Posts Tagged 'Dreams'

One Step At A Time

Shane Reading Backstage during The Letter

Last night, I had a decision to make:  go to bed?  Or write?

A while back I decided that yes.  Yes I am invested in The Sin Series, but if I publish, I want to publish a one-shot book before trying to market a series.  Because The Sin Series is like… my life… I don’t want to pitch that one to agents and have it turned down and be forced to self-publish, if I publish at all.  If I’m going to be turned down, I want it to be with a one-shot, so I can learn and improve and use any feedback I get in also expanding The Sin Series.  That left me with two options:  ‘Tweens or Absolutely Mad.

Absolutely Mad is a book that draws on the verse of Alice in Wonderland.  Since Lewis Carrol’s canon is no longer under copyright, I am free to do whatever I want with the characters and the world.  The main character, Yvette Hatter, is cynical and sarcastic, but curious enough and has an imagination, so it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith for her to believe that she has been pushed into a magical looking glass into the world of Wonderland, where a half-crazed Cheshire Cat is making himself dictator of the land.  It’s very much a distopian novel, but it’s out of all my usual conventions.  Absolutely Mad is written in the first person, to begin.  The story is also only told by one character, Yvette, which is also out of my norm.  Because this story is so far out of the normal for me, I don’t want this one to be the first one I venture into.

The other option is ‘Tweens‘Tweens was inspired by several things, from a comment made by one of Bryan’s roommates (“Everyone knows that covers are impenetrable to monsters!”) to an episode of Charmed (season two, I think) to someone telling me that I was good at writing children’s voice (gee, thanks!).  ‘Tweens starts in the real world (allowing me allusions, thank goodness) but there are ‘tweens all over the real world during which people, especially children, are susceptible to the Land Between.  Things like dreams and doorways, where children and those who still are a child at heart are liable to be scooped up by creatures of the ‘Tween and taken into their world.  Lucy Brown is seven years old, and her parents think that she is prone to nightmares and will have nothing of her complaints.  Her older brother, Timothy remembers the Land Between and is there to help her when he can, but he’s also a college student and is beginning to get tired of his little sister crying to him constantly.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, though, when Lucy is snatched away into the Land Between, and the only person who knows enough to go after her is Timothy himself.

So.  To tie in the first sentence, last night I had a choice:  go to bed, or write.  I compromised.  I wrote 1000 words in ‘Tweens.  In fact, I made good progress in Timothy’s voice, bringing him into the the Land Between in his recurring dream.  I was really pleased with myself.  I think that ‘Tweens is going to need a few good drafts before I will even think about querying (and that’s after finishing the manuscript) but I am always pleased whenever I am able to sit down and get something done like that.  Even if it’s only 1000 words (which takes me about an hour), it’s something.

On a side note, I noticed on Miss Rosemary’s blog, she has her specific story goals in the sidebar.  I think that is something I should consider doing myself.  I’ve never been one for due-dates, but if I manage to get published, I will be working on deadlines, and it’s something I should get used to.  Besides.  Left to my own devices, I get nothing done.

Right now?  Right now I am going to go read another 25 pages in Alabi’s World for school and then I am going to sit down and push my way through ‘Tweens until I need to leave for work at  4:30.  Sounds like a good, productive plan to me.

“I’m Dappled and Drowsy And Ready For Sleep”

Between work and homework and a late-wake-up-morning, and allergies (just shoot me) it’s been a long day.  But not in all a bad day; namely a tiring one.  But there is always, always a silver lining.

This morning, whilst looking for my “photo of the day,” I found myself at a loss and turned once again to knick-knacks, of which I have many.  I closed in on the image you see above.  It’s a tree, with the branches made of wire and the leaves made from stones.  There used to be more of it, but I cut off one of the branches and gave it to a friend when I was younger.  I won this knick-knack in a raffle in sixth grade, and I saved up tickets for it for months.  I wanted it so very badly.  I was bidding for it against a friend, whom I liked, but not enough to just surrender.  In this end, obviously, I got it, and I cut off one of the branches and gave it to her.  My sixth grade teacher said she brought it from Brazil (where she had lived, briefly) and I think that the idea of owning something from a different continent allured me more than anything else, though the tree is truly lovely.  As you can see in the image, it has amassed a lot of dust over the last nine years, but it’s still one of my favourite knick-knacks.  Thinking about it and it’s simplistic beauty and middle school this morning made me happy.

