Chay-Chay-Cha-aange

Decided to upgrade.

I like the look.

I made the decision to upgrade because I wanted to have a reason to write every day. Not an email or a story (I can’t always write a story every day and I write far, far too many emails – just ask the people that work with me) but just to write about what comes to mind.

-Write every day

-Write 15,000 words by July 31st

-Have my story “The Garden” ready to be submitted somewhere

The “Street Art UFO” image is one I’ve admired for a long time. I don’t know who the owner is and until they contact me to take it down (after I am internet famous, of course) I will continue to use it. The image reminds me of my youth.

No words today, other than these. Wish me luck.

via Studio for WP app.

Our Age Of Trust

I’m still writing.

I just stopped posting about writing. I’ve averaged about 168 words a day this year to date, but over 600 a day for June, absolutely slaughtering the target I set. I’ve been lucky enough, too, to make contact with another writer and now we have a writer’s group of two going on, which is exciting.

But I find I miss blogging every day. So, I will blog a thought now, if only to share. I don’t know if I’ve overheard this or read this and the reason I say that is because it came to me fully formed, like Athena from Zeus. So much so, that I am hesitant to say it’s my idea but I’ll share it anyway.

The Age of Trust

I’ve come to accept that logical is only a quarter of the equation. It can make perfect sense but if someone doesn’t feel “right” about it, then it’s doomed to fail.

We live now in The Age Of Trust and facts don’t matter. The Age of Truth is a long way off, a time where the facts of the matter prevail and you have the data to learn from your mistakes.

Such as it is now, in our Age Of Trust, if we get it wrong, we blame the person we put our trust in and not look at ourselves and ask why we were compelled to believe them in the first place.

I’m committed to building my own world of truth. I’ll ask questions and question the answers. I won’t stop until the narrative make sense.

I’ll criticize a movie for it’s plot holes yet won’t dig deep into the things that steer my life.

I won’t always get it right, but at least I’ll have the data to learn from my mistakes instead of blaming the person I trusted in the first place.

I will own my mistakes.

I broke the narrative

I went away for too long.

My novel isn’t dead. I just need to ease back into it by writing about something else. And I’d like someone to read it.

I’ve envisioned my own world, centred around a lake in a town called “Ladyburn Pond”. This lake exists in all worlds, you just dive into it, touch the bottom, and come back up and you are in one of my other worlds.

Could be my fantasy world, called Greymr – a place I invented in Grade 7 that I’m never far from. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t inspired by Greyhawke, but it would be a disservice if I didn’t say it has since been influenced by every heroic poem or story or historical book I’ve ever read since then.

Today, it was a scene from a park. I kinda like it.

 

 

Scenes from a Park

 

The child with short blond hair wore a pretty blue dress, pink blouse and black, patent leather shoes, decorated with a medium black bow.

“Isaiah!” an older man called out. He had on a plain, green baseball gap and mirrored wrap around sunglasses, camouflage cargo shorts that were frayed at the seams, and a faded “Rolling Stones” tee shirt.

Isaiah, playing with the child in the dress and the other kids in the park, turned to look in the direction of the older man.

“Isaiah!” the older man repeated.

“Ya, Dad,” Isaiah said.

“Come on over here.”

The kidney shaped park area was recessed, surrounded by a high curb, and filled with cedar wood chips. The recent rains had caused the park area to flood and wash away the chips to the west, towards the school, and to the east, towards the bush where a small creek flowed. Where the cedar chips washed away, the ground cover had been replaced by leafy, bright green weeds where there wasn’t hard packed earth. The kids who played there didn’t seem to notice, except one girl, who would pick up handfuls of the driest chips she could find and rub them in her hands before grabbing the monkey bars.

Isaiah went back to playing with his friends. His father called him again.

A man and woman turned their attention from the girl on the monkey bars to the man in the baseball cap. The man had an arm around the woman, and when Isaiah’s Dad raised his voice loud enough to get the boy moving, he leaned in closer and put his lips to the woman’s ear.

“I shouldn’t have to call you more than once, boy,” the older man said.

He sat on the curb that surrounded the park with a woman. The park was high enough that someone sitting could almost use it as a bench without their knees jabbing into their chin. The woman wore sunglasses with oversized bug-like lenses, and her knees were significantly closer to her chin than the man next to her.

Before the boy sprinted to his father he said something to his friends. He made it from one end to the other in seconds. He didn’t lose a breath.

The man on the bench, the one with the woman, smiled when he watched the boy run, then looked towards the playing children when he saw the family talking low amongst themselves.

One boy, the tallest of the group, stood next to a cherubic, young girl with curly blond hair in low cut jean shorts. In front of the couple stood the child in the blue dress.

“Okay,” the older boy said. “Keep your hands in fists and your arms by your side. Tight to your side and keep your arms straight? Can you keep them there? Okay. Here we go.”

