Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nothing much to say

It looks like THE LYONS' DEN has decided to take over my thoughts.  Daniel's voice is currently the loudest and most insistent as regards writing a book during NaNoWriMo.  I've got the opening sentences -- "I made the bet because I wanted to get back together with Tad.  Isn't that the dumbest reason in the world to do anything?"  Plus Daniel's changed his look from one that's boyish and polished to one that's more raw and damaged.  Don't know how that'll work for farce or comedy...but I guess we'll see.

This is how I envision Tad -- a golden boy producer who's lovely  
and knows it only too damn well. He's also the image for Ace Shostakovich, a fictional detective Daniel writes about in his books.
And then there's Van...who may or may not be on Daniel's side...hell, who may or may not even be what he seems...but who's the first person to break Daniel's fixation on Tad.
And that's enough of that, for now.  I just want to drift for a while...like I did over San Francisco two years ago.
Posting note -- initially I was going to have the guy I'm using as Tad portray Van and vise-verse...but things changed once I saw them on the same page...and I just didn't change the names on their respective jpgs. But they work perfectly as they are, now, which surprised me...because Derrick Davenport [Van] comes across as hard-assed and obnoxious in all his other photos while Levi Poulter [Tad] always seems warm and wise. But these two shots altered the landscape completely. Odd how that turns out.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Radical napping

Well...I'm back from glorious downtown Toronto after moving in some of the book dealers attending the Toronto International Antiquarian Book Fair.  Not the best organized event I've ever seen (they didn't even have Windex or paper towels for people to clean the glass cases with), but my guys and gals were happy with my services and I got back to Buffalo in time to take a nice little nap.  Not a major one (if I do that, I wake up with a headache and sluggish and worthless and such) but just enough to refresh and let me work on things that needed working on.

I did get rather ticked off at the attitude my supervisor took when he learned I'd driven up the night before (because I didn't have to get up at 5am to make it to the warehouse by 7:30 so we could load the truck with the shipments).  I haven't been sleeping well and I just didn't want the hassle of driving while dead tired and dealing with traffic on top of everything else the job would entail.  Besides, I am NOT a morning person; I hate being up before 10.  Anyway, he snipped off this little comment -- "Can't you drive in the mornings?" -- and maybe he didn't mean anything but a joke by it, but it pissed me off.  I wasn't going to charge the hotel room to him; it was my personal decision to do this so I planned to use it as a tax deduction.  But now?  Now I'm getting the money back.

But this is petty shit.  The hell with it.  I release thee from me, ye scummy emotions.

Mom's doing better now that she's back on her supplements so tension is easing, greatly, and I can shift focus back to my writing.  And in doing so had something odd pop up.  "The Lyons' Den" wants to be a book.  I've written it as both a play and a screenplay...and now it wants to be a narrative told in first person by Daniel, the lead.  He even gave me the opening sentences -- "All I wanted was to get back together with Todd.  Was that dumb, or what?"

Sometimes my stories do get greedy and become little divas.  Which may be fun to deal with in November.

Hmm...Daniel as a Snap Queen...hmm...

Oops, he screamed bloody murder over that.  "I'm not a queen!"  Just needy.

Oh, this will be enjoyable.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twists and turns

Okay...first my credit card number gets stolen, Sunday, and used to buy crap in Manila, but it was noticed my my cc company and frozen before they could get anywhere with it.   So now I'm without a credit card till the new one comes in, and I have to rework all my auto-charges.  It's a royal pain, though not as nasty as it could have been had I used my ATM card.

Then my mother goes back into the hospital, yesterday, and looks like she's deteriorating...but now she's doing better.  But I'm still thinking I should get down to SA for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas simply because she's been whispering back and forth between better and worse for a couple weeks now.

Then I get to work and find out I'm going to Toronto to handle the load-in for the book fair there.  I thought someone else was going.  They wanted me drive up in the morning and be there at 7:30 am -- meaning leave Buffalo at 5:30 am to deal with Toronto traffic.  No way in hell am I doing that.  I'll be the perfect asshole all day, then, so I'm driving up tonight and staying in a Best Western.  Needless to say, I am NOT a morning person.

I'm returning Monday to handle the shipping out of the items...if all goes well with customs and the GST...but that doesn't require me so till noon so no big deal.

So...it's been a fun week.  And yesterday was so non-stop, I forgot to blog.  And this one's getting cut off because I need to leave in a minute.

Ah, the joy of adulthood.  I want to leave with a little something to ease my way...Catherine Deneuve showing the world exactly how madame la Cougar should be.  Zut alors!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ever wonder why you do things?

I do -- all the time.  And I rarely have an answer that really sticks.  Like...joining the Y and not making full use of it.  Or eating twice as many cookies as I tell myself I will...despite the fact that I'm trying to lose some weight.  Hell, a lot of weight.  Or swearing I'll get that story completed by a certain time and then blowing off my schedule to let my mind do its wandering.

And then there's posting a photo of this guy -- my idea of Noah in "Coby O'..."(AKA: Simon Dexter).  He's beautiful, yes...but I know I'll never even get to know him let alone be interesting to him.
Still that's what seems to be taking me over, right now...and I wonder if that's Coby talking?  Setting up his character in the book.  He's not like that in the screenplay; he's jokier and self-assured and charming, in many ways.  I wonder if that's why it never quite came together?  That I hadn't heard his whispers of who he really is and what he's really about?

You know, it took me years...and years...to listen to Brendan.  When I first conceived of "Place of Safety" I was going to have him become an architect, my brutally obvious metaphor for a lad caught in the midst of destruction trying to build a life and career and future in creating something.  But it never really fit.  Always felt obvious and fake.

Then I visited Derry for the first time and became so overwhelmed by the history and emotion of the place, I had to get out.  I was told about Griannan Aileach by the woman who ran the B&B I was staying in, so headed for it via the bus.  And walked up the neverending hill to get to it.  And sat there till I'd missed the last bus back and had to walk.  In the beautiful solitude of the rolling hills and deep green grass and partitioned little farms and hundreds of Spring lambs dancing about, so recently born they still had their umbilical cords dangling from their bellies.  And that silence is what allowed me to finally hear Brendan's whispers of revelation...and the story began to come together.

I know I've spoken of that in an earlier post, and I don't really want to repeat myself.  Yet here I am, again...and I'm finding the silence and solitude of Buffalo is helping me hear my characters speak.  I sit here and drift and soft words come to say, "You could work on me."  "You could tell my story, now."  "I'm ready to be heard."  Even the tangle between Brendan and myself over the directions of the story added to the awareness I have of others.

Prime example -- I couldn't figure out how to deal with BC-3 while in San Antonio; there were too many ways the noise of the world intruded.  Same for LA, really; I knew people there and had organizations I belonged to...and I was deeply focused on my screenwriting...which by default is minimalist storytelling.  So I was thinking of just dropping book 3 or splitting it up or putting it away till I was done with so many other things.  But up here it suddenly came together and I slammed it out in about 5-6 weeks.  And Nazca Plains says they put it at the front of the queue of writers ready to be sacrificed to the commercial gods.

I moved to this place for work.  It was the only job I could find.  And it's been hard to deal with, in many ways...but now I think it was the right decision.  One I undertook in my deepest subconscious mind.  I needed the solitude to hear my stories.  To follow the paths they lead me down.  Like a monk, of sorts.