This evening, I looked out the window at work shortly before sunset, and the sky was marvellous.  There were huge cumulus clouds perched in the sky, and they were tinted not just one colour, but a rainbow of colours.  The upper tips of the clouds were gold, and that faded down to a soft pink.  In front of them, there were splashes of darker cirrus clouds.  It was really beautiful, and they looked that was for nearly an hour.  I wanted to kick myself for not having my camera with me.  I wonder if anyone else noticed them?

The last few minutes of a night often present themselves with the greatest challenges.  After dealing with a few people who I’d rather punch than smile at, I was able to leave and I stepped, flustered, into the sticky, humid night.  My summer coolant is the driver’s side window rolled down (something’s wonky about the passenger’s side), so I impressed upon that and tried to position myself so the headlights of the impatient driver behind me weren’t in my eyes.  Even though the humidity and the bright lights bothered me, I was comforted by the music.  Usually, I don’t have a lot of faith in my Zen’s shuffle feature (it likes to play the same few songs every two or three songs) but tonight, it was great.  It started with “Echo Park” by Ryan Cabrera, a song that reminds me of the image of standing on a ledge by the ocean and feeling the wind in my hair.  Second was “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof.  That song has many memories attache to it, all good.  Third was “Kodachrome” by Simon and Garfunkel.  The first line of that song always makes me grin: “when I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”  I sometimes feel that way about life in general.  Fourth, also Simon and Garfunkel, was “Feelin’ Groovy”.  The title of this entry comes from that song, as well as the telling line “slow down, you move to fast”.  A good reminder.  And as I pulled into my driveway, “Curve of the Earth” by Matt Nathanson, one of my top five favourite songs, came on.  So, after a long, flustered day… Zen- thank you for the music.

I had a peculiar dream last night that has been haunting me all day.  See, I never have recurring dreams, but I have a few very vivid recurring places and faces.  Last night’s dream was a recurring place and face.  I guess I’ve taken too many psychology classes, or maybe Inception still has me thinking about dreams… but I can’t get the images out of my head.  I can only remember glimpses, in bright, beautiful colour, and feelings.  Very few words, and definitely no “plot”.  I really enjoy dreaming because it gives me a beautiful world to escape into and harp on all day.  And, thank goodness, I rarely have nightmares.

Tonight, I hope that same dream visits me again; which it’s sunshiney neighborhood and the big grey house, the tall man with brown hair, and the fields of blueberry bushes.  In my dreams, I feel like a queen, and there’s nothing to bring me down or hold me back.  I am completely free.

What is Reality?

These last few days I have had an appropriate amount of domestic rural adventures, from driving in a thunderstorm to preventing a kitten from ripping my toes to shreds.  These things are all the little things that we often overlook as we let our lives consume us.  I am that person sometimes, too, but I work hard not to be.  I’ve had a few things on my mind, and seeing the film Inception last night keeps pushing thoughts about the little things forward more and more.

First, I’d like to talk about the movie.  I’m not going to go into too much depth because I don’t want to spoil it, but it does bring you to appreciate life and reality.  The things that are always there and the things that you can depend on.  The details.  For example, the movie itself- I’m sure a lot of people will be walking out of it thinking about the deeper meanings of it and how it is a reflection on the world and our perception of it, and so on and so forth.  I walked out of that movie thinking a few things.  One: “Holy crap, where did that thunderstorm come from?  Crap.  I have to drive in it.  And I left my windows down.  Craaaaap.” Two: “I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about that film.  From the acting to the special effects to the plot… it was all really well done.” and Three: “What was the theme, anyway?  It’s supposed to be a deep thought movie like Momento, right?  So there must be a deeper theme….”

