The Calm Before the Seeing

First off, let’s move this out of the way:  after mentioning yesterday that I made a video for the first time, I had, shall we say, a few requests to see me speak.  Oh sure, I’ve presented pictures of myself, but never have I gone and made a fool of myself before one of those talky camera things.  So, today, I’ll upload the video to my YouTube account and present it here for you amusement.  You Have Been Warned.

And I had a session with my therapist, the first since starting my hormone treatment.  She was happy to see me, happy to see I appear happy, happy to hear how I’m moving forward in my life.  She also pointed out a few things she noticed about me, and this is where I do a Law & Order trope and invoke doctor/patient privilege so that I don’t have to go into just what it was she noticed.  While I’m open to a lot of things in my life, that isn’t one of them.

Which brings us to writing.  It must have been a good night, because I ended up just short of twelve hundred words for the evening, setting up a new scene at the Samhain Dance.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’d written six hundred and sixty-six words to finish the last scene, so imagine my surprised when I checked my word count this morning . . .

I believe I've moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I believe I’ve moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I love seeing number like that:  Ms. Rutherford would probably tell me that the Numerologists of the Foundation would find that an auspicious sign.  Given what I know is coming next in the scene, and the following scene, and the following chapter, they’re probably correct.

Onward to the party!

 

 

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

“Hope we’re not disturbing.”

Annie looked up along with Kerry and found Professors Sladen and Arrakis standing on the other side of the coffee table. Sladen’s costume was a simple affair: A rather plain halter top and matching brown wrap around skirt that feel to her knees, brown boots, and a braided gold and brown headband used to tie back her hair. She also carried a large fighting stick, maybe a jō, outfitted with leather bands to allow the user better control.

Professor Arrakis was far more elaborate and beautiful. She wore a bright green outfit that looked like a silk dress with a high collar and long sleeves, but Annie also saw what looked like the end of leggings just above her ankles. She also wore a helmet adorned with a feathered headband, and each wrist was covered with large gold wrist bands.

Annie shook her head. “No, Professor Sladen. We’re just sitting here enjoying the dance.” She was glad she didn’t need to raise her voice; there were enchantments in place to keep sound at a lower volume outside the dance floor, so people could enjoy the music and still carry on a conversation. “Please sit with us.”

“Thank you.” Erywin chose the chair to Annie’s left.

Deanna pointed to the empty spot on the soft to Annie’s left. “Would you mind if I sit next to you?”

She shook her head. “No, go right ahead, Professor.”

“Thank you.”

Kerry waited for both women to get comfortable before addressing Professor Sladen. “I recognize your costume—”

The right side of Erywin’s mouth curled up into a smile. “You do?”

“Yeah—where’s your Xena?” He looked around, grinning wildly.

Erywin laughed. “Either in the loo or preventing Armageddon from breaking out. She should be along shortly.”

“But your costume . . .” He looked around Annie at Professor Arrakis. “I have no idea.”

Deanna flashed Kerry a sweet smile. “You mean I’ve stumped you? I thought you knew everything.”

He shook his head. “Not everything. Not since coming here.”

“You have an honest boy there, Annie.” She smoothed down her skirt. “Razia Sultain, first female Muslim ruler in South Asia. She was the fifth Sultan of Delhi for four years, until 1240.”

 

See?  I not only give you a costume party, but a little history lesson.  And you discover that Kerry doesn’t know everything.

It’s not all fun an games at the dance, though.  As you can see when, as Kerry calls her, Erywin’s “Warrior Princess”, shows up to the party.

 

Professor Lovecraft walked up, greeted everyone with a hello, then sat in the open chair to Kerry’s right without asking. She leaned back and loudly exhaled her last breath before looking across the coffee table at both instructors. “I’m about to round up all your shieldmaidens and Celtic warriors and dump their asses somewhere north of the Observatory so they can beat the hell out of each other until no one is left standing.”

“Are they getting a big anxious for their annual skirmish?” Each Samhain the girls from the Åsgårdsreia fight team challenged the girls of the Mórrígan fight team to an “Ancestral Battle” fought with mock swords and shields. This had gone on for almost two hundred and sixty years, but in the last five years the lead up to the battle had begun to turn a lot more acrimonious, and it wasn’t unusual for the students to use the “Safe Space” status of the dance—meaning no one could be “called out” to settle their grievance with a real challenge fight inside Gwydion Manor—to start throwing a few non-magical punches back and forth.

“Coraline’s already fixed one broken nose—” She pointed at Erywin. “—that one of your girls threw, Honey.”