I wonder if I was one in a previous life?  It so easily fits me.

Problem is...it means being alone.  I can look at someone as lovely as Simon Dexter, but I can't touch.  That might break the spell.  And I feel so...so comfortable with it, right now.

Does that mean I'm crazy?  Probably.  No...definitely.  Only a madman (or a writer) would admit to hearing voices in his head telling him stories.  But I like to think that means I'm truly creative, for aren't all creative people just a bit on the side of nuts?  I think of Michelangelo's response when asked how he worked out his statues, "I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

You are now free to make comments about my ego and arrogance in comparing myself to Michelangelo.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

I just watched the 1947 film with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison (if you want an excellent review of it, check out this week's "Tired Old Queen At The Movies") and relaxed so nicely.  It's a film that breaks most of the rules in the books of screenwriting and works perfectly because of it...and the score by Bernard Hermann is justifiably famous.  It was elegant and fun and cleansed my mind of everything negative and awkward.

It'd be fun to try and write a romance like this.  I've written love stories into some of my work, but only as part of the whole, not in and of themselves.  I even have a solid romance going on between Antony and Jake in RIHC6 that has push and pull and give and take and such.  And what's happening between Brendan and Joanna is more than just first love.  But both of them are mingled in with much larger stories crashing around them, and I wonder what it'd be like to just a love story.  A romance -- NOT like Danielle Steele or those Harlequin books, or that fake junk of "Twilight" and "True Blood" or even the trumped up nonsense that backed up "The Notebook."  Just one that works out from human want and need.

Kind of a funny thing to stem from a romantic fantasy.

But thinking about it..."5 Dates" fits the love story mold.  It's a bit easy in structure but it works as a romance.  And "Dair's Window" has some solid romantic elements in it -- a man pining for his dead lover, a new man coming along to help him face the future, again.

Thoughts drift through my mind.  I'm a raft on the Mississippi whispering by.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

BC-3 is done

I just sent "Bobby Carapisi - Book 3" off to the same publisher as the other two volumes.  I'm a bit uncomfortable about this one, because lately I've been getting the impression he's avoiding me.  It's funny, but I realized a long time ago he wasn't going to pay me what he owed me so I haven't been pushing for money in months.  Hell, I can't even find out how many books I've sold; he hasn't updated my sales figures from nearly a year ago.  So now when I call, he suddenly has "another call coming in" and says he'll call me back and doesn't.  I'm beginning to feel unappreciated.

But that's beside the point.  To me, the important thing is the books are out there and available, and I've done right by him in my own mind.  I gave him three books of erotica (1 in 2 volumes) to off-set the fact that BC 1&2 haven't sold all that well.  The fact is, HTRASG is still my best seller (it's his second best seller after a book on female orgasms, go figure).  My first book that's my most controversial (I actually had a gay bookstore buyer tell me they got complaints when they put it on the shelf) is selling consistently in both paperback and Kindle.  PM and RIHC6 do all right, but not on the same scale.  BC...I don't think it's even hit the 200 copy minimum in sales to count, yet, combined.  Which is understandable.  It's not exactly an erotic bit of fun.

Fuck it...right now I'm happy I got BC-3 completed and the whole series of books is done.  From rough beginning to a hopeful end.  I've done right by the characters and story, no question in my mind.  Only took me about 9 years from conception to completion...but it IS completed.  And if it's published, it will have a consistent look.  I'll be happy.

So...next Monday begins NaNoWriMo...and I haven't decided yet if I'm going to participate. I'm still a bit drained from BC-3 and POS needs tending to.  I guess I won't know what I'm doing till the 1st.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Political Cut & Paste from http://ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010104222/false-things-public-knows-they-go-vote


Eight False Things The Public “Knows” Prior To Election Day

Friday, October 22, 2010

I got yer PinkPalace...

Right here!  Did ya think I was kiddin'?  Huh?  HUH!?
It's a few feet taller than the US Capitol Building 'cause Texans gotta be bigger in every way.

But "Coby O'..." is a story about cutting it down to size and making use of Texas' Forefathers' decision to use this particular shade of granite for their ostentatiousness.

Coby's a gay groundskeeper for the  Capitol who happens to stumble onto a scandal that threatens to kill a number of political careers.  He starts slipping information to a reporter he has a crush on, Noah, and soon both their lives are in danger thanks to a crooked lobbyist, his homophobic henchman and a closeted aide Coby used to be involved with.

I haven't decided if I'll tell the story in first or third person, but I'm going to go for a farcical attitude, with lots of snap.  Oh, and I was wrong about Coby's look in my earlier post.  That kid's cute...maybe too cute.  What I want is a real-looking guy...like this.  His name's Preston and he's an art student in SF.  I've been following him on FaceBook and he's perfect as Coby.

What's even more perfect is, he was first runner up in this goofy competition on squarehippies.com, seeking the "Adorkable Guy of the Year."  Preston's an artist, not a dork...but then, the guy who won is an actor who's pretty good-looking.  Not at ALL my definition of a dork.

But who am I to judge?  I'm a geek.





BTW -- if you see any GOP based ads on my site,  I can't seem to stop them from invading my space.  But I'll tell any and all up front -- I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU and would sooner kick a rattlesnake than support the Repugnican party or Tea Party or any other racists in any way, form or fashion.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Causation

This is for a friend and fellow writer, Kyle Cicero.  He used this guy -- Simon Dexter -- to build his werewolf prince in the "Mark Julian" series of mysteries.  As you can see, Simon's building a solid career modeling as he tries to get going as an actor.  He's certainly got the looks for it...and got me to thinking.

He'd be a good look for the character of Noah in the book version of "Coby O' and the Pink Palace of Texas".  Coby's the main character but it's Noah driving by in a classic convertible who's the catalyst for the mystery and chaos that ensues, so I'm doing a bit of theft here.  Guess I'm just naughty by nature.

And here's what Coby looks like, to me.
Just your typical groundskeeper, right?

Oh, the "pink palace" refers to the Texas state capitol building; it's made of pink granite.

I'm going to try and make the story a fun romp filled with romance and suspense and the usual political and social commentary that I so love to spout.  Less anger and more tenderness.  We'll see how it turns out.  One thing's for sure -- Texans sure as hell ain't gonna like what I do with their capitol building.  Hee-hee.

UPDATE: No, this kid's too cute to be Coby.  I have another guy in mind, if I can find his photo.

No, sir, no dancin' today

Red Rock Amphitheater with Denver in the far distance.
 Empire State Building
 Crystal Wall in Rockefeller Center on the top floor.
 Houston sprawl.
 Estrada Aqueduct in San Antonio, still in use after 250+ years.
 A typical sign in a medical office in Texas.
Need I say more?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Calm, cool and collected...

And tired of whining about my life. Months ago I said I wasn't going to do that on this blog (I keep a journal for such nonsense with the intent of no one ever sharing in it) but back in the pettiness crept. Makes me tedious, to say the least.

I opened a new blog on Tumbler to vent my anger at the chaos in our world, right now. I'll use that one for the bitchin' and moanin', too. On this blog, it's all about the writing.

