Wide Open

050513 kaguya's gift book view

International Fake Journal Month has come to a close. For several years, I have enjoyed snooping around in the awesome and beautiful fake journals that other people created and was thoroughly delighted to create one of my own this year.

My fake journal character, Hoshi Banks, has successfully completed her engineering internship on the moon at the Kaguya Station and has come home a much richer young lady than she was when she left. The month leaves me with a good sense of accomplishment for keeping up with the project and for letting the story develop a life of its own without adhering to my original outline too rigidly. Each evening, I had “permission” to spend time plotting, planning, drawing and painting — these activities gave me a much needed refuge from a few things that were challenging me for most of the month. I’m thankful for the outlet that journaling — any kind of journaling — provides, but creating fiction and illustrating it felt extremely rewarding.

The idea for Kaguya’s Gift stemmed from a very vivid dream I had back in 1998. (I have kept a dream journal for more than half my life and let me just say it’s a bit of a convoluted, psychedelic acid trip to go back and read some of the stuff that has rattled around in my head while I was asleep!) In the dream, I was on the surface of the Moon, sifting dreamily through mounds and mounds of green, blue and pink depression glass dishes. Something caught my eye and I looked up in time to see the Japanese shuttle lifting off for its return to Earth. (I don’t know how I knew it was Japanese! It just was.) I’ve missed the shuttle, but I don’t care because the glass again takes my attention and I find myself completely content to pick up piece after perfect piece of sparkling glassware. So, that’s where the sketch called “Lunar Delicacies” came from and I barely got it worked into Hoshi’s story. Maybe I’ll have to take her back to the Moon so she can discover the piles for herself.

Last year, to amuse a writer friend, I wrote a short story using this dream as fodder. Click here to read that story, which is called “Blame”. There’s a dark tone to the story and I used it as an outline for Hoshi’s adventures but couldn’t bring myself to subject Hoshi to anything worse than being drugged by the slightly malevolent Miyoho. Benjy was totally going to be a bad guy, but as I was making the entries his character was too guileless to have any ill will against my protagonist. I also didn’t want to get into Hoshi’s attraction to Theo because there just wasn’t time/room for it. I found myself enjoying using gouache and acrylic and my dip pen with white acrylic ink. The hand bound book that I used was made last summer with my then-new home-made book press. As you can see from the photo above, the text block pulls painfully away from the cover, but I fudged the folding of the end pieces to accommodate for it. When I made the book in August, I didn’t have this project in mind but it ended up being the perfect vehicle and just the right size. After the book was bound, I wrote inside the back cover, “Yes, this book has structural problems. It’s my first self-guided attempt. I make no promises and no apologies!” I would do well to adopt that motto for a few other areas of my life!

Of course, I have left myself a nice, wide opening for next year’s IFJM project. Hoshi will by then be immersed in her studies at the University of Tokyo. Maybe she has already applied for the Kaguya Hydroponics Science Module work/study program, hmm?

Gifts

043013 kaguya pages 52-53sm30 April, 2013 — Waning Gibbous Moon in Capricorn @ 72% illumination.

Nothing can ever surpass the experiences of this internship at Kaguya. I will study and work and scheme my way back here; my goal is to work here on staff, I know I can contribute to this program!

The biggest gifts of the adventure are meeting Miyu and learning about my mother  — (and that I was born on the Moon!) Miyu says my mother would have been proud of me.

When I get home I plan to transfer to the University of Tokyo. I’ll still study pneumatics but need to branch out into Hydroponics Science. Miyu has invited me to live with her while I’m in school and that she will introduce me to my mother’s family. She has taught me a little Japanese already, but there is so much to learn.

The shuttle leaves in one hour, I’ll close here.

Until next time!

Illumination

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29 April, 2013 — Waning Gibbous Moon in Sagittarius @ 82% illumination.

Miyu took me to Tsuki-no-Miyako during the wee hours last night. The city is so impossibly beautiful—it shimmers with the same glow that the bamboo plant had. Eerie, yet warm and comforting at the same time. My life is transformed with this visit. I will never forget my first glimpse of the bamboo grove; row after row of tall, strong trees, each alive with its own illumination.

