Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


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Let Us Relive Our Lives in What We Tell You

Breakfast is out of the way, more or less; all that remains is the coffee, and I’m about to refill that as soon as the song I have on finishes.  Yes, it’s six fifty-five AM and the morning has already been an hour in the making.  That means it’s time for a post.  That means it’s time to start writing.

It’s a strange live I’ve chosen for myself.  Write a blog post at six-thirty in the morning, then write code all day, then come home and edit twenty pages for a while, then time line out something because I need to know when an event could take place because of something happening to one of the characters–yeah, Research Bitches!  Finally, about eight forty I was able to relax and watch How to Train Your Dragon, which is one of my favorite movies, and far superior, in my opinion, to Toy Story 3.  Because Viking kid with a dragon.

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them--Kerry needs one of these.  Oh, and lets not forget the blowing up of your enemies . . .

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them–Kerry needs one of these. Oh, and lets not forget when you use them to blow up your enemies . . .

And then I’m back at it today.  Same as it ever was.

Last night, while I was plotting out my time lies and thinking about some of the crap my kids will get into once the future rolls around, I wondered about some of the things that have drawn me to writing, as well as some of the things I’ve written.  Like it or not, there’s always a little bit of me in my stories.  Maybe it’s just a personal feeling, or perhaps it’s an idea I want to espouse.  There is at least one story I’ve written that deals with feelings I have towards other person, and another where I’m more or less returning to some emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time–which is probably one of the reasons why I find myself getting into crying jags now and then.

A lot of writers get caught up in their characters, and I find myself doing the same once in a while.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ll often start crying at the end of one of my stories not only because I’ve reached the end and there’s a huge emotional release upon typing out, “The End”, but in a few of my stories something extremely emotional has occurred between my characters, and it’s hard to hold back the feelings.  You’re digging deep into something within your own essence to throw into your characters, and when that moment happens, it’s like it happened to you.

I thought out a scene for my kids last night that hit me in ways that make a lot of sense, and at the same time left me feeling like my heart was going to wither.  It was a cold scene, but as I thought it out logically, it was the only thing possible for the plot as thought out.  It even involved making one of the hardest characters I’ve ever made reach a point where she starts crying–that’s some hard cord sad right there.

I talk about these characters as if they are real people sometimes, and while I know they aren’t, they are, in a way, an extension of my own ideas and feelings, so when you give them happy times, you feel the happy times, and when you crap all over their lives and throw them into the Pit of Emotional Hell, then you’re going to experience the fall.  And trust me:  I will crap all over their lives, because life is hard for Normal people, so just imagine the sort of shit that gets thrown at you when you’re a witch.

What doesn’t kill them makes your characters stronger–but what does it do to me?  It lets me tell the tales of their lives–

And by doing so, I bring a little of my life out for all to see.


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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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Stepping Into the Old

Today is the day that a lot of people have feared.  Oh, you don’t realize it yet, but it is.  It’s a day that I’ve known about for a while, and it’s had me on edge a bit the last few days.

It’s the first day of the first full week of the year.

For the last three, four weeks, some of us have been dancing around with not so full work weeks, finding a half-day off here, or a full day off there.  Some people have taken most of a week off, or even opted out for the whole damn thing.

And now it’s time to get back into the grind.  Today we go back to thirty-five or forty hour work weeks–and I know some of you work a lot more than that, I’m not discounting it–and the boredom that comes with this grind.  It’s time to squeeze everything back into the full-week sake and see what happens.

I don’t expect much of a change on this end.  I’ve been writing every day, even on the holidays.  I’ve been spending a little more time online chatting with people, and it’s eating into my time to write.  Last night was one of those nights were I didn’t really feel like writing anything:  I wasn’t feeling well, and nothing was coming out well.

Still, I started a new scene with two of my favorite people:

 

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

This close to dinner it was unusual for Erywin to remain in her office. Most times when sixteen came around she was out of the Chemistry Building and off to either the Dining Hall or the Instructor’s Residence for eat. While most of the instructors ate at the Residence, a fair number joined the students in the Hall.

Erywin often wondered if the instructors who went to the Dining Hall ate there because they remembered their time there as students, or because they liked the buffet and felt it was better than the Instructor’s menu—or if it was because the Headmistress ate they and they wanted to join her. Not that Erywin hadn’t ever joined the Headmistress for dinner, but it wasn’t something she wanted to do more than once a month.