Erywin didn’t seem that concerned. She turned to Deanna. “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

Deanna nodded as she he’d heard her fellow coven leader, but didn’t quite believe her. “Perhaps you could discuss protocol once again with them before they are unable to participate in the evening’s encounter?”

Helena nodded then stood. “That might not be a bad idea. I’ll help.” She turned to Annie and Kerry as Erywin rose from her seat. “You look lovely Annie. You’re . . .” She smiled slyly. “Good too, Kerry.”

Kerry almost laughed. “Thanks . . . Xena.”

Helena snorted. “I’m from New Zealand: who the hell else am I gonna come as?”

He pointed at her legs. “Your skirt’s a little long, though.”

Erywin stopped next to Helena as the later gave the skirt, which ended just above her knees, a tug. “Forgive me: I’m modest.” She turned and both teachers made their way through the crowd.

 

Helena?  Modest?  As with everything here, there’s probably a reason for that . . .

Also, you see the semi-informal school event that I actually blogged about way back on January 13 of this year, something I said I was going to write.  That post also included an excerpt from the first time Annie and Kerry attended Sorcery Class with Professor Lovecraft.  And here she is again, seven and a half months later, breaking up fights between the two groups of energetic fighting witches.  Just like Annie, I keep my promises.

Besides, these girls have been waiting months to kick each other’s butts.

"I'll break more than your nose, bitch."

“I’m gonna break a lot more than your nose.”

"You just screwed with the wrong Sheildmaiden."

“You just screwed with the wrong sheildmaiden.”

Watch and Learn

Really, no, last night I did something I haven’t done–well, like, ever.  I watched TV on my computer.

Allow me to explain:

I was writing last night:  Part Thirteen of Diners at the Memory’s End.  And it was coming along very well.  I like the vibe I’ve set up with Albert and Cytheria at this point, as she gives him a bit of a history lesson about his little college study partner.  Now, part of this–the part before I had to look at something on TV–involved me doing some more research as I went along:  namely, I need some information on neuroscience.  Found some very interesting information . . .

Oh, wait:  I was doing research before that, too.  And I was doing it while fielding questions from one of my writing friends.  She was asking we what I was up to, and I told her, “Oh, looking up some Celtic Goddesses.”  I needed some names, and while I knew of a couple that I wanted to us, I’m not very good when it comes to spelling their name–or even remembering how to spell them–so it was time for research.

When I was done with that little bit, I had Arianrhod, Rhiannon, Ceridwen, Blodeuedd, Branwen in my story–with Modron and Morrigan watching over all those nice ladies.  (As a side note:  Annie and Kerry know three of those names very well . . . very well, indeed.)

So, all this going on while I’m writing–and then I come to the part I referred to above.  Cytheria asks Albert if he knows about something that was particular to Welsh history.  Albert rattles off a description that sounds like he could be reading it right off the computer; which, given some of their nano-modifications, he could.  And Cytheria is very surprised that he knew that, and even asked if he’d looked it up while they sat there. Albert tells her, “Hey, I got it covered:  I once watched this on TV back when I was a kid.”

That’s when the TV part, for me, came in.

Albert was referring to something he’d seen on the show Night Gallery, which I, too, watched as a kid.  The thing is, the episode in question, I didn’t remember it all that well.

But this is the 21st Century, and damn near anything you want can be found on the Internet, so I hit Google, put in the name of the episode I’m looking for, and . . . well, now:  there you are, out on Hulu.

Mind you, I’ve never used Hulu before, so I wasn’t certain how well the episode was going to come across on my Beast, the six year old laptop I use at home.  When the episode first started streaming, I began getting a Max Headroom-like stutter every fifteen seconds, but quickly realized that was being caused by my streaming radio app.  Shut down the radio, and everything settled down, and I watched the episode.

To be able to see something like that, something I haven’t seen in forty years . . . it was a nice moment.  For I hadn’t remembered much about the episode, one I’d seen only one time before, and even though this was being done for research, it was sort of nice and relaxing to kick back with big of history.

I even managed to write a little while the ads were on.  Not much, but a little.

So there:  research.  I use it all the time, even while I’m writing.  This is why I get a little cranky whenever someone goes, “Hey, I need the name of a town in Utah that might be an Indian name.  Who can help me out?” and I type in a modified version of that question and come up with something in like fifteen seconds . . . really, whether or not I give them the link depends on (1) was sort of mood I’m in, and (2) what sort of friend they are.

Research, people:  you wanna write, you wanna do it.