The Loneliness of the Dark: Starting Out

I know there are studies that show that writers are able to alleviate their depression and sorrow through writing, and yet . . . we all know of at least one popular writer who ran the depression rails all the way to the end of the line and parked there forever.  That’s likely because other studies have shown that depression and creativity to hand-in-hand, and that’s one of the reasons so much artistic types are overcome by their demons, be it substance abuse and/or depression.

A lot of times we write to rid ourselves of our own demons, and that does help.  It also brings out moments where you, the writer, has to search your emotional closet looking for similar moments to mine for the entertainment of others.  It’s not fun, but depending upon your story, it’s often necessary.

Kerry’s in some dark spots right now in the story, and while I don’t like placing him there, it’s necessary.  Why?  Because . . . that’s the story right now.  I’m leading up to something, and while it’s not a nice thing to say, I gotta torture his ass just a little in these early chapters.  Not a lot was written last night, but I managed about six hundred and fifty words.  Part of it was due to my mood–I was more in a mood to kick back and just veg out a bit than getting into a story–part of it was not wanting to hurt Kerry some more, to dig into his soul and wound it once again.  His home life sucks, and he wants to be with the girl he loves.

And now there’s other crap at play . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry’s eyes opened as he came out of the dream. He didn’t gasp for breath or jerk upright as characters did in movies when they awoke from a dream: he simply exhaled and rolled over onto his back, looking through the darkness at his his ceiling.

He had no idea how long he’d been in his dreamspace, but it hadn’t felt as if it’d been long. He remembered times with Annie when they’d spent an entire day, from sunrise until the next, talking, playing, laughing, enjoying each other’s company—and later, after the admissions of love, hugging, kissing, and cuddling. This time it was more like a quick “Hello, how are you?” and then back out into real life. Not to he had no idea who this person was who’d invaded the dreamspace he shared with his lovely Annie . . .

Kerry slowly drew back the covers and got out of bed. He quietly made his way out of the bedroom and walked the few steps to the toilet room. It wasn’t often that Kerry had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve himself, but for some reason now he found he needed to go badly. He sat and tried pushing the dream away, but the last thing the girl said stuck with him:

“You hold my life in your hands.”

He bowed his head and sighed. What did she mean by that? How is her life in my hands? I don’t even know her; how can I help someone I’ve never met? He finally put the dream out of his mind, finished up in the toilet room, and returned to his bedroom.

 

I’ve come out of a few dreams the same way as Kerry has, and it can be a bit of a shock.  I’ve never sat up in bed screaming, and don’t know anyone who has.  But it looks more dramatic on the screen when it show it that way, I guess.  And the dream was bothersome, because now Kerry’s got someone telling him he hold their life in their hands.  In his world, don’t think for a moment that dreams don’t have meaning.

And his mind wanders back to that world once he’s back in his bedroom . . .

 

It was impossible to return to sleep, however: the dream had left Kerry too wound up, and he didn’t bother getting into bed because he knew he would only toss and turn rather than return to sleep. Back at school he’d head off to the hospital and ask Nurse Gretchen for something that would let him sleep in ten minutes, then head off to Bed #2 for a couple of hours of sleep. There wasn’t any chance of that happening—not for another couple of weeks, at least.

Kerry chose to sit at his computer desk instead. He flipped on the small lamp to his left, casting light upon the desk and his tablet computer, while the rest of his room remained in darkness. He didn’t know what he wanted to do: usually he’d jump on the Internet and start reading whatever he could find, but this time he wanted to talk to Annie. If this had happened at school, he’d meet her in the Mezzanine Commons, in three hours time, and they’d discuss the dream over breakfast before heading off to—what class will I be in on Tuesday? He powered up his computer so he could check out the real schedule Ms. Rutherford had sent him, and not the fake one that came in his travel package . . .

His tablet was up and running after a few seconds, thanks to the modifications Salem Director of Security Isis Mossmaon performed on the system as a present for his last birthday. Kerry was about to bring up a browser and read the email attachment when he saw the Skype icon notification in the lower right hand corner pop up and display a familiar name. He checked the time on his computer—03:11—and performed a quick calculation in his head. Only a little after twenty hours there— His finger hovered over the notification icon. Why not see if she’s really on-line?

Kerry tapped the notification: Skype loaded and proceeded to call the user on the other end of the connection. A few seconds later—as Kerry was throwing up a spell that would keep the conversation localized around the desk—the call connected.

