Soul on the mend
Wednesday, November 30, 2005, 7:16 PM

If you believe in yourself enough
And know what you want
You're gonna make it happen (Make it happen)
And if you get down on your knees at night
And pray to the Lord
He's gonna make it happen (Make it happen)

I know life can be so tough
And you feel like giving up
But you must be strong
Baby just hold on
You'll never find the answers
if you throw your life away
I used to feel the way you do
Still I have to keep on going
Never knowing if I could take it
If I would make it through the night
I held on to my faith
I struggled and I prayed
And now I've finally found my way

~Lyrics to Mariah Carey's Make It Happen

Last Tuesday on the bus ride home, the driver (a female) was singing along to this song. I'm not a Mariah Carey fan, but I was last Tuesday.

Usually there's only the hum of the bus motor, the squeal of the brakes, incessant honking from either the bus or a car, and an electronic voice announcing stops. APPROACHING ROBERTSON AND PICO! Some bus drivers turn the volume up real loud. Maybe they're hoping passengers will get off a few stops early.

Sometimes the bus passengers converse (I'll never forget the guy who told me allllll about how he was the last of the Mohicans, or how a gray haired guy almost got into it with a skinny black man over why the bus line might be cancelled, or a bus passenger's argument with the driver about whether or not he could bring his bags of cans on the bus), but when it's dark and almost seven at night, people are pretty quiet. And it's not the same during the summer. Bus patronage dropped radically ever since it started getting dark around five. No one who boards the bus nowadays is bursting with fruit flavor, and they all seem to be wearing knit caps that are pulled down to their eyebrows. (I think they'd curl up and die in Indiana weather.) Maybe there are fewer passengers because you can't see out the bus window at night? I didn't even want to consider the other alternative, but crap, it's already in my head. Maybe it's because people are afraid to walk after dark?

I never did get my can of Mace. I don't even have a whistle. (Actually, I have one with a compass on it, but I keep forgetting to put it in my purse.) All I really have is my key chain. I studied it a couple of weeks ago as a potential weapon and I think the key with the Plum Rose nail polish stripe on it (right in the throat, eye or groin) is my best bet. So if I'm ever attacked, I'll scream myself hoarse and try to jab the key into someone where it will do the most damage. Hopefully I'll remember to point it in the right direction. I don't know; the only thing I do well in a stressful situation is to shake like Jell-O.

Back to the Mariah Carey night on the bus.

It was a good bus ride night and I don't have many of those. But last Tuesday night, there was a guy sitting behind me and while Mariah and the bus driver were singing, so was he. His song was more of a soft wail (Hebrew, I think, but I don't know). Being there on the bus to hear the three of them was one of those sweet, rare moments when I felt as if I was in the world and not on it. Los Angeles encourages and honors cultural diversity and personal freedom. And I'm thinking of this, finally feeling this, when Mariah's song ended and shortly after that, so did the Jewish man's. But he wasn't yet done, because he immediately swung into a chanting prayer. At the end of it, he sighed and oh, how I envied the sense of peace he must have felt. If he looked, he would have seen my smile in the reflection of the bus window.

Yes, life is tough for me here. I'm unhappy a lot of the time, but just like I'm hopping across the pot holes on the sidewalk, I'm hopping (gliding gracefully) (uh, mostly) over the hurdles in my mind. It's liberating to voice my opinion and thoughts, even when it's painful. I have to believe in who I am and what I want to do, what I need and enjoy, even if what happens in life sometimes tricks me into forgetting or thinking that I have to settle. The energy, power and freedom to do whatever I have to do to make my life my own has always been mine. Why did I think I lost it?

_____
Sorry to the Blogline/Feedster folks for the extra post, but it was last Tuesday, not Thursday.

8 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Obsession-fueled muse
Monday, November 28, 2005, 4:16 PM

"It's not over ... until I SAY it's over."
~Nikita to Operations in the episode End Game

Have you ever been obsessed about something? Ever stayed up into the wee hours of the morning on a week night because the show you just had to see didn't air until then? Ever dreamed yourself into, oh, I don't know ... a fiction character's arms? Googled your obsession so you could find other, like-minded souls? Then hung out with them on message boards dissecting and debating character intent, plot holes and the too-infrequent WMS (wild, mindless sex) scenes until years passed and you suddenly realized that you knew these faceless strangers better than your family?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am still an LFN-aholic. I am crazy-sick over a Warner Brothers television show that was called La Femme Nikita. The show is based on a gritty French movie that I had to watch through my fingers. (This movie also spurred an American remake called Point of No Return.)


