Sunday, April 29, 2012

Contest Entry

Here is my entry for the Once Upon a Time writing contest....  I had fun writing this, but I've put off posting it until the last minute because I wasn't sure if I liked it.  But I decided I do :)

(347 Words)
            The lady sat peering out the window at the dripping trees in her rocking chair of wood.  Her face sculpted a solemn look filled with knowledge that could only have been attained through centuries.  She rested in front of her television, but her thoughts were deeply placed elsewhere.
            As the rain beat against her cottage roof and the chair rumbled across the hard floors, she started to hum a soft tune.  Once she began, everything throughout the small room seemed to faintly glow, and all other sounds faded.  On the mantle above the fire, the doll with the golden hair looked like it might smile, the top on the floor seemed on the tip of spinning, and the teapot on the table appeared it was going to pour itself.  Everything within the room had small glimmers of life.  The rain began to stop.
            Her small notes ended as a motor car parked outside the cottage.  The room became dull again, and the rain began once more.  A young gentleman jumped out of the car.  The old lady carelessly grunted.  Edward was always easily prone to panic.
            The door swung open.  “They know, Grandmother,” panted Edward.  “Come, hurry, we must go.  They know!”
            “We shall do no such thing,” the lady said, never taking her gaze out of the window. 
            “But we must!”
            Three men suddenly entered through the door way.  “You’ll be coming with us, Mrs. Morte, and your grandson,” smirked the leader.
            “Is that so?” she asked coolly, placing her sharp icy eyes upon them.  Beams of light choked the room and then vanished as quickly as they appeared.
            Edward stood breathless, his grandmother with a crooked grin on her thin lips.  Where the intruders once stood were now three candles.
            “We do not run, Edward,” she said bitterly. “Have I taught you nothing?”  Her face returned to the window.
            Slowly Edward exited the cottage, never glancing back.  As the door closed and he started pacing toward his car, he heard faint humming creep from behind the walls.  Sparks of sun light seeped through the trees.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

100th Anniversary

The 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic is today.  At 2:20 this morning 100 years ago on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner, which was the largest built ship of the time, became fully submerged in the Atlantic Ocean.  

It all started around 11:39pm on April 14, 1912, when the Titanic lookout Frederick Fleet, whose binoculars had been lost, spotted an iceberg.  Less than one minute later, the Titanic fatally hit the iceberg.  Sometimes only about 10% of an iceberg is visible above water.  Therefore once spotted, though it was ordered for the ship make a sharp turn, there was no way of avoiding the iceberg.  

Captain Smith ordered the ship to be inspected about a minute later, and Thomas Andrews, the ship's builder, did so.  At midnight, Andrews informed the captain that the ship had only an hour and a half to remain afloat.  

Imagine that.  Knowing you have an hour and a half left to your life.  The very thing considered "unsinkable" would bring you to your death of either drowning or hypothermia.  It was completely unexpected.  The idea was not even considered until the hit.  And for many people, their arrogance cost them their lives. 

Approximately 706 people were saved on the sixteen lifeboats and four collapsible lifeboats the ship had on board.  The lifeboats could have held from 65-40 people, though some departed with as few as twelve.  This left around 1,517 people to die in the disaster.  Between all the classes(including the crew), about 157 women and children survived, and about 374 died.  Of the men on board, around 332 survived and 1,360 died.  Whole families were killed, including the infants and elderly.

I've had a keen interest the Titanic for several years now.  I even started writing a book about it, which is currently in the back of my "creative writing closet" because I kind of over planned it, and need to take a break.  Why do I have an interest in it?  Well, it was not a result of seeing Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet's characters fall absurdly in love in the oh-so-famous film.  I think it all started after reading this fictional diary of a girl who was a passenger of the ship.  The whole subject fascinated me.  The sadness of the disaster, yet the beautiful memories that are left of the ship.  It was a floating work of art.  "Women and children first".  A major act of true chivalry from a huge group of people.  A rule that was mostly held during the sudden disaster.

Stories like that of millionaire passenger Benjamin Guggenheim, who once he realized that the last life boat had departed and that he had no chance of surviving, went to his cabin with his valet where they dressed in their evening suits, and then returned to the deck.  Guggenheim was reported to have said, "We are dressed in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen."

The elderly Isidor Straus turned down an offer to board a lifeboat.  His wife Ida also turned down the chance with the words, "I will not be separated from my husband.  As we have lived, so we will die together."  And they did.

The band who played until the very end.  Supposedly the final piece they played was the hymn, "Nearer, My God, To Thee".  All the members of the band were lost.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown, who took charge in her lifeboat and rowed toward the rescue ship, the Carpathia

Captain Edward John Smith:  It was supposed to be his last voyage before retirement.  The captain was last seen on the bridge before he went down with the ship.

There are so many breathtaking stories that occurred during the Titanic's maiden voyage that ended so abruptly.  The event of the Titanic is an example showing us that even during that extreme time of panic and desperation, there were people who sought to find and give hope, even when they knew there was none.  It is a story of bravery, courage, and honor earned most respectfully.

My resource for this blog post was the book Eyewitness Titanic by Simon Davis (DK Publishing, Inc.). It's a wonderful book with lots of amazing pictures.  You should check it out.  :)