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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 15, Title: Declaration

Posted on 2014.07.27 at 14:27
Tags: ,

Joan walks into the city declaration building. She’s eighteen and it’s her first time declaring her profession. The receptionist points her towards the waiting room, it has sleek black leather chairs around a screen table. She places her finger on the screen segment in front of her, it comes alive with her default desktop screen and she scrolls through her file. If Joan isn’t allowed to declare as a creative, she’ll have to declare as someone who will have access to paper or a screen so she can still write.

“You’re declaring as a creative!” the peppy brunette beside her notices.

“The reason everyone’s rations keep getting reduced is people like you slacking off!” a wiry woman barks.

“Creatives are monitored with ten times more scrutiny than anyone else, how exactly is that conducive to slacking?” Joan replies.

“Everyone should have a purpose, everyone should be a productive member of society,” the woman spits the old mantra.

Joan merely shrugs and returns to going through her profile; it would be dumb to allow herself to get worked up before her interview.
                                                                                                                                    

*


She enters the interview room; it’s stark, with bright white walls, rectangular ceiling lights and a large screen desk with three people sitting behind it. In the middle is a woman with her reddish brown hair in a bun so tight it seems to pull back her face. On her left sits a man in a shiny blue suit and on her right is a man with a thin, long face.

“Your declaration is to be a creative, subsection writer, correct?” Tight-bun asks.

“Yes,” Joan replies. She grips her pen tight to keep from fidgeting. 

“Tell us why you would like to be one?” Shiny-blue-suit asks.

She takes a breath before answering, trying to sound eager rather than desperate and crazy,
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It’s kind of like a state of being, I think about my stories all the time, when I walk, when I talk, when I’m eating, even when I’m sleeping, sometimes I get up in the middle of the night with an idea and have to write. This is who I am. I can say I’m in this for passion not just as a cop out, I can say I believe I’m good enough to be one of the few you allow to declare as a creative. But really you need to look at my body of work and decide for yourselves.” 

“Yes, we’ve seen it. Your pieces are very serious.” Tight-bun states.

“Is that a bad thing?”

“People want something light and humorous to read at the end of the day, there isn’t really any need for this,” Long-face says. 

“I write what I write; it’s something different but still relevant. I’m writing about the issues of today, the struggles of the people.”

“I see. And some of these are even about peoples’ struggles with the government. Will you stop writing such serious pieces if we allow you to declare as a writer?” Tight-bun says with consternation.

Joan winces, she hadn’t put the ones openly mentioning the government in her profile but of course they found those too. She isn’t stupid enough to think she’s the only one to come up with the ideas she has, knows it’s rather that anyone who tries to speak out is suppressed. It’s therefore probably not sensible to give an honest answer, then again she’s never been one for sensible.

“I can also write some light-hearted pieces, but no I’m not going to stop writing the ‘serious’ ones either.”

They stop questioning her and begin muttering between themselves. She deflates, but then forces her shoulders back and straightens. And waits.

She strains to hear but can’t make out a single word, even while trying to read their lips. Eventually the discussion ceases and Tight-bun fixes a firm stare upon her, small mouth curving up slightly before she speaks, 

“Your declaration has been accepted.”


*


One year later, standing in the same room, she’d already know they’re displeased even without her monitor’s responses to her weekly reports. Her hands clench in anticipation.

“And you’re still not going to stop writing these?” The woman with the tight bun says in the exact inflection she had used the previous year.

At best they’ll probably make her re-declare as a different profession, at worst they’ll kill her. Beads of sweat form as she imagines the horrors of what they might do to her, but she stays resolute,

“No.”

“Very well. Your declaration has been accepted, you may go.”

She startles, that was way too easy. It’s the last thing she’s expecting, had almost been hoping to be thrown in a cell or be put up for execution, then at least she’d have a story that proved her point.


*


In the following year she grows more popular. She gives people something different to think about.

Many love her, many more hate her. She goes against the propaganda they’ve been fed their entire lives. Her friends and family constantly urge her to declare as a different profession or at least write pieces which are less controversial. But she understands now how important this is. She’s met people, they call themselves activists, and she’s learned. She understands the necessity of education, of choice, of change, understands that as a people they’ve had far more taken from them than they realise. This isn’t just about the writing any more, this is about a revolution.

There’s some confidence the next time she declares. Even though her success makes them more inclined to hurt her, she’s famous enough that they can’t touch her. Unless of course they want to make an example of her, but that would ruin all their pretty, pretty lies. It’s a stalemate; she’s allowed to declare as a writer once more.


*


Joan rifles through her purse, pulling out a fruit token and a juice token and smoothing them out so they won’t be rejected by the vending machine. A tall man snatches them.

“You get free food and living quarters and electricity like everyone else, and you still rail against the government; you should be ashamed of yourself!” he shouts, turning to the rest of the cafe, encouraging others to join him.

Some grumble quietly, some nod. The man waves the tokens and proclaims, “She’s the problem!”

Sensing an opportunity to air their displeasure a few people stand up, cheering, and then a few more join them. A strong hand, possibly belonging to a fan, tries to tug her from the gathering crowd but she refuses to slink away, instead steps onto a chair and speaks,
“That’s because we get no other choice. If we want food, it’s the food the government grants us. We get everything we need and in return all the government wants is our souls. We do the jobs the government allows us to, work when the government wants us, think what the government wants us to, work in government-run businesses, and live our lives in government approved segments.”  

