Girlfriend in My Pillow

First, the writing thing.  Though there was a bit of a struggle with the writing–motivations just weren’t what they should have been–I managed to squeak out a little over nine hundred and forty words in my newly added scene.  This did some interesting things to the word count–while the count for Act Two is now hovering just before forty-nine thousand, five hundred words, the count for the full manuscript hit a new milestone . . .

Yeah, two hundred thousand.  That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

Yeah, two hundred thousand. That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

I’ve only passed into the territory once before, and there’s a very good likelihood that this novel is going to surpass that other novel by some distance.  Just gotta keep going, moving forward, and remember that the next scene is gonna involve some math.  Just for me, though:  you won’t see it.  Science, bitches:  it makes writing better.  Or so I’m told.

Let’s put that behind me, though, because there’s something on my mind, something bothering.  Probably because I know the true meaning of what happened . . .

I’ve written a few times about how I’ve felt my dreams were either sadly lacking or simply non-existent.  Some of that has to do with my sleep habits, which are, frankly, pretty sucky.  It seems like if I don’t go to bed late and sleep for six hours straight, I wake up kind of out of it the next day.  Or for several days afterwards.

However . . . the last week or so the dreams have come back strong and with a vengeance.  Exceedingly vibrant as well.  Like last night, it seemed like I was spending a lot of time going to a job that I didn’t walk, and that it was cold and snowy in July, and when I arrived as said word someone tried to take the keys to my car, and I ended up breaking their arm to keep that from occurring.

It was Friday morning, however, that really hit me hard . . .

I’ve been in situations where I can’t tell if I’m truly asleep or not.  It’s like a waking dream; I know something’s going, I know I’m seeing something, but am I just thinking these things, or am I stuck in a dream so vivid that it feels like I’m awake?

Whatever I was feeling Friday morning, it doesn’t really matter.  What I felt was having a woman I’ve known for years, rolling over in bed next to me, saying good morning, honey, you’re up early, then leaning in close to me to plant a good morning kiss.  I leaned in close to receive said kiss and give her one of my own . . .

And that’s when I realized I was alone in bed.  Not only that, but my left hand was slowly rubbing the pillow I keep there to hug when I go to sleep.  I broke into sobbing, and it took me a good thirty minutes before I was able to drift off to sleep once more.

Unlike this young lady, I'm rarely smiling when I'm doing this.

Unlike this young lady, I’m rarely smiling when I do this.

With the return of the dreams have come the return of the emotions.  April was a bad time for feelings, and there were a lot of crying jags.  Tomorrow starts the first of my hormone treatments, or as some might say, “Welcome to Puberty 2.0!” and I have a feeling the next month or two are going to be crazy times at the casa.

Add to this a lot of heart string tugging on my part . . .

I can get through it.  Just takes a little perseverance, right?

Entering the Big Empty

Let’s just set the bar right now:  yesterday was a miserable day.  I needed to do a lot of running around for one, and that really kept me away from the keyboard.  While I managed to hunt down all the medical prep stuff that I’ll need very soon, and I found a great camera tripod for $50 that I think will come in very handy for me in the future, it also meant that by the time I did all this, and covered lunch, it was close to two before I rolled back to the apartment–

The apartment with no A/C, I should mention.  It crapped out Friday evening.  Friday and Saturday weren’t bad, but yesterday was getting kinda nasty inside, so I had to break down and pick up a high powered tower fan.  It’s keeping me cool at the moment, though once the air starts to stagnate in here, it’s probably going to blow a lot of hot air around.  I’m hoping that after I make my call to the management this morning, they’ll get this probably fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

I also fell asleep reading a book, which is more than likely why I was first up at four AM before drifting off into a fitful sleep–one that was marred by some strange dreams beforehand.  I swear, where are the nice dreams I used to have?  Now it’s all about people ignoring me, and telling me I can’t buy things, and so forth and so on.  And in one case being flat out ignored by someone.

Where are the dreams where I’m asked, “Were you found in a compromising position with a woman who you adore?”  And my answer is . . .

But of course!

But of course!

When I came time to writing I was pretty much out of it, about to fall asleep–and I pushed it hard to get the four hundred and seventy-seven words I show you below, where the kids come into the totally empty Dining Hall after their night class.  Good or bad, it’s all there.  Enjoy as I check out into my own big empty . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Entering the Dining Hall at just past twenty-two hours, Kerry felt, for the first time, the size of the room. He’d seen The Great Hall empty before: during his first night here, before and after taking Annie to the hospital, on a couple of occasions after Astronomy Class, when Annie and he had walked through the Rotunda on their way to the tower instead of taking the Pentagram Wall passage between Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos, and during the aftermaths of the Midnight Madness.

But he’d never been in the Dining Hall late of night when it was empty. He’d wandered into the hall when it was nearly empty during the day, but those moments didn’t carry as much weight as now, with Wednesday leading her seven students into the hall after the completion of Advanced Spells. Now it struck Kerry like a large, dark cave room, full of darkness and shadows and subdued echoes.

He didn’t find it frightening or intimidating at all: he found it fascinating. The room was one of the oldest sections of the entire school, and Kerry could almost imagine what it was like here, over three hundred years ago, maybe with people sleeping here, or doing some late-night studying, or having a conversation with another students while sharing a midnight snack—

Though he doubted very much that the room was completely empty like it was now.

