Some stories take longer to gel in my head than others. The cast and crew of Revenants Abroad was nearly effortless. Andrej in particular, who was of course the genesis of the story, appeared in my head fully-formed, ready for action. Anne-Marie took longer for me to get to know. Neko … what can I say. He’s the bad boy with a heart of gold. Another one who showed up ready for battle.
I’ve been toying with a contemporary romance, which I started for a certain reason that I don’t actually remember. It was to have been a satire of bubble-headed, self-absorbed popular girls, but I don’t recall what particularly pissed me off at the time I got the idea for it, so I’ve lost that momentum. Then today I found a use for someone from my past. Those of you who’ve been reading this blog for the last few years may remember a person at my previous job whom I referred to as The Princess. I think I’m about to exact my revenge on her. She’s just the foil I need in this new story.
Kind of reminds me of Dorothy’s house after it landed on the Wicked Witch of the West. This is an abandoned office building I pass on the way to work. Traffic happened to stop me right next to it one day.
This piece gives me chills. I just wish it was longer and didn’t end so abruptly. I give you: Two Steps From Hell, “Protectors of the Earth” from their album, “Invincible.”
I downloaded the MP3 version from Amazon, in case anyone’s wondering.
I still don’t know if this current WIP is going to be a short story, or if I want to take it to full length novel. It’s funny how I have real life models for some of the characters, but not the main character, my protagonist. Sigh. Back to it.
I wonder if the CD cover is available as a poster…
I am not at all in a humour for writing; I must write on till I am.
Having trouble getting into the groove here so I thought I’d warm up with a blog post. Maybe it’s the terrible weather we’ve been having. Almost every day for the last three weeks now has been totally foggy until late this afternoon when I got some photos of the late afternoon sky (above). I thought I was immune to the dreary weather here by now, but maybe it’s dragging me down after all. That’s the brightest sky we’ve seen in weeks.
I’m not making any resolutions for the new year, I’ve given up that idea entirely. For one thing, I never remember what they are. Even if I did I doubt I’d be able to keep them. My whole focus outside my soul-sucking job is my writing, and I have to be sterner with myself about taking the time to write, and not allowing myself to be distracted, magpie that I am.
I am revamping the vamp novel, Revenants Abroad, and hope to get it out there this year. I am seriously considering self-publishing, but have more to learn about the whole process. I’m at the point where I want to be done with this one and move on to either it’s sequel, or another story. Got a few hours left today so I’m off to try to do some work on RA.
This is the second time in as many days this guy has shown up. Yesterday he showed up in a 3-card spread I did for myself with the Wild Unknown deck.
All the kings are associated with fire, the cups are associated with water. So here we have fire of water. He’s a man of deep feelings, passionate emotions. I suddenly feel like I’ve encountered him. Maybe in a dream recently. I’ve had so many wildly vivid dreams recently. If only I could remember. Kings aren’t normally seen as bearers of messages, that’s usually the pages’ job. Still, there’s something nagging. It’s like I can almost hear his voice. Whatwhatwhat? Help. Protection. Clearly I’m not getting the message. Again. I expect more odd dreams now. Perhaps my Him. Perhaps my muse urging me on.
Well, I’ll puzzle out my own situation. Hopefully the King’s qualities of compassion and solicitousness, tender feelings and love of the arts, poetry, and love itself will manifest for you this week. A little nurturing of the soul is always welcome.
I suddenly started wondering what science fiction of the future will be. Today most science fiction is focused on colonizing other planets, alien encounters, high-tech taking over, dystopias, the fall of civilization, robots, AI, time travel, extending human life. Ok, that’s a whole lotta stuff.
In say, a thousand years, when we’ve conquered space and how to travel millions of light years, encountered alien races and survived the fall of civilization and rebuilt, AI will be pervasive, robots old-hat – what form will science fiction take? What will future sci-fi writers write? Presumably by then the question of “are we alone in the universe” will have been answered. Possibly not, but my gut says another thousand years will see things we haven’t even dreamed yet; finding extraterrestrials will be small potatoes.
There’s been some discussion lately that science fiction no longer deals with the ‘big questions’ of what-ifs, that it’s focused on the immediate future: There’s some truth to this. Most of the sf I see lately is riffing on some current political issue, detours in tech that derail us, terraforming planets. These topics will seem like baby steps to future generations. :::just gave myself an idea…:::
I wonder what the ‘big questions’ will be a millennium from now. Or am I being too optimistic? Will we still be consumed by the things that concern us today: overpopulation, diminishing resources, pollution, corruption, greed, religious wars, politics. Will we be Borg? Will cyborgs be passé by then? DING! (another idea) John Steinbeck was right:
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.
I would imagine all these topics that we spend so much time writing and thinking about today will be as normal to future humans as telephones and electricity are to us. I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering what future science fiction will consist of, and I guess I’m no visionary because at the moment I have no idea what people will be wondering about in a thousand years. If you look back at what people were doing a thousand years ago in 1013… The Norman Invasion hadn’t even happened yet. Brian Boru had not yet fought the Battle of Clontarf (that would be the following year in 1014). The Black Death, The Crusades, Copernicus, Columbus, Magellan, Galileo, Da Vinci, Gutenberg, the Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII, Mozart, Beethoven, the bicycle, the automobile, Kitty Hawk, Apollo 11… all that and so much more in just the last thousand year. Imagine even the same rate of advancement taking place over the next 1000 years. And at the rate technology increases and the fact that so much more is being done in general makes it almost scary to think where we’ll be in a thousand years. Or two thousand.
I probably should have been more “responsible” but I needed some downtime so I went out for another bike ride. Did a little better this week than last week, much better than I expected for not having been on the bike in probably 9 months.
