The Sun On the Trail

So far this morning I’ve woken at four AM, drove through the darkness to arrive at my local Panera for a breakfast sandwich and coffee, and spent ten minutes helping someone get the wireless card in their computer running.  Yes, I’m off and running, and it’s not even seven AM.

Now I have the earphones in and I’m listening to City to City, and Baker Street is playing and the day feels good.  Never mind the fact that my right eye was bothering me again last night, making it difficult to do anything because my left eye was the only one that wasn’t all clouded up with junk and burning.  Still, I worked on, because that’s how it goes, right?  You work thought it, even if it means you feel like lying down and doing nothing but moan.

I managed to finish my school layout last night.  This is something I started back before my Camp Salem AboveNaNo story started, and it was also something I’d need for the novel that follows.  What you see to your right is the school grounds from the air:  all the buildings, all the towers and walls, all the roads and trails, even a couple of lakes and springs and a large meadow.  There are even a few things that, if you squint, you’ll see, like trees, covered stairs leading below, and a couple of graves.  Yes, I said graves, because we have dead people hanging out at this joint.  I know every point on this map, because I’ve pretty much lived with this place for a couple of years.  Some might say I’ve lived in it, but what do they know?

But do I stop at what you can see?  No.  Because there’s always more to the picture than you can see . . .

I also designed the tunnel and basement system that runs under the school.  Salem BelowIt only makes sense:  this place is right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and during the winter you’re gonna get snow and cold and even a Storm of the Century every so often.  When that happens you don’t want your kiddies walking a half mile through ankle-deep snow to their next class–ergo, tunnels.  And basements where dangerous experiments are held, or where control rooms are set up, or where you have a lot of storage because you never know when you’ll need something.

There are only a couple of features that need adding, but I can get to that later.  The Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning is complete.  All that remains is the writing of its tales.

Speaking of tales, I set up the Scrivener project for the short story I’m going to write.  I’m going to start on that today at some point, and I do promise it’ll be a short story–which is why I used the short story template for my project.  This isn’t going to be dragged out:  it’s going to be quick and to the point.  The story is really more about how one character takes to having to do “official” things, and it’s meant to be something of a character-building bridge than anything else.  No great ideas will be developed; no terrors quelled; no threats extinguished.  Just fun.

At some point this morning I’m going to head up north and get pictures of the Appalachia Trail.  I discovered it’s about twenty minutes north of me, so I’ll drive to the point where it crosses the river and walk across.  That way I can say I hiked the Trail.

Maybe I should bring my survival gear.  You never know what dangers are lying in wait for me . . .


Asleep on the Drum Kit

I’ve a little bit of the shakes this morning, probably due to a drug interaction from last night.  It’s not too bad–I’ve had worse, you can believe if I say so–but it’s still a little disconcerting, because there is much I need to accomplish today before I can switch into glide and enjoy the weekend.

Last night was not without the strangeness, however.  I woke up about three in the morning with the vocal bridge from In the Cage running through my head, and I could have done without that.  When I fell back asleep I began dreaming that, first, I was cuddling on the sofa with someone I knew, the two of us in our robes enjoying something, I’m sure of that–and then, I’m crashed out on the floor right next to Phil Collins’ drum kit.  Must have been during the Invisible Touch tour, because he wasn’t at it, and Tony’s keyboards were back up front on stage right, and the music sounded like it was from the late 80’s period.

Yes, I do know these things.

Before heading off to watch Project Runway I was doing a lot of Google Street View of some of the areas in northern and central Alaska.  Yes, you can do that:  in fact, if you are bored and you have lots of time on your hands, you can drive State Road 2 from Fairbanks to the Dalton Highway–also known as State Road 11–and proceed on Dalton into Deadhorse, right up to the gate leading to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.  I didn’t do it all like that–most of the time I followed overhead, but I would stop and look around.  There’s not a lot to see but wilderness, and some of the street views show very spooky looking clouds and lighting.  It’s only of those things that gets your head moving in the direction of things that not only go bump in the night, but that run around raising hell and tearing up the countryside.

Not that you’d ever know there was something like that up there . . .

I’m in that phase where I have an idea that pleases me, and I’m running concepts through my head.  Characters, places, situations:  it’s all going on.  I haven’t done this in a while, not like this, and it’s sort of refreshing to feel the imaginative flow happening once more.  I’ve not got a lot down right now–I only came up with the idea the other day, remember?  But give it another month and I’ll have something a little more solid.

