Friday, December 11, 2009

Boy and Fox, 10 days in

10K into the story. So far the oddest part has been the creation of GROWL (Grassroots Organization for Werewolf Liberation) and STARVE (Society to Achieve Responsible Vampire Emancipation). Both of which took over twenty minutes each to think up ....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Boy and Fox post

7 days into Boy and Fox (as of last night) and 7K and change written. A much slower pace than nano, but also a very different story. It's about a young man, currently named Boy (he has forgot his name) who is wandering a (the?) spirit world, en route back to his body. He knows he is looking for someone, but is unsure who, or even why. Currently he has been befriended by a fox that was eaten by ogres.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Summing Up

Nanowrimo went rather well, all told. Had four 10K+ days (the last almost 11K), average pace ended up at 6,000 words per day, which is decent. Had two 2K days and six 3K days on the low end. Nano #3 is also the first time I've ever gone: "Okay, I need X words by this day, Y by this day ..." and so on. I'm pretty pleased I managed to finish it with a few days to spare and didn't stress myself over it.

For next year, I'd like to do two 70-80K novel drafts, I think. I have no idea what yet, of course, and probably won't until, say, October.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

And done

151515 words, by nanowrimo's count. Brain is dead.

On the plus side, I have now written a lot for nano.

2003, Waking Dreams: 52,214
2004. Higher Ground: 105,857
2005, Guardian Monsters: 54,347
2006, My Cat Used To Be A Buddhist: 50,074
2006, New Fires: 50,857
2007, The Coroner's Tale: at 62,857
2007, Roadside Attractions at the End of the World: 50,314
2008, Necessity and Power: 74,988
2009, Roadside Attractions (new version): 50,269
2009, The Adventures of the Miskatonic Elementary School Kids #1: 50,277
2009, Shadows of Never: 50,002

For a grand total of: 652,056. Damn.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the 24th

33K total. Tonight could be 5K, but just feeling bleh and need to work earlier than usual so shall end it here (also at the end of a section). Next up is the Emily and Indians scenes, which should be fun. Tiger Lily will have someone to confide in and she'll realize how little power mother's have here and prepare to make a deal with the mermaids to break Marooners Rock and bring Captain Hook back from the dead. With luck.

Monday, November 23, 2009

And an update...

Managed to hit the 25K by Sunday night goal with an hour to spare. Kept going enough to pull off 10,400 words and beat my dad one record of 10,200 and change. Right hand is pretty sore this morning, but I did do almost 19K in 2 days so that's to be expected. (It's frustrating, since before the incident at work involving glass, a window, tendons and so forth I had never had any problems whatsoever with typing.) Now, I think that doing more than 3 nanos (Or, say, 150K itself) in a month isn't physically possible for this hand, even if I could pull it off.

Interestingly, I probably could manage it with the right story if I really wanted to. I wrote barely 100 words and change one day (didn't even bother to update word count) and had a couple of 2K and some weak 3K days. I think next years goal will be a 100k+ single novel, rather than the smaller nanoes and 70K stuff I normally do. Not sure what I'll write, yet, but some of us have been bandying about the idea of a group taking the same basic premise and seeing where everyone goes with it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

22 days in....

And 19K into nano #3. So far the entire family is in Neverland, or on their way to it. (Emily is in Everafter, the girls version of Neverland.) So far I'm doing 5K sections with each of the characters, so shall see how that goes. The story has been pretty fun so far, and it shall be interesting to see how it goes.

So far, plotting includes Peter Pan getting his shadow back when Emily gives him a good spanking, Kirby having to deal with the ramifications of his actions in Neverland and Dan remembering that he was in it years ago, and maybe even learning to fly again. I'm pretty much writing this one seat-of-pants style, so it's coming slower than I'd like.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And end of nano #2!

Clocking in at 50,227. As with many nanoes when I set out fro 50K I tend to hit the last couple of scenes close to the mark, sometimes stretching them a little. It was fun, and some day I may seriously do a sequel in the world. However, my pre-nano project partially involves a high school so I didn't want to throw a school setting into the next nano.

Shadows of Never can be summed up succinctly: "Psychotic child tries to convince man to hack off own hand and become a pirate. In essence." It's going to be more of a thrilleresque story and not at all humourous.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Nano, day 14.

brain dead, quick post: made it to 35K for nano #2. The plot is gathering steam towards the end, various factions marshalling their pawns and the MC is about to find some clues to his own destiny and, possibly, chat to Some Terrible Dread and emerge halfway sane.

Friday, November 13, 2009

And nano for friday the 13th ...