I know I fight and complain about how difficult it is to work out my stories, and that sometimes I seem close to psychotic...or maybe I am and just don't bother to acknowledge it except on occasion. Hmm...COULD I be the male version of Sybil? Am I the incarnation of the Cumaean Sybil? Or maybe the Delphic one? The latter sounds more like me.
"After her death, it was said that she became a wandering voice that still brought to the ears of men tidings of the future wrapped in dark riddles." This according to Wikipedia. Still...I wander...and try to tell the future through the past...and am little paid attention to. Plus I'm touched with a curse that is also a blessing. Hey, we could be twins...or mother and son. Except there's no Greek or Italian in me.

BUT...one legend says the Tuatha de Danann originated in Greece...so in my brain that can be extrapolated into meaning far more than it probably does, but gives me excuse enough to see the Delphic Sybil as casting her spells on me and using me to render prophesies...only I don't render them, do I?

Okay, that sentence made no sense. But that's how I work -- taking bizarre turns and twists to find something that makes my stories come alive. Become more real than my reality. I speak with my characters and walk in their ways for moments at a time, and worry about my sanity...and cannot imagine doing this in any other way.

I just read over a kids adventure script I wrote and got a couple of awards for...before I allowed it to be ruined by trying to shift it into something for an animation feature. I allowed other people's doubts about themselves and their abilities cloud my thoughts and give life to my own doubts. The version of the script I scanned is the latest one, and it's rushed and lost and has no honesty to it, anymore. It offends me. I'm going to ask the people who helped me ruin it if I can take the story into book form and rebuild its truth.

(BTW, that image is Michelangelo's Delphic Sybil in the Sistine Chapel.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

I don't feel like dancin'

Just puttin' up images of where I just was.
Like a Rainbow greeting me on approach to Seattle

The Space Needle on a lovely day.

Puget Sound as I flew off for Denver.

Mount Ranier.

Denver from the Red Rock Amphitheater.

More later.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brain death occurs

I spent the day doing laundry, groceries and paperwork...and am now caught up with stuff. My near headache finally pushed forth and made it hard to concentrate, at times...but I still pushed through.

Problem with this achy head is it makes me prone to the blues. I'm back to being down on my writing, so the next couple of days will be the wrong time to do a polish of BC-3. I'll hate everything and think I've screwed up the story and won't do a bit of positive work. So I printed up a copy of it (and already have a red notation on it for a new idea -- a better ending line...that still isn't perfect but is getting there) and that's the last I'll do for a few days. I need to sort out my mood.

I'd still like to get a first full draft of POS done by the end of the year...but I'll definitely have to be in a better frame of mind to do it. Extra problem is...my mother's back in the rehab center and will begin physical therapy in the coming week. But more than likely she won't be going back to her apartment and things will need to be moved out. If it can wait till the end of the year, I'll hop down for Christmas and ship my things up to me. It all depends on my sister and brother. But it's got me unsettled and unsure and unfocused (like I need any excuse for that) and I'm nervous about starting in on the story, again.

Of course, Brendan's attitude is, "So what?" Because I do think POS is going to take a good 2-3 years of rewriting to get to the point where I can even begin to get comfortable with what I'm doing....................and there we go. Blues lead to self-doubt leading to my usual "What the hell do I think I'm doing, here?" Damn, I'm predictable.

One serious positive -- I will soon have all of "Bobby Carapisi" done and out there. I've done my duty to the characters and let them lead me wherever they wanted, and that's the best I can do. Once it's in print, I'll be done.

At least, as much as I can be with one of my babies.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In Denver's Airport there is no up...

Only down. If you're on the South end of the East Terminal. You cannot get up to the food area by escalator; you have to find an elevator or go to the North side, because on THAT end of the East Terminal, there is no down, only up. So you cannot get down to the security area from the North and you cannot get to your food area from the South. And no one I asked seems to know why.

I know why -- the people who run this place are just plain stupid. And I mean that in every sense of the word, from dumb to ignorant to uncaring. With two caveats -- the WiFi's free -- slow...but free; and they have a Panda Express so I had their Beijing Beef for lunch.

Of course, I can't blame them for the shrieking child with a decibel level of 110 whose mother is ignoring her screams.

Positive thing is, by flying Southwest Airlines I was able to check through two boxes of left over packing material at no cost. How's that for living dangerously?

I've had a low-grade headache the last couple of days, which apparently is a sign of altitude sickness. Some people get migraines. Some get nausea. Others get short of breath for a bit then they're fine. I had that the first day then the headache started trying to make itself known. Never bad enough to matter, just sort of lurking there. I'm glad to be headed home.

Mom's getting out of the hospital tomorrow and back to the rehab center. And I have a free flight coming so I'll head home for Christmas.

Almost time for my plane to board. I may sleep on this flight.

67,500

I just input some bits into Allen's first section of BC-3 and edited out some others, as I seem stuck at 65,700 words. I can live with that because a lot needs to be tied together (without it seeming like I'm tying things together). It wasn't anything major that I put in; just Allen being snarky about how bad Eric looks when he visits him for the first time in prison. It ties into the ending better and cuts back on how much Allen has to say in order to snipe at Eric.

Doing this little bit of writing's helped me relax a lot. Today was rough at the job. I wound up with 141 boxes in a basement and all of them needed to go upstairs. I moved a good half of them all by myself. 70-odd trips up and down the stairs. I started getting a headache so had to stop; apparently that's one of the symptoms of altitude sickness. Or exhaustion. Plus my knees are not happy with me. But it's done and the guy I did the packing job for and the two guys sent out by the trucking company did the rest, then the trucker boys -- one of whom was a skinny 22 year old who carried two boxes up at a time, the little twerp -- built the skids and shrink-wrapped them and ferried them onto the truck and left at just about dark.

I was so tired, I didn't bother eating. I had some yogurt in the fridge and a packet of oatmeal at the hotel, so that was dinner. I;ll eat a good lunch, tomorrow, since I won't have time to eat between planes in Chicago. Why the hell does Southwest time their plane changes so tightly? Not even an hour between the two flights, and I'll bet I'll have to get to the other end of the airport to catch it, like I had to once before.

What's even more fun is, I'm taking a box of paper back with me...I hope. It's about 50 pounds and I hate to throw it out, so I'm going to try and check it through as luggage. We'll see if it works. Shipping it would cost $60 via UPS!

Tired. Time for a sit in the tub.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Close quarters to manslaughter

Well..."vole"-slaughter, to be exact. This packing job is in the basement of a house in a part of Golden that's still rustic, and apparently voles run rampant here. So one got in and I saw it and tried to get it to get the hell out the same way it came in, but it was lost or something, so I just left it alone. It wasn't bugging me...and once or twice seemed to wonder if I had anything for it to eat (I didn't...unless Dr. Pepper counts). So I kept on working and the little critter finally got bored with me and left the room. And the guy I'm doing the packing job for (he's cataloging as I pack) apparently saw it and, as he was trying to catch it, accidentally crushed it.

I felt awful. If I 'd known that would happen, I'd have tried to catch it in a box. I did have a bag of chips in the car. Then I could have taken it outside to be released. But I tend not to consider things like that. I just figure things will work out...and sometimes they don't. Now my feeling is, I should have taken a more proactive role in this and I hope I will, next time...but I honestly don't know if that will happen.

I find that attitude colors Brendan's character. He spends the first part of his story figuring things will work out, even as chaos explodes around him...and then is handed some brutal reality. He tries to get back to that attitude in the second part of his story, but soon learns he has to take control of how things will go. And in the third part, he's running the show, even as he's not.