Speaking of solid, I have to start plotting out my NaNo Novel.  Yes, I will give it a try, but I won’t try to write eighty thousand words in thirty days, as I’ve done before.  This time it’s fifty in thirty, and I’ll finish the novel in December.  This gives me two months to plan it out, and perhaps edit some other things as well–and publish at least more thing.  I wanted to do four this year, but it’s looking more like two.  Of course, if it’s two novels, then I’m all that much more happier.

I’ll try not to sleep on the drum riser, either.

Northern Lights

The strangest things happen from the smallest conversations . . .

The other night I was chatting with a couple of my friends.  I should say Gurls, but that makes me sound too much like a hipster, neh?  Anyway, the chatting was kind of free-flowing, nothing in particular, and I was sort of working on some editing at the time as well, so I was popping in and out of the chat.

One of the women lives in Alaska, but given her location she can’t see Russia from her back poach.  She was making a joke, more or less, about the other woman in the conversation and me coming up to visit.  My other friend isn’t much for the wilderness, but me?  I can be at home in the country and the city.  It’s the people who make it kinda scary at times, you know?

We chatted, and the subject of abandoned buildings came up.  Specifically, the subject of abandoned buildings that are haunted.  Our Alaskan Connection mentioned that where she lives there are plenty of places that are suppose to be haunted, because–it’s Alaska, and there were a lot of violent deaths.  Gunshots, knifing, sickness, freezing, being eaten by a bear . . . it’s all there.  Read the story, To Build a Fire, by Jack London, and you get an idea of one of the many ways one can check out while in The Great White North.

It was when there was a pause in the general banter that the person I know the best of the two women says, “Cassidy should write a story about this.”

That’s about the only thing I need to get an idea rolling.

Long time ago I read the story, Cabal, by Clive Barker.  What I liked best about the story–besides all the strange creepiness that was going on–was the location of the story.  The secret town of Median was somewhere in northern Alberta, Canada, way the hell out in the middle of nowhere.  I loved that remoteness, the feeling that with so few people around you could do just about anything and not worry about repercussions–and at the same time, there could be all manners of spooky-ass things lying in way for some innocent travelers.

I’ve used Google Maps to look at a lot of things in the northern regions of North America.  There are some interesting things to see if you spend the time looking.  I’ve found roads where you wouldn’t expect them, towns that you didn’t know existed, abandoned structures that have been there for almost a century, and huge open pit mines in the Northwest Territory.  (If you want to find those. find Yellowknife in the NWT, then move over to the right and locate the islands of Great Slave Lake.  About one hundred kilometers of that you’ll see Lac de Gras.  Zoom in a little and you’ll see some bright areas about ten, fifteen kilometers north, close to Ursula Lake.  Zoom in and you’ll see the mines.  Make sure you follow the roads and locate all four)

There’s a story here.  It would take some research to learn more about the area, and about the general idea I have bouncing about in my head, but it can be written.  I joked last night about doing it as my NaNo Story, but that’s not possible, because the idea is too nebulous at the moment, and I’m keyed on something else right now.

But three women investigating an abandoned hotel in Alaska?  Yeah, that’s something I can do, something I might even make frightening.

And no one would run upstairs to take a shower.

Super Snoozing

After almost a week of getting up a lot earlier than I would on a normal basis–most of the time I’m up about five to five-thirty AM, but of late I’ve been getting up at four, four-thirty–I was able to sleep more or less soundly.  Sure, I woke up a few times, but I went right back to sleep in all cases.  This was accomplished with chemical means, a light application of some sleep medication, but at this point I needed the rest, so chemicals be damned.

All is good for the moment.  I don’t have a drug hangover, which are worse than being hung over in a normal fashion because you can fight through those with the proper application of food and liquids.  These sleep med hangovers leave you feeling worn out and disoriented, and make it almost impossible to get through the day.

I have enough issues getting through a day without that hovering about in my head.

The strangest thing, however, were my dreams.  With the deep sleep came the deep REM submersion, and they were unusual, to say the least.  It seemed as if I was stuck with a group of people who may or may have not possessed superpowers.  I kept hearing that they did, and I kept meeting up with strangely dressed women in places like an office building that was under construction, or the top of a shopping high rise, or even the top of a bridge.  There were guys there, too, but I never seemed to have contact with them:  just with the ladies.

