Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Scrambled...

I thought I'd have a few hours to work on DW at the airport, this evening...but the trucker who was supposed to pick up the shipment I packed, yesterday, not only didn't show but told me it wasn't even booked. It was. I called and spoke with two different people, this week, to verify it.Got a big shrug over the phone.

So I located a UHaul close to the site, went there...and it doesn't exist, anymore. Found another and got a cargo van...and some of the slowest service ever...then parked my car in an underground lot since they don't offer a place for me to leave it, picked up the shipment, took it from DC to Baltimore, unloaded it for transport to New Haven, drove back to DC in traffic fit for the 405 on a Friday night, turned the van in, got my car, had dinner (since I'd skipped lunch) and drove back to Baltimore's airport...to find TSA Precheck wasn't open and I had to go through a massively long line and get myself verified despite having all the documents I needed to prove I really was Precheck.

I just sat down and my flight boards in 45 minutes. Not enough time to get back into the story.
Dammit. I did have some ideas while driving...and driving...and driving. I'll work on all those tomorrow. Right now I'm savoring a mango-a-go-go smoothie from Jamba Juice, with vitamins, and letting myself catch up with myself.

I did realize I was having the wrong person being the fighter in this story. Dair's stubborn and won't back down if pushed, but he doesn't let petty things bug him; he refuses to hand that kind of control over. Adam is the one taking offense at slights, and Dair keeps him in check. Then Adam dies and Dair's world is shattered. He doesn't know how to rebuild it so settles in to letting Wallace control things...which makes Wallace perfectly happy.

Wow...by the time I'm done with this first draft, I might actually know what the story is.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Workin' it...

Job done. Pickup tomorrow. I could not live in DC. Parts of it are really pretty but the attitude of people and the drivers brings out the worst of my LA beast behind the wheel. And so much of it is tight. Seriously...San Francisco tight. Not my idea of a great place to spend your life.

My hotel is...odd. Comfortable but very motel in style. I'm on the second floor so had to carry my bags up steps that were made for size-fives. And it's got a Keurig coffee maker (that I use to make tea) and which I do NOT like. The water comes out tepid, and I've found the same in other Keurigs I've had to use. I wind up having to nuke my tea for a minute to make it drinkably hot. But it does have a microwave, iron and board, free parking...and it was available.

I didn't do a lot of writing on DW when I got back; I was beat. On my feet six straight hours shifting and building boxes and packing and moving things around, but I did have an interesting thought about why I can't figure Dair out. I think I'm hitting at it from the wrong direction. I wanted him flawed or tormented in some way and finding Adam to be his saving grace...and that just wasn't working. It's SOOOOOOO typical. So Screenwriting 101. Two damaged people meet and make each other whole, again. UGH.

So while I'm working I'm thinking and wondering what I'm missing and then realized I wrote it last night. Dair's decent and kind. He's loving. He sees Adam as a wounded creature and connects with him and saves him...and is torn up when he loses him. He doesn't need the melodramatic crap of being damaged, himself, to be worthy of having his story told. He's been kicked overboard into an ocean of doubt and hate and is fighting to get back to shore.

That's what finally came out tonight. I began to write the bit when he calls off the wedding and to my shock he said Wallace killed Adam in his fight to protect Dair. Not physically but psychically. He's the reason Dair can't see Adam in his mind's eye, anymore. He's the reason Dair can't create wonders with his art, anymore. In order to fight off the legal maneuverings of Adam's parents, he destroyed Adam...and the fight Wallace and Dair have is cold and harsh and brutal...and Wallace is finally shown to be a manipulative political machine, not a man.

It seems Dair's story is about Dair regaining control of his life and rebuilding his ability to not give a shit what other people think.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Some of DW...

I worked on this on the plane and once I was in the hotel. Adam and Dair have been together about a year, maybe less, when he gets a letter from home and vanishes. Dair finds him crying in the basement and they argue before Adam rushes out of the house. This is immediately following that --
----
I sat on the bench he let me build for him. I know it was cold but I felt nothing, only emptiness. I know I had thoughts in my head but cannot think of what they were. I know the beauty of the waterfall just up the hill tried to soothe me but it achieved nothing. It was only a pretty image, no longer real to me. I was alone in the world, no chance of return to my life, no more with a family, and I could not feel even the cement upon which I sat.

I felt something cover my shoulders and managed to make myself look around. It was Dair. He had brought me my parka. I barely acknowledged him. Then he knelt before me, took one hand and slipped a glove onto it. I let him. He did the same with the other hand...and I still let him. Then he picked a piece of paper off the snow, looked at it and looked at me confused.

