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 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?”
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.”

Inside my treasure chest

When I first read this assignment (write about inanimate meanings, ie pull from your treasure chest)  I went into a tailspin. I took this on such a personal level I searched my history to find something to pin this story on. I found nothing. Asking my husband, my friends and family-we all came up drawing blanks. I had nothing, no treasures from my past, nothing that I had truly held onto. It’s depressing to feel treasureless.

How could I write this without having experienced this first? How could I convince the reader to share in the creation of an experience that leads them to hold fondly onto the picture I paint with these words; if I had not experienced the depth of these emotions first? I concluded I was lacking emotional depth and screwed as a writer.

I’m not a mentally normal person. It’s no excuse for hiding, dodging and not doing the work. Yesterday, I came back to myself, back to this mind frame that can do the work. This morning I woke up inspired. All I had to do was change the parameters of what makes a treasure.

Physical objects as treasure I do not have. I never cherished things that I knew could disappear at my parent’s whim. I learned early on to not hold onto the comfort of a blanket and to transfer it to whatever object was available. I had learned detachment was more valuable than attachment. Facing that one fact hurts.

But I tell stories. Some of these I’ve recounted over the years to the point I have a favorite one.

I spent a great deal of time in the yard as a child. I watched life change in her slow ways over those years. Have you ever noticed the thickening of the tree trunks in the spring? Ever notice where the wild thistle comes from? Have you watched the slow war of the ants? The environment was my main source of mental stimulation.

At six I enjoyed running across the yard to pick buttercups, dandelions, oxalis, clover, wild mint, sweet peas, and violets. For most of them, my pickings encouraged them to grow and spread out even more. Except for the buttercups. By the time I was seven, there was only a single patch in the yard. It was a health bushy patch surviving the onslaught of the lawnmower bravely.

Then, came me and my greedy hands. In a single spring, I decimated their future. I proudly gave my mother the biggest and best buttercups I had ever seen. The flowers were bigger than my thumbprint, they were giant buttercups. Their yellow pollen would cover our chins as we asked silly questions about our love, or not, of butter. It was such a happy spring and summer, the year of the giant buttercups.

The following spring I eagerly searched for the buttercups. Not a single buttercup plant existed in the yard. None existed in the neighborhood. There were no buttercups to be seen. I had picked them all, to death!

In my innocence, my desire to shower my mother with affection led to the destruction of our favorite flower. It’s a lesson that I’ve carried with me and never forgotten.

Turns out buttercups are annual plants and they need their flowers to form seeds. It took ten years for wild buttercups to spread and reseed the yard. Such little actions often have deep and long-lasting consequences. This is my earliest treasure-awareness.

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!

November is National Pomegranate Month

And the month of NaMoWriMo.
And Premature Awareness Month
And it’s Turkey Month… ahem Thanksgiving.
And this year it’s also Presidential Election Month.

What I’m trying to say is; it’s a busy month.
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year. So please enjoy all the Hot Coffee and Wordless Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll pop back in with the odd post or at least a word count update. Or follow along with a random tidbit on the twitter stream.