Monday, August 30, 2010

Boy in Hell's Kitchen

A boy in a shop
Served the costumers
While his pop
Went calling Mortimers
The man who sold them flour
The boy mined the store
Well over an hour
Before his brother
Walked through the door
“Switch time” said the brother

The boy stalked out
He disliked the way
His brother went about
Bossing when pop was away

And he hated the task
He was to undertake
To bake the bread
The day was so hot
He believed the bread
Need only to bask
In the sun to bake
But complain he could not

For baking was the only way
To get the needed money
So he could pay
For pretty things for little Bonny

The boys little sister
And greatest charm
Never had she done harm
To any living creature
Great or small
As pretty as a picture
She stood three feet tall

The child was blessed
With a smile
To be the best
Off all the chil’
In the village if Esting
Baking bread was the only way
To get the funding
The boy needed to pay

For a gift for Angel
His trustiest love of love
For her he’d walk to hell
His sweet turtledove

He remembered his Angel
As he stepped into the kitchen of hell
For his loves that were true.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Novel

Yesterday I finally hit two hundred pages for my novel “Survival”. It was something that I never thought would happen at any point in the process of writing this story.

In the Beginning
It started out as a little imaginary life of four friends knocking around in New York City, which came to me one time as I was day dreaming, as we storytellers are prone to do. It didn’t have a plot, story line or anything else that made it stand out as something worth continuing. A large number of my stories came from daydreaming, and to sort out the good and the bad and the ugly, I tend to stick with the ones that have some sort of direction when I first dream them up, rather than having to start with almost nothing, and having nowhere to go. This daydream however, I remember was a particularly lengthy one, and even though there was no plot or direction, I couldn’t find a good excuse to pass it up, because by the time my daydreaming session was over, I had completely lost my heart and soul to these characters.
I hesitated however, I didn’t rush over to the notepad, or to my laptop as many writers claim to do right after they finish their astounding dream that was the start of a story that earned them $10 million overnight. No, I was nervous, the thought of taking the time to write down something that I the creator, had absolutely no idea, or a whisper of an idea of where this tale would lead, was frightening. I was an idiot. To excuse my imbecility, I had only written two books, and had never had experienced the phenomena of a story taking a life of its own, with little or no encouragement by us supposed “artists”. I should have shown some back bone and gotten started right away, and let it take me where it was going to take me. But I didn’t. Which brings up the question, if I had started right away, would it have turned into the story that it has become now? Would it have been better, or worse? We shall never know, but I can honestly say that I have absolutely no complaints about this manuscript, though it is far from being finished, I have no complaints as of yet. (I’m sure, once I reach the editing stage, my state of mind will be quite different.)
Once I finally wrote down all that my daydream had shown me, and a little bit more, (like I mentioned earlier, manuscripts tend to take on a life of their own once you let them take control.) However, I still had no plot, or direction.

A Direction

I had a friend whom I had known for a few months, and we had discovered the “twilight” books together, and enjoyed the first three and had gone to see the first movie together. We were lounging in my room, and I mentioned that I had just finished writing a book. Before I could say anything more about it, she said, “Let me guess, it’s a vampire book.” Which prompted me to say, it wasn’t, in fact, it was a small collection of animal stories for children. While the pause after that was slightly awkward, the thought came to me: Why not write a vampire story? Before my friend left for the day, I had already made up my mind that I wouldn’t begin a new story; I would just change my unformed story into my own vampire tale.

The Challenge
Then the fourth and final “twilight” book came out, and I was thoroughly disappointed, as I believe a number of people were. “I could have written a much better ending than that.” I thought to myself. It wasn’t so much the ending that bothered me either, it was the fact that the characters that I had grown so fond of in that love tale, changed in the final book. They did things that I felt were seriously out of character, and there were a number of unanswered questions in the story. The “twilight” magic that had entranced me had been brutally murdered, it was sad really. Such a promising story curled up and dried like leaves on a tree. But it taught me a lesson, I needed to ask more questions when I write, make double sure that all the subplots, as well as the main plot, are addressed. It was then that I challenged myself, though it was entirely subconscious at the time, that my vampire tale would be better than all “twilight” series books. Am I crazy? You bet.

The Settling
After my decision, subconscious as it was, I was still without a plot for my lovable characters, though I had forced the metamorphoses of one character from human to vampire (much to her displeasure I might add.) I let the story sit, unable to think past those first two chapters. There were times, after I had let it sit for some time, I considered deleting the darn thing and starting over again, or just deleting it and letting it die into nonexistence. A couple times I even sat down with the intention of just that, but then I would read a bit of it, just to see if there was something worth salvaging for another story, and I would find that it was all worth saving. Everything was good. You could say that each time I considered braking up; I would fall in love all over again.
People have this notion that there is only one type of creative writing process. That you must “strike while the iron is hot” or take the chance of losing that inspirational moment, and sometimes, yes, that is the case. But not in this case, the writing process for this tale started really slowly. The storyteller in me knew instinctually that if I left it alone, my subconscious mind would work on the story and would send my conscious mind a mental telegram when it was ready. But, as I mentioned before, I didn’t leave it alone, I kept going back, hoping that my iron would get hot this time, which probably made the entire process take longer than it probably would have, if my conscious mind had just stopped poking at my subconscious mind at let it work on its own without any interruptions. My excuse for this is, as I mentioned before, my inexperience in writing stories as a whole. I had only ever had the “strike the iron while it’s hot” kind of inspiration at this point in time. But eventually, my conscious mind got the message, and I left my story to settle while I concentrated on other immediate things: like moving across the country….

