It’s strange. I’ve been at work on this current chapter, Number Two, since 14 August, and I’ve been pretty steady on writing for the last twenty-two days (I just calculated the span so I know). Because of all the stuff going on the last couple of days I’ve hadn’t written much: my total output for Friday and Saturday was eight words–yes, eight. That means I’m getting into that mindset that I ain’t doing jack and I’m falling behind and I’m just a horrible person.
And then I calculate that in these last twenty-two days I’ve written 11,404 words–I know ’cause I keep track–and when you calculate the average it comes out to five hundred and eighteen words a day. Which means that just like Kerry, I’m beating myself up over dumb crap again and I need to knock it off. I just passed twenty-six thousand words and if I keep at this pace for another year I’ll add almost another one hundred and eighty-three thousand words. Sure, I may only be two-thirds of the way done with this novel by then, but I’ll still have two hundred words written and you can’t ignore that.
Writers are their own worst critics ’cause we like to find any and all reasons to point out to ourselves how crap we are. That’s not to say some of us aren’t writing crap, but at least we’re writing and some of that crap makes their authors rich. But one of the things I love to do is convince myself that I’m wasting my time with these stories and that I should move on to something else, like maybe cooking meth. But I won’t do that, mostly because I don’t know how to cook, nor do I have a private domicile where I can’t be harassed, bitch. As Alan Arkin’s character said in Little Miss Sunshine said, “A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning he doesn’t even try,” and I’ll always keep trying. Of course he also said this–
Grandpa: [in response to Frank, aimed at Dwayne] Let me tell ya, don’t do that stuff. When you’re young, you’re crazy to do that shit.
Frank: [to Grandpa] Well what about you?
Grandpa: [to Frank] What about me? I’m old. When you’re old you’re crazy not to do it.
–so take anything he says with enough grains of salt to make a salt lick.
But what about my kids? Glad you asked.
Kerry asked Penny about her own coming out yesterday–well, several days ago, but you know what I mean. And that means Penny has her own story to tell:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Not too much, though it wasn’t easy at first.” Penny grew quite as she sought her memories from the previous summer. “When I came out to them there was a lot of silence at first, like they didn’t know how to process the info. Then I crafted a couple of simple spells and…” She smiled as she shook her head. “It was like I’d walked into the room and killed a puppy, or something. They sat there and looked at me like they’d never seen me before—which they hadn’t up to that point.
“The first month was the hardest. For the first week they never said much to me, and after that they tread lightly whenever I was around, like something they would say would make me rage out and go full Three-W on them.” Three-W was a phrase many of the kids at school used: it meant “Wicked Witch of the West” and was used to label a dangerous witch. “It was a real pain in the arse. I felt like I was being judged every second I was around them. I mean, you should have seen the first time we all went out for dinner together: me mum and dad actually asked me not to do anything ‘bad’. Penny snorted. “Like I was gonna start throwing around fire, or something.”
Little by little it comes out that all the kids in my school have their own nomenclature and slang for things related to their world. We know they often say “craft” when it comes to generating spells and “Art” for magic, but now we you know they sometime call out dangerous witches as “Three-Ws”, or Wicked Witch of the West, which we all pretty much know without having to go into full-blown exposition mode. There’s only a couple of witches at Salem who any of the students lay that moniker upon, the main one being the Head Sorceress, Helena Lovecraft, who is really more like the Wicked Witch of Kiwi Land and dresses a lot more like Trinity from The Matrix than what a lot of Normal people imagine witches dress–
It’s probably a good bet that there are a few students who are known as dangerous, though it’s debatable if they are Three-W dangerous. There are a few students who have red flagged files, though they are all older kids, all E and F Levels. After all, it’s not like anyone younger than that has ever killed anyone–right?
So things started out rocky for Penny, and Kerry is interested to know how that turned around–
“You said they were like that for the first month—” Kerry was eager to know what happened to change her parent’s opinion of her, as it was obvious they didn’t appear to have a problem a year later. “What changed?”
“My big sister.” She glanced at Kerry. “I have a sister who’s fourteen months older than me and a brother four years younger. My sister and I share a room ‘cause my brother needs his own room and we only have three bedrooms in our house.
“Anyway, one afternoon I’m in my room sitting on my bed listening to music, and my sister comes in. Now, she hasn’t said much about me, either, but she hasn’t acted like I was going to set her on fire, either. This time she sits on the edge of her bed and just keeps looking at me like I’d turned blue or something. So I pop out the earbuds and I’m like ‘What?’ And she goes, ‘Would you show me what you can do? Can you do magic?’ No one has asked me to actually show them anything, so I figure I’ll give her a show—
“I crafted up a bunch of stuff: I did levitation and manipulation. I did some of the minor transformation stuff I know. I did light bending which I thought would freak her out but didn’t.” Penny chuckled for a few seconds. “I got out my broom and let her hold it before I put it in a hover and showed her how it works. I even let her sit on it: she thought that was the greatest.
“That night when we went down to dinner Olivia—that’s her name—is no sooner in her chair when she looks at mum and dad and says, ‘You should stop acting like there’s something wrong with Penny. She showed me what she can do and it’s blinding.’ So Mum asks what I did and we told her, and…” She shrugged. “That was it. After that everyone was cool with me. No acting like I was going to set the house on fire or turn everyone into animals or some shite like that. Just—” She drew in a long, slow breath. “Me being me.”
Having an older sister made it all the better for Penny: just ask and ye shall receive a crafting lesson. It also helps that Olivia didn’t lose her mind and start screaming, “Burn the Witch!” ’cause that would have been awkward as hell. Maybe her younger brother felt that way, as younger brothers aren’t known to get along with their older sisters, and it’s possible he’s told his parents “She turned me into a newt, but I got better” just because it’s something a kid might do.
Unfortunately Kerry doesn’t have any siblings so he can’t fall back on this ploy. He can, however, quiz Penny on another things that puzzles him greatly…