“Your letter?” he asked.

I could only nod.

He folded it to put in my parka’s pocket so I said, “You may read it.”

He hesitated then said, “My French isn’t very good.”

I nodded. I had forgotten, for the moment.

“I have learned from a friend...my father is dying. Cancer. I try to call but the number has been changed. Not registered. So I wrote to him, asking to come see him. My phone number...my address are in the letter. Today I receive a response from my mother. She returned it. Asks why I bother them. They have no son by my name.”

“...Adam...”

“I am orphaned. Because of what I am.”

“No...no...mon ange...mon mere est son mere...”

I chuckled. “You are right -- your French is...is not so good...” Then I began to shake and sob and he drew me close and held me as I wept. No. No...I cried as a baby cries. Knowing something is wrong and not able to understand and giving in fully to his emotions in a way that is completely out of his control. My body shook with sobs and I let him keep his arms around me. I let him see me weak and broken. And still he held me. My losses and pains and desolation poured onto his shirt and molded it to him. My breath grew harsh and difficult to grasp. My head began to scream from pain and my heart throbbed as if I had run a hundred miles. And when I finally took back control, still he held me. Still he caressed my back, with nothing more than tenderness. Still he leaned his head against mine to give me support.

When finally I pulled away, I was no longer beautiful, but flush and swollen and scoured by my loss, but still he held my face and looked at me with kindness. He produced a cloth...one of the clean, white, cotton diapers he used for everything...and let me clear my nose and wipe my eyes. And he said nothing.

He guided me to my feet and led me inside through his studio. Across to the bathroom. Into the shower I had built. A hundred colors of clear and opaque tiles supported by soft molding and gray grout. Glass doors folded open to let us enter. He leaned me against the wall and undressed me there. Slowly, like one does a child. And I let him. His own shirt and pants, he shrugged them off and let them stay on the floor of the shower. His briefs he did not remove, nor mine, his quiet way of letting me know that was not the intention of this moment. He turned on the hot with a bit of cold mingled in and guided me around to it. Held me, face to face, his arms wrapped around me, letting the water pound on my neck and shoulders as the steam filled my soul with life and wonder. Nothing...nothing...nothing had ever felt so perfect.

He dried me as I dried him, both slow and gentle, but as I began to dress he stopped me and gave to me a pair of his jeans. His waist was a bit larger than mine, and the jeans would bunch around his ankles, but on me they looked casual and had only the slightest break at the hem. He gave me his favorite shirt, black and warm and just the right size for me, so long as I wore nothing under it. He gave me socks and, once I was dressed, put on me his parka.

Then he dressed himself in my workpants, undershirt, pullover sweater and camo-jacket. They fit him tight...but to my surprise, they looked perfect on him. Then we walked through the brisk evening air, hand in hand down the winding drive, stopping to watch the melting snow fill the stream that filled the little pond before dancing over the rocks to tumble down into rapids. The moon danced from cloud to cloud and stars cast adoring winks at us as we passed the road that led to the new housing. The parking lot for Harrison’s was full and it was all so nice and normal and human to see people loading groceries into their cars. I slowed to watch them with a quiet sense of wonder.

We waited for the light before crossing the 39 then wandered up the drive to Marion’s lodge and entered and passed those dining in the restaurant or lounging by the fire to go straight to her office.

Marion was at her desk, writing. She looked up at seeing us and a soft frown crossed her face.

Dair brushed his fingers against my arm and asked, “May I share this?”

I gave him a slight shrug.

He turned to his mother and said, “Adam received a letter. From a place he once called home but no longer can.”

Marion leaned back and saw my pants on him and his shirt on me and how he looked at her, unmoving, and how I could not focus my eyes on anything for more than a second, and she rose and came to me and straightened my collar and buttoned one more button on the shirt and smoothed my eyebrows and chuckled and said, “Y’know, if Gareth were here, I’d be able to say something silly like, Here’s my three sons.” She must have seen confusion in my face because she added, “Old TV show when I was a little girl. I had such a crush on Dan Grady, I think half the reason I married my second husband is because he looked like him. Stupid thing to do...and I’m rambling so...”

I shrugged and sort-of smiled and could see her eyes were dancing. She held me close, like a mother should hold her child, and I hugged her and felt Dair’s hand caress the back of my neck and for the first time in my life I knew love and support and peace. And I vowed to become worthy of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I'm running out of story...

