Monday, August 10, 2015

Doomed Reunion Pt2

     Since she'd had lots of time in advance to prepare for her reunion, she did what many of her friends would do and spent many hours in the gym. Katie's aspirations weren't anything more exciting than looking good in the expensive swimsuit and pretty dresses that she had purchased for the trip. Just because Jim had moved on with some hot young grad student didn't mean that she couldn't have fun on her trip.
     If her soon to be ex would have gone she wouldn't have worked out before hand because it wouldn't have mattered how good she looked. He would have been cavorting with someone that wasn't her before the end of the first day. That he actually thought she hadn't known was what really hurt the worst in that entire effed up situation.
    As it was, he was shacked up with someone who until a year ago hadn't been able to buy her own booze. But she was surprisingly over it. He'd moved on and she couldn't be happier about that fact. It was a good thing that she'd be basically single for the last few months. She would technically be completely single after the reunion, but she could flirt. She hadn't been in this good of shape for years.
     Closer to the reunion Katie started posting to the Facebook page about being happy to see everyone and more than a few people she had been friends with in school started replying with their own hopes for the reunion. Before long, she had plans to spend time with several people in her old group of friends. The time went surprisingly fast since she spent so much time working out and tracking her food. She suddenly realized why her healthy friends never seemed to have any free time.
     The week of the trip she made sure that her dog Juno was set up with her brother and his girlfriend. He also promised to pick up her mail. Once she was packed all she had left to do was wait. She worked out one more time before going home and watching what she hoped would be a relaxing show. Now that the fateful days were here, she wasn't sure what to do. There was no dog to cuddle, no great shows to watch - she was all caught up for now. But she just couldn't sleep.
     By the time the shuttle came to pick her up she'd only had about two hours of nightmare fueled sleep.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Doomed Reunion Pt 1

"“I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted. Because I know our time would have to come to end. Yet, here I am, begging you not to turn the page.” Who is the speaker and who is the speaker talking to? Finish the scene."  (Writers Digest Prompt from June 25th)


    “I wasn’t planning on this. Falling in love with you was the last thing I wanted. Because I know our time would have to come to end. Yet, here I am, begging you not to turn the page.” His voice had broken on the last few words, but she just didn't know if she could trust anything he'd said.
    "Why are you here, anyway? You are MARRIED. Hell, until next week, I'm married too!" She couldn't seem to look up at his face. It had been many many years since she'd felt the way she felt tonight, but it didn't lessen the voracity of the facts. They were married to other people and they had missed their chance a long, long time ago.

    The high school hadn't thought it would be a good idea to have their 10 year reunion at the school, and it was one of the few things about this week that Katie thought was a great idea. Vegas? Seriously? They'd gone to a High School in Littleton, Colorado for crying out loud.
    None of them were wildly successful, but it hadn't mattered. Once the meeting room was booked, and the event invitations were emailed to whatever alumni that our still obnoxiously perky Class President Meaghan could find, the RSVPs had begun pouring in.
    The event page on Facebook had filled up so fast that Katie had wondered if Meaghan had posted the promise of naked pictures if people said they were going to go. After her own RSVP with deposit all she'd received were a very perky thanks, information for discount hotel accommodations and a request for her physical address to send a badge that would let her in the event. Knowing Meaghan as long as she had, it was a tossup about what she could really expect. Would it be a basic catering setup with tables in the middle where everyone could seat themselves? Would it be a small carnival with Skee-Ball, Ring Toss and a Mind-Eraser ride? Or, would it be set up like a school dance that served h'ordevours? If she had to bet, knowing Meaghan's love of Brat-pack movies, it would be a school dance atmosphere. But in Las Vegas...
     Katie had never been to Las Vegas. The closest that she'd ever gotten was Black Hawk in Colorado. It's not a fair comparison. Black Hawk was a small mountain town until gambling was voted for and then proceeded to completely overrun its historic charm and closest neighbor, Central City. Now they were both small Reno-esque mountain gambling centers with charms of their own, but no longer were they anything resembling the quaint and charming towns they were.
    

Monday, August 3, 2015

Waiting game

    If there is one thing that I am absolutely horrible at, its waiting. It is for that reason, I suppose, I have trouble making pasta, doing long math problems, filling out paperwork and anticipating news of my future.

