Friday, May 30, 2008, 7:37 PM
It's been a while since I publicly shared any brain dumps, but heh, I've spared you all long enough. This is all part of my evil world domination plan to convert you all to Unhigenism. There will be no bending of the bodies, no knees against concrete, broken glass, or hard-padded wood that feels like Styrofoam on concrete. No confessions, no wafers to swallow, no nodding off during an early morning sermon. (But there will be wine. And maybe fish, if it's fresh cod.)
This much I know. And that's about it because I'll make the rest up as I go along. No rules, just inspiration born of necessity. And certainly, there will be no restrictions that would make someone feel bad.
Really, the thing is, is that I read back through these blog entries a year or years from now and in a small sense, remember. The randomistic brain dumps are the best (for me). The more descriptive I am, the better. It's interesting, and I hope nothing happens to the Internet because I've sent schloads of garbage trucks into the cosmos, and my lower lip would puff out and quiver if it was all just gone.
Remember the worries of 2000? Everything was going to shut down. We were going to lose our savings accounts, IRAs and worst of all, electrical access to any machinery that operated on dates. I was a little disappointed that nothing happened, ho-hum, dee-dum-dum. I don't like it when someone hypes me up for the end of the world and nothing happens.
* Yo, Andi, you're a Macy's size two? You freakazoid. That hellishly unholy week of head-banging misery and barfdom in January really paid off. Oh, if only you weren't as white as Casper's twin.
* Doesn't any place but that place in Pennsylvania sell extra, extra sharp cheddar cheese?
* Every day I visit the Animal Rescue Site. Sometimes the stories make me cry.
* What do Edward Norton and the new Incredible Hulk movie have in common? Me. While I was growing up, I loved Bill Bixby as David Banner and Lou Ferrigno as the Incredible Hulk. And I guess I have something for the color green, because I loved the Jolly Green Giant, too. (stupid leaves)
* There was a Smart car parked along Melrose today on the way home. Navy blue and neat as the Pope's toothpick. Of course, I didn't have my camera--I never have my camera when it really counts. It's a good thing I'm not a photographer or a documentarist. But I bet the car belonged to the girl taking photos of the newest clothing shop. Even if she isn't/wasn't, already there's a story a-brewing in my mind.
* I live downstairs from you. Yes, I think you've seen me before.
From the top of my research stack of books, I give you three sentences from Mind Manipulation: Ancient and Modern Ninja Techniques. It's pretty boring, though.
Police interrogators know how important a feeling of guilt is when interrogating a suspect. Therefore, in lieu of outright arresting a suspect, the investigator invites the suspect to come along to the police station to help clear up a few things, or to help police find the "real" culprit in a mug-book. By doing this, in effect police are asking the suspect to "volunteer" to go with the police.On reflection, though, maybe this bit isn't so boring. I've seen this action enough on Law & Order, but never really considered the manipulation behind the act--it was more of a general understanding for me.
And then Jodi tagged me for the My Life in Six Words or Less theme thing. Instead of making up six words that describe her life (lol), she went at this from book titles. Interesting, huh? So I'm going to do something different, too. Nothing quite describes me like Suzanne Vega's Left of Center. Which is only three words, but hey-yo. Never describe in six what you can say in three.
If you want me
You can find me
Left of center
Off of the strip
In the outskirts
In the fringes
In the corner
Out of the grip
I tag anyone who wants to be tagged, and no one who doesn't.
And now, time for more writing. Yaay! Or something like it.
What's your sign, man?
Whatever works, you know?
FFF 1000: Disguises
Flash Fiction Flood 1000
Once a month, writers are invited to come up with a 1000-word maximum flash story based on a theme. This month--May--is Disguises.
Wordcount: 1160 (uh, woops)
“It’s remarkable, Ms Dagget,” David said with a catch in his voice. His finger shook as he traced the naked figure of the woman in the painting.
“I call it Death Vengeance,” she said abruptly. “You see how her foot goes through the skeleton’s eye? Death. How her hands are crossed in front of her pelvis? Chastity. The red background is meant to represent blood. It has nothing to do with sex.”
His gaze hadn’t moved from the painting, but his finger had dropped to her signature in the bottom corner. She wondered what he’d think if he knew it was scrawled in her own blood.
“Well, we don’t have to share that. We don’t want to interfere with personal interpretation.”
