Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel  (2016)

“In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second, when he took his own life. I was ten years old.”

Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations―those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.

With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.

By Madeleine Thien

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Madeleine Thien is a Canadian short story writer and novelist.

She was educated at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. In 2001 Madeleine was awarded the Canadian Authors Association Air Canada Award for most promising writer under age 30.

Thien’s first book, Simple Recipes (2001), a collection of short stories, received the City of Vancouver Book Award, the VanCity Book Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her novel, Certainty, has been published internationally. It won the / Books in Canada First Novel Award and was a finalist for the Kiriyama Prize.

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anonymous asked:

kylux prompt: dampening collar. Feel free to do wahtever you want with it. i trust your judement.

“You have lost sight of our goal.”

Kylo doesn’t look up as the Supreme Leader addresses him, too proud or too cowardly, Kylo can’t decide. Either way, his head remains bowed, legs beginning to ache from kneeling down for too long, fists clenched in his lap.

“Supreme Leader, I can explain–”

“Silence. Do not speak until you are told to.”

Kylo flinches, scrunching his eyes closed as Snoke’s voice seems to reverberate through his chest, chilling his core with the coldness of his tone. He’s been through this dozens of times; kneeling in front of his Master after a failed mission, hoping that the punishment won’t be too severe.

But Kylo knows that even the most painful of tortures by the hands of his Master still mean that he gets to go back to the Finalizer, and go home to Hux. Even with bleeding wounds and a broken mind, Kylo normally remains upbeat on his journey back, knowing that he’ll be able to find comfort in Hux’s arms for whatever pain has been inflicted on him, find warmth in Hux’s words about his failures.

‘Another time, Ren,’ Hux always says, normally when he’s in the process of cleaning Kylo’s wounds or helping him into bed. ’This isn’t the end.’

But Kylo’s glorious memories of Hux are suddenly set alight, burning, as though he can feel a real fire in his mind. Kylo gasps, pressing the heels of his hands to his forehead in a futile attempt to quell the pain.

Snoke huffs. “Even when I am addressing you with important matters, your mind stays rooted on General Hux.”

Kylo looks up through the parting of his hair, seeing his Master sitting rigidly in his black ornate throne, bony fingers gripping the armrests, nails digging into the wood. In the flesh, Snoke’s gaze seems harsher, Kylo notes; more penetrative, as though his Master is somehow looking straight into his soul to determine his worth.

“I was quite pleased when you announced your budding relationship with the General,” Snoke says, tone flippant. “Someone to fuel your passion, to give your emotions a focus to make you stronger. But now I see. He’s distracting you, turning you against everything I have raised you to be. He makes you weak.”

“No,” Kylo whispers, shaking his head. It’s not true; the power he feels when he’s with Hux is unlike anything that he’s ever felt; he feels like he could be king of anything, conquer the entire galaxy if that’s what Hux asked of him.

But it’s only then that Kylo realises. He would kill Snoke if that’s what Armitage wanted.

“You would give anything for him, wouldn’t you?” Snoke leers down at him. “Answer me, boy.”

Kylo hesitates. “Yes.”


More hesitation. “Yes.”

“I see.” Snoke stands from his throne and begins the short walk along the cold marble floor to where Kylo kneels on a raised platform. “I’m sure you are fully aware of the infamous relationship that your grandparents shared. Padmé Amidala enraptured Anakin Skywalker to the point where he turned to the Dark Side. For her. To save her life. Tragic, really, that Vader became his strongest when she died.”

Kylo’s blood runs cold, and he gasps, looking up at his Master with teary eyes.

“Supreme Leader, I beg of you, spare Hux’s life, please, I can’t–”

“Ssh, my boy,” Snoke whispers, halting in front of Kylo. “Killing General Hux would not benefit me in the slightest. He’s an intelligent man. I still have use of him, for now.”

The two words at the end of Snoke’s sentence feels like a promise but Kylo tries not to dwell on it; Hux is safe. That’s what matters. He’s going to suffer his punishment alone, become bruised and beaten, but all he has to do is focus on going home to Hux.

“But,” Snoke says, and suddenly Kylo’s hope of both he and Hux being reunited is killed with that single word. “You are never going to see that poisoned bastard ever again.”

Kylo can’t stop tears from falling.

“Master, I’ll do better, I’ll do anything, just let me see him!”

“This is for your training, Kylo. He is holding you back. Can’t you see?”

“N-no, I–”

I love him.

