Old Writing

Yay, another week down! But pushing that aside…

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a horrible Pack rat, especially when it comes to things like old writing (heck I even kept some old math homework). I cringe whenever I stumble upon something I’ve written in middle school or high school, but I never seem to throw it away.

It just sits there collecting dust either in boxes or digital storage. I guess one of the reasons I keep them to remind myself I am not the writer I was yesterday, each new day brings new perspectives and new ideas.

That was one of the issues I faced when I was younger, I never finished anything because I would write something one day, and then wake up the next morning wanting to scrap it and go down a different path. Now that I’m older, it’s still a challenge to the finish things, it feels like I’m a dog walker, and each idea is a dog and they are pulling me in different directions.

However, I’m working on sticking to one idea and following it until the end. It might not be where I thought we were going, it might be frustrating to release control to that idea, but that doesn’t make the discovery of this path and any branching off paths any less fun.

This little dust bunny is almost five years old, from my first writing class. I loved that class, the students, and the professor. They all encouraged me to continue my writing (though I’ve struggled with embracing it until recently).


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Detour in Brazil

They were falling, that much he knew. The right wing was ablaze, its turbines spewing out plumes of smoke. Andrew Greene stumbled towards the cockpit. Overhead bags were falling from their compartments and spilling their contents on the floor. He stepped over bathing suits and makeup kits. His two passengers were strapped to their seats with oxygen masks dangling and slapping them in the face.

“Tell the damn pilot to keep this thing straight!” The male passenger, Thomas Wells, shrieked. Liquor burned Greene’s nostrils; the man’s drink had spilled all over his Hawaiian shirt, the glass still clutched in his hand. His wife had her eyes closed, her lips pressed so tightly they were nonexistent. Greene entered the cockpit and held onto his seat for balance.

“Greene! We’re losing altitude!” Louis fumbled over the ND, which put their current location somewhere above the Amazon. Greene’s eyes shifted to the PFD, the numbers rapidly dropping. He slid into his seat and took his yoke. He yanked it towards him, his face strained with effort. The plane tottered, barely slowing down. The men struggled to hold the plane steady. Greene could feel the rumbling of the yoke in his teeth as the pilots pulled them hard against their chests. The dense foliage was closer and branches scratched at the hull.

Louis began muttering under his breath. Greene caught the words: “Please forgive me Father.” Metal screeched as the wings were ripped off. Sparks flew from their flight instruments. Louis withdrew his hands to protect his face. The plane shuddered as it ripped through the trees like ice-cream running through a child’s fingers. Greene’s hold on the yoke was all that kept him from being tossed around like a deranged puppet. Vines and branches slapped at the glass, growing thicker and obscuring their view. The small aircraft gave a final jolt and smoked to a stop.

Greene let out a shaky breath, “Last time I let you drive.” He gave Louis a wan smile. The younger man grimaced when the screaming began. The cabin was in flames and their wealthy passenger and his wife were still strapped in. “Louis!” The man responded by reaching for the fire extinguisher tucked behind his seat. The spray of white rain did nothing to quell the raging fire.

“I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die!” She cried.

“No one’s dying today.” Greene helped them out while Louis cleared a path to the hatch. They leapt and the four lay sprawled on the damp earth, the heat of the fire at their backs. The fire crept slowly, slithering along the leaf littered earth. The pillar like trees encircled their clearing like bars of a cage. The woman knelt in the mud, eyes transfixed on the smothering wreck. Her mouth hung open, and a wordless cry of grief racked her thin frame.

“My Prada! My Gucci!” Her fingers dug into the earth. She leapt towards the giant bonfire with a mother’s arms open for a wayward son or a lost lover. Her husband held her back. Her fists beat against his meaty back. “My clothes! Stop! Release me!” She cried harder. “Give them back.” She sobbed into his chest.

“There, there, Dear.” Thomas patted her on the head. “I’ll buy you better things once we reach the city.” Her eyes shone in the light of the fire.

“Sorry to break up your tender moment,” Greene cocked a thumb at the burning wreck. “But I suggest we get as far as possible before that baby blows.” The woman turned raged filled eyes at him. Miranda pushed against her husband’s chest, causing him to stumble backwards.

