Soufflé Girl Under the Stars

It’s taken me a bit to get going this morning, but going I am.  It’s a beautiful morning in The Burg, and I wish I’d brought my mobile with me so I could have snapped a quick picture before entering the Panera.  That’s for another time, then, because I know there will be many more lovely sunrises to come, and I’ll enjoy them all.

At the moment I’m finishing my soufflé, having my coffee, and listening to Genesis performing a show from 1977.  It’s a tomato and feta cheese soufflé, one of my favorites, which sort of makes me Soufflé Girl, though I have none of the murderous Dalek inclinations my namesake had.  But I’m a bit impossible, so it’s very likely that she’s my kin somewhere in time and space.  Everyone needs a kin, you know?  That way they are never alone.

There were so many things going on last night.  While I’m normally consumed by distractions, during Writing Time I was working on finishing Chapter Seven, I was chatting with someone new online last night, and the Breaking Bad marathon was playing on the TV a couple of meters away.  I wrote about seven hundred and fifty words, managed to have a great conversation, and caught the Season Two episodes Seven-Thirty-Seven and Down, completing my viewing of the four episodes that foreshadow the major event taking place at the very end of that season.  (The other two episodes were Over and ABQ.)

What was written?  Take a gander for yourself, and remember it’s all first draft, so you’re seeing it as I wrote it:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Back inside the dome Harpreet let them to cabinets in the back. She opened a door and revealed dozens of large parchments suspended on hangers. “These are the school’s star charts.” She selected one and removed the hanger from its support, then carried to a large work table. “The school’s first astronomer was Astria Blomqvist—

“Try to imagine the time. It was the end of the Seventieth Century. The heliocentric model had been in place for about one hundred and fifty years. Astria was a pagan, a witch, and a lover of the skies. When she came here and helped found the school and her coven, and she decided to make it her mission to transfer her love of the sky to the girls living here.

“She not only taught spells and cooking and botany, but she also brought students to the Astria Portal twice a week to talk about the stars, about the planets, about what we knew then. She worked hard to extend that knowledge—hence these . . .”

She waved her hand over the chart on the work table. “Astria worked on these for decades. She started on these in the 1690’s, and it took her twenty years to finish. She drew the sky when she was here, and during the summer she’d travel to other parts of the world—the equator, the southern hemisphere—to see and draw the sky there.

“And when the next school year started, she’d bring her charts to class and have the students use them, to see the starts as she saw them. And when she died . . .” She turned to the cabinet behind her. “She left them to the school, for future generations to use.”

Harpreet turned to Annie and Kerry. “I am of Cernunnos, just as you are. It is the coven founded by Astria Blomqvist, so we feel her whenever we enter the tower. This charts . . .” She lightly ran her fingers over the one on the table. “This is your legacy.”

 

So Tuesday is over, and it’s time for Wednesday–no, not the instructor, the actual day–and that means Formulistic Magic, and that means it’s Erywin’s time to shine.  Though “shine” probably isn’t the proper word for what she does–“Keep everyone on their toes with the impending possibility of something insane happening” is probably a far better description.  Her’s will be a fairly meaty chapter, and you’re going to see that dropping an F Bomb in front of the children isn’t that big of a deal for her.

Yeah, she’d my kind of woman.

Feleena

Strange morning for me.  I set in Panera with my coffee, my breakfast consumed, and I’ve got the song El Paso on repeat because–well, just because.  I have my reasons, and in a few I’ll change it to something else.  Something that will give me just enough time to do this post and hit the road, for I have some travelin’ ahead of me this morning.

This afternoon I get back into the routine.  I’ve had a few distractions this week, but it’s all legit, and you need a distraction now and then just to break things up.  But once you get too far away from what you should do, then you get distance, and that distance can lead to break up, and once you’re made that break it’s tough to take it back into yourself.

I’ve been there more than a few times.  Why?  Doubt.  Always the goddamn doubt.  you question if what you do is worth while, if what you’re attempting is going to be another “All in vain” operation that lead nowhere.  Nothing usual there:  that’s the majority of our lives, it seems.  You question everything, and doubt often comes into play when the questions fly.

