Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Water Colors"

This poem was commissioned by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer.  It's a direct sequel to a scene in her story "Necessary Conversations" and some commentary below it, so you should read that first in order for this to make the most sense.  It also fills the "youth" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo  fest.  This poem belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Water Colors"

Aquariana's morning mail included a packet addressed to
her fanmail box.  She had a secretary for everything that
could be handled with form letters. Curious, she opened
the envelope to find a pair of handwritten letters and a datachip.

Dear Aquarine,

There was a riot across from our school.
Me and my friends got turned crayon colors.
I was Aquarine for two whole days!  I hoped
it would stick but it didn't.  I still want
to be your sidekick when I grow up.

Your Friend,

Aquariana had heard about the incident near
Charlotte, North Carolina -- even living in the Maldives,
she kept an eye on super news.  This sounded sweet, though.
She was still smiling when she unfolded the second letter.

Dear Aquariana,

As you may have gathered, our son Dovey was involved
in a superpower incident that left dozens of children
with unusual skin tones for a few days.  As their class
recently saw your documentary "Keep Our Oceans Blue,"
it was fresh in his mind when he turned aquamarine. 
We feel that this has helped him cope with what happened. 
Now he's wild about you, superheroes, and anything to do
with the ocean.  Even if Dovey hasn't found his life's passion,
you have helped  to improve his life just by inspiring him. 
Thank you for that, for showing that it's okay to have 
different colored skin, and for protecting our planet.

Jeoffrey and Gladys Ferguson

Aquariana looked down at her own water-colored skin.
She still felt self-conscious about it, especially since
it couldn't tolerate clothing more than briefly, but she
was glad to help someone even from a distance.
Then she played the datachip.

First it displayed a video of Dovey dressed up in
dark turquoise swim trunks, with a turquoise face
mask/rebreather combo, against a homemade ocean
backdrop made of a blue blanket covered with
crayoned and construction paper sea life.  The next
clip featured Dovey with his swimwear doing laps
around a pool after a swimming lesson.

Several photos showed a green girl pretending to be a tree,
a plump purple girl dressed up as a Semolina Floppit,
boys and girls of cool shades with a "Water Colors" sign,
others of warm shades calling themselves "Fire Colors,"
and sixteen children emulating a box of crayons.

There followed additional images of
the girls who had been green and purple --
currently dressed as superheras -- and
Dovey himself, with their natural skin tones.

Aquariana saved the files to her computer,
then refilled the datachip with the latest video
of herself and the whales Steel and Moderato.
She dropped it back into the envelope along with
an autographed photo, then wrote a reply.

Dear Dovey and Family,

It sounds like you had quite an adventure!  I'm glad seeing
me helped make sense of it for you.  Looking different can be
hard, but with good friends it can be fun too.  Thank you
for offering to help me take care of the oceans.  You can do
that from home!  For junior-level aquatic heroism, check out
Kiddie Poolz.  Their website posts exciting activities, and they
offer vacation tours and summer camps at lots of beaches.

Your Friend,

She sealed the package and placed it in her Out basket.
Sometimes saving the world just meant encouraging 
the heroes of tomorrow.

* * *


Dover "Dovey" Ferguson -- He has tinted skin, brown eyes, and curly brown hair.  He has an older brother, James, who is ten; and an older sister, Ruby, who is eight.  His parents are Jeoffrey and Gladys.  Their family heritage includes black, Hispanic, and Welsh.  Dovey is five years old, attending kindergarten near Charlotte, North Carolina.  A superpower incident turned his skin aquamarine for a couple of days.  Currently he wants to be Aquariana's sidekick.  He is taking swim lessons.
Qualities: Good (+2) Citizen, Good (+2) Enthusiastic, Good (+2) Fan of Aquariana

Carole Flores -- She has tinted skin, brown eyes, and long curly brown hair usually worn in braids.  She has a three-year-old baby brother, Tomas.  Her family heritage is Hispanic.  Carole is five years old, attending kindergarten near Charlotte, North Carolina.  A superpower incident turned her skin kelly green for a couple of days.  Her best friend is Pamela Sanders.  They love playing games together, but have difficulty when Pamela pushes for something that Carole doesn't want to do.  Carole loves plants and roaming outside.
Qualities: Good (+2) Gardening, Good (+2) Limber, Good (+2) Smart
Poor (-2) Stubborn

Pamela Sanders -- She has pinkish-fair skin, blue eyes, and short straight dark blonde hair.  She is chunky but active.  Her family heritage includes British, Polish, and Jewish.  Pamela is five years old, attending kindergarten near Charlotte, North Carolina.  A superpower incident turned her skin purple (her favorite color) for a couple of days.  Her best friend is Carole Flores.  They love playing games together, but have difficulty when Pamela pushes for something that Carole doesn't want to do.  Pamela loves animals and visiting the zoo.
Qualities: Good (+2) Children's Folkore, Good (+2) Roughhousing, Good (+2) Tomboy
Poor (-2) Pushy

* * *

Fanmail raises issues of how to respond to it.  Celebrities have different tactics for this.  In Terramagne, plenty of superheroes have fans, and it's not just a social thing -- theirs can effectively become delegates  to do more in support of the superhero's chosen sphere of influence.  Some soups don't encourage or read fanmail, but many do.  There are tips on which voice to use when writing to fans.  To build a closer connection with your fans, you may employ naming, visual content, and interesting tidbits aside from your own work.  Most fanmail is simple and may be handled with form responses.  Reaching your most devoted fans may entail a more personal touch.  Know how to write an effective fan letter too.

Role models can inspire people to do great things.  Children may choose a role model based on personality type or a more methodical consideration of options.  Think about the traits and techniques required to be a good role model.

Crayola is among the most famous crayon company with many colors.  For some reason, the color names on crayons seem prone to drift across dimensions.  A lot of Crayola colors I remember from my childhood are not listed (cornflower blue, aquamarine, ultramarine, periwinkle, maize) and others were only admitted to recently (flesh, Indian red).  In Terramagne, the 16-color box has aquamarine instead of blue green.  I was fascinated by this project on beeswax crayons.  Terramagne has more readily available beeswax crayons in many colors and styles.  Crayola's multicultural crayons have 6 skin tones plus black and white for shading; a typical Terramagne set looks like the Lakeshore People Colors box of 24.  [personal profile] dialecticdreamer recommends Prang Soy Crayons.

Skin color is a complex and often fraught aspect of body image.  This is greatly complicated in Terramagne because "people of color" include both ethnic groups and people whose superpower gives them a distinctive skin tone.  Bigots who disrespect brown or black people are often even more vicious toward green or orange people.

Semolina Lane  featuring the Floppits by Tim Henson (who is very much alive) is the Terramagne equivalent of Sesame Street  with the Muppets by Jim Henson.  Although he wasn't really thinking about them as such when he first created the colorful characters in the 1950s, many of them have come to be read as soups due to unusual skin tones or other exceptional features.

Tide pools are beach features between water and dry land.  They offer great learning opportunities for younger or older children.  this encourages the development of citizen science.  Kiddie Poolz is a Terramagne organization that promotes environmental awareness and activism through beach programs.  Here are some ocean organizations from our dimension.  You don't need superpowers to help save the world!

Tags: activism, cyberfunded creativity, education, environment, fantasy, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, weblit, writing

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