Dancer in the Dark

I promise you, there will be nothing of Björk naked or spitting on anyone–except for this comment.  That said, onward.

I’ll tell you, it’s been a while since I’ve created a new character for a role playing game, and I’ve forgotten just how time consuming that endeavor can become.  Particularly if you have a lot of equipment to buy, and said equipment is spread out all over the place in different books.  You start out thinking that you’re going to knock this sucker out in maybe a couple of hours, and before you know it–BAM!  It’s about 7 hours later and you’ve while you’ve got most everything physical tapped out for said character, you have to start in on their history.

Oi.  It’s a real time consumer, and it does eat into the time you should spend writing.

Then again, coming up with a great character history is writing, which you would know if you have ever created a great character for a role playing game.

Trust me, I did write some serious stuff last night, once I got past all the distractions.  Ah, yes: I’m back on the air at The Undisclosed Location, and with Internet comes all the distractions.  And there is something else here in the mix, and that’s work.  Because for the last year, when I’ve been heavy into writing and game playing and character creation for both, I didn’t have to worry about work getting in the way, I just got up, flipped on and started working.

Writing was my work.

Right now, however, I’m back to earning a pay check to cover the bills, and that’s taking a huge chunk out of my life.  Which means lest time to write and do all the other things I want to do.

This is known as time management.  Last night my time wasn’t managed that great, but I did manage to get it done.

I actually surprised myself by knocking off 950 words for Couples Dance.  I got into the chapter with the reading of this journal from 1932, and I was off–really.  I began putting my thoughts together and realized that what this journal needed was just a touch of offness, and since it was about 9:30 PM, and I was already writing about unusual sexual encounters, I conjured up a few disturbing scenes in my head, and . . . yeah.  I decided that, within the story inside the story, I was going to go there and show people what happens when you mess with a couple of my now-long dead characters, and put it out there for all to see.

It was like, the moment I created this one character, I needed something bad to happen to them, and instantly I went there.  And since it ties into something that will happen to another character, it’s sorta gonna make sense in a way.

That’s what happens when you start dancing in the dark: your mind goes places you maybe don’t want it to go, but it does anyway.  And Couples Dance is a strange story, so what I found sitting in the deep parts of my brain doesn’t surprise me one bit.

I just hope when I can find someone to publish it, because it’s truly not the sort of story that’s going to appeal to everyone.

In the meanwhile, I have to start working on my game character’s history, which is probably going to take up about a 3,000 words chunk.  All I need now is to figure out if she’s going to spend $15,000 in-game money on a pickup or the ability to become invisible like a Predator–

Let me get my dancing shoes . . .

In the Air Today.

Finally, The Undisclosed Location is hooked up to the modern era.  I have me some Internet!

After having been wired for so long, it was insanity inducing to have nothing at night but your computer, a little music, and your words to keep you company.  Yes, I was going a bit nuts, because even if I’d been locked up in a hotel room–and I have for weeks on end before–you have access to the outside world.

This was just me.  That’s a dangerous thing.

It was nice to be back up at my other house.  The biggest problem with that is I really slacked off on writing.  Nothing on Friday and nothing last night.  And as they say in The Wall, “This will not do.”  Because you should write.  You should keep the stories coming.

On the other hand, you should also listen to William Gibson, who said if he’s got nothing to write that day, he doesn’t force himself to write.  He finds something else to do besides trying  to force out a few hundred words that he knows are going to suck.

And I’ve found that good words to live by.  I’ve had people tell me, “Sometimes you need to take a break from writing,” and that does seem true; sometimes you need to sit back and recharge the batteries and let the words build up.  They’ll know when it’s time to come out.

Besides, I did write.  Yesterday’s post was almost 2,000 words, and if someone would care to say that wasn’t writing, I’d like them to post their comment at the end of this post and tell me why.  Because it was, and it was very personal for me.

Even when I do a story like Couples Dance, which does have a lot of strange things going on within, it feels like a form of therapy.  I feels like I’m really exposing myself to the world and letting them take notice of this person sitting over on this side of the room.  My writing says something about me, it’s pulling things out from deep within, and exposes those fears and fantasies and ideas in the public forum.  It’s one of the things this blog does very well, and it’s a wonder people haven’t actually at back and said, “Dude, you are strange,” after a quick read.

Such is life, right?

So, back to the story tonight.  When I get home it’s a quick thousand words from the journal my main male character is reading in the Salem Public Library, and his continued feeling that his old life is gone and this new one he’s been suddenly immersed in is going to be heaven or hell, but no in between.  Maybe I’ll even get into a groove and finish up Chapter 8, and get ready for the true strangeness that will be Chapter 9.

This new story is almost over.  I’ll have it finished maybe by the end of this week, maybe by the middle of next week.  But it’s almost over.

And then comes the read fun–

Figuring out what to write next.

Yeah, writers are strange.  I’m in good company.

Death and the Act of Self Love

It was one of those nights.  Time to sit and reflect, and that’s not always good, because when you reflect you don’t always like what you see in the reflection.

After I did the research for my current work in progress I got sidetracked.  That happens, because my mind wanders.  I should have been writing, and, in a way, I was.