“You…this is your entire fault!” A perfectly manicured hand slapped Greene leaving trails of mud on his cheek. “You were supposed to get us there safely. Now we’re stuck in this godforsaken place and while all I ever loved is dead on that plane.”

“Miranda sweetheart—”

“Don’t Miranda me. This man must pay for his crimes.”

“Sorry I didn’t know bathroom breaks were illegal.” Greene watched as she stalked away behind some trees.

“Miranda! Wait!” Thomas waddled after her, his Hawaiian flowers blending with the forest.

“Well?” Louis asked.

“Well what?” Greene reached into his pocket and pulled out a carton of Marlboros. He shook one out into his palm. He showed the box to Louis who shook his head.

“We’re lost. The plane is a wreck, and we have no way to communicate with civilization.” He stared as Greene lit and took a slow drag from his cigarette. A quick snap of rope and a short scream scattered the parrots from their nests. “Oh God, oh God.” He glanced between the direction of the sounds and at his pilot, indecision and fear etched upon his face.

Greene flicked the cigarette onto the ground and crushed it with his heel. “Time to head out.” He dug out a compass from his pocket and held it to the sky.  He used his hand to protect the glass face from the glare of the flame. “To the east my friend. The river is not far from here.”

“What about…?”

“Those two?” Green waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “I’m sure the locals are taking good care of Mr. and Mrs. Wells. If we’re lucky, they’ll let us partake in the festivities.”


So what do you guys do with old writing? Toss it aside and keep looking towards the future or save it?

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One down, fifty-one more to go

So…this week has been interesting, to say the least. I’ve started the short story challenge and finished my first one. It’s not where I would like it to be, it’s not polished enough, but a new week begins today and with it must come another story. I went over my story ideas (my little plot bunnies), and I have about nine that can be short stories…Hopefully, I won’t find myself stranded after these next few weeks.

One odd thing to note is, I started this story in the past tense, like most of what  I write. Yet, when I changed the scene, it was suddenly in the present tense. So, I was like “that’s weird but fine, whatever, let’s see where this goes”. Isn’t it funny we use the past tense more than the present tense?

Anyways, it was kinda weird at first but it fit the scene nicely, like a snapshot.

Then, bam! back into the past tense…

The following scenes didn’t flow as well as that middle scene, so here came the dilemma: change everything to follow that one scene in the present tense or change that scene to past tense?

It’s unsettling that I had this issue, I felt like a grade-schooler just learning how to write. Or maybe I just could’t decided whether or not the story should be in present or past tense? (Yea, let’s go with this scenario)

(Eventually I went back and changed everything to past tense)

So, the question for this week is, which tense do you prefer to write in: present or past? Or does it depend on the story?

Do you dare?

Happy Wednesday!

ray-bradbury-614x256I’m here to issue y’all a challenge! Well, it was Ray Bradbury’s challenge. He said, “write one short story a week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad stories in a row.”

So, how about it? Ready to test his theory, can we really not have successive failures? Does anyone else want to embark on this journey? I already roped in one of my best friends. I’m still trying to get her to finish her stories so maybe this is the push she needs.

Here is the article I found on Ray Bradbury’s advice: http://www.openculture.com/2012/04/ray_bradbury_gives_12_pieces_of_writing_advice_to_young_authors_2001.html

I guess I went backwards and did the novel first but I feel like short stories and fiction in general aren’t so scary to finish now. I’m going to go stuff my head now (and maybe get around to study for finals T_T)

I can’t wait to hear what y’all think and let me know which piece of advice was your favorite.

And!

If you do decide to come along with us on this challenge, post the link to your stories in the comments, I would love to read them ^_^

As always, happy writing!

P.S. I find it funny that one of professors says “accountants don’t use exclamation points. We’re not that exciting. Maybe we are, or maybe it’s the second cup of coffee that has me bouncing.” Whatever! Writing is something to be excited about! mokona__coffee_break_by_ginitachi

 

 

It is finished!

