Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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 my 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.


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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 . . .


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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.


8 Comments

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.


22 Comments

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.


6 Comments

Between the Lines

This morning starts out early like so many others on a Saturday:  sitting in Panera, my breakfast finished and drinking my coffee.  It’s almost seven AM and I’ve been awake since four-thirty.  I have a bill to pay today, and I’m thinking of heading down to a local hair salon and getting my hair cut and my eyebrows shaped a bit.  Tomorrow I need to do the laundry ’cause I haven’t many things that are clean.  I also believe I’m developing a cold, because there’s been a strange tickling in my chest, one that started late last night and it bothering me this morning.

Not an auspicious start to the weekend, particularly if I want to go out tonight, which I am still debating.

Why am I debating this?  Because I may want to stay in an write.

"Yeah, I could ship this Allison/Cosima story as is, but it really needs a three-way with zombie Helena to make it rock."

“I could ship this Allison/Cosima story as is, but it totally needs a three-way with zombie Helena to make it rock.  Yeah, seestra.”

I reached out to a few online friends I have and caught up on chat for a few hours.  I needed that because I was in serious need of decompression.  I’m back to not sleeping well and dealing with long days at work, then writing at night, which is working on my head in strange ways.

Believe it or not, this novel is taking one hell of a toll on that fragile shell I refer to as my emotions.  I’ll have to force myself to start writing, which is sometimes due to be tired, but other times it’s because I know, in my head, where I’m going with the scene, and I’m diggin’ the fact that I might find the conclusion of the scene a little heart rendering.  A few times I’ve had to stop and work out a full-on crying jag, and more often than not I’m on the verge of tears when I crawl under the covers.

The Crazy Tale of Annie and Kerry brings up way too many bad memories, and the scene I’m in now is going to bring about a phrase I haven’t heard in some time, and I know that’s going to lead to something I don’t really want again, but it’s coming, I know it is, and one just lets it happen if you wanna get the story out.

Did I think this would happen?  Yeah, probably a little.  There are some intense feeling between these characters, and my feelings about them are just as strong.  Crazy world, this writing.  Sometimes you get caught up in these young, mind-swirling desires, and if you aren’t careful you find yourself falling in and getting dragged to the bottom of the emotional ocean, just as surely as if you fall into the Corryvreckan Maelstrom.

As I’ve started before, some writers have said you’re only at your best when you’re uncomfortable about what you’re writing.  You’re putting yourself out there, pushing yourself to go places that one normally avoids.  That’s how I feel at the moment as I’m wrapping up this first act:  there are things being said that make me uncomfortable, because they bring back memories I’d prefer remain quiet and sleeping.  Won’t happen, because I woke them up some time back–

And they’re gonna stay awake until such time this novel is completed.

Yeah . . . fun year ahead, I can tell.


14 Comments

In de Straten, In de Lucht

Needless to say, in the last twenty-four hours I’ve walked through the aftermath of an ice storm, managed to make it through work without loosing too many brain cells, had dinner, was interviewed as part of a doctoral thesis, wrote eight hundred words for the first new scene of my last chapter of Act One, then headed to bed and had the damnedest dreams which ended with me being forced to fly a woman to Europe so she could track a connection to a drug smuggling operation being run out of an abandoned mental hospital in some unnamed state, after which I kicked back at an outdoor electronica concert held in a square in a town in Belgium, where we drank wine from boxes and sat at school desks while getting on our groove.

I hope you got all that.

"You sorta of lost me at--mental hospital?  Really?"

“You sorta of lost me at–mental hospital? Really?”

That gives you a bit of perspective as to where I’m at this morning, sort of feeling hell-bound and down.  Though I shouldn’t say that, because yesterday–despite all the crap I just laid out above–was pretty sweet.  Walking to and from work was pretty sucky, and these days work just sort of wears me out, but at least I have some energy at night to make it into the novel.

It was flying time for Kerry, wandering through the Flight School hanger with Vicky (I should point that distinction because there is another building on the grounds that’s known as The Hanger, where the science geeks store their smaller flying machines), and they started looking at better PAVs and talking a little broom history, particularly in the area of Witchy Poo.  I also got Vicky to use a phrase that I’ve been wanting to say for some time, and that’s “lovey-dovey”.  There’s a reason for that, and those reasons won’t be apparent to you, but they are apparent to me.

After looking at the chapters I realize that I need to break up my act as I flip from the south end of the school where Kerry is, back to the north side of the school where Annie is, and that means I’ll need three more scenes.  Three more, between two scenes that are already in place, and that’s what I’m going to need to tie it all up.

It’s not a big deal, because these were going to be incorporated as part of the first two scenes I had in place, so it’s only a matter of adding and writing.  No big thing, as they say.  I’ve been tracking drug lords and drinking cheap wine outta boxes in my sleep, so three scenes is gonna be a walk.

I can see the end of this stretch, and it’s leaving me feeling a little barren, because while I know what I want to get into after I wrap Act One, I’m not sure how to go about getting there.  I’ll talk about that later, because, right now, I feel the urge to hop on a PAV and fly to Europe.

These things will do that, you know.


5 Comments

Your Permission to Suck

After one of the longest posts I’ve ever written–yeah, I’ve had a couple inch up into the two thousand word range before–Saturday was a sort of get back to basics and get some writing done kind of day.  Mostly because I’d taken Friday off and I needed to get the mojo restarted.  Those are always a good think, I find, ’cause you need that recharge from time-to-time.

And look where it got me?  Two thousand plus word blog post, and sixteen hundred words of novel writing during the evening.  I’d say that’s a pretty good day of word cranking.