Passed 26K on Miskatonic. I'm hoping to hit ~40K by Sunday, 50 by Tues and if all goes well try for a third nano as a sequel to this one. Currently Clay is trying to deal with finding out his mother is a witch, a difficulty about to be interrupted by a vampire needing his aid and eventually by a pharaoh's daughter. Plot wise, things are coming together quite well: Clay shall realize what he's capable of (and deny it), get involved in a minor school war between the chess club and the cheerleaders and then rescue a substitute teacher from being sacrificed to the Great Old Ones.

Which may cause him to fail math.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And day 11, in summary

Just, just managed to hit 5K at midnight. Given that the day was spent getting up late as well as buying things and making three batches of cookies I'm pleased with that. The 2K/day slump of the past two days is over. Currently at 20.5K, would like to be ~40K by Sunday or so. Depending on how and when this story ends, I might even work on its sequel and go for 150K in a month for the first time.

And then my brain will explode :)

Plot wise, the substitute teacher is getting his chapter, the main character has been hunted by werewolves who turned out to be far nastier than I'd planned, so that will prove interesting. When a kid in grade six pulls out a pistol and empties six shots into an eight year old vampire, one has pretty much shelved all hopes of a story being YA. I have this tendency to do that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

nanowrimo day 10..

4K in about 2 days. The 1K in the morning before work goes easy, evenings haven't even if I'm heading into great and fun scenes. Some of it has been the rewriting of those scenes, but it's still slow going. Taking the rest of the night off, getting to sleep early, and planning to see how tomorrow goes.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Nanowrmo, day 8

We are running low on food. Bickens has begun to look quite appetizing and we may have to begin to eat each other to survive and not just because we figured it would make the story of our plight into a better movie.

Wait, wrong kind of "day 8". Having said that, the eighth day of nanowrimo went pretty slowly. I barely got over 5,000 words, making it my second-slowest day thus far. A lot of that was one or two scenes I kept reworking and adding, and one planned scence I cut for reasons of space and timing. On the other hand, I'm quite liking this story thus far and odd details and surrealisms have creeped into it that were never intended.

Plus an adorable 8 year old vampire with baby teeth issues. Depending on how this goes, I may do a sequel story or two (I have the high school named for a HS story as well). I suspect it may be necessary and it will be fun to explore Clay's relationship with his mother as he realizes who she is and begins to question her tales of his missing father.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

And progress, which is fun.

The first nano was finished on the 6th, at just over 50K (I had to stretch and alter the last scene to make it fit; I could have researched some information I needed on cars instead, and probably should have, but the second draft will fix it).

Work is beginning (1K of writing, 2K of notes) on The Adventures of the Miskatonic Elementary School Kids

"A story about Argleton, Arkham County and the kids at the elementary school as they deal with evil monsters (the older girls), snarling demons (the bullies) and even vampires, werewolves and a host of creepy and crawly things as magical wars rage about them, unspeakable names are written in the boy's bathroom and Clayton Rags and his friends try to find a way to survive Elementary School with both their grades and sanity intact."

It should be some nice, cute fun and weirdness. Currently a substitute teacher is about to discover just how weird this town is but he's so full of Proper Teaching I think I'll keep him around as the voice of sanity in an insane world, convinced that there are no monsters in storm drains and the like in spite of all evidence that there are.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Nano day 5

Passed 40.5K two minutes before midnight. About to crash, but things are going well.

Jesse is about to make the choice to heal people (with reservations), Sara is going to confront Winter and find out what Winter wants from her, Cody is going to go nuts against the Secret Government that rules the world, and Winter is going to eat popsicles. Probably. With luck.

Oddly, it should end at ~50K this time around, barring any surprises.

After this, it a currently untitled story involving vampires, heroes, witches, werewolf packs, cheerleaders and ... elementary school.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Day 4 of nano...

Taking most of the day off, since my right hand is getting sore. Having never had this problem before, it's pretty annoying but there isn't all that much I can really do about it save deal.

Plot wise, some characters are a little different than the 2007 version (only to be expected: this novel shares the title and not much else). Jesse is reaching a state of neurotic confusion, however, and Cody is slowly reaching the "I want revenge" stage of things.

However, only 3 people have died in it (and 6 prior to the novel's start, plus Cody's parents earlier). Technically, one person who had yet to show up has also died as well, but it is a far less crazy body count than version 1.0 and the 2.0 edit had. It's also a far darker story, though Winter keeps injecting humour into it, and has been called on his reasons for that at least once by Cody.

Currently, Cody is about to learn about his parents and what they did for a living and Jesse has been kidnapped by Saunders to be used to heal some very wealthy and powerful older men (at least, as far as Saunders knows). Which leaves Jesse's cousin to, somehow, try and find and save him, quite likely with the aid of Winter, if she can forgive him for trying to break her mind.

The things we never plot often end up turning out to be the most fun :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Nano 2009, day 3

Day 3 of nano. So far, right hand is sore but doing mostly OK. I'm taking a lot of breaks with it and writing hopefully 5K/day as my eventual average over several hours to cut down on any soreness.