Besides, today she was waiting for someone. Today she had a before-dinner visitor—

She was about to get up from her desk and see if there was anyone in the hall: when Erywin looked up, her visitor was standing there, a sly grin upon her face. “Did you miss me?”

“Ah, there she is: my own little Queen of Darkness.” Erywin leaned back in her chair. “Busy day in class, love?”

Helena Lovecraft entered the room and closed the door behind her. “There are times when I think cursing the whole damn class for the entire year would be the best solution for everyone involved.” She leaned against the wall. “Particularly for me. But I haven’t reached that point—yet. Give me until the end of the month.”

Erywin stood and went to Helena. She slipped her arms about Helena’s waist and gave her a light, long kiss. There were never enough times for her to show her love and affection to the woman who’d been by her side, off and on, since they’d meet when Erywin was a B Level, and Helena a brand-new A Level, in 1979. Though the students knew they been partners for twenty-five years, and that they lived together on and off campus, they kept the shows of affection out of the public eye—not because they were afraid of anyone seeing them kissing or touching, but because they weren’t the sort of couple who enjoyed that sort of thing in public.

Which meant they needed to make the most of their time in private.

Erywin broke the kiss and patted Helena on the chest. “Oh, your hell-shawl is in the corner, back in the bag.” She sat against the edge of her desk.

Helena gave her partner one of her well-known lop-sided grins. “Hell-shawl, you say?” She slowly strolled over and looked down into the bag. “Did it come in handy today?”

“Oh, most certainly.” Erywin flipped hair from her face. “The students were very excited to find themselves working with a cursed item of petrification.”

 

I wonder what I could get for a Hell-shawl on eBay?

Almost nine hundred words last night, and I’ve a full week ahead of me.

Yeah, time to get back to serious hours.


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Downside and Up

Today has started out being one of those days where I think I should have stayed in bed.  Not only have I been dragging, but my computer decided it was going to go all Orac on me and be really crappy about coming up right.  I started booting this sucker about seven AM, and here it is seven thirty-six.  Just remember:  I can always replace you, and you can’t tell me to sod off.  So there.

Yesterday was a tiring day.  I made it through work okay, but the moment I got home I felt like I was going to crash and burn.  I really didn’t want to write last night, but somehow I managed to hammer out seven hundred forty-five word and run the count over ninety-four thousand.  All this done while I had A Beautiful Mind playing in the background which is a good movie even if there are huge chunks of it that are pretty much BS, and Jennifer Connelly’s character is whitewashed to hell and gone.  Hollywood–what can you say?

The mantra is always “Keep Writing”, but that’s always easier said than done.  Thursday night I wrote over fourteen hundred words; last night only half that amount.  Sometimes the win comes from just sitting down and getting the words out even when you want to kick back and fall asleep in the big easy chair, and you take those as they come, because you know there are better moments ahead when you’ll knock out fifteen hundred words without breaking a sweat.

My mindset is grounded in the fact that I know this will be a long story.  Maybe another thirty thousand to finish just the first third, then what?  Another two hundred thousand to do the remaining two thirds?  Yeah, this is a year-long project, interspersed with moments of attempting to publish some of my slush pile.  2014 is shaping up to become a busy year, and I either get down into the work and do it, or shuffle off to Montana and start a dental floss farm.  I’m coming up on two-and-a-half years on this writing thing, and there’s still a lot to do.

I saw a comment on Facebook the other day that asked the question of other writers, “What sort of demons drive you?”  My demons have nothing to do with my writing:  that’s all me.  That’s what I decided upon decades ago.  No, my demons are around to screw with my mind, though they’re starting to lighten up on that shit these days only because, much like on Facebook, I pay no attention to their poking.  Though if I had to talk about my favorite demon, I’d say she looks like Gabrielle Union, has Michelle Rodriguez’s attitude, and speaks with Penelope Cruz’s accent.  She’s pretty nice for the most part, save for those times she goes all Michonne on me and stalks me with her katana.

Seriously, love, we need to work on our communications.

It’s a beautiful day.  Cold, but beautiful.  What’s a poor girl to do?

Work on her novel.  What else?


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Plummeting Towards Your Life

Do you have the soundtrack of your writing from last night, Cassie?  Why, I most certainly do.  Sure, I threw in a few individual songs before I really got started, but the real stuff was Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots and At War With the Mystics, both by The Flaming Lips.  Just the sort of stuff needed for some heavy writing, yeah?