In my story all my Week One classes are out of the way.  Just a little something for the last Friday evening awaits my kids, and then some Saturday inquiries–and that’s Act One.  Seven remaining scenes to write, and I can bring this part of the story to Wrap City.  I even spent part of last night moving a few scenes around in Scrivener so my Book One, Act One, Two, Three format would work.  ‘Tis not a big thing, and after five minutes I had things formatted oh, so right.

The scene I worked last night sort of speaks to me as a writer, and it’s something I have to remind myself of every so often.  But my Professor Ellison gets the truth out there in short order, and in a way you wouldn’t expect instructors to speak to eleven year olds.

The setup is he gets Kerry to play him part of a song that, in my little fantasy world, was recorded live on the very interment Kerry is going to play–sort of like being shown the guitar Jimmy Page used to record Stairway to Heaven and then being asked to play Stairway to Heaven with said ax.  It would be, for some people, a slightly heady experience.

And it leads into a discussion . . .

 

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

Her smile grew wider as the professor joined in on the piano and Kerry stepped back just a little, pleased with what he was creating on the keyboard. After another fifteen, twenty seconds he waved his arm and stopped playing, then half-threw his hands into to air. “Oh, man, yes.” He half-skipped to where Annie stood. “I can’t believe that. I’ve heard recordings of that song played live on that keyboard, and I just did the same.” He threw his arms around Annie and gave her an excited hug, then turned back towards the approaching Professor Ellison. “What did you think?”

“You were a bit slow to start, and off a little on tempo here and there, but given how nervous you were likely feeling . . .” He slowly applauded. “Bravo, Kerry. Bravo.”

“Thank you, Professor.” He bowed his head and shook it while continuing to smile. “That was unreal.”

“I can imagine.” Ellison flipped off the Quadra. “You should consider playing at our Ostara Pageant next year.”

Annie felt Kerry stiffen slightly. “What’s that?”

“It’s the celebration we hold for the Vernal Equinox every year. Your coven is responsible for getting it organized.” Ellison moved back a couple of steps, so as not to make Kerry feel pressured. “The Saturday night after the equinox we hold a talent celebration in Orchestra Hall, and students get up and do creative things.”

“Really.”

“Yeah. We usually get a couple of dozen kids every years. Some dance, some read poetry, some play instruments—one year we had a student do some spoken word free verse.” Ellison glanced down at the keyboard that Kerry had played. “We don’t get too many people who actually play their own songs.”

Kerry didn’t look at Professor Ellison as he mumbled a reply. “I don’t . . . I’m not sure I’d be any good.”

“I can understand that.” Ellison now moved a little closer, relaxing to keep his body language neutral. “Are you worried you’re gonna suck?”

Annie almost laughed; Kerry looked up a bit surprised by the question. “A little.”

“That’s okay, you know—” The professor leaned against the machine closest to Kerry, but he kept the boy the center of his attention. “As a creative person you have permission to suck—particularly if it’s your first time trying something. Writing, painting, drawing, playing: the first time you try any of these things you’re probably going to suck—and that’s okay.”

“I’d rather not suck in front of a bunch of people.”

“No one does, but even the best do now and then. And between now and and the weekend after the 21st of March, you’ve got about five months to practice and get better.” He decided to try another approach. “You know who never sucks?”

Kerry almost said “Professionals,” then caught himself because he knew of numerous examples where they had. “No. Who?”

“The people who never take a shot. The ones who are sitting in the audience going on about how people suck, how you suck, all the while sitting there running off their mouths.” He let himself relax, so as to put Kerry at ease. “I can get you a good tutor. I know just the perfect one for you, too.” He stepped away from the synthesizer and stood before the boy. “What do you think? Wanna be one of the few A Levels who gets up and shows everyone what you got?”

Kerry felt conflicted. In a way he wanted to say yes and have the chance to “take his shot”. But he’d never performed for anyone before, much less in something called “Orchestra Hall,” which meant that all the students in the school would be there. And the instructors. And the staff. And maybe other people . . .

He felt his right arm squeezed. Annie was holding him, her arms wrapped around his, the look on her face one of adornment. “I don’t know about the rest of the students, but I’d love to hear you play.” She tilted her head to one side. “And if you have five months to practice, I believe it’s impossible for you to suck.”

Ellison held his hands up and out in mock surprise. “See, you already got a fan. And you should listen to your fans.” This time he held his hand out towards Kerry. “You wanna try? Yes?”

 

"It's not that I suck, it's that you can't comprehend my vision with your stupid, stupid mind!"

“It’s not that I suck, it’s that you can’t comprehend my vision with your stupid, stupid mind!”

Sucking.  We who try to be creative suck every so often.  Sometimes we suck all the time, and we realized it and we figured out that our creativity lay elsewhere.  Well, some of us do, but that’s another story . . .

I’ve written steady, in one form or another, for almost three years now.  I’ve a few works out among the public, and I’ve more waiting to spring upon these folk.  I still make mistakes when I write–my fingers simply can’t or won’t always do what my mind tells them to do.  Or I misspell stuff and never catch it.  Or I write a clumsy paragraph that, first time through, looked fantastic, but on review pretty much blew hard because it made no sense.  Which is why we rewrite, because unless we are all literary Mozart’s, our first drafts aren’t the shit, but more like crap that needs a serious massaging.

The more I write, the better I become.  I do feel that to be true.  I also feel that my style has changed as well, and if I go back and look at work I wrote years ago, it doesn’t read the same as my work these days.  If you stick with any author long enough you’ll see their style evolve as they charge ahead from novel to novel.  Sometimes it comes from taking chances, sometimes it comes from understanding what works for them and what doesn’t.

Remember, though:  there will always exist the possibility you’re going to suck with whatever you’re producing.  Which is okay.

Go on, take that shot.  It doesn’t hurt.

Much.

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