I was working on a character for a game.

I can hear you saying, “What?”  Yes, see . . . I got roped into a Play-by-Post game and I was in need of making a character.  This happens with me, so don’t be too surprised.  It’s for a game I’ve wanted to play for a few years, so I thought I’d give it a shot, because the worst that can happen is that I’ll get bored and throw my character off a building and call it a day.

But the act of creating a character can be time consuming, and it can involve a lot of imagination–particularly where the character’s history is concerned.  See, there is this thing called “Character Development” that tends to get ignored these days: in movies, in games, in stories–big time in stories.  And I love making characters with great backgrounds; it gets the mind going in ways you usually never see it go, and you let it run when that happens, because what you’re going to come out with, in the end, isn’t some two dimensional trope-ridden placard.  Oh, no.  You do it right, you’ll have a real person.

So as I put the numbers together, I developed my character, and one of the things I came up with for her (yes, “her”, cause I do roll that way.  Hey, if I can write female characters well, I can damn sure play them, too) is that she was kept in a form of suspended animation for 5 years, and that everyone who knew her thinks she’s dead.  No, not thinks:  knows.  They know because three weeks after she initially disappeared her body was found floating in a river, and the autopsy indicated she’d been raped and stabbed before being weighted down and dumped.

It doesn’t matter how her body was found, and how she’s now in a lab being told this story by two other people.  The hard truth is she has nothing to go back to, because to show up on her parent’s doorstep and go, “Naw, what you guys found was probably a clone”, would likely find her ass right back in a lab in short order.

So, with her death, she’s finding her way in the world as someone completely different that who she’d been before.  One of the aspects about her is that she’d a bit into BDSM, and is something of a domme.  I can just imagine what the other players are going to say when they see that–and it better be, “Yes, Mistress.”

But then . . . shit got real.

I was out on Second Life for a bit.  It’s a place where I’ve hung for almost 5 years, and I have a number of people who are friends of one sort or another.  One of these people, who happens to be someone I’ve known almost the entire time I’ve been is SL, is a therapist.  Really.  I sort of suspected about 2 years after a met her, but last year she told me for sure that, yeah, she has a private practice, and yes, she’s been watching me all the while we’ve known each other.

Watching me because I do have issues.  Lots of issues.

She wasn’t actually treating me last night, but it became a session.  Mostly because she was asking me questions, and then hit a point where she felt it necessary to call me on my bullshit.  And the gist of the message was this:  “You’re always looking for something from someone else, and they can’t give it to you because you’ve yet to care for yourself.  Until you love yourself, you’ll never find happiness with others.”

Well, now, that didn’t leave me in a happy place.  In fact, it left me a huge mess.  Mostly because the message hit home hard.

Yes, I am always looking for something from others.  I want to feel wanted, and even loved–but I’ve yet to come to grips with the fact that I can’t stand myself for the most part.  And when I feel that I’m not getting the attention I need, I pull away.  I’ve done it before in the past, and I’m doing it these days as well.

It’s not right.  It really isn’t.

I’ve felt love before.  And I’ve felt it go away.  I’m a head case, but I do try to get better.  I am creative, but sometimes I not only suffer for my creativity, but my characters do as well.  Oh, yes, they do go through some hell.

And when it comes to hell, I turned to another character for comfort.

As I was getting ready for bed, I started thinking on another scene, and this one involved someone from another game–my “friend” Erywin, whom I’ve talked about before on this blog.  The scene that came to mind wasn’t pleasant: in fact, it was very upsetting.

Things always come to an end, and I was working out the event that, for her, would be the hardest: the death of her long-time wife and the love of her life.  She’s gotten on for almost 55 years with her “pretty girl”, and now, in the scene I envisioned, her wife Helena is gone, and it’s her and Kerry’s wife Annie, and my character, all standing outside Helena’s family crypt in New Zealand–the same crypt that Erywin will share with her when it’s her time to cast off this moral coil.

It’s in that moment, with the sun going down behind them, that Erywin finally tells her friends of the time Helena and she met.  It was hinted at many times in the past, but now, for the first time, she speaks about what happened, how they came together in a girl’s bathroom at their school.

Here are Ewywin’s words:

 

“Four girls came in and cornered me.  One of the girls was the one I’d approached a few days before, and confessed my love to.  She was the first one to hit me . . .

“She slapped me hard.  One of her friends grabbed my hair as she slapped me again and called me a ‘dirty lez’, and how dare I tell her that I loved her.  Then a third girl kicked me in the leg and I fell and . . . that’s when they all had a go at me.

“I was on my knees.  I was being kicked in the stomach and the groin.  The one who had hold of my hair kept yanking my head back, and the one girl kept slapping me, calling me ‘dirty lez’ over and over.  Then, finally, she hits me right around the eye, and everything went red, and I fell over–

“And they kept at me.  I was kicked all over.  I covered up my face to kept from getting hit there, but they got me everywhere else.  They spit on me a couple of times.  And then they stopped and someone–I think it was the one who stated it–she stand over me, straddling me . . .