So far it looks like DW will top out at about 40,000 words. That's with me slamming through it, leaving most of the details and depth for later...but I don't know if I can make up the difference in time to make it by the end of the month. I have some bits written that need to be plugged in, I'm just not sure where, yet; plus I'm still having trouble with Dair's motivation. So this will not be a quick easy book to write.

Off to DC tomorrow afternoon for a quick job so we'll see if I can keep up any momentum. Right now I'm at 23,000 words, but I know most of what I'm writing is garbage that will need a lot of work. A hell of a lot.

I wanted to have Underground Guy out in at least an ebook by Thanksgiving, but I haven't gotten my second proofer's work back and need to go through the story to make the grammar consistent and then it'll take some time to set up chapters and table of contents and all that stuff. I guess I overextended, again.

Typical.

Monday, November 12, 2018

I'm writing myself out...

One thing about pushing to write during National Novel Writing Month is you wind up drained by the end of the day and nothing is left. Today I just coasted but still did a fair amount. I'm up over 21,000 words but they're aren't of any quality. Just place-holders for ideas I have brewing.

I need to understand something more about Dair if I want Dair's Window to work. He's too even, right now...a bit bland for an artist. He's got a temper but only when being bullied or pushed over his gayness, so it doesn't count. I need to understand why Adam meant so damn much to him...and there's no question something more than just love is going on here.

The question the story first emphasized is, How do you rebuild your life after your soul mate dies? Well, why is Adam Dair's soul mate? I don't know that, yet. I thought Dair was talking to me but he's only chatting in vague terms. I wonder if it has something to do with why his father left the house to him instead of his brother. Or why he went away to college and then spent 2 years in Europe rather than return home.

Right now, Dair's sister-in-law, Caroline, is revealing more about herself than he is. She's one of those sweet to your face people who stabs you in the back the first chance she gets. It's her way of showing she has some meaning in the world, which is pathetic but I've known people like that. I've known people whose sole purpose is to use and hurt others, like they're out to make themselves feel superior to others. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but that's what comes across.

With Dair, however...he's a creator, not a destructive force. He's a protector not a user. Does he think Adam needs protection? Adam doesn't see it that way, but maybe he does. Is Dair the kind of guy who needs someone to need him? I can't see that working in this relationship dynamic. Adam becomes Dair's protector, really. So why is it working out that way?

Crap, the more I write on this story the more question I have about it...

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Toronto bound in the am...

I'm checking a couple of book dealers from the US out of the Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair, tomorrow, so won't get a lot of writing done. Then Wednesday I'm off to Washington DC for another packing job. I'm just at 17,600 words on DW so am beginning to wonder if I will make it.

Today I had my car serviced so did some work while waiting, then I had some decent BBQ at a Dickey's. It's a chain but it's better than anything else I've found up here because they have a good spicy sauce. After that it took me half an hour to buy friggin' milk at a grocery store because it was so packed and I was too stubborn to return the milk and just get some at a gas station en route home even though it costs a buck extra there...but it fit my mood.

I'm sort of lost in the story, right now, so did some rewriting that added some bits and helped me clarify some things and now wonder if the story isn't a bit boring? It's sort of a character study of two men -- one dead, one alive -- but it's not very interesting or meaningful, yet. I know I'm just doing the first rough draft to figure out what the story's about and why Jacob causes such chaos and what the meaning is of the window Dair's not working on so I can keep from wasting time and effort...but it ain't working.

I'm finally seeing Adam clearly and seeing his shift from, basically, a feral cat that will happily eat the food you leave out for it but won't let you scratch its ears to a happy tabby that just wants to rub against you and be cuddled. Dair, however, is a different story. He's still too tightly wound for me to understand and work towards...and half the problem is how I'm starting his part of the story -- years after Adam has died and he's dealt with a hideous legal situation due to his dead partner's hypocritical parents. He's got walls up for protection.

Doesn't help that Wallace has pretty much destroyed Dair's love for Adam while defending him in court. Which makes me wonder -- why would Dair let a man like that get close to him unless he didn't really love Adam? Unless Wallace is just revealing his true deeper feelings about him? I have no idea. Oh, Dair's talking to me, sure...but not about anything.

And it's driving me nuts.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Had a bit of a breakdown...

This has been such a hideous week...with the murders of people in a synagog and C/W bar and the election being a gentle wave instead of a blue tsunami and fires burning all over my home state and people dead from that. A friend's father died and other friends have had to evacuate while even more watch the approaching flames with wary eyes. And that SOB in the White House continues to sow hate, division, distrust and lies without end...and it finally caught up to me.

