June 24, 2018
This week my writing has been to continue the tedious task of working on my alien dictionary. Formatting and defining every iv’Ahzhvii word so that it has the look/feel of an actual dictionary. Here’s a small sample:
(ahzh-VEE) n. zh v meaning: knowing spirit
- The mother-father world, referred to as the gender Ve; which is the fourth planet in the Rah system. 2. The uxor of Gaia. 3. Vukosh companion to the moon, Kadure.
Vis children use Ver name formally/respectfully by adding honorifics reserved for Ahzhvii; Ahzhvii~mana (mother-father) or Ahzhvii~vavii (sacred spirit). When speaking affectionately/familiarly, Vis children may refer to Ahzhvii simply as Zh’Mana or Zh’Vavii
(ah-zee-VOO-foong) n. z v f ng meaning: communion, connected, transformation, awareness
- A wholeness of understanding, and acceptance that moves through one until the understanding and the individual become inseparable. 2. A discovery that includes multiple perspectives of thought, and being, that move one to mahavma.
(beh-VOONG) n. b v ng meaning: framework, connected, self)
- The study of the physical manifestation of consciousness, and what it tells about a person. 2. The science of how the physical body is both reflective, and telling of the nature and nurture of personality.
(BEH-poe-FEETH) n. b p f th meaning: inner and outer strength, gateway to thriving
- contest, competition, gathering, struggle, adversity; either or both mental and physical, used to result in growth/progress for those involved, both individuals and groups. 2. The competitions that are held annually in every community iv’Ahzhvii; on the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere. Origin: Agon – Greek
There are over 300 words iv’Ahzhvii – words that there are no equivalent for in English. It’s hard to believe that I need so many, but it must be true because they have been created.
As I’ve been working on this dictionary, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about the layers that the stories will be told in. As I talked about last week, I’ve been working to have a better understanding of tribe – since these are a tribal people. I still have lots of reading and researching to do, but I definitely need tribe to be something I can well understand so I can include it as a fundamental layer in the series.
One of the great discoveries I made this week, was that I do have experience of tribe – and it isn’t something I would have noticed, or thought of as tribe, had I not opened myself to start seeing tribe everywhere.
For most of my childhood, my father was the director of a ballet company. My siblings and I all took classes, of course, and we all performed. Dancers preparing for a show spend a lot of time together. There’s classes, rehearsals, costume fittings, costume changes, make up, hair, meals, and a million other things that you do together, relying on each other for help, advice, and many types of support. We had a huge dressing room filled with costumes, props, and all our personal belongings. It was an act of trust to know that you could leave all your things and they would be where you left them. We brought snacks, books, toys, knitting, and other projects to work on while we waited for our turn to work. There’s a lot of waiting in rehearsals.
Learning how to work together, to dance together, to trust that each person was going to be where they were supposed to be so that you didn’t run into each other, learning to leap with trust that you would be caught, depending on your fellow dancers in a myriad of ways, was a practice in tribe.
Dancing on stage was glorious, and I knew that I was part of a bigger whole, yet I was still very much me. I often had solo parts, not because I was a great dancer, but because I was a great performer, and my parent’s daughter. I loved the lime-light, and there was an element of individualism in dancing, even though it was tribe, and a group activity. We were acting a part that was instructed by, and influenced by, the music we danced to.
Dancing wasn’t the only experience of tribe I had. I was also in concert and marching band. I played the flute. In much of my musical career, I didn’t feel “part” of something larger, and I didn’t love playing the flute. I did recognize, though, that being in the band meant that we were a group that had “belonging,” we had something in common. Regardless of what school I attended, band members were a somewhat cohesive group.
My junior year of high school, I attended a school that really cared about band. They had won state championships many years, and many members were working for music scholarships to top universities; they were real musicians. When I joined that band, my experience was greatly altered. The musicians my junior year, cared. They cared about their ability to play properly, and they cared about the group. They encouraged me to learn and improve.
When one is supported by the tribe, growth is inevitable. Because they cared, and encouraged, I put in effort. I gave up every single lunch hour to go to the band room and learn to play my flute better. I moved up five chairs over the course of the year, I won first place in many competitions, and I lettered in band. All of my personal accomplishment was thrilling, but when we played together, it was transformative.
In a concert band, your part is mingled, it is a small part of the whole. Even though your part is individual to some degree, there are generally at least a few others that are playing the exact same part. You’re combining the music of your instrument with that of the others and their instruments, and your precision and timing is critical. When we worked together the music was so glorious that it could make our hearts soar, could make our insides shake, or practically bring us to tears. We had to be in tune, on time, and perfect to make such music. It was tribe of a different sort than dancing, and it was magical.
Beyond these tribal experiences, I have studied animals my entire life. It is amazing how much one can learn about tribe from watching the beasts that we share our world with. For example: Great ape mothers are very kind to their young, showing little to no aggression, and exemplary patience. Wolf discipline uses the minimum force necessary, which is almost always none, and instant forgiveness. Large flocks of birds coordinate their aerial displays so perfectly, so attuned to each other in a cooperative manner, that they appear like a wave of motion, a well-choreographed dance.
There are many social animals that can teach us beautiful things about tribe, connection, being a cohesive, interdependent group.
It is with all this, and the studies I have, and will continue to do, that I will build the foundation of tribe in this other world. I want it to feel real, wonderful, desirable, and obtainable.
I will continue to work on the dictionary, encyclopedia, and other foundational materials for this world, because a solid foundation will allow me to flow story, just as learning the basics of dancing, or music allows one to be a contributing member to the company or orchestra.
Today, my sister and I are the tribe iv’Ahzhvii – but we hope that more and more of you will join us on our journey. We invite you to become part of our tribe – a tribe that seeks to make the world a more wonderful place.