Of what? The week, of course!
Tuesday night was another night for laying out chapters in C For Continuing, but it was time to get down into the detail and look at what needed writing. That meant opening up Chapter Twenty and setting up each scene that occurs–
But while I was at it I decide Chapter Twenty-One needed opening as well. So I jumped in there, too.
Chapter Twenty has four scenes. The first, Seeing On the Ball, is the setup and happens in class. Will anyone other than Annie and Kerry have visions? Maybe. Visions on Duty is the whole vision that the kids have. Rather than embed it inside another scene, it gets one of its own. Public in Private concerns Deanna discussing what happened from her point of view as well as learning as much about the vision from Annie and Kerry as possible. The last scene, Wonders and Discoveries, is all Annie and Kerry discussing the vision as they return to the Great Hall because… well, just because, yeah?
I expect the first scene to be the longest, but none of these scenes should go longer than fifteen hundred words–maybe two thousand for the first one. Even so, it’s setting up the chapter to be about five thousand words–which isn’t a bad average if you think about it.
Now, Chapter Twenty-One is a little different. Personal Projections will take us into something that hasn’t been touched on up to this point–and that’s one of the kids attempting to perform an astral projection. Preparing to Project is the setup and Walking On a Thread is the actual projection, which means–surprise!–one of both kids manage the spell.
Bu there’s Something in the Winds… remember how Deanna said there are things in the Astral Realm that people need to avoid? Guess what? We may get to see one of those things. No matter what, Return to Base gets us back to the end of the session and whatever danger there was is likely gone and/or bested. And we get to hear how the projection went, right? I’m sure that will happen.
Since it’s likely I won’t head to practice tonight–the cold is trying to return and my back is still sore–I’ll likely map out Chapters Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three. After I get some food in me and maybe take a nap.
Gotta be rested if I’m gonna think about the future in the past, right?
About last night– Hey, that would make a good title for a movie or a book, yeah?
Anyway, as I said I would do, last night I began plotting out Part Six. Well, not actually plotting it out: that requires setting up the scenes for what’s to come in the chapters. But I’m getting there and I expect this week to see me finishing out the plotting, because these characters aren’t gonna plot this sucker out by themselves.
What do I have, then? Well, for Part Six I’ve got this:
Part Six is Our Winter of Discontent and this is leading the kids into the last couple of months of school before Salem shuts down and 2013 becomes one with the history books. So things are gonna start getting a little sticky for the kids and probably get a little worse as time goes by.
First up we have Public Visions and as I indicated, deals with Annie and Kerry doing a class exercise with Deanna and having a vision–oh, should I have said Spoilers? Like you didn’t know that would happen. Well, it’s coming next and it’ll be fun.
Then there’s Personal Projections. What’s that? It’s Annie-centric and all I can say is that she decides to do something she was told not to do, but you know Annie, right? It’s also gonna be interesting.
Third up is Recruitment Night and this begins the creation of a derby league in Salem. Annie’s off to become Fresh Meat and not turn into Rotten Meat like me, since I’ve been uncertified for more than six months. My guess it’s quite likely that before you know it, she’s gonna be hittin’ bitches in the wall.
And last is Racing Rudeness and hell, we know what that means. I mean, it’s about time Kerry got into a wreck, don’t you know, and now’s the time to lay that on him. Expect a certain soul mate to be pissed, too.
So that’s Part Six–
But wait! There’s more!
Yes, I decided I’d lay out Part Seven as well because, well, I already had part of it laid out. What’s that you say, Cassidy? Yep, I did. Because I’ve showed it to you before.
Part Seven is titled Travelogues and, as you might guess, it deals with traveling and the aftermath. Like–
The first chapters is Yule in Pamporovo and if you don’t know what that’s about, you be trippin’. Annie goes home for Yule and she’s got company, ’cause Kerry is gonna stay with the Family Kirilovi. Kerry gets to see how Annie lives as well as having plenty of time to get to know his future in-laws. Which is probably not a bad idea since he’ll likely see more of them than his family.
