Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spiritual Sundays 1

The BIG Why? (A Psalm of Sorts)

What caused the Creator of the universe
To create a creature
Who often forgets to praise?
For even the flowers of the field
Open up to smile at the Artist in the sky,
And mountains exalt the Name
Of the One Who their peaks point to.
And when the birds' sweet cantabile
Echoes from the trees,
There's not a single doubt in my mind
That they sing of their Creator.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Playing With Plays

Act One of a Currently Nameless Play

  • Miles Rhode: the oldest, trouble-maker, musically talented, charming, more bravery than brains
  • Chuck Rhode: the youngest, low-maintenance, taller but skinnier, smarter than he is brave
  • Dr. Jedadiah Morgenstern: Mysterious and suspicious psych ward doctor
Act I, Scene I

A purple VW Corrado driving down a road in Ohio. Forest and mountains are on either side of the road. Two brothers ride inside it. The one in the passenger's seat is holding up a map.

CHUCK: (puts down map he has been studying, still looking at it) Dude, I dunno. I think we're lost.
MILES: (scoff) Your big brother never gets lost.
CHUCK: Oh, yeah? Then where're we goin'? (raises eyebrows at Miles) Huh?
MILES: Well, we're um... (peers at a sign on the road, chuckles, points) We're 15 miles from Celeryville, dude. Come on! Get it together, Chucky!
CHUCK: (sighs, frowns) Me? "Get it together"?! I didn't even wanna go on this stupid trip with you anyway, Miles! And stop calling me "Chucky"?
MILES: Aw, why not?
CHUCK: Because! Because I'm not some stupid, murderous doll!
MILES: But you do have his hair color. (reaches over to twirl his brother's hair) What number is that? L'oreal 6.66? It's sinful.
CHUCK: (smacks Miles's hand away) Hey, man, I'm already pissed at you!
MILES: Chuck, look, I'm sorry I dragged you along, dude.
CHUCK: "Dragged me along"? You snuck into my dorm room, Miles. You-you freaked the heck outta my room mate--
MILES: You mean--uh--Bob Marley back there? (points behind him with thumb) Nah, the guy was in the middle of an MJ trip.
CHUCK: --covered my head with a blindfold-- (holds up a blindfold)
MILES: You tellin' me you still haven't been hazed yet?
CHUCK: --cuffed my hands together--(holds up cuffs in other hand)
MILES: They're just toy handcuffs, dude. (cautionary sideways glance at Chuck)
CHUCK: (puts both items down, staring angrily at Miles) AND?
MILES: AND anyone could've broken out of them! (under breath) Well, everyone except for you, Wimpy McWimpstein.
CHUCK: I cannot believe this! I can't believe you!  (shoots brother angry look, has a sudden idea, holds stomach) Miles. Miles, could you pull over, please?
MILES: What? Why? You gonna arrest me, cuff me with those crappy things. I'm telling you, man. Everyone but you. Even this one chick that I--
CHUCK: Dude, just pull over unless you want Acid Chowder all over your seats! 
MILES: No way, man. Just got Shirley here detailed. (starting to pull over)
CHUCK: (frowning at Miles) Shirley?
(Car stops on the side of the road. There's a few feet of dusty, pebbly ground before the forest starts.)
CHUCK: (opens door and steps outside, still holding stomach)
MILES: You don't need me to hold your hair, do ya, sweetheart? (gets out of car and joins Chuck)
CHUCK: (turns around and punches Miles in the face)
MILES: (stumbles, turns back to Miles, holding face where punched) What was that for?
CHUCK: What wasn't that for?! You-you legit kidnapped me to go on a friggin' road trip with you one week before finals! Are you insane?!
MILES: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy, bro.
CHUCK: No, man! Everything was going great for me until you showed up! I've been working so hard for my GPA! I made a few friends! I had a hot date tomorrow night, Miles! I've never scored better in my life.
MILES: A date? A week before finals? I've taught you well, my brother, haven't I? (sigh) I can now die peacefully.
CHUCK: (rolls eyes, holds up a fist) Do you want another one?
MILES: No, man, I'm good. I'll admit I deserved that first one, though. Where'd'ya learn to hit like that anyway?
CHUCK: (holds palms up and out, drops arms) When you're a gangly ginger, you learn a few things.
MILES: (nods thoughtfully) Hey, we even?
CHUCK: Yeah, sure. But you'd better make this road trip worth it.
MILES: Hey, what'd'ya take me for, huh? (puts an arm around Chuck's neck) Beers, girls, and the world's greatest music festival with all the newest hits! This is gonna be the best, most epic trip of our entire lives!

Act I, Scene II

The lights are low. Chuck is sitting on a chair in the middle of what looks like a hospital room, dressed entirely in white. His hair is outgrown and his face is somber. The door opens and in walks a middle-aged male doctor with a white lab coat.

DR. MORGENSTERN: Charles? Charles Rhode? (hesitates for an answer, doesn't get one) Hello, Charles. My name is Dr. Morgenstern. (sits down on bed, facing Chuck) Charles, do you know why you are here? (waits for response, none) See, the thing is, Charles, we think you may have hurt someone, but we don't really think that you meant to do it. So you are here so we can help you get better. So you don't have to feel like you need to hurt anyone ever again.
CHUCK: (whispers) You son of a bi--
DOC: Charles, why are you using those words with me? Those words, this attitude, they're not going to help you get out of here.
CHUCK: I'm not the murderer, a-hole. You are. (Chuck gets up, tries to attack the doctor.)
DOC: Easy, there (sticks him with a syringe)
CHUCK: (passes out)
DOC: Easy. (Lays him on the bed, exits room, calling for a nurse.)