This is what made the room different from the times Annie and he departed a Midnight Madness. The sofas and chairs and tables and beds were still present when they walked back to Cernunnos Tower. Now there was nothing but empty space: no tables, no chairs, no podium for the Headmistress to address the students from. Even the fireplace at the north of the room was out.

Wednesday walked towards the center of the room close to the fire place, speaking in a normal tone of voice. “New Advanced Spells configuration, please.” In a matter of sections a sofa, a large armchairs, and two love seats appeared before her, all facing each other across a a low oval table. Wednesday pointed a finger at the fireplace; the wood inside erupted into flames before settling down into a nice, cozy fire.

The students found their seats as Wednesday continued standing, looking as though she was waiting for someone. There was a soft pop as a woman teleported into the room, only a couple of meters from the instructors. “Good evening, Professor.”

“Good evening, Zora.” She nodded towards the students. “Could we have grilled cheese and hot cider?”

“The usual servings?”

“Not tonight.” She pointed at Annie and Kerry sitting together in the love seat. “Some new blood joined us. Make that servings for eight.”

“Have it right out for you, Professor.” Zora vanished as Wednesday turned and headed for the arm chair closest to the fireplace.

 

There you have it.  If I can stay awake tonight–and if the apartment isn’t a hot box–I’ll start getting into something interesting in this scene.  At least I hope it’s interesting–

If not, we could get up and dance.  It won't be a Clone Dance--wait!  We can do that here!

If it’s not, I could have the kids get up and dance. It won’t be a Clone Dance–wait! We can do that at this school!

Alone in Nox

My day is starting off pretty much the wrong way.  Sure, I managed close to a thousand words last night, finishing off a scene where Kerry is having to beg two of his favorite older females to help him with a problem, but that was last night.  Today is today, and it started about four AM.  Which is not cool.

The thing that woke me up was a rather depressing dream.  What happened isn’t very clear:  it seemed like I was boxing up people and preparing to send them somewhere.  Everything was gray and near permanent twilight, and I could tell that I wasn’t happy.  No, not in the least.

Not long after I woke up I started, for no reason at all, thinking about the deaths of my characters.  And then of a scene where one of them gets hurt bad, really torn up, and starts sobbing uncontrollably over the loss of someone close to them.  And then . . .

Well, then I sort of lay in a half-awake, half-asleep state until the alarm went off, and the computer came up, and I started writing this.  The way my mornings almost always start.

"Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?"

“Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?  Just askin’, you know?”

Something I realized while lying in bed:  I don’t remember my dreams that much any more.  And when I do, there’s little that’s memorable about them.  Two years ago I used to write a lot about my dreams, because I had some interesting things going on in my head.  I also had some horribly, hellacious stress going on in my life as well, but that’s another story.

But maybe that’s it:  maybe all the stress I felt then caused me to fall back into my dreams to find peace.  And I used to find it; there were all sorts of things I used to encounter there.  I also encountered a soul-sucking blackness once that frightened the hell out of me once I was awake, but you gotta take the bad with the good, right?

These days, however, it seems like none of that happens.  Even with all the stress and pain I feel with my current, long-ass, never-seeming-to-end novel, it never seems as if I find any solace in sleep.  When I do remember anything, it’s all different shades of gray and feelings that nothing right is happening, or ever will happen.  It’s pretty much as if there isn’t much happiness in the waking hours, and that translates over to the Land of Dreams, where goddamn Morpheus is busy playing Battleship with his sister Death, and hasn’t the time to do anything to help out a poor girl.

I used to dream of old Cassidy, the girl I invented before–well, before she became me.  I had dreams of The Monster House before I wrote down notes about how it would make a great story, and that recurring dream never recurred.  The one I miss the most is my Muse.  I never dream of her any more, and she used to be there a lot.  So many times.

Now, nothing.  She’s gone.  Somewhere out there, but not visiting me.  And that leaves me sadder every day.

This might only be something temporary.  Maybe there’s something in The Burg that sucks up all the good energy that leaves you great dream, and all that remains is as gray and semi-lifeless as this place can be at times.

All I know is, I want my dreams back.

It’s not enough to dream about them; it’s everything to live thought them once the lights go out and your eyes close.

Why deny someone a little happiness in their subconscious?

Chestnut Breakdown

It’s Liz Parker Time around the casa once more.  That can only mean one thing:

I’m writing again.

I say I’m always doing something writing related, but now I’m actually back writing.  Slow, yeah, but I’m back.  Nothing new, either–unless you consider a rewrite of an existing scene that needs some tuning up and something added a rewrite, well, I’ll take it.  I’ve sections of Act One that are in need of rewriting and, in at least two scenes, to be made completely new.  There may be more, but I’m getting to them.  Because it needs getting to, you know.

There is one good thing to come out of all of this:  in deciding to completely redo a scene in Chapter One, something will happen there that will actually tie into a conversation that will happen in–let me look it up–Chapter Thirty-one.  It would be Chapter Thirty-two, but I think I can change the time line just a little, move a couple of scenes from there to Thirty-one, and eliminate a chapter.  Whee!  That means I’ll only have to write forty-two chapters–which, you have to admit, is a lot more geek-lined.