NaNoWrimo is over! (yay!)untitled

(I’m feeling just like Mokona over there). This was my second attempt and I’m so happy to report that I actually finished this time (last time I only made it to about 16k). But this year taught me a lot. There were so many days I would sit in front of the screen, the agonizing blinking of the cursor taunting me, and that’s when I had to fight myself.

It didn’t have to be perfect the first time, I know that, but I didn’t know how to stop myself from hitting the backspace button after each sentence, deleting paragraphs, or whole sections of dialogue. Finally, I told myself to just shut up and write. This was sort of my mantra this last November and it worked (surprisingly, I never listen to myself).

Are there dreadfully written parts, parts so awful I don’t want to even look at them, to shove them in a box, chained and locked, and toss into the ocean. Of course!

Will I do that?

No, ocean pollution is bad enough without adding my refuse to the pile.

Shannon Hale said, “I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles”. That’s something I had to constantly remind myself.

So I showed up every day with my shovel and piled heap after heap. There were a few ideas that pleasantly surprised me, will they stay, who knows. My novel still isn’t done, maybe another 20k or so, but now I know what my job is. Just show up, I’ll fix it when I have all the pieces in place.

My friend asked me how it felt to finish, and I told her, yea it’s great that I wrote 50k but I’m not finished, heck I’m probably only 2/3 of the way through. I know the mess I’m making and revision is that awful cloud hanging over my head. Is anything that I’ve written even salvageable? Will I have to start from scratch again?

Revision is waiting right around the corner and it makes me cringe, there is a reason I never finished stories before. I would write something, abandon it, and that was that. I have so many stories taking up space and collecting digital cobwebs. The most intensive rewriting went into my novelette, Mine, which was funny because it started off as a short story.

My first novel (last year’s failed NaNoWriMo project) is being read by my wonderful beta, Rocio, so when I get that back, more revisions!

But I’m actually excited (only for that one). At the end of NaNoWrimo, I watched James Patterson’s video on editing, he talked about rewriting as polishing the story, finding the true heart of it. I understood that at a fundamental level, but it just clicked when he said it.

So, while my novels seem like daunting tasks, I just have to remember, rewriting isn’t about beating myself up for ugly writing or making mistakes, because this process is to bring stories to their ideal form.

To everyone, I just wanna say, we’re all in this together, let’s take each story one scene at a time and let’s not lose the joy or sight of why we write.

Happy Writing!tsubasa_mokona

(now maybe I can get back to updating consistently ^_^)

 

Almost There

With the end of June, comes the end of my first summer session. I’m going to keep the momentum going and jump start on session 2 before I fall back on old habits ^_^

June has been such a busy month between classes, late night study groups, and writing. This January, I made a goal of writing at least 500 words a day, inspired by the picture below. It was comforting, seeing my goal in mosquito bites instead of the whomping monster that it was.7495ff62a881c3cbb988006969899369

So, this came out to a monthly goal of 15,000 words. Not too hard.

Boy, was I wrong. I kept making excuses for my pathetic word counts from drowning in school work to the pressure of making birthday presents, which were never on time.

I do not know what happened this month, something in me turned on, like the cartoon light bulb above a character’s head; it hit me.

This novel was never going to finish itself if I was always in the red. I tried to carve out that hour to write. Soon, I wasn’t dreading writing for that hour, turned off the annoying-inner-editor we all have, and just wrote. So now I’m happy to say, I’ve found my system, though I did skip a few days (bad bad), I surpassed my goal by more than 10k.

It’s still a long way from the 50k we’ll need for NaNoWriMo, but I still have a few more months to practice.

As always, happy writing ^_^

Cover Update

I’ve been milling around wondering what to post, so I decided to do a shout out to my friend, Heidi. A few months ago, she mentioned she was taking commissions to do art work. I asked if she could help me out with a cover for my novelette, Mine.

I was not disappointed. The cover is still in the works, but she sent me an update.

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Isn’t she beautiful ^_^ I was so surprised that it looked so realistic. I can’t wait to see the final project.

If you want a commissioned piece, send her a message at heidi.reyes2@gmail.com.

Now, I’m off to procrastinate and re-read some novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mine

Good Day!

Finals are just around the corner and I am just now feeling the pressure1891915-202wobbuffet

I was hoping to finish my novel before the summer session begins, or at least send out my novelette, Mine.