The next two chapters are Weekend with the Girls and The Polar Express. The first is Annie going off with Helena to do some Guardian stuff while the second is Kerry going off with Emma to fly and freeze his butt. If I haven’t made it clear up to now, both of these happen at the same time, so there won’t be scenes of Annie mopping around Salem wondering where Kerry’s at. Which is for the best because who really wants to see that?
And last is Post Mortums, which deals with the aftermath of both excursions–sort of. Kind of. Maybe. Things will happens that require discussion, so this is the time for that to happen. And they will.
There you have it: the next few–or many–months of writing. And what comes after that?
I guess I’ll have to plot it out.
Last night was the practice that I was dreading for a couple of weeks while, at the same time, looking forward to it with tremendous exhilaration. That’s ’cause I was about to get coached by a world champion–
Over this past weekend–3, 4, and 5 November–the WFTDA Division 1 Championships were held in Philadelphia and the best roller derby leagues from around the world when there to compete for the title and trophy, which is known as the Hydra, named after the first WFTDA President and excellent derby skater in her own right. (Just so you know the name of our current president is Master Blaster. Yeah, we’re cool–) One of the past champions, Gotham Girls Roller Derby of, where else, New York City, came in third and got the bronze. That left former champions Rose City Rollers of Portland, OR, to square off against Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia, for the big title. And while Rose City put up a gallant effort and manged to be the only team to score over 100 points against VRDL, they lost 101 to 180.
That means for the first time a roller derby league from outside the US became the champions and prepared to take the Hydra back to their home country–
All save for one person.
Lorrae Evans, a blocker with VRDL, was asked by one of my teammates, Pixie Panzer, if she’d be interesting in staying over a couple of days and coming to Harrisburg to do a special coaching session. She wouldn’t only coach us, but we’d invite players from other leagues to join us. Surprisingly, Lorrae said yes, and the day after their championship win she’d take the train from Philadelphia to Harrisburg and join us for a night at the rink.
Besides my team, HARD, and members of our sister team the York City Derby Dames, showing up, we had players from the Dutchland Rollers of Lancaster and the Black Rose Rollers of Hanover in attendance as well. All together there were 28 of us on the floor, with me and one of my teammates being the only uncertified players in attendance. Also, with the exception of one other person–one of my teammates–I had the least amount of time skating, only four months, whereas so many more players had 1 to 8 years of experience.
Like I said, I was dreading this for a couple of weeks. However, yesterday I decided that I was going to show up and do my best, so rather than get into a negative head space over this, I’d see what I was capable of doing.
What I learned right away is that I have a lot to work on.
We started out simple: stake forward and backward, then weave back and forth, the skate and plow then skate backward and plow, then do airplanes–go from one track side to the other, moving your arms like the wings of a plane and trying to touch the line–also skating forwards and back. We finished off with trying to skate around on one foot also going forward and backwards.
Easy, yeah? That was a line we’d heard from Lorrae off and on during the night. As a coach she was easy going, but she was also in charge: she let us know when she did a double whistle it mean we were to come to the center of the track right away and form up so she could speak with us. No dallying: get in and listen up. It was also like that with drills: we’d do one, then come in and find out what we were doing next, usually get shown an example of what we’d do, then it was out to do it. Not a lot of rest in between, not a lot of banter and chatting between players. Just listen and do it.
And it went on and on.
Like I said went with the attitude to do my best, but I knew I wasn’t going to be as good as the others there. I knew instantly that we were working at a far higher skill level than I’d seen before and I felt it through all the sweat pouring from me. But I felt something else as well: every so often a chill would pass through me and that was an indication that I was starting to get overheated and my body wasn’t responding well. After 45 minutes I went through 40 ounces of water and at one point I hurried off to the bathroom ’cause I thought I was about to vomit, but after a couple of minutes there I felt better. I refilled one of my water bottles and headed back out.
It wasn’t going to get any better for me, however.
During the middle of a three-person drill where we were pushing each other laterally from one side of the track to another I was pushed to the inside and thought for a moment I had a slight groin pull. I didn’t and one of the women with me laughed and said to shake it off. What happened after that was me going “Wait a minute–”
And then things got fuzzy.