However, getting to that link required thinking about how the story would play out on the other end, and that wasn’t pleasant.  Oh, the planning and whatnot is always a lot of fun–usually.  There are moments when it’s all a pain in the ass to get everything straight in your head, which is why I always make charts and such to help me along.

No, it’s when you have to get into your kid’s heads and understand why they do some of the things they do.

The scene in question brings up the matter of dreams, which in the world I’ve created are usually a lot more than they seem.  Particularly if you’re Annie and Kerry, who seem to have an issue when it comes to a special form of lucid dreaming.  These dreams have special meaning to both kids, and for the first time yesterday I thought them out, even made a few notes, because at some point gotta talk about them.

But it wasn’t those dreams that caused issues in these scenes:  it was remembering another dream alluded to in Kerry’s dream.  It’s something that explains an action he takes in Act One; it explains something that’s been bothering Annie since meeting Kerry.  It’s something that ties in something said in Chapter One–something she’ll say a few more times, as if she’s trying to trigger memories.

In bringing up this new dream, however, it pulled out a few memories and feelings of my own, one of which is particularly painful at the movement.  And in doing so, I had a full-on crying meltdown.

"These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart.  Why don't you take up another hobby--like, something without emotional connections?"

“These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart. Why don’t you take up another hobby–say, like, something that doesn’t involve emotional connections?”

The upside is I finished the scene, and made notes.  One moment I’m all about to fall to the ground crying, and the next I’m trying to set it down in writing.  I blame the hormones, which probably did play a big part in what happened last night.

But I’m back writing again.  I feel good.

Let see how long this goes.

The Loneliness of the Long Distant Series

There are time, I think it’s safe to say, when I wonder if I’m mad as hell.  Not Howard Beale “Mad as hell”, but mad as in Mad Hatter sorta mad.  And why is that, you are probably asking yourself–if, indeed, you are bothering to ask yourself that question after reading the previous sentence.  It’s because I am a little crazy.  It’s because I’ve got a world inside my head, and I’m wondering if I’ll ever get it all out.

And if I should, how much of my life is gonna get spent doing so?

It started like this:  I was speaking with someone yesterday about our respective works in progress.  They mentioned that on their current work–which is really a long series broken into three parts–they’ve written one hundred and twenty thousand words in two and a half years.  That’s a good amount, particularly, as they said, they don’t get the opportunity to write every day.

I then mentioned that with my current novel I’ve written just short of one hundred and forty thousand words in four months, and when looking at the rest of the novel, I believe I have about one hundred and twenty-five thousand words to do for Act Two, and maybe one hundred and ten to one hundred and twenty thousand words for Act Three.  I also mentioned that I was getting into A Song of Ice and Fire series territory in terms of how many characters I’ve had with a point of view and/or a speaking part.  All in all, when you read that, it does come off a just a little batty to say, “Within the next year I expect to finish a novel that’s going to run about three hundred and seventy-five thousand words.  ‘Tis but a meager tale.”

And for the record, here are the characters in Act One who have shown up with major and minor points of view, or have had a substantial speaking part:  Annie, Annie’s Mom, Annie’s Dad, Mr. Mayhew, Kerry’s Dad, Kerry’s Mom, Kerry, Ms. Rutherford, Collin, Alicia, Mathilde, Deanna, Erwyin, Helena, Adric, Isis, The School Adviser, Nurse Coraline, Jessica, Holoc, Maddy, Lisa, Vicky, Wednesday, Harpreet, Emma, Ramona, Mathias, Gretchen the Night Nurse, and Trevor the Librarian.  That’s thirty characters, and right off the top of my head I can think of about six other characters who are going to show up in the next two acts and have something say.

The good news is:  Act One is really the “Let’s Get Everyone Out Here Now” act that does all the introductions, and the majority of these characters will continue on with the story through Acts Two and Three.  The bad news is:  there’s a lot more to the story that just Acts Two and Three.  A lot more beyond what I laid out for Act Three back in October.

I look at this and wonder, "What the hell am I doing?"

I look at this now and wonder, “What the hell was I doing here?”  Not that I don’t know, mind you . . .

I was laying out time lines for my B Level story–as I mentioned in yesterday’s post–and more or less finished up how the story will go, including a scene that was frightening and tear jerking at the same time.  Then I looked at all the other stuff I’ve laid out, really a huge amount of information, and wondered, “Am I really gonna finish this tale?  Each ones of these stories will run well over a hundred thousand words, maybe closer to two.  Will I really have the years left to finish it all?”

It’s an incredible task.  Yes, I can write a quarter of a million words in a year if I try hard enough, and even edit it in three months time.  I’m setting myself upon a long game where I could find myself spending five or six more years to tell a story that few, if any, people will ever read.  This is where the madness comes in, because the question that keeps dancing about in my mind is why?  Why do this?

It’s a strange thing, but once someone told me they had a dream where they were speaking with me while holding the book of this story in their hands.  They told me this wasn’t the only time they’d had this dream, and that they were certain I’d not only write this story, but I’d tell it all.  That if I kept at it, the story of these two kids and their trials and tribulations would become known.

Is that actually the truth?  As Deanna would say, you have to be careful with visions, because by speaking them you almost certainly change the future in some way.  But I’ve already spent two years with this story and these characters bouncing about in my head–

What does it matter if I spend another ten years of my life on it?