Trying My Hand at Terza Rima

Literary Wingmen

I think I fell in love that day;
And though it happened fast as light
I fell in love, it's safe to say,
Although I thought I never might.
Those honest words, that friendly smile
Forced fear of love to shrink so slight,
And as we sat there all the while
In minutes' time turned out our souls.
We heeded neither clock nor dial
Nor he who our "adieu" cajoles.
He knows it not, the way I feel,
The way my heart his being extols.
The way my mind spins like a wheel.
My wingmen, Lewis, Dickens, Wilde,
I thank you for my bookish zeal.
Though scarce I listened as a child.
Now do I seize your themes so dear
And stand amazed as one beguiled,
One seen as one with thoughts so clear,
With mind so made, with soul refined,
That one out of my league might hear.

This is based on a day I met a young man and had literary conversations with him. I immediately found him interesting when I learned he reads Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde "for fun". Though I did not actually "fall in love" with him (he was, indeed, way outta my league), I felt like I could talk to him about themes in classic literature forever. We even exchanged must-reads from our "favorites" lists.

Terza rima is a lot of fun to write in. The set rhyme and meter made it a little constricting, but it tested my lexicon and ability to arrange the words in creative ways.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Word Count Friday

What am I working on?

I am working on a play. I must admit that binge-watching Supernatural over Spring Break has lended a hand in forming the roles in this somewhat thriller-style play, however I write what is on my mind and honestly brotherhood is always on my mind. Being the 7th in a family of 8, siblings mean so very much to me, and in this play, I wanted to rekindle a bromance between two brothers when their mother calls on one of them to take the other on trip, afraid for his sanity. We do not know of this reason until it becomes clearer later on in the play, but in the second scene of act one, which we figure out is the present day, the brother has ended up in a mental facility and is accusing his doctor of murder. It is a work in progress, and I feel like I need to rearrange the order of events, maybe get the full scope of the situation first. 

I am also working on a short story of a young man who explores the abandoned Southern plantation house he has seen in his town all his life. He has heard legends of its creation, its inhabitants, and its downfall. I am thinking of linking the idea of the fall of this house to the fall of a man or a civilization using flashbacks, newspaper articles, and belongings in the house to uncover stories of those who have lived in it throughout the years. I love the idea of plantation homes being so rustic and yet elegant, common (in some areas) and yet so mysterious. I have yet to explore one myself, but in my small town of Moorpark we chance to possess a house near some shops in our downtown area that looks rather like a Southern plantation manor, white pillars and all. I used to romanticize the notion that generations of wealthy families have taken shelter in that house. I wondered what their stories were and what they lived for. I even wondered if any of them haunted the walls of the house. Now I still have not done my research, but I decided to write my own story. Sometimes that is closure enough.

I want to get started on a novel about a young lady (or a man, still haven't decided) who hunts down lethal cults. In my novel, I want the main character to stumble upon one that gives her a run for her money. I still need to do a TON of research on cults. It is not exactly common knowledge on how these things are ignited, discovered, or dismantled. From what I can recall about real, historical cults, they were usually found when alas a number of people were killed in one apocalypse-paranoid act or another. I plan on researching documentaries and studying what convinces one's psyche of the need to listen to one man and his truth, especially when it puts his or her own life in danger. This will not be a pleasant read, nor will it be easy to write, but I plan on gripping my readers through the narrative perspective and possibly allowing the heroine to emerge victorious. If I wanted to take a darker, less cliche route, I might want to watch the chick fall into the lies of the cult leader herself, and push psychology upon my readers instead of heroism. Still haven't decided, so ideas are welcome...

How I feel about it?

I like the ideas I get, but when push comes to shove and I need to character-build, world-build, and fact-check when I just want to get my story rolling, it is difficult for me. I am beginning to think pantsing will not be an option, seeing as I am currently enjoying realistic situations and settings, but I am usually a pantser by heart. Now it seems I will need to be a plotter by mind. I suppose I favor pantsing because I want to be as surprised as my readers are when there is a plot-twist or someone does something they normally would not. As a plotter, you are no longer entitled to experiencing the surprise, at least not in the same way a pantser or reader might. 

What am I reading?

Redwall and (finishing) Me Before You

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle ~ Book Review

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is one of the most perplexing books I have ever come across in my life!

I got through it in a matter of days, which is saying something for me, being the type of reader that likes to soak in material word by word, phrase by phrase, concept by concept.

I was immediately in love with Meg and Charles Wallace. I gotta admit, it was difficult to picture a five year old boy with the lexicon and intelligence of Charles's. But his unconditional love for his family and friends helped me to better see the child in him. From his tiny frame to his lovable personality to his witty remarks, he kind of reminds me of Freak from Freak, the Mighty.
In many ways, I can relate with Meg. First of all, her lack of confidence mirrors mine pretty much perfectly. Others' expectations of Meg's failure hit readers point blank in the insecurity bull's eye, though we all hate to admit it. I also admire L'Engle's decision to give Meg a tiny lack of common sense and some of the most basic kind of knowledge. This makes her at-times stupid answers amusing and engaging. These and her stubborness make me reminded of an older Junie B. Jones. The fact that she holds the key to the resolution gives all readers hope. We don't all need to be as ridiculously smart as Charles Wallace, nor as charismatic as Calvin. We don't have to be acculturative drones like the twins. (I think that is the very reason she made the unimportant, unheroic siblings twins: to show how conformative they are. That or so that they can be losers together!) We can be our own, welcoming our uselessness as much as we treasure our usefulness.

