Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Number Four, In Which the Author Discusses an Incomplete Hastag

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.  ~Douglas Adams

If you have been reading this blog or following me on Twitter, you know that I attempted an idea I called #writehome for my return ride from Seattle. The plan was to take the time of the flight to write an entire short story (about 5,000 words or so). Being relatively new to applying deadlines, and for myriad reasons (including a long ascent, a late flight, and the effect of Lorazepam that I take for flight-related anxiety), I was not successful in completing this story. I also incorrectly assumed that I would be able to update to Twitter via mms on my phone during the flight, but there is no signal for flights and thus, no updates were possible. Duh.

Anywho, I've been sitting on the story now for a couple of days. Part of the reason is that I started a new job on Monday (yay the life of a working stiff and writer), the other is pure laziness. I plan to work on this over the next couple days, assuming I get the opportunity (like now, I suppose) and then I was thinking I would attempt to get it into some form of literary magazine. This is a story concerning a minor character from one of my novel ideas, and it fits mostly into the fantasy category (you could call it Americana fantasy, Indiana Jones-style fantasy, etc.). It is set in the Columbia River gorge of Oregon, which is a place we visited during the trip and I thought would be fitting for a story. I'm enjoying it so far, and think it should be a fun read when it's done. I'll keep you all updated.

In other news, the trip was great and we had a lot of fun. We saw a great deal of Seattle and some of greater Washington and Oregon, including Astoria and the Goonies house like I mentioned before. I'm thinking of setting a short story in the Pike Place Market, but I have to work out exactly how I will do this and what the elements will be. In other words, it's in the works. Also, I'm going to start planning a weekly word count completion of 10,000 words. Not a whole lot, but with other jobs, it will at least move me along.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Flash Fiction: The Divide

There was a sudden shift in the silence. The darkness. The lights flickered and the hull shuddered. I could feel how fragile this craft truly was, thousands of miles above the surface of the Earth. Above the solid ground. Above gravity. Above the rational. The logical.

Alone on the station, I could experience just how isolated I was. Nothing shows true separation from humanity as does fear. Pure and absolute fear. Away from all mankind. Apart from comforting arms. From words of peace and comfort.

As the shockwave hit, I felt the joints give. The whole beast of steel and aluminum and titanium and whatever else wiggled around. Wiggled! If that is anything, it is not comforting. It lends to a point of view of instability. Of lack of safety.

I stood up and walked toward the other end. Which is to say I floated. There is no gravity in space. Of this, I am sure you are aware. I walked down the halls – A1, A2, AE14, E6, E5, EF12, F11, F10. I reached the other end of the station. A small room designed to be a gymnasium of sorts. I looked around and saw nothing. I looked out the porthole and saw nothing. Then I turned my head and looked down hall FZ21. I shouldn’t have looked at FZ21.

There was a quality to the light that was unearthly. Unspacestation-ly? It was fucking weird, that’s what. I stared into that hall and contemplated traversing the distance. I did not savor the idea.

I radioed Houston. “Houston, some strange shuddering going on up here. Over”

“Steady now, ISS 21. You’ve only been up there for 14 days.”

“Only remarking on a physical happening, Houston.”

“All is well and good, 21. There are no indicators on down here. Everything is five by five.”

Ridiculous. Ri-dic-u-lous! I know what I felt. I know what I saw. I know what is there. It’s staring at me now. The weirdness. The void. The dark? Or is it the light? My eyes are red now. I’ve been awake so long. Staring at the hallway.

“21, do you read? ISS 21? Hello? Wilson? Are you there? What on Earth is going on? It’s been 8 days since you contacted last. We need to know your situ…” I break the connection. Fuck off. Nothing on Earth is going on. Bastard.

There is a hand that beckons. It is there, coming from the hall. Requesting my presence. Asking for my company. It is not connected to anything. I stare.

I consider my surroundings. There is little for me here. Will they send someone to check. Will they send someone to kill me? They did this to me. I am certain.

The hand is held open. It appears female. It has red nail polish. My libido jumps into my throat. Take the hand, it tells me. I think again. I am already dead. There is little that the hallway can do to me now.

I step forward. I take the hand. I walk across the divide. The darkness is light.