As Florence once sang–and, I should point out, the same song will be sung during a show at the school at some point in the future–”What the hell, I’m gonna let it happen to me.”

‘Cause if I didn’t, what else would I do?

Blithe Future

The night was not one of my best:  I woke at least three times, and there was a point around four AM when I didn’t know if I was falling back into sleep or not, and I considered getting up and doing something.  Which isn’t the best thing to do when you’re not able to sleep, because it makes for a very long day if you never sleep from that point on.

There were some disturbing dreams during the sleepy time moments, too.  These days most of my dreams see to revolve around rejection and loneliness.  I was getting that last night here and there; people just didn’t want to be around me, and dismissed my creative efforts.  It was quite off-putting, and there are times when I don’t want to dream because I’m tired of what awaits me on the other side of the curtain of dreams.

A long time ago in a high school far, far away, I took an acting class.  I was a bit of a puzzle for my instructor, because most people in the class thought I was one of the best when it came to acting (notice I didn’t say ACTING!  because that stuff ain’t for me), but for the life of me I couldn’t memorize my lines worth a damn.  Part of the problem was not being able to work with other people to get my lines down:  I was always at home, always alone, unable to hook up with the people who may have been able to help, and I was just too much of a mess to develop the discipline to get this stuff right.

I can still remember the first thing I did in front of the class:  it was a scene from Blithe Spirit, and I was acting opposite the ghost Elvira–well, the person playing her.  I managed to get half way through the scene, and then the brain locked up.  I couldn’t remember a single line.  The teacher sort of ripped into me for not bring prepared, and the girl I was acting opposite was mad because she had her part down cold and I ended up making her look bad.

Yeah, Elvira wasn’t happy with me, which sort of paralleled the plot of the story.  What a surprise, right?

"You screwed up my big scene, Cassie, and now I'm going to come and haunt you every night--just like in the play!"

“You screwed up my big scene, Cassie, and now I’m going to come and haunt you every night–just like the play!  Who says life doesn’t imitate art?”

You’re looking a little green, Elvira.  Maybe you should go lay down.

My sucking at acting literally coincided with my sucking at my first attempt at writing.  At least I kept trying the writing thing–and, let’s remember, giving it up as well–until I finally got good with myself and found I didn’t really suck all that much, but there still seems to be something going on in my subconscious that is keeping me from getting relaxed with this creativity thing.  The deeper I’ve ventured into The Foundation Chronicles, the more the dreams of, “You suck, you’re a failure, you’ll never amount to anything, shun the loser–Shuuuuuunnnnnnnnnn,” keep coming like an iTunes playlist on repeat.

Though there was a slight change in the tune this morning . . .

Yesterday, in the afternoon and before heading off to bed, I was working out a couple of scenes in my head.  I call them the Presents scenes, because that’s what they are about; one has a panicked Kerry beseeching Nurse Coraline and Professor Sladen to help him with getting a present for Annie’s rapidly approaching birthday, because he’s an eleven year old boy who knows nothing about what to get girls, particularly for one who a few weeks before told him she’d loved him all her life.  The other scene takes place after the kids return from Yule holiday, and Annie gives Kerry a belated Christmas present.

They’re sweet scenes, and both will appear in Act Two.  I was playing them out now because I’m bored, there’s nothing to do, and like I said yesterday, I’m always thinking about my stories even when I’m not writing.

On to the next part of this tale . . . During my four AM wake up I lay in bed hoping to fall back to sleep, and during this time I thought a little about the gifts Annie and Kerry give each other.  I thought about how they would feel receiving them, how they both added little touches to make them more personal . . . all sweet little touches that add to the characters.

I did drift back into dreams, and for a while I was feeling a little of the old sensation of being alone and somewhat unwanted.  Then someone started looking through a box I was carrying.  They found something I’d written, and they slowly read it over, turned to me, and said, “I would love to format this on a large square and hang it up for all to see–”  The person who was saying this broke into a huge smile.  “This is brilliant–simply brilliant.  You should be proud.”

I know what writing they were talking about:  it was the scene where Kerry gives Annie her birthday present.  And I know who the person was telling me to be proud of my work–it was someone I know, but whom I haven’t seen or spoken with in a while.  Even though it was a dream, I needed to hear those words, and I needed to hear them from her.

Even if it was a dream, so often we require validation from those whom we respect and cherish.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it comes you feel as if you’re dancing upon a cloud and nothing bad will ever happen to you again.  The doubt can keep tormenting you like a nasty spirit–but you also have to remember that the spirit may be tormenting you because it remembers all the great moments you shared, and it wants you back by its side.  It’s not tormenting you out of spite:  it’s doing so out of love.

You’ll never lose this spirit completely, so make the best of the future to come.  And try to convince that spirit that, yes, you do have your brilliant moments.

Maybe then she’ll send you off to wonderful dreams with a kiss.

Hangin’ With the G Friend

Yesterday it was talking about bad teachers in dreams and all the crap I went through it fourth grade–not a pleasant recollection.  The thing is, that recollection didn’t stay long, because by mid-day yesterday my mind was on something else, and it was a far better time than I had in that lousy dream.

What I’m talking about is the next year, and fifth grade.