It's the opposite for my characters of Curt, Alec and Antony. They're all proactive in their search for justice and meaning and truth, even as they're also being manipulated and brutalized. And Eric in BC goes from a guy who thinks he has control of his life to one who realizes he doesn't back to having actual control, even as Bobby, who did have control, crashes into chaos after losing it, even as he desperately tries to regain it.

I'm not sure what this means as a theme for me. And the truth is, I don't think I need to know. Each character informs me of who he is and how he fits into his world, and some of them make a secure connection while others decide they've made a mistake and fight to retract their decision...only to find it's too late.

If that vole had stayed outside (or if I'd caught it), it might still be alive. But then again, it might also have wound up as dinner for a hawk or owl. You never know what the hell would have happened had you made a different choice at a particular juncture. Things might have turned out better; they might have turned out worse. My characters learn something sort of like that as they go through their rites of passage. Too bad I can't seem to accept it.

We are not amused

Denver's Airport has to be the least people-friendly airport I've ever been to. There are others that are old and beat up and not very well planned, but Denver's got no excuses like that. They just hate their plane travelers.

To start with, you have to ride a subway between the terminals and the baggage claim/ticketing area. Then you have very poor signage telling you where to go to get your bags, and you have to walk a quarter mile to get there. Then you have a choice of 10 carousels to choose from, all of which offer the same flight information, so there's no telling where your bag is actually coming out. And if you dare ask one of the baggage attendants who pull off the bags that haven't been claimed because people are searching 10 different carousels trying to figure out where the hell they're supposed to be, they look at you like you're stupid and say something like "Number 7." Which would great if that were true...but it isn't. So even THEY don't know.

It's my own damn fault, I know. I stupidly bought a bottle of honey in Seattle and didn't want to toss it out, so I put it in my bag and checked it since Southwest doesn't charge for bags and this was a non-stop flight to Denver. Well...there I am, waiting at carousel 7 for my bag, which isn't coming and isn't coming and isn't coming...and then carousel 8 has its bags get stuck in this brilliant system and it takes some guy from maintenance ten minutes to get there because he probably had to ride the friggin' subway, too, and I turn to watch and I see a bag that looks very much like mine...but it can't be mine because mine's coming out on carousel 7. Right?

Guess whose bag it was? And it wasn't till it had rounded the finally unstuck carousel 8 that I went to actually look and saw my name on the check ticket.

You think that's the end of the adventure? No. I'm renting a car. And all the rental places are 10 miles away by shuttle bus. On a freeway. Sitting sideways with no seat belt. And then you get off at this exit where all the rental agencies are lined up like they're dealerships. Then it's another 30 miles down a freeway that only lets you go 55 legally before I get to my hotel.

Denver's airport hates people.

Oh...as for the packing job? I could have started at 9:30...but my boxes and materials weren't here, yet. FedEx didn't really want to deliver them till I was checked into the hotel. I've had boxes and materials delivered and held before...in LA, in Boise, in Lake Forest, Illinois...but not in Denver. So I didn't get started till nearly 1pm.

I also feel that Denver's urban planners hate people, considering how some of these roads are laid out...but that's a whole different rant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seattle has a REAL airport

I really do like SeaTac Airport. As you exit security, you enter a massive lobby area with food and shops and chairs all about and, best of all, a HUGE picture window looking out over the main runways, nearby hills covered with trees and distant mountains. You can sit and eat and watch planes land and take off with some of the Cascade Mountains in the background. Wifi is free -- no Boingo necessary -- and you have choices out the wazoo. Baltimore's airport comes close to this, just without the selection or the huge window (or any mountains) but just about every other airport I've been in is pathetic in comparison. They give off the attitude of "Don't stop; keep moving; don't bother me."

BC is up to 280 pages and 67,500 words. And seems stuck there. Which means I FINALLY have everything in I need and am now just to the point where I'm rearranging words. Ronnie Marques jumped back in with some surprising information that he refused to discuss with Eric. Attitudes shifted, intensifying the suspense...at least, I think so. Meaning I think the story's as solid as I can make it, now, and everything is pretty much tied up at the end. When I get home I'll print out a hard copy and go through it for typos and inconsistencies, then it'll be ready to go.

I'm sending it to the same publisher to finish up the set. It's not about money, right now; it's about finishing the trilogy in a consistent manner -- same look, same place to buy it, all that stuff. But I am talking to the publisher about me putting out a single volume of it on my own. Amazon offers self-publishing and Kindle and such. This will also be the last book I send him until he pays me what he owes me. And I've told him I have several more in the pipeline, hoping to give him the impetus to do so.

Now I'm headed for Denver, and this job has already caused problems -- the things I'm packing are in a basement, making it harder to deal with; my boxes weren't delivered to my hotel, today, but will be in the morning...a decision made without my input; I can't start packing until Wednesday afternoon due to family issues with the client...if I get to then; and it's in Denver, which is a mile above sea level so the air is thinner. I've already been told by people who've traveled there to make use of the oxygen bars in the city. I think I will.

Ah, the life of a travelin' man.

I got no luck

Whenever I try to get away with something, I get caught. Even when I'm really sure it's okay. Like today -- I was en route to Seattle's Airport to meet with the shipping people about the booksellers we'd handled for the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fare. Now, upon arriving here Saturday, I bought 2 round trip tickets on the light rail system, knowing I'd be making two trips away from and back to the airport. Well...they're only good for the day they're bought, which I realized once I had them. BUT...since no one asked to see my ticket en route to downtown, I figured I'd just use them up, anyway.

Bad idea. Transit cops checked everyone's ticket on the trip down and noticed mine was for the 9th instead of the 11th. I got off with a warning since I could show I was from out of town (and played dumb), but if I get caught doing it, again, it's $140 ticket. So I'm out $5.

Seattle needs to learn some things from New York about transit. In NYC, you can buy a ticket and put money on it and it's good for a year. But their tickets have magnetic strips on the back to hold the money. The only way to do that in Seattle is to buy an Orca card (for $5) and then you have to "tap" it against a reader upon entering and exiting the station. Every time.

Anyway, this once again proves to me whenever I try to get away with something, I'm gonna get caught. I've had it happen over and over and I never seem to learn. Dumb. Just dumb. And the way my life has always been.

Another case in point -- Dr. Pepper. I don't drink, I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't fuck around. My one big vice is Dr. Pepper (and no need to discuss how pathetic that is). Well, they had a promotion going where you could win a car. I knew I'd never get that, but they also said that 1 in 6 bottle caps is a winner. So...I start buying the 20 oz DPs and going online to enter the codes in them...and you know what I got out of nearly 100 bottle caps? Nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. I mean, I drink the stuff, anyway, so it's not like I went out of my way to buy it...but you'd think I'd at LEAST get a free DP. Nope.

That's why I don't play the lottery; it's a waste of money on my part. That's why I no longer enter my scripts into competitions; I haven't won one outright in 20 years. I got close a couple of times, but not with competitions that were based in LA. In fact, none of my winners were LA competitions. So after thousands of dollars in entry fees and copies and postage and such, I got nothing.

BUT...I did finish a polish of BC-3, at least. And I've had 6 books published. And while my publisher hasn't paid me a penny in royalties, I know they're selling. Trust me to find the one guy in the publishing world who's out to fuck over everybody and make it their fault they got fucked.