My role in all this was never explained.  I may have been able to do things, I don’t know.  I never saw myself doing anything, but I never figured out how I got to all these high-up, Highlanderish meetings.  It always seems as if I was just there.  And then they’d appear, and we’d talk, and . . . that’s it:  meeting adjourned.

The end was the most puzzling.  I was staying in a nice place, and I was on my way up to crash for the day when I found two large knifes on the stairs.  When I got inside the apartment, I found my normal bed was gone, and in its place were–bunk beds?  They’d been built there, too, because there was a drop cloth on the floor covered with sawdust.

Oh, and there were people with me, who hadn’t been with me before.  Well, one of them, a cute brunette, had followed me up the stairs.  Where the hell the rest of those losers came from I have no idea.

Strange things, I know.  It’s not like I’ve had my mind on superhero stuff, but there are some things that I’ve been bouncing around in my head of late related to stories I’ve been developing, but nothing that I’d decided to put down in the computer yet.  It’s just, you know, thoughts.

I will write this weekend.  I need something to do that doesn’t involve spending a lot of money, and sitting at the hotel writing is pretty much the ticket.  I know what I want to write.

Will there be supergirls?

More like a super pain in the butt . . .

The Group Fade

There was something goofy with the computer last night, because I’m trying to edit and it’s making everything on the system drag.  Not to mention I was in one of those, “I do everything at once!” modes last night.  And my hair was driving me nuts, too.  What is causing this?  It’s not a full moon, that’s for sure.  The aftermath of a blue moon?  A change in the weather?  The impending end of Breaking Bad and the downfall of the Heisenberg Meth Empire?

Don’t want to say it’s aliens, but . . .

I realized yesterday that this coming Monday is Labor Day, and I’ll be spending it in The Burg alone.  In the past I was always around family during holidays, even when working in The Undisclosed Location.  This time–no.  Too far to drive.  I suppose if I were crazy enough I could leave out Friday night, spend ten hours in the dark driving, and arrive home about one in the morning–only to turn around and come back on Monday.  But that’s not how you do it.  That’s a waste of time and money.

I suppose I’ll get through  Maybe it’s time to explore . . .

I haven’t started writing anything new yet, but I think this weekend could be the time to start.  I’m getting to where I want to do something, but I don’t want to start on a novel or novella.  I don’t want to spend a month putting another thirty thousand words down, because I’m going to turn around and do that in November.  I’ve decided I will attempt NaNo, but I’m concerned I’ll actually “win” it this year.  Anymore it’s not about winning or losing:  it’s about writing a good story.  It’s about doing something you can publish–

Which, speaking of publishing, I need to get on my own stuff.  I need to do one last edit, then hand out my story and see about getting a cover.  I’m slacking there, but it’s not as if I haven’t had a lot keeping my busy of late.  The last month seems to have gone on and on with non-stop fun, though with September coming in things are starting to settle.  I think the next few weeks will see everything getting into a normal swing.  And once that happens, then I can start doing something else.

But I want that short story written.  And with it an article or two I’ve been sitting upon.  It need to be done.  And soon.

There was something in my dreams last night that I found unusual.  I was standing on the edge of something–building, hill, don’t know.  And there were thousands of people in an area below me, all of them mumbling something.  I looked out over them, then waved my hand and told them, “Go.  Leave.”  And they turned and started walking away, still mumbling, making their sounds.

I have no idea what that’s suppose to mean.  Was I looking over the past and telling it to leave me the hell alone?  Was it the present?  Were they the people I knew or know?  Or was it, you know, just a dream, one of those things where strange things happen–

‘Cause I was also stripping in the dream, too.

I didn’t look half bad.

Mortal Changes

After a weekend of working on various things, it’s now time to–get back to work?  Seems like only Friday I was looking forward to a relaxing time of doing nothing.  Which doesn’t happen around here, because if I’m doing nothing, then I’m probably sleeping.  Correct that:  trying to sleep.  Here I am, up at four-thirty again this morning, and my head is feeling a tad woozy.

One day I’ll go to bed at ten-thirty and wake up at six.  It will happen.  But today is not that day.