Fifth grade was completely different from the year before, because my teacher then was a great guy whose name is, unfortunately, lost to me.  I want to say “Mr. Haney,” but I don’t think that’s right, though his name started with an H, so I’ll just call him Mr. H.

Mr. H was one of those teachers who didn’t dumb things down.  He knew which kids were good and wanted to learn, and which didn’t give a single shit if they made it through the year.  He loved reading and he loved science, and that was good with me.  He’d lived in Japan for a while, and while he was there he’d recorded an interview with someone who’d been a school boy in Hiroshima, and who survived the atom bombing by hiding in a cave being used as a bomb shelter.  Though he spoke English well, when he tried describing how the mouth of the cave lit up from the blast he completely lost it and started crying and mumbling in Japanese.  It was a pretty powerful moment for me, considering I’d already done my own reading on what happened then.  (And believe it or not I eventually dated a Japanese woman whose mother also survived the Hiroshima bombing.)

Mr. H pushed me in history and geography, because he knew I loved the subjects, and that I wasn’t content to stop at a certain point and look no further.  One class assignment we had was to do a report on a country, and the country I chose was Macau.  This was 1967 to 1968, and when you said “Macau” the majority of adults went, “Whu?”  No one in the class knew where my country was, nor if it was even real, but I was given extra points because just about everyone else went with stuff in Europe, or if they did Asia it was Japan and China.

The best thing Mr. H ever did was tell the Daughters of the American Revolution about my grades, and they came into class and gave me an award for “Excellence in American History”.  I was given a book, which for me, at the time, was better than money.

But I’m not here to rap on about Mr. H.  No, I’m here to talk about someone else.

I’m here to talk about Kim.

Kim was in my class.  She was about my height, she had long dark blond hair, and she wore glasses.  I also wore glasses, so it was always a bit comforting to be around someone who also had crappy eyesight.  Kim introduced herself to me in a rather unique way:  she walked up to me on the playground during recess and said, “Hey:  you’re the kid who knows all about flying saucers, right?”  Indeed I did, because since I was reading a lot of science fiction then, I was also reading everything I could get my hands on about flying saucers and the paranormal and what we know call cyptozoology.  If there was strange crap out there, I knew about it.  Kim was asking me about a story she’d heard where a horse had its head burned off, and I instantly told her about Skippy, the horse that had all the flesh on it’s head burn away–some say by a portable vat of acid, some say by aliens with a death laser!

Whatever.  That’s how Kim and I met, and we were good after that.

I don’t remember Kim hanging out with girls a lot.  Back then we called her a “tomboy” because she liked wearing jeans and button-down shirts and tennis shoes.  But she never came across like that to me.  She wasn’t rough and tumble; she always wanted to talk.  She liked horses and the mountains, and she liked math and history, too, so we had stuff in common there.  She also liked reading, but she found the stuff I was reading then to be amazing.  She was a smart girl, which back then meant she was different.

Then again, so was I.

It wasn’t just headless horses and flying saucers over which we bonded.  There was something else, and for that I have to go tap-dancing back into all those little corners of my past that I’d rather not exist, but are just waiting to jump me the first chance I get.  So here we go:

Every summer, right after school was out, my father would take me down to the barber shop and basically have all my hair cut off, so that when it was over, I looked like Ellen Ripley from Alien 3.  I hated this, because as a young child suffering with Gender Identity Disorder, I wanted my hair to grow out, and it was that summer between fourth and fifth grade when I started having arguments with my parents about getting my hair cut.  Maybe that was one of the reasons I never left my room those summers and just stayed in and read, but I do remember it was the last time I let my parent do that to me.

My hair grew fast, so usually by Halloween it was longer than most of the boy’s hair in the class, which again made me stand out a little.  This led to “getting picked on,” which led to getting bullied and called a freak and crazy and a lot of other shit, but I spent that school year avoiding a lot of those idiots and staying to myself.

Kim, however . . . I do remember one point in the fall when we were walking and talking on the playground, and she turned to me and said, “You’re hair is so . . . pretty!  It’s so curly!  I wish mine was like that.”  Which was true:  I had curly brown hair and long eyelashes, something my mother was always going on about . . .

I told Kim that I wished my hair was nice and straight–leaving off that, “and long like yours” because you just couldn’t talk that shit then–and bam!  I bonded with her over hair, because we weren’t like all the other people on the playground.  At that moment I felt there was something special between us, because not only did we talk, but we didn’t seem to care about what others thought of us when we were together.

"Seriously, you have lovely hair, and if I can use an expression that won't become popular for another twenty years, your parents are dicks."

“Seriously, you have lovely hair–and if I can use an expression that won’t become popular for another twenty years, your parents are being total dicks.  But you know about time travel, so there.”

The moment I remember the most, because it was just so damn strange, was of Kim and I on the swing sets all alone, with there appearing to be no one else on the playground–or if there were, they were sticking close to the building because the sky that afternoon was a rather strange gray and blackish color that appeared as if it was about to unleash Hell at any moment, but if you live in the Midwest and you’re afraid of a stormy-looking sky, you best move the hell out ’cause that’s pretty normal.

