?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
Poem: "The Velveteen Gloves" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "The Velveteen Gloves"

This poem came out of the January 8, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from technoshaman and Dreamwidth user Chordatesrock.  It has been sponsored by technoshaman.  This poem belongs to the new series An Army of One and comes after "A Solitary Secession."




The Velveteen Gloves


It was Weavercreep and Operetta
who invented the velveteen gloves.

Weavercreep had come from the Orion side
and was a brilliant  programmer
who liked to spend weeks locked his lab,
creating programs and hacking open code.

The problem was that after a code push,
he liked to come out and submerge himself
in a giant cuddlepile or be mummified in tape
or do something else interactive for while --
and it wasn't always possible to meet up
with the military running patrols.

Weavercreep had a girlfriend
whose handle was Operetta,
originally from the Carinan side.
Her specialty was hardware, not software;
she designed whole new interfaces for military use.

With the military out of the loop
as far as support and marketing were concerned,
she turned her attention elsewhere.
The two of them got together
and complained about the ways in which
the Lacuna made life difficult.

Weavercreep sketched out a design
for a tactile interface, and Operetta
made the first pair of velveteen gloves
from polycarbon nanofiber.
It was soft and fuzzy and wonderful,
and once you logged in,
you could transmit physical sensations
over the ciphernet.

It was not, quite,
as good as being there face-to-face,
but it came very close indeed
and it made the Lacuna
a lot less lonely for people
who liked solitude only some  of the time.

The military implications were fascinating.
The Carinan army used the same nanofiber
in their uniforms -- not intended
for the same kind of interface, of course,
so the reception was rather staticky --
but oh my, how they jumped and squealed
when someone grabbed them.

It was a wonderful distraction.
One boarding party
who managed to breach a station
actually ran home crying
from the hundred ghostly hands 
that pressed against them to drive them away.

The trade potential proved compelling
as determined shoppers from both arms of the galaxy
flooded the black market with demands
for velveteen gloves.

Operetta held out because
the things took a long time to make
and she wanted to reserve them for those
who really needed  a pair.

Finally the promised price rose so high
that she gave in, and shipped off the package,
and presented Weavercreep
with a potted tomato plant.

"They were called love apples once,"
she said to his toes,
because she rarely made eye contact.

"I love them," Weavercreep said,
and Operetta understood
that he really meant
I love you,
even though he wasn't
the sort of person to say that aloud.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

35 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
From: technoshaman Date: January 9th, 2013 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Awesome and just a little creepy but in a good way... and you and *endings* again :)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you like it.

One thing I want to incorporate in this series is the disjunction effect, such as the uncanny valley and the human tendency to back away from people who behave oddly. Those are hardwired instincts, and they have a safety function; strange things can be hazardous. But sometimes it's just a difference, not a threat, and many types of consciousness are possible. It's an interesting existential topic of thought.
technogeekslass From: technogeekslass Date: January 9th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

*this*

*sniff*.... this speaks to me in ways only someone with her own set of velveteen gloves (so to speak) could understand.. and her own Weavercreep

Thanks for another gem m'dear xx
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *this*

*hugs* I'm glad this resonated with you so strongly.

This series seems to be gaining fans quickly. That delights me, because I don't have many active series in science fiction.

primeideal.dreamwidth.org From: primeideal.dreamwidth.org Date: January 9th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like this series too. There are prototype clothes that do let you transmit hugs virtually, I think!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 9th, 2013 08:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

>>I like this series too.<<

I'm happy to hear that. So far there are four poems in An Army of One, two of them published and two still available for sponsorship.

>> There are prototype clothes that do let you transmit hugs virtually, I think! <<

Now that you mention it, I think I've seen articles about that. This is likely to be a good series for exploring adaptive technology.
From: chordatesrock Date: January 10th, 2013 12:57 am (UTC) (Link)
This series is turning very sweet, and I love the creativity everyone is displaying so far. (Lord of Pr0n is disturbingly plausible.) I wonder who's providing the supplies; are they black market? If so, are the secessionists at a disadvantage because of their style of interaction? Or are supplies provided by sympathizers?

Additionally, I wonder about the civilians with autism spectrum disorders. Will they, somehow, make their way to the space stations? Will the people on the stations help them? Presumably, that would bring in a wider variety of skill sets. If they start doing so, though, will they be stigmatized even more in Orion and Carinan? Will everyone who seems a little autistic be regarded with the utmost suspicion? That would make me very sad.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 10th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>>This series is turning very sweet, and I love the creativity everyone is displaying so far. (Lord of Pr0n is disturbingly plausible.)<<

Yay! That's good to hear.