She fought the urge to smirk. Let whoever purchased the painting hang it on the ceiling above his bed and jerk off to each brushstroke of her anger, pain and hate. The astronomical sums people paid for her paintings made her want to both laugh and weep; that the results of her hate could elicit such extravagance in paying far more than what a painting was worth seemed more sinful than liberating. But she couldn’t stop—the only way to get rid of the images was to create them. And she needed the money.
David tore his gaze from the canvas and looked at her with his mouth still agape. “The colors are amazing.” He switched the spotlight off that shone on the canvas. “Even now.”
Impatient at staring at the back of his head, even if he did have gorgeous blond hair and a set of wide shoulders, she retreated to the counter. “Like the others, I imagine it’ll sell before the end of the month,” she said.
He turned to her slowly, his dark eyes intense. “If you’d allow reproductions, we could make substantially more. Now wait until you’ve heard what I suggest. There are three avid Dagget fans and there are bound to be more as your name grows. How are you going to keep up with demand? A reproduction can be sold—”
“I don’t need that much money, nor am I interested in making fans.” There would be no reproductions of anything she’d created. One impression was more than enough.
David spread his arms out, angry at her business non sequitur. “Why?”
Because I said so.
“It’s the way I want it.”
A brief smile curved his mouth. “You want to become an elitist?”
Oh, hell. I’d rather pole dance.
“Exactly the opposite,” she said.
“I don’t understand.”
He didn’t need to understand. A part of her wanted to explain, but that wasn’t what M. Dagget would do.
She wanted anonymity.
She wanted never again to come face-to-face with the horror of her paintings.
Seconds passed while they both tried to outwait the other before David walked over, only he took his place behind the ornately carved counter. Her face began to heat under his scrutiny, but more in anger than with embarrassment. While this was personal for her, it was business for him. His eyes scanned her mouth, her eyes, but she knew it wasn’t with interest. Her skin was so pale it was sallow, and her pronounced under bite forced her bottom lip out too far. But his gaze challenged hers and her contact lenses became dry and fogged over because she refused to blink.
She lifted her chin. “Five thousand, Mr. Young.”
His mouth opened. She blinked. Oh, the relief.
“Five thousand, or I take my next painting to a competitor.”
“You can’t do that,” he growled. “We have a contract.”
They did, but it wasn’t legally binding, only he didn’t know that. Still, it would attract unwanted attention and trouble if she went to a competitor. “You’re more than capable of selling the painting at that price,” she said in answer.
Keep confidence. In him and you.
She felt his gaze like a physical touch against her back as she left the store. From now on, she’d send the paintings by courier. David Young was probing too deep, displaying too much attitude. His Adonis’s blond looks were starting to make her uncomfortable. Beautiful men were used to getting what they wanted, which meant he would care less and less what she felt or wanted. And maybe, just maybe, so would she.
But not if she retreated. Not if she removed the obstacle.
Damn his avarice for taking away her outings.
Outside, she faced a different kind of heat. The sun beat down on her head, and the warmth radiating from concrete sidewalk and the building next to her made her feel like an egg in a frying pan. It was August; another good reason for a courier. Maybe even an Alaskan cruise.
She flagged a taxi.
“Where to?” the driver asked as the passenger side window rolled down. She pulled the door's handle. It stuck. He hadn’t unlocked it. Swallowing a curse, she stepped to the side and peered into the open window.
“Broadway and 8th,” she said firmly. She hated, absolutely hated, being judged on appearance. Beauty was no different from ugliness.
The door’s lock thunked and she climbed into the cab with a sigh.
“You got cash, lady?”
Now he was insulting her. She dug out her can of mace and a billfold, then held up a twenty dollar bill.
He shrugged and mashed the accelerator. She kept the can of mace on her lap, smiling secretly at the number of glances he gave it. Skinny, nervous, disrespectful—all she had to do was ignore him, the wimp.
And so she relaxed against the backseat as horns blared behind them. Damn, he had the air conditioning on too low. It would be embarrassing if she passed out from heat exhaustion, not to mention all the questions that would cause.
She didn’t open her eyes until he slowed at Broadway. Thrusting two twenty dollar bills through the square of plastic, she told him to pull over. Then, mostly keeping her head down but making it a point to smile at anyone who crossed her path, she entered the Chapman Flats building. The wood and brass decoration of the elevator face always made her think of a dungeon chamber with decorative studs.
She rode the elevator to the fourth floor, fidgeting inwardly all the way because M. Dagget wasn’t overtly impatient or temperamental.