We were alone, and swinging like mad, talking, laughing, going higher and higher all the time . . . it was one of those magical moments that you don’t ever forget, and there was a timeless quality to what we were doing, because it did seem to go on for a long time, though we were probably only on the swings twenty to thirty minutes.  But it has become a fixed point in time, one that I flash back on now and then, and though I can’t remember everything that was said in those minutes together, it doesn’t matter:  we were together, and it was fun.  That’s what’s important.

Kim moved away after the school year was finished.  I knew this was coming, as she’d told me months before.  The last day of school we found a spot out by some of the trees at the edge of the playground and talked for a few minutes.  I told her I’d miss her, and she told me she’d miss me back.  We didn’t exchange addressed and say we’d write, probably because deep down we knew we’d never do that–though I wish I had, because I would have totally done so.  Before we parted, she leaned in and kissed me on the cheek:  that was the first time anyone outside of my family had ever done something like that, and it made my eyes mist up.  Then she was off, back to class, and so was I a moment later.  She left class as soon as the bell rang, headed for her bus, and was gone–off to Colorado, if I remember correctly.

I, too, was off to my bus and back home.  The summer sucked, I stayed inside a lot, and sixth grade blew chunks.  I wouldn’t talk to another girl until I was a senior in high school–I literally mean this, because people avoided me, or I avoided them, not really sure on this point.  I had a few friends, but for the most part I was always that weird kid who read a lot and didn’t want to do any sports.

I also missed my friend, but I didn’t talk about that much.

These days I kind of realize that Kim was probably my first girlfriend, but not the “I’m dating her” kind of girlfriend, but rather “My BFF besty” kind of girlfriend.  She didn’t think it strange to talk about the thing we talked about, and neither did I.  She saw nothing wrong with complementing my hair, and didn’t consider it strange that I did the same for her.  If she’d hung around I wonder what would have happened; would we have spent sixth grade continuing to talk about the things we did, and would we have expanded the conversation to include us?

I can’t say:  that’s all speculation.  I leave that for my writing.

I have no idea where she is now, or if she’s even alive, but if she is I’ve been sending her positive thoughts for years, and I hope they’ve helped.  I don’t dwell on her, or those moments together, because they are far off in the past, and as my Phoenix spirit told Kerry in The Foundation Chronicles, “That chapter’s over; it’s time to write some new ones, kid.”

You were one of the few good chapters in the story of my life then, Kim.

I wish you well in yours.

Decendancy

My celebration dinner was good, except there was no wine.  I’ll remedy that tonight when I stop off at the wine and spirits shop on the way home–there’s one right across the street from one of the government offices, what does that tell you?–and continue the celebration here.

Except . . . I hope I’m not as bored as I was last night.  You go a long stretch writing and then suddenly–Boom!  There’s nothing to do.  You quickly find yourself wondering if there is anything you can do that isn’t writing related–and in my case, usually not.

"I shouldn't think about writing, and I'm not gonna write.  What should I do?  Get my nails done?  They're done.  Wait, I could write about my characters

“I shouldn’t think about writing, and I’m not gonna write. What should I do? Get my nails done? They’re done. Wait, I could write about my characters getting their nails done–no, no writing!”

Talk about a pain in the ass.  When most of your activities consist of the things you want to take time away from doing, it doesn’t leave you with a lot of option for things to do.

Then again, there’s my dreams to keep me busy, and they must have been making up for lost time, because it was strange.

Part of my crazy dreams were dealing with abandonment.  I remember coming home and everyone was gone–only this was like me coming home from high school and discovering I’d been left behind.  So then I went out in search of a lost TARDIS–no, really–and found a couple, but not the one I was looking for.  And then I ran into my fourth grade teacher–

My experience in fourth grade was not a pleasant one.  Back then they’d tell you I was “having problems”, but mostly I was a troubled child.  Nine going on ten, not able to make friends, and confused to all hell and gone about what I was.  I was ten when I saw my first psychologist, because even by then my parents realized I was a complete mess.  I only saw her for a few months, but that’s another story . . .

My fourth grade teacher was something of a mess, too.  She liked to yell at people.  She liked to make fun of me in the class whenever I’d do something “wrong”, like start speaking for no reason, or go off on subjects that no one else knew, because I was pretty smart.  Forth grade was when the bullying really started on me, and I remember her sending me to the school nurse a few times because I wouldn’t stop crying and she didn’t know what to do with me.  Then again, she also smacked the hell out of me on the playground one day because she said I was acting “goofy” and I needed to stop.

I see her in my dream last night, and she asks if I know her.  I told her I did, and that I had her in fourth grade.  And she tells me, yes, she is the person I remember, but no, she never had me in fourth grade.  In fact, she was happy she never had me in fourth grade, because from what she’d heard I was a complete pain in the ass.

And no matter how much I protest that I was in her class, she continues saying no.  Eventually she dismisses me and walks off with a wave of her hand.

I’ve had this dream a few times before, and for some reason it bothers me.  Can’t tell you why, but it does.  It’s not that I need some affirmation from her, because I don’t:  that period of my life is way long and gone.

I guess it’s the dismissive way in which I’m told, “I’m glad I didn’t have you.”

I better edit something tonight, because there’s no telling what might show up in my dreams later.

Act One Interludes

About last night . . .

It is said that if you’re going to write a novel, you need to write every day.  Most writers will tell you that you have to do that anyway, because if you want to make this your job, you just do it.  You sit down when you don’t feel like it and write something, even if it’s just ideas that need jotting down.