A red-haired girl wearing pajamas with unicorns on them stared back at him through his computer display. “Kerry?”

Kerry sat back and grinned. “Hi, Emma.”

 

Emma has pajamas with unicorns on them.  No word if they’re new, or if she’s worn them to the Midnight Madness.    You never know:  we may see them again.

There I left him–

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you're alone . . .

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you’re alone . . .

And I’ll return to him tonight so he can talk.

It’s not the person he wants to speak with, but . . . any port in a storm as they say.

Ruminations Along the Morning Shore

After all the writing in the morning, and the explanation of what was coming, not a lot of writing was accomplished.  Mostly because I spent a large chunk of the day driving one hundred and fifty miles to see my HRT doctor for a consultation, then driving home, then getting dinner, and finally returning home about six hours after I left.  That means I was tired and a bit burned out, but hey:  life happens.

Still, I managed to get five hundred and four words into the bank.  They set things up and don’t tell you a whole lot:  I’d expect that to happen tonight, when I get deeper into this scene.  And it seems I have a thing for getting with my kids and lakes . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie stood upon the short of the lake and considered slipping off her sandals and stepping into the water. She’d done this many time during past summers when at home, and planned on doing the same after she returned next week. It wasn’t something she could do at the school save at the Van der Kroft Spring; the other lakes were actually old quarries, with nothing beyond the shoreline but sheer drop offs.

This lake, however, was not a quarry. It was quiet and secluded, and even though it was the middle of a busy holiday in this country, at nine hundred hours this last Sunday morning in May they were the only ones present. She wondered if Vicky had anything to do with no one being at the park this morning. It was likely that it was too early for most people, but there was always the possibility that Vicky—who had given then the temporary fight licenses yesterday afternoon—maybe have said something to the headmistress, or to Isis, and they said something to a person in Boston or New York, and access to the lake was temporarily suspended.

She turned back towards the tree line where Kerry was sitting about five meters from the shore. Annie wanted to say he was enjoying the scenery, but she knew he was watching her. She wasn’t dressed any differently from weekends at school: she’d wore a tee shirt and jeans under her flight leathers, and had changed out of her flying boots and into the sandals Kerry had brought in his backpack. She knew why he was watching: the last day of school was next Thursday, and Friday would see people returning home for summer holiday. Next Saturday they’d depart Boston for Amsterdam, and after they said their goodbyes on the plane and in the terminal, they wouldn’t see each other again until sometime in late August.

He wanted to remember her as she was right now: he was burning this moment into his memories.

Just as she was doing the same.

Believe it or not, this is close to where this scene is taking place.  Though they aren't sitting at the table . . .

Though he isn’t sitting at the table . . .

The picture above is suppose to be of Pearl Hill Pond, in Pearl Hill State Park, a little area in the hills close to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.  It’s suppose to be where the scene is taking place, though after checking out the terrain, I have my doubts.  But you get the point of how idyllic and quiet things are, and as Annie has pointed out, though it’s suppose to be a busy weekend–27 May is right in the middle of Memorial Day weekend–they are the only ones there at nine in the morning.

Also, the park isn’t anywhere near the school, so what are my kids doing here?  Spoilers.  You’ll find out tomorrow.

In the mean time, Annie has questions:

 

She turned and wandered slowly back towards Kerry. “What are you doing?”

He watched her move closer. “Enjoying the scenery.”

“The scenery includes my butt.”

He shrugged and smiled. “I’m enjoying that, too.”

Annie sat before him and slid back into the comfort of his arm. “Cheeky Welsh boy.”

Kerry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “Sexy Bulgarian girl.”

She chuckled even though she loved hearing him tell her things like “sexy” and “lovely”. It was something she first heard in their dreams, and for a while she imagined her was just being silly. It wasn’t until they were a little older that she realized he meant every word.

And now that they were an open couple at school, hearing each endearment made her heart flutter. It’s why I never have to ask him if he really means them. She twisted around and kissed his cheek. I feel the words enter and take hold inside every time they’re spoken . . .

 

Now we know Annie likes being called sexy, and she’s apparently heard that term for a while.  She also knows Kerry is checking out her butt–kids, huh?  Must be those hormones I keep hearing about.

Well, then, we’ll get back into this scene tomorrow.  It’s going to be a quiet day in the office, as I’ll be just about the only one there.

It’ll give me time to think about how this story is ending . . .