One evaluation down, another in the process.  I had trouble getting started for one reason or another last night.  I feel the need to get out and do something besides sit, but it’s hard to do these days.  I’ve got two jobs going on, and that takes up a lot of my time.  Seriously, once NaNo is out of the way–or maybe even before that–I’m going to set up some free time and find something to do.  I miss my little side trips off to places around The Burg, and I need more of that.  Otherwise you fall into the rut, and once you’re in the rut, you have a hell of a time getting out.

Writing, however:  oh, I think I was on it last night once I got into my prose.  For the first couple of hundred words there didn’t seem to be much happening, but then I just sorta burst out and got things done.  For the first time in a while I was clicking with the music, and by the time I took a break at the end of Yoshimi–which is forty-seven minutes long, by the way–I had nine hundred and fifty words down.  That’s a pretty good run for me.  I let my back get better for about thirty-five minutes, then put on the second record and started writing once more.  Fifty-five minute later I’d written another thousand words–not bad at all, if I may say.

Tonight, however:  I know I have a scene coming up that’s going to be emotional.  I know it because I’ve thought about it many times, and I’m about to jump right into the heavy stuff based upon where I left off in the scene.  Gotta find some happy music, you know?  Or at least something that’s going to drive me to write straight through the hard stuff, because it’s a good scene, and I want to do it right.  I know I’ll do it right:  it’s just a question of how many tears I have to fight through to get there?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’ve hit stretches in books where the tears flowed freely as I wrote, and I know it’ll happen again.  It’s not because I’ve done something bad to a character, but because I’m touching on something inside my own life when I’m writing a scene, and it can hurt.  But you do it because–hey, writing!  That’s what you want, to have you’re feeling out there on the page for all to see.  You need it, you want it, you have it.

That’s why you’re a writer.  Not because you got voices in your head–because, if you do, you wanna go with meds–but because you want everyone to see all those hurts you have.  You open up your heart and you let it drip out onto the paper.

And in the end you call it a story and move on to the next one.

Lots of fun, isn’t it?

Daily word count:  1,950.  Total word count:  33,277.


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Stumbling Through the Prose

Today is a good day.  I’ve only been up for an hour, and already I’ve read some insanity from a person I used to speak with on Facebook, a person I would best describe as ignorant and crazy.  They’re the sort of person who believes the characters she creates tells her how to write her stories–when she is writing, that is, as it has always appeared she’s one of these “writers” who can only write when she is sprinting with others–and that she is probably, likely, most definitely had arguments with her characters and, at times, lost.  Like I said, she’s crazy.  If you’re having arguments with your characters, and losing, you need to get your ass into therapy and up your meds.  But since she’s more of a poseur and not much of a writer, maybe those voices will help keep her warm . . .

Enough of crazy people, as I have enough crazy to keep entire subdivisions happy.  Was out last night, was driving in the dark, was talking out my own scenes as I flew through the darkness.  The sky looked strange with the low clouds reflecting lights that, around here, never go out.  When I was heading to my friend’s earlier in the evening, before the sun had fully set, I thought of what the sky would have looked like next to Hudson Bay, close to the Arctic Circle, with the stark yet beautiful desolation of the tundra all around.  I tried to imagine it as I drove, and could see it all around me as the cold fields of Northwest Indiana faded into the past.

I started Chapter Fourteen yesterday, and what I thought was going to be a very quick thousand words turned into a bit of a slough though the literary mud.   I’m back on Keith, getting ready to bring Elektra into his life and turn up the strangeness in a way that should be interesting.  At the moment, at the start of the chapter, he’s thinking about the two women in his live, how one is developing a relationship with him, but he’d not certain how long it might last–and how one is already there, but he knows that as soon as he types “The End” at the bottom of his manuscript, she’s gonna pull a Tara and be gone with the wind.

But getting those thoughts onto the page–or Scrivener text file, take your pick–became a bit of a pain in my ass, because whatever I’d type simply didn’t seem right.

This is happened a few times with this story, which is probably why I’m just now clearing fifty thousand words after two months, and probably won’t finished Suggestive Amusements before the end of March.  I know Stephen King says ninety days is about right to do a first draft of a novel, but I’m used to being faster.  I’m used to cranking it out, and yesterday was like crawling along the pavement when you have to be somewhere in twenty minutes.