I began writing The Foundation Chronicles Book One: A For Advanced on the night of 30 October, 2013.  I know this because I have it marked down on my Author’s Page on Facebook.  Last night, 18 February, Act One of the novel was finished.  According to the date calculator on the Time and Date website, that’s one hundred and twelve days.  And there were three days there where I didn’t write, because of travel and illness, so I required one hundred and nine days to reach a point where the last thing written was, “They went home.”

Simple and to the point.

"Twas nothing!"

“Twas nothing!”

There it is:  Act One with Part Three–my longest part–finished.  Seventy-seven thousand, five hundred words to work out a week in the lives of two kids who are leaning what the words “special” and “witch” really mean.  Of course the first week of their adventure required the first two parts, and sixty-one thousand, eight hundred seventy-five words as well.  I’ve actually sat and looked at this and went, “Really?  Almost eighty thousand words to work out a week?”  Yeah, I do that.  Some writers write as much, or more, going on about one day, so I’m in good company.

Since there isn’t anything planed for tonight, I’ll adjust my schedule a little.  There is a little Italian restaurant just across from the capitol building that I’ve had my eye on for a while, so after work I’m gonna stroll on in there for a quiet sit-down dinner.  Don’t know what I’ll eat, but I do know I’ll order a glass of red with the meal.  Then take my time enjoying both, because this is a thing I’ve earned, and most of the time when I’ve either finished a work I’ve just went, “Eh, what’s next?”  Not this time.  This one was a hell of a job, and one hundred twelve days of coming home and bringing up the manuscript so I can get back to adding more to the story–it’s like finishing the first leg of a triathlon.  It’s a lot of work, but there’s still two legs to go.

That doesn’t mean I won’t stop thinking about what’s to come.  I do that anyway.  But I won’t start on Act Two until the last day of March, and if this next section were to run another one hundred and twelve days, I’d finish Act Two on 21 July.  Then a nice break until the first week of September, and that begins the leg of the race that takes me to The End.

I’ve got it all figured out; I only need stick to my schedule.

In the mean time having some moments to myself is a good time to edit and bring out the stories that could stand a little publishing.

A writer’s work is never done . . .

To Meet in Dreams

No crows this morning; they must be sleeping it off, or they were busy hauling messages for The Imp to all his favorite “ladies”.  Or maybe they simply didn’t have time for me because they were off being crows.  I guess I should worry if one touches down on my hood and starts cawing away like mad, because it’s probably not good news.

At this very moment in time there are three scenes remaining in Act One of The Foundation Chronicles.  The first of those scenes I’ll knock off today, because I don’t see it taking more than a thousand words to write.  It’s possible I may actually start writing the second scene today as well, another that I don’t see taking a lot of words to finish.  And the third . . . there’ll be a short discussion between Professors Lovecraft and Sladen over a what they want to do that day (hint:  it involves dinner) before they clear out the last of the students from the Saturday night Midnight Madness, and then Annie and Kerry head back to their tower, have a short discussion of their own, and . . . End of Act One.

But that is the future, and at the moment the past is on display, and that was the revelation given in last night’s scene.  It wasn’t long, but it has enormous implications for their story:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

This surprised Annie, because she felt she already knew Kerry, and her experience told her the lonely, sad boy The Foundation watched was not her love. “It seems so strange hearing Kerry described in this way—”

“This is all different for you, too, Annie. The Kerry you saw in your dreams—or I should say visions—was likely a far more stylized version of the boy in the here and now. Now that you’ve seen—”

No, Deanna.”

There was such force and certainty in Annie’s voice that Deanna was unable to speak for a few seconds. “What do you mean?”

“I mean I was with Kerry in my dreams.” Annie sat up and leaned towards the seer. “They were not visions or simple dreams: I was with him. We were together, just as we are now. That is how I know him; that’s how I know his name.” Tears began forming once again. “That report doesn’t know Kerry—I do. I’ve known him for years.” She started weeping. “But not any more. Not even here; we don’t meet in our dreams. And he doesn’t remember me. He doesn’t.”

Deanna thought hard about what Annie was saying and understood the implications. She said she was with him in her dreams—but that’s only possible in astral travel. Kerry couldn’t have known how to travel astrally at any time. And Annie said they were doing this when she was two. That’s literally . . . She pushed the thought away and concentrated on consoling the distraught girl. “When did you stop seeing him in your dreams?”

“Maybe near the end of June.” She reached for another tissue and blew her nose. “Maybe the start of July. But it’s been at least two months.”

“And you can remember all your old—dreams?”

Annie nodded. “All of them. I remember it all. But the first time we met in London, even though I recognized him after a few minutes, he didn’t recognize me. He still doesn’t.” She sniffed loudly. “He remembers nothing.”

"I know this isn't Kerry's dream because I'm not in the Power Girl costume."

“I know this isn’t Kerry’s dream because I’m not in the Ms. Marvel costume.”

Naturally I knew about this because–well, just said I did.  This is where plotting things out helps with those little meta-plot issues, and you don’t have to worry if something you’re writing about now will need defining in the future, or if it’s already popped up on your literary radar.  This isn’t always for everyone:  it just works for me.