The child did as instructed and the older boy lifted the child into the air, the blond girl gasped and smiled, her cheeks going flush. She called out to the boy to be careful.

“Of course, I’m careful,” he said, not taking his eyes off the child he was hefting in the air.

The other kids watched the spectacle and cheered and laughed along while the boy turned and turned, like he was an ice skater, lifting his partner up from the ice.

The boy winked up a the child in the dress and the child nodded. Suddenly, he let go and the child dropped to the ground and did a tumble through the loose cedar chips, coming to a stop and laughing. The blonde with the curly hair swatted the boy.

“Don’t lose your hat,” one of the group said. He had light brown skin and spoke with the hint of an accent. He put the blue baseball cap on the child in the blue dress – a Toronto Maple Leaf baseball cap with the number 34 on the back.

Isaiah yelled his complaint.

“But it’s not even dark out. And it’s Saturday. My friends can walk me home.”

The young couple with the kids leaned in when they heard Isaiah yell, prepared to come forward or answer questions or take requests, but no one called to them.

“You’re not making sense. I just want to play. Why won’t you let me play?”

The man and woman on the bench moved closer together, hips touching. The woman held up a smart phone, taking pictures of the girl making her way across the monkey bars.

“Holy shit,” the man next to her said. “She’s doing it.”

The girl made it, hand over hand, across all of the bars as the man and woman cheered her on. When she was done she jumped down and wiped her hands free of cedar chip dust. The tops of her cheeks glowed red under her freckles.

Isaiah got on a red bike with big black tires and put on his yellow and orange helmet without tightening the chin strap. He pumped the pedals and raced off while his mother and father get to their feet. They didn’t make a dozen steps before he was through the school and across the street and out of sight of his parents.

The child in the blue dress and Toronto Maple Leafs hat played with the other kids at the park. The girl on the monkey bars went across a second time but didn’t make it to the last rung.

“I’m too heavy,” she said. “My arms are tired.”

“That’s okay,” the man said. “A couple weeks ago, you couldn’t make it past the second bar. You telling me you’re ready to pack it in?”

She looked over at the group of kids. They had migrated over to the swings now and the sun was setting behind the school. The temperature dropped a little and the couple on the bench got closer. The kids didn’t seem to notice. The child in the blue dress called out

“Underdog!”

“Are we going to watch a movie tonight?”

“I’m sure there’s a movie on Netflix.”

The older boy got behind the child in the dress and prepared to push. He pushed forward, pushing hard, bending down and moving forward fast, under the child in the swing, until he stood at full height, running at moderate speed, and chains from the swing were almost parallel to the ground, the child high in the air.

“Underdog!” the child screamed as the boy rushed out from under, letting go of the seat of the swing. The child laughed. The boy went to sit close to the girl on the curb while the other kids milled about, running around, smacking each other and laughing, talking a lot about nothing in particular but with all the meaning of their world.

“That’s not a yes.”

“Wha?” the woman was not paying attention.

“You said there’d be a movie on Netflix but you didn’t say we would watch a movie.”

“Of course, councillor,” the woman said. “Didn’t know this was a trial.”

“What’s a councillor?” the girl asked.

“A lawyer,” the man answered.

“Oh. Does that mean we have to go now?”

The kids migrated again, back across the park to the smaller kids playset – made from steel like the larger play set in the middle of the park area, but on a small scale with some plastic coating on the more threatening looking parts. The chips were most bare here, the set surrounded almost completely with low, leafy green weeds.

“That’s up to you, Butterfly,” the man said. He looked to the woman, smiled, and kissed her on the cheek, then her earlobe. “We’ve got until the sun goes down.”

“I’m going to go on the swings,” the girl said. “Will you push me?”

The man got up slowly, both hands on both knees to get to his feet and he walked slowly, briefly with a bowlegged strut on the balls of his feet, before falling into a normal gait as he got to the girl. The woman watched the man push the girl – he had to squint against the angle of the light from the setting sun, but did not complain, nor did he talk to the girl as he swung her to and fro, to and fro, to and fro.

The kids left before she finished her time on the swing, each piling onto their own bike, except for the boy and girl, who took up the rear guard, walking hand in hand.

“Don’t take off,” the boy said to the child in the blue dress, saying it before she got to far out of ear shot.

“I won’t,” the child said and they all rode through the school yard in a languid orbit around the boy and girl until they left the park for the evening.

Buried Treasure On My Phone

No. This does not count towards NaNoWriMo.

But it’s still pretty neat.

I have a Windowsphone – Lumia 950XL – I am very partial to. It works as a phone and when I get home, it’s my laptop (that is only a recent development, mind you). Additionally I have a Microsoft smartwatch paired to it – Microsoft Band 2. Between those two items, I manage most of my day. What I need now is a Surface 4 or a Surface laptop, and I will be good to go.