Christ, I'm tired of this...this...shit, I don't even know what to call it. Unluckiness? Lack of wherewithall? I dunno. I just know I'll be working for at least the next 10 years at a job that's livable...but isn't what I really want to do.

Shit, the luck I got, you'd think I was Irish.

Okay, whining over. What's next?

Another polish of BC-3...then completing the story and moving on.

Monday, October 11, 2010

I cannot do what I want to do..

Which probably means I don't really want to do it. In order to complete BC-3, I added another bit and alluded to an explanation for everything that's happened (without actually SAYING it) and bumped the story up over 67,000 words. I was trying to keep it, first, at 60K then at 65K...but finally I had to accept that it will be the length it is.

I'm still a bit tender from the back and forth with Brendan about my writing, and from my growing uncertainty in my ability to tell the story. Again. I'm like my own little five step program.

1. Start a story.
2. Question my capacity to write it well.
3. Go ahead and start writing.
4. Feel good about it.
5. Back to 2.

It's getting to be monotonous. And predictable.

It's late. I'm tired. Long day, today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rainy day in Seattle

Drizzle and light showers, nothing much...but I have to be careful. I think the guy sitting next to me on the plane from Chicago to here was sick and I'm trying hard not to catch it. Lots of hot tea.

Hopped the lite rail from the airport to downtown, then hopped the monorail to get to the hotel, which was five blocks from the Sci-Fi museum...which has an exhibit of "Battlestar Galactica" going on. I may check into that.

I had a fantastic veggie burger at a joint called McMenamin's, corner of 3rd and Roy. They made it themselves with some of their home-brewed ale. That and one of their own stouts and I was in hog heaven.

I worked on BC-3 while flying and need to go over what I did, I'm sure. But it's getting there. I'll be ready to send it in by the time I get back to Buffalo.

I'm chattering, I know. This is the crap people send via Twitter. But I'm feeling a bit tender, at the moment, and not in a good way...more like after you've been punched and the bruise is just beginning to build. You see, I had a rather sudden hard-edged conversation with Brendan about my lack of self-confidence in writing "Place of Safety" and it was all due to an article I read in "Writer's Digest." About genre writing and how it gets dissed by MFA programs in literature. And I don't know why that article got to me, but it started on this road to questioning my writing skills and realizing just how much hesitation and doubt was instilled in me by my mother as I was growing up, none if it intentional but just as damaging, which led me to see how I've spent my life working for other people and not for myself, really, because I don't think I'm worth the effort...which brought me back to wondering if I really can do justice to POS.

I've written four stories spread over what will soon be seven books, all of them really genre pieces. Erotic suspense thrillers, for the most part, with "Bobby Carapisi" this odd hybrid of erotica and tragedy and drama. POS is a straightforward novel, more mainstream in many ways with with aspirations of literature. Yet here I am, this servant of a personality who'll fight like a madman for someone I work for but won't do jack shit for himself, thinking I can make it work. Thinking I can get it published if I DO get it to work.

And Brendan's response? "Nobody else is doing it. Nobody else would let me be true to myself. They'd make me some idiot or an innocent or something one-note...and you won't. So I'm stuck with you and you with me. Get over it. I have."

Maybe tomorrow I will. Right now, I'm still tender.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Off to Seattle and Denver...

So blogging may be light. But I'll have my laptop so I can still work on BC-3. I have three chapters that still need work...maybe four...depends on what happens when I get into this new idea I have for explaining things. I was going to do the "let the reader make up his or her own mind" thing, but this story doesn't warrant that. Too European. It wants an explanation, and I'll have to give one.

But I'm up to 66,000 words, now. Eric and Allen got a bit verbose, yet as I go through it, each time, and try to trim it down...all I do is wind up adding more. Because I can't let loose with an undercooked story.

So I'm not going to participate in this year's NaNoWriMo. I want to focus on getting POS into at least a first draft, and considering all the work I have coming up and how long it's taking to wrangle BC-3 into shape, I'll have little enough time as it is.

On top of this, my mother was released from the hospital to a rehabilitation center for some physical therapy; she's been losing her balance a lot and had pains in her arms and legs that might come from muscle trouble. She stayed there a whole 8 hours before being sent back to the hospital because she's become severely dehydrated and is running a low-grade fever. I don't feel good about this, so I'll need to head down to SA pretty soon just to visit with her...and move my things out of her apartment...which I should have done when I was down there last month. On the positive side, once this series of trips is finished, I'll be eligible for a free flight on Southwest. I can use that.

As an addendum to the previous post, I learned from "Writer" at Salmagundi that there's now a mystery novel available that was written by "Jessica Fletcher"...she of "Murder, She Wrote" fame...as portrayed by Angela Lansbury for 10 years on TV. The depths of our cultural collapse amazes me.

But what I really want to know is -- how the HELL did those ghost writers get that gig?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Man, am I out of the cultural loop


You want to hear something bizarre? The #13 bestselling Kindle book is a mystery by Richard Castle. Who's a fictional character on the TV show, "Castle." He's played by Nathan Fillion. The premise of the TV show is, he's a rich and famous author who gets his friend, the mayor, to force a homicide detective named Kate Beckett (played by Stana Katic, whom I'd never even heard of before) to let him come along on murder investigations. They play romantic cat and mouse games because they're both beautiful (well, SHE is, he USED to be) while solving crimes that are easy to solve and violating every concept of true homicide detective work.

Guess what the book is about...albeit with the fictional names changed to OTHER fictional names? And there are TWO of them. Both in the top 20 bestsellers on Kindle. And the paperback is doing well, too.

I think I'm gonna hurl.

After I read the damn thing. Because the fact is...I liked the show, even as it got dumber and dumber...until it got too dumb to pay attention to, anymore. The same thing happened with "Law & Order: SVU" with Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. I just plain got to where their characters were so consistently bull-headed and full of ideas about what a criminal did or didn't do when confronting them, then turning out to be wrong and NEVER learning from that and relaxing their stance, I finally blew the show off.

I don't like it when a story becomes too out of it to be real. I noticed a trend towards this back in the middle 90's, with movies like "The Rock" and "Con Air" and "Face Off", movies that didn't even stay true to their own little worlds, they were so lost in STRUCTURE and the Syd Field School of Cookie-cutter Screenwriting. Mix one part decent but wounded hero, a nasty villain who's the hero's mirror image, A woman to prove the hero's straight, throw in some fights and chase scenes every ten minutes and mix until you're done. Those three movies set me on the road to not caring about Hollywood, because they infected even "indie" films with their unacceptable shallowness and one-note characters (I'm talking "Reservoir Dogs" baby, that got by due to Tarantino's directing verve and the acting of Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth).

Unfortunately, that's all moviegoers seem to want, anymore. And the same is true of novels and plays and even education. I once joked we were heading into a new dark ages. A period of 500 years after the collapse of the Roman Empire where books and learning meant nothing to most of the world. I ain't jokin', no more.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Social Security is fine and stable

The following commentary was written by Paul N. Van de Water, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where he specializes in Medicare, Social Security, and health coverage issues:

In a new paper, I’ve tried to correct some of the misinformation that critics of Social Security have been spreading about the program.

Here are the facts. Social Security is a well-run, fiscally responsible program. People earn retirement, survivors, and disability benefits by making payroll tax contributions during their working years. Those taxes and other revenues are deposited in the Social Security trust funds, and all benefits and administrative expenses are paid out of the trust funds. The amount that Social Security can spend is limited by its payroll tax income plus the balance in the trust funds.

