all of the “right” things. But, in my experience, we all have things to complain about and if we can get those complaints out, and find validation with our friends, we’ll have a chance to survive the stress. Whenever people complain to me about something, and then apologize for complaining, I automatically tell them there’s no reason to apologize. Complaining is one of our best tools for maintaining good mental health. Make two complaints and call me in the morning. If we just pretend that everything is okay, and swallow the pain, and spout self-righteous messages on how to be perfect, our heads will explode. Poof! Poof! Poof! Brains exploding all around me.

It’s possible that I learned this lesson about complaining from Cricket, who never lets a complaint go unbarked. Or from Butterfly, who sits down when I try to pull her leash and just waits for me to get the message, I know what I need, Mommy, now f*** off.Though I don’t think Butterfly would ever use that kind of language. I would. But she’s a much better person than I am.

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Moeloco “Dream Crazy”: Buy One, Give One and Change a Life. — Thirdeyemom

Moeloco “Dream Crazy”: Buy One, Give One and Change a Life.

“When you truly are on purpose, the people, the opportunities and the resources you need will naturally gravitate toward you”.   -Jack Canfield

Have you ever had a dream that seemed impossible and almost crazy?  Kathy Wong, an entrepreneur from Australia did. After a career in business, Kathy came out of retirement to start a social enterprise named Moeloco which is a combination of two words, “Moe” derived from the Hawaiian word Moehani, meaning “dream” and “loco” is latin for “crazy”.

“Moeloco is my dream crazy. This dream began when I realized how disconnected humanity had become” says Kathy Wong, founder of Moeloco, a social enterprise dedicated to changing the lives of children living in extreme poverty. When Kathy learned that over 300 million children lack shoes, her entrepreneurial spirit and loving heart sprung to action and she founded Moeloco. Kathy chose flip-flops as her vehicle to fuel her social enterprise. In Australia and other parts of the world, flip-flops are a fun reminder of freedom and inspiration. Kathy jumped on that theme and designed each colorful flop-flop to leave a positive message in the sand such as “Be Happy” or “Love”.

Kathy’s mission is to build a heart-centered community who realize that their consumer dollar has enormous potential and power for positive social impact. Each purchase creates a ripple effect starting with the consumer and positively impacting the lives of underprivileged children and their community.

For each pair of flop-flops, Moeloco will donate one pair of covered canvas shoes to a child living in poverty through their collaboration with the Hope Foundation, an Ireland-based non-profit working to help the street and slum children living primarily in Kolkata, India. Each pair of donated shoes protects a chid’s feet, and also helps change their future by ensuring they can attend school.






I love the work Kathy is doing to give back and create an amazing community of compassion and inspiration. I had the opportunity to ask Kathy a few questions about her life and the mission behind Moeloco. Here is what she has to say.

Me:  Tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background and what do you love?

Kathy: I have a degree in visual communications which I used to start three businesses in the area of design branding, marketing and publishing. I am passionate about community, inspiring children to be change makers, love 80’s music and hate chokes. After retiring for ten years, I decided to re-enter the workforce as a social entrepreneur where I am making a difference to children in poverty with my business Moeloco.

Moeloco

Me: What inspired you to start Moeloco and when did you launch?

Kathy: When I learnt that over 300 million children in the world have no shoes and some of them could not attend school without shoes for fear of their bare feet spreading disease and that some of them were dying from foot borne disease, my heart felt like it was breaking. I had to help! I launched November 25, 2014.

Check out this short three-minute video on Moeloco. It is beautiful! 

Me:  Why did you choose flip-flops?

Kathy: I wanted a product that potentially has lots of users, which flip-flops do.  Mostly though, I felt leaving inspirational messages in the sand was very appealing and is unique. Using shoes seemed to be a perfect vehicle to deliver this story of our cause, kids with no shoes.

 

Me: How does your business model works? (Buy a pair, give a pair). Also where are the shoes designed and made?

Kathy: Moeloco designs ( i.e. me and our designer in Sydney ) and manufactures a rubber flip-flop that leaves positive messages in the sand such as I am peace, be grateful, etc. For every pair sold, Moeloco donates one pair of canvas shoes to a child in need that then allows them to attend school and protect their health. The flip-flops are manufactured in China and the shoes we donate to the children in India.

Moeloco

Me: Where do you sell the flip-flops?

