Yes, it rather was like this.
Last night was Writing Night in a lot of ways. I more or less finished an article I’d promised to write and put it up on a site waiting for images and proofing. It’s something with a lot of references and links and fact that I need to look it over again before I release it for publication.
One of the things that troubles me is that it sounds very much unlike me when I’m writing stories. I once had a person tell me that they liked reading my articles because there was a personality to them, even little bits of humor. The way they read came across almost like someone was telling you about the stuff in person. Sometimes I manage that rather nicely: sometimes I come off like a stilted off biddy.
My article writing is so unlike my fictional writing. I enjoy doing it, but it comes along mostly when I want to pass some information to others without trying to put it into a story. Think of is as my “science fact” writing as opposed to my “science fiction” stories.
But I’m still telling a tale when I write an article. Maybe that is what troubles me about this new one: it doesn’t feel like a tale. It feels like I’m spouting facts.
After I wrote about a thousand words on the article, I headed back into The Foundation Chronicles and ended up writing another eight hundred and fifty words. I talked about some rather interesting things:
(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
With that out of the way . . . “Miss Kirilova.” Annie’s eyes snapped towards her. “What is the name of the category that defines the various spells used to kill someone with sorcery?”
Annie stared back at Professor Lovecraft for nearly five seconds before responding with her own question. “Why are you asking me, Professor?”
“Because you are a Legacy.” Her smile was as close to sweet as she could manage. “Your parents were also quite good at sorcery—this I know, because they were my students the first year I taught here. Therefore it’s not unreasonable to believe that you’ve taken up the same interests.” Helena crossed her arms and gently cupped her chin. “Or am I mistaken?”
Annie shook her head. “No, you’re not.”
“So you do have an interest in sorcery?”
There was no point in trying to deny it now. “Yes, Professor: I do.”
Helena nodded. “Good. Please tell the class of the name I asked for earlier.”
Annie slowly drew in a breath, holding her answer for as long as she thought she could manage. “It’s known as morte.”
“Morte.” She moved slowly towards Annie. “As in ‘death’.” Helena’s tone was so passive that one could almost imagine she was discussing something unassuming. “Have you ever read of any of your parent’s books on the subject?”
Annie felt she was being held up for display to the rest of the class, and she wasn’t liking it at all. There was little she could do, however: he choices were limited to refusing to answer—and probably getting on the professor’s bad side should that happen—or admitting to her background. “Yes, I have, Professor. I’ve read both.”
“Did you ever get any others to read?”
“Yes.” She was meeting Helena’s nonchalant stare with one that was filled with far more emotion. “I picked up a book on the subject two years ago—”
“When you were nine?”
Someone behind Annie said something too faint for her to hear: she imagined they found the idea of a nine year old girl reading up on death spells a bit morbid. “Yes, Professor. I was for my ninth birthday, actually.”
“Your parents obviously had your future education in mind.” She didn’t chuckle or appear to make fun of Annie: if anything, she was showing an interest in what she knew. “What’s your favorite morte spell?” She arched her left eyebrow. “I’m certain you have one.”
Annie wasn’t about to back away from the professor’s questioning, not now. Exsanguination.”
Helena stopped and did something unexpected: she smiled. “Oh, my.” Now she chuckled. “That was my mother’s favorite. It was one of the first spells she taught me—”
This time the voice that spoke—a boy’s—was much clearer. “Huh? What a freak show.”
“Silence.” Helena pointed into the class, not bothering to look in the direction of the comment. “Or you’ll find out just what sort of freak show this class can become.” She addressed Annie. “Do you know what my favorite morte spell is?”
“Electrify.” Helena shifted her weight to her right leg. “It’s one of those spells—like exsanguination—that once you understand how to control all the subtleties, can be used for more than killing someone.” She lazily stared off towards the class. “It’s comes in handy in my other duties to The Foundation.”
Though the professor’s comment was lost on the rest of the class, Annie understood the allusion: Professor Lovecraft was a Guardian.
Nothing livens up an afternoon class like discussing various death spells with an eleven year old student.
Now, while I was writing all this stuff, I was listening to music, which is something I normally do, because it’s far less of a distraction than having the TV on in the background. I was listening to old Genesis concerts–“bootlegs,” as they are properly called–and one was as far different from the other as you could get. The one I listened to when writing my article was recorded on 10/30/1981, during the Abacab Tour and a few weeks after they were booed by fans during their Leiden, The Netherlands, show–that concert was where Phil said he was gonna come out and kick the shit out of everyone. (True story.) The second was recorded almost six years to the day, on 11/01/1975, in Lakeland, Florida, USA, during The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour. Two different shows, very different recordings of different songs done at different times. One might say the writing employed different voices for different projects.
Which was probably why I went for such a dramatic shift in music to carry off different shifts in my writing, because one was so unlike the other–
Or maybe I needed a simple break from reality.