The Social Security trustees — the official body charged with evaluating the program’s long-term finances — project that Social Security can pay 100 percent of promised benefits through 2037 and about three-quarters of scheduled benefits after that, even if Congress makes no changes in the program. Relatively modest changes would put the program on a sound financial footing for 75 years and beyond.

Nonetheless, some critics are attempting to undermine confidence in Social Security with wild and blatantly false accusations. They allege that the trust funds have been “raided” or disparage the trust funds as “funny money” or mere “IOUs.” Some even label Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” after the notorious 1920s swindler Charles Ponzi. All of these claims are nonsense.

Every year since 1984, Social Security has collected more in payroll taxes and other income than it pays in benefits and other expenses. (The authors of the 1983 Social Security reform law did this on purpose in order to help pre-fund some of the costs of the baby boomers’ retirement.) These surpluses are invested in U.S. Treasury securities that are every bit as sound as the U.S. government securities held by investors around the globe; investors regard these securities as among the world’s very safest investments.

Investing the trust funds in Treasury securities is perfectly appropriate. The federal government borrows funds from Social Security to help finance its ongoing operations in the same way that consumers and businesses borrow money deposited in a bank to finance their spending. In neither case does this represent a “raid” on the funds. The bank depositor will get his or her money back when needed, and so will the Social Security trust funds.

As far back as 1938, independent advisors to Social Security firmly endorsed the investment of Social Security surpluses in Treasury securities, saying that it does “not involve any misuse of these moneys or endanger the safety of these funds.”

Moreover, Social Security is the “polar opposite of a Ponzi scheme,” says the man who quite literally wrote the book about Ponzi’s famous scam, Boston University professor Mitchell Zuckoff. The Social Security Administration’s historian has a piece on this topic as well.

Unlike the frauds of Ponzi — and, more recently, Bernard Madoff — Social Security does not promise unrealistically large financial returns and does not require unsustainable increases in the number of participants to remain solvent. Instead, for the past 75 years it has provided a foundation that workers can build on for retirement as well as social insurance protection to families whose breadwinner dies and workers who become disabled.


No writing about writing, today. Just a little something to cool down the misinformation being passed around by people who haven't fully researched what they're talking about...and to remind me not to fall into the same trap, since I am prone to do that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reboot

I went back to some parts of BC-3 that needed to be smoothed over and would up doing a lot more than I expected in the way of rewriting. But I'm happier with it. No pushing. I won't be done by Friday, there's no way. So I'll just keep at it till it's done.

Below is a segment I worked on -- Allen telling more of his side of the story.

--------------

Did you know it was barely two days after Bobby Carapisi's suicide that I received a call from my attorney, Wilson Lewis? At work. On my employer's phone. Something I had expressly forbidden him to do. But he said it was urgent and could not wait for me to return a message on my cell phone.

"When's your lunch break?" he asked.

"Noon," I replied, “but I usually bring something."

"There's a diner around the corner. Meet me there. We need to talk."

I agreed and returned the phone to its cradle. I noticed that Nora, my immediate supervisor, had been giving me a cold glare throughout the conversation. I just sighed. I work there for nearly fifteen year, and she still acts as if I’m trying to steal time from the company. It was pathetic.

The diner was really more of a long, dark coffee shop with tables inside and a patio in back. I'd never cared for the overly health-conscious food they served, nor had I liked the skinny righteous attitudes of the servers at the place, so after trying it once, I hadn’t returned. Until now. And found little different about it.

Wilson was seated in a single booth in a back corner. Its solitude afforded us some relative privacy. I sat across from him, an iced glass of passion fruit tea waiting from me. I ignored it and focused on Wilson. He looked less neat than usual. And tired. But it was the weariness in his eyes that truly frightened me.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I won't waste words," he said. "Carapisi's suicide made a mess of everything."

"I don't understand. Yesterday you told me his death meant you could probably get any charges against me thrown out of court."

"Usually. And I probably still could -- but the District Attorney's office is embarrassed by ‘revelations in the press’ showing how completely they bungled this case. The police department's also embarrassed. They want someone to blame."

"Me."

He nodded. "Larsen never withdrew his complaint. They want you to turn yourself in, on it. You’ll be arraigned for kidnapping, rape in the first degree and assault. I promised you'd be there tomorrow morning, nine a-m."

"But I did nothing wrong."

"I can probably prove that. Larsen may be stronger than I thought, but I could drill enough holes in his character and version of events to cast doubt in the minds of a jury."

"It'd go to trial?!"

"You have to understand, Allen, LA's law enforcement community is getting reamed over Carapisi, not just by the locals but also the national press and public and more than a few opportunistic politicians. Bastards. Sunday they beat the shit out of that kid; Monday it’s like he’s their patron saint. They have to do something to prove they ARE doing their jobs. You are how they will show that. And that means a big trial with every trick they can think of. Including adding on charges concerning Tavi Mendell."

"Who?"

"A young man in the Fairfax District who disappeared then was found severely beaten, a few years ago. He couldn’t speak at the time, and his father shut down the investigation into him. He’s better, now, and has informed the detective who interviewed him that he wants to press charges against you. For rape. I'd say he will by this time, next week, because it’s close to the statute of limitations."

"I don’t know who you’re talking about."

"Doesn't matter. The publicity alone will condemn you, and a rape conviction means you register as a sex offender for the rest of your life -- and between him and Larsen, you stand too good a chance of being found guilty, especially in the current political climate. We need to think about a deal -- something to get you as little prison time as possible."

"Prison?!"

"I think I can get them to agree to just assault. That's three to five years, but you’d be out in eighteen months and it'd keep you from having the sex offender mark against you."

"But I didn't do anything -- ."

"Allen, you DID beat up Carapisi. You told me so. I know you didn't mean to, that things got carried away, but it still happened. And now that boy's dead and people want someone's head on a stick. It won't be a cop's. It won't be an assistant D-A's. And it sure as hell won't be Larsen's. The D-A told me flat out he wouldn't even think of following through with 'false report' charges against that guy, not now."

"Prison." I refused to accept that as my reality. It just could not be happening.

"Minimum security. I can all but guarantee you, you'll be out in a year and a half. Maybe probation for another three. Once that's done, get the hell out of California. Start over."

"I did that, once. Look where it got me."

"Sorry, but it's the best I can do."

"Can I think about it?"

"I need to know you're on board with this before we meet with them, tomorrow. And you have to show up. Because if you don’t, they’ll get a warrant for your arrest and walk you right through all the press cameras they can find."

"I'll inform you by eight a-m."

"Okay."

I handed my clients off to Nora and left for the day, then I spent the night listening to David Gahan growl about the pain and suffering in life. I’d formed a fixation on him my senior year of high school, when I’d purchased Depeche Mode’s “101” album, soon followed by a VHS of the documentary. There are few men in modern music whose voices can be called perfect. The lovely Steve Perry of “Journey” is one, with his soaring high tenor. John Fogerty is close, as is Bono. But it’s David Gahan’s near baritone that is the epitome, for me. And I used to dream at night of ways I could be introduced to him and prove he wanted me to make his existence complete. This was before I learned the vast majority of Englishmen are not circumcised, which cooled my ardor for a while but never completely doused it. And now here he was, offering me solace in my grief.