My Muse, who would never leave me, says my problem with writing this story is I’m not as connected to the characters here as I am in other works I’ve produced.  That may very well be true; I don’t know.  There could be issues with me writing this while working some long hours, but then I did the same thing at The Undisclosed Location, and cranked out some wordage.

Or maybe I’m ready to go beyond writing, and into publishing.

I know my characters would like that–because I would like that.


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Love in the Shrunken Universe

Since getting into the development of Elektra’s life within Chapter Thirteen of Suggestive Amusements, I feel like I’m learning more about the state of New Mexico than I’d ever imagined I would.  When I put her together I created her home town on the fly, making her a Southwest Desert Girl from the go, so living in Las Vegas wasn’t going to be a huge climate change for her.

Culturally, though, I’ve got her growing in ways I wouldn’t imagine the rest of us would ever experience.  Then again, we don’t live in novels.  Or do we?

It seemed to take hours to write my eleven hundred words last night, mostly because I not only did my research, but I was doing my nails, too.  Hey, nothing wrong with a little base coat drying as you type away, right?  But for an hour or so I did a lot of set up, and then, when I was down to the last six hundred words, I imagined her visiting these different areas of the state, and before you knew it I had her hooking up with . . . Izzy.

Don’t laugh, but that’s her nickname for another person in her past who led her onto the Road of Kink.  Believe it or not, I took the name from a character that grew up in New Mexico, and I even mention that other character by name.  (I don’t need to tell any of you who it is, because I have very bright readers.)  So she and Elektra met, get to know each other, have dinner, get to know each other better, and before you know it, they’re meeting on a regular basis.

That’s how good relationships should begin.  Find your interests, get to know each other, and eventually end up on a side road near Roswell laying on the hood of a Jeep, staring up at the sky and holding hands while looking for UFOs.  That was how I left Elektra and Izzy last night, thinking it was a good place to jump out and gather my thoughts–and get ready for bed–because I needed the time to see where I’m taking this . . .

If you asked, “Straight into the gutter?” you’d likely be correct.

I like this chapter, and I like what I’m doing with Elektra.  All this, “What I did before I met you” stuff is giving her dimensionality, it’s turning her into a real–albeit kinky–person.  This is what we, as writers, strive to do with every character:  we want them fleshed out so when they turn sideways to us, we don’t watch them vanish.  Sometimes a writer doesn’t care if their character is two-dimensional, because the story is driving the character, not the other way around, but for this story, I’d like the characters to have a bit of thickness to them.

The question I have now is:  does Elektra think about some of the experiences she had with Izzy, and do I get into the fantasies she never got to experience with her?  I know the answer to both side, so it’s a no-brainer for me.  I believe the second part of that question should be shown in Chapter Fourteen, because that’s what we’re always being told:  “Show, don’t tell.”

Okay, I’ll do that.  I wouldn’t want to upset any writing instructors . . .


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Little Miss Hellspawn

So ya, thought ya, might like to go to the show.  To feel that warm thrill of confusion, that space cadet glow.  I’ve got some bad news for you sunshine, Cass isn’t well, she stayed back at the hotel, and they sent me along as a surrogate hack, I’ll find all the jerks and toss them out on their cans!

Okay, so I’m not gonna go all In the Flesh on you today; I couldn’t do that because I’m too nice a person.  But I’ve found instances, in my life, when I should turn around and become the raging bitch that some people think I am.  Which I’m not–you gotta trust me on this one.

There was one incident where I discovered someone had entered my author’s page and decided to spam it with a link about weight loss.  Yeah, that’s going to make me happy, she sarcastically said, referring to the spam, not link to some hoodoo weight loss scam.  For the first time since the author’s page went up, I had to pull out the Ban Hammer of the Gods, and smite his butt back to the woodwork.  I don’t stand for one to try and foster their crap upon myself and others, and I deal with it swiftly.

Then there was there other, more puzzling incident . . . needless to say, someone took umbrage with something I said, freaked out like a mofo, severed all links with me, and left me a semi-nasty message in the wake of their departure.  Oh, goodie!  Another dissatisfied customer who gives me no explanation for why they’re upset–they just wanna scream, “You’re an ass!” and leave it at that.