She gets a broken arm for her trouble. But there are at least a couple of faces looking at her with a hint of curiosity.


*


Someone throws a brick through her living room window. She replaces the glass and carries on.

Their movement grows, more joining the cause. People are outwardly willing to defy the government and demanding alternative options to declaring professions. There’s less looking down on Creatives and other ‘undesirable’ professions. She thinks she’s making a difference. But change is slow. This is only the beginning.

In the quiet hours of the night she wonders why she’s allowed to continue.


*


Time passes, year after year she declares as a writer. Until her time to declare retirement comes. She limps on rotten knees but refuses to use a cane.

As with all who come to the end of their careers, she’s presented with the screen showing her purpose (everyone should have a purpose). Her heart sinks as she reads.

Name: Joan Montagne ID number: JM8603731 Purpose: Maintaining the illusion of freedom.








Comments:


kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-07-27 15:44 (UTC) (Link)
This moves well, forward, with the clear purpose of a final, clinching line. And then it delivers! It's really very clever in the details! Nice work!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-27 15:48 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad that ending worked for you :)
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-07-27 16:03 (UTC) (Link)
I particularly liked how "purpose" comes around full circle again! You have a clear skill for these "small plots"!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-27 16:08 (UTC) (Link)
Ooh, Thank you :).

Hee, I too liked the idea of 'purpose' being the thing coming full circle :)
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"
roina_arwen at 2014-07-28 17:48 (UTC) (Link)
Loved this dystopian society and her "purpose" - ouch! Very well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-28 17:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you like it :)
John Louis
grail76 at 2014-07-29 16:36 (UTC) (Link)
Kind of 1984ish. Probably needs to be longer to get more of her feeling into it.


Edited at 2014-07-29 04:37 pm (UTC)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-29 17:02 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah that kind of dystopia was the kind of vibe I was going for :).

Thank you for the concrit :).
John Louis
grail76 at 2014-07-29 17:24 (UTC) (Link)
You've definitely got the dystopia thing down.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-30 07:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Es'ka
eska818 at 2014-07-30 07:18 (UTC) (Link)
Shit, that totally got me. I was enraptured the entire time, and while I feel I should have guessed at the ending, it still hit me like a ton of bricks. Brilliant job!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-30 07:22 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, so glad it had you enraptured and that the end took you by surprise :)
fodschwazzle
fodschwazzle at 2014-07-30 19:44 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. This is such amazingly concise, biting social critique. I disagree that it needs to be any longer.

As much as they be untried and untested systems, one would have to wonder how much communist and socialist society writers feel the hidden hand of the government in their own agendas. And in our own society, how influenced we all are when the media speaks (and how privately controlled they can be).

This is brilliant. I love it.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 06:19 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much, those are such lovely compliments :).

Yeah, how much hidden control the government have in different societies is intriguing. I do think we're a lot more influenced by the media than we realise. I think they're very controlled, it just depends who it is who has that control, although the internet does open a new dimension to the thing. :)
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-07-30 23:37 (UTC) (Link)
I was figuring this had to be the reason. Sad that she didn't figure it out, too. They were all too eager to keep her, despite her refusal to change. I do like how this flows, though, and how it all comes together. Well done!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 06:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the flow :).

Yeah, I think she was just too willing to overlook their motives and think her success was making her untouchable. Because she was living the life she wanted.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2014-07-31 01:08 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, ouch-- what a sting at the end!

And yet, there's no way to say that the assessment is untrue, based on the evidence of her life.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 06:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad the end had an impact :)
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-07-31 04:14 (UTC) (Link)
Aw, poor Joan.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 06:31 (UTC) (Link)
*gives Joan hugs*

Thank you :)
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-08-02 05:13 (UTC) (Link)
You're welcome. :)
uncawes
uncawes at 2014-07-31 07:05 (UTC) (Link)
Nice twist at the end.
Right up to the retirement declaration I was expecting Joan to be "of Arc" before the people got too much behind her.
But perhaps letting her see how they used her was more cruel than burning her at the figurative stake.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 07:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the twist :).

Well when I was thinking of her name I did decide Joan because of Joan of Arc, so she's kind of named after her :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-07-31 11:00 (UTC) (Link)
Oh Well..Yeah I loved the twist..but it made me sad..Wonderful work yet again.. I like where it went very much! Good Job!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-07-31 11:00 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the twist :)
LiveJournal
livejournal at 2014-07-31 15:33 (UTC) (Link)

<lj user="therealljidol" title="LJ Idol"> IX - 15. Recommendations. 9 hours to deadline

User kehlen_crow referenced to your post from LJ Idol IX - 15. Recommendations. 9 hours to deadline saying: [...] : http://swirlsofblue.livejournal.com/24316.html [...]
LiveJournal
livejournal at 2014-07-31 21:30 (UTC) (Link)

lj idol recommended reading week 15

n3m3sis43
n3m3sis43 at 2014-08-01 00:01 (UTC) (Link)
Oh. Damn. I love this.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-08-01 05:47 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much :)
dmousey
dmousey at 2014-12-10 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
This leaves me with a Divergent Vibe... then again I've recently read the series! :)

The character is believable and I would've liked to know more about what she had written to agitate people or the government.

I liked this piece! Thanks for giving us a second chance to read it. :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-12-10 16:32 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :).

And thanks for the feedback, it's good to know what to add :).
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