I know I was told I should go sit down. I was told that more than once, in fact. I made my way off the floor to a bench and, I was told, a coach from Dutchland asked if I wanted to lay down, where then I would ask, “You want to lay down?” That went on for a bit before my coach and one of the refs who is also a registered nurse came over and sorta helped me lay down before getting some ice for my neck to cool me down–I was told that my head was pretty hot at this time–and remove my gear, which is a sign that you’re done for the night.
I lasted 90 minutes, which is pretty good considering that’s pretty close the amount of time we actually spend doing drills in a two hour practice. But this was nothing like our practices; this was way beyond anything I’d done up to that point. Some of the York women who made it through the whole three hour practice and who are in fantastic shape said they were exhausted at the end of the night, so you know it was ass busting.
After I cooled down my coach wanted to make certain I was okay and I told her that I was and I wasn’t upset that I didn’t make it all the way through: I did my best and there was no shame in not being able to keep up with women with far more experience and in better shape. She said she’d kept an eye on me and saw I was pushing myself, which made her proud. The ref who helped me check to make sure I was okay and was glad I wasn’t upset with myself over not being able to make it all the way through: like she said, “You didn’t have to do it, but you’d have been kicking yourself in the ass if you hadn’t gotten out there.” And there’s a lot of truth there.
I not only learned a lot on the floor while I was there–and one of the things I learned was I have to improve my footwork–but I watched the rest of the practice from the sideline and saw things I so want to do when I get the chance. I told my coach that I know now that I need to work on being a blocker and pivot, as that’s likely where I’ll help the team the best, as I’m not as crazy fast and quick as a real jammer, but I can do great defense as a blocker and run offence in the pack for the jammer as a pivot. Hey, Lorrae is a blocker and she helped her team win a championship. Not too shabby.
After practice we gathered around for a team photo that I also joined as I was out on the floor when this started so why not?
We also got to pass her gold medal around–which she just happened to bring–and take a few selfies with her. Like this one, which was taken for me by another person:
After practice was over I spoke with Lorrae for a few minutes. I told her I got heat exhausted about half way in and she was sorry to hear that and said that she saw me and said I’d done well. I did ask her if she meant that and she said yes, she did. I told her I’d only been practicing for four months and that did elicit a moment of surprise from her, as I suspect she didn’t think someone with that little experience would be on the floor. She also let me know that the practice we did last night was pretty much the regular practice her team does–
Which means I was actually doing a practice meant for world champions.
It was a good night. I learned from the experience and while a bit humbled by what happened, I also know I can push myself when necessary. I’m not as good as the other out there, but then, I’m not supposed to be–at least not yet. I have months of experience as compared to women with years behind them.
What does that mean?
I means that by working hard, I’ll one day I can be as good as most of the women with whom I shared the floor last night.
Which is the most important thing you can take away from any practice.
Hi there again. I’m guessing you’re expecting something witty and intelligent and all the stuff today–
Sorry, but I gotta disappoint you.
You probably noticed I didn’t do a video yesterday. That’s because I was out of the apartment about seven in the morning and didn’t return until nearly two in the afternoon. I had things to do and stuff for which I needed things. Put those two together and it means I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot, edit, and upload a video.
And today is Bout Day, which means while I’ve actually written some today, I still have a lot to do before 4:30, which is when I need to be at the rink, though about three in the afternoon I’m gonna start working on my makeup for my sort of cheap and easy costume I’m wearing to the bout and after party.
So, you’ll get your excerpt tomorrow as I’m about to post this, shut down, and make another run to pick up a few things I need for today and the week. This is what happens when I have a busy weekend due to a home bout, and if there’s any consolation, this all ends in two weeks and I head into the off-season.
Here’s hoping you like my costume when I post it–
Let’s talk about my test:
Last night it was time to get down to business and find out if I knew my rules as well as I thought I might. I found out about two hours before I was supposed to leave for the rink that there wasn’t any point in arriving early as the person who was going to give the test couldn’t make it, so we were told to show up at the normal time. As it was I still showed up early, at the same time as my coach, and since she had copies of the test I put on my knee pads and went off to a quiet room–one of the rink’s party rooms–and sat down to start answering.
