Rest and rest and more rest. That was the theme for last night, after the very long day I found myself heading off to bed very early in the evening.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t get things done yesterday. Oh, no: quite the opposite. I blogged, I saw my daughter get her black belt, we partied a little, I came home and chatted, I wrote and wrote . . . yes, it was a very full time to be had.
I was on the new chapter for Couples Dance last night, and somehow, even with all the shiny distractions going in, managed to crank out 1850 words. It was mostly conversation, but still, it was a lot of good flow, a lot of great energy going into the story. I was doing a lot of search for–I guess you could call it a hook for the chapter. I’m trying to explain something, and try as I might to get it down, the feeling kept dancing away from him. It was like, “Here I am! I’m what you’re looking for, right? Ha! You can’t have me–not yet!” Bastard plot lines. Just when I need my Muse to come around and grab them around the neck and drag them closer so I can whip them into shape, she’s nowhere in sight.
But that probably had a lot to do with my mental and physical conditions. The last couple of weeks I’ve been dragging ass something fierce. Friday and last night I started writing in a state of what I would call near mental exhaustion. Friday night a managed to get out 800 or so words before I had to pack off to bed, and last night was pretty much a two hour fight between procrastinating, nodding off, and writing. The writing won out for the most part, but I was in bed before 10:30, which is something I never do.
I did manage a short chat with Trusty Editortm, who was around for about 40 minutes in the afternoon. We had a pleasant, if quick, conversation, and some of that conversation revolved around my writing. Trusty (if I may call them that) has seen most, if not all, of the writing I’ve produced in the last year. So if anyone knows about the changes in my style, it is they.
One of the things they brought up is how I handle relationships in stories, which they commented upon after reading a couple of excerpts from my last couple of stories. They told me that, in my older work, my characters–mostly female–were either very cold and hard, or only interested in relationships where there was the promise of pleasure, but little else. And that’s a valid criticism, because it is true. It can be said that the later occurred because of the sort of fanfic I was writing–which was totally fetish erotica, and geared at a particular audience–but still, I rocked that first meme very well.
An example that came up was a character by the name of Helena. She’s a particular favorite of mine, at least now, but when I created her–bare bones, she was a hurt person, maimed in a battle, and extremely hard edged. If she’d stayed on the path I’d originally envisioned for her, she would have been a character with zero personality growth, likely remaining one of those semi-bitter women who would slowly grow to hate everything around her.
What changed was I needed a character for another project, and so I pulled Helena into that project. However, I needed a reason for her being there . . . and that’s when I created another character, Erwyin, who I’ve blogged about. Erywin–if I may steal the title of a script written for The Grand Moffat–is The Girl Who Waited. She met Helena when they were tweeners in the early 1980′s, fell in love as they became teens, and then were separated for nearly twenty years. She never questioned why her “pretty girl” went off on a path that would take her away from Erywin; she didn’t question why she stopped speaking to her; she didn’t question why, after Erywin discovered that Helena had been maimed, Helena refused to speak to her; she never questioned why, after Helena finally did start responding to her correspondence, it would take her months to write back, and that her words were so guarded. All Erywin wanted was for Helena to be happy–and that, one day, they’d be reunited.
Erywin would never pressure Helena. She would wait. If necessary, she’d wait forever just to hold her hand for a few moments before Helena passed on. Because Erywin was full of love for her pretty girl. She could never hate her.
She would wait because she knew, in time, things would somehow work in their favor. All she needed to do was exert the tiniest of pressure here and there, and fate would take care of the rest.
And that’s when Helena began to change. Once back close to Erywin, I knew the old feelings would have to resurface. I knew that, in Helena’s youth, she’d been madly in love with Erywin, and her feelings for her was insanely strong. One of the bits that came up was that a couple of weeks after meeting Erywin, Helena had the displeasure of encountering a girl who knew Erywin was a lesbian, and didn’t like her because of that fact. She made the mistake of telling Helena that her friend was a “silly faggot”, and deserved to be treated with scorn. Calmly, coolly, Helena grabbed the girl–who was older and bigger–by the hair, and proceeded to drag her–literally, she dragged her along the floor–away from her friends, saying to her and all who were watching in stunned silence, “You need to be taught proper manners.”
When you’ve established that sort of relationship as kids, you know where you have to go with them as adults.
As Trusty said, “You’re not afraid to explore relationships, to go deeper into romance.” All true. I’ve said that I’ve grown as a writer, that I can go places I’ve never been before. I’ve pointed out that I couldn’t finished Transporting–which is a love story told in a science fiction setting–until recently, because I couldn’t tap into feelings that I needed in order to write the ending. As Trusty Editortm told me about one of the excerpts from Transporting, “It’s raw and needs to be tightened, but it’s great.” And I don’t doubt either of those summations.
So with all that in mind, I headed off to bed . . .
You know where this is going, don’t you? Well, maybe not, but I’m going to take you there–
I know I had several dreams last night, but only one of them is sticking with me. It’s short and sweet, and . . . well, you’ll see.
It’s me and another person, a female type person that I do know. She knows I write, and she’s said that she enjoys my work. Now, in the dream, we’re alone and in a bedroom. We’re getting ready to turn in, and we’re both in our night clothes. (Yes, I do have dreams where I’m not naked. You don’t want to see that anyway.) There’s a single light on in the room, a lamp on a night stand. She’s got her back to me and is in the final stages of getting into bed.
It’s at that moment that I say her name. She stops and turns to me. She’s standing there looking at me as I move closer, slowly, taking my time in my approach. When I’m finally standing before her I take my time looking at her, gazing into her eyes, and she back into mine–
Then I slowly reach up and gently remove her glasses.
I take them off, my eyes never leaving hers the whole time. Once I have them off, and I’m holding them close, she gives me a faint smile, because she knows why I did what I did, and she knows the meaning behind the gesture. There is a slight beat, and then I see her eyes moisten, followed by a single tear trickling down her right cheeks.
And then she says something. She says it in a very soft voice, but one choked with emotion. Her words are simple, but they cut right to my heart, because I know what she means by them.
She says nothing more than, “Yes, you do.”
I return her glasses to her. She places them on the nightstand, then turns to me–and we kiss as the dream fads to black.
There is power in my memories, in my imagination. I know what I can do these days, and that, the more I work at my craft, the better I’ll become.
But I also know that, now, I can go places I’ve never would before. And I’ll get there. I only have to let fate do its thing while I give it a tiny exertions of pressure now and then.
I don’t mind being The Girl Who Waited.
Because I know how this story ends.