“She urinated on me.  God, the sound of the splatter on my uniform:  it was so loud.  No one said a word, they all stood and watched as their mate pissed on me, like I was nothing, like I less than human.

“When she was done she stepped back and kicked me hard in the arse; it felt like she’d broken my tailbone, I was in so much pain.  I remember screaming and crying as they walked out.  They left me there, not saying a word.  It was as if they’d come in to use the loo and freshen up, and with their business done it was time to head off to class.

“I didn’t move for a few minutes; I just lay there and cried.  Then I crawled up into a stall and sat back against a wall.  I was hurting everywhere and just crying up a storm.  Damning myself for coming out, blaming myself for the attack.  I hated myself, because I’d been struggling for two years over who I was, what I was, and here was the affirmation that all I’d ever encounter would be hate.  And because they hated me, I couldn’t help but hate myself.

“I was really, at that point, considering going up to the Astronomy Tower and throwing myself off; I mean, how could I ever go back to my House and face everyone knowing what had just happened?  The alternative was simple:  a few seconds of falling, and then there’d be darkness and peace, and I’d never need worry about being the school lez ever again.

“And then I looked up . . . and there she was, standing in the entrance to the stall, staring at me with the most curious look on her face.  I can’t blame her: there I was, moaning and crying, my face all red, my hair everywhere, wet and stinking of urine.  I was such a fucking mess.

“She asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ and I said, ‘I just got beat up by four girls’.  And she tilted her head just an inch to the right–like she used to do in class–and asked, ‘Why did they do that?’.  I was afraid to say, because I expected her to walk away the moment I spoke.

“But for some reason, I did tell her.  I said, ‘I told one of the girls who beat me up that I loved her’, and left it at that.  I thought, ‘This bird is gonna leave now’, and when she did I could go up to the Tower and leave . . . leave for good.

“But she didn’t leave.  She knelt down and sat back on her heels.  And she took my hand and held it, and said, ‘That’s not right.  Why would they do that?’  She brushed my hair from my face and she smiled, and my heart just shattered.  ‘No one should suffer because they love,’ she said, and I started crying so hard, and she held my hand the whole time I cried out.  When I was done she helped me to my feet and cleaned me up and got me to the hospital wing–“

With that Erywin takes my character’s hand and, while crying softly, says, “That’s how I met my Pretty Girl, Cass.  That’s how I met the woman I knew I’d be with forever.  That’s how I met the one who showed me how to love myself as much as I’d love her.”

 

I’m learning that one can’t go forward if they can’t find love within themselves.  I have spent a lot of time looking for something from others, but I never find it because I can never find that same thing within my own being.  There are those I love, and who love me in return, but I know I have to find that same love for myself, or it’s nothing.

It’s really nothing at all.

Through my writing I’m finding so many feelings that were never there before–or were so submerged I had forgotten they existed.  Through my characters I’m letting out parts of my being that I’ve kept out of sight for so long that I’d not wanted to admit they were there.

Writing and creating characters helps me.  It’s part of a voyage of discovery.  In a way it’s my own self therapy.  It’s made me examine myself and it helps understand who and what I am, and what I need.

Maybe, in my own time, and with some help from others, I’ll find the love inside that will finally make me whole.

Many Levels of Kink

All safe an secure today, back home where I started last week.  Returning to The Undisclosed Location doesn’t happen until tomorrow, and when I get there I should have my internet finally working.  Notice I said “should”; it better be “damn sure”, or I’m going to have someone’s ass on a platter.

Needless to say, I didn’t get much writing in yesterday.  Not a big deal.  With Chapter 7 getting finished up Thursday I didn’t have anything but a new chapter to start, and this morning I worked on that–and worked well.  I dove into Chapter 8 and after an hour I had 1,115 words down, ending with a little line in the story for a location in Paris–something I couldn’t look up this morning at my local Y–where I was writing–because their internet connection was Teh Suck.

So this afternoon I’m looking up locations in Paris for my character to have visited in the early 1930’s.  I’m temped to use Montmartre, the 18th arrondissement of Paris, because it’s known for all the artists that hung out in that area, but the 9th arrondissement hold appeal for me as well, as it was the original home of the Conservatoire de Paris, the Opera, and the Galeries Lafayette–which everyone should visit once in their lives.  And lets face it:  Montmartre gets used as a local in stories like it were a $2 hooker at a frat party: often and with no respect.

Not that I’m going to be all that respectful.  The character I’m writing about is long dead, and my main male character is reading his journals, which are kept in a private collection in the Salem Library.  (Which, fortunately for me, the Salem Public Library has.)  My main character is freaking out, because things are getting a bit . . . intense at home.  Which is to say his wife is discovering her new-found erotic feelings, and those feelings are taking a turn into the strange, needless to say.

I was telling someone that I’m having fun with this story.  That’s a strange thing to say about a story that is, in my own estimation, pretty dark.  If you think of erotica as having a story with sex in it, yeah, this is it.  But the dial on the kinky meter got cranked to about 9 in the last chapter, and when Chapter 9, the penultimate chapter comes around, I’m going all Nigel Tufnel on the story and turning it to eleven.

