The Laugh

happy vintage illustration batman excited

There is a man in my building, I’ll call him Mike. That is not his name, but it will do for this story. He is a short man, round in size. Actually, he’s shaped more like an egg than a basketball–but that’s not what sets him apart from the rest of those living in my urban paradise.

His hair is black, naturally straight as a spade–but he perms it. It’s his ‘thing.’ Once again–not that defining factor (even thought it probably should be.)

What sets Mike apart from the rest of my block is his laugh. He has the laugh of a 1970’s villain’s sidekick. You know the character. He’s the guy who accidentally takes a rake to the chest because he wasn’t paying attention and stepped on the handle as he ran away from the hero of the story. When I hear the piercing sound of his punctuated howl, I nearly always pause for Luther to say, “Warriors, come out to play-i-ay!” even though I’m not in the subway and no where close to New York City.

Testing 1, 2, 3 the warriors can you dig it movie 1970s

Once, a long time ago when I first moved into my apartment, Mike wanted to be my friend. He would joke with me, and I would smile and look interested–rarely did I know what he was talking about. He’s about eleven shy of a dozen… I would like to make it clear, this wasn’t some sort of hiccup due to language barrier, Mike is just an odd man. Plus, my poker face stinks.

Now, Mike doesn’t acknowledge me at all. Not even a nod or a simple hello. It was after this courtyard dismissal I became privy to the laugh (that is normally mixed with techno and tighty whities.) He’s in a class all his own, and with our non-existent relationship–I have no way to record this chuckle. None that are legal anyway.

Alas, dear friends. What am I do do? As a writer I NEED to record it! I need to post the track on here!! I need to add it to my current WIP, or at least something I write in my life.

All of Mike needs to be in a book. All five-foot-five-inches of him, with his ovoid shaped frame, and even he jet black spiral perm. I see him perched on the edge of his antique folding tattered lawn chair, seated behind his Audi (it’s a mystery how he upgraded from a white battered gremlin to this luxury hatchback–but that’s a whole other post), with the car’s stereo speaker blaring, as he listens to his earbuds.

Mike is a character that belongs in a book–and not cackling under my bedroom window for many reasons. Most of which would keep me sane. The only reason I don’t slam my music and turn on my own music is that laugh you may never hear…

[This is how I find characters for my stories. Some fit in perfect, others I dissect and keep the part I’ve grown to love (or loath). Mike is a very real person. Almost too real. My theory as to why he’s in my life is it keeps me from being to serious all the time. Life is too short not to find a hyena laugh hilarious.]

 

Are you there, God? Oh, wait…

…I forgot. I haven’t done the whole ‘god’ thing in circa twenty years. So maybe I should say ‘universe’ or something less religion specific.

I sit here, as my dinner slowly burns on the range, with my fingers hovering over this neon blue keyboard attempting to articulate the myriad of thoughts devouring my brain. I am consumed with to many it’s become hard to sift through them all–searching for the right train of thought.

Frustrating building, I’m now calling to the heavens for guidance.

My writing inspiration seems to be an situation of ‘all or nothing.’ Either I have so many ideas I’m lost (like right now,) or it’s a blank desert–endless miles of dust mote dunes suffocating my brain. If only I could find a trigger… Oh, wait!! (again!) I entered a contest. I did! I entered #PitchWars, and now I have a list longer than the Mississippi to choose from.

Here is my question for you, my lovely readers. How do you choose your projects? What is your process? Normally, mine is I wait until an idea keeps me up at night–but I have a bit quandary, for I have a WIP that needs tending, another MS plotting on a promise–and then there’s the one that’s keeping me up.

Do you see what the problem is? What should I do?!

So, now you are god (this could go poorly quickly, but lets do it any way.) All of the help you provide (aka–advice) is greatly appreciated!

Now–if you’re also entered Pitch Wars, I wish you luck! And to everyone else. Happy Writing!!

xx-

-A

 

 

The continuous road of writing…

I’ve now been sending queries for 25 days. I know this because one agent I emailed sent an auto-reply telling me after 30 days–it wasn’t me, it’s him or her.

Why is sending queries like getting dumped? Besides the obvious rejection. But seriously, that is what all auto-rejections feel like. And here I am–in my teens again, getting the, ‘It’s not you. It’s me,’ speech from some catholic school boy whose name I can’t remember.

The only difference is I’m not sixteen any more and I’ve matured enough to believe that the sender is correct. You can’t please everyone now can you? And why would you want to for that matter?

As the query wheels roll I’ve taken the time to look at what else I have in my writing armory. There is full history fiction novel, a half novel that still has potential not to suck a ton, and then the long queue of new ideas burning holes in my brain.