For those that are curious, I’ve decided that the theme was “what is reality?”  It’s kind of like The Matrix in that way.  Now, I’m sure there are others who derived a very different theme about it, and I would love to rationally discuss that theme (or those themes) as well.  But from my perception of the film, there were strong themes of “what is reality” and “what is dream” running through it.  And, in saying that, I don’t feel like I’m spoiling the film because dreams are a present theme in the commercials alone.

From the question “what is reality” we must ask ourselves… what is real?  What makes things believable?  For me, that is all the little things in the world.  The things that make our experiences our own.  We all may walk into a grocery store, but do you avoid walking through aisles packed with people (even if you desperately need something in that aisle) so you can stay out of peoples’ way?  Do you walk through the produce section and drool over all the berries and ultimately buy some, even though you know they’re out of season and they’ll be gone before you get home?  Do you hang out in the bakery for a few minutes just to smell the bread?  I do.  Things like that – little sights and smells and hopes and such – make the experience mine.

This week, I am going to try to stop and notice all the small things.  To stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the world as I run around.

Another thing that has inspired this thought process is a book I recently started reading.  It’s half for school, and half for research, since part of the reason I’m a History Major is to gather information about the world so I can use it in my writing.  The book is called Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois.  It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the world that led to it.  It’s for my Africans in the Colonial World class, basically a follow-up class to Atlantic History, which I took sophomore year.  Anyway.  I’m only 9o-pages into the book and there was a section all about culture and religion and the ways the Africans kept their customs alive in Saint-Dominique.  What do you do, when you’re lashed often for little to no reason, are not allowed to meet with other slaves… and even the free-coloureds kept having their rights lessened.  Heck, the thing that really annoys me is the “Liberty Tax” that white plantation owners had to pay when they freed a slave.  When you are in a position that most of the slaves (or any good person, really) where in, having their hands tied by the powerful few-and-far-between…the only thing you can do, once you’ve run out of options is to stop, see what there is for you in the world, and move forward.  Find the next path and renew yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by the little things that have been driving you all along.

Today, a friend told me that whenever he hears “On The Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, he thinks of me, because I’m the only other person he’s ever met whose heard of the band.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile and lifted my spirits after six, seven hours of consistent photocopying, binding, and wanting to hit machines with a crowbar.  Has there been any little things in the world today that gave you the strength to move forward?  What are the things that you rely on daily to keep you grounded in this mad world?

Flash Fiction Thursday: Come On, Get Higher

Paris at night, Via French Kitchen in America.

So far so good on another weekly commitment- I bring you this week’s “Flash Fiction Thursday”.  All typed on my boyfriend’s computer while he is at work.  And he has this snazz-tastic illuminated keyboard.  Squee!

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Come On, Get Higher

L’Hotel Promenade in Paris overlooked the most beautiful, bluest part of the Seine.  From her balcony, Adrienne could feel the north wind picking up her ebony curls, carrying with it the fresh smells of croissants and perfume.  Indeed, it was signature feel of Paris, and she had come here for the same reason that every other single woman in her twenties came to Paris:  for love.  Romance novels always made it seem so simple.  All a woman need do is slip on a pair of treacherous high heels and a form-fitting black dress, and a man in a tuxedo with a cigarette clutched between his fingers was supposed to sweep her away into the yellow lights of the city.

She tapped her glossy pink nails on the metal rail of the balcony and sighed irritably.  It wasn’t that easy.  Nothing in life was that easy.  She thought any reasonable girl would kill for a chance to spend her life “just sitting and looking pretty”.  It only happened to woman like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.  Princesses of the silver screen.  And what was she?  Adrienne was practically a doormouse compared to them. A wannabe fashion designer who hadn’t been able to make herself a name in New York.  So what? she thought to herself and took a gulp from her half-empty glass on chardonnay.  Paris was le centre de la mode.  If you wanted to be a fashion designer, you wanted to be in Paris, not the Big Apple.