DW is proving to be a raw, difficult book in how its world it set up and I'm finally seeing just how much. Dair is betrayed by his sister-in-law and the courts. He's brutalized by his dead lover's parents. He's sensing he's a rebound guy with Wallace, thanks to learning things about Jacob and him. He keeps remembering disruptive parts of his relationship with Adam. It's coming out that he's always had to fight a streak of homophobia in the town and that's probably why he left to go to college and spend 2 years in Europe studying stained glass. And I'm finally seeing how Adam is unable to help him find peace. I don't know if he ever will.

I don't see Adam as an angel...more like a presence...a thought drifting in the world that seeks to connect with someone it still has a slight link to before it vanishes into forever...and I'm having a hell of a time working that out. So much so it tore into me and I had to stop and sit and just not do anything for half an hour. Nothing. I just sat...and looked at nothing...because I suddenly felt Adam's loss as if I were Dair.

I remembered reading Milton's Voltaire's Candide years ago and wondered if it would be worth a second look. Its premise was, finally, the world is fucking crazy and it's best to leave it alone and tend to your own garden. I didn't agree with that, then, and don't today, not really...but I do understand it better...and would love to back away even more than I already have. But it's not possible. I have a job in Washington DC next week and Hong Kong the week after that...and on Sunday I'm in Toronto.

So on I must go and continue my search for this story's meaning...because I have a feeling once I find it, it will comment upon APoS in ways I don't yet know or understand. Which scares me, a little. And intrigues me.

And which is why I can't stop.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fighting...and fighting...

Not just to keep going forward with the book but apparently two of my characters are fighting to see who gets to tell the story, as if they can't do it together. Not sure why this is happening but it is and I'm ripped about it.

Adam wants to reveal his life as a counterpoint or reflection of what Dair is going through in the real world. He remembers seeing Dair angry and close to doing something that would rupture his family, and he thinks of when he saw a bird get hit by a car and the car kept going. He went to the bird, found it was not yet dead but was dying so cradled it in his hands until its last breath then dug a grave with his hands and buried it. He senses Dair is about to do that to himself and wants to protect him, so distracts him long enough for him to cool down.

However, Dair was raised to defend himself, and he doesn't tolerate people spitting on him for being gay. He has a temper and can get self-righteous...but he wants me to present that as strength instead of something troubling...which is how Adam sees it. And reality is, Dair fighting Adam's parents for years in court...that's almost killed him as an artist. He can still create, but his new works aren't as vibrant or audacious as those he developed while with Adam. They're careful. Lovely. Appealing to just about everyone. Safe.

His art is dying. His love for Adam is dying. His belief in himself is dying. Because he cannot stop fighting something bigger than him that will never end -- the hate and cruelty and intolerance of the world.

God...that sounds silly...

FUCK -- what the fuck am I trying to say with this story?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

DW keeps on going...

Adam is talking to me...and sharing...and it's amazing how much he trusts me to do right with his story. His part of the story, beginning from the point where he's kicked out of his home by his parents when he's only 15 to when he sees more in Dair than just a possible meal ticket. 7 years of his life...

I'm still trying to work out exactly how the window imagery works into the story. I never did address that in the script, except for Dair not being able to work up the stained glass window he was commissioned to do by his grandfather...and how he can't do it till he's made peace with himself. It was very awkwardly done and now I'm seeing as how forced it seems.

Something that's happening that I'm not sure about (but which I'm going with, for now) is how descriptions of the places and of people change slightly as the characters change. As their perceptions change. Adam can be honest about how he initially sees people in one way then shifts his view of them as he gets to know them because he's dead. But how can I do that with Dair and Marion and Wallace and Jacob?

Something else that's happening is how diagrams I worked up of Dair's home and the area around his place have to change thanks to things the characters want. Especially as regards directions. I was going to have Dair's dining room made over into his studio...but it was facing the wrong way so my thought was to just flip the blueprint of the main floor...except Adam likes it where it is because it would work better as a bedroom and he wants to use a bedroom at the other end of the building for the studio. Why? "The morning sun would wake whoever sleeps in here...and that is as life should be."

I'm not going to finish the book by the end of the month, but I'll damn well make the 50,000 words at the rate it's going.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Here we go...

The country is headed to the dark tunnel, not the light one. How symbolic -- the one on the right. How fucking perfect.

I have nothing more to say except god damn Republicans and those who didn't bother to vote...because if you didn't vote, you voted GOP by default...and I hope you burn in hell.