Please see this PDF File for the FIRST FINAL DRAFT of "The Mountain's Last Flower" for Revision and Peer Review:
BELOW IS "SUMMARY STATEMENTS" which will be used for PITCHING the story to people: (1) tagline (2) summary (elevator pitch) (3) genre, proposed audiences (4) summary of my life--self glorifying deprecation of an autobiography (5) first paragraph/sections of writing.
"The mountain’s coming down! The mountain’s coming down!!! Aren’t you going to get off?!"
(2) Summary (Quasi Elevator Pitch):
The Mountain’s Last Flower is a surrealistic, precautionary tale exploring the relationships between the personal and universal denials of Heisen the Scientist, a rather obsessive and reclusive botanist. He refuses to listen to the warning cries of Gonzo the panicky Child, who is frantically urging him to descend from the unstable, rumbling mountain. Now required to deal with major sacrifice, the Scientist must consider leaving his once secure home of a mountainside cabinshack and discontinuing his attendance to the endangered, neon-orange-petalled Neopentaspectavolus granelli, which has served as a profound source of fulfillment in his later years. Through the interplay of antagonistic dialogues, Heisen’s war of ideologies with Gonzo ultimately reveals that he is conducting warfare within himself, as his own suppressed, youthful instincts are conflicting with the implanted, conventional “rationalities” of adulthood. Yet is Heisen able to come to his senses in due time such as to escape the “erupting heartbeat” linked with “dragon’s shedding of the mountain’s skin”?
(3) Genre, Proposed Audience:
This novella embodies the genre of "literary fiction for social (human-environmental) change," as clearly defined by Dr. Barbara Kingsolver (The Bean Trees) and her initiative of acknowledging works of fiction devoted to themes of social responsibility (through the means of the Belwether Prize, http://www.belwetherprize.org). Predominant themes interlaced within The Mountain's Last Flower include conflicts of value systems, communication methods, and knowledge regimes of different environmental stakeholders, the exploration of relationships between individual/collective learning and behavior change, and why the divorce of knowledge acquisition ("science") and action ("advocacy") can lead to failed decision-making.
This very "meaty" piece of literature--a novel's worth of material surrealistically packaged into a "novellette"--is catered toward the next generation of scientists, scholars, and activists in the realm of business, non-profits, and politics, who are currently figuring out their identities, and their role in society concerning efforts towards sustainability, locally and globally. In addition, The Mountain's Last Flower is designed to question and challenge several conventional paradigms in the university and other sectors that have resorted to widespread denial and inertia in terms of their role in the larger picture of human-environmental problems. Since I have been agonizingly inspired by great works of literature I was forced to read in high school (Crime and Punishment, Hamlet, Lord of the Flies), I sincerely hope to impose "inspirational agony" to our next generation of intelligent youth through the means of The Mountain's Last Flower (Come on folks! It's not as incomprehensible as Shakespeare! And not as gloomy as Dostoyevski! And it's even shorter than Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea!).
(4) One Minute Salespitch of My Life:
Victoria Minnich, otherwise known as “Stokastika” (a seeker of order from chaos), is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Media / Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Upon asking the question, “What is the definition of science when humans are a part of the experiment?” Victoria packed up her bags filled with knowledge and tools in the Life/Earth Sciences and Arts in order to venture down the rabbit hole of addressing complex human-environmental problems through multi-media storytelling, ranging from illustrated narrative fiction to documentary film-making.
Chronically asking the questions "What does it mean to be a next generation scientist?" and "What does it mean to be a next generation socially-and-environmentally-responsible storyteller?" Victoria dissolves any perceived boundaries between the sciences and the arts, luring these fields into new realms... of manifesting a more hopeful future.
(Wow, geez talk about book jacket foo foo! I hate all this self glorification, but this society is merciless in terms of my needing to promote myself. Even present myself as someone who I'm not. Well at least, it's someone I WANT to be. I guess THAT counts for something!)
(5) First Paragraph / Sections of Writing:
“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” –Sir Francis Bacon
The Mountain’s Last Flower was written in memory of my grandfather, John Ray Minnich. The creative wheels of this story began churning upon my first encounter with Duke and Dog in June of 2009 (then speeding up upon the incident of the 6.9 earthquake of Baja California in August of 2009). Thanks to Barry Spacks for challenging and encouraging me to write a poet’s story, not a straw man’s plight… and so this short tale has transformed into a novella, and it took me three months, not three weeks to write! Big hugs to Jeri Lyn and Steve for letting a troubled mind hibernate among the fruit trees and redwoods of Sebastopol, California. Much gratefulness to all of my blood-and-mind family for supporting—or putting up with—me through such an arduous journey of melding science and art. —September 2009
There was this old man by the name of Heisen who lived in a rather small, self-built cabinshack on a shrub-coated mountain, amidst a vast expanse of sparsely populated terrain, aways-away from any human-infested metropoliscapes. The cabinshack leaned against the somewhat steep, west-and-ocean-facing slope of the mountain, which was also bordered by a meagerly-fertile valley to the east, a village fairly near the base to the south, and a scanty continuation of the rugged range to the north. Despite his past-ripening age, Heisen maintained a lean and surprisingly agile form, giving him the capacity to construct this marginally functional, scraggly-shaped cabinshack, sufficient enough to shut out any high winds and mild rains. The old man’s untamed curly-grey-brown-hair-coupled-gruff-beard, horizontally-elongated, thick-lensed glasses, and gazelle-like defensive posture summed into an epitomized portrayal of a reclusive scholar of seemingly great intelligence—or bona fide geeky-ness in the least—as if he were a scientist of sorts.
And this man did in fact deem himself as a scientist. Heisen, the Scientist.