M. Dagget was a friggen bore.
The first thing she did once inside the apartment was to kick off her shoes. The oversized aqua tank top came off next, then the foam body suit that made her look twenty pounds heavier. Exhaling loudly, she walked to her marble-tiled bathroom and grinned at herself in the mirror. She pulled the bottom set of false teeth out and carefully unhooked the mahogany pageboy wig.
Nondescript. Common. Forgettable. That’s all it took to fool most anyone.
We’re playing Telephone again, only this time Alice is calling it “Whisper.” So you can't pound the keys--type lightly or the spell will be broken.
1. Make a change in the paragraph below. It can be as little as a single word or almost every word, so long as we can still recognize the paragraph you received from the person who tagged you (me, Andi), not the original paragraph (by Alice).
He came from the bathroom, a kleenex in one hand and a Readers Digest in the other. His name was Ricardo, but she’d always called him Sneezy. She said she pitied his allergy-red-rubbed eyes. Instead of cursing her, he took her ear plugs and her dog's shoe, and ran off with Merry D.
2. Next, tag three people to make a change in the paragraph you wrote, and link to them.
4. Go to the original paragraph at Alice's Restaurant and let her know you did it so she can link back to you. For extra credit, head over to http://AliceAudrey.wordpress.com around June 9th for the contest based on this meme. You could win a $20 gift certificate!
~*~*~*~Hup to it, girls.
Photo Flash: Transference
Word Count: 597
"When something becomes unbearable enough that it affects your performance, you must have a place in your mind to retreat to,” Daren said.
He turned the volume up on the video taped interrogation until it drowned out the sounds of Shaine’s harsh breathing, until blackness bit at the edges in her mind, until bile rose in her throat. Her fists clenched and she jerked her head to the side.
His fingers were warm around her wrist. The shock of it made her bolt from her chair. “Don’t touch me.” Her knees buckled and she held to the chair’s back with all her strength. “You’re sick.”
A wrenching pop tore her attention from Daren to the TV screen again, and she saw the Chinese man had dislocated the joint at Eric’s shoulder. Keening her distress, Shaine sank beside the chair at Eric’s scream.
“It doesn’t get much worse than this,” Daren said. “But even if it did, you have to learn how to delay the reaction you’re displaying now.”
She ignored him. He wasn’t worth acknowledging. Fuck his reactions and opinions. Eric. Eric.
“Your profile indicates a love of nature. You were raised next to The Finger Lakes. There are a lot of hills there. Trees in abundance. Smooth running water. A sense of peace only nature can offer.”
She shook her head at Eric’s pain and anguish. At Daren’s intrusion.
“You start there, Shaine. At the base of the mountain where the water flows silent and smooth. Remember the scent of the water and the moss growing on rocks, feel how the air currents are both warm and cool, how the sunlight on water can be lulling. Hold the image in your mind until it becomes real. You can’t do anything about Eric’s suffering, but you can do something about your own.”
She found her voice, although it came out gruff, the syllables broken. “How can you say that? You people don’t know the first thing about peace. You murder it.”
He didn’t flinch under her stare. “Sometimes peace is achieved only after great suffering.” He paused, and then, “Someone has to suffer first, so that others don’t.”
Shaine pictured the rocky wall just past the backyard of the house where she and Eric grew up. He’d caught his first crayfish there; she’d caught her first leech. It was their playground of obstacles. Water to splash into, rocks to hop over, tree branches to swing from and sometimes, to fall down from.
Her fingers tightened around the leg of the chair. “Imagination will never make me forget what you’ve done, or what you people are capable of.”
“Of course not. But sometimes imagination can save your life.”
Shaine still heard the choked sounds Eric made. His pain created a frightening sense of urgency deep inside of her, an adrenalin rush she had to fight against. She couldn't fall apart, couldn't run the risk of Daren thinking she was going to fail at what he wanted her to do; couldn't risk Eric's life further. She didn't know how much longer she could bear it, though.
Why did compassion have to have a price? It hurt too much. How could she rationalize distancing herself from Eric's suffering? And if she did manage to do it, would that mean she was one step closer to becoming who Daren was? She didn’t want to survive or use her imagination in reaction to her brother’s suffering, not if it meant becoming like them. And it was unnerving how the memory of Little Meadow Creek intruded now. Sobbing, she bent over to let her fingers dangle in the water.
TT: Is that a whiskey?