I was quite reminded of the first book of Narnia as I was world-hopping with Charles Wallace, Meg, and Calvin. I am just glad I did not need to feel the bone-breaking, numbing, coldness that the tesseract puts ordinary people through. The sight, sound, and smell of every world are vividly described. Even the culture, appearance, and personalities of the natives of each planet are unique. My personal favorite were the creatures of Ixchel. I love how they cannot see; I was scratching my own head trying to formulate the sense that is Sight into words. But they FEEL everything, and that makes all the difference. Even the resolution was a matter of feeling (love for Charles Wallace) and not seeing (the gift from Mrs. Which).

This storyline had me all over the place! I am used to picturing the books I am reading in my head like a movie. But the sequence of events, even dialogue and the characters' feelings were completely unpredictable in the classic way literature is allowed to be. What I could not get over, to the point where it bothered, nay, frustrated me, was that it was as if no one except Meg understood the concept of mind-control or bodily possession, as though the concept is extremely new and not construable. Or that such a thing would not be possible, as if traveling through time and space is. Like Meg, I would have known exactly what was happening, but this is mainly because of my fascination with sci-fi/fantasy, dystopian, supernatural horror, and mysterious thriller stories and films.

So, it is probably easy to tell, but there are more than one biblical nuance throughout the story. Some are not too noticable, such as the part when Meg was sitting down at the table with Aunt Beast and all the other beasts, the author writes: "She felt that she was being measured and found wanting" (L'Engle 189). This is a line from the famous story of Daniel, King Belshazaar, and the hand writing on the wall (Daniel 5:27). Put into other words: "You have not been doing right by your life." But this line was slipped into this scene in the novel so subtly, I almost missed the echo.

I enjoyed it! There were parts of it that were playful and jolly, making me smile (and I rarely respond to what I read with emotional faces). Other parts were heart-breaking and difficult to get through. And then there was this extraordinary element of something very sinister. It did not take L'Engle too many words, not even so many descriptive phrases, to make this uneasy feeling erupt in me as I read through the darker parts of the story. It gave me the feeling I had when I was reading Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, like although dark things can speak in formal language and be dressed in coat tails, somehow they are still twisted and insidious. I appreciate that this was mainly a book written for children, but the author is trying to inform [puzzled] adults about the world we live in and how to save our families. It is very "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, if you will: Even if Life sucks, at least we will live a sucky life together before we die. The one thing everyone has is family (and these come in many shapes, sizes, and situations); we just need to hold on to our families as hard as we can and never let go the way Meg never gave up on her light and love, her baby brother Charles Wallace.

{I am still mind-blown. And still upset that the dad couldn't do more. What's a dad for if he cannot make you feel safe from evil?}

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word-Count Wednesday

What I'm working on:

Just finished an in media res chapter about a winged girl in a cage hanging from the sky in the middle of a thunderstorm and the elaborate way she must escape. Might continue with that.

Word Count: around 500-1000?

How I feel about it:

I like this character/concept has been on my mind for a while, and that I was actually able to turn it into something and expand on the character herself.

I would need to work around this scene, since the character never questioned why she was where she was, nor did she hint at her capturer. (Either way, I may need to squeeze those details somewhere into the scene.

What I am currently reading:

A Wrinkle In Time
Me Before You
Love, Rosie
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fallen Bird: (In media res + Escape)