Since I have found a copy of the test online, I can show you some of the questions I had to answer. These three I gave right answers to:
7. If a Jam is called off for a Skater’s injury
(other than a suspected concussion) for the
first time in a game, how long before that
Skater may return to play?
A. As soon as the Skater feels well enough
B. A minimum of three Jams
C. The beginning of the next period
D. After the medics have cleared the Skater to play
The answer is B.
22. Red Jammer legally passes four opposing
White Blockers in a scoring pass, but is
then absorbed back into the pack. Red
Jammer fights their way back past two
White Blockers and a third White Blocker
has gone to the Penalty Box. How many
points will Red Jammer receive for this
The answer is again B.
40. What must a Pivot do to legally become the
Jammer after picking up the Star from the
A. Return it to the Jammer, who in turn passes it back to the Pivot.
B. Put it on their hemet
C. Hold the Star in their hand
D. Throw it to the Jammer
The answer is A.
Now you know as much as me. Aren’t you happy?
By indicating I got three right, that means I must have gotten some wrong, and you’re right to believe that. Here was one that I got wrong:
11. When both Jammers sit in the Penalty Box
simultaneously, how much penalty time
must be served before they return to the
A. 10 seconds
B. 20 seconds
C. 30 seconds
D. 0 seconds
I answered A, but the correct answer is D, zero seconds pass: the jammers are ordered to return to the track immediately because the rules for how to penalize jammers are strange as hell.
You are now aware that I didn’t get a 100% on my test because I did miss questions. But out of the 50 on the test, how many did I miss?
Yeah, I had 45 correct, which means I finished with a score of 90%. In order to pass you need a minimum of 80%, so I passed with room to breathe. My friend and teammate Mary, who also took the test, got everything right–I’m assuming she did as she said she “aced it”–which means she certified and that she is now the proud owner of a jersey number and derby name. So, as a team, we were able to spend a few moments welcoming #246, Unchained Merrily, to the HARD team.
With the test out of the way I have but two things remaining before I become a certified player and I hope I get past them quickly. When I started this at the end of May I stated that, at the earliest, November would likely be the soonest I would certify, and little did I know how true that look into the future would become.
Here’s hoping the next 30 pass with a change of name before it’s all over.
Today has been all kinds of crazy. Actually, the entire weekend was like that, but today is peak crazy.
And it’s of my own doing.
Saturday and Sunday–when I wasn’t shooting video and editing video and, oh, writing a bit and meeting with friends–I was studying for the test I need to pass in order to become WFTDA certified. (WFTDA means Woman’s Flat Track Derby Association, in case you were wondering.) I thought it was going to be easy to get through, seeing as how it’s possible to generate fake tests with sample questions that will show you how you did at the end. You can even look at a sample test of 50 questions as well as the answer key if you want to see if you’re really going to do well.
About Friday night I was telling my coach and another derby player that I thought I was being pretty chill about the whole test thing and that there was nothing to worry about–
You know, I seem to spend a lot of time lying to myself.
I went to bed last night a bit concerned that I might not be as up on the rules as I thought, as I was always missing the pass line on the fake tests I was taking, and by this morning I was feeling the stress that, yeah, I might struggle tonight during the test. I told someone at work about how I hadn’t thought I was gonna get stressed out over my test, and she was like, “Given how you stress out on everything in derby, why did you believe this test would be any different?”
And the answer to that is I like lying to myself.
As of right now I’m not a nervous and strung out as I was, but there’s still a little trepidation. I’ll get through tonight, though, and if I don’t pass the test, I’ll take it again next week. Or this Wednesday. Or this Sunday before the bout. Whatever I’m allowed.
I’m so close. Really, it’s just now starting to hit me that in another few weeks–maybe even this week–I could end up certified and have a derby name and start working towards playing for real next season. It wasn’t hitting me much last week even though I was aware. Now, I’m feeling it. I’m feeling the bit of pressure that comes with this sort of thing and it’s a bit uncomfortable.
But it’s not unbearable.
I take the test in about four hours.
One way or another, I got this.
It’s Video Time! So enjoy!
I am home.