Never the less, I’m having fun with this.  I don’t know why; sometimes it’s like that with your writing.  Probably because my last story, Echoes, was a very personal and, for me, intense story, ’cause I was dealing with feelings that were, at the time, very much messing with my head.  Couples Dance is more like . . . just fooling around, getting into a heavy fantasy vibe and letting the story take you where it’s suppose to take you.

Because the couple in the story are having an awakening of sorts that they’ve never experienced before, it’s pushing them in directions for which they have no true understanding.  I’m free to try things that, to be honest, some people won’t like. No, I don’t think they’ll dig it at all.  But then, one person’s revulsion is another person’s Saturday night.

Also, at times, you want to make your readers uncomfortable.  Make them think, make them explore, make them imagine.  Maybe people will enjoy the overall story I’ve put into place, and when they get to things that they don’t dig–maybe they’ll understand it in the context in which it’s presented and continue reading.  Or not.

Hey, I can’t please everyone, right?

So, I’ll get in a little more writing tonight, ’cause as of now I’m going with the 9th arrondissement of Paris, near the Palais Garnier, and write about all the dirty, disgusting, kinky things my 1930’s character did.

In other words, I’m going to have fun.

The Long Return

Week One at The Undisclosed Location is almost over.  I’ve learned to adjust quickly, though this crazy working thing . . . yeah, it pays the bills, but it ain’t a working model for giving a person what they need out of life.  Ah, this isn’t permanent; in time, I’ll evolve into something else.

Despite a rough start at the beginning of the week, I feel better now.  The Muse is back, and I was writing, writing, writing the last few days.  1,400 or so words Wednesday, and maybe another 1,400 yesterday.  Last night, while hanging at Panara, I finished Chapter 7, and it finished on a very dark note.  I don’t know how you like your erotica, but it defiantly went sideways by the time the climax arrived.  (Ha, ha: he said climax when talking about erotica.  Yeah, I know.  Funny like a clown.)

I know I can show this story to someone, but to be honest, this sucker is strange.  I won’t say I’ve never written anything like this before, ’cause back when I was doing fetish fiction I went in every sort of direction.  The funny thing is, when I was doing fetish fiction, the emphasis was on “fetish” and not so much on “sex”.  It was all about latex and leather and turning people into inanimate objects and the like–but the sex was really more implied than written out in any detail.

With Couples Dance, the sex is there; it’s in your face–and some of you like it that way.  But it’s also a story that, to me, is a little troubling.  The two main characters are going through some screwed up changes, and you can see it affecting them in ways that some would say were startling, and others would say were sick.

The hell with it.  I’ll finish it and shop it.  Because the truth is, I like the story, strangeness and all.

There was a time when I might not go with a story the way I’m going with this.  When I began writing, maybe 25 years ago, I was into horror and science fiction.  My horror sucked, and my science fiction was pretty passable.  Once I got on the Internet, however, I started doing erotic fantasy, and that helped me develop, believe it or not.

I was able to develop because I could compare what I was writing to the styling of others, and make improvements in my own writing.  Yes, a lot of that stuff was pure crap, but you could see what people were trying to write, and seeing their mistakes meant not making the same ones.

There were a couple of stories that I wrote that . . . well, they were so out there they were actually rejected by the owners of the websites.  I actually had one story where the owner of the site pretty much told me, “I like your stories, but this one was sick”.  Yeah, that happens.  It was because of that one rejection that I started to play it safe.  I stayed away from things that I thought might offend someone’s sensibilities.

I mean, when you’re doing stories about women being turned into blow up dolls so their husbands can use them only for sex, you gotta be careful not to tread on anyone’s delicate sensibilities.

Couples Dance is a return; I’m pushing this envelop just a little, mostly to see what I can do.  I’m almost 20,000 words into the story, and I’ve a bit to go, but I’m enjoying the ride.

The funny thing is, the story came together all because of a chat I had with someone, where they told me, “You know what I’d like?”–and then they told me.  And that started me thinking . . . and later started me writing.

That Muse: she be a crazy girl sometimes.

Bumrush the Page

This new work thing . . . man, getting back onto a schedule that isn’t my schedule; getting dressed up and wearing something that aren’t pajamas; having to drive in and park and then come sit in a cubical that is all quiet and lit in a way that hurts my eyes . . . it’s so much easier getting up and flipping on the computer and diving into my writing.

Now that I have a schedule for getting onto the Internet, I’m back to something that seems like what I’m used to doing.  The fact that I’m starting to sleep is helping greatly, though last night I didn’t sleep through the night as I did the night before.  I woke up a couple of times, and that’s left me with a bit of a sleep aid hangover this morning.  But I’ll work thought it, somehow.

Dreams . . . oi.  Those were horrible and crazy.  In one there was a scene with a famous race car driver pretending he was a basketball player in a wheelchair, and when that went over with those of us in the dream watching–and we were many–he grabbed a Thompson .50 machinegun and, in a fit of rage, smoked a song bird into little pieces.  Swear to gawd.

In another I was out with a female friend, and we were trying on shoes, and the only thing she thought I looked nice in were high heels that make me look like a hooker.  Where do I come up with this?  At least we weren’t shopping for clothes . . .