Number Three, In Which We Learn About Peripeteia

I was recently reading an article called the Art of Being Wrong by Henry Shukman in Tricycle magazine. The article, at length, discusses the concept of peripeteia as described by Aristotle. This idea is a complete reversal of circumstances or a turning point and is most often used to describe elements in literature.

In essence, the author talked about how much we appreciate a sudden shift in point of view by the character we connect with in the process of reading a novel. This is the moment when the character realizes that everything he or she thought was one way is, in fact, another. The reason we appreciate this, says Shukman, is because we understand the importance of it in our own lives. Unless we understand that we were wrong in some belief, and accept that we must change it, we never learn. Being wrong is essential to our development as human beings and our betterment of ourselves.

Of course, a good deal of us are very resistant to being wrong. We want to think that we are always right, especially those of us married men who accept the right-ness of our spouses (and secretly "know" that we are right). But until we make that realization that our own human value is not directly tied to be always right but is in fact a self-designed, internal part of ourselves and allow ourselves to be wrong, we will never learn and advance, nor will we ever approach enlightenment.

I think it's also important in designing a story to keep this in mind. As we write, our goal is to produce something that feels human (assuming you are, in fact, writing a human character) and we must understand the human experience thoroughly enough to design a believable character. I am a firm lover of excellent characterization, and a great character-driven story is what I love to read, and what I strive to write. Thus, it is very important for me to understand this and many other sides to the human psyche and experience.

In the end, it is interesting where one can find writing help and advice. The value of reading...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Poetry: The Saint

Three o’clock,
Tick tock, tick tock,
All children sleeping,
In bed like rocks,
For that is best,
That they should rest,
On Christmas Eve,
And safest, lest,

Should Nikolaus find one,
Awaiting fun,
Eyes wide open,
Mind a run,
He’ll take them forth,
To polar North,
To his employ,
To work thenceforth,

For games on shelves,
Aren’t made by elves,
The waking children,
Do build themselves,
The wished for toys,
Of girls and boys,
Who kept asleep,
And made no noise,

And there they’ll stay,
For all the days,
Working hours,
With naught for pay,
And all because,
They defied the Claus,
So tuck in tight,
And obey the laws.

Number Two, In Which We Are Privy to an Idea of Sorts

At this very moment, I am blogging from the comfort of an Extended Stay hotel in Bellevue, WA. My family and I are vacationing in the Seattle area and visiting much of the sights and scenes out here in the Pacific Northwest. As an example, we found ourselves in Astoria, Oregon, and I totally geeked out at the prospect of visiting the Goonies house. It turns out, the people who own the home are cool with pedestrian visitors walking up and taking photos and truffle shuffling and whatnot around their home. Pretty cool.

In addition to this, my wife wanted to visit Snoqualmie Falls which, I must say, was dramatically awesome. As we approached the viewpoint, I looked out and noticed the Salish Lodge on the cliff. It seemed rather familiar and I finally realized that it was the hotel from Twin Peaks. Looking around the town of Snoqualmie, I recognized several places that were obvious shooting locations from the show. Needless to say, I had a couple of good fanboy moments.

Anyway, as we were out and about today, I had a thought. I decided that, on the semi-lengthy journey back from Washington to Minnesota, I could very well have enough time to write a story. Thus, I am planning on focusing my time to completing an entire 5,000+ word story to be submitted to some lit-mag at completion. I'll be updating occasionally about this venture on Twitter via #writehome, assuming everything goes to plan. I'll let you know what I'm writing about, as well as the process of submitting it. Let me know what you think of the idea.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Number One, in Which We Learn About Our Protagonist, the Author.

Hello and welcome! My name is Adam and I'm a writer from the great snowy depths of Minnesota. I've been writing for a good deal of my life, as well as reading for nearly as long. I appreciate great fiction with great characters, and I love a great genre-bender. I try to include in my writing these same elements that I enjoy.

This blog is here to share my stories, as well as my journey as I work to complete and publish my first full novel. I hope that you'll enjoy my tales, my ramblings, perhaps some of my poetry and photography as well. Please feel free to leave comments, and don't forget to like my page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Thank you for reading!