Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


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One Life in Short Sketches

No moving things were accomplished yesterday–well, almost none.  I should have my internet up and waiting for me when I get into the new digs next week.  I’m going to be on the eleventh floor of a complex, and I’ll have a studio with a balcony looking out over a river.  I’m going to have to come up with a cool name for the place, something better than the Hole Away From Home, like the last dump was dubbed.  Yeah.  Good times.

Yesterday I edited and I wrote.  The editing was planed, the writing wasn’t.  I didn’t think about getting into my story until it was close to nine PM here, and then I thought, “What the hell?”, put on some Queen, and went at the story.  An hour and fifteen minutes later I was thirteen hundred words closer to the end of the story, and more confident I was that I’d end up doing one more scene and calling it fins on the story.

This means another thousand to, at most, fifteen hundred words, and The Relocator is in the bag.  By any math that one employees, this would put my final word count at fifty-five hundred to six thousand words, and that’s less than seven thousand five hundred words, and that’s a real short story.  The shortest I’ve ever written, because up until now, if I eliminate the crap that I first wrote many, many years before, the shortest stories I’ve written to this point are between eight and ten thousand words.

As Brother James might say, I jump back, I kiss myself.  Muaaah!

I know how I did this, crazy dream feelings not withstanding.  I got the idea, I saw the story as a series of scenes, and I started stringing them together in my head.  I even knew the ending:  that is, before I decided that I didn’t need that extra scene and did away with it, and focused on the new ending that was the original end of Scene Five.  Which is to say, I worked it all out in my head, and edited there as well, before I started writing.

I knew the story, I knew what I wanted to say.

But . . . what did I say?

I know I drew on some inspiration here, the kind that isn’t obvious until you start getting the words down, and then–bam!  You’re hit with the realization of what well you’ve dipped into for your material.  It’s easy for me to know these things, because I seem more focused of late, and that’s helping considerably with knowing what I want to do these days.

Maybe I’m finally finding some peace in my life, because I’ve finally grown comfortable with what I’m doing, and what’s happening around me.

Does this mean I’m going to write these crazy erotic fantasies that are rolling about in my head?  Well . . . Maybe I should.  Or maybe I should get back into the business of getting my next NaNo masterpiece ready.  Or maybe I should get a last polish on Couples Dance, like I said I was going to do, and get that sucker published next month.

So many things to do, so little time to do it.

I need to live until ninety, I really do.


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The Truth Through the Lies

After a few days of chatting and playing and doing things that might not be considered necessary for the art of writing, I flew into my story.  It was done because I was ready to do and say thing that needed to be said, and I did those things.

I did it in two stages, because I had real life tell me I needed to do something, then I had free time, then I had to do something again, then it was Project Runway time, and then . . . I had six hundred words to write in the hour before I headed off to bed.  But for the first time in a while, I felt like I wanted to tear up the keyboard and rocket the story like I hadn’t since NaNoWriMo.

So on with a little music, then into the story.

Keith was being lied to, of that I leave no doubt.  This happened in the business world, where much of a day is spent dealing with the illusory bullshit that some people seem to think is important.  He’s getting massive amounts of smoke blown up his ass as his human resources people try to tie an action they want him to take to an action they want to take.  But he’s not going to take it; in fact, he’s starting to throw the truth back in their faces . . .

Six hundred and fifty words next came so easy.  I was finished with my writing for the evening about 9:56, which means I was on a tear for about twenty-five minutes.  Most of the time I’m a little more deliberate in what I want to say, but this time, the word were flowing like water from a new hose.  I was on a rate of fifteen hundred and sixty words in an hour, and that’s something I haven’t done in–oh, maybe a year?

What brought forth is gush?  Why was there a firestorm of creativity all of a sudden?  Was it because I knew exactly what I wanted to say?  That’s part of it:  I’ve worked this scene over and over in my head for some time, so it wasn’t difficult to pull it out of my mind and into Scrivener.    Or, was there something else I’m pulling upon?  Something more personal?

One of my favorite stories is Harlan Ellison’s All the Lies That Are My Life, which is found in his collection Shatterday.  It’s the story of two writers and the relationship they share while both are alive, and in the aftermath of the death of one of the gentlemen.  I’ve always felt that the title is a good way of summing up any writer’s life, because as one person pointed out to me, writing is usually a hell of a lot better than any therapy you seek.  You take people you like and make them your friends and lovers; you take people you hate and throw them into the Sarlacc.  You take events that happened to you, and . . . you bend them, shape them, do anything you want to them, and turn them into the events you wish you’d lived through, rather than the ones you did.

Writers pull from this well and transform their experiences–and in doing so, transform themselves.  When you look what “What could have been,” you start to see the outlines of “What could happen next,” and file that information away.  For one never knows when a situation will arise where you can use that–

For your next story.


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Revenge Served Lukewarm

Last night was Hack and Slash writing time:  the cold was there in strength  and I was hacking like crazy, trying to get whatever had taken up residency in my chest the hell out.  It left the throat raw, but it did help clear the lungs–much in the same way a barium enema will eventually clear up that bloated feeling you’re experiencing.