With tears staining his cheeks, Kylo instinctively reaches out with the Force, strengthening his connection to Hux’s mind, hoping to find peace in their mental bond if they are going to be kept apart.

‘Hux? Hux, I’m sorry, I’ve failed you, whatever he tells you is a lie, I need you–’

‘Ren?’Hux’s voice comes back, panicked.‘What are you talking about? Are you safe? What’s happening–?’

“And of course, there’s this, too,” Snoke says, holding something right in front of Kylo’s face, something that he feels intimidated to look at.

But when Kylo does finally manage to look at the object, he wants to scream.

It’s a Force dampening collar; black though with an eerie blue glow seemingly radiating from its matte material.

“No…Master, not this. I promise I’ll stay away from Hux. I won’t contact him–”

“I can’t take that chance,” Snoke chuckles. “Now. Either you cooperate with me or I shall bring your precious little Armitage here and show him what true pain is.”

Kylo sobs. Again, he’s been left without a choice.

‘I didn’t want this, Hux. I’m sorry, I love–“

But the collar is around his neck before he can get out the words that he wishes he’d told Hux more often. The cut-off from the Force is immediate, and Kylo groans loudly, feeling his sensitivity to it completely demolish, replaced with complete radio silence. No connection to Hux’s mind, no reading Hux’s feelings. No Hux. Just Kylo. He clenches his fists together and presses them against his chest, curling in on himself as the tears keep falling.

On the Finalizer, lightyears away from Snoke’s hidden citadel, General Hux collapses on the bridge, whispering Kylo Ren’s name before he falls.

Chapter Four: Heat

Morty was the first to pull away, his whole body reverberating with anxiety. The gravity of the situation immediately began to weigh on him. At a glance, Morty could tell that uncertainty was taking it’s toll on Rick as well. The both of them sat up awkwardly, their entwined fingers finally breaking away from each other to sit alone on the bed. “I’m sorry,” Rick murmured as he brushed imaginary dust from his coat. “That shouldn’t have happened.” With a throw of the covers, he was on his feet and headed for the door before Morty had a chance to reply. He didn’t bother to look back as he left.
More than ever, Morty felt alone and confused. Even if there had been anyone for him to talk to, this was something he simply couldn’t discuss without receiving heavy scrutiny. If he really hadn’t wanted Rick to kiss him, he could have pushed him away. But he didn’t. In fact, he had enjoyed it. The thought of it made his stomach turn. Was there something wrong with him?
The emotions he was experiencing were unlike anything he had ever felt before, in a way that almost made him fear for the future and what it held. It wasn’t as if he had never kissed another person. In fact, the number of girls he had kissed throughout the years was too high to count. But Rick wasn’t a girl. Even worse, he was directly related to Morty. However, the passion that Morty had felt when their lips touched was unlike anything he had felt with the others. There was something attached to it, a feeling of true connection that made his heart skip a beat. He worried if perhaps this were something he was experiencing alone, that maybe Rick had confused the tender moment for something romantic and regretted it. Either way, Morty felt petrified. Naively, after all the terrifying things that had happened to him, he had believed that there was no longer anything for him to be afraid of. Through all the surprises and shock he had experienced in his life, this was the one thing he could have never anticipated.
“I’m an idiot,” he whispered to himself as he stared blankly into the wall. The guilt began to creep up on him again.
The echo of Rick’s voice shot through him like ice in his veins. “I’m going out for awhile,” he called. The sound of the door closing behind him was the only confirmation Morty needed. He flopped back down on his bed and began to wonder, to no avail, just what Rick was feeling. Was he angry with himself? With Morty, for allowing himself to become too vulnerable, too close? Or was he simply feeling like Morty was, lost and afraid, looking for the answers in the past?
With little pushback, Morty once again let his head fill with thoughts of Rick. Of the things he had said before, of his declaration of interacting with Morty in the manner he did solely because he wanted to, and not because he felt he had to. Of the kiss that followed those words. His lips had been much softer than Morty expected, more gentle and hungry. Without words it had felt mutual, a desire that they had both had in their hearts. A need.
A wanting heat began to spread through Morty’s body, causing him to shift uncomfortably beneath his sheets. Instead of worry, his mindset was now focused on lust. Perhaps selfishly, he wished that he hadn’t stopped the kiss so soon, so he could have had the opportunity to realize what a precious moment it was. After all, he wasn’t sure he would ever get to kiss Rick again, to feel his hungry lips move against his like no other’s could.
Impulsively, Morty’s hand began to push down the waist of his pants. He shivered at his own touch and suddenly his mind created the scene, a scene where the kiss hadn’t stopped and neither had Rick. As their tongues entwined, Rick began to lift Morty’s shirt gently, his large hand brushing over the places he somehow knew would make Morty squirm.
Morty gasped at his own imagery, his hand now softly tugging at his erection. In his head, the scene began to correlate until he could picture Rick touching him, his hands careful and maybe even a little clumsy. His breaths came faster.
“I want you,” Rick whispered. “All of you.” With his free hand he lifted Morty’s shirt so that he could kiss his chest. Morty began to feel hot all over, convinced his heart was going to explode. Rick’s hand began to work faster on Morty’s dick.
“No,” Morty murmured humbly through his moans. “I’m going to…”
Rick smiled mischievously and leaned forward to kiss Morty once more, his lips feverish. Trembling, Morty fought to breathe as he reached his climax, moving to bury his face in Rick’s shoulder.
“Don’t hide your face,” Rick teased lightheartedly. “I want to see.”
Abashed and flushed, Morty lifted his eyes to meet with Rick’s. In that moment, he looked so painstakingly beautiful that it almost sent Morty into a fit of tears. “See?” Rick smiled. “You look cute.”
However, reality proved to be more horrifying when Morty turned and noticed Rick standing in the doorway, his face bright red but cocky.
“Am I interrupting something?” Rick asked coolly. Morty scrambled to pull his underwear up under the sheets.
“How long have you been standing there?” Morty demanded, completely flustered.
“Jeez, I just got home. Calm down, it’s not like I saw anything.”
“I-It doesn’t matter, Rick!” Morty cried. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
Rick rolled his eyes and leaned against the door frame. “It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. There’s not really anything to be ashamed of.” Suddenly, he smirked. “That is…unless you were thinking of me?”
“Get out!” Morty yelled, throwing a pillow his way. Reflexively, Rick caught it and dropped it to the ground, his face still feigning arrogance.
“You’re so obvious Morty,” he laughed as he shut the door behind him. Defeated, Morty slumped against the mattress and tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Nothing seemed to add up. At first, Rick had seemed ashamed, angry even, but now he was coaxing it on? Although Morty knew it to be near to impossible, he wished that Rick would tell him how he was really feeling. However, deep down he knew that no sooner would Rick tell him his feelings than Morty would tell him his, and he didn’t even know how he felt.
Although every fiber of his being wanted to stay in bed and think it through, he stood from the bed and changed into a clean pair of pants. After a thorough check of the bedsheets, which had somehow remained clean, he decided it was probably better to get his mind off of things. Feeling a little shaken, he headed downstairs to watch some TV. To his luck, Rick was nowhere in sight.