To paraphrase a famous quote doubt is the creativity killer.  You doubt, and your creativity takes a hit–but you can’t allow that, for the creativity must flow.  It must keep moving forward, even if it’s stumbling about much like a young Keith Richards after many hours of Jack Daniel’s and heroin–or as he used to call it, “I’m awake, right?”

I have this little itty bitty part that I need to complete for my NaNo Novel research, and I’m sort of dragging on that.  Some of that I blame on AMC, for this damn Breaking Bad marathon is dragging me away.  And I would have stayed up until three in the morning to watch Gus and two others get rung up on the Heisenberg Hit-o-Meter, but it was midnight, I’d been up since four-thirty, and like I say, I gotta drive today.

There is a line in El Paso that goes, “My love is stronger than my fear of death.”  Writing should be that way:  one’s love of writing should be stronger than their fear of failure.  You are going to fail, and fail mighty, before something comes of your endeavor.  I know it sounds like BS, but there’s much truth in this.  I failed over the summer.  I wrote a novel, I did my best to get it published, to get the word out, to make certain it was clean and good–and a whole lot of nothing came.  Oh, sure, there were sales, but you always hope for sales, and those never materialized.

I shouldn’t call it a failure, however.  It’s the third thing I’ve published, and I learned from the experience.  I have the information filed away and on-hand for the next time I publish.

If you learn from your experiences, it’s not a failure.  Never.

Now I gotta road to catch . . .

 

The Circle of Drama

Back on Wednesday AMC began running every episode of Breaking Bad, with a intermission here and there to keep people from jumping out windows because they were depressed, I suppose.  Because there are so many things going on with me over the last few years I haven’t been able to watch the show, but I’ve known of it, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch the last eight weeks of the series, which comes to an end this coming Sunday, 29 September.

Because of this show we now have ever high school chemistry teacher in the country being asked if they know how to cook meth, which is probably not a good thing, but it’s better than no questions at all, I suppose.  And it would appear that Albuquerque is one of the major drug capitals of the country, and a good place to buy up some bankrupt fried chicken shacks.

The one thing it has done is bring drama, and that’s because the writing is just so damn good.

Getting home from work I was able to catch the last four episodes of Season Two:  Over, Mandala, Phoenix, and ABQ.  Two of these episodes made up a grouping of four that foreshadowed an event that closed out Season Two, and the last scene in ABQ foreshadows an event that will close out Season Four.  It’s all there:  life, death, getting hope, loosing it all . . . and watching people turn into monsters before your very eyes.  (And those four episodes were Seven-Thirty-Seven, Down, Over, ABQ.  Now you know how the season ends.)

I love great writing.  One of the reasons I don’t watch a lot of television is I’m not much for the product dealt.  Think of it along the lines of the Sky Blue that’s cooked on Breaking Bad:  you get the normal crap that’s all over the place, and then there’s the crank that’s ninety-five percent pure.  Finding that Sky Blue drama is rare, but when you do, you sit on that stuff and love the ride until it takes you down.

One of the reasons I decided to take a creative writing course in the late 1980’s was due to hating what passed for good story telling on TV and at the movies.  My ego was just enough then that I thought, “I can write better than most of these hacks,” and I still have that personal belief that if you work at your craft long and hard enough, and you’re willing to learn from the crap you first churn out, then you’ll end up producing something good, maybe even some great stuff.  Work at it long enough, and you’ll produce a few lines of Sky Blue quality stories.

If you’re luckier, you’ll do that for a while and end up feeling guilty about what you’re going to do with all the money you make.

None of us start out being true artists of our craft; it takes time to get there, it takes work.  It’s rare that any of us are gonna drive the RV out into the desert and produce some totally pure produce the first time out, and do it wearing only our underwear.  But if we work at it long enough, we may just become artists of our craft.

Or we can get wasted on our own product.  That’s always an option.

The Grim Dreams

After such an interesting weekend, here I am back at the start of the last full week of September.  Weather’s cooling off, and things are changing.  It rained Saturday afternoon, and was cloudy for most of the morning yesterday.  Oh, and I managed to write my article yesterday, all twenty-three hundred words of it.

I have things to do this week; it didn’t help that I had some very strange and disturbing dreams last night.