I’m going to say it, again, Eric -- your claims were lies. Plain and simple. Should anyone speak with you for any length of time, they would easily see how on the cusp of instability you are, prone to grandiose declarations about your innocence in our encounter -- but then you are an actor, aren’t you? Only a delusional fool like that would put himself forth as a virginal youth gaily wandering through the meadows of this world until meeting me, then ascribe to me the vilest of intentions against himself. In his egocentric mind, I would so overcome with lust and need to possess his beauty, I would enslave him via actions that more belong on a British bondage website than in a normal person’s world. And it was not only I who would be so enamored of him; it was also be two other men, all three of us willing to commit an absurd combination of felonies so as to service our most prurient needs. It is, on the face of it, preposterous -- thus rendering your statements obvious falsehoods to anyone capable of cognitive thought.

To begin with, consider the fact that rape is a felony. Now it is understandable that one man might get carried away and go much farther than his partner wishes, or even might force himself on someone out of drunkenness, need or anger on the spur of the moment. Such actions have been taken in the past against both women and men and I offer no justification for them because there is none. “No” means no and if you do not stop when told to stop, you are the only person responsible for your lack of control and judgment.

Besides, I could never force another man to have sex with me because I, myself, was a victim of coerced sexual contact with another man. Two men, to be exact, so I know the horrors of rape.

I do.


There's a lot more to this section...and it's finally right...but that's enough for now. I'm beat.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Focus is my middle name

Not. Except when I want it to be. And I mean REALLY want. Like working on BC-3...this uproar in Texas slowed me down some but hasn't stopped the flow...except for one thing. I'd done some polishing earlier on the last four chapters of the book prior to starting my new polish...and then somehow lost the updates. I thought I saved them but apparently I didn't, because I went through one chapter where I knew I'd changed this meeting Eric has on an airplane, but none of my changes were there. So...so much for focus.

Except I do have the first half as good as I can get it. It's the second half that will need some fine tuning, still, even after this pass.

I'm all set to fly to Seattle on the 9th then on to Denver on the 12th and back to Buffalo on the 16th. I was already set up with a round-trip ticket to SeaTac and back so had to redo the return. One of the great things about Southwest is, they'll work with you on changing your ticket without hundreds of dollars in fees and penalties. I still had to pay more, but it was half what I was expecting to be charged, so it worked out neatly.

Things are beginning to calm down in SA. Sister's talking to sister in law. Both brothers are talking. Mom's feeling better and much more alert. Her doctor wants her to undergo some physical therapy in a rehab facility. Sister in law's going to handle setting that up. Typical. Nuclear one day; peaches and cream the next.

Damned Irish.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rough day

My family in San Antonio is having an Irish blow-up over our mother. She's ill and in the hospital, and should be coming home, soon...and this knock-down-drag-out argument is over how best to take care of her. And I'm 1600 miles away so can only connect with people by phone, one at a time, meaning I get this side and then that side and then another side (I have 2 brothers and a sister), and mom's no longer part of the equation. Now it's all about who's right and who's taking control and whose feelings were hurt most. While mom sits in the hospital alone. I mean, shit -- I had to ask my youngest brother to go visit her, tonight.

I also asked him to call me from her room so I could talk with her; she's not answering the hospital phone, nor do the nurses answer the phone at the nurses' station. But apparently he and my other brother got into an argument...and the result was -- no phone call. Instead, I just got more complaining.

Looks like I'm faced with an interesting choice. I can quit my job, move back to San Antonio and take over the care of my mother...meaning go bankrupt because I can't pay my bills, lose my health insurance because in Texas it's $600 friggin' dollars a month and deal with a city I've grown to loathe. Or I can stay here and listen as this disgraceful catfight takes place, all to the detriment of my mother. Great choice. Great fucking choice.

I'm waiting to hear what happens, tomorrow. She may be released from the hospital and sent home, and once I'm done with Seattle and Denver, I may drop by San Antonio and see if I can calm things down. Problem is, that'd be two weeks from now...and I can't dump everything and run down there to make everybody happy; there's too damn much to do up here.

This reminds me so much of what happened when my grandmother died. She'd set up this funny little thing where she donated her body to science, then when they were done with it, she was cremated and the Ashes given back to the family. So...no funeral. I was named executor of her estate, such as it was, and handled the memorial service. My mother and aunt got into a snippy little fight in a minister's office over where to hold the service, and I had to mediate. And mediate a few other little blow ups, as well. Twenty-six years later, my mother and aunt still barely talk. It's so stupid.

Y'know, I'm glad I'm gay and don't have kids. When I get old, I'll just go live in a home paid for by by Social Security and Medicare (if the GOP hasn't killed them, yet, with the able assist of the fucked up Democrats) and not have to even think of dealing with this crap. I'll just chase young interns around in my own demented version of "Gray's Anatomy" and keep writing about it...and when I die, they can cremate me and scatter my ashed off Catalina Island; the hell with any tombstone.

And if our great and glorious leaders HAVE ended Social Security and Medicare? Shit, I don't know. I'll deal with that when I get there. But at least I won't have kids getting pissy with each other over how best to deal with me

Of course, I could just slip into dementia and not know what's happening or care. Naw...that'd be the easy way out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day trippin'

I had to pop down to Rockport, today, to do some business at my Texas bank. Seems that's the closest branch of Chase to where I now live. I then hopped over to Rochester to try out a barbecue place called Dinosaur's. Not worth the trip. The brisket was tough. The sauce was on the sweet side (and we're talking what they called hot and spicy). And what they call a macaroni salad makes no sense to me; I've never seen that made with a creamy sauce before. It was WAY overpriced and very noisy, but the cornbread was good.

I worked on BC-3 when I got home, after talking to my brother and sister about my mother. She's in the hospital, again, this time due to being given meds that were really too strong for her. She's all calm and relaxed, now she's got an IV in her and is being monitored by nurses. Be warned of Flurbiprofen; it's a hell of a lot stronger than you think and should be started at 5mg a dose, not 10.

Thing is, my little brother, Kelly, and my sister, Jeri, handled it...so I feel all right being up here instead of needing to rush down to SA to take care of everything. Which is good, because next weekend I'm in Seattle and then I'm down to Denver for a packing job.

Going back through BC-3, I can see inconsistencies and changes that need to be made, especially since Allen and Eric have such different styles of writing and methods of expressing themselves. Allen's proving to be a bit of an "English" snob, using commas a lot and overly precise verbiage. Eric's manner of writing is looser and more chatty, similar in tone to Brendan's and the one I'm most comfortable with. This draft is where I'm aligning each style with each and keeping them from overlapping. Plus Allen's occasionally drifting from his point without realizing it while Eric bounces around but still keeps his focus. It's fun watching them both evolve.

It's also good for me, because I'm reminding myself that it's the rewriting where everything comes together in my stories, really. I keep having to discover that, and it's silly. Get the first draft done THEN start honing the details. Works a lot better. And so what if you go through the story a dozen times? I did that with my scripts until I had them to the point I wanted them...and that was usually when I couldn't change anything but bits of dialog or grammar.

Now...I have to say...the idea of working up the beginning of "Darian's Point" is rolling about in my head. But I don't know what to call it, yet. I know the characters; I know the action; I know the tone; I know I'll write it in third person omniscient...I just don't know the title. "The Beginning of Darian's Point" is tedious in the extreme.