This morning’s meeting with Mr. K was a big goodbye to us from the Kaguya staff with whom we interacted. Mr. Okura wrote a great reference letter to JAXA (not JAYA) on my behalf — I want to return to Kaguya after I graduate. I’m adding a minor in Hydroponics Development. After seeing the grove last night I have some wild ideas!

The shuttle leaves for Earth tomorrow.

Stunned

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28 April, 2013 — Waning Gibbous Moon in Sagittarius at 90% illumination.

I am nearly speechless. I sat, stunned, for an hour just trying to process what Miyu told me this evening. Need to record this while it’s fresh in my mind, though, so here goes:

Miyu says she knew my birth mother! She says I was born here at Kaguya, or more accurately in the underground sanctuary they call “Tsuki-no-Miyako”, or “Capital of the Moon”, and that my mother died of complications from giving birth. Afraid that I won’t stop, I cannot let myself start crying. This feels like a dream!

Apparently there is a mining operation under the surface too but the sanctuary is not known to all Kaguya personnel. Miyu has agreed to take me down to the sanctuary later tonight, after most shifts have paused for the day. She said it will be a very brief trip and that I should rest well before we descend; it will be an emotional and physically draining experience. The word that comes to my mind is “overwhelming.”

Odd, but for the first time on this trip, I miss the Earth.

So Many Questions

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27 April, 2013 — Waning Gibbous Moon in Scorpio @ 96% illumination.

Theo and James came to visit me last night after the Clipper Lady left. They assured me that Benjy is alive, but sadly he is delusional. When Mr. K finally brought him inside, after rescuing him from the brink of Gill Crater, Benjy wouldn’t quit babbling on about some enormous pile of blue, pink and green glass dishes. Goblets, sugar bowls, compotes and salt cellars. Juicers, pitchers and tumblers — pressed glass from the early 2oth Century. Sounds so preposterous, except for that glimmer and blue-green shimmer I saw before I passed out. Benjy is sedated on a cot in Dr. Go-Sanjo’s office so he can receive constant monitoring. Sure wish I could show him my sketch — my interpretation of what he saw.

After I’m released from Sick Bay I’m meeting with the Clipper Lady to talk. (She told me her name is Miyu, but I can’t help but think of her as the Clipper Lady.) She said she’s been here for many years but I wonder how that can be. So many questions, my head is filled with them. When I see Miyu tonight, I intend to get some real answers!

My month-long internship ends soon … this has been such an adventure!

The Clipper Lady

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26 April, 2013 — Old Moon in Scorpio at 99% illumination.

When I awoke again the “Clipper Lady” was sitting in the chair by my bed! She was holding the book that Theo found with the clippers in the Hydroponics module. When she saw that I was awake she began to read aloud:

“The Emperor bade his officers to take the letter from Kaguya-hime, along with the Elixir of Immortality to the highest peak and burn them so the smoke might rise to her. That mountain is now known as Mt. Fuji which smoke can be seen rising from to this day.

Hoshi stared raptly at the Clipper Lady, who slowly closed the book and looked up.

“You are a very fortunate young lady, Hoshi. Your life support pack was damaged when you fell — you might have died!”

The Clipper Lady then whispered, “I am filled with joy to finally make your acquaintance.”

Moon Dust

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25 April, 2013 — Full Moon in Libra @ 100% illumination. Partial Lunar eclipse, visible only to Earth’s Eastern Hemisphere.

It’s late — I’m supposed to be resting, but I talked Theo into bringing me my sketchbook and pen. I’m in Sick Bay. I woke up here; the last thing I remember was seeing something odd on the moon walk. Here is what happened:

After breakfast, we four interns climbed into our suits and started purging the nitrogen from our blood by breathing pure oxygen. Mr. Kagekatsu led us out through the Mother of All Airlocks and we stepped on the surface of the Moon. (Surreal, exhilarating and a tad frightening.) We had 45 minutes to explore, guided by Mr. K.

Almost immediately Benjy, who was behind me, began freaking out, hyperventilating and saying he was seeing “something” on the horizon. He pitched into me, shifting my life support pack — in turn, I fell into Theo who toppled into Mr. K and we all fell in a heap. James saw it all and said Benjy stumbled off into the dunes. I was dizzy and clammy feeling and my suit was covered in dust. (Moon dust. Wow!) We peered in the direction Benjy trundled away in — couldn’t see him but I did see an amazing blue-green light. Then I woke up here.