The Moment of Clarity: Small Talk

This what comes from not being able to sleep and having something on your mind from the scene you wrote the night before:  you’re up early and you’re adding a hundred words before you forgot something.  And the killer is, I think I forgot something else, so maybe it’ll come to me later.  Or not.  If not, I’m happy with how it is now, because it addressed an important point that needed to get covered.

Five-thirty in the morning and it's not like I have anything better to do.

Five-thirty in the morning and it’s not like I have anything better to do.

Here we are with Annie and Kerry alone at last–really alone, not just sleeping on a sofa or deck chair somewhere, but totally alone–and doing–what?  Snogging away?  Well . . . you’d be surprised.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie emerged from the bathroom with her folded clothes in her hands, her favorite towel wrapped around her head drying her hair, and her favorite long blue robe wrapped around matching silk pajamas. She quickly surveyed the room: television on but sound turned down low; Kerry in his lounging pajamas sitting on the bed right side of the bed, head turned to the left as he stared out the window; his hands folded in his lap and his legs crossed at the ankles.

She stopped and open the drawer where she’d placed her unpacked clothes. He’s thinking. He has something on his mind and he’s wondering how he should tell me. She noticed the tee shirt and jeans he wore from Salem laying across his luggage. Annie half turned and looked over her shoulder. “Dear, are you going to put your clothes away?”

He snapped out of wherever he was and returned to reality. “Oh, yeah: sure.” He hopped off the bed, quickly folded his jeans and shirt, and placed them in the drawers where he was keeping his clothing. “Sorry about that.  I can be a bit of a slob sometimes.”

“It’s okay. It’s just . . .” Annie turned and walked slowly towards him. “I’m used to doing things a certain way, and this is the first time in my life I’ve had to share a living space with someone who’s not my family.” She turned her head slightly to the right and grinned. “Not that I’m complaining.”

“I’m not either.” Kerry crawled back onto the bed and rested against the headboard. “You just need to . . . teach me. Is that it?”

“I don’t know that I would have to do a lot of teaching.” Annie almost jokingly said, “train you,” but realized that would probably come across as sounding too mean. “But we would have to get use to living with each other at some point . . .” She glanced at the television. “Are you watching this?”

 

It’s already been mentioned that it looks like Annie will “wear the pants in the family,” and she certainly isn’t gonna deal with Kerry leaving his clothes laying around.  Like she says she’s not used to being around someone who’s not here family, and it’s even more difficult considering she has no siblings.  But she has Kerry, and . . . she’s certainly not gonna let him mess up her living space!  Sure, she called him “Dear,” but you can almost hear the tone in her voice when she said it . . .

And since she’s asking if he’s watching TV, that means she has other ideas . . .

 

He shook his head. “Not really. I just wanted something on for background noise.”

“Would you mind if I put on some music?”

“Not at all.” Kerry held his left hand over the remote on the nightstand next to him and levitated it to Annie. “Put on whatever you like.”

Annie plucked the remote out of the air and brought up the cable guide. She found a music channel and brought it up before levitating the remote to a spot next to the television. She stepped back as she listened to the song that was finishing. “Can I turn it up a little?”

Kerry nodded. “Go ahead.”

 

Given Kerry’s musical tastes, one has to wonder if he’s inwardly grimacing at the thought of what Annie’s gonna put on.  Probably not, because by now he’d know what she likes, and he’d also know their tastes are wildly different.

Annie does find something she likes, and we get to see her doing something that hasn’t happened all that much in the story:  we get to see her acting like a twelve year old girl . . .

 

Annie waved at the television: the sound bar illuminated and went up five point. A new song began, and Annie bounced with joy. “Oh, I love this.” She moved into the open space between the bed and the bathroom and began dancing as she removed her bathrobe and set it on a nearby chair, humming and singing along with the tune the whole time.

As the song segued into the chorus Annie faced Kerry and sang along. “Hey I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She performed a quick spin and pointed at him. “It’s hard to look/Right at you baby/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She laughed as she sprinted and leapt at the bad, turning in mid-air so that when she landed, she fell backwards against Kerry’s right side. She pushed herself straight back into the space between his right arm and torso and got comfortable. “Are you gonna call me?”

He laughed along. “Do I have a choice? I’ve never seen you dance around like that before.”

“You’ve never seem me at the lake house when I’m alone and the music is on.” She twisted her feet back and forth. “I would bet anything you’ve never heard that song before, either.”