Plus wise, things proceed rather well. I have a couple more chapters for Cody and Jesse before I run out of actual written down plot. (This isn't all that much, one chapter note was, in its entirety, "Chapter 7: Saunders/Burke chapter here, presumably in New Dysonville.") So far this version of the story has very little in common with the previous 2007 draft. Characters are somewhat the same, but Jesse has a little more spine and Cody hasn't yet gone over to the dark side, as it were. Soonish, but not yet.

A few additions have managed to surprise me, and the dynamic between Saunders and his boss is quite entertaining to work with. The downside to the plot as it stands now is that, going into the second day of the novel, the characters are liable to be captured by the authorities pretty soon. Shall see how that goes :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Nano so far..

10K, 1 day into it. So far the plot is working as planned, though it's hard to get into the Jesse sections as easily as the Cody ones. A few subplots have surprised me, and I'm almost at the end of the actual written plot; after this it's build on what came before, seat of pants writing and know what the ending is so I cam move towards it.

Should be great fun. So far the best unplanned bit was the time traveller who is currently having a pouty fit because the FBI have him on the most wanted list for crimes he hasn't committed yet. Which, as far as he is concerned, is a) rude of his future self and b) discrimination.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


When you forget me I want to know
what you remember, what you'll carry on
in forgetting of you
and me.

If I forget you I still would keep
Letters I wrote, the desk I wrote on
dreaming about you
and me.

We can still lose each other
in a world too connected; phones on
and off, silent you
and me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The silence, it deafens.

So. Been busy, mostly working on the Family Story that was meant to be a pre-nano novella and now shows signs of wanting to keep going and becoming something Big. Naturally. I've no idea how long it will be at present.

Nanowise, the YA will be titled Shadows of Home. The trick will be keeping it YA and maybe doing a follow-up to it, depending on how it goes. After nano, I'm undecided. I have many, many projects from this year I can fix/continue, but the writing-group edited Roadside Attractions at the End of the World is waving at me again. I suspect the second draft will bear almost no resemblance to the first, since I'll be ditching most of the comedic-for-its-sake aspects and making it a far darker story overall. Which means tossing the aliens out the window and having Jesse's GF interact with him. I scratched out a few notes regarding overall goals, and I think the first two chapters will remain roughly the same, event-wise, but a lot of the over the top aspects of the later chapters will be discarded.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I was thinking about the Story so far. As it stands, Darnell is mostly reactive. He's tossed into situations and acts to solve them. By the standard of who is sets the actual plots in motion and gets things rolling, the antagonists fit the bill. The main character is, at present, almost the antagonist.

The antagonist is partially responsible for the plot, definitely responsible for moving it forward. That Darnell doesn't know this is only good to a point. Be interesting to see where this goes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Family Story bit.....

"You don't pay attention to your own past?"
"Our stories are almost all oral; they change as we do, or at least the ones we emphasize do. It's not all that important, Kate. The world is, we are. That's enough for me."
Kate eyed me askance. "I can't tell if that's zen or if you're just lazy."
A nice fun bit from today. 20K into the story and dealing with various implications of Darnell having to inform people he's known that he isn't human. Or, in other words, the Superman/Lois Lane moment of truth: if someone lied to you ever since you knew them (no matter how short that time) could you trust them again? It's a fun concept to explore.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ah, fun!

Working on the Family Story (it has a different title, but that was mostly to give it a title). Edited and fixed chapters 1-2 (3 was left pretty much as is), trashed the start of chapter 4 and now working on it. I'm not sure how long this story will end up being -- most of the major cast has been introduced or mentioned (or inferred, in one case). I've never working on a story from a non-human pov before in depth, so it's going to be fun when his morals and that of the humans he gets to know clash.

Interestingly for one of my writing projects, I am 10K into the second treatment and no one has been killed yet.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fun Editing

So. I am working on a novella, mostly to take my mind off of my NaNoWriMo idea. The first scene came into my head. I wrote it, paused to write three pages of notes to find out what I was writing, continued. Ironically, the continued part flowed better with people so I am probably scrapping/moving the first scene util later and altering the plot as a result. On the plus side, later chapters will likely remain as written (chapter 3 needs almost no editing, plot-wise), but the start becomes pedestrian and the reader doesn't start in the middle of things quite as insanely as originally happened.

All of which means that this project is suffering the same result of all other things I've worked on this year. Get to point X, stop, redo from start. It's not necessarily a bad thing (I think it's better overall) but from a "So, what did I finish this year?" pov it's pretty annoying. I think I've reached a point where I need to plot out an idea a lot before I start writing it, more for an idea of who/what the characters are than with regards to the plot itself. Along with what characters are necessary and what their function is in and of themselves, not just for purposes of plot/story. I think I'll re-tackle Exorcism after nano with a better handle on the secondary characters.