    When you are your own boss, there are things to do, people to contact, paperwork to fill out (my least favorite part of the job) and always something to update online. Even if you're just getting people and supplies together to do something fun, there are more than ample things to prepare. Widgets to cut out, paint to mix, etc.

    Writing is a good refuge for the timelessness of waiting. It distracts me from the now and lets me concentrate on the then. Even if it does happen to be a fictional when, there are still elements to look over and characters under my care. I have to feed them, clothe them and clean up their messes even if they are all messes of my own creation. At the risk of sounding like a megalomaniac, I am their god and creator, even if they'll never be aware of me unless I tip my hand in written form.

    That did sound a little crazy, didn't it? This is what waiting does to me. I thrive best as a part of a group, and waiting alone at my house drains my energy and makes me stir crazy. Biking around during the day helps these "itchy feet" of mine, but its only a stop-gap until I'm working full time again. Granted, up until last Tuesday I had 3 jobs, and now I only have 1... many people don't have any. Know that I am grateful for the job I have, and that I enjoy teaching as much as I do, but I would like to have something more lucrative to fill my time.

   As a direct result of my new-found free time, my writing is coming along nicely. I am now 6 chapters into my 10 chapter goal. The problem seems to be that the more I write about these people, the more comes to life about them. Its starting to look like 15 chapters is a better goal. Much like real life, there are no easy answers about the situations in which they all find themselves. I don't want to cheapen their fictional lives by wrapping up their character arc in some trite 30-minute sitcom style. Resolution with a satisfying end. Full but not bloated and finished but not deathly finite.

    Guess I have more to do that I thought!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Perspective

        Write what you know. That's the advice every new writer receives along with their first notebook. What you know.

       Most of us try and write what we like. Adventures, romances, epic coming of age fictions or fantastical voyages away from where we live. Or, some go the poetic route and fill notebook after notebook with clumsy poetry and we feel mirrors the pain and angst of growing up in the place we are. Lusting for the world beyond our town, beyond our lot, and beyond our years. The scope of the world inside the written realms of imagination are boundless and we all try and tackle it on our first times out the gate.

      My favorite thing to write were clumsy homages to Anne Rice, Stephen King, Charlaine Harris and Terry Goodkind. Of course, I had also grown up on a steady diet of X-Files and philosophical discussions with one of my older brothers. Needless to say, as I've never been published, is that these works have never gone very far.

     After over 30 years on this rock, I've decided to start over a bit. Write what you know...

     What happens when you realize you don't know anything? (Or, even worse, that you don't know anything worthwhile?) According to Plato, thats a good thing. He tauted the concept that true wisdom comes with the knowledge that you know nothing. Maybe I'm becoming wise from all the recent set-backs I've been going through. Sounds good, though. There are few things worse than having to learn a lesson several times. Sometimes you have to make the same mistake a few times before you realize the problem isn't the other people. (Raises hand... yep, thats me.)

    The problem is, how do you monetize wisdom? We live in a world where money rules. Then comes the question of happiness and following your dreams. In the words of Craig Finn from The Hold Steady: "Dreams they may cost money, but money costs some dreams."

    The one thing that no one can really take away is writing. My thoughts and feelings and passions and foibles and bravados and stupid insecurities are all fuel for art. The most beautiful art springs from pain and life is a minefield of these painfully inspiring experiences.

   Write what you know. I know that I've been telling myself stories since before I could talk. That, combined with experience and a love/fascination with people has led to this renewed desire to write. What do I know? I know people... I know what we like to hear, and what they'd do anything to never find out about. I know what people yearn for and what they shy away from. What ignites passion and elicits fear. I think its time I wrote some of this down.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Prisoner or Princess

{This was actually a dream I had last night. Thought it would be an interesting element of a Sci-Fi book. I don't generally write these sorts of things, but it will help me get my writing muscles stretched and ready for my novel.}