Here’s a preview:

I

I remember hair, long and of gold, as if weaved by the gods. She was beautiful, my Toril. And she was mine. We were to live happily on the land I inherited from my father that was passed down from his forefathers. The land, though hard and barely yielding, would have been sufficient for us. It was a small plot on top of the hill, a small ways away from my village. We were to have children, many children, mostly sons. Maybe one daughter. I was going to show our sons how to hunt and work the land. Toril would teach our daughter to cook, sew, and tend the goats. We were to grow old together in that home and in the home that absorbed all our years together, we would die. But the gods have a sense of humor, or a love of tragedy. Sometimes, I wished I had left matters alone. There are things man was never meant to see, doors that were never meant to be opened. Oh, the things I have done cannot be undone.

II

I was still young the first time we met, not yet old enough to drink ale or go on my first raid. My first beard was but a dream away. She was from a village on the other side of the fjord. It was a lengthy trek, but their market fared better than ours did. Amongst the grey sky and the stench of manure, stood she. Her ragged clothes hung limply on her frame, encasing the twig of a girl. Although covered in mud, she could not hide the soft halo of golden hair and the eyes that were clear as a winter’s morn. She caught me staring at her from between the trading stalls and asked me my name. I gave it to her. I asked for hers.

“When you show me you are a real man, I’ll tell you,” she said before she ran off. I began to practice with shoddy spears made by the blacksmith’s apprentice. They were crooked and unbalanced, but I did not have enough money to buy a true weapon. Not yet. My hands were often covered in blisters, splinters, and rubbed raw enough to bleed. Sometimes I practiced in the dark by the light of the moon and the glow of my candle. I did well. Even my father seemed pleased with me, he gave me a crooked smile and a quick pat on the head. He never got to see me off for my first raid, the harvest had been getting scarcer with each passing year. It was probably for the best.

On my sixteenth summer, I went on my first raid. Our people’s focus was on battle and honor, yet there was no honor in what they did, what we did. I told her as much when I returned. I never wanted to go on one again. Long gone were the tales of victory from childhood, replaced by the gruesome reality. I would not fight, not for treasure or for glory. I could not murder another just to still my own hunger, or to fill my pockets with coin. I cringed from the gore and senseless deaths. That made me a coward, useless to my people and to the gods. For what is a man worth if not his sacrifice? Valhalla had no room for the weak and the spineless. The stench would cling to my family’s name until Ragnarøkkr scourged the Earth. I was not a man. I was a coward. I knew it. Both villages knew it. She knew it.

“Toril,” her breath felt warm against my lips seconds before she kissed me. She tasted of lingonberries and honey. I asked if she would be mine, and she said nodded. We wandered into the woods and consummated our love in sight of the gods.

III

We lay in the damp grass gazing up at the overcast sky above us. His hand intertwined with mine, and even with the pain, I had never felt so content. The pain would fade. At least that was what Gerjun told me. She told me many things, things my mother felt were not for a child. I was not a child anymore, Trygg helped me with that. I rested my head on his chest, and breathed in his scent: pine, sweat, and man.

“I love you,” he said. I replied with a kiss. The sun was disappearing behind the mountains, and shadows crept upon the land.

“Come before my father finds us.” I tossed him his clothing and wiggled in my dress.

“He would not find us here, would he?”

“I wouldn’t idle by.” He led me to the outskirts of my village where we gave our final goodbyes and quick, feathery kisses. “Do you love me Trygg?”

“Yes.” He whispered into my hair. “I will prove myself to your father. Will you wait for me until then?”

“Yes.” I sealed the promise with another kiss. “I will wait forever.”

IV

The sun had long since set since I left Toril and by the time I reached my village it was nearly full dark. I ignored the not-so-quiet whispers as I walked through the salt and wind beaten homes and trudged up the path to the lonely hut on the hill. The winds were merciless this time of year and made its lean more pronounced. Ahead, the great hall was full of drunken laughter. The men had returned the day before from their last raid and still they celebrated. I meant to sneak by quietly until Viggo jumped into my path. The eight-wheeled aegishjalmur was still dark on his forehead. Its top three tridents disappeared into his blond hair while the bottom-most one extended down the bridge of his nose. How this supposed symbol granted him invincibility was beyond me. It never did me any good. Maybe the gods forsook me.