I decided to go old school for writing last night, doing something I did when I started my story Kuntilanak almost a year and a half ago:  I cued up Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition, knew I had forty-four minutes to crank out some wordage, and went to town.

The story is picking up about a week and a half after the events of Chapter Eleven, and Keith is feeling somewhat–lets say different.  He’s in tune to the story; he knows what he wants to say, and he’s getting it all down in the written form.  Erin the Muse is busy with other things–things that got me a stuck-out tongue when I posted a few short paragraphs of the story after I was finished–and Keith is wondering hard if maybe something changed because they hooked up.  Anything is possible, because I’m Erin’s boss, and what I say goes, right?

Something is about to happen in Keith’s life, and I’d be lying if I said not only has this happened to me, but what follow is probably something I would loved to have done, but never did.  Call it Revenge Fantasy, which for me is petty mild, because the days where I’d plot and plot and plot some devious shit to those who’d wronged me are well in the past.  See, this is why you should go into therapy.  It does work.

I had some qualms about putting this chapter in the novel, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense.  Keith is at a turning point in his life, and just as Erin kicked his butt to get him going on this story, he needs another kick to remind him that he shouldn’t live today for tomorrow like he was immortal, the only survivors on this world of ours are the warming sun, the cooling rain,
the snowflake drifting on the breath of the breeze . . . oh, wait:  I’ve been listening to too much Burning Rope.

But it’s true:  we don’t get the dreams we want, we have to go after them.  No one has ever walked into a place where I’ve worked, pointed at me, and said, “Cassie!  I need you to write a novel that’s going to be big!  Come on, girl, lets go!”  No, it’s always been something short of an eye roll whenever I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to become a full-time writer, like I should be happy cleaning up after ever mess ever left by an egotistical manager.  Don’t reach for dreams, they’re saying.  You’re crazy to think you can do something that you’re not suppose to do . . .

I’ve chided other people for buying into the revenge fantasy memes that pop up on Facebook almost every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments when I think I should have done something like flip over a table and run out of a room laughing like a loon.  I once did tell a room full of people, after being told I was being laid off, that it was a good think I was on meds, otherwise my departure might go a little differently–and that day I had someone watching me like a hawk the entire time until I was in my car and out the company parking lot.  Not that I would have done anything, but it’s always good to keep the suckers guessing . . .

I’ll give Keith a little room to move, to express some opinions that I should have, but didn’t.  Maybe he’ll even have a parting shot as he leaves the building–

Sometimes I just can’t help be a wise ass when the need arises.

 


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Misery Loves Immortality

There was a moment during the writing of Chapter Nine of Suggestive Amusements when I started feeling sorry for my muses.  Oh, sure:  they’re goddess-like creatures who’ve been around for a very long time, thousands of years, bringing inspiration to the masses, and they are legends in their own rights.

But they have to be miserable as hell.  And you wouldn’t want to piss them off.

While getting deeper into some paragraphs I was writing that intended to give readers a peek at their lives, I thought of the following line from The Prophecy, which is a great little movie that pulls no punches in showing the line between ultimate good and ultimate evil is a thin one.

The line I thought of last night was this:

 

Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?

 

If you know your angelic history, you’d know that you can’t really lay eyes upon an angel, least you burst into flames.  Their current image was brought about during the Renaissance, where a bunch of white painters had to figure out how to do paintings of creatures you couldn’t lay eyes upon, and decided, fuck it, we’ll make them tall, white, and blond–with wings.

In the course of thinking about my muses, lovely ladies that they are, they had to possess abilities that would be pretty ass kicking, and overall frightening.  One of the sisters, Anna–not her real name, but you can probably figure out who she is if you look these ladies up–talks about how it’s really easy to go back to a moment just after conception, and fix it so that egg never find purchase in the rocky terrain that is the beckoning womb.  If they don’t get born, then reality gets retconned, and who’s going to give a shit about someone who never existed in the first place?

The more I wrote, the worse I actually felt about my characters.  My main muse Erin, she does something at one point in the early 19th Century, and I didn’t feel good as I wrote those few lines.  I don’t like doing bad things to my characters, but that’s life, immortal or otherwise.  But crap always happens, and you gotta write the bad with the good, like it or not.

Because if all you did was write about good things happening to your characters, they wouldn’t seem very real, would they?

There will be another chapter added to the story, because it is needed.  That’ll bring the count to eighteen chapters, which means I’m at the halfway point.  The new chapter is going to ended up between what would have been Eleven and Twelve, so time to move everything down, and put the new card in place.

Scrivener makes it so easy to restructure your novel–

If only the lives of my muses were that easy.


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The Walk Between Bonfires

Here we are:  sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes, and we get the NaNo Party started.  I went to my kick off party last night, said hello, got my goody bag, spoke with some of the people who are going to try this.  Everyone there was new:  I was the only hold over, save for our area leader, from last year.  Is this good or bad?  Yes.  Go with it.

The time to write is approaching, as are The Witching Hours.  Time to run the kidlettes around for trick-or-treat, then find something to play at 12:01 AM, when NaNo kicks in and makes life crazy for the next thirty days.