            It was two o’clock in the morning when Lindy Burks woke up on the cold, iron floor of a swinging cage. It was suspended hundreds of feet up in the air, hanging by three chains half made of steel, half of fog braiding down, link by link, from the massive cumulonimbus overhead. Thunder grumbled and rumbled. Lightening flashed on and off in the distance, as though some pesky giant in the sky were playing with a light switch.
            Lindy raised herself to her feet, which stubbornly refused to stand. She wobbled before she collapsed back onto the iron floor. She sighed sharply as she sat up.
            “Work, you stupid things!” she said, massaging the feeling back into her legs and feet.
            The thunder was getting louder, the lightning brighter. It was cold up there in that cage. Gusts of wind blew at Lindy as if she were a flame on a wick, and the air was heavy with mist. Lindy soon realized that up here in the clouds, she could never get dry. And what bird with weighty, wet wings had ever found a way to fly?
            With the strength having finally returned to all six limbs, Lindy pulled herself back up. “Okay, now to find an exit.” The cage was twice her height vertically, with a diameter of about ten feet. It was completely empty, all except for her of course. Its bars were jagged square beams of iron, and it had absolutely no door. This made Lindy wonder how she even got locked in. She looked up at the ceiling of the cage and saw something hanging on a chain from the very center of the dome. It couldn’t be, could it? Lindy squinted her eyes at what appeared to be a key.
            “Huh.” Needing a key to escape, cliché. The key being poorly hidden within the confines of her prison cell? This was new, and just a tad fishy. Still, it was her one hope of a way out. And where there was a key, there was a way out.
            Keeping her eye on that chain, Lindy unfolded her wings and poised them above her back. She lowered into a readied squat, balancing herself with two fingers on the floor as she focused all her energy and concentration on the key. This task would have been easy in any lower layer of the atmosphere, preferably the ones that would not house a swelling tempest. But never in her life did Lindy waste her time hoping that a situation’s level of difficulty matched her set of skills and experience. She was smarter than to even wish life was anything like a game.
            “One…two…” she whispered. Lindy pushed off the cage floor with all her strength, swinging her wings down for extra lift, one arm extended.
            “No!” she dropped clumsily back to the ground flat on her side, her wings limp and heavy with water. She knew they didn’t feel right, but it was still worth a shot. She sat up and sighed, glaring up at the key.
            “A broomstick or a jet pack would be nice right about now. And to think, a winged human existed before any of that fictional crap…” She rolled her eyes and cloaked herself with her massive white wings. At least if she had to wait out the storm, she was going to be warm doing it.
            Suddenly, veins of white lightning lit the sky, only feet away from where the cage dangled from the clouds. Lindy shrieked and jumped to the side of the cage farthest away from the lightning.
            “Geez--,” she said between gasps of air. “Now I really gotta get outta here.” She used the bars to pull herself to her feet. Then, gripping the bars, she jumped and attempted to hoist herself up the bars.
            “Crap,” she said as she felt herself slide down the slippery wet bars of her prison. She wiped her hands on her jeans and tried again and again. She even attempted to dry the bars, but the rain came down hard on every side, immediately drenching what she had dried.
            “I knew this wasn’t gonna be that easy,” she said as she frantically began to shake every set of bars. She jumped and stomped on each cubic foot of the floor surface, hoping she would just magically fall through. When that didn’t work, she went to the bars again and slammed her hands against them in frustration. Feeling defeated, she slumped her forehead against two bars. It was a habit of hers to go through every possible scenario and after a few moments, she recovered a detail she had missed. She looked up at the ominous grey clouds from which the cage hung, the chains swaying ever so slightly…
            She turned her back to the bars, gripping two of them behind her tightly. She raised her head and with a look of utter determination, she ran. She threw herself into the opposite wall of bars, holding on as tightly as she could to steady herself. Pushing off the bars, she ran back to where she had first begun. And then back to the opposite wall. She started fast, knowing the momentum would only begin evenly if she could follow through and run to the other side soon enough. In a matter of seconds, the chains began to squeak as they swayed to and fro, back and forth across the sky, Lindy and the cage swinging at their ends. It was a few more rounds before Lindy felt her legs quiver and shake. She willed herself to keep running, to keep moving. She forced her legs to stay balanced, though she was offset by her lack of food, rest, and warmth. She had never tested her stability on unsound surfaces with such heavy, useless wings. But her gift was surviving. It had to be, being what she was. And survive she would, at any cost.
            Finally, she had gained a tempo she could work with. With the cage swinging to a slant, she was getting pelted with larger, more frequent raindrops, so she had to choose her time of ascension fast. As she raced to and fro, she would watch the other side approach. She planned out her steps. She had studied every detail of her jump during four more runs before she chose her moment.
            This was it.
            The other side of the cage came at her with every sprinted step she placed. The last step arrived and she pushed her heavy body off the ground, aiming her other foot with her leg curved at a single bar. Though her foot slightly slid with a squeak against the metal, she somehow managed to gain enough air and cover enough space and reach out her arm far enough to just grasp the key. Her hand enclosed around a silvery chain.
            There was no key. Only a loop of chain. A loop of chain she did not let go of, and split seconds later, she was hanging onto this chain, spinning while the cage continued its slowing sway back and forth, back and forth.
            For a moment, Lindy thought she was going to hurl. Then she thought she would just about tear her fingers off. All her weight on her palm against this thin chain called for more grip strength than she knew she had.
            Lindy let out a cry to mirror the excruciating pain she was feeling. It was more than she was willing to do for a dead end. She let go.
            Falling is a funny thing. It is an illusion of time. We do not know how not to exist in the element of air. What form do we take? What feeling do we have? Should we be scared, or should we feel safe? Is it thrilling, or is it frightening? Or is it peaceful?
            Lindy was falling through the air, lying on her back, her wings tucked in close. Her loose, blond curls were being blown upward. They framed her vision as she caught a single glimpse of her bottomless cage evaporating into the mist of the clouds. Not even a whole second later, a beam of lightning flashed where it and Lindy both would have been.
            Lindy Burks was falling to earth. Every second felt like an eternity of its own.

            Though no longer incarcerated, the bird girl’s wings were still soaked. How would she get out of this one?

Monday, March 6, 2017

♪ A World of Music ♫

The world is exactly like our world except...

everyone sings what they want to say.

It ensures that everyone can hold a tune by the age of 4 and a half. AND singing could not possibly be a career because anyone who goes to public school will have the range of Adam Lambert, the tone of Lea Michele, and the ability to incorporate the vibrato of Andrea Bocelli. Plus, no one would know the difference between a singer and a poet.

Tone deafness is not an option, and musicals aren't a thing. You can rhyme the words together if you want to sound like a highly-educated Shakespeare-adoring snob, but most people just free-verse it up. Epic movies and series are harder to make, but in this world, everyone love Star Wars just the same with a cantably scripted "I am your father" scene.