“And where were you?” His breath stank of ale and even full of warrior’s grace, his movements were sluggish. Here was the boy my father wished he had sired, for Viggo was strong, fearless and above all a fighter. He prodded my chest with a thick finger. “I asked you a question,” he said and shoved me to the ground. “While our brothers and sisters bled, where were you?” Spittle flew from his mouth in an angry burst. His heel slammed on my hand. I cried out. The music and singing had stopped. The men sat unmoving with their tankards spilling over the brim with ale and women on their laps under the soft glow of lantern lights. My hand grasped at the dirt and I flung it into his eyes. He staggered back, and roared with rage.

“You stupid little…” he growled. As I struggled to stand, he charged and we tumbled to the ground. I was pinned beneath him, this “man” who was two years my junior. I brought up my arms to shield my face. “I’m going to kill you!” His fists came down repeatedly, each time harder than before. With each strike, my dignity bled out.

“Boys!” someone yelled and then Viggo was off me. I peeked through my arms to see Raum lumbering over us, hammer in one hand and the other on Viggo’s collar. Burned spots of hair interrupted the white of his beard. Like my hut, he favored one side, leaning heavily on his right leg. “Leave the rage for the battlefield,” Raum said.

“Don’t touch me old man,” Viggo spat as he yanked himself away from Raum.

Raum lifted his hammer, “Would you like to meet the All-Father now?” Viggo backed away into the hall, which was still eerily quiet. “And you,” he turned to me. “Get off your ass.” I did so but slowly.

“Thank you,” I whispered. He slapped the back of my head. “Ow. Good to see you too, Raum.” I could feel weight of the village’s stare. Raum noticed too.

“I can’t always be there to save you.” He shoved a wrapped bundle into my hands. The soot of his hands rubbed off on my grass-smeared tunic.

“I know.” I said.

“Be a man!” He shouted and limped back to his smithy. My shoulders hunched at the stream of guffaws from the rows of houses. I clutched the bundle to my chest and quickened my pace.

Gunther was at the gate of my hut. The icy fist that clenched my heart lifted at the sight of my old friend, my only friend. “Hail, Gunther.” He nodded in response and stepped back as I opened the gate. He walked with me across the yard; flowering cabbage dominated the left side while the right was barren. There were large pieces missing from the last rows of cabbage. “No trouble tending the garden I see.” I ruffled his hair and we entered into the empty hut. I started a fire in the pit in the middle of the sparse room. Gunther sprawled himself on the floor and rested his white head on my lap. His nose bumped the package still in my hand. With shaking fingers, I folded back the piece of cloth and almost cried at the brown block and small loaf in my hand. I brought it up to my nose and inhaled the sweet and salty scent before starting to devour it. Gunther bleated in protest and I tore a chunk of the cheese for him. He nibbled it without question. When we finished the gjetost and bread, my hand dipped into the thick white hair of Gunther’s neck. If it weren’t for Raum, we would have starved long before the harvest. Gunther licked my fingers. “No more my friend.” Gathering the worn fur skins from the corner, I covered us both, and there we slept by the dying fire.

Usually my dreams were of the my father and I doing nothing in particular, maybe ripping up weeds, casting our nets into the ocean, or chasing Gunther and the other goats from the vegetable patches. Boring but normal. After the treacherous trip across the sea, every night my dreams were filled with burning houses and screams. Oh, how awful the screams were. Pale faces screaming in their foreign tongue, as the men were slaughtered where they stood and the women dragged off into the homes to be raped. Children wailed, glued to dead fingers, until they too were struck down. Shields and swords that dripped with blood covered the city in twisting red lines, like a ball of yarn unraveling, strangling the earth. I stood in the midst of the chaos, walking over bodies of the dead and the not quite dead that clung to the earth, to life with trembling fingers caked in blood. Their eyes pleaded, ‘Don’t let me die.’ But, once we’ve arrived it’s always too late. Once our ships cross into your waters, whatever is yours is ours: your land, your food, your life. I stare at each one waiting for the light to leave their eyes. At least with dreams the smells lose their strength, I could not bear that awful reek of burning flesh with the overpowering aroma of loose bowels.