I hit the new story hard last night.  Chapter 7 was on tap, and while at Panara I cranked off about 1,450 words, just to get the party started, and then did another 600 or so this morning–this very early, rainy morning–to inch the chapter into the 2,000 words range.  I am happy with the counts, but more importantly, I’m happy with the story.

However . . .

For this chapter I’d envisioned the story going one way, and now that I’m into it, the characters are telling me something very different.  When going through this part of the story in my head, I saw it as being more scary, more of the “What the hell is happening?” sort of feel.

That isn’t what I’m feeling now.

The characters have decided that what was needed was confusion, but of a sexual nature, and that there would be intimidation and strange foreplay, and this would eventually degenerate into something akin to a realignment of powers within the household.  I actually ended this morning’s writing on a scene that, to me, I find a bit disturbing, but within the context of what’s happening to my characters, it’s perfectly logical.

Like I said, it’s what my characters want.  And when you see what my main female character is going to do to her hubby . . . yeash.  I don’t know if you’ll be shocked, but it will be disturbing.  At least that is my hope.  What’s the point of doing something disturbing if it doesn’t seem that way?

I love where the story is going.  I love what I’m doing with the characters.  I almost feel as if I’m attacking the story now, taking it places that wasn’t intended.  The next two chapters . . . that’s where I can let my imagination run free, and I’m already straining to get there.

That means I need to finish Chapter 7 fast–

If my characters will let me.  After all, they seem to be enjoying the ride right this moment . . .

Drinks in the Dark at the End of My Road

Ah, what a difference a night makes.  After the lows of yesterday I found some caffeine for the evening, some sleep aid for the night, and put them both to good use.  Slept through the night, and didn’t awake once.

I have a rewired apartment now, but Internet is slow in coming.  I’ll probably not see it in-house before Sunday, but that matters not.  I have backup plans, and I will use them.

Like last night.  I headed off to Panara, had some soup and a sandwich, and settled in.  And while there I was visited by my Muse.  We talked and things were said, and in the end I walked away refreshed and ready to do things.  Which, when I returned to The Undisclosed Location, resulted in writing.

I got back into Couples Dance, and I wrote, and kept writing, and when I was done I’d written 1,846 words, finished Chapter 6, and topped out the story at just over 17,500 words.  When I add in the 900 words I’d written that morning, it was a good run for a day that started out so crappy.

While at Panara I was also able to listen to music.  I go out to YouTube and fire up some videos and listen to a lot of things that were popular when I was younger, but I also listen to a few things from today.  One of the ones I’ve listened to for a while is Shake it Out, by Florence + the Machine.  Ever since hearing it many months before, I’ve found myself listening to this over and over, and with each rendition I’ve found it speaking to more with greater urgency.

Ultimately the song sounds like it’s about a fail relationship, and the need to move on.  But when you listen to it over, and over, there is a complexity that allows it to create on an even deeper subtext.

To me, it’s all about regret.  What you did before, the mistakes you made, all that you’ve done to reach the point you are now.  As is sung in the opening stanza:

 

Regrets collect like old friends

Here to relive your darkest moments

I can see no way, I can see no way

And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh

But I like to keep some things to myself

I like to keep my issues strong

It’s always darkest before the dawn.

 

The last few weeks have felt that way, that everything I’ve done was coming back to haunt me and remind me about all the things I’ve done wrong before this time.  That happens a lot with me; I can’t seem to put things away.  Just as is said here:

 

And I’ve been fool and I’ve been blind

I can never leave the past behind

I can see no way, I can see no way

I’m always dragging that horse around

Our love is pastured, such a mournful sound

Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground

‘Cause I like to keep my issues strong

It’s always darkest before the dawn

 

I never stop asking about why something happened as it did.  My therapist told me that we should never dwell on the past, or on thing over which I have no control, but there is that nagging in the back of my head from time to time.  I simply can’t help it.  I know better, but I also ignore what I know.

But eventually you reach a point where you have to say, “Hell with it; it’s time”.  And when it’s time, you need to take a big, scary step away from you comfort box:

 

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t

So here’s to drinks in the dark, at the end of my rope

And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope

It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat

‘Cause looking for heaven, for the devil in me

Looking for heaven, for the devil in me

But what the hell, I’m gonna let it happen to me, yeah

 

This is the way with my writing; you do it.  You suffer.  You do it again, and take a damn chance.  In the end, what the hell do you have to lose?  Rejection?  Sure, you’ll get that.  You do in everything in life.  No one ever goes through the world completely loved and wanted.  Sometimes you get kicked in the ass.

And when you do, dust yourself off and keep going.  That’s what it’s all about.  “What the hell; just let it happen,” because you’ll learn, and you’ll grow.

I left off the two lines that mean the most to me:

 

And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back

And given half the chance, would I take any of it back

 

Yeah, there are some things I’d take back.  I’d have been more true to myself.  I’d have been more honest with my feelings.  And I’d have worked with far greater diligence on my writing.

For as my Muse said, “You are good.  You will sell.”  And I want people to read.  I want that all.

What the hell . . . I’ll just let it happen.  It’s really that simple.