Voice doctors are the most well-paid physicians in this world. Buddy the Elf would not look the least bit ridiculous in Kimble's. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream" speech was soul-filled, in more than one way. Bar brawls, prison molly-whops, and war will never be the same...

To be expanded on...

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Dog Milica (Yes you pronounced it wrong)

So I have this dog.
I have this stupid, fat, rectanglular, cream and white pastry of a dog named Milica. I know how you're reading that name right now. Please don't read it like that out loud. If you do, a Serbian somewhere in the universe cringes.
It's pronounced Mee-Lee-tsah, and don't forget to stress the "Mee" part.
My mom named her. More out of spite for the way every Serb she has ever known will name his farm animals common American names like "Linda" or "Sophia" or "Roscoe". Her vengeful mind came up with a common Serbian female name that means "dearest". Honestly my sisters and I only agreed on the name because it sounded cute. Our Serbo-American pride loved the fact that it screamed we are serious about our heritage.
So we got her from an acquaintance of mine in my Ceramics class. I had come home one night from class unable to stop yapping about how a classmate of mine brought in a puppy of a few weeks old, trying to showcase the litter of pups her mother's friend was trying to find homes for.
"Mom! I heard her offer the puppy to my professor for free! They're free!" The cost of a puppy was always a worry of my mother's. It turns out false advertising was all it ever took for my mother to fall in love with the idea of finally owning a dog.
$300 and 2 days later, we had finally fulfilled our dream of having a dog! My mother was enamoured with the timid, shaking ball of white fluff. As a pup, she was lousy at barking but evoked the heaviest guilt with her crying, so much so that cage conditioning was not even an option. She followed us everywhere. Lived and breathed for nobody but us, and it was not too a rare phenomenon that she even chose our love over food itself!
She was, is, and always will be the camera-shy, Elvis-lipped, bath-loathing potato on sticks with paws that smell just like Fritos.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Flipped (An Original Poem)

Please don't hate me
For the way I see the colors in the sky
Don't despise me 
For the mark that's on my chest
Nor for the book
I have written on my heart

Extremely lazy
Do the tears fall that I cry
It is not easy
Being me but I do my best
So quit your look
Before the colors start 
To run down
Run down
Run down
Until it's all brown

Swallow your pride
I'll swallow mine
Let my truth be my truth
I'll let yours be thine

Believe me when I say 
"I love you"
Trust me when I say
"I'd give my life for you"
Greater love has never
Been known
Been shown
Grace, no sweeter sound

My truth is denied
Where once t'was thine
Keep your "I do"
Drink all the wine
Dance all night and ever
Please be
Until we all hit the ground

This nightingale sings
Of a freedom still rings
From the very first page
Until a day and an age
My mark is flipped
And my wings are clipped
And my liberty is dipped
In tar

Daily Writing Prompt: Stilett-NOs

If I could un-invent something, I think it would be the STILETTO. Here's why:
  1. I've never found a pair that felt like I was walking on clouds.
  2. Height ≠ Pain From Being On Tippy Toes All Day Long
  3. Lace-up sandals, Converse, and ankle boots are so in right now. 
  4. I don't fancy bunions or blisters.
  5. I can lose balance naturally, thank you very much.
  6. The only dogs that should be barkin' are the neighbors' when the mailman comes at noon.
  7. Wedge heels exist.
  8. Cinderella didn't need six inches more.
  9. When I'm old, I don't want these little piggies to remember what I've done to them.
  10. My feet deserve more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Time To Count My Words


After the narrative work, I am taking a tiny break, but I will want to get started on something else. Maybe I will expand on my Chapter and develop my characters a bit better. Or maybe I will get started on a new idea altogether. Still don't know yet...

I feel blocked. Sometimes I feel like all the best stories have already been told. I know it isn't true and every story has value as long as SOMEONE can enjoy/relate to it. But I can't help but imagine a timeline and wonder how many stories are being invented right at this second or 20 years exactly from this moment. When I think I have a good idea, I wonder if someone has already thought it up. I think about that other person, who they are, where they live, what time they lived in, what made them and I think of the same things.

In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
I love it! But it is confusing as fudge! Can't wait to see how all the stories tie together. :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fire With Ice: Chapter I