This post isn’t so much about NaNoWriMo as it is about the person writing the NaNo Novel for 2012.  Or what they’ve learned from their writing.  Because we do learn from writing, and from the experiences it brings us.

I’ve got to go back about a year, however–back to the days when I was role playing, back when I was writing about Kerry and his lovely Annie.

Back when I was sick from work–as opposed of being sick of work, but that’s another story–I told people about the issues Kerry had with being himself.  Or should that be, herself?  ‘Cause Kerry exists in one world with two genders, and has the ability to switch from one to the other when he feels like it–

Only, come October, 2015, his better half ends up having to deal with menstruation, and that means having to spend time really being a girl, not just flipping over into girldom when the mood strikes, or he’s getting a full physical.  So it’s during this first time of dealing with the Dim Red Tides that Kerry stays his girly self for almost a week, and–at the suggestion of one of the instructors he respects a great deal–she gets renamed Cassidy, which is Gaelic for “Clever Girl”.

The school that Kerry and Annie attend have a Samhain celebration every year, which includes a dance where one can, if they are in the mood, come dressed in costume.  It’s always held on the Friday or Saturday closest to Samhain Eve–or Halloween, as most people know it–but this October, in 2015, Halloween falls on a Saturday.  This means that the dance–which is just a bit of secular fun for the kids to enjoy–coincides with the true festivals that begin at sundown, on Samhain Eve, and continue through the next day, 1 November, the actual day of Samhain.

This also means that Kerry is dealing with another period, and he’s flipped over to Cassidy.  This means she’s attending the dance with Annie, and they’ve both decided to show up in costume.  Since Cassidy is a bit of a geek, and because she wants to have fun and not give a shit about the fact that a lot of people will be looking at her anyway, decided to show up as an Amy Pond Kiss-o-Gram, and Annie shows up in her River Song finest.

They talk, they dance, they enjoy themselves.  Cassidy has a couple of people give her shit, but she blows them off well and good.  In the end, they sneak out of the dance for a bit, talk some more, and steal a kiss in the same spot where Annie and Kerry first kissed the same night they came to the school and were placed in their coven.

Then Annie tells Cassidy they need to walk between the bonfires . . .

Bonfires are a tradition during Samhain.  People would toss things in, old clothes, food, the bones of slaughtered animals, and watch them burn.  It was all about cleansing, getting rid of the old and greeting the new.  Some places have bonfires side by side, with enough space to walk between, so that one is purified and cleansed, leaving behind the ashes of their old life, and ready to face the new.

This is what Annie and Cassidy have at their school.  In a large field, there are two bonfires, and students are encouraged to dance about them and walk between, a symbol that they are leaving behind one more year, and facing the new, clean and untarnished.

I hear you going, “Yeah, but where is this leading, oh Scribbler of Words?”

Here you go:  characters teach you things, not only about your stories, but sometimes about you.  Cassidy was a character that came to me very easy, because she’s a cute, smart, geeky girl who accepts that there’s really nothing different about her, and that those who see her as a “freak” or “strange” are people who just can’t deal with this thing known as reality.

But then a lot of my female characters came to me easily.  Audrey Dahl was the first, she of psychic ability and fireball throwing.  The same with Jennette Hagart, the Nerd Girl Who Became an Ass-kicking Sorceress.  But Cassidy spoke loudly to me, because she touches me like few others.

Because I am Cassidy.

A few people have asked about the name change that came to my blog, which was the same name change that happened on my Facebook Page.  Some even noticed that the changes came about on or about 10/11/12, which was Coming Out Day.  There is a reason behind this:  it was time to come out.

I’m transgendered.  I’ve been this way my entire life.  But this year, in a year of much change and, in some cases, great hardship and insanity, I needed to get real with myself.  I started seeing a therapist, and I began the journey toward becoming the person I actually am.

I’ve begun taking steps towards being Cassidy, the woman I actually am.  It’s happening slowly, and it’s going gradually, but it’s happening.  In a few years time, the old me will be a memory, and Cassidy Grace Frazee will be a fact of daily life.

Oh, and she writes, too.  She’s very good as well–as good as me, I might point out.

What a surprise.

This is my life.  A few  people close to me have known this for a few months, and they’ve supported me, which is a great thing.  I don’t expect things to become easy, but then, I’ve not known a lot of easy stuff for the last fifty years.  Why should the remaining ones be any different?

Annie and Cassidy walked between the bonfires that Samhain Eve night.  They felt the fire wash over them, felt the heat upon their skin, and when they emerge out the other side, they were clean and new.  They were different people, and they’d never look back from that moment.  One day I’m going to write this story–

But there is another I have to concentrate upon at the moment.

NaNo is a crazy time.  Halloween is a crazy time.

But a certain ginger girl reminds me that life is crazy, and you gotta deal with what comes your way.  Follow your instincts  and you’ll find your way through the fire.  I know, however, I’m never going to get burned.  I’m always going to come out the other side shiny and new.

Because I’m nothing if not a clever girl.

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