I finally flew into Harrisburg about midnight last night and made it home about twenty-five minutes later. I finally made it to bed about about 1 AM so I could get up about four-and-a-half hours later.
Needless to say I’m kinda wrecked.
So what was up this weekend? Most of you know I was doing something for Planned Parenthood, yeah? I think this picture sort of gave that away:
Here’s the complete lowdown: I was in Oklahoma City, OK, attending a PP Organizing Summit, where people like me learned about the tools needed to put together a successful campaign needed to affect change, as well as learning how to use those tools to make your actions work. While we could post pictures of ourselves at the summit, we were not allowed to tell anyone where we where or give out our location by tagging a picture.
This was the reason I could identify my position up to Atlanta, where we boarded our connecting flight to OKC, but once on the ground in the Sooner State we had to pretend we didn’t know where we were, even though we did.
Needless to say it was a lot of workshops and role playing and breakout groups working on getting our protesting know-how down pat. Oh, and we had a rally just down the street on early Saturday–while a wind whipped up that made me think of a certain song from a certain musical about a certain state–and we were on the local news. Below is a clip from the broadcast and at top center you might recognize a certain blond from the state of Pennsylvania…
So I was in a room way up at the top of a hotel:
And we had elevators that looked out over the atrium:
And I had a roommate, a lovely woman from a nearby state:
And we flew out of Oklahoma yesterday:
And while in the Atlanta airport all the women with whom I was traveling and I stopped in Chicken + Beer in Terminal D, a place owned by Ludacris, and had a fantastic meal. Also, the woman on my left, Sara, turned 21 that very day and we celebrated by having a drink with her.
There you are: I was out being a good little feminist, enjoying the company of other women and men who helped us learn how to make the world a better place. And I know I’ll have people telling me I’m wrong, probably while mansplaning how I’m oh, so wrong (fun fact: do you know where mansplaniners get their fact? From a Well, Actually…), but I don’t care.
I’m guessing this is just the start of another part of my life.
I don’t believe I’m guessing wrong…
What is going on? Why am I falling? Well, there’s a reason…
It’s been a strange sort of day. I woke up ready to go and I’ve been in that mode ever since. It’s a strange feeling as I haven’t had a lot of get up and go for a few months–could that be due to practice? Not really: I was feeling like that long before I strapped on some skates and became my own hero. I’m sure it was due to something else.
Yesterday I spent time thinking about Kerry’s future, but not like long-term stuff; you know, more like what’s coming in the next few months. It’s not like I haven’t thought about it before, but now that a few changes are coming into his life, I’ve had to refine that view a bit. Before I started on the current novel everything was painted, more or less, in broad stokes. Now the time has come to fill in some of the outlines and maybe turn a couple of mistakes into birds.
This goes for Annie, too. As we saw way back in the beginning of this novel she’s breaking out of her “Ice Queen” shell and even venturing away from her home. She spent time with Alex and even traveled to Cardiff to see Kerry, look around his parent’s house, and check out his room. (She also said his bed would be a good place to conceive kids, but she was just clowning him. Maybe.) She’s growing as a person and a young woman, and given how these kids talk and act, it’s likely she’s already got a good grasp of her sexuality and is working with her soul mate on his.
It’s safe to say that in the next month or so there will be a few surprises tossed out here for everyone to see. This is what happens when you dig into the lives of your fictional characters and look for the little nuggets that make up their personality and their experiences. In the last few weeks I’ve actually had a lot more fun digging into areas I didn’t know existed so that I could bring a few new elements into this story. It not only helped that I wanted to change things up a bit, but it’s actually helped set up things better for the future.
A future that is continuing to change. Except for a few things, that is.
There was a time when I figured Kerry being dumped by his parent for the Yule holidays might be one of the worst things in the world for him. Now… I’m not so certain. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, so this could be one of those things that keeps Kerry strong. As for Annie–well, she has her own strength. Which we’ll get to see on display soon.
Act One is nearly over: one last chapter and I can move on to the act where all hell breaks loose. I don’t want to say I’m gonna have fun torturing my kids–
But you know I will.
It’s really not that hard. Enjoy!