    Amalia was shopping in a big home improvement store with a small grocery and large electronics section. She needed to get a few things for her modest new apartment and her modest new life. A select few things had survived this transition: Her long blonde hair, her love of antique fire-glass ceramic figurines and the change. Amalia was not tall. 5'5" might have been exaggerating things. But she was a fighter, whether anyone believed her or not.
    A month and there had been nothing. Not a whiff of anyone or anything to hint that someone from her previous life was around. It didn't help her relax, though. The first month she'd been away hadn't been far away enough. They'd begun sniffing around almost immediately and she'd had to move again. The second month took them a bit longer, but they'd still found her. So far, this had been the longest amount of time that she'd been free of the fear of discovery.
    She'd needed an answering machine, an extension cord, a gallon of milk and a pair of blue jeans. Amalia had never owned jeans before, but they seemed to be a very popular clothing item and she presumed that it would be a good thing to buy. Her small apartment also had a tiny window box that she'd filled with English Tea Roses that were yellow with pink edges. She needed to pick up some rose fertilizer and charcoal soil additive to keep them healthy.
    If she hadn't been so intent on reading the label for the answering machine then she would have seen him sooner. Talbot. Four isles over, ten feet down. 6'3" of lanky blonde muscle and sarcasm. Pretending to read the pamphlet about a fax machine. She ducked down, but it was no use. He'd spotted her. Within moments she could smell her own fear rising around her in tangy waves. She silently thanked her small frame and stature as she eased her cart hehind her. She walked as quickly as she could manage in her crouching position. It was no use, she'd have to move so there was no point in her buying those things. No more flowers, no need for an answering machine. No jeans. No hope.
    She finally made it to the end of the isle and peeked around the corner toward the large doors. Clear. She looked the other way, also clear. She stood up to check where Talbot had been standing. So very not clear. He was only 20 feet away and looking right at her. The slightly dopey grin that used to undo her insides beamed down at her. Instead of that happy gooey reaction, her intestines seized together in a frozen, angry clench. He was here to collect her and restart their "life together." The problem was that she liked her life out here. It was difficult, but it was her life and her choice. Not her responsibility. His smile faltered as she bolted out the door.
    There were carts outside. She tried her best to move them behind her as she ran, but his long legs were made for pursuit. He'd been trained to track and trained to run down his quarry, even through a somewhat deserted parking lot. She'd made it only a quarter of the way around the building and he'd scooped her up from behind. Amalia struck out with flailing arms and legs, forcing him to adjust his grip and cradled her small frame in a solid but surprisingly gentle cage. He was half crouched around her as he whispered into her ear.
    "Calm down, Princess... You'll be home soon." All the fight that she felt when she thought of this moment left her in one shuddering full body sob. She was still trembling as he covered her mouth with a strangely scented cloth.

   When Amalia woke up she was wrapped in soft down blankets that were lightly scented with rose oil. She had also been bathed and clothed in a satin nightgown. If it had been the first time, it might have been a horrible invasion of her privacy. But it had happened before. More than once before. It never made it any easier to deal with, but there was still the matter of her being stuck, once more, in her gilded cage. A single tear loosed itself from her left eye as she moved to rise. She wasn't bound to the bed, but the doors would certainly be locked.
    After a quick search she located slippers and a soft, thin fleece robe and set about searching the posh room. It was most likely a hotel, but her father was powerful and rich. It might have been one of the plethora of large homes that he owned or one of his minions owned. Didn't matter, really. A cage was a cage was a cage.
    The door across the room was locked, as expected. There was a locked window on the wall opposite the locked outer door. The fireplace was large, but revealed nothing in the way of a secret passage or even an activator. She'd escaped once before through a hidden passage-way, so it was worth a look. The second door was opposite the fireplace and wasn't locked. Her heart started pounding again as she cracked open the door. Two scents jumped out at her. Talbot, her sarcastic captor and Felicia, her "friend and confidante." They were talking heatedly behind the door.
    "And now you care?! What happened to 'thank god she's gone' and 'how can you stand this'? Best friends you were not... and now. Now? Suddenly you're up in arms about keeping her under lock and key? Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh at you or pity you." Amalia was dumbstruck. Felicia was yelling at Talbot. She'd always liked him. They both had. But unlike Amalia, she could leave or she could stay. She could date Talbot or she could move to Tibet. Felicia always had a choice.
    "You know why I'm here... As if you're so concerned. Now your 'dearest friend' is back and you're freaking out. Damn, I thought you were smarter than that. The fact of the matter is that she's back. I found her and for better or worse, she's back. He'll pass judgement or whatever the plan is, and she'll serve her 'penance.'" Talbot sounded tired. Even his signature sarcasm was weak.
    Amalia couldn't take it any more. She burst through the door. Felicia looked shocked and Talbot took a deep breath and his shoulders seemed to relax.
    "Bought time you woke up... you had me worried. Sleep well?" Felicia's oddly feline features always intensified when she smiled. Her dark hair and green eyes were slightly sharper and she glimmered slightly as if on the edge of a change.
    "Well enough." She looked back and forth between Talbot and Felicia warily. Felicia was lying, she could smell it. Talbot had a look in his eye that warned of quick action. He was ready to break up a fight if it happened. His normally easy going quick wit masked his real function: guardian. "I'm curious though. If neither of you really wanted me back here, why couldn't you just leave me alone?!" Talbot didn't bite at the bait, but Felicia's eye twitched.
    "Fine. If you can't appreciate what we've done for you, then I'm out of here. She's aaaaall yours, 'my love.'" Felicia glared at Amalia first, then at Talbot before opening the door and stepping behind an oriental screen. Her change was quick and she growled back at the dumbstruck duo before loping out of the window, off the low roof and running full speed across a field behind the building. Amalia moved to close the window and Talbot ran in front of her.
    "No no no... we're not going down that road again." He closed the window and locked it with a small key. Amalia crossed her arms and glared at him. He met her eyes and glared back.
    "I'm not going anywhere in this get up. You know where I was living so I can't go back. I'm stuck here, just as surely as you are, apparently." Talbot broke the glare first.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Good morning... sunshine?