Adrienne swung her body around, sloshing chardonnay on the wire balcony and it dripped to the sidewalk below.  Go to Paris, she had told herself, Be a model, fall in love, make a lot of money.  Then nobody will question the dip of your necklines or the length of you skirt.

She set the glass on a cluttered counter, covered in unopened bills.  Some belonged to her roommate, but most of them belong to her.  “Helene!” Adrienne shouted into the dimly lit living room, where she knew her roommate wasn’t.  “I’m going to go climb the Eiffel Tower and fall in love.”

When Helene didn’t respond (Of course, she is at work, Adrienne scolded herself), Adrienne sat stubbornly on the floor and pulled on her favourite pair of bright red Prada stilettos. She wobbled out the door, leaving her wallet, bills, and woes behind her.

Paris; le ville de l’amour….

Keep Moving Forward

Sammy, Eric, and Eddie walking downtown.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long.  We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” ~ Walt Disney.

Many of my friends are juniors and seniors in college.  Those who aren’t in college are juniors and seniors in high school.  There are some others who are already out of college and I am finding that we’re all at a loss right now.  Some of us have loose assurances:   I have a job, I’m going to college, I’m getting married.  We lean on the cornerstones in our life and depend on them to hold us through all the rest.  But we don’t have a lot going for us, my generation.  Those cornerstones aren’t going to last forever.

It’s a terrible thing to do, but I purposefully keep myself ignorant of the things going on in the world; especially things going on in the United States.  Okay, I read up on the earthquake in Haiti a few months ago, and I’ve been keeping an eye on the Icelandic volcanoes, but other than that?  I rarely check the news.  I do it on purpose, because I know that the economy is faltering.  It never goes up… it drops, stabilizes a little, and then drops again.  That means I’m going to have a heck of a time making a living.  Getting married.  All of that will be nearly impossible.  If nothing else, it’s going to be really hard.

I’m not supposed to think about those things, though.  It makes me depressed, and then I talk to others about it, and it discourages them, and in the end, nobody is happy.  I’m trying to think more positively.  I keep telling myself that all those things I want?  Guess what?  Want isn’t need.  I don’t need them.  And if I don’t buy them, I will have more money for things that I do, in fact, need.  Lately, that hasn’t kept me from buying them.  I’m absolutely incorrigible like that.  But I think I can do better, and in fact, I have to.  How many pairs of pants does a person need, after all?  That sort of thing.

There really are a million ways to cut corners financially.  But I am one of the lucky ones.  You see, I actually have a job.  It’s got no promises attached, but it’s a job, and that’s more than a lot of people can say.  I have a friend who’s getting married in a year, and he doesn’t have a job.  I don’t want to tell him this, but chances are he’s not going to find one.  And if he does, it won’t be a stable job.  He’s a really nice guy, sweet, a hard-worker… but it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and the only people hiring don’t want nice.  Nice is an accessory.  They’re looking for vicious.  I’m not vicious.  I’m lucky I got a job before they started looking for that as a trait.

As a junior in college, I don’t know where I’m going next.  I’ll keep working my job, I suppose.  Start paying off my college loans (yeah, those will be fun).  Even with college loans, I’m lucky.  I don’t even begin to have loans in the quantities that some people have, so I’ll be struggling a little less.  I’ll almost definitely get a second job.  I’d love to go to grad school and get a Masters, but who could afford that?  Besides, I’m looking at Brown University.  It’s an Ivy League school- talk about expensive!  So I’ll have to deal.  Especially since what I want to get my Masters in is entertainment-related.  Uses for a Masters in Creative Arts and Writing isn’t particularly helpful, and Brown is in Rhode Island, so I’d have to live over there.

But you know what?  Despite the worries of the world, I’m going to keep moving forward.  I am an artist, and nobody can stop that.  Nobody can change that in me.  I take photographs, because I want to remember what that moment looked like, not because I’m trying to sell them.  I paint so I can see what my emotions look like on canvas.  I write because I have so many stories to tell.  I act because I know so many characters, I want to give them all justice.  I smile because I am happy, and I smile because it makes me happy.  And nobody and nothing can take that away from me.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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