Also have several writing projects going, which is interesting to flip back and forth between them all as I go. I decided to see if I could find a photo representation of a story that started out, as usual, with a scene appearing in my head. Then I got a bunch of it last night just before drifting off to sleep and FOR ONCE I WROTE IT ALL DOWN. Massive accomplishment for me.
I hesitate to share the photo, I don’t want to give away too much or have this be considered the definitive photo of the two MCs, but it really doesn’t say much about the story itself so why not. And no, it’s not steampunk.
No idea who these people were, I found the photo here. There were no names on it, so there’s no way to know now who this couple was. I’m sorry for their families (if they have any living descendants, who knows?) that this wonderful photo is lost to them. They may not be the ultimate representation of the characters in the story, but for now they are inspiring me. I’ve kind of been on a Civil War kick lately (actually I think it sort of started around Lincoln’s birthday in February) and you guys know how I get when I latch onto something. I can obsess like nobody’s business.
I thought we needed kittehs this week, so I busted out the Baroque Bohemian Cats.
So. We have The Hierophant, holding the keys to the Kingdom, standing there in his fine robes. I can’t help but think of the ‘Impressive Clergyman’ from The Princess Bride: “Mawwiage… is what bwings us togeva… today.” Ok, no marriage in sight, but he’s pretty impressive.
He indicates rules and regulations, respecting established order and institutions, particularly religious. I always bristle at the sight of him. I dislike knuckling under and following authority, when I don’t always agree with their teachings or methods. It feels restrictive, having to conform and follow traditions. He can also indicate a need to look deeper at a situation, and find a new meaning, uncover wisdom. It’s a time to pay more attention to spiritual matters, learn more. I have been neglecting things lately, perhaps now is the time to take a little time to study more and expand my understanding.
My understanding of my vampire novel has been greatly expanded, in the best way, thanks to my beta reader. I have a lot of work to do on it, lots of work. I don’t know, at what point do you decide it’s just too much to fix and move on to something else? But, I grow as a writer, learning as I go.
Wishing you all a week of growth, but not in a painful way!
So begins a new segment of my blog, like unveiling a new wing of the building. I expect the furnishings will remain eclectic. With this post I have written five-hundred posts on Filling Spaces. (yeah-yeah, don’t count the other blogs, it’ll ruin the moment) Anyway, it seemed like the occasion was worthy of a little fanfare.
I wanted to write something grand and glorious to mark the milestone. Initially, I ambitiously set out to incorporate a mapping metaphor (getting lots of great alliteration here, though, eh?) and was going to incorporate all kinds of maps from fantasy novels (yanno, the whole ‘map out the future…blahblahblah’), but honestly the time got away from me and the task was overwhelming. There are A LOT of fantasy fiction maps out there, and since no doubt most of them are still protected by copyright, I thought it best not to run afoul of the law.
Instead, I thought I’d kick off the next 500 by posting some inspiring quotes to keep us all chugging along, whether it be writing, painting, making music, carving wood ducks, or whatever you do.
First up, Neil Gaiman, with some pearls of wisdom:
“If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won’t. You’ll already have made that art, and when they’re talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.
If bad reviews (of whatever kind) upset you, just don’t read them. It’s not like you’ve signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion.
Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they’ve made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It’s their call. You get on with making art.”
I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will love what we do. All we can do is hope those who do love it will find their way to it. Some people will say nasty things to make themselves feel better, or because they think it’s very clever, or in their superior wisdom they have passed judgement on you and found you wanting. They will always be out there, there’s nothing we can do about people like that. We already know we’re striving to be our best selves, and if we fall short of a narrow opinion, what of it? On we go.
“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
I would go so far as to say it’s the artist’s DUTY to rebel.
“What had happened was this. When still young, I had gotten the idea from somewhere that I might be able to write… Maybe the deadly notion came from liking to read so much. Maybe I was in love with the image of being a writer. Whatever. It had been a really bad idea. Because I couldn’t write, at least not by the bluntly and frequently expressed standards of anyone in a position to offer any encouragement and feedback.”
― Paul Di Filippo, Fuzzy Dice
They (that ubiquitous ‘they’) just love to knock us down, don’t they? Fie on them, I say. Up and at ’em!
For those days when everyone seems to be laughing at you:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
And finally, a small thank you to all of you who have been my own personal cloudburst when I was in the grip of an extended confidence drought:
“Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert. Thanks to all the many others who rained on me when I needed it, and even when I foolishly thought I didn’t.”
If you need more encouragement, whatever your endeavor, I strongly recommend a visit to The Write Attitude. I pop over there whenever my confidence flags or I feel like life has kicked me one too many times.
A final thought:
This one was hand-picked, I didn’t shuffle and pull. I knew this one was in there. Eight of Swords is typically a tough card to have turn up. The Waite-Smith deck and its many clones depict a blindfolded, bound woman standing in front of eight swords that are planted point down, standing like a wall behind her. It’s feeling hemmed in, like there’s nothing you can do, unable to see a way out. Kind of what I expect the sailors on Columbus’s ships felt. Have you seen those ships? I was on a replica of the Niña once. ‘Claustrophobic’ doesn’t begin to cover it. Imagine sharing a 1900sf house with 18 people. Sitting in that crackerbox in the vastness of the ocean is like the woman who doesn’t realize she’s not totally surrounded by the swords. They couldn’t see where they were going anymore than the blindfolded woman can see she’s not totally surrounded. Columbus had faith that he could get where he was planning to go, and that’s what we must do. It makes me wonder if someday the story of his voyage will pass into myth as a metaphor for perseverance. Avast, ye landlubbers! Time to weigh anchor; we sail with the tide.