Xayn sat in a rickety wooden chair, but he paid the unstable seat no matter. He lifted the glass of rum to his lips and knocked his head back. Slamming the glass back down to the table's surface, he waved over a maid holding a bottle. Whether rich rum or weak wine, he would have anything. All intoxicating substances were welcome for a day like this one.
Smiling, the maid filled his cup, set the bottle on the table beside his glass, and then sat upon the corner of the table, lifting her many skirts and folding them atop her lap displaying with undue self-confidence her ankles, calves, and knees.
"You know what would go good with that wine?" she asked him, stroking his face. Xayn pulled his face away, never even making eye contact with the woman much less glancing over at the bare legs crossed at his right.
He sighed. "Away, wench," he muttered.
The maid slipped off the table and back on her feet. She bent her torso down to rest her head into her hands, trying to see into Xayn's piercing yellow eyes. Then she grabbed his face by the locked jaw and looked therein for a minute more. A knowing smile settled on her face.
"Does the scoundrel have a heart for another woman?" Xayn jerked his head from her grip, growling to himself. The maid laughed. "You, Xayn Qennison?! You're in love?!" He shushed her, glancing frantically across the room, knowing everyone had heard his secret.
"Shut up, woman!" he whispered sharply. One could see the steam drift slowly from the top of Xayn's head. The hag continued to laugh as she walked off, shaking her head at her unfathomable discovery.
Xayn hated this. He had never felt so much as a stitch of acknowledgement for anyone before. He had decided long ago that he would live for no one but himself. Having known no family, no home, not even a dog for a companion, Xayn did not even know what feelings were.
Feelings? Xayn told himself. These are not feelings, kid. This-this is simply infatuation. He looked deep into the flame of the candle before him. He could always sympathize with fire, the way it raged, the manner in which it devoured all in its path leaving nothing but mountains of dust and ash, worthless and dead. The way every single soul ran from it, screaming...
He reached a hand over to the candle and flicked the flame off of its wick. The flame shot across the pub and landed upon the shiny bald spot of a man, who after a moment realize what sudden heat he had felt upon his head...was feeling...
"Yooowwwww!" His first reflex brought his hands right to the lightly burned patch of skin on his head. His second grabbed his neighbor's water glass with a shaky yet swift hand and poured it on his bulbous dome. His third whipped his entire body around to glower at Xayn, eye twitching, jaw clenched, massive fists slamming the table as he bellowed "Qennison!"
Xayn had taken one glance over at the commotion, but, only slightly, amused had gotten right back to drinking until his troubles drowned in spirits. Now he lifted lazy, charcoal-lined eyes up to the brute who was walking over to the young man's table. The hefty giant dropped his hands onto the table surface, leaned over, and glared down at Xayn, who chuckled up at his opponent.
"You better watch yourself, you fire-flicking freak!" At this, Xayn's face immediately changed. His slight smile had fallen into a glare of warning. As he slowly arose from the chair, orange flames splashed across his pupils.
"What did you call me?" The casual way he asked it made the giant's trunk-sized legs quake nervously.
"I-I-I only meant--" the man stammered. By now he had back away from the table ever so slowly.
Xayn smiled with glimmering eyes as he snickered to himself. Then, in what seemed like a split second, Xayn in his fury swept the candlestick, his glass, and the bottle from the surface of the table. The crash of it all echoed in the room which had immediately become silent at Xayn’s noisy over-reaction.
"Were you planning on saying your last words today?" By now, the rage was visible as Xayn gasped with anger and his skin steamed. His thick black locks became blue flames waving with energy and a ball of fire formed above his palm.
"Everybody run!" the bar-owner shouted as he and many others ran out of the building. The large victim attempted to escape as well, but when he turned away from Xayn, he came nose to nose with the inflamed youth.
Unable to flee, he shrunk and took weak steps backward, lacking the ability to peel his gaze from the monster. Xayn cornered the man, raised a fiery hand, and--
The heat left his hand. A frozen, wet object fell into his palm. He looked and sure enough a ball of ice sat in his right hand where his ball of fire should have been. He dropped it to the floor and scanned the room for power source, but there was not one soul present.
"Did you do that?!" When he turned to look back at his victim, he realized the man was scrambling away. As Xayn started after him, he felt a tap on his shoulder. Confused, he turned around only to receive a blow to his right jaw-
More pain...


"Hello? Hello?" Xayn felt all the pain rushing to his face and his head all at once. "Wake up, sunshine!" Xayn frowned as the source of the voice moved to reveal rays of brilliant mid-day sunlight, forcing him to squint as he opened his eyes to a blurry figure of brown. He groaned from the pain. Pain. Something he only felt if he had done something stupid enough to get himself hurt. This pain felt different. It belittled and mocked Xayn, and he hated it. 
"Yeah, sorry about that, but, uh, I had to teach you a lesson." The voice was young and full of energy, and anyone other than Xayn would have found it charming. But Xayn found it annoying and then he found it incredulous that this was the voice of his conqueror, as the events leading up to the smart he was feeling on his right cheek began coming back to him. He made motions to get to his feet, but quickly realized that something, something extremely cold and wet yet not totally uncomfortable, was keeping his feet anchored to the ground. Xayn looked down at where his feet should have been, but a block of ice was there instead. He heard a slight chuckle, and then the idiotic stranger's pesky voice.
"Whoa, there, buddy," he said. Xayn turned his head up, but still could not quite make out the face with the sunlight shining down on him from behind the figure. He could hear the smile in the words. "Not so fast, now. You gotta rest that head first, and maybe a bit of that anger while you're down there."
Xayn raised a hand up to the sky, attempting to shield the sunlight from his eyes to better see the stranger. "Who are you?"
The stranger slowly knelt down to Xayn's level and without any blinding rays behind him, Xayn could make out the face. Xayn's face crumpled into shock, confusion, and doubt all at once. That was his face! That was his own nose with a slight bump in it! Those were his dark eyebrows and that was his floppy black hair! That was his mouth with a perfectly white set of teeth in it! The only traits this character lacked that made any difference between them at all was Xayn's pale skin tone, yellow eyes, and edgy style. The "Xayn" that knelt before him had sun-kissed olive skin, light blue eyes, and did not share Xayn's fascination for black leather and charcoal-lined eyes. He had a clean face although tinged with enthusiasm, and wore a brown wool sweater and a dark grey pair of trousers with his brown leather boots. His ears were pierced with two silver-engulfed sapphires matching the gold and ruby ones in Xayn's ears.
An Iceling. How was it possible?
All these thoughts and more flooded Xayn's mind before the Iceling could say, oh so matter-of-factly, "I'm Rhemi, your brother."