I was reading film reviews on Something Awful–’cause if you’re going to read film reviews, you may as well read something that’s gonna be funny, or at least sarcastic as hell–and they were doing a review of The Mortal Instruments movie.  While they didn’t care for it–they did give it a four out of ten rating “As a Piece of Absurdest Humor,” so it’s got that going for it–they did mention the fact that “Cassandra Clare”, the pen name for one Judith Rumelt, got her start penning Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring fan fiction.  They also mention that there’s more than a passing resemblance between some of the characters in The Mortal Instruments, and some of the characters and passages in the HP fanfic, all of which was pulled from the Internet as soon as her publishing career got started.

As Neil Gaiman has pointed out, fan fiction is writing, and anything that gets people writing is a good thing.  He’s also said he doesn’t care if you do fan fiction of his work, because, hey:  nothing you’re going to do is going to impact anything he’ll do to his characters.  He probably wants to stay away from Coraline slashfic, however . . .

His point about fan fiction is well taken, however.  It’s very likely that Neil never reads it, or if he has he’s sort of skimmed over it and thought, “Hum, yeah,” and moved on to working on his HBO adaptation and Doctor Who scripts.  And he’s correct:  there’s nothing millions of words of fan fiction will do to his characters that will reflect what he’s going to do to them, so why sweat it?

I wonder how he’d feel, however, if someone wrote a million words of Sandman fan fiction, put the character through some interesting changes–like having him get hammered in a strip club while watching his sister Death gyrate to some Millie Cyrus crunk as she’s making out with a demonic Taylor Swift–and then, a year later, finds a book called, Sleepytime Sam, the Dream King.  Book One:  Down and Out in Sister Stripperville.  Oh, sure, it’s just a coincidence the characters bear a little resemblance to his . . .

Not that I’ll have to worry about any of this.  I doubt that anyone will start ripping off my characters and write stories of their strange escapades, ’cause anything you can do, I know I can do better–and I love being strange.  I need to open up the strangeness stuff a little more, ’cause I feel I’m getting rusty.  Maybe it’s time to write my magnum opus about gay cuttlefish shapeshifters–

Oh, wait:  it’s been done.

Dawn’s Early Ideaing

Things hit us in the most usual way.  Get five and a half hours of sleep, wake up feeling relaxed and semi-aware, and that’s no telling what’s going to happen next.

In my case, I have an idea what might happen next, but at the moment it’s only in the formative stage . . .

I wake up as I also do, early, because I can’t seem to sleep in to save my life.  I went to bed about midnight, which I didn’t expect as I’d been wake for almost twenty hours, and a few hours before I felt as if I was going to collapse.  Have a good dinner, though, and get to chatting with someone, and you find your second wind coming on strong.

Nothing special going on, nothing out of the ordinary happening.  No sudden flashes of inspiration that make you go, “Hum.”  Off to bed and into dreamland . . . which, I must say, was not that great a thing.  Last night’s dreams sucked, and I could do without the nonsense that filled my mind.  There was nothing there that I wanted, and less I’d want coming true.  So no inspiration what so ever, move along.

Up I was, lying in bed, and considering what I was going to do today, and . . . it hit me.  I started thinking about something that, at first, didn’t have a name.  It didn’t even have a character, but there was a scene that stuck with me, and the more I thought about it, the clearer that scene became–

Within five minutes I knew who the main character was, and what other main character would join her, and why the scene I imagined was happening.  I got up and started getting ready so I could run over to Panera and begin blogging while I enjoyed a tasty breakfast with coffee, and my mind ran with the idea.  By the time I was finished with all the little things I do to get the day started, I knew most everything about the story, and by the time I had my makeup in place, I had my title.

I’m rather proud of myself, ’cause I came up with something new in about twenty minutes, and I really do know this idea is a short story–probably the shortest I’ve ever written.  I have some editing to finish up today, and I want there to be the possibility that I’m going to write this sucker today.  I keep saying that it shouldn’t take long–a few hours, maybe?  It’s just doing it.  And I have felt like “doing it” since finishing my last story edits.

This will be too small to sell online, so I’m considering posting it on the blog for all to read, and perhaps linking it to another blog for the people who go there.  It’d be a nice little experiment:  a quick story, put together on the spur of the moment, and written in Fast and Furious mode.  Not to mention it allows me to show a couple of my favorite characters being–well, themselves.

Hey, sometimes it’s all about those little moments that move us forward . . .