Shall see how it all goes. Now back to rewriting chapter one of the Family story...

Ending this blog

I don't think I can combine the posts from this blog into my regular one, so just ending this blog. I don't post enough to either to justify having two. All nano, attempts as humour etc. posts will just be part of the normal blog.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why I don't write epic fantasy: thoughts

For lack of anything useful to post (unless one wants many versions of some short stories :p), some genre thoughts. I don't mind reading epic fantasy -- up to a point. Series that go on forever bug me as a reader, so I thought about why and the answer proved quite simple: they're about world building.

World-building isn't bad (I've done it often enough myself) but if one is doing a series focused on one character or the typical Small Band, how many novels do you really need to tell their story? Not to show off your world or research of languages, but to tell the actual story. In most cases, I would lay down money that you actually don't need more than, say, a trilogy. There are exceptions -- always those -- but what end is it serving?

To me, the world is the framework. And it is important: you can't have a house without one. The materials matter. But after you build it, whatever is put inside, bought, decorates it and so forth is what is important. It's one reason I like writing modern fantasy: the framework is often there already, so I can focus more on the story proper.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


"Danny may not make hurricane strength: forecasters"

His parents will be very sad.That is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On dreams

I don't normally recall dreams, and those I do seldom make all that much sense. Last night's was just fun since I "woke" in an alternate version of my apartment and other places I've lived (as well as a kitchen I've never had*. I had a shower in the dream, figuring that would wake me up, and -- when that failed, and things got even stranger** -- logging on to a 4" compute in a sewing room. Which ran DOS 5.0. I still managed to contact people, one of ehich said: "Go outside" before the computer stopped working.

Which was the neat part: I'd been all "this is a dream, I can access the net and modern programs even if it is on DOS" all the while knowing I shouldn't be able to. Which led to the dream 'realizing' that and locking me out. Eventually I went outside to run into someone who had apparently made fun of me when I was six, and I now knew what he looked like so I could ask for an apology. Without, you know, getting his name or any idea what he did.

* The kitchen was all stainless steel appliances, counter tops etc and was "serial killer clean"
** My father as 50 lb overweight, coming in to fix the linen closet and casually noting a bees nest in it along with the a solid arm (and voice) of someone named Myra.

Here is a map of it, too:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Some older poetry

Been busy, so here is some older poetry (from 2004):

The universe is a balloon.

The universe is a balloon.
If we are lucky, it is a balloon animal.
Everything runs down. Entropy runs rampant.
The heat-death of the universe the final hot flash.
Watch the balloon. Breath, and it blows.
Let go, to fly where it may.
Created, it is already dying.
Set free, it may come back to Him, in worship.
And awe. And fear.
Who would create something that is dying
from the moment of its making?
Or does it have no worth, if it does not end,
is not let go to burn out and up and bright?
Perhaps. But analogy only takes us so far.

The universe was made by God, masturbating.
A lonely child in a bathroom scrawled with Enochian graffiti.
Each day a second, ripples of sperm falling into water.
The death and rebirth of the universe nothing
but a toilet flushing, water returning.
Over and over.
God never knew what He'd done.

And life? Spreading entropy far and wide,
energy burning up, trying to hold the death back
but no one can give and never take
and never hope for reward. And so
it is that life in the universe is nothing
more than a way to bring about the end.
Seven days creating? Ah! how long, then, to destroy?

The Suicide Boy

      For Goth Poetry Nite

They told us he came back
as a ghost, long after
Our class had gone out
to be devoured by the cruel world.

They hear him in the bathroom, sobbing:
saying no one loves him, no one

And he doesn't believe in God
or souls, and sobs insults
at people who offer experiential evidence
and show him a mirror.

Sometimes, Carrie style, a light bulb breaks
as he tries in vain to put his make up on,
hands floating through the too real world.

Monday, August 03, 2009

nanowrimo 2009

There were plans this year for it. I have forgotten what they were. (One of them turned into an abortive novel in several drafts.) What it shall be now is thanks to a prompt on a writing forum I'm a member of: YA fantasy dealing with separation & divorce. Which led me to think about Thomas The Rhymer, his missing seven years from the world and what that would do to his wife and kids left behind -- along with the fae child he fathers in his 3 nights in Elfland.

I don't know much about it yet -- I have no clue who the antagonist shall be (I'm half-certain there won't be one per se), but I have the cosmology done and 5 characters named in 2 days.

Janet & Thomas were easy, sine I lifted them from the poem. The demon girl Roh came about in the shower this morning and Pam, an older daughter of Janet's, popped into my head yesterday. Roh is odd, not a female name and simple, basic. Like demons in a lot of ways: she is one thing, a single note of a song. Pam can be short for Pamela and struck me as a very sensible name, which will be at odds with what she has done.