The Plot
One day it happened, it was after my mom and I had gone to a new writer’s group meeting, called Coffee House Writers Group. The people seemed nice, and I was thinking of maybe joining along with my mom; and if I did join: which story would I bring? At first I thought I’d bring one of my finished tales, and see if I could get any helpful hints to finish it up. Then all of a sudden, I got my telegram from my subconscious mind. It had come up with a plot, but it needed my conscious mind to ask more questions to fill in the little pot holes (or more accurately: “plot” holes), if it was ever going to be a complete story and beat the cause of one of the biggest vampire crazes of all time…

Monday, August 9, 2010

Phone calls, Emails, Texting, and Crap

First off, I’ll admit, I’m not very hip with technology in general. Whenever there is a new gadget around the house and I find myself having to use it (even if it’s just a new phone or computer) I’m constantly afraid that it’s just going to burst into flames the moment I push a button. It hasn’t happened yet, but I haven’t ruled it out as an impossibility yet.
As I look around at the world around me, I find that technology is always in some evolutionary stage. Everything is “smaller, shinier and faster” and every time the older gadget starts to wear out, there is always a new one to replace it – coincidence? I don’t think so. This new gadget always has something new and improved about it, and “everybody will have it”. Sure, sure we all will. But what about those people who bought something that does virtually the same thing, but the companies are competitors, so their do-hicky and your what-cha-ma-call-it aren’t compatible for certain things. And their do-hicky always has a thing-a-ma-jig that your what-cha-ma-call-it doesn’t have, and/or visa-versa.
Gadgets have changed the way we communicate, live and even think. Being the cynical/technologically-retarded person that I am, I ask myself questions that average people (which are gadget consumers/suckers) don’t ask.
For example: Is it worth it? Technology has made communication with people faster and more convenient than back in…oh, let’s say the American Civil War days. True, you don’t have to walk all the way across town to call on somebody, now you can talk about the time of day without leaving your own home. That’s much better than writting a letter right?
To a certain extent, yes, but there are a lot of things you can’t properly communicate over the phone, email or text messaging. Like emotions, for example. In official business transactions, you don’t really need much emotion to convey your message, so that’s alright I guess. But, who has those anymore? Now a days, your co-workers and even bosses are your “buddies” and business people end up addressing co-workers in a comfortable and familiar manner, and talk about things other than business. That’s okay too I suppose. But because you aren’t speaking face-to-face, jokes or even casual comments can be misinterpreted. This can lead to confusion, embarrassment and sometimes even frustration, rage or hurt feelings on someone’s part.

So, are these gadgets worth it? There is so much communication going on in the world, just judging by individual text messages, emails, and phone calls, but do you ever stop to wonder if you are truly communicating? Are you truly expressing your feelings and opinions in a comprehensive and expressive way that interprets your feelings to the fullest of your capabilities? During the Civil War, when they were calling on a neighbor, they could use all of their communicating abilities such as: facial expression, hand and body gestures and tone of voice to express their feelings and opinions to their fullest ability. They had a much slimmer chance of being misunderstood. Can we say the same for our modes of communication now? Does the ability to “communicate instantly”, come at too high a price?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why me?

A few weeks ago, my family and I were going to see the Getty Villa. We were all excited to go, or my parents and I were anyway. (It's hard to tell with my brothers.)
I woke up early that morning to cramps (which is, hands down, the most agonizing reminder that I am a girl.)
I hoped that it would soon pass, but it didn't. I was still lying on the floor of my bedroom when my parents' alarm went off. I still hadn't moved as my father made his way down the hall with the wake up call.
Once he saw me, he didn't have to say anything to know what was going on. He asked if I had eaten breakfast, and I gave him a negative.
He left for a few moments and came back with a banana and a water bottle. After I thanked him, I wondered: why do my cramps bring out the best in my family?
Both my brothers passed by and expressed their sympathy in their own way.
Eventually I made my way to the breakfast table and had some oatmeal, I still hoped that I was reaching a turning point...
When it came time to leave, I wasn't dressed yet, and I was back to lying down. By all accounts, I had turned green, which is not my best color.
Mama had asked if she should stay with me while the guys went, I said no, she was the one who really, really, really wanted to go, it would have been completely pointless if neither she nor I went.
So I didn't go to the Getty Villa but I hope next time will be better.