But this is not about all that. This is about what I found on my phone when taking pictures off of it for work.

Now, I know it’s my document. I checked.

Capture

And I had to read it several times because I do not remember writing it. It sounds good. Better than good. Sounds like another novel, actually. Why the female lead had white hair and violet eyes I can only attribute to looking at too many Cosplay girls.

Thinking back on it now, the notes here suggest I was strongly influenced by Harry Crews’s “Celebration” – a seriously good novel by a seriously under-rated author. I may have to re-read it (or maybe get the audio book – my crush on Kate Mulgrew is almost up).

Vastly successful business owner divorces his wife. No kids. It was a business venture. When he was married, she kept him happy and made him look good. They shook hands and parted ways and it didn’t really matter to him.

Now he has no idea what to do.

He sets himself up in his own little bachelor pad. And it’s the ultimate bachelor pad. His pad. All of the things that he loves is all in one place. Pool table. Computers. Video games. Excellent little bar. Even has beer on tap. He has a custom kitchen built and he starts inviting all of his friends over for parties and he ends up being the chef for all of them. He ends up having a great time cooking. He decides to get a job.

He applies for a line cook job at a café in a small trendy town. To my mind, it’s something like Cookstown or maybe King city.

I remember that he found the place by accident. It was winter and he went into a snowbank and when he tried to get signal to make a call, he dropped the phone in the snow. He walks until he finds a nice clean place and he asks for a large bowl of uncooked rice and a cup of coffee. A pretty girl with short, white hair serves him and he likes her at first sight. I want to say she had violet eyes.

He gets the job and starts to work and parties less with his friends. He works lot of hours and makes some new friends. He ends up going to an after work party he was invited to and has a good time. There’s a pool, there’s food, there’s booze and lots of people. He bumps into the girl again with the short white hair and they start to kiss. A lot. As things get hot and heavy (and this part, this dialogue, I remember really well).

“How old are you?” she askes him.

“Forty five,” he answers.

“How old do you think I am?”

“I don’t know. Twenty six?”

“Twenty five, actually. Today is my birthday. And we are partying at my parent’s house.”

They decide just to be friends.

“Running friends,” she tells him. And her friends start to laugh.

“Why running friends?” He’s thinking now he has to buy a jogging outfit.

“Because when I call, you better come running,” she answers and all her friends start to laugh. He almost asks why he would want to come running and then he thinks better of it. She wants to be that kind of friend. But I think he has a real interest in her because as their friendship develops and he becomes a better chef. He talks about his vasectomy.

“I’ve got enough money,” he tells her. “I can get it reversed.”

“I want more kids,” she says. “But do you want more kids? Why would you get a vasectomy if you don’t have any kids? It must mean you don’t want kids.”

“I didn’t want kids with my wife. That’s why I got it.”

And then there’s another scene with him piggy packing a mulatto child that is hers. He’s babysitting while she is finishing her shift. He got dropped off by a babysitter and her parents aren’t available. She never mentioned a child before and he seems okay with it. They whole time they are spending time it never comes up. She’s always managed to keep him out of the way. The boy is pretty clever, too. He won’t even give up his real name. So our hero decides to call him “Cool”.

The dream ended after that. But I think that’s the makings of a pretty good story.

WCYR NaNoWriMo “Bad Guy”

1, 532 words. Tonight.

11, 100 total. In total.

Wowsers.

I broke with the narrative. Well, I’m building my A story now – the one that is my ‘ticking clock’ so to speak (I even put in the imagery of a stopwatch to boot – how clever am I?). The bad guy is over the top, but I like that. I just let him get out of control.

Talking more about the writing. I have to keep going. If I take a day off, the characters start to feel less like people and more like characters. Yeah, sounds silly. But true. Plus, I don’t want to lose the momentum.

Now, I warn you, I’m not sure what is going to go down tomorrow. I may or may not write. I will try to write 500 words on my lunch to type up tomorrow night – and that is my plan (it’s in my Outlook calendar, actually – don’t judge me) but I won’t admonish myself if I don’t.

If I don’t write the day after, though, that means I’m just a poseur piece of shit. That’s harsh, I know, but it’s motivational, too.

I’m happy to share what I’ve written, just not right now. Good night, folks.

WCYR NaNoWriMo “Limerick”

1125 words. Well, 1572 words if you count this post.

Holy shit. Thought I would never make it.

Couldn’t write on Sunday. Just couldn’t. So, instead, I pushed myself to work around the house. Raked the lawn front and back, dug out underneath the tree at the curb, filled it with soil, then dug out the flower garden along the side of the house for my wife to be able to plant flowers. I kept my headphones on the whole time, listening to every song on my phone at random, using my MS Band to skip the ones that didn’t fit my mood.