Kathy: We sell online through our own commerce store, through third-party online stores, Amazon US, and a number of retail shops. (See the end of the post for links). 

Me: What kind of impact have you seen since you started Moeloco?

Kathy: We have impacted over 5,500 lives of children through our collaboration with the Hope Foundation. The Hope Foundation was founded in 1999 by Maureen Forrest of Cork, Ireland, in order to help and support the street and slum children. HOPE’s aim is to be, “an organisation dedicated to promoting the protection of street and slum children primarily in Kolkata (Calcutta), and the most underprivileged in India, to promote immediate and lasting change in their lives.” 15 years on, HOPE has reached out to almost 30,000 children through education alone, over 200,000 individuals through HOPE’s community healthcare programmes as well as being the primary care giver to over 2,500 children on a daily basis.

Me: What has been the most challenging aspect of launching a social benefit company?

Kathy: My own self-care and self-belief. One of the biggest causes of a social enterprise failing is the founder burning out. I had to learn to dig deep into my own self doubts and feelings of whether or not I was good enough to be able to step into the spotlight to do this work. Whilst I had a life of running businesses , I did not know how to do most of the aspects in Moeloco and I had to really become a public figure which again I was not too comfortable with initially.

Me: What has been the most rewarding?

Kathy: Visiting India for the first time in my life and seeing the projects that we are contributing to and meeting the children themselves. The tears, the smiles melted my heart!

Me: Anything else fun or interesting you want to add about yourself or the business?

Kathy: If you have any interest at all in doing a social business, just do it! Don’t worry how to do it, because if you have a strong enough reason to want to make a difference , all the tools, help you need will find you!

To learn more about Moeloco, check out their website at: www.moeloco.com. You can also follow on Facebook or Instagram.

Moeloco sells all over the world and have just introduced a flat $ 5 AUD rate anywhere n the world off our own store: www.moeloco.com/shop. You can also purchase Moeloco flip-flops on Amazon here.

Why Do Indian-American Kids Do So Well in Spelling Bees? — Longreads

ndian-American children dominate the competitive spelling scene. At Harper’s, Vauhini Vara — a former spelling champ herself —meets a few of the current crop of young spellers and their parent coaches.

One of the spellers from my Phase 2 room, Naysa Modi, was in line with her father, Nayan. Naysa, a sixth grader who had participated in the National Spelling Bee the previous two years, was a sprite in a pink headband. When I asked her how the latest round had gone, she chirped: “If you saw me and Siyona Mishra” — another Scripps alum — “we were chatting our heads off!” The Modis came from a small town in Louisiana, where there wasn’t much of an Indian immigrant population. Nayan told me that they learned about the North South Foundation only recently, through the community they’d found at Scripps.

“I sometimes regret she started pretty late,” he said. “But what’s done is done.” I asked what was regrettable about it. “If she had started early,” he said, “she could have used that time to study.”

Naysa was walking beside him, listening intently while her father talked about her squandered potential. I thought that she might be embarrassed or annoyed. But it turned out that they were in complete agreement. “Kindergarteners,” she said, “are studying the words that I learned in the fourth grade.”

Everyday Heroes: A Story of Self-Sacrifice

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On 1 November 1666, a young farmer named Abraham Morten took one final, agonizing breath. He was the last of 260 people to die of bubonic plague in the remote village of Eyam in Derbyshire. His fate had been sealed four months earlier when villagers decided to shut themselves off from the rest of the world: a sacrifice they made in order to save the lives of their neighbors in surrounding villages.

eyam-plague-plaque.jpgThe nightmare began on an unremarkable day in September, 1665. George Viccars—a local tailor in Eyam—received a consignment of cloth from London for his shop. Upon inspection, Viccars noticed that the cloth was damp. He hung it before his fire to dry, not realizing that it was playing host to fleas that were carrying the bubonic plague.

Viccars was dead within a week.

The pestilence spread rapidly throughout the village. Panic broke out as villagers began making preparations to flee Eyam for contagion-free surroundings. It was then that two local clergymen, William Mompesson and Thomas Stanley, decided to intervene in order to stop the plague from spreading to neighboring villages. In a joint sermon, the two men pleaded with their fellow townspeople to recognize that it was their Christian duty to remain in Eyam until the scourge had played itself out, and to prevent the disease taking hold in other villages. Moved by the clergymen’s words, the villagers decided to make the ultimate sacrifice: they sealed themselves off from the rest of the world.