So what is La Femme Nikita? For a good answer, let me nudge you to Billie Doux' website. I found this web site when I Blogger searched for La Femme Nikita posts. Imagine my surprise when I found an unlikely LFN-aholic in an ALIAS show lover! Billie Doux has a swanky knack for reviewing shows and she's already said it better than I can. You will love this show. You will become obsessed by this show. You will join me on The Dark Side. Michael is mine, though.

There are a lot of LFN-aholics Out There, but only a few can write the kind of insightful reviews I read at Billie Doux' website and Blog. She's good. Not just because she can write well and not just because she loves the show, although that certainly doesn't hurt, but because she zoned right in on certain character traits from La Femme Nikita characters that are now trademarks of ALIAS characters. For example, La Femme Nikita's Michael Samuel's economy of movement and expression also belongs to ALIAS' Jack Bristow.

And-and-and, she picked right up on the fact that these two frustrating-yet-excitingly-so enigmatic, highly intelligent, master-manipulator characters are, for women, one of the show's major draws, if not the major draw. Well, I'm not a fan of the show ALIAS, so I don't know which sex dominates its fan-based cyber boards, but it was certainly true of Michael's character in La Femme Nikita. I think it was a toss-up between Madeline and Nikita on which character took second place.

So naturally, I consider this a sign from On High that I should resurrect O-Bug (web-schmeb, I think he should have a Blog in Today's World) and fulfill my dream to flesh out those mind-twisting and sometimes plot-problematic episodes. By the time I get to Season 4 I should be a pro, which is a good thing because I think the writers were snorting coke by then.

I'm aware that there are a few well-meaning folks who would like to suggest that I work on my own writing, and I want to tell them that I will. (When I'm ready.) For now, I want to revisit Section One because dreams die hard and this one isn't over until I say it's over.

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Billie Doux reviews science fiction and cult television shows. Go see.


11 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Mushy corners of a dark mind
Sunday, November 27, 2005, 6:27 PM

I was reading one of the stories I began almost ten years (oh. my. god.) ago. The prose is passive and dated (and screams how little I know about music ... stuff), and too closely mimics Sharon and Thomas Curtis, but I still get a kick out of this piece whenever I read it. It's a story about a shy girl who hasn't yet figured out that life is passing her by. But then her best friend's boyfriend, a rising rock star, explodes on the scene and things grow complicated.

Sounds trite, doesn't it? Probably why I never finished it.

Anyway, these are some of my favorite paragraphs. This scene was a blast to write. I remember listening to the songs I was writing about at the time I wrote them and feeling star-struck right along with my heroine, Shannon.

Imagine the thrill I feel when I write a love scene.

~*~*~*~

A lone spotlight picked the keyboardist out first, then widened to include two male guitarists and a female drummer. Dev Caulfield stood behind the keyboard at the right front of the stage, his attention focused on the keys. When he lifted his face a moment later, it was to stare directly up into their corner. His first softly uttered words caused a scattering of screams in the audience.

“You are so beautiful . . . .”

It was a heady experience for Shannon, seeming as it did that he directed his attention right at her. But there was really no reason to act like a boob because with the light shining into his eyes, it was unlikely that he could tell her apart from the ceiling support post beside her. In any case, he was singing the song for Wendy and maybe, unofficially, for Olivia. She might as well have been that darn post.

She shoved the realization aside for later and draped her arms across the banister, falling a little in love with him at the moment along with the rest of the females present. There was really nothing about him that suggested he was a star on the rise, other than his incredible presence. Dressed casually in snug black pants and a white painter's shirt, he put his magic into the words and his expression. His movements above the keys were slight, his body at ease, his face open to the audience. The song was an old one, a slow one, but the effect it had on Shannon was staggering enough that he could have been hook-nosed and hump-backed and still have sent her pulse out of whack.