Viggo clomped down the street, brandishing a flaming sword. When he turned towards me, his mouth was smeared with blood and long red lines decorated his face. Coins, gold, silver and bronze, spilled from his pockets. He was grinning.

“The houses are full of treasure.” He waved a spoon, it shone by the light of the fires. “They eat with these!” He laughed liked it was the funniest joke he has ever heard. A toddler was crying over the fallen body of her father. She didn’t look up as Viggo’s shadow engulfed her. He lifted the spoon and plunged it into her skull. Her body jittered and there was a squishy pop. Viggo’s grin grew and showed me his prize. The tiny eyeball jiggled on the head of the spoon as he laughed. I wanted to look away as he plopped the eyeball on his tongue. He slurped up the tail and licked his lips. He offered me the second eye that was suddenly in his hand. It made squeaky sounds when he squeezed it. Since I didn’t answer, he crushed it in his hand. Our eyes met as he licked the juices from his dripping fingers. I could feel the world swimming around me, the light rippling, struggling to still itself.

A crack ran down Viggo’s face, splitting the skin. The skin peeled off, like a tree shedding its bark. Multicolored scales glistened with blood underneath. A forked tongue slithered from his ridged mouth, licking the spoon. His jaw unhinged, his bottom lip dragged across the ground.

(Run!) I shouted towards the girl. (For the love of the gods, run!)

But, she was already dead. Viggo swallowed her whole, throwing his head back and the girl slid down. She got stuck half way in, the tiny body was just a bulge against the tight skin of his throat and her dirty, bare feet poked out of his mouth. When Viggo shook his body, her legs appeared to be kicking. More sheets of skin fell off. The girl was gone. Viggo’s legs disappeared, melding into one form with his body to become a long tail. Like rope, he coiled himself before launching into the sky. Up, up he went, his tail wiggled as if swimming, pushing him further away from the ground. His mouth opened and he bit into the sky. The grey sky pulsed red and purple streaks like angry veins shot out from the wound, as his poison spread through the sky.

(The Sky is bleeding.)

The poison dripped from his teeth and rained upon the Earth. A drop fell on my arm and sunk into my skin. My arm turned blue, and throbbed with each labored breath. I staggered forward. One. Two. Nine steps before I fell. Serpent-Viggo let go of the sky and landed with a ground-shaking thud beside me. Amber eyes reflected my pathetic blue form.

“Where were you?” He hissed and released his last breath.

Tonight, after he fell, Viggo dissolved into a thin mist. The city wavered and melted away into the forest. Toril sat bare on the grass; dew ran down the swell of her breasts. She beckoned me and I went to her. Her hair lay in a fan upon the grass and when the sun danced upon it, she looked like Sif, the goddess with hair made of dwarven gold.


So this is about 1/5 of the story, I hope the sections aren’t too confusing. When I wrote this, I wrote it from the viewpoint of a short film and made scenes. This was the advice was one of my writing professors when I confessed I couldn’t see myself writing full length novels. She suggested I just write scenes and see where it goes from there. I’m so happy that I took her class, because she was an awesome mentor.

I love mythology and try to weave it into my stories, I can’t tell if it worked for this or not. Unfortunately, the people I have sent this out to help me edit this piece haven’t gotten back to me. Makes me wonder if they just didn’t see the point of editing this mess….so yea…

Oh well! On the bright side, I have commissioned my friend to design the cover. I can’t wait until its done.

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Dream Journals

When I get an idea, I was trick myself into thinking I’ll remember it later. I never do, but the lie continues.

edward-fullmetal-alchemist-visible-sigh_7226

The reason I bring this is up is because I scrolled through my phone and found a funny note on a dream I had.

Here is the note:

Needed to keep his teeth because it held his good traits and give them to his younger brothers. Go into the past and get adopted into the family and make sure he doesn’t die. He goes to war to become a medic and dies helping people.


I think I typed that while still half asleep.

Dreams are pretty funny, though. After reading it, I easily recalled the dream, but without the note, I doubt I would have.

