Once more into the breach, dear friends…

This is round four with Writer World boot-camp. Just got lesson 1 tonight. I get to write it this time, the worst writer in the system. I’m starting to think we’ve all taken the basics at this point. Why, oh why, does it take us four to five times as much head pounding to get it in?

Once more, we go to war, not with words and lessons therein, but in ourselves to battle the daemons of the past that drift like smoke on our chard remains of life.
Once more, we go to war, to win! To Write! To Express! To Feel! To Bleed!

Henry V, Act III, Scene I
[Once more unto the breach, dear friends]

William Shakespeare, 1564 – 1616

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man,
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, conjure up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage:
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let it pry through the portage of the head,
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide;
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English,
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought,
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument.
Dishonour not your mothers: now attest,
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture: let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge,
Cry ‘God for Harry! England! and Saint George!’

The Book

We restarted the writing course this month, going back to the beginning because, well, we got lost again. Tough subjects to deal with and didn’t handle it well at all.  Getting better at dealing with emotional pain, so counting that as a plus. The goal to this course is to write a manuscript by the end of it. I don’t have a story yet to write. I suspect it’s just a matter of picking something and sticking to it.

I’d like to share with you a snippet of the progress I’m making. Lessons are 500 word short stories at a time, often focusing on a segment of grammar. The shortness of the short story is causing me some frustration but I’m managing to write something. Enjoy.

The Book

“Run!” Mavern pushing hard to reach the tunnel’s mouth, wedges himself against the stone door slowing its roll into position. “Come On, hurry up! His voice cracks watching as Gus and Willian rush the doorway as it slams shut. Panting hard Gus bends over heaving as he holds his knees. He didn’t look too good, his face turning pale. Willian wheezing, struggling for breath lays on the ground. Gym class never prepared them to run for their lives or climb up stone walls or battle giant beetles with their bare hands.

‘Where’s Minck?”
Gus looks around and shakes his head.”Last I saw of him was..”
“It’s his damn fault!” Will turns, punching the stone door. Howling, holding his fist close to his chest, Will stomps the ground hissing through his teeth.
“Shit, Will. Why’d you do that?” Taking Will’s hand, Mavern looks over the bruising knuckles and flexes Will’s fingers. “Stop being a baby. It’s just bruised you, big idiot. We’ve got bigger problems.”
They look at each other before dropping their heads to their chins as their shoulders slump.
“Minck was behind the DM screen before the flashing light.” Gus scratched his head. “Before..” He nodded his head behind him. “Before, back there.”
“Shit.”
“Shit is right. I’m hungry.” Gus flushes as his stomach growls.
Shaking his head, Mavern turns looking over the countryside. Down the valley, past the fields, a road leads to a cluster of buildings. Looking behind him, a mountain; a billy goat would find a challenge to climb, stood. Trudging forward, Mavern makes his way down the slope, Gus and Will following.
“Where are you going?”
Turning to his friends Mavern shrugs. “Look, I don’t know how we got here but we can’t stay back there. We need help or food. Mostly food. So. Are you coming or what?”

The aroma of roast meat entices them forward. Lifting his hand to the door, Mavern pushes it open and steps inside.
“Hey, this looks like the tavern in chapter two” Will elbows Mavern. “Do you think..”
“Shh. Be quiet. Let me do the talking” Mavern winks as he walks towards the man wiping down the counter. Three meals and somewhere to sleep, easy? Maybe. Making a prayer to the universe that they speak the same language, Mavern offers his hand out to the man.
“My friends and I would like to work for our meals and a place to stay for the night.”
Glaring at the boys, the barkeep leans forward, his grin showing off rotten teeth, slamming his fist into the counter. “I have no use for worthless boys!” Cackling, the barkeep waves them closer “Work now. Eat later. Come on.” Leading them past the counter to the back of the building, he points to the stalls. “Muck them out.”
Gus punches Mavern in the shoulder as he shrugs, finding shovels for each of them.
“You have a better idea?”
“No.”
Hours later Mavern, rolls to his side in the fresh hay with a belly full of hot soup, his friends snoring beside him. The stars peak between the roof slats of the stable. “I miss working at McDonald’s.”