Suffer the Normalcy

As I write this it’s 4:35 AM.  I can’t sleep, even though I’m tired.  Too much going on in my mind, and none of it is related to writing.

That’s not a good thing, because it means my mind is everywhere but where it should be, which is getting my stories down on paper, be it virtual or real.

I’m back in the ranks of the employed, but it’s not a happy place.  The area where I will work . . . I can sum up my new environment with this one visual:  it’s all this really dark wood, and very small, with not a lot of space.  It’s not well lit.  Someone pulled stuff out from under my desk and left it on the floor behind my chair.

And on the cabinet where I’ll store paper and the such, someone left a coffee cup.  It’s been there a while because there is a thin layer of dust around the cup.  Someone came along and cleaned up the space, but then they were dusting off they cabinet, they obviously couldn’t bother to pick up the cup and move it, so they just dusted around it.

Welcome to my New Home.  I expect the TPS forms to show up at any time today.

I was sort of ready to write last night.  I didn’t get home until late and I wanted to find a place where I could get out and get me some internet so I could take care of business.  When I returned to The Undisclosed Location, I got into my story . . . and there was nothing there.  I knew what I wanted to say, but forcing it onto the page was damn near impossible.  I finally managed about 675 words, which was normal for me in the past, but after a few days of cranking out a lot of story in a short period of time, it felt disappointing.  Very disappointing.

I was tired.  About 9 PM I was literally falling asleep.  And I didn’t want to do that, because I knew if I did I’d be up very early–like, say, 3 or 4 AM.  So lets cut the difference and make it 3:30, which was when I did wake up.

And here I am, 75 minutes later, the drone of the expressway a constant reminder that as long as I’m in the new place, I’m never going to get anything remotely resembling quiet.

I’m really trying to stay up.  I have to say that after being off for such a long time it’s a bit of a shock returning to something like a normal schedule–if you can call falling asleep at 9 PM and waking up at 4 AM normal.

That sort of thing is going to kill me.

So is not being able to see what’s going on out there in the world outside my hovel.  I wanted to do a little research for my story last night–but no internet, so no research.  And I couldn’t run out and find a hotspot, because it was getting late.  I just did what any good writer does at that point:  I made things up.

Bully for me!

Today there will be a rewiring of The Undisclosed Location.  After that I should have connectivity . . . but I have this sinking feeling that what will happen afterwords is that I’ll be told to set up a time to have someone come out and connect my modem.  This will mean taking time off from the new job–again.

What a mess.

At least I’ll have my computer with me today.  Maybe my Muse will come around and give me a kick, make me write a few hundred words.  Maybe she’ll show up this morning and and help me do something with the extra time I have.

It’s times like this I want to make my writing work for me.  Because this normalcy stuff . . . it’s the suck.

I miss my Muse.  I wish she were here to hold my hand.

Suffer the Dreams of the World Gone Mad

With no Internet in the Undisclosed Location it’s a fall back to doing it all old school: listing to CDs on the computer and writing this post in Word.  This is why I should have held onto the modem; I could hack myself up a profile and run the Net wide open, as if I were Case.

If only.

So here I sit, munching on Cheez-its while I wash it all down with sips of cognac, and I’ve got REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi on the computer, and the reality is all is good, because I’ve been writing up a storm.

Well, a storm is relative.  Yesterday (Saturday), it was 2,500 words, and tonight it’s around 2,100 words, and considering I’d been doing maybe 800 to 1,200 words a day, it’s a considerable increase.  So it’s a little storm, but it’s better than what I’ve been doing.

This has all been going into one chapter, and that chapter is getting to be a really, really big one.  Before I even got to where I am today, I “chatted out” the scene over dinner, so I knew what I’d be saying, more or less, before I ever wrote a word.  It works for me, but when I was out at the mall today, talking to myself, I got a look from a woman that said, “Are you nuts or what?”

Hey, shit happens, love.  Welcome to my world.

There was a time when talking to myself used to get me into a lot of trouble.  My mother was always worried I was turning schizophrenic because I’d do this when I was like 8, 9 years old, and she figured I was seeing things that weren’t there.  Sure, when I told her I wasn’t talking to anything, and that I was just talking to myself, she’d yell, “Stop it, then!  You look crazy!” but that’s okay, because it was all done with love, right?

These days I often make light of my mental illness, because I understand it’s one of those things that’s always there, and you got to learn to deal with it.  Yes, there was a time when I took medication to battle my bi-polar condition, but there was a problem with taking that medication.  One, I wasn’t on one particular med, I was taking four: one to combat the depression, another to offset anxiety, another adjust my moods, and the forth . . . hell, I don’t remember why I was taking the forth.  Eventually I stopped taking it because it wasn’t doing me any good.

I was taking about 450mg of meds every day.  Yes, it helped, and it kept me focused, and it helped me deal with work . . . but I was lacking something.  I didn’t have anything I’d call a spark.  There was no inspiration.

I couldn’t find my voice.

With all that crazy feeling behind me I should have been able to write like a mother.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t get motivated, and when I did, I couldn’t find anything worth while writing about.  It was like my imagination, and the push I needed to get it into gear, had been vanquished along with my craziness.