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In order to do this, they created a stone boundary around Eyam. No one was allowed in, and no one was allowed out. People from surrounding communities brought food and clothing to the disease-ridden village. They would leave their goods on the stones and pick up their payment from a well filled with water and vinegar [pictured above], which would disinfect the coins.

dsc03368.jpgWithin Eyam’s self-imposed bounds, the plague was unrelenting, killing people arbitrarily over the next fourteen months. No one was untouched by tragedy, including Elizabeth Hancock, who inadvertently brought the disease back to her farm after helping to bury a fellow villager’s body. Within a week, all six of Elizabeth’s children, as well as her husband, had died. Not wanting to put anyone at further risk, Elizabeth took on the task of burying her entire family herself.

By August, two-thirds of Eyam’s population had died from the plague, including Mompesson’s own wife. The cemetery had become so full that the dead had to be buried in nearby gardens and fields. The dwindling congregation—which grew smaller daily—began holding services outside in an attempt to halt the rampant spread of the disease. There, in the open air, they prayed earnestly to be delivered from the suffering God had seen fit to thrust upon them.

Eyam_window.jpgBy November, the plague had finally subsided. Of the village’s 350 original occupants, only 90 had survived. However, it is not the statistics that are noteworthy in this story, as these are fairly typical of plague mortality rates during this period. Rather, it is the villagers who are extraordinary. They stopped the spread of plague by their courageous, selfless actions, and in doing so, ensured that they would not become just another set of nameless statistics generated by that horrific epidemic.

No one in the surrounding area contracted plague during this time.

 

Fitzharris_ButcheringArt_JKFIf you’re interested in learning more about the plague, check out Rebecca Rideal’s excellent book 1666: Plague, War and Hellfire.

And don’t forget you can now pre-order my book, The Butchering Art. All pre-orders count towards first-week sales once the book is released, and therefore give me a greater chance of securing a place on bestseller lists in October. I would be hugely grateful for your support. If you’re in the US, click HERE. If you’re in the UK, click HERE. Info on further foreign editions to come.

The End of the World Club — waltbox

The End of the World Club

The one and only meeting of the End of the World Club was held in my favorite building on campus, the old English department building. It was nestled back among the trees, and you could open the old windows and let the breeze in, feel the hardwood floors croak under your feet. And it just smelled good, and old. Like wisdom.

I chose a desk at the back. That was another thing I liked about the old English building. It had tiny old desks bolted to the floor, with narrow arms and a writing surface just wide enough for a notepad.

The school required an extracurricular activity. I had no interest in a club, or in going to club meetings, or doing club things like organizing supposedly fun activities, or electing officers, or raising money. Which is why the End of the World Club seemed perfect for me. It didn’t do any of those things. And it only needed to meet one time: At the end of the world. Which was why this first meeting was also the last.

“Greetings, all,” said Harold. Harold was the club president, by default. It had been his idea, the club. He’d kept the list of members. He’d reached out to call the meeting.

“So, welcome to our meeting,” said Harold. He looked around and waved to the ten or twelve of us scattered throughout the room. He smiled awkwardly. He pushed his glasses up. There was no response but the hum of the locusts wafting in through the windows I’d opened.

A girl was seated at the teacher’s desk, a beautiful one (the girl) to whom Harold now turned. I knew her from a class I took last year on the history of jazz. She’d sat three rows in front of me and I’d never once spoken to her. But I’d spent hours admiring the sheen of her auburn hair, the fringes on the back of her brown suede jacket. She took her glasses on and off a lot. On to take notes, off to look at the professor. I was kind of in love with her from afar.

“You getting this?” said Harold to the girl, whose name was Lisa.

Lisa put on her glasses to look down at her notes. “So far I’ve got Greetings, all.” She took off her glasses to look up at Harold.

“Good,” said Harold, and coughed. He covered his mouth and accidentally knocked his knuckles against the microphone of the little portable PA he didn’t need in such a small room with so few people, and the feedback kind of ripped open our eardrums a little, which I figured wasn’t a big deal since we wouldn’t be needing them much longer, our ears. He cleared his throat and said, “I might say you might be wondering why I called this meeting, but I think you might know. I think you might have already heard the news.”