I’ve tried to keep a dream journal in the past, but I can’t remember why I ever stopped. Maybe I’m just lazy in the mornings (most likely). I still have the one I began in high school and I have fun remembering those crazy tales my brain conjured up.

Maybe I’ll take it up again.

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Do you keep a dream journal? And if not, would you consider writing in one?

Someone in my head

The funny thing about this is, I forgot I even wrote it. I opened my prompt folder and at the bottom of my list was this.


There’s someone in my head but it’s not me. I’m not crazy, if that’s what you’re thinking. I know that’s what you’re thinking. I’ve thought it many times but it’s real, well as real as a disembodied voice could be. It started with little things like misplacing my keys or notebooks. Everyone does it, no big deal right? Well, when large chunks of time began to slip away, I grew concerned. I even tried to video tape myself while I slept, sounding crazy yet? Sleep walking, that’s common. Sounded better than any alternatives, so I bought the camcorder anyway.

When I got up that morning trepidation crawled in my gut, as I rose to watch the video. I had placed the camcorder across from me on my bureau. The tape was missing. I swore I had placed a new tape into the stupid contraption. I left the room for the living room where I had left the best buy bag. The tape package was opened and housed only three of the four tapes.

Something clattered in the kitchen. I turned slowly, not wanting to check but knowing I couldn’t be a chicken. My hand flexed around the package, I’m not a good throw, not since my accident a few months prior. My steps were short but solid. The kitchen was empty but in the stove a pot bubbled and the clattering continued. I don’t cook. I gave myself food poisoning too many times to count to trust myself unsupervised in the kitchen. The pots were a housing warming gift and were nice cabinet stuffing but besides that saw no real use. With a dreaming hand I turned off the stove. It clicked.

Now that I was above the stove, I got the whiff of burnt plastic. Water splattered the stove top. I lifted the lid and in the pot were the smashed remains of the tape. Dark brown bubbles were crusted around the rim of the pot. The film looked like soggy udon noodles, the two white circles could have been onions. I let the pot’s lid fall with a clink.

I went back to the living room. I didn’t want to stare at the silver pot anymore. It didn’t make sense. Seeing it made my head hurt. I couldn’t tell anyone. How could I? I guess that’s why I’m telling you. You believe me, right?


Hmm…I like fooling around with the idea of not being in control of your actions, or at least unreliable narrators (haven’t gotten the hang of that one yet).

I really need to read more outside of this genre because I feel like I’m becoming repetitious (especially between this post and Mirror, mirror).

On another note, it’s sad to know that most kids don’t know what a cassette is anymore.

 

Listen to the Whispers (preview)

Here’s part of a story I’m working on.


 

She took a breath. One hand clutched at the metal rail of her bed, the other gripped her husband’s hand. Her nails, rough from constant biting, dug into his skin leaving white crescents. Her eyes were clamped shut as voices urged her on, “One more, just one more big push.” They’ve been repeating that for the past five minutes. Not that Luzmarie was counting as pain rolled over her and her breathing grew shallow. She gave them a push, a big push; it was the last one.

Under the stark fluorescent bulbs and even covered in bloody tissue, Luzmarie had never seen a more beautiful being. The cries pierced through her exhaustion and pain and she reached out for the child. The nurse placed the now cleaned babe into her arms and Luzmarie wept. Her husband John, silently grateful for the use of his hand, laid his arm over her shoulders.

“Good work Luz.” She gave him a breathless chuckle as he brushed the damp hair from her forehead. When her parents walked in, her mother, Josefina, began her examination of the newborn. Supposedly, she had Tio Ernesto’s ears, her grandmother Juana’s nose, and the stubby toes of her father, John.

“She’s beautiful mija,” Luz’s father Innocencio said and kissed her temple. “You did good, Luzy.”

Luz grinned, so sure her face would be stuck in that permanent grin. “Larimar made momma work for it, didn’t you?” The newborn opened her eyes and trained the cross-eyed cool grey eyes on her uncle, Tio Tulio, who stood beside his parents. He was young, still in his teens. Black stained his nails and grease streaked his once blue coveralls that faded to grey from washing. He was leaning over his younger sister’s bed. A tiny tanned hand clasped around his outstretched finger. He shared a look with his father.