[They keep me up at night. Does this happen to you?]

Most ideas I let sit for a while. If they vanish I know I was right to wait. How great of a concept could it have been I can’t even remember it existed? Then there are the others… Over a dozen random characters in my head poking my frontal lobe just to see if I’m paying attention.

My brain needs a receptionist.

On top of that I have one other problem: two of these stories are promises–one is a first draft (a very, extremely, oh god help me! first draft,) that was a promise to a friend and the other is for my son.

I came here to write about it because seeing the problem on the computer screen helps me make decisions. I suppose that is another cure of being a writer–the transition from brain to page. My hazel green eyes need to rest firmly on the blackness of the text in order for my brain to calm down and make a decision. It also allows me to distract myself–because while I’m busying myself filling out beat sheets, typing up character breakdowns, and deciding where to put a big chunk of my energy for the next four weeks, I’m able to hold onto the notion that I won’t be sad on June 16th when I don’t hear from that agent…

Querying is such a roller coaster! (which is an amazing place to pick up emotional traits for the characters I write about. Damn it. Writing is like the song that never ends. It just keeps going and going and going and going…)

 

edit/machine

There are so many catch phrases or one liners out there. The same words regurgitated repeatedly until they lose their meaning.

I find I use all of them. All.

Metaphor after metaphor. Line after line. Soliloquy on a page trapped in a vacuum known as the internet; a living thing called a blog.

We all need to have our own live action digital magazines.

Editing lost out the moment we claimed ourselves writers, artists, photographers, and independently published genius. The rooms are so crowded no one can get through–we all suffocated together.

I lost my breath years ago.

…somewhere shy of midnight…

I sit, leaning back in a worn and damaged swivel chair, palms resting on the equally frayed desk. Fingers cramped–because I know better, but still don’t care.

I sit, knees pressed together pulled up into my chest–because I’m sure that’s how Dickens’ did it, too.

I sit. I sit. I sit and I write. I write. I write, because that’s was the advice I received. My feedback. My life line.

And when I’m not sitting I pray my words capture more than the one-liners and worn out metaphors. That they are like, “a light in a sea of darkness.” (see, there’s one now.) And I hope I don’t shrivel up, but secretly I know I won’t.

I haven’t before.

I won’t now.

So I close my ears, squeeze my eyes shut, and tell myself tomorrow will be better. Because it has to be. Because I said so.

And then I write some more.

Delete is the greatest key designed. Backspace is a close sentence. And cntrl X has it’s moments, too. But never around worn out metaphors, and some times when a soliloquy when it runs to long. (and you forgot why you started in the first place.)

W.I.P.

My ode to writing and publishing…

W.I.P

nonsense

the words

the actions

the time it takes to get out of bed

yet here I am

unraveling a ball of twine

the chaos model of my life

the beginning

frayed

unraveling

the end

hidden

somewhere in the middle

suffocated by layers

its supposed to be something

when isn’t it?

I wrestle

submissive

my machete is to dull

for the war playing in front of me

what will I cut through the vines with?

sarcastic interludes

satirical fodder

“air quotes”

those aren’t a weapon

they’re the fuel

this is why I never look up

better to look down

blinders on

eyes on the keys

on the page

on the indelible black ink

that is my life source

better than coffee

some days

Sophie’s choice (of writing…)

I have spent the last 2 years working on the same WIP. I’ve written, rewritten, and rewritten some more. After that I took the 400+ page book and split the it into two, bringing it down the 50k-80k words, a respectable word count for a young adult novel, and after that it was rewritten again, but here I am, getting nowhere. Happy form letters, generic form letter – silence! No one wants it, no matter how much I love it.

I believe in the story, but I know that I need to rethink the direction and to do that properly it was take time. So, I finally made the decision to move on. I know it is for the best and as I rationalize why I was doing what I was doing it  left me with one question…

How do you know that it is time to let go of one piece  and start another?

I wish I could say I have an answer, but I don’t. I’m looking at it is like every other hard decision I’ve made in my life. I’m relying on my gut to tell me it’s time to move on, and to let go. I know that if I stay it will only be out of love (which I really do), but by doing that I’m risking running myself into the ground, and taking the story with me. I fear I will grow to hate this story I love, and I don’t want that.

While I dive into a new WIP filled with new ideas, characters, themes, a whole new world I find myself growing excited, but I do  hope that one day I’ll be able to return and fix things and get her where she needs to be.

That’s the problem with writing. Everything you create is a child of your imagination, and no one wants to leave their child behind.

When you start asking if it’s time to let things go, it probably is, but even with that knowledge it doesn’t make it less of heart wrenching choice. My very own personal Sophie’s choice…