>> I wonder who's providing the supplies; are they black market? If so, are the secessionists at a disadvantage because of their style of interaction? Or are supplies provided by sympathizers? <<

Immediately after the secession, they rely on stocked supplies; and they have a fair amount of those, because it's routine to keep stealth bases well stocked. They turn to the black market to get things they don't have, such as the means to grow food; and for things they run out of. The sympathizers come in later, because they don't move as fast as the black market. They're likely to become more important over time.

Yes, the interaction style can be a disadvantage if the secessionists have to deal with outsiders directly. However, black marketeers are practical folk and they will trade with anyone who's buying or selling. The sympathizers are willing to grant people extra leeway, or are on the same wavelength. Plus, facetime isn't the only trading option, and probably not even the dominant one. Filling out an order form or sending a message are things that many autistic people can do just fine. So the effects are erratic.

>>Additionally, I wonder about the civilians with autism spectrum disorders. Will they, somehow, make their way to the space stations? <<

I think some will, although it will take time for the word to get out and for people to figure out how to connect.

>> Will the people on the stations help them? Presumably, that would bring in a wider variety of skill sets. <<

Yes and yes. It won't always go smoothly, but the secessionists will figure out fast that they have a serious shortage of skill diversity. So they'll realize that they need more and different people. The key will be finding compatible ones. They've made a crucial step in community formation, though: setting a common vision. You could do worse than setting tolerance and privacy as cornerstones.

>>If they start doing so, though, will they be stigmatized even more in Orion and Carinan? Will everyone who seems a little autistic be regarded with the utmost suspicion? That would make me very sad.<<

That's a likely outcome. It simply plays on human nature, the kind of mistakes that people consistently make throughout history: those who are discernibly different tend to get ostracized, which leads to coping mechanisms that can offend the mainstream, which can make the oppression even worse. It would take a significant amount of time to kick in, though. We know that this is "a group of autistic people in a war of secession" but the other characters haven't really figured that out. Even the armies probably don't think of it that. It's just "that bunch of damn dissidents in the crack" to them. They can tell people have some common traits, and if they looked at the records they might realize the prevalence of autistic spectrum presentation there -- but they haven't. What will get out is a general observation of what the people are like and how they run their space. The real info will be harder to get than the propaganda ("Bad deserters! BAD! BAD!!111!) will. Gradually, though, interested parties in the arms will discover the truth and venture forth to make contact. The realization that it's an autistic nation will also come slowly. Once that happens, people in the arms will probably shun and/or oppress those who are left. (I foresee a possible gushing of talent into the Lacuna. If they're not careful, that can do serious damage; in my main science fiction setting the Conservancy bled talent so badly that it took them centuries to recover.) That would get worse over time, pressuring more autistics to emigrate.

However, crowdfunding is inherently collaborative. If you find the idea of increased oppression upsetting, try thinking of alternatives. You'd need to come up with a compelling argument why humans wouldn't do the stupid thing they usually do in such circumstances, but it's possible. Maybe somebody will give them a quarter to go put in the Clue Machine.

Re: Thoughts - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: Thoughts - (Anonymous) - Expand
thnidu From: thnidu Date: February 24th, 2013 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)

the involuntary proofreader is struck again

(As I continue to catch up on this series)

* who liked to spend weeks locked ⁁ his lab,
‸ in

natf From: natf Date: February 24th, 2013 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this series!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 24th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm happy to hear that.
From: julia kolb Date: August 30th, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Anomalous

LOL. Ghost hands out of nowhere!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 30th, 2015 08:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Anomalous

Yes, exactly. But it helps people keep in touch across long distances, or work around quirky body/mind issues.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 10th, 2017 08:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

a velveteen middle finger to oppressors, both Orion and Carinan

The part about freaking out the boarding party, and the last stanza, both elicit GLEE! -- callibr8
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 10th, 2017 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: a velveteen middle finger to oppressors, both Orion and Carinan

Thank you!

>> The part about freaking out the boarding party,<<

Yeah, I figure groping was preferable to shooting. Nonlethal methods have their uses. People in the Lacuna seem consistently averse to raw violence.

>> and the last stanza, both elicit GLEE! -- callibr8 <<

Yay! :D
From: (Anonymous) Date: November 17th, 2017 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Upon re-reading this one, I had a thought.

Not everyone would react strongly in the negative to ghost-hands on their body. I wonder if somewhere in the Carinan Arm a seemingly neurotypical soldier is discovering he's wired kinky? If so, would he be willing to leave the Arm to go to the Lacuna in search of a more accepting place? I know plenty of kinksters who like the adaptive etiquette of people on the Spectrum, it's almost like having a contract negotiation for conversation, and likewise, I know people on the Spectrum who prefer partners who know about kink, because they're more willing to pay close attention to consent and communication, even during vanilla activities.

--BairnSidhe
35 comments or Leave a comment