“Papa?” Luz checked over her shoulder. Her father was prone to staring off into space or having conversations with himself. It spooked her as a child and now, twenty-four years later she could still feel her skin prickle with goosebumps. It would take another year or so for the four of them to pinpoint Larimar’s eyes. She didn’t get John’s baby blues (no matter how hard she prayed) nor did she get Josefina’s pretty honey eyes. That precious little one in her arms had her father’s eyes. Not the soft brown Luzmarie inherited but they were the same.


The young girl peeked through the curtains. Around her were whispers of excitement but she felt the dread build up inside her as she watched the hands of the clock fall towards the two. She fiddled with her tutu as her instructor moved them into place.

“Remember, smiles.” Their instructor, Ms. Byron said. Larimar didn’t think she could remember. As the curtain split apart, the overhead lights, hot and blinding, filled the auditorium with shadows. The music began and the girls danced. Her limbs felt stiff and her face like plastic. Between turns she peered into the shadowy faces of the audience, some were hidden behind cameras, but they all looked unfamiliar. She scanned the crowd again, but turned the wrong way and slammed into Matilda. The crowd chuckled as the two girls steadied themselves. Matilda’s face was bright red and she shoved Larimar to the side. She fell with a thump on the stage and stared out into the audience. The girls behind them kept dancing. The music kept playing. She couldn’t seem to get up, like her legs were cemented to the stage. Matilda leapt over her slumped form, twirling without a care.

Ms. Bryon whispered, “get up. Smile. Keep dancing.” She pumped her hands up and down, but Larimar could only stare. Tears burned her eyes and the spotlights were like the desert sun. The crowd began to murmur with discontent. She couldn’t make out the words but she knew disappointment floated among them.

The large door in the back of the auditorium opened, and Larimar smiled as her mother waved to her. She looked odd, Larimar thought. Twigs and leaves stuck out in her hair that was bushy and wet with mud. Her clothes were torn and dripping. Was it raining outside? It was a wonder no one complained as she shimmied into the middle of the isle. Her mother gave her two thumbs up and mouthed, ‘I love you.’

Larimar stood, her legs were no longer shaking or heavy. She moved in time with the girls. The smile on her face wasn’t faked this time and she leaped, twirled, and pirouetted. The crowd cheered when they finished. Her mother was the first to stand up and applaud.

After the show ended, the girls huddled around Ms. Bryon who released them to their families. “Larimar,the woman called. “I’m sorry, honey.”

About what?” the girl tilted her head, itching to go ask her mom how she did.

That no one came to see you dance.”

But my mom came, after we began.” She explained. The instructor glanced at the thinning crowd.

Where is your mother now?”

Larimar looked over at her mother, who waved to her. She grabbed her hand to stop from waving in return. “I guess I made a mistake,” she said. Ms. Bryon pat her head and said she would phone her home. Once alone, Larimar joined her mother off stage.

You were brilliant, mami!” Luzmarie bent down and squeezed her daughter. “Oh, if only your dad could have seen you. I forgot my camera, I was afraid I was going to miss the whole performance.” Larimar let her mother continue talking but her tears flowed freely now. “Oh mija, what’s wrong?”

Larimar shook her head. Ms. Bryon called her from the stage, “No one answered, I can give you a ride home if you want.”

No, it’s alright, I’m Larimar’s mother,” Luzmarie said. Larimar tried not to look at the woman beside her.

No, it’s alright, Ms. Bryon. My mother’s on her way, she’s just running late. I…she might have forgotten her camera.” Ms. Bryon nodded and turned to a group of parents who wanted to talk to her.

How rude!” Luzmarie stomped her foot. “I just told her all that.”

Larimar grabbed her mother’s hand. “Let’s go home momma.”


Instead of doing my usual prompt, I fiddled with this story. It has been collecting digital dust for over a year. It has undergone a few changes, which might or might not stick.

My novel, Unbound, is still in the works. It’s about 60-70% done (the story has a life of its own and I can’t tell when its going to end…) I should probably go finish that now….

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Happy writing!