Friday, February 10, 2017

Not For Sale (An Original Poem)

There is just so much to run from
In this crazy world of ours
And you ask 
"Why don't you fight some?"
And I say
"I pick my battles like flow'rs
and make a grand bouquet 
of scars I've had 
and bruises bad
enough to make you grimace.
It's called My Soul
It's worn and torn 
Like a garment centuries old
Do cast your lots 
But I am Not
Ever To Be Sold."

*Note: I almost changed the word "grimace" when I realized I was kind of rhyming, but I decided to keep it. In a way it is saying, "If I were to show you my scars and bruises, you would react in a way you yourself would not have expected to."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Word Count Wednesday #3

So I have been working on my narrative, and I'm done for.
Being part of House Wishward, I have the closest deadline and way too many ideas as to how I want this novel to go. It could be so mind-blowingly awesome if I could just organize my thoughts. I am really going to have to figure out what the blooming buns I am up to with this work.

There is really just so much going on with it. I want it to be an amazing piece with inception and a world with crazy rules and exceptions that bring about the conflict. All ideas for organizing my thoughts are welcome! I also wouldn't mind a sympathizing "Happens to me all the time!" either. ;)

Thanks, y'all! And have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ode To Frozen Milk and Sugar

Today as I was walking to my car, I realized I was unintentionally stalking a girl heading in the same direction. I also realized she was on the phone with a friend and after a few moments, I realized she was trash-talking my best friend: ICE CREAM!!!

"Yeah, I don't know. It's just like I realized it's like frozen milk and sugar, and I don't want that going in my body, ya know?"

And I could not help but think, No, I don't know. Please help me to understand. So here is a poem that I wrote to appreciate ice cream. (Consider this an "I do believe in fairies" ritual.)

Ode To Frozen Milk & Sugar

There you sit upon your waffle cone throne
Three scoops of vanilla
Plain but pure and rich

I buried you beneath whipped cream blankets
and sprinkled particles of rainbow sugar
upon thee, O Delicious Delight

You tasted perfect today
You were not too icy
Nor too soupy
And though I know you attack
My teeth, my gut, my heart, still
I scream for ice cream

Monday, February 6, 2017

How To Be Human

<Beep Beep>

Attention Cyborg Fleet:

As you have all been programmed to know, you are scheduled to be integrated into society in two weeks. As you will be living among the citizens of the United States to attain information undercover, you are required to live, act, speak, and feel as any other human would. Failure to carry through with the Assignment will lead to your Termination.

In order to remain perceived as humans, you must:

-Eat food and drink liquids. Do not worry. The process will be safe for the interior of your bodies.
-Slouch and stumble. If your posture and movements are too perfect, you will be suspected.
-Squeak and stutter. Perfect voices are prohibited.Your Cyber accents are not to be used while in company with the Subjects.
-Maintain proper hygiene. We have inserted a B.F.P. (Bodily Fluid Producer) into each of your systems. Though it is not something you are accustomed to, you will emit certain odors and/or sounds in order to convince the Subjects that you have bodily systems within you. If you do not mind these odors and/or sounds, you will draw attention to yourself.

These are the least difficult requirements for the Assignment. Mastering Human emotion will be a challenge unlike any other you have ever experienced.

-When you make a mistake (and you MUST make mistakes) or you disappoint another, apologize with the words "I am sorry" or "I apologize." This means you are not proud that you have made said mistake. Exhibit regretful behavior with a shrink in your shoulders and a bow of the head.
-When you do or say something out of the ordinary in front of others, you must be embarrassed. Launch an N.C. (Nervousness Code). Your cheeks should blush (they may heat up a bit), your hands will sweat, and your mouth should dry up. Do not worry. This is completely normal to the Subjects' bodies.
-When you are treated wrongly or situations do not resolve the way you had desired them to, you will need to be angry. If you get into an argument, or an intense conversation with conflicting opinions, you will need to frown, sigh, and raise your voice. A clench of the fists may also help your claim.
-When you form a bond with another, this is called Friendship. The citizens you form these bonds with will offer you their Trust. You will take it, but there is absolutely no guarantee you will not destroy it.
-Any relationship stronger than Friendship is strongly prohibited. You have not been programmed to love. Warning: Falling in Love will lead to your Termination.

<Beep Beep>

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Word Count Saturday

In median res was a new and simple yet helpful experience. I practiced "pantsing" my readers as well as myself and finding out more about my protagonist. I wanted the scene to be dramatic and cruel to the main character at first, but inspiration by the hero from the comedy Psych inspired me otherwise, and the quirky spy/vigilante emerged victorious at what became a resolution to an episode of crime-fighting. I was quite confused at my own silly, Shawn Spencer 2.0 character (if there was ever such a thing), but then realized I had never tried writing a comedic piece before. I found it thoroughly enjoyable, though going back and reading it, I was not sure if I myself found it that amusing.