For the two male MCs, I knew one has to be Irish-ish (the fae) and be able to have a nickname. Thomas's son, no nickname and preferably English. Beyond that I went for the low end of the alphabet, random letters to start the names and emerged with Declan and Harris. Both work, so shall work on setting and plot at some point too...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

music meme

The challenge: Put your MP3 player thingy on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results.

And the result:

After the guns are silent
Where do we go from here;
When you're sad and when you're lonely?

I like a man who wears a lab coat when he works.
There are kids, lots of kids, who put the law inside a circle
Lost boys and golden girls.

Oh helen, you're a felon
All my books lay on the table

Angelina's got more kids:
He was just one more name in the story.

I'm hiding in the corner:
Sane men don't go mad all on their own -- oh no no.
What is evil? What is love?
We're the things that go bump in the night that you can't see.

If I could be a superhero
I sing the praise of honored wars of glory and of kings
Cultivate your hunger before you idealize.

Find me
I'm a man without a soul...Honey, yeah
If you're gonna get your heart broke, you better do it just right.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

WIP fun

Oh, that was sad. I spent 2 minutes wondering, seriously, if one of the eventual antagonists of a WIP would wear briefs or boxers. To say nothing of considering sherry vs. beer in terms of beverage of choice. OTOH I did come across this

while looking for the proper VW for another character to drive.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

novels via speech recognition

Here's the start of Chapter 25 of Roadside Attractions at the end of the World as interpreted by a speech recognition program/

chapter X. X. B. Because all the trees and are being

Yes "blues ball of strong and should winter wheat is quoting side. Use for those chemicals definitions you people's, genuine who breaks that you.
       the winter seven Jong stretching slowly and the looking around . "how?"
       "what?" Jesse look to brown we're only .
       "nothing. "he is more the peregrine trying to person . Your idea? "
       "he said it was small enough to avoid notice. And then you can pay. Can you? Could "
       winter grain . "probably." people all the weather over the holiday although this back home and, opening it, then put it back again. "enough for the meal. Good. " and
       "the very old is in question"
       " no no. It just means cronyism liable for below the place up a whole to I hope. All " feature wrong with the door. "I don't know any way."


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another novel fragment

“You got a tattoo.”
       “There was also demons, the police, a fae --” I tried.
       “You got a tattoo.” She raised a hand, and for half a moment I thought she was going to slap me before she reached across the kitchen table and brushed some hair from my face, staring into my eyes. I tried not to squirm. “Show me.”
       I sighed and unwrapped the bandage on my left hand and showed her both palms. “They’re visible only if I want them to be.”
       “Because they're magical tattoos?” she said, but there was a tightness in her voice when she stared at my left hand.
       “How did you --?” I drew back and grandma blinked a few times.
       “I was joking. Or I thought I was,” she amended, then frowned and turned my left hand over, staring at my palm. “This?”
       I looked down and saw the faint outline of the tattoo glowing red. “Weird.” I concentrated and it faded away almost to nothing. “There. I guess using fire soon after getting this wasn’t the best idea.”
       “And it is?”
       “The new moon, the Eye of Horus -- closed -- and a phoenix reversed. It should basically make a framework for binding the angel and save me time and energy. It knows what I am, about the knife, and can probably seen the fire in me. I need another edge, or at least a moment of surprise.”
       She ran her fingers lightly over both palms, tickling my right a little in the process. “And it was worth it?”
       “Don’t know yet.” I pulled my hands away. “Probably not: it hurt a lot.”
       “You knew that going in.”
       It wasn’t a question but I nodded anyway. “I thought anything on my left hand would hurt a lot by default.”
       “You could have asked me.”
       “Would you have said yes?”
       Grandma was quiet for a few minutes, staring at my hands, then looked up and smiled wanly. “Probably not. But despite what you may have heard, it isn’t easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
       “It may seem easier, but you break a trust in doing so.”
       “And,” she added with a gentle smile, “sometimes when adults say no, it is for a good reason.”
       “‘People only grow to the extent they aren’t protected. Not by closing their hearts, but by the pieces they leave open.’” I quoted.
       She snorted. “Your father always was too poetic for his own good.”
       “You don’t grow if you’re sheltered. That’s what he meant. It’s not a bad thing to want to, but only for so long.”
       “Aiden. You’re only fifteen. You’re young enough to be wounded, yes, but are you old enough to heal?”
       Neither of us looked at my left hand. I smiled, or at least tried to. “I don’t know.”
       “I was young once, too. I took risks, did foolish things. All parents were children once, Aiden; as difficult as you might find it to believe, all grandparents were, too. I don’t know many things in this life, but I do know that we only grow by scar tissue, and most of us, if we had a choice, wouldn’t choose to grow at all.”
       “But --.”
       “Hush.” She took my hands in hers, lightly. “To be content in life, you need ignorance, Aiden. The world is full of evil and good, and I doubt either is stronger than the other, but it’s all too easy to see the evil. One act can make someone evil, but good is so many little things, all adding up in amounts so small we almost never measure them.”
       “Demons, grandma. They’re real, and they hate us. You want me to be ignorant of them and have the world end?”
       “No. But I think it would be better by far to be happy when the world ends than to be sad over your own life. Your parents had each other. They knew love. But you -- if you save the world and end up bitter, or sad, or lonely, what have you saved that was worth it?” She let go of my hands. “I don’t want your life to be like that, no matter the choices you make.”
       “But I’d save the world.”
       “I think it is generally better if our lives have meaning than that our deaths do,” she said dryly. “I’d rather you lived a full life, Aiden, and died in some random accident, than died a death in the cold and dark with no one to mourn, no one to attend your funeral.”
       “How many will attend yours?” slipped out before I could stop it.
       I stiffened, prepared for her to strike me this time, but to my surprise my grandmother laughed. “Oh, Aiden. Thank you.”
       “For what?”
       “Your parents would never have said that, never dreamed of it.”
       “I’m sorry --.”
       “Hush.” She raised a finger to my lips. “It was true. I am scared you will make the choice I made, Aiden. I’m an old lady who doesn’t even keep cats for company, who had no lover who remained, who made no friends I wasn’t too quick to renounce. But you are your parent’s son, too. And they could use people without hesitation if they had to, friend or not.” Son or not remained unspoken.
       “I don’t plan to.”
       “Of course you don’t. You’ll just let it happen, and pretend surprise when it’s over.”
       I scowled. “I’m not you. And I’m not them!”
       “I wish I could believe that.” She stood. “You don’t know how hard I wish that.”
       “I stood as well. “So, I’m being grounded or something?”
       “I think you’ve punished yourself enough. This time. But you can’t keep doing things like this. There are limits to how much a body can endure.”
       I said nothing.
       She began walking to the kitchen stairs, and turned and looked back. “You need to learn to bend, Aiden.”
       “I am an exorcist,” I said, holding her gaze. “We break before we bend.”
       And my grandmother stared at me for a long moment, mouth opening, but she closed it on whatever words she was going to say and turned out the light.
       I stood in the dark alone until she went upstairs so I could pretend I never heard her crying.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