1. I'm a staple-puller, quite OCD-ish about it actually.
2. A love note to myself. I've got lots of reminders set up on Outlook, but sometimes only a Post-It will do. Don't forget the thing with the thing in the thing, Andi.
3. My bottle of water. Yes, I know it's discolored and no, it's not pee. Lots of people do a double-take when they see my colored bottle. Gaspa, am I drinking on the job? More on that as we make the rounds of my world away from home.
4. Who can do data entry without a monitor to look at? Not me. It's a 15-incher by Xanex. (Okay, I forget the manufacturer.)
5. My haut red Samsung cell. Reception sucks at my apartment complex, but ain't she pretty?
6. Hail, it's a shame you can't see these photos, which were taken at Southtown Mall circa 1986 in one of those kadinky-dink photo booths. In one of them, there are four of us girls packed in there, but the only thing I notice is my big open mouth at the forefront, and my sister's purple eyeshadow--up to the eyebrow--in the back. It's one of my favorite photos ever. Who'da thunk it'd come from one of those cheap photo booths?
7. You can hardly see it, but this is the peach-colored package of the Crystal Light peach tea powder I pour into my bottles of water. I have a friggin-fraggin hard time gagging down water, so I need all the Crystal Light help I can get. I love the peach tea singles.
8. This is my green froggy. He's a magnet that comes apart in two places. I guess I could stick his rear end on the fridge, but I don't wanna. He's my desk mascot.
9. Two identical fortune cookie fortunes from Rice Chinese food. They both read: You're about to come into a great fortune. Apparently this doesn't mean a monetary fortune, because I've played the lucky numbers printed at the bottom of the slips more than one time, and haven't won diddly-squat.
10. My calculator, without which I'd be up Bumpy Poop Creek. I loves it, I loves it. (I should name it. Maybe Caleb and I could call him Cal for short.)
11. Okay, you can't see this at all, but it's a Far Side calendar joke-of-the-day that I regularly giggle-snort over. It's the one where a family of t-Rexes are seated at a dinner table. T-Rex's have big tails, mouths and legs, and weenie forearms. The balloon caption above Papa Rex reads: I AM trying to pass the potatoes. Remember, my forearms are as useless as yours.
12. I do a lot of writing at the job. I've got all colors of pens--purple, green, magenta, ice blue, dark blue--but I prefer pahnk.
13. X marks the spot of my supervisor's desk. I can't fart without her hearing. Of course, if I did, she'd laugh. She's just cool that way.
Writing about Writing
So I'm going to have to rely on research, gut instinct and luck. I can't dumb down my characters to my level, it'd never work. And so far, I think I'm getting away with it. I think I'm lucky enough that when I'm not (because certainly there will be those times when someone is going to shake his head and say, Uh, no, it would never happen that way) because I have a number of savvy people in my corner. Actually, I can't wait for that day, because that would mean I have enough of a story to show them for feedback.
Meanwhile, I've promised myself to do a weekly blog about my writing progress. I'm trying not to examine things too closely because for me, the most important thing is to get the bare bones down. I can do Kaige's sanity check afterwards. I'm using The Snowflake Method, only in hyper-drive. I've tried this method before and gave up, just as I did with the Notecard idea. Why I think it's going to work this time is anyone's guess. Maybe it's my time to succeed. All I know is that I have a complete first chapter (which is going to change), one scene, and a loose outline of my setup, two complications, and how the story ends. And now I'm going back to flesh it out a bit more.
I've had to give myself permission to write more than what the first few steps of The Snowflake asks for. I managed to write a 15-word sentence describing my story:
A woman is torn between family and a spy organization's plan to assassinate a madman.It drove me crazy writing it. I understand the meaning behind coming up with the main focus of the story, but it was difficult enough that I feel a good sense of accomplishment. It's not the best sentence, certainly not a blurb worthy of pitching a story, but I'm thrilled I wrote the dang thing anyway.
The next step is to write a five-sentence paragraph that describes the setup, the first major disaster/dilemma, the next disaster, the black moment disaster, and then the ending. I cheated big time here. I have five long sentences, all grammatically correct, even if they are rife with semi-colons, em dashes and commas. But it's just one paragraph. My first sentence is 40 words long, the next one 54. Hey, Randy Ingermanson didn't specify sentence length.
I've also decided to write my weekly and monthly flash fiction pieces with my story characters and situations in mind. I'm just not sure if I should share them here, because what if I end up using them in my story?
What do you think?