I don’t think there is just one thing that can be said about them, because there didn’t seem to be one thing that stood out and said, “Hey, disturbing.”  It just felt bad and depressing, with a lot of running around and being kept in small places, and feeling lonely and isolated.  It was very strange, ’cause I don’t think I can point to one thing, it was only feelings and sensations.  Oh, and cold:  there was that, too.  The feeling of cold.

Now, some people might say, “It’s because you went up to That Place on Saturday,” but I don’t believe that.  I didn’t feel like that Saturday night, and Sunday I was in a great mood all day.  Maybe it was because of watching Breaking Bad, which is down to its last episode, and is about a grim and dark as you’re ever going to find on television.  Sure, watching Meth Damon blow away some woman on her front porch after saying, “I want you to know this isn’t personal,” wasn’t a good moment, but the end?  Hey, never go on TV and say things that are going to piss off a drug kingpin who feels like getting even.  You’re getting tickets to Belize.

I can’t say, because you don’t know how your mind works, and you know even less about your subconscious.  I stopped trying to understand my dreams a while back, because trying to see if there was some meaning there was making me a little bonkers.  Besides, I’m not good at figuring out stuff like that, so I leave it to others.

But, man, no one wants to get up at two-thirty in the morning feelings like they just ran a race, and knowing that part of the time in your dream you were locked in a cage.  Bummer, man, bummer.

However . . . something woke me at five-twenty, and it was one of those, “Am I sleeping or am I awake?” kind of deals.  But someone was rubbing up against me, and I know who the person was and what part they were using to do the rubbing.  And that was driving me nuts, too, because more and more I’m looking for human contact, and this was definitely the sort of contact that I wouldn’t mind.  Yes, you can see where my mind is now . . .

It isn’t bad to have a grim dream now and then.  It’s when you have them all the time that it becomes a little hard on your constitution.  People want and deserve happiness, and when you don’t get it, you suffer.

Who wants to suffer?  Be happy with all you do–even if you’re forced into some bad dreams once in a while.

Foggy Morning Blogging

I would say this is the first early morning in the new place today, but yesterday was much like last night.  I fell asleep early, about ten PM, after a few hours of edits and watching Breaking Bad, then was up at like three-thirty in the morning.  Toss and turn, then fall back to sleep, then toss and turn some more until I finally decide to crawl out and face the day.

It’s foggy outside; the first fog I’ve seen in a while.  I know it’ll burn off soon, but it’s strange to not be able to see the mountains out beyond my window.  Though it’s more than I see normally from the Real Home.

Today has all kinds of uncertainly for me.  I check out the new route, which is loaded with construction.  I check out the new job, which could be great, or could suck a ton.  I get into the new routine, which could be as boring as the last routine, and the one before that.  I’m hoping that’s not the case, because I don’t want to fall into the same trap I had back at the Job From Hell, which was depressing and soul sucking–but is, at the moment, going through so much bad shit that I can’t help but smile a little and hope the right people are getting heat from a blast furnace.

In short, I don’t want to feel as if I’m wearing myself out.  I want a lot more than that.

One good thing I that over the course of a couple of days I managed to edit about seven thousand words out of Chapter Nine of Couples Dance.  Big chapter, and with the edits comes some cutting and some adding.  The adding has one so far, and while I don’t believe the chapter will end up around ninety-eight hundred words, it’s going to be close to ninety-seven fifty.  I have a published story as long as this chapter, but I’m so much better at editing now than I was two years ago when I wrote that other story.  The process seems to flow these days, and doesn’t feel as if I’m getting teeth pulled every time I sit and read something.

I have to count that as a win.

This week I’ll start rounding up beta readers, because by this time next week edits should have finished, and it’s time to put eyes on this mother.  Warn people that there are parts that will be freaky, but I don’t want to know if they found the story disgusting, or too strange–I just want to know where it needs tightening.  I know it’s strange, and I know there are some parts that are over the top, so no news there.  What I need to know where the errors are, because I want this clean before publishing.  I don’t want to publish, then fix, then publish again . . . then fix . . .

Then comes, “What to do next?”  Well, I know that answer, but I’ve not spent any time thinking about that story.

I’ve too much happening now, and it’s got me in a fog . . .