I suppose this is a wake-up call for me to practice my comedy writing and to experiment with that genre. It is tricky for me, considering I have never had the class-clown sort of personality. But as readers chuckle at subtly-entertaining characters such as Austin's Mr. Bennett, I hope that in my story, I will be able to incorporate some well-baked comic relief.

Short Story Progress: I want it to be as mind-blowing as the egg, but I cannot recall many unique realizations from my many hours spent in pensive reflection. I suppose to be inspired, I will need to go out into Nature, like the good, ol' Romantic poets of yore, or do something maddeningly reckless. Or maybe I will sit and listen to instrumental music and try and put a story to it (and hopefully not come up with anything too cliché, as I so often do when attempting at this exercise). Whatever I come up with, I just hope that I like it enough to read it.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Word Count (belated) Wednesday

I have been working on a few literary pieces, but it is mostly all up here in my mind. It has been days since I could put my ideas into writing, because, well, you know, life.

I desire to complete my experiments all very fashionably late. So here is my idea for my children's book:

It is set in medieval times. In the beginning of the story, a little boy does not want to go to the dentist. His grandmother tells him that everybody needs to go to the dentist, even Geoff the Giant.

I am not sure exactly how I want to do this, but I do know that I want to make a story about this. As I was getting my braces put on a couple of weeks ago in the back of the office, their back door was propped open to get the air flowing, as well as to reveal the unsettling sound of some pipe/concrete renovating being done what seemed like yards away. I told my orthodontist that it sounded as though a giant was getting his teeth drilled. He and his assistant laughed and I thought, what a cool concept for Experiment #1.

I feel good about my ideas. I feel like they are just they sort of stuff I would like to read, so I guess I am heading in the right direction. I just want to actually complete an experiment and not just let these ideas swim around in my mind. Please feel free tell me to get it together :)

Experiment # 4 ~ Creative Excerpt

Henry Noble shot out a trusting hand against the cold, shiny metal and grabbed. His hand caught the door handle. He tugged, and hopped into the black, coffin-like limo as it strode down the London pavement at a leisurely pace.
The chaffeur whipped a glance back in Noble's direction and shouted a warning-filled "Hey!", pulling the car to jolting stop by the curb.
"It's alright, Garrick," a sharp and clear voice calmly stated from the opposite the back seat. "Mr. Noble is our very important guest." Noble, gasping mildly or air, quickly shifted his gaze from the driver to the shape to whom the voice belonged. He could not clearly see the face, but he could make out the pointed nose, the square chin, and the average build of a middle aged man poised tranquilly and gazing out the window at the London Eye.
"Very well, sir" the cockney accent of the driver responded, and the partition wall in the limousine climbed up like suffocating vines. The car began to crawl along the cobblestone roads once again and the floating voice continued:
"Mr. Noble, I recognize you have some reason to believe that I am the Westminster bomber?" He chuckled. "Wherever did you get such an idea like that? I am a very important figure to the public. Do you have any idea just who you are dealing with?"
Noble stared into the shadows of the face. He took a deep breath and began. "Mr., sir, I am aware of how powerul and scary you are, or you are supposed to be. I know you were present the night of the Westminster Ball. It was such a splendid party, wasn't it?--"
 Mr. Hammer cleared his throat. "Erm--y-you were present there?"
"I was." Noble beamed like a proud idiot. "I was invited by Her Majesty herself."
"And how is the Queen feeling? As I can imagine, she was quite shocked at the whole affair."
Noble continued his careless half smile as he nodded his head once, and dramatically. "She is completely unharmed..." He sat back against the leather seats with a slight squeak. "...which I am certain you are very disappointed to be hearing."
"Nonsense!" replied Hammer with a wave of the hand. "I couldn't be more thrilled to hear such good news." He pursed his lips together. Noble took the liberty of grabbing a handful of M&Ms that were sitting in a crystal bowl on a shelved compartment to the side of the back seat. He popped a couple of them into his mouth and chomped in that American way that high and mighty British men like Hammer simply could not stand, no matter how sinister the situation at hand.
"Really hope you don't mind if I indulge. This is the first decent snack I have been offered all day."
"No, no, not at all," responded the criminal, attempting with great effort to keep up his somber poker face. "So," he leaned forward toward Noble, elbows on his knees, face untwitching. "What proof do you have?"
Noble dropped he rest of the M&Ms he had in his hand back into the crystal bowl and mimicked the intimidating stance that was presented to him.
They were nose to nose.
"Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum."
Hammer frowned. "What?!" Noble sat back in the chair, chuckling. "What the blooming boulderdash is that supposed to mean?! One minute you're threatening me, the next you're rehearsing nursery rhymes?"
Noble leaned forward again. He grabbed Hammer's arm, jerked the sleeve of his fancy suit down, and revealed a bandaged wrist. "I have your bloody blood," Noble whispered intensly.
Hammer's eyes widened till they were as big as saucers. "You're the vigilante?"
Noble smiled and nodded. "Yes. Yes! That was the exact reaction I wanted from you Mr. Hammer. Thank you very much! That was just--"
His voice drowned into the blasting sound of sirens surrounding the vehicle on every side. Blue and red lights flashed through the tinted windows. Hammer reached into his jacket and pulled out..
"Oh, what do you know? The bad guy has a gun!" Noble blurted nervously as he put his hands up in to ear level.
"Shut up! Get out of the car, you idiot!" Hammer thrusted the gun against Noble's neck and opened the door.