(Another side note, I know, gag me with a spoon. This was the first smutty thing that I’ve ever written in all seriousness so after I wrote the word erection I had to coax myself out of a pit of embarrassment. You’re welcome. Also, if you wanna read the first three chapters look up the fanfic hashtag on my blog. That’s also where you can find all the new chapters. Chapter five might be smuttier but honestly I’m scared to say that because writing about the dirty makes me honest to god blush for like fifteen minutes. Anyways, I hope you enjoy you dirty, dirty sinners.)

Reverberation #245
  • Reverberation #245
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Reverberation #245
1. Goom - Massai Part 1
2. The Babe Rainbow - CosmicNow
3. La Luz - I Can’t Speak
4. Pat Thomas - Can’t You See
5. Phyllis Dillon - Picture On The Wall
6. Pedro Beltran y Orquesta - Cumbia De Lucy
7. Μάϊκ Ροζάκης και οι Playboys - Μεσ’ Στα Σύννεφα
8. Bongos Ikwue and The Groovies - Sitting On The Beach
9. Vytas Brenner - Bang-Going-Gone
10. Ultimate Painting - Silhouetted Shimmering

a seven-per-cent solution (5/30)

Happy Holidays! 30 days of Fic-mas

5. R E V E R B

The steps reverberate through the room. They’re coming from behind her, sharp in the echoing silence.


The fact she can’t see them makes it even worse. It sounds like it’s heralding her execution.

Step. Step. Step.

It wouldn’t be so bad, Ran thinks, if she could just see them.

Step. Step. Step.