“Hi guys!” It was Rochelle. With her girth and her shopping bags, she barely fit through the door. She squeezed through to an empty seat in the center of the room. The seat groaned under her mass as she dropped her bags to the floor. One bag fell over and a can of creamed corn fell out and rolled towards the front of the room. Rochelle didn’t notice, just fanned her face with her hand and said phew, like it had been a good workout. “Sorry I’m late everybody.”

“That’s okay,” said Harold. “We were just wrapping up.”

“Actually, we were just getting started,” said Dr. Gradius. Dr. Gradius was my classical mythology professor. I don’t think he was supposed be there, since he was a professor not a student. But I wasn’t in charge. And neither was Harold, who said, “Well, no one’s really participating, and there’s not really anything to do anyway.”

“We gonna do something, right?” said Rochelle. “I mean, the whole world fixing to end.”

Dr. Gradius flapped a packet of sugar. “Actually, it is Harold who’s right,” he said, emptying his sugar into a styrofoam cup of coffee. “There isn’t anything can be done.”

“There’s something,” said a guy up front. His leg was bouncing with nervous energy. In frustration, he turned his black ball cap backwards. It said “Misfits” across the front (or back, depending on your perspective). “There’s always something that can be done.”

“No,” said Harold. “No, no, there’s nothing. Number one, there’s no time. Number two, that’s not in the Charter.”

“What charter?” said the Misfits guy.

“The Club Charter. The End of the World Club Charter. You all have a copy.

“I don’t have a copy,” said Misfits guy, holding his arm out as if to welcome the copy he would like to have but didn’t, his leg still bouncing.

“I emailed you one. I emailed everybody one.”

“None of us have a copy.”

“Okay, well check your spam, because —“

“Not doing that, Harold. Not checking my spam for the charter of a silly club that meets one time before the Apocalypse. Maybe we should talk about survival.”

“That’s what I’m talking about!” said Rochelle.

Harold blinked, pushed up his glasses. “Come again?” he said.

“You suck at this, Harold,” sighed Misfits guy.

“Listen, I didn’t start this club just to have you people yell at me.”

“I’m confused,” said Rochelle, putting up her hands. “I got my canned goods, my flashlights, my binder’s twine, I got everything they say to get and my ass is ready to get shit done but y’all don’t look no kinda ready for nothing. Not to my ass. My ass is ready.

“I’m afraid none of those items will actually prolong the survival of your ass,” said Dr. Gradius. “Do you fathom the calamity that will befall us over the next 24 hours?”

Rochelle nodded. “Shit’s going down.”

“Up,” said Dr. Gradius. “It will blow up, actually, this shit of which you speak. Those of us not instantly incinerated will die from suffocation, because of the air.”

“What’s wrong with the air?” said Rochelle. She pronounced it airruh.

“It will be dense with ash and detritus.”

“Naw,” said Rochelle, shaking her head. “Fuck that. Fuck detritus.“

Harold turned to Lisa. “Did you get that? She’s a detritus denier.” I think he was making a joke. He stared at her, probably wondering why she wasn’t smiling, or maybe getting it down. Lisa just stared back. After a moment, Harold blinked, pushed up his glasses, and turned away. Lisa turned to the room in general, found me in particular. She winked.

“Why y’all sitting on y’alls asses?” said Rochelle, turning to take in those behind her. Something cracked in the super-structure of her desk and she grabbed the tiny arm rest and put her foot out to catch herself. “I mean, we just gonna sit here and take this? Cause detritus sound like a whole buncha bullshit.”

Someone said yeah.

“Who hear me? Who say yeah?”

“Well, that’s not actually the purpose of this club,” said Dr. Gradius.

“What’s not the purpose?” said Rochelle.

“The purpose is clearly stated in the Charter,” said Harold.

“Ain’t nobody got a charter,” said Rochelle.

“I have the Charter,” said Lisa.

Silence.

Well, I say silence, but the locusts were still humming. Otherwise it would have been crickets, so to speak.

Lisa put on her glasses and flipped backwards in her yellow legal pad. Several seconds passed, broken only by the sound of her pages flipping. And locusts.

