For the last three weeks, I have been killing kudzu. I freely confess it, I used a machette and I burned the corpses afterward. Report me to PETP People for the Ethical Treatment of Plants if you wish. I'm down on Kudzu and I shan't quit ripping them until I do get buckled. I'd kill them all if I could- Every last ropy, fertalizer-sucking, tree-strangling, leafy green, DamnearusTriffidus one of them! I'm Mad I tell you, Mad!!!!!
They never understood me at the University...
It seems that I've spent half my life in a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice... Oh wait, that's copyrighted, Uh- never-ending battle to reclaim arible land from the demon-plant: Kudzu. I grew up on a farm. When most kids my age were just beginning to be trusted to mow the lawn, I was out in a field somewhere driving around on a tractor equipped with a Bush-Hog mower, cutting a six-foot wide swath through overgrown weeds. Or in the case of a field overgrown by Kudzu, the tractor would have a scrape-blade attachment to push it up into safely burnable piles. Then the roots would have to be pulled up. It takes a really hot fire to burn the roots. Over the last 40 years or so, I've helped to turn over a thousand acres of Northeast Georgia from useless, overgrown wastelands into productive fields of wheat, oats, corn, and soybeans. But Kudzu keps trying to come back in those fields. It can be controled, but it cannot be exterminated.
What's all this memory-lane stuff got to do with writing fiction? Well now, let's look at that. I'll Google "Kudzu" and see what comes up. Ah. perfect!
Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876
at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the
100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government
constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their
country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of
kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners
who used the plant for ornamental purposes.
Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas,
discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted
its use for forage in the 1920s. Their Glen Arden Nursery
in Chipley sold kudzu plants through the mail. A historical
marker there proudly proclaims "Kudzu Developed Here."
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil
Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control.
Hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu
through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were
paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant
fields of the vines in the 1940s.
In short, it was an alien organism, introduced into a region that allowed it to thrive unchecked for many decades. Sounds almost like "The Andromeda Strain" or "Day of the Triffids" when you put it all clinical like that. There's story material in that, as you can plainly see. SF, Fantasy, Horror- You could write something in almost any genre with an idea like that. In one of my stories there is a carnivorous plant that looks like a field of moss surrounding a patch of thorny vines. When the unwary gets too close to the vines, the vines become animated and seek to trap the victim. I had a nightmare about this plant, and then used it in the story. For the purposes of this editorial I animized the Kudzu plant into a fiendish antagonist that I'd been battling for decades. It really turns out that I think of it as just another nusance weed that takes lots of hard labor to remove. But an active imagination has it's uses.
Story ideas and plot points are to be found everywhere the writer looks. It takes our unique viewpoints to be able to see the possibilities that surround us. Try to see different points of view about the things that are around you. Look at things all around you using your imagination and you'll see some amazing things that you never thought of before. Ideas for stories are everywhere.
Stretch your imagination, flex those mental muscles, excersize your mind.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled reading...
I'd like to thank those of you who have sent e-mails or signed
into the Lettercol for your feedback. Keep those messages coming,
folks! Without those messages we will never know what we need to
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Flight of the Starhawk
As a teenager, Josh had wanted to fly to the stars. As an adult, he
ended up with an oilfield job and a portfolio of hopeless dreams
away on his PC's hard drive. Alcoholism and depression ate away at
and drove him to spend lonely nights pondering his existence. Then he
an alien on the riverbank one night. An alien with a machine that
objects out of raw matter and energy. Even complex objects like
components for starships!
By Robert Moriyama
In the Port Armstrong lunar colony, criminals beware: Helen
Damnation McKay has no patience for sinners.
By Cameron Neilson
A man is awakened from stasis in the far future.
The Search For Krazy Kat
By Frederick Rustam
Datamaster Eldon Roath of the starship TerrInforma2 had a knack for intellectual mysteries and a talent for locating rare
**Removed by author request**
A Journey Too Far
By Donald Sullivan
A star traveller returns after a thousand year journey to become the last man on earth.
Cry of Triumph
By N.J. Kailhofer
An ambitious scientist, a thickheaded newspaper reporter, and a nature-loving genius struggle with the nature of time and a recalcitrant outboard motor.
By Sharon Partington Two supernatural beings play with the destinies of mortals.
by Jim Parnell The collected wisdom of Bubba WARNING: Contains Language.
Aphelion proudly presents the installments of Double Wide all on
one page of links. We wanted to make sure that the wit and wisdom
of Bubba wasn't lost for new readers, so we made a mini-archive
list of just the Double Wide features.
And banner artwork for links. If you want to link to Aphelion and want more than a text link,
then this page is for you. Some of these banners are finished, but
most of them lack only my adding text to make them complete.
Unfinished banners can be completed and e-mailed to you within 8
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Source" option in your web browser. Finished images can be copied
from the banner artwork page itself. An exchange of links or banner
links is always welcome. Link Swap E-mail should be sent to: Dan Hollifield
A Challenge to
Writers... --8\8\2000-- Not a contest, but a series of ideas to spark off a story.
Challenge 1 is the paintings of Daniel Hannaquand, Challenge 2 is a
collection of narrative hooks composed by Dan Hollifield.
Click here to see the Links Page. Our fellow E-zines, Astronomy,
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Aphelion IRC Chat --7\31\2003-- Information about an underused feature for Aphelion. IRC Chat is a fun
way to talk to our readers, writers, staff members, and other
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