I had something like happen about eight, nine months back.  Someone from one of my writer groups started following this blog, and after a week they left a message:  “This isn’t just about writing?”  Sorry about that, Tex, but I’ve been known to roll off and start rambling about things that are non-writing related, like now.  Some of it is entertaining, and some . . . well, probably not so much, but I always set out to make it entertaining.

A few days later the person left a very nasty comment, something along the lines of, “I’ve try to help you, but you’re decided to hang with the kids at the cool table in the lunch room!” which was about as nutty as it gets.  I didn’t think anything about it until he posted nearly the same message in a writer’s group on Facebook, and at that point I sicced Mjolnir on his ass and put an end to intrusion into my life.  (As a side note I was told that he likewise pissed off other people in the same group with the same, “I’m trying to help you, don’t you get it, you idiot?”  Apparently they didn’t, and he eventually went away.)

I’m not above criticism; being that I’m in this writing game, it’s going to come, and some of it won’t be pretty.  Sometimes it’s going to take a personal turn, because for many people it’s easier to go for the ad hominem than to get into a well-constructed argument that might find them having large chunks of their ass being handed back to them.

But to throw out a, “I’m not going to read you anymore ’cause you’re a bastard!” without specifying the extent of my bastardy–please, show me the courtesy of at least telling me why I’m such a bitch before you call me one and slam the door.

I promise, this hellspawn will listen to you.

I might even write about it later . . .


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The Killing Inspiration

Much better today, thank you for asking.  I didn’t know if you were going to ask or not, so I figured I’d tell you anyway.  After all, if you’re coming here, you know I’m likely to sling something of a personal nature at you, and since I’ve been going on about my sniffles and sneezes, and shivers and shakes, then I have to tell you I’m getting better.  Almost good enough to head back to the office tomorrow.  Oh, joy.

Forward progression on Suggestive Amusements continues.  I had a short chat with someone last night, and mentioned that I had very little motivation to start writing.  She said that even when I say that, I eventually find my way into my story, then churn out a thousand words like a machine.  There are certain truths there, because after I’d opened Scrivener and brought up the story, I let it set for maybe fifteen minutes, then I was in the chapter and off, as they say, to the races.

The more I get into Erin’s story–which means, as it comes to me as I’m typing away at the keyboard–I’m struck by the sadness of her life.  Yes, she has her happy moments; she’s ever recounted a couple of them to Keith as they linger in bed together.  (Oh, wait:  did I just give something away?  I think I did.)  But she’s also recounting some hard reality that she knows, that her sister Talia knows, and the memory of one such reality left her with tears streaming down her cheeks.

Yes, I’m a total bitch:  I don’t cut my muse a break, and find her life full of pain.

It’s not fair, I know.  If you’re an immortal creature, you should live with joy and contentment.  Why get involved in tons of dramatic shit that’s going to bring you down?  There’s a simple explanation:  Erin is the embodiment of creativity.  That’s what a muse does:  she bring something to the table that’s going to help you find a way to drag those words out of your skin and put them on whatever writing medium one uses.

If you’ve never been creative, then you have no idea how much this act can hurt.  There’s a couple of lines in the U2 song The Fly that sums this up well:

 

Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief

 

Like it or not, we creative types suffer to make our creations sing.  In the process, we find a number of happy moments in our lives to write about, but at the same time, we dig deep into the crap heaps of sorrow that we’ve left behind, and a lot of that also ends up on the pages of our work.

Erin is almost always hurt by the time her charge has created their work, because they need to dig deep to find those moments that make up their story.  She is the inspiration, so it is she that must suffer for us to enjoy whatever is produced in the end.  Good or bad, she goes down at the end, even if her parting is a happy one.

Multiply that by a few thousand charges over the course of eight thousand years, and you have a muse with a history that would send most of us leaping off the nearest cliff without a second thought.

Maybe it’s not like that, however.  Maybe this is me finding something to pull out from whatever pits of fresh hell I’ve created over the last few years.  I know there are parts of Keith’s life–in particular a chapter that is coming up–that I can say come right from certain experiences I’ve had recently.

But am I Keith?  Well, yes, I am.  And I’m also Erin.  And her sister Talia.

I’m a writer, and I am many.

It’s only natural that I’m going to suffer with all my characters.