“I’ve heard of it, but . . .” He nodded. “That’s the first time I’ve heard it played.”

 

So there you have it:  Annie likes popular pop music, and she’ll even dance and sing to it when she’s alone.  And, I have it on good authority from someone who knows Annie probably even better than me that were she to have a theme song, it would be Call Me Maybe.  After all, it is about love at first sight, and Annie’s all about that.

But I loved having her sing and dance and getting her hand motions down, and in the end launching herself onto the bed, laughing the whole while.  She’s relaxed and happy, and she’s finally cutting loose a little.  And both kids are noticing things . . .

 

Annie reached up and ran her fingers through his hair. “I like that you changed the color back.”

He chuckled. “I was getting tired of seeing blond all the time.”

“So was I. I love my Ginger Hair Boy.”

“I figured as longer as I change it to blond before going out I’m okay.” Kerry focused on Annie’s feet. “Is that a new polish?”

“Yes, it is.” Annie always liked that Kerry took notice of her nail polish. She’d started doing her fingernails last year, and this summer before coming to Salem—mostly because she wanted something to take her mind off not seeing Kerry in her dreams and the upcoming school year—she started giving herself pedicures. Since then she’d been doing her nails a couple of times a month, and always made sure to show Kerry because he seemed to like them polished. “My mother gave it to me for Yule.”

“That’s a—what? Metallic gray?”

“Yes. It’s from Butter London. It’s called Chimney Sweep.” She flashed her fingers. “See? I match.”

“I saw you did them this morning.” Kerry noticed that Annie always found time in the morning or at night to do her nails—more than likely using some kind of localized time spell to dry them quickly. Since he’d been with her last night and hadn’t noticed the polish, he figured she did them early in the morning. “I like it.”

“I like it, too.” She crossed her arms across here waist and settled back into Kerry’s arms. “What’s on your mind?”

 

She notices his hair, and he notices her polish.  We learn for the first time that Annie does her nails, going the mani-pedi route, and Kerry likes seeing them painted.  Oh, and the polish Annie’s wearing?  It’s real.  Maybe not then, but it is now.  I’m sure there was something similar to it if it wasn’t around, but allowed a little authoritative licence, okay?

This gets to the last order of business:  what’s on Kerry’s mind.  And he tells her–

 

Kerry loved feeling Annie in his arms, and given that there was no possibility of anyone walking in on them, or overhearing what they were discussing, he felt more relaxed that normal. “I was thinking—”

“Yes?”

“I’m the only eleven year old boy in the world sitting in a hotel room alone with the twelve year old girl who could end up being his wife.”

“Could be?” The grin on Annie’s face was huge as she looked upward so she could see Kerry. “And this doesn’t bother you?”

“Nope.”

“Not at all?”

He kissed her on the cheek. “I wouldn’t have thought about it if it was.”

 

Pretty strange thing to think about:  Hey, I’m sitting on a bed with the girl who could be my wife.  Yeah, his mind is getting wrapped around that idea, and he’s getting comfortable with the notion, and Annie’s happy that he’s comfortable.  Nothing to hide there any longer, so just go with it.

But that’s not the real thing–

 

Though she was happy to hear this news, it wasn’t what Kerry had been considering earlier. “But that’s not all that’s on your mind—what were you thinking when entered the room?”

“Oh—that.” He pulled Annie tighter. “I figured out our last dream.”

 

And that’s where I ended everything off, last night and this morning, with Kerry saying he figured out their last shared dream.  Did he?

Well . . . you’ll find out.

Casting Aside the Ink

There was some interesting reaction to yesterday’s post.  Primarily, I think it kind of pushed people away.  I’ve noticed that happen before:  throw a post out there about how dark everything look, and suddenly it’s like, “Oh, we’re rather hear about the size of Meredith’s vagina.”  Which also had some interesting comments, but that’s another story . . .

No one really wants to hear about how tough things are.  They don’t want to hear about the struggle, only the payoff.  They don’t want to hear about the problem, only the solution.  Very few people are interested in the delivery–they want to know about what came out in the end.

Sure, I get into my sobby moods.  Yesterday was one for sure.  The weekend was not one of my best, and Sunday night I went to bed feeling piss poor.  The mood didn’t improve that much through the day, but after I had some tea last night, and though about what I was going to write to start Part Eleven of Diners at the Memory’s End, then it seemed like things were starting to pick up.