I wonder if I could write it as a movie on the page?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Workin' it

In steps and stages does BC-3 move forward. I've begun running through part of it because this weekend will be taken up with a trip to the nearest Chase -- in Brockport, again -- and family in Texas. So I've little to speak, meaning here's a snippet of what I'm happy with.

This is Allen describing his new world to Eric in his first letter.

-------------------
So...comes my turn to look in the mirror of truth.

To do so, let me first acknowledge my surroundings. So I sip a cup of paper-flavored coffee. I turn on a lamp. I shift my notepaper. I look around. Do you wish to know what I see?

The four walls that encompass my brave new world. Two are of concrete, painted beige, my least favorite non-color. One is of steel left gray and dented despite its strength. One is of a scratched and almost murky Plexiglass drilled with holes. The modern replacement to steel bars, it seems. A window in the more narrow of the concrete walls allows some light in to mitigate the florescent harshness; a pair of bunk beds on gray steel legs is bolted to the longer wall. Mine is the top bunk and neatly made, which demands minimal effort on my part. It’s only a foam mattress and pillow covered by two sheets and a wool blanket. My roommate’s bed is usually only half done and irritates those who control me, now, so I’ve taken it upon myself to complete his task in exchange for a little peace until I can figure out how to gain a semblance of solitude on my own terms.

A small outcrop of steel panel half-hides a toilet and sink in a corner area that is no larger the size of an airplane lavatory, so I can have just a hint of privacy when I brush my teeth, albeit not too much. I might get spoiled by such an indulgence and demand something as insane as a door to allow me to hide as I defecate. Imagine.

I have two shirts to wear. Two pair of pants. Two pair of briefs. Two pair of socks. One pair of slip-on sneakers which must be kept nice and clean, if not perfect. One set of clothing is for wearing while the other set is being washed. My laundry is picked up daily and returned to me folded, not pressed. No need for that little nicety; the material smoothes out neatly enough. I also have a towel, wash-cloth, toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, a bar of soap to call my own and a metal shelf upon which I keep my belongings. Nothing more. No dresser. No closet. No refrigerator to hold a midnight snack. If I get hungry or thirsty between meals...well, that’s just plain unfortunate.

I spend my days helping in a library barely worthy of the name (this is where I will input my notes so I can transfer them to the USB drive you furnished). We carry books by Clancy and Uris and Halberstam and the like, though I did happen upon an old set of “Hardy Boys” mysteries that some of our, shall we say, “less educated” and more “intense” patrons latched onto with a joy that was almost prurient. Having grown men buffed into massive mounds of musculature avidly perusing semi-well-written stories about two slim teenaged boys solving mysteries and getting themselves into perilous situations of bondage over and over and over brought some funny, albeit disgraceful, thoughts to my warped little brain, so I went looking for some “Nancy Drew” to see if that would bring about the same reaction. I found none, alas. Merely a group of ancient tomes from “The Reader’s Digest Collection of American Classics.” I admit to snorting in derision upon seeing them. Imagine -- Steinbeck reduced to scrambled eggs. Hemingway sliced as thin as Prosciuto (did I spell that correctly? I do worry about such things). Dreiser cut and processed like individual strips of fake cheese wrapped in thin plastic. Sacrilege visited upon our greatest authors, to be sure...but so American in execution.

Our magazines exist mainly in the “Popular Mechanics”, “National Geographic” -- when not having nudity in them -- and “Discovery” area. No “Playboy” or “Penthouse” or even “GQ” or “Vanity Fair.” I understand when they used to carry the latter two, the pages of ads with pretty girls and boys in them tended to...oh, get “stuck together,” shall we say? No books on tape. No records or CDs or DVDs available that were produced later than nineteen-sixty. Certainly nothing in the way of Rap, considering the lyrics they usually entail. Nothing, in fact, to fire anyone’s unused imagination too-too much. Better to let one’s thought processes wither and die.

My roommate is pleasant enough, for a Nazi from Riverside. You can tell he is one by his consistently shaved head, low-rent eyes and perpetual scowl. In his late twenties and smoothly-muscled into a form that would make Bruce Weber salivate, he is nowhere near as tough as he thinks because he is not as bright as he believes himself to be, and that can be a fatal flaw in any man. But he has just enough swagger to pull his attitude off -- in the colony, anyway. He would have been fun to make use of, except I’ve seen him out of this vile excuse for a uniform and cannot ignore the mass of hideous tattoos covering his powerful arms and back, or his racist nonsense. My step-father was even more powerfully built than he and even more laden with tattoos, and anything that reminds me of him would be worthy of nothing but contempt...were it not for manner in which his legs flowed perfectly into his glorious rear...and the shape and form of his elegant cock as he allowed me to pay it homage.

Is “cock” too sharp and sudden for you, Eric? Shall I use penis? Manhood? Masculine appendage? You may choose your euphemism; I give you permission.

More paper coffee. A moment to collect my thoughts. A guard strolls past in his blue uniform. A scowl of a man with thin legs topped by too large of a body. How they support his frame must be explained by some physicist who can understand such things, for I cannot even begin to care. He once hinted he’d like to be one of those I serviced, but I pretended not to understand.

A door slices through the plexi, barely visible in its scratchiness save for the hinges and lock. Oh, that lock. A big bold monster of a mechanism used more for intimidation than actual security. I seriously believe I could pick it with my eyes closed. When opened, it allows me to step out on a long narrow second floor passageway, two doors down from the stairs, and look out upon an open space of tables and chairs bolted into the concrete floor. This is the general area and is where most of the men trapped in this hell hold their pissing contests. I’ve seen any number of fights, a few stabbings and one man get his neck broken down there, and the guards never come until blood is flowing or someone is screaming insanely from pain. Of course, it’s too exposed for rapes to occur -- and they do still happen, but more for revenge or an exercise in control than for gratification, and they normally happen in the laundry room or private cells that have been left open, and for some reason the guards are either someplace else or deliberately ignoring the pleas for help.

While I am usually left to my own devices, when not working or in my room, every door I pass through is locked and may only be opened by one of the staff. And even with my excellent record, eyes still peer at me twenty-four/seven. Especially when I shit. That seems to mean something to the powers that want to be and understand and act like they know all about you. I am forced to attend sessions with a “doctor” twice a week to discuss my reasons for being inside. I quickly understood that to proclaim one’s innocence to the likes of them only further increases their certainty of your guilt, so I lie. I tell him long stories of my step-father’s abuse from the age of five -- both sexual and physical, despite neither having occurred; who was to say otherwise, since they could not be corroborated; the son-of-a-bitch experienced a far too simple death from lung cancer years ago. I wept at my sense of loss at the abandonment of me by my father -- though to be honest, he never factored into my life. He left but a year after I was born and I did not know enough to miss him prior to my mother’s remarriage four years later. I met him once, a few months after I moved to California. He was such a stupid arrogant log of a man, I found I truly despised him and his attitudes and never saw him, again. Be that as it may, my willingness to “open up” and revel in the deep-rooted causes of my “psychoses” before that “learnĂ©d” quack in that appalling facility endeared me to the powers that be and added to my quick consideration for release.

Yes, Eric -- I am actually up for parole in just under four months, not the six they would have you believe. And I think they’ll allow it, now that the uproar over Bobby has died down.

I can just think of how that makes you feel.