Before I went out, I split a chicken, rubbed it with my poultry spice blend then wrapped it tight in cellophane to put into the fridge while I worked. By the time I was done, it was nice and ready. I slow cooked that, along with some beef tenderloins and some baked potatoes, along with some sautéed peppers to put with the beef and the chicken. Oh, I also made steam broccoli topped with a red onion and bacon balsamic vinaigrette. A very tasty Sunday dinner after a busy Sunday morning and afternoon.

I did all that and thought about writing. I put out the notebook, the pen, looked at them, and then went and did something else. I argued with myself, saying that I had done a good job. What was the point of continuing? I was halfway to my goal and it wasn’t even halfway through the month yet. I looked at my chart and patted myself on the back. Good work. Now, you can rest. Besides, it’s not work anyway, right? Work was the next morning.

That’s my pattern, I thought. I go for a couple of weeks, tell myself job well done, and then leave it be until I am so miserable and so inconsolable and snappy to my kids and my wife, that I have to go to my notebook and just write for the sake of writing to feel sane again. No story there. Just writing to get it out. And then the story comes out of it, and the outlines and the drafts and the spreadsheets and the excitement and then I pat myself on the back, tell myself I’m doing a great job and deserve some time off.

Well, fuck that action, folks. This bastard is getting written, come hell or high water. “Ulysses” it won’t be. I doubt it will even be as good as “Horton Hears a Who”. But it will be done, by Christ.

Again, not posting the words. Take my word for it. Those fucking 1125 words may as well have been written in blood.

WCYR NaNoWriMo – “Theatre”

1925 words. Making up for lost time.

The way I figure it, if I can wake up at 4:00AM for I have to do, I can wake up for 5:00AM for what I love to do. So, this Saturday morning, I woke up for 6:30AM and started to write. Yeah, it isn’t 5:00AM, but I was sleeping so well and this week has been horrible for sleep. If my “Microsoft Band 2” is to be believed (and it’s a Microsoft product, folks, so it is beyond reproach) I slept an average of 4:45 minutes a night this week. An extra hour or so felt positively decadent.

A month ago I was in Houston at a “Managing For Results” training session. They profiled each of us using a DiSC Assessment . The moderators explained how the assessment works, they gave us our assessment on second last day. I felt liberated. I really did. I told the moderator as much and he took me at my word. I think he saw I was about to cry.

It explained a lot about me I already knew but was told it was wrong to be that way. And a stranger with a series of scientific tests verified it.

I think I was maybe nine or ten. I saw a car model I wanted to make.

I loved cars. I would trace them from the “Buy and Sell” or “Auto Trader” magazine and then design my own. No desire to work on them, but I would stand there and hand Dad tools or hold his ‘trouble light’ while he tried to keep our vehicles on the road. But I hated working on them. Loathed it.

Dad had tried to make me into a ‘real boy’ by signing me up for sports, taking me with him when he went to work (he owned a carpentry and landscaping company – but he did most of the work – and when he was good, he was really, really good but when he was bad, he was horrible), and getting me away from my books or my computer (a Commodore 64 or early, early PC – the strongest memory I have is my cousin giving me a book on programming and I played with ‘BASIC’ programming, trying to make ‘Mr. Bojangles’ walk across the screen).

But, that car model. 1964 Mustang Shelby. Blue with white racing stripes. I wanted to buy the model and all of the paints. I wanted to buy the files and the tools. I wanted to cut out each piece, sand it down, paint it as close to real as possible, and then take my time to assemble it. It would be amazing. I would have my very own miniature car that I could open up and see all of the parts, like I could get into it and drive away. I imagined all of the things I could do in that car, the adventures. I loved the detail and I loved the creativity.

Dad didn’t like that. He didn’t see the point. To him, that was a waste of time. And as such, I should consider it a waste of time. He was the guy in charge, so I did as I was told. And continued to do as I was told, on and on. I would fight against that, my instincts telling me to do so, but eventually, after being so tired of fighting, I just gave up. It was easier to be a victim, to do what I was told.

I watch my kids grow up and see how different they are from one another. When either of them wants to do something, I ask them to justify it. To tell me why. I want to understand what they are doing and help them to find the best way to meet their needs. My daughter wants a boatload of pencils and pens and notebooks because she wants to draw. All I ask, is that she draws. Not think about it. She draws. And it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just finish what you start, critique it without being getting down on yourself, and then make the next one better. The same goes for everything she does.

I look at what she creates and it makes me proud. It’s what we make that matters, not how much we make.

And, when that little test showed me, that DiSC assessment, is what I already knew, I felt like I was coming out of the sharp turn in a NASCAR race, ready to drop the hammer.

So, yeah, that’s what made it easy for me to get up this morning and write. Because it is what I love to do.

I’m not going to post the contents of my current narrative. Too many words in my post as it is!