Brainstorming #3: Watchmen, the Pharos lighthouse, and darkness in the St. Georges Channel

Posted: January 27, 2011 by writingsprint in Brainstorming, postaday2011, postaweek2011, Weird, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , ,
The Watchmen

The Watchmen

Watchmen. Who watches the watchmen? The Watchmen were a cool, dark set of superheroes. I liked the idea that they weren’t perfect. If anything, it showed that superheroes could be assholes and nerds. It also showed that it wasn’t so easy being a superhero. You could be outcast, rejected, hurt by prejudice. Since the heroes worked for the government, they were hated when the government was hated.

Anyway. I once had an idea for a story about a lighthouse watchman who was cursed to watch the lighthouse forever, when one night he failed to light the signal fire and a ship ran aground because of it, killing everyone aboard. I like lighthouses. We still use them today, but the concept is ancient. According to Yahoo – scholarly, I know, but you try doing 400 words a night and have time to do solid research – the oldest recorded lighthouse was the Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria, completed in 270 B.C.. It was on the order of 400 feet tall and was considered one of the wonders of the ancient world. Coated in white marble, a bonfire lit the lighthouse at night, and a mirror of polished sheet metal reflected the sun’s rays during the day. A tower of glittering light, in an ancient world.

To me there’s something magical and mysterious about lighthouses. One single candle in the dark means hope. One tiny light in the middle of a pitch black ocean is the way home.

Pharos Lighthouse

Pharos Lighthouse

Two thoughts that just came to my mind:

The darkness off the coast of Ireland. One night I was on a ferry heading back from Ireland to England. There was a storm elsewhere in the St. Georges Channel, and the seas were pretty rough. Well, choppy. It wasn’t like people were flying off the deck. I know because I walked out on deck with one of the other students, and that’s exactly what I was afraid would happen to me. You couldn’t see more than a hundred yards away from the ship, because of the night fog. The water was black like liquid marble. The deck was slick, and I was convinced that if I took a wrong step I could fly off the deck and no one would ever find me. Evil, cold hands would pull me down into the bottom of the ocean, after I drowned, still screaming for help for someone to come find me. In that dark, nothing could find me. I wouldn’t take a step without holding on to something. I knew it was crazy, but I wasn’t going to wind up in the water from being wrong, either. When we came back into the ferry, I sat down, put my feet up on the chair in front of me, and hunched in my seat with my arms in front of me and squinting my eyes. I was trying to squeeze the fear out of me. The other student took one look at me and asked, “Are you all right???”  No. I wasn’t all right.

The image of a darkened room, then one single candle, held by someone whose face I can barely see. I guess I’ll write that one next time.

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