As soon as I stopped taking medication—which was exactly around the time when I ran out of medical insurance—I started to get crazy again.  It happened slowly, but it came back.  All the fear, all the doubt, all the depression . . . yep, there it was again.

But I had something else, too.

I had the desire to write again.

I took an online class in November, 2010, then I started getting motivated in early 2011—well, I got that motivation with a little kick from my Muse—and then I started writing in real earnest in July of 2011.

The rest is, as they say, history.

I have a story out of Smashwords; I have a novel that’s getting edited; I’ve got a story that’s going to be published in May; I have another story I’ve finished and another that I’m about 14,000 worlds into.

I’m writing.  I’m doing it all the time.  And the moment I start selling this stuff on a regular basis, that’s when I quit the day job I’m about to start tomorrow and go back to being—as I told my daughter—“Second Mom”.

Yeah, I’m always going to be bi-polar.  I can’t do anything about that.  One of these days I’ll get back into therapy and I’ll talk about my issues, and maybe I’ll even take some meds to help with the really bad days that hit me.

But the real truth is that creative types tend to suffer from some kind of mental illness.  Sometimes it’s kicking their ass to the point where they can’t function most of the time.  Sometimes it takes them right out of the game.

Other times it gives them a push to keep on keeping.

So, here I am, kickin’ it old school, and the thing that bugs me the most these last couple of days?  The Poe Toaster is gone, through, finished.  No more three roses and a bottle of cognac.  I’ve had that in my life for a very long time, but it’s over.

Some things are meant to end in their own time.  When they do, take it stride and create something new.

Or better yet, just talk to yourself and see what comes of that conversation.

Down and Out in the Undisclosed Location

I am not a happy person.  If not for Panara Bread, I’d probably be looking for a place to go on a rampage.

Here I am, into the new place, and it’s a mess.  I was here two weeks ago and identified things that needed to be fixed in the place.  Nothing was done.  I went to cook something on the stove this morning.  It’s not working.

But today, Sunday, the people came to hook up my internet, checked the line, and . . . nothing.  It’s been cut.  There are like 40 signals around me, all with security, and I’m in the one place with a cut cable.  And they tell me it might be the end of the week before I can get hooked up because they have to re-wire the apartment.

Again, thank you, Panara.  You’re only 5 minutes away, and you will be my life line for now.

It’s so hard not having something when you’ve had it for years.  Every day, I could check with friends, listen to music, look things up relating to my writing . . . now, I have this void.  And it hurts.

I felt it last night when I was writing.  I wanted to look something up, and I couldn’t, because I had no access to the Internet.  And I realized just how dependent I’ve become on the Internet for research, because when you don’t have your books right there, ready to be picked up and looked through, you turn to Google and Wikipedia.

When you don’t have those, you start picking your brain hoping you can remember some salient fact that maybe you picked up sometimes in the last 30 years.

I can’t complain about writing.  I ended up with about 2,500 words for the whole day, once you factored in what I did in the early morning and the late evening.  Maybe it’s the lack of distracts that helped me out: trust me, I have them.  But so far I haven’t found the mood I need to be creative.  I think my Muse needs to show up and kick my ass, make me do at least 1,000 today before I drift off to sleep.

The work in progress is going through that “I’m explaining what’s going on here,” chapter, and it’s a nice, simple thing, because the characters are just sitting there in a room, with books and notes, and they’re learning about some of the strange people who lived almost 80 years ago.  It’s this part that worries me, because this story is suppose to be, at the least, erotica, but right now it isn’t feeling very sexy.  Then again, erotica should be all about the sex and the things that come with it.  It’s story telling, just like any other fiction genre, and if I’m dealing with a story that has a supernatural quotient as well, then I gotta talk.  Sure, maybe I could have the two characters currently on-deck in the chapter I’m writing go at it, right in a private room in the town library . . . it’d be like the cable guy showed up at the hot stripper’s apartment.

Worked in Logjammin’, didn’t it?

Not going that route.  I’m going to do it nice and simple and stick to the plot I have.

Besides, in another 3 chapters things are going to go completely off the rails.  Things will get sexy and strange . . .

Just the way I like them.

 

This is Your 3:30 Wake Up Call

That’s how it was for me.  It’s 5:17 AM as I write this, and it’s been almost 2 hours of laying about in bed, trying to fall back asleep, and getting nowhere with that endeavor.

You might say I have something on my mind.

Today is the move.  I have a few things to do in the morning, but about 10:30 AM, local time, or there about, I’ll hop in my car and head off to The Undisclosed Location and take up residency in, what I’ve just learned, is the 19th unhappiest city for working (or so CareerBliss says).

This won’t be forever; I know this.  Still, were I not broke I would blow this off, because I’m getting back into a snake pit that was pressing upon my sanity in a way that wasn’t very healthy.

However, I do have a different outlook on life these days . . .

2011 was pretty much a sucky year–or was it?  I meet a lot of new people, some who have become good friends.  I’ve learned to expand my horizons considerably, and look at things in different ways.

And I’ve written–a lot.