On marriage in archie comics...

Just came across this bit of news today, and I'm still terribly amused by it. You see, Archie Comics did this fun mockery of Marvel's Civil War with their own 'Civil Chores' . All I can think now is that this is their version of the marriage between Spidey and MJ, and it will end with Archie making a deal with the devil to annul his marriage.

... Is there a reason you're looking at me like that?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fragment from novel.

      “Angels are not demons. We have no issue with killing, or bodies, or gore. But it is hard to tempt with virtues as angel do when people are scared and terrified. So they shunt people, as you called it. No mess, no fuss, no body to find ... at least not in their lifetime.”
      “But Nicole was murdered. And Daniel. So whoever is doing this told the angel to kill, and it put both Tammi-Anne and Jennifer somewhen else. But they’re after some kind of revenge, enough to have demanded it leave bodies.”
      Mr. Peterson nodded. “The angels do not pay attention to this world as we do. They just toss people through time, finish what they were present for, and leave. We often find uses for those put out of time.”
      “So they’re both dead, then?”
      “Quite likely. Or famous, rich, reviled. It would depend on the kind of skills they had, what they could truly bring of the the present to the past.”
      “Cellphones?” I said dryly.
      “How cute. No. They have many uses that do not involve the destruction of this world. Ringtones, on the other hand.” Mr. Peterson smiled. “We convinced one person put out of time to invent them.”
      “Okay, now I know you’re just trying to pull my leg.”
      “1993,” the demon said calmly. “We also caused the actual Noika Tune to be invented in 1903 to ensure ringtones would exist. Tárrega ran away three times during his childhood, and no one truly knows why. Even with impaired vision he saw what his father really was, though never what was planned for his music.”
      “This is, seriously, how demons try and destroy the world?”
      “We use the angels cast-offs for other methods as well. The black death was caused by nanotech from a boy in 2112.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Two Ficlets

Bigfoot is Evil

"Do you have to video everything?"
"Think Blair Witch, Karen!"
"Think: We're lost, and you're using a VHS camcorder. Why didn't you just lug along a slide projector?"
"We're both on edge but this video will make us Famous!"
"Dave, everyone knows there's no such thing as Bigfoot!"
"You saw the tracks!
"And I've seen people fake crop circles, Dave."
"Think outside the box, Karen. Has anyone told Bigfoot it didn't exist?"
"No, but this is a giant bear-person you are talking about. What if it was real?"
"Wouldn't it eat people?"
"That's just silly. Bigfoot would just be an animal, Karen. You can't expect me to believe Bigfoot is evil! Karen? Screaming won't get you out of carrying the equipment. Karen? This isn't funny, Kar ...."