Yesterday didn’t garner a lot of comments, but there was one in particular that caught my eye.  What was put forward was the idea that perhaps it wasn’t being isolated, but rather I was being told by my Muse–who, believe me, sometimes does speak to me in mysterious ways–that there are things out there, many wonderful things, but I can’t quite see them yet.  In order to get to them, I’ve got to push past where I am now, and keep going, keep writing, keep moving forward, and eventually I’ll find all the things that are meant to be mine.

So much of what we do is done in isolation.  Oh, sure:  you can haul your laptop down to the corner cafe and get some coffee and a little something to munch upon, but when you start putting word to whatever medium you use, you’re in your own little world.  No one else is there, just you, and your imagination–and maybe your Muse, getting ready to plant a spike heel in your ass if you don’t get a move on.

It’s even more bothersome if you tend to live your life in isolation as well.  It feel like everything I do today is done with a certain amount of isolation in place.  I work alone, I stay at The Undisclosed Location alone, I make my three-hour drive back and forth between The Real Home alone.  And even when I’m home it seems like I spend a lot of time alone.  You’re suppose to be a writer, not a south polar explorer.  There is suppose to be some contact here; it not meant to be a case of finding out how much of a meaningful relationship you can develop with your streaming media before you decide you’ve had enough and you’re ready to go all Dexter on the apartment complex.

I got back into the story last night.  I didn’t write a lot–only 700 words–but it went by rather quickly.  I’d have done a lot more, a lot faster, if I hadn’t allowed myself to be distracted by other “things”.  What can I say?  I’ve been in that mood for a while, but I’ve also noticed that my production has been down considerably, and that’s no acceptable.

The only way to push through the ink is to go like mad, to keep going forward.  Yeah, it’s not easy:  never said it would be.  There’s so much uncertainty and so much fear.  There are too damn many things that get in our way and try to pull us off the path, and there are times when the urge to say, “Oh, shiny!” or “Screw this; lets do something else,” grows incredibly strong.

There is something out there, beyond the ink.  There’s only one reason I haven’t see it yet:

I haven’t opened my eyes.

Morpheus Dreams in Black

Not a very good night, not at all.

I get back to The Undisclosed Location, and it all start crashing down.  Mood turns bad, feeling turn back–it’s as if there is a black shroud waiting for me when I get in.  Everything just feels wrong.  I could have started on the next part of Diners, but I know it’s not going to do any good, it’ll end up maybe 200 words at the most, and they won’t have any feeling to them.

So I’m off to bed, and I fall asleep.  It’s fitful, though:  I’m pretty sure when I wake up, it’s early.  Like 1 AM early.  Like, “This is when I wake up all the time down here any more,” early.

I try to relax, try to fall back to sleep.  I think I did, because I end up having what I think is one of my black dreams–

They are like this:  something is going on.  I’m in the middle of it.  In this case, it was a card game.  We–a couple of other people, and me–were playing, but I can’t see who the people are.  It’s like playing ghosts; there are just outlines of people, nothing real about them.  And no faces:  I never see their faces.  I hear voices, but never see faces.

Then everyone vanishes, and I go looking for them.  And this is where it goes bad, because whenever I leave the area where I’ve been, everything beyond that area–in this case, a room–is pure blackness.  And I mean, I look a few feet away, and there’s nothing to see.  It’s something of a frightening thing, because it makes you feel so isolated, like you are the only one in the world, and though you might hear the voices of other people–and I do, I hear them calling to me, telling me to go somewhere to meet up with everyone else–but there is nothing to see.  Maybe once in a while I’ll see bright light shinning through the blackness, but that’s it.

There’s nothing else.  It’s all dark.  It’s all blackness.

It’s not something you want to wake up to, because you feel as if your dreams were trying to say, “You’re isolated from the world.  There’s nothing out there; it’s all you, and there’s nothing else.”

The last couple of weeks have felt like that.  There’s nothing out there, there’s no support.  I do feel very much on my own these days, and it’s not something I’m enjoying much these days.  I’m not in the mood to give up, but I also feel like there is nothing else out there, nothing to hold onto, nothing to touch.

I’ve felt that way too many times in the past, and I don’t want to feel it any more.

Morpheus needs to stop showing up with dark dreams.  He needs to make my dreams feel the way they used to, when all I had to deal with were smart-ass girls with red hair telling me to get off my butt and get to writing.  I miss the dreams I used to have.

I want to know that they’ve not abandoned me.

That somewhere, in the darkness, they wait with open arms . . .