Two six foot projector screens hung high at both ends of the stage, showing the detail of what couldn’t be seen at thirty paces away. Close-ups were shown of each of the performers and Shannon waited in suspended time for his. When it came, she saw wavy, black hair that looked like it had been finger-combed. Black eyebrows arched wing-like over heavy-lidded eyes. His cheekbones were high-set, the nose long and flaring at the nostrils. He had a strong, well-shaped mouth that he used to advantage, pursing, tensing or curving his lips in accordance to what the song evoked. Shannon unthinkingly tried to imitate him, and then glanced around guiltily when she discovered herself at it.

The girls at the foot of the stage screamed for his attention when he abandoned the keyboard during the next song. She found it hard to keep her mouth from dropping open as he moved with lissome grace across the stage in time to the beat of the music. He must have been in phenomenal shape because his voice in the microphone didn’t sound winded at all. He had an amazing range of pitch, at one moment sounding sexily tender, and in the next throwing out a deep yell. When he treated them to a taste of Michael Jackson moves during Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, she saw one of the girls up front fall in a dead faint. Reach out and touch me, indeed.

When he strolled off the stage two hours later, she blinked as if waking from a trance.

~*~*~*~

I have a different writer's voice now. Ever since the influence of La Femme Nikita, the tone of my mind, as it concerns romance writing, has been altered. I want to write more than easy-to-swallow fluff, even though the fluff is easier to write. I've tried to go back to writing it, to find my roots again, but I can't do it. My internal editor has a whip and she likes cracking it.

I've been mulling the idea of delving back into La Femme Nikita fanfic. I'm very good at writing LFN fic. I like to "flesh" out the episodes that were aired, to send my writer's psyche behind the scenes and into the character's heads. That's how O-Bug was born. He's omniscient (something that made me feel powerful).

I have to get that feeling back. Yes, yes, yes.

The show is definitely worth my time and would get me back into the discipline of writing (and teach me how to write espionage a la that dark flair I crave and love).

Hmm.

9 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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Page turning
Friday, November 25, 2005, 12:13 PM

I used to write at Blogspot back in 2003, but I deleted my blog after creating an AOL Journal. So I'm going to dedicate the last swallow of coffee in my smiley face cup to this, my inaugural entry at Still Unhinged.

For the last week or so, I've been engaged in Blogger template tweakage hell. It's been all-consuming and frustrating, but fascinating also. I haven't decided if that's a good fascination to have because it could distract me from writing. Lately I haven't felt like writing, but I know myself well enough to know that I can tweak until Kingdom Come and I'll still be squinting at the computer screen weighing color choice, font size, and cyber fringes to be placed just so in the sidebar ... and whether or not the sidebar should be on the left or right. Or if I should keep the lavender or go black ... or white for Oogie because dark text is easier to read against a white background. Preoccupation over the color of the walls shouldn't supersede the art on the wall.

I was on Journal hiatus when the AOL ad brouhaha blew up, so there were no outraged e-mails or posts from my corner. I hated the look of the ads, but I knew as soon as I saw them there that it was time to move on. I didn't feel much anger about it; partly because I knew it wasn't going to make a damn bit of difference to get angry, partly because I just didn't care. And I know that's because so much has changed in my life this year. I got divorced. Said goodbye to my best friend. Buddy died. I live in another state, have a new job, am without a car and live a completely different life. Most of the time I feel as if I am holding on by my fingernails. Having to start over in another blog place seemed trite.

Next May, I'll say goodbye to AOL, which is where I met my now ex-husband. It will be like another plot resolution in my story. I'm a bit heartbroken to say goodbye to Unhinged, but I feel as if I accomplished what I set out to do there. Another chapter is finished, but I can read back through it whenever I choose. And I can still find the people who helped make the community what it was to me.

I go back and forth about sharing this blog with the world at large. I want to be read, but the thing is, I just don't feel like being a part of a community right now. It would be too much work and I'm finding it difficult to be interested in anything. So I'm hanging out on the fringes where there's less pressure, where it's more quiet and not as bright. It's the best thing for me right now.

7 Did the Unhingey Jiggy Engage in Unhingenosity
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