Blasting thought Blocks

The last three weeks have been a bit of hell for me. I felt the blackness coming and I didn’t run far enough to avoid it. It swallowed me up again.

It was different. I saw it coming and it didn’t last too long. I know it was deep and I’m not sure how in the hell I got back out of it either.

It screwed up some things for me in a big way. I am taking classes for creative writing and I am behind on my assignments. I was given a second chance to catch up. I will have to do two to three assignments per day just to get back on track with the class.

I think I may have broken through – or at least punched a big hole in – my block against writing fiction. For some reason, a little voice whispered in my ear that I needed to write out the bullshits I was having about this. Thank you once again Dreamwalker. I do learn. And I did. But I also rewrote the bullshits, correcting them for positivity and reality.

Twenty-five individual bullshits surrounding this issue between me, my mother, religion and childhood had to be worked out.

Everything is coming out stilted, raw, unready yet it is progress. I have a ton to learn and practice. I’m so raw in this process but I see hope for the first time. I see progress. I see possibilities.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

I think this is pretty amazing for WordPress to do. I see a lot of gaps I need to close in my writing schedule in the coming years! Thank you all, dear readers for being with me on this wonderful ride as we close out the end of the year as we make way for the New!

Writing 101: Be Brief

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.

Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.

9:45am displayed on the clock as she glanced at it frantic. She was late again. Grabbing the yellow rain slicker that hung beside the front door, she snatched it while patting down her pockets making sure she had everything she needed with her and speed out the door.

Rain splattered down on the wet circles of the road as she single mindedly pushed herself to hurry as her footsteps splashed through water. I got to make it in time she thought to herself as she neared the bus stop. A bright pink something fluttered near the bottom of bus stop pole. Bending down, she grabs it to find a square of paper folded in half with the words “Don’t stand up” written in bold ink across it.

Just as her eyes cross the paper a gust of air strokes her cheek and the heavy scent of gas and motor oil surround her as the world shatters in squealing brakes, terrifying screams and the crunch of metal and shattering glass. Instinctively curling her arms around her swollen tummy as her baby kicks hard, she turns just her head to see the wreckage and gasps.

 

Head Space Shift

Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)

There is a place that I used to visit that no one else could. In fact it isn’t like any other place on earth at all. This place existed as a part of me, as a part of us. It is / was our head space.

It was here that the softest summer green grass I’ve ever seen covers a wide sports field, pristine and untouched under the clearest blue summer sky. The bright sun was placed up high, casting no shadows anywhere without blazing heat as a cool spring breeze moves the air gently, stirring the grass lightly as it moves across the field. The air itself is filled with expectation, as if an excited crowd just vanished leaving behind the sense of excitement palatable in the air itself.

Facing the field, a lone aluminium  bleacher stands back drop to the endless  grass and sky. It is there that I sit,in the very middle of the bleachers, not at the bottom and not at the top, just right there in the middle watching the sports field as it lays out spread before us. I sit there, as do I and as do I and as do I. We sit there side by side, huddled on the warm metal as if there was a crowd all around us but for us, only we exist, the field, the sky and the bleachers. I always got the sense that if I so much as blinked, this moment would be filled with people excitedly watching a game in play.

My eyes look up into the sky watching for a moment as soft puffy cumulus clouds lazily drift across the sky from right to left disappearing beyond into an expanse of unknown. We sit here watching the field, chatting, arguing, debating with great emotions. We wave our hands at each other in disagreement and even shake our fingers as we point out at the field in dismay at the players out there we can not see. The heckling calls we give our voice to echo around us amid the din of noise from the greater beyond, yet here we can hear each other clearly. It is all very surreal.

I miss this place of excitement, of anticipation being held deep in the essence of it’s creation. I woke up one morning to find it gone and replaced with something unfamiliar and slightly uncomfortable.

The clear blue sky was gone and replaced by a great white canvas of an expanse that was almost bright enough to hurt the eyes if I stared long enough. I found myself sitting on a soft thick colorful persian carpet, surrounded by familial arms and legs entangled in an all-encompassing hug as we all murmured soothing comforting words of encouragement and calm. All of us sitting there in an endless hug, hung somewhere in the bright white expanse, far from the green field that we had grown to think of as our home, as a barely audible thump thump of a collective heartbeat pulses though each of us connecting us as one.