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Trials of Love and Remembrance

Day Two of Sick As Hell, but getting better.  No fever now, but I can’t hear out of my right ear, my head is stuffy, and my throat was swollen last night to the point of intense pain.  This morning I’m better, though my head is swimming about because I’ve only seen about three hours of sleep in the last two days.  Tonight I hope to get enough sleep to be sharp enough that I’m not stumbling about like I don’t know what I’m doing.

I was in decent enough shape last night, though, that I could write.  I wanted to get back into Chapter Ten, and it was a good time to do so, because I’d only need about a thousand words to get the job done.  So I got into it, and I was right:  it took a few words over a thousand to finish Chapter Ten, and now it’s time to move onto pillow talk between my two main characters.

With it being Valentine’s Day today, it’s a bit interesting that last night my muse (not my Muse, just to keep things straight) thought about how her newest charge was going to be another in a very long line of lovers, and that she’d remember him all the way until the end of time, well beyond the time when he is not only forgotten by his descendants, but by history as well.  Creatures who are not human, who do have recollections that go back thousands of years, could be expected to remember every encounter they’ve had, every touch they’ve experienced, every kiss that’s graced their lips.  As I said in the story, for Erin the Muse it’s both a gift and a curse, because while she can remember all the good times, she will also remember the bad–and there is no way you couldn’t go through thousands of years of encounters with people and never have a bad relationship spring up.

I’m not a muse; there are no thousands of relationships in my life that I can remember, much less write about.  The reality is I can count on both hands the number of relationships I’ve had, and still have a few fingers left over.  I don’t regret this–and there’s little I could do if I decided to regret my choices.  It is what it is, and not even a TARDIS is going to save you from your own time line.

There are also a few that I’d rather not remember.  One in particular, the family hatted me with a passion, and that didn’t help when it came to developing a romance.  There is one that I do regret ever getting into, though it’s not one most people who know me would understand the reasons why it was such a bad thing for me.

There are others, however, that I will always remember.  They showed me things I didn’t know were possible; they allowed me to achieve an intimacy that had never been there.  And if I can borrow from Mr. Spock (D. C. Fontana, actually, as she was the one who put the words in his mouth), there is one where it was easy to say, “For the first time in my life, I was happy.”

The one thing I don’t want to know is:  do they remember me?  And do they remember me with any sort of fondness.

I guess I’ll never know, or even want to.

It’s better that way.


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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 Windswept Silence

Late night for me, because I was out and about visiting, taking in pizza and movies, and staying up a lot later than I would normally.  In fact, when I realized the time, I hadn’t realized the time.  That’s how the evening went.

I was right about yesterday:  I didn’t get a lot of writing done.  About three hundred and sixty words, that was it, but it was the initial description of my other main female character for my novel, and that was what I needed to move on to the next part of Chapter Five.

But, once more, I got my motor running to go somewhere, and while going there and back, my mind was on a lot of things.  My Muse was on my mind; my story was on my mind; stories I haven’t written were on my mind.  It was all there, roaming about, getting down in my memories and making it known that I wasn’t going to forget anything.

Most of what I thought about were scenes from a story that hasn’t been written, but has been on my mind of late.  It has to do with having to do a duty that is both exciting and frightening, and once they’ve begun, the characters in question are presented with–call it an alternate reality of their lives.  Those the two characters have been together a long time, things happened in their past that pulled them away from people who they’d fallen for very hard.  And times and events and people being what they are, the characters were never able to reconcile these relationships, and therefore became somewhat haunted by the dreams of what could have been.

Each is given the opportunity to enjoy time with the “one who got away,” because, as one character is told, “You’ve always deserved to be happy.  Even if you are happy now, it is not the happiness you wanted.  You deserve to be with your one true soul mate; you deserve to be happy, even if for a little while.”  The character in question finds they are unable to disagree, because, deep down, they have always wanted that particular happiness–and even if they question how they are achieving the moment, they don’t care . . .

But, being me, you know they’ll end up in some kind of misery by the end of the story.  Actually they end up in some rather strange stuff at the end, but that’s also me . . .

I’ve thought a lot about happiness where it comes to my characters.  It’s easy to say that we all need to be happy, that we should have that one, great love that would make our lives complete.  It doesn’t always happen:  that’s pretty obvious when you look at the general human condition.  It’s not always possible, but we try.  And if we can’t try, we dream and fantasize.

Some of us take those dreams and fantasies and turn them into the stuff prose is made from, and then bleed upon our pages for the entertainment of others.

Because our silence is always the loudest.

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