I sat down and figured out that, since the end of July–26 July, to be exact–between my long stories and novel, and this blog, I’ve written about 200,000 words.  That would be 2 long stories I’ve either self-published and/or sold; a novel that is being edited; a novella that I’ve finished but not edited; and a work in progress that’s on the verge of hitting 10,000 words.

That’s far more than I ever would have imagined.

After all the false starts and the digging up of excuses about why I can’t write, and whatever other bullshit I can think up, it would appear I’ve found some kind of groove.

Yesterday was the first time since October that I haven’t worked on a story.  Yes, I’ve been working in this blog every day, pretty much without fail, but since the NaNo Novel started I’ve been going everyday with getting at least a few hundred words under my belt.  The last week of October was the last time when I sat and said, “I’m not writing today, la-de-da.”

A lot of it was just the feeling that I had a lot going on and I couldn’t find the motivation to get anything done.  But the real reason was . . . I just needed a break.  In the next few days shit will, as they say, get real, and it’s leaving me with a lot of visions of things that aren’t really setting well with me.

It’s always the fear that keeps us on our toes, but it also fills our dreams with such vile images.  It’s also what wakes us up at 3:30 and doesn’t let us rest peacefully.

But there is something else I need to remember–

I’ve had a few freak out moments on my blog; I don’t shy away from that.  I’ve got issues, and I need to deal with them.  It’s a really simple things.

I had a person, a good friend, send me a message once day after reading one of my freak outs.  They said they understood what I was going through, but they could see, through my writing, and I was dealing, and that they knew I was a strong person.  That touched me in a way you could never believe, and since then I’ve tried to hold those comments close to me.

There are many, many times when I feel like I’m going to just give up and go hide in a whole somewhere.  I used to feel that way about writing, but so many things have happened in the last year that I can’t do that any more.  That is a direction in which I wish to travel, and travel it I will.  Trying to become a working writer is a far harder and scarier path than the one I’m currently walking.

But as my Muse has said, I’m strong.  If they believe that, then I have to believe it as well.

And so far, in all our dealings, they’ve not been wrong or led me astray.

When we meet again, I’ll have taken up residency at The Undisclosed Location.  And I’ll be writing.

We’ll go from there together.

I’ll be fun.

The Quiet Moments

This is really a nervous time for me.  I have to move tomorrow.  It’s nothing permanent, but as of this moment, here in Northwest Indiana, we are under a winter storm watch, we may get 3 to 6 inches of snow today, and I gotta do some running and loading.

I already got enough stress in my life I don’t need more.

Today is the classic “calm before the storm” moment, and I though I’ve know this moment was coming, I’m not all that thrilled by it.  I’m off to the Undisclosed Location, where I will very soon have my Internet hookup and very little else.  (I may have it so fast that people won’t even notice an interruption in these personal rantings.  Aren’t you lucky?)  That’s okay, because I don’t need much; I’ve lived out of hotels in China for months, and I’m looking at this move as if it were one long, extended hotel stay.

As I’ve already stated, IT is not where I want to be anymore.  I’m creeping in on 55, and having been out of work for 3 years has not put my head in a good place in terms of thinking I have a great deal of security in the corporate world.  Businesses have always been run by jags (well, enough jags that they easily fall within the limits of Sturgeon’s Revelation), and most of them I can do without, as I do in my regular life.

But I’m going to do this because I need to.  It’s bill paying time, and you do what you must.  I will have my little things to keep me happy, and I’ll preserver.

I’ll keep writing, because that’s where it’s at for me.

Something happened yesterday that put me in a good frame of mine.  Yesterday I met my editor.

This is for the erotic story I sold last month.  The publication of said story is coming up in May, and while the story is good–hey, I wrote it, right?–I’m sure it’ll need some work, some looking over, maybe even some rewriting.

And the person who is going to edit my story PMed me over Facebook.  She introduced herself and told me how she likes to work, and that things were going to be really peachy, that we were going to have a great time working together.

For my part I let her know that I would keep the ego in check, and when she had ideas I would listen.  While I said this my stomach did a little bit of a flip-flop, because I know how I can get . . .

There was something that happened during the month we who write like to call NaNo Month, aka November.  I had Trusty Editortm look over the first chapter of my NaNo Novel so they could tell me what they thought.  It was good, they say, but . . . there was one part they didn’t much care for, because in trying to show just what a geek my main character was, I slipped a little too far into Geek Speak and lost them.

I bristled because I thought what I’d written was fine, but Trusty Editortm came back and said the passage in question was just a little too esoteric, and if they felt they needed to look something up in order to know what it was they were reading, they’d drop the book.

I bristled a little more, and that was when I got a little slap to the ego.  “I’m telling you this because you need to hear it,” they said.  “Do you want this to be good, or do you want it to be the best?  Put your ego behind you and listen, because I’m trying to help.”

I did as they said, because I trusted them, and I wanted what they wanted.  I rewrote the part in question, and when they saw it the next day, they loved it.

The lesson was learned.  At least it was then.  We’ll see what my new editor has in mind for me.

Perhaps this is the start of a beautiful friendship . . .

Cuffs and whips optional.