Keep reading

the aesthetics of the gods
  • Aphrodite: the bruises of love bites left by lovers on necks and thighs; smudged lipstick from hasty kisses; blood red roses with their sharp thorns still intact; the way you hug someone you love when you reunite after a lengthy separation
  • Apollo: polished instruments gleaming, held like the most precious of jewels by their owners; a sunny day with a clear blue sky where there are no clouds in sight; the rough script of poems penned out on scraps of paper or napkins before they're forgotten; when music is so loud that you feel it reverberating in your bones; the pale lines of fading scars
  • Ares: the hands of a fighter, short finger nails and bloodied knuckles; split lips that have scabbed over; the smooth and intricate lines of old weapons you see mounted on museum walls; deep trenches dug out from the earth; the way barbed wire contrasts against whatever it surrounds
  • Artemis: loose braids with wild flowers slipped in; the majesty of tall trees stretching up endlessly towards the heavens; the wide and captivating eyes of wild deer; cloudy nights where the moon is just barely peeking through; the colorful fletching of arrows drawn back to rest upon cheeks and along jaws
  • Athena: the straight and steady way a soldier stands at attention; fingertips smudged with ink; a stack of books to read piled on the floor or a nightstand; eyes gleaming with the glow of new ideas; the quiet and contemplative aura of museums and libraries
  • Demeter: the way sunlight catches dust motes in the air through the gaps in the leaves of the trees; the feeling of life you get from standing in the middle of an orchard with bees buzzing around you; crocuses and snowdrops peeking through the last dredges of winter's snow
  • Hades: the bleached bones of animals in the forest when moss has begun to engulf them; the way that graveyard angels look like they're weeping in the rain; the solemn aura of old churches, citadels, synagogues, temples, and mosques
  • Hephaestus: the pleasure of holding something you've created in your palms; the soft glow of heated metal; the intricate beauty of cogs and gears fitting together precisely and working in tandem; the smooth and polished surfaces of high-rise business buildings
  • Hera: the lacy white of flowing wedding gowns; the way a couple's hands look clasped together; pairs of old wedding rings that are scratched from years of use; the feeling of surrealism that comes from looking at old family portraits; getting used to sharing a space with someone else and then seeing the mannerisms you've unknowingly adopted from them
  • Hermes: the way that the low beam headlights of a car touch the roads that stretch ever onwards at night; old maps yellowed at the corners from their age; the way that things rush past when you look out the window of a car or train; quick hands slipping deftly into pockets and taking what they find
  • Hestia: the light and protection of street lights in an otherwise dark city; the warmth of your bed on cold winter mornings; the heat of a fire as you sit around it with people you love; the comfort of a home-cooked meal
  • Poseidon: the way light looks when you're seeing it shine down from deep underwater; the effervescent colors of cresting waves; the eery beauty of shipwrecks; the ripples created when you trail your fingertips through still waters; dust clouds kicked up by the passing of strong hooves
  • Zeus: the way that storm clouds darken the edge of the horizon; silhouettes framed against the sky by flashes of lightning; the splay of feathers of a bird's outstretched wings; the polished and tarnished brass of old fashioned scales
‘I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali
The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier, George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war.

When Dr. Martin Luther King came out against the war in Vietnam in 1967, he was criticized by the mainstream press and his own advisors who told him to not focus on “foreign” policy. But Dr. King forged forward, and to justify his new stand, said publicly, “Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all—black and brown and poor—victims of the same system of oppression.”

When Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island, he said that Muhammad Ali made him feel like the walls were not there.

When John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised their fists on the medal stand in Mexico City, one of their demands was to “Restore Muhammad Ali’s title.” They called Ali “the warrior-saint of the Black Athlete’s Revolt.”

When Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) volunteers in Lowndes County, Alabama launched an independent political party in 1965, their new group was the first to use the symbol of a black panther. Beneath the jungle cat’s black silhouette was a slogan straight from the champ: “WE Are the Greatest.”

When Billie Jean King was aiming to win equal rights for women in sports, Muhammad Ali would say to her, “Billie Jean King! YOU ARE THE QUEEN!” She said that this made her feel brave in her own skin.

 The question is why? Why was he able to create this kind of radical ripple throughout the culture and across the world?

 What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence taught a simple and dangerous lesson fifty years ago: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago,  “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.”


n. a feature of modern society that suddenly strikes you as absurd and grotesque—from zoos and milk-drinking to organ transplants, life insurance, and fiction—part of the faint background noise of absurdity that reverberates from the moment our ancestors first crawled out of the slime but could not for the life of them remember what they got up to do.

Light Echoes Used to Study Protoplanetary Disks : This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. A new study uses data from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes to determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Researchers used a method called photo-reverberation, also known as light echoes.