Rochelle huffed and shifted in her chair and mumbled something about how this better be some pretty good motherfuckin charter. Dr. Gradius nibbled at his nails. Misfits guy checked his phone and bounced both legs like a heavy metal drummer. I wanted to ask why the charter only seemed to exist on a legal pad but no one else seemed to be wondering, so I didn’t.

“Okay,” said Lisa, reading. “We, the members of the End of the World Club, intend to be together as they blow it (the world) away. We will share in every moment as it breaks. We will be friends at the end of the world, such that none of us will die alone.”

Silence, as everyone waited for more.

“There’s more,” said Lisa. “But that’s the gist.”

Rochelle said, “Well, that’s real cute, but we cain’t just sit here while the earth explode.”

“What do you propose?” said Dr. Gradius.

“It’s hero time!” said Rochelle, banging her desk with her palm. “This some shit worth saving.”

“If that’s how you feel you should’ve joined the Save the World Club,” said Harold, “Not —”

“Actually, they’ve disbanded.” Dr. Gradius paused, his coffee cup hovering in front of his lips as all eyes focused on him. “It’s true. When they heard the news, well it was pretty clear they’d failed, so…” He shrugged, sipped his coffee.

“How do you know this?” said Misfits guy.

“It was I who moved that they disband, actually.”

“You know you say actually in almost every sentence?” said Harold.

A distant boom. A subsequent rumble. Harold’s PA died with an electric pop as the lights went out. The floor quaked, and the rest of Rochelle’s canned goods spilled out and rolled across the floor.

“Ho Leeeeee Shhhhhhhit,” said Rochelle, grabbing her seat for stability.

Another moment, and the rumbling ceased, the floor became still.

“Looks like it will actually be suffocation for us, then,” said Dr. Gradius.

“Great,” sighed Misfits guy.

Rochelle pulled several pink flashlights from her bag and began to pass them around. Dr. Gradius shined his up onto his face from under his chin, turning his flesh red with creepy shadows. “It’s the end of the world,” he said in a spooky voice.

I got up and walked to the front of the room. No one seemed to notice. I reached Lisa’s desk and waited, but she didn’t notice either, she was gazing out the window, one hand propping up her chin, the other flapping her pen against her notepad. Her eyes were misty. Like she might cry.

“Hi.”

She whirled and said oh!

“I didn’t mean to scare you.”

She said I had, but it was okay. She flipped the pages of her legal pad back around to the front, set it on the desk, placed her pen on top. She folded her hands, looked up at me, smiled. Knuckled a tear from the corner of her eye.

Rochelle shouted something to the Misfits guy about how he better lay off her cream corn.

I held out my hand.

Lisa laughed nervously, stood up and stepped around the front of the desk, placed her hand in mine. We stood by the desk for a minute, hand in hand, looking in each other’s eyes.

I nodded towards the door. She glanced that way, considering. Then said okay. Or seemed to.

“We seem to have to rest of the building to ourselves,” I said as we looked up and down the dark hallway.

“I’d rather be outside,” said Lisa.

“Me too.”

We made our way to the front doors, hands kind of swinging, like kids.

I swiveled my head towards her, and she turned to me. “We were in history of jazz together, I think.”

“I know,” she said.

I nodded. “I sat three rows behind you.”

“I know. You never said hi.”

“I wanted to.”

We walked halfway down the steps towards the fountain out front and sat down. All the streetlights were out, as were the lights around the fountain. And the ones down the hill, into the town beyond, the whole of which seemed to have gone dark. On the horizon was a black cloud tumbling towards us, stretching from one end of the planet to the other.

“How long did they say we have?”

“Twenty-four hours, I think.”

“Oh good.”

I laughed a little. “Good?”

She met my eyes and smiled. “That gives us some time.”

A lone car whooshed by. The sunroof was open and some shirtless guy was standing up through it with his fist in the air shouting armageddon motherfuckerrrrs, woooo!

I brushed Lisa’s auburn hair back over her ear. “I like your glasses.”

She smiled. “They’re fake.”

“No way.”

She laughed. “Yes.”

“But you always put them on to write.”

“And take them off, I know. My dad used to do it.”

“I like them even more now, I think.” I took them off her face and tried them on, just for grins. They were too small. “How do I look?”

“Ridiculous.”

I laughed. “You know you have the most beautiful smile in the whole world?”

She blushed, patted my hand. “Well, aren’t you the lucky one.”

***

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