    This wasn't her bed. Actually,  it wasn't her couch. This wasn't her blanket and most likely wasn't her house. She searched through the blur of her memories to find some shred of a clue to where she was or how she'd come to be there. Her mouth was fuzzy and she desperately needed to brush her teeth. 
    It was a very old, probably well loved albeit hideous, couch that reminded her of the one her roomate in college had bought for their old apartment. A "couch with character" she'd called it. The smell of coffee wafted in from down the hall adjoining the smallish livingroom,  followed shortly by a young, very pale young man wearing blue Tardus patterned boxers and slippers that looked like giant brown monster feet. His hair was long and disheveled from sleep.
   The young man was rubbing his eyes with the palm of his left hand and carried an oversized white mug that read "Jackass Juice" in hand written black marker. When he saw her laying on the couch he almost dropped the mug and ran back to the kitchen yelling "Kurt!"

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spector of Possibility

     "Sometimes it doesn't matter what other plans a person might have; the universe has a different agenda. Most times the twists and turns seem pointless, aggravating and all around random. Sometimes, however, upon retrospective pondering, they not only had a point, but a push in a direction originally unconsidered. As if an unseen force was pushing them in a direction they needed to go in order to become the people they needed to become.
    "I like to think of these abstract and difficult to define meanderings of fate as spectors of possibility. Spirits of Destiny, as it were."
    Alice doodled as the guest speaker postulated. It was a 'free but mandatory' lecture that all of the developmental psychology students were expected to attend and write a paper about. Mostly he'd droned on about the idea of commonality of human experiences and the developmental gauntlet that many people experience between 22 and 30 when the pathways in the brain solidified upon reaching adulthood. There was quite a bit of discussion about whether the gauntlet was caused by this solidification or if it was just a by-product of the specific "after college, pre profession" transition.
    "What I may have taken a while to get to is this: There is an infinite array of avenues that anyone can pursue, regardless of their initial path. Life is flexible and there may be times that things may seem meandering and disheartening, but always remember that there are always options. Even if you finish college with a Theater or Philosophy or Business degree, that doesn't mean that you necessarily have to do that for the rest of your life. My point is do what feeds your soul and makes you happy. If you can find a way to make money at that thing, then do it if you can. The path to happiness and fulfillment is not always a straight line. Thank you."
    With that the room erupted into heartfelt applause which Alice was surprised at, to be honest. He did have a point, but what it was and what it had to do with developmental psych were up for debate. She cut through Maloney Park on her way from the Student Event Center in Annex I to the Humanities building and her next class. Alice was mulling over something that the speaker had said about this being her 'gauntlet' and laughed a bit to herself. Gauntlet was a good word for the last year.