Trapping the Bigfoot

"I don't believe it. The first Bigfoot captured, Henderson. They said it couldn't be done -- I even said it, but you captured it!"
"I just set a trap that can capture anyone."
"You must explain this to me. What kind of food can trap any creature? I've never heard of such a thing."
"Did you ever read comics?"
"See? I used this."
"You captured the Bigfoot with a Hostess Fruit Pie?"
"It worked, didn't it? Ah, waving it around might be unwise."
"Henderson, this is science! Your joke is not -- dear god, it broke the cage!"
"I told you not to wave Hostess at it! Throw the fruit pie or lose your hand!"
"She just ate it. Whole. Did you see those teeth?"
"She's choking! The wrapper. You never took off the wrapper!"
"She was coming right at me, Henderson. I didn't think. I didn't ... how do you Heimlich the Bigfoot? Christ, she's dying. You know what this means?"
"You murdered the greatest advance in cryptozoology ever?"
"No. Well, yes, but we can't tell anyone. Ever. They'd never believe about the Hostess Fruit Pies."

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Two poems

Just two poems written on break today.


"My god!" he said, and words
I did not know,
face stained with longing,
skin-toned skin blemished
with failed dreams

and we stood out by the ocean
looking for nothing, his tears
adding a few drops -- less
ripples than a pebble

and I said the worn stones must
believe in spite of evidence
they would not erode away

"The tide comes in. Always,"
he said, rough, almost harsh
(so much depends on almost)

I imagine, I said, the stones hope
it won't come tomorrow --
few things are certain
beside sunsets being beautiful

and we waited watching the tide
transform the beach, washing away,
and he almost smiled.

"Maybe tomorrow," to the tide,
the ocean, the stars, me,
and you.


I held the poem for
an hour, supper
calling, feeling
it die to potatoes
& gravy & a mash of stuff.

The few that remain
(barely a turn of phrase)
surrender to desert
never to be known.

Stomach growls, sated;
heartburn later coming
from sorrow, soothed
by late night snacks.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ah, characters ...

It's always interesting to be part way through a draft and have your own understanding of a character do a complete 180. And also to realize that novel is probably going to be a duology - with a third in potentia - assuming I get around to it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Short on sleep this morning

Headline was "Faced with mortal threat, Pakistan chooses denial", which I read as: "Faced with mortal threat, Pokemon chooses denial"

And then it seemed perfectly sane and logical to wonder, if Pakistan is Pokemon, what is Israel.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Stream of consciousness bit

You know.

Others may guess, stabbing lonely questions into the ever dark. Not you. The only thing relative are relatives. The absolute is you. The absolut, perhaps. A fist into a brick wall. There is a fable-tale about the energy in a brick, you let it loose, enough to shatter cities, but one thrown, just so, through a certain window, would do the trick just the same.

Everyone stopped making sense. People speak, but all words are lies. People act, but they are only marionettes to the unconscious mind within. The squamous depths, and all abysses: inward. All try journeys are inside. To travel in the outer world, to leave one place for another -- to shed a skin! -- and all that's sought is escape. We travel not to find, but to give up, to forget, to flee. The things we seek to lose more important than those we find.

And you know the secret of the Great Chiefs is that they need not be real to have influence. And you know this is the secret of God, who is the wizard in Oz. Only as real as dreams. Only as true as beauty. Metaphors carry us, wind-swept, but soon we exit, needing not to drown, hopping, and you know

what we hope to, hop to, and your silence, in your silence, is (the) only hope.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another mythology ramble

I'm currently poking at a novel involving angels, demons, and exorcism. The one mentioned in the previous post, really. It brought to mind my other issue with mythology in novels/tv series/etcs.

Generally, you tend to get All The Stories Are True. Or at least there's some basis for them. And guess what? The characters learn The Truth(tm) and things end however they end. But in the real world, no one myth is inherently superior to any other. And, in the real world, no one finds out they are Right.

So no one will in this novel. The MC had the working hypothesis of his parents to go by, others will be added as the novel goes along, but which -- if any -- contain a grain of truth, and what that grain is, will remain unknown. It won't stop Aiden from deciding one theory IS the right one, just not ensure that he is actually correct.

The Last Easter

People were crying in the streets
mom's hand closing the blinds
slapping me light across the face

"I told you to keep it closed,"
she whispered; her eyes were like mine
when I saw the monster in the closet

I'd never seen mom afraid before
but it somehow made me strong
like chocolate makes me happy.

"Why is everyone sad, mommy?"
"They aren't ... sad," she said
and laughed, clown-like, not funny.