It can also be a little frustrating, because I’ve known this moment was coming for a while, and since I like to write in sequence I usually have to wait to get to the parts that I’ve seen coming for weeks.  Like the scene above–there is something relating to it that will happen in Act Three, and I won’t write about that for months.  Bummer, because it’s a great scene, and I’m going to love writing it.

Then again, I’ve maybe fifty great scenes to create before I to that point . . .

But it’ll come in time.  Yes, it will.  They all do.

Of Late I Dream of Multiverse

We are under Snowmageddon III:  This Time It’s Personal, watch once more.  People were speaking of the upcoming snow storm as if the undead were about to rise and we needed to stock up on food and prepare our Lobos.  A very high level of melodrama around the streets today–which, by the way, are quick frozen with cold.  I should have filled up last night, but it’s not like I’m going anywhere in the next couple of days.

The dreams were getting crazy last night again.  I seemed as if I joined in with a group of people and opened a business at an amusement center, but I have no idea what the business was, and it seemed as if no one else knew what we were doing, either.  People who came in from the outside were incredibly rude to us, and it seemed like other businesses didn’t give a single shit if they went out of their way to make us feel unwelcome, and to even do their best to drive away our business–which we didn’t have because we didn’t know what our business.

Oh, and there was a massive pickup accident in there, too.  Go figure.

Last night was another thousand into the scene, which is running longer than I imagined.  There’s a lot on Annie’s mind, and a lot for her to go over when it comes to showing her own selfishness.  She’s being honest–but then she’s speaking with the school seer, and it’s hard to BS a woman who might just drop something like, “I’d watch your third child,” and leave it at that.  What, are they going to follow you everywhere?  Are they going to become a serial killer?  Will they be named Carl and never stay in the house?  Stuff like that in a school of magic will play your ass for many years.

My mind was also playing with other things.  I like to call the work I do part of my “Multiverse”, and that’s because somehow everything I write is, in one way or another, connected.  Sure, maybe it’s because there are characters in different stories who find they are also related to people in other universes.  For example . . .

This current work in progress really stared with an old role playing characters, and then evolved into an idea I was considering for the characters from my novel, Her Demonic Majesty.  The idea was that my main sorceress, the lovely and sweet Jeannette Hagart, she from one universe dumped into the body of someone else in another, would end up meeting the characters from my current novel, and have to deal with the mind-bending realization that she’d dealt with these characters in her own world, but as fictional characters in an online role play, and not as actual people–which also leads her to wonder if the people who played them were in her universe as well, or if her characters was a living person in her new world, too.

"Make it stop!  Make it stop!  It's a war crime to make a person's head explode!"

“Make it stop! It’s a war crime to let a person’s head explode!”

That’s how my crazy mind works:  even when I’m in the middle of a project, I’m thinking about other things that might just tie into the project I’m working on and how they might affect each other.

I’m telling you, there are easier ways to make a living, but none nearly as much fun.

The Running of the Thoughts

To everyone who sent me well wishes yesterday, thank you!  It’s not often I hear, “Get well soon!”, and it’s always good to get cheered up when you feeling bad.  I spent the day resting and sweating out the cold, and didn’t think about opening up my story because I couldn’t sit at the computer for more than a few minutes at a time.  Writing would have been a wasted endeavor, and it’s better to try and play catch up this week than to have tried to make a go at writing when I was half out of my mind with the flu.

"This is the part where she's speaking to a teacher--why do I have a dragon attacking Boston?"

“This is where she’s speaking to a teacher–why do I have a dragon attacking Boston?”

Everything is just about back to normal, other than the fact that I feel like I’ve run a race, and there is a constant ringing in my right ear, probably from all the coughing yesterday.  But the strangest part is still with me:

My half-awake dreams.

Whenever I get the flu and it finally starts to break, it’s as if I have no off button on my stream of conciseness.  When I was dozing in my chair in front of the television I’d catch myself mumbling things.  I have no idea what, but I know I was in a state of semi-sleep, and I was sort of talking.  Then once I’m in bed, it’s all about my thoughts running at high speed, like they all have to be somewhere in a big hurry.

I’ve always wondered why this happens, and why I get hooked up on some rather unusual thoughts.  The time I remember the most was waking up, sweating and shivering like crazy, and more or less hallucinating that I was going through the landing checklist for a C-130 cargo plane prior to setting it down on a beach.  Sometimes I’ve had phrases or songs get caught in a loop, and hear that spoken over and over for what seemed like hours.  I was told a couple of times that I didn’t just mumble in fever dreams, but that I’d hold conversations with people.

Last night was pretty much the same.  I was off on mind trips of things happening with color wheels, and discussing fictional characters as if they were people sitting in the room with me.  For a while I was working on a check list for something–never figured it out, however.  It was just a checklist and nothing more.  And I had a conversation with someone I knew, but haven’t seen in a while, about kids and weather and books.

All of that happened in the three hours between the time I went to bed, and when I got up to check the time.  It’s felt like most of the night was behind me–wrong.  It hadn’t even started.

When you’re delirious, the mind doesn’t know how to stop, and the fences that normally keep things in are nowhere to be seen, so thoughts come at you like snow falling from the sky.  You can’t stop them:  all you can do is let them fall and wonder how wet you’ll get.

If it wasn’t for the fact you feel so miserable before this happens, I’d suggest it happen more often.