"They're hurting themselves!" I said
because I could hear the moaning
and screaming and all the loud shouting.

(Mom would have told us to be quiet,
sternly, by now; their moms must be
screaming to, or maybe not afraid)

"The Lord has returned," mom said,
and: "An actual Good Friday."
Her smile odd, crooked, sad. Funny.

"Mommy?" I said. I knew about Jesus
from Sunday School, and how he'd return,
but everyone sounded wonderfully afraid.

"We all hope He has rose-coloured glasses,"
mom said, nodding to the door outside.
"Your father says only the heathens will be spared."

"Where is daddy?" I said. "Is he okay?"
Mom just stared at the door, holding
my hand too tight, saying nothing.

"I guess this means no Easter Bunny?" I said.
"I liked chocolates," when mom looked at me.
And she laughed and laughed and laughed

And she hugged me, so tight, as if I'd break,
or she would, and she laughed again and
told me she loved me, so much, and didn't let go.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mythology and novels

Several years ago (in the wilds of 2005) I turned a poem into the start of a novel. The result was Waking The Dead, which was about the dead waking, gods, mythology, and other things. One of the reasons I began it was to make use of a mythology -- in this case a blend of Sumerian and Haitian -- that wasn't common in modern urban fantasy. Generally without exception the cosmology is either:
A) Christian
B) Native American
C) Ireland/Fae/what have you
D) Japanese of late

And it bugged me that some of those were taken as flat out 'this is the order of things'. So I did Waking The Dead, and decided to avoid making use of any Big/Trendy mythology as the way of things in any future novel.

That was then. This, however, is now. And 20K into one novel, the plot of another -- one involving angels, demons, and a passage from Genesis -- is saying hello and refusing to shut up. Mind you, my take on all of it is decidedly somewhere left of normal, but it is still a very odd thing. And shall be interesting to see what comes of it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

35 pages...

And so far the final(?) novel in the Shuck Cycle is shaping up interestingly. Clyde makes for an interesting viewpoint character and the plot is proceeding along nicely at 20K. I know roughly where the larger plot is going, and have some ideas how to work in other things that need to be tied together. Both Jared and Cassie surprise me, which is a good thing.

Shuck, of course, remains Shuck.

"What are you?"
"A dog. Shuck. Old Shuck, in some human legends that are grossly inaccurate, mind."
"And you don't have a head because --?"
"I lost it."

Fragments of Something

"There is more than just being your blade, my lord."
"Then what good are you?" he asked.
I sheathed the blade in my heart in reply.

My master said, "A sword is not a weapon.
Your sword should be drawn, swift, like claws, teeth,
a threat; a promise of harm to pause action for thought."

I was asked, "Why does your sword not kill?"
And I smiled. "The way the Fallen struggle
to avoid a return to grace."

Shadows see things people do not, moving through dark.
I asked: "How was that not wrong?"
I was told: "If it cannot be defiled, it is not sacred."

Unless it springs from silence, no action is pure.
A voice will only define that,
a love merely embrace it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Random idea I'll never use

If you had a world with a genuine Good vs. Evil war, where the lines truly were clear cut and so forth*, could a war get funded entirely by donations? It probably works best if each side believes they are the side of good, though you could have the side of Evil funding themselves via conquering other nations and so forth.

*It'd be fantasy so one can get away with such laziness.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well, that was a bust

Gloaming, that is. There was the novel I wished to write (A) and the novel I was writing (B). Attempts to convinced B to be A failed, twice. Rewrites failed so I'm shelving the idea at present until I can figure out what I need to change: amusingly, I think I need to ditch the Gloaming aspect entirely, and probably Adrian's family as well, as they currently stand.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gloaming: 4


The woman who answered my pounding on the door was tall and thin, all pale skin and a dark dress, with eyes like a fish and hair done up in a tight bow. The sort of person you’d call striking more than pretty, like trees frozen after an ice storm.
        “Can I help you?” she said, each word cold and clipped.
        “Is Adrian here?” I said, as nicely as I could manage.
        “Ah. His friend, hmm?” she said, saying the world as though it was a kind of unpleasant disease.
        “And your name is?”
        “Katie,” I said. I waited, but she didn’t offer hers. “Can I talk to him?” I finally added.
        “Wait.” She closed the door, not quite slamming it, and I waited on their front porch, staring about at the yard. It was large, and almost devoid of lawn. Just about every kind of tree I could recall filled it, with various bushes and flowers and some moss that was apparently grass. I wondered if anyone complained that the Holmes’s didn’t mow their lawn, but somehow doubted it. Adrian’s mom looked like sort who’d chew up and spit out the neigbhourhood beautification committee.
        She opened the door again three minutes later. “Upstairs, first door on your left,” she said curtly.
        “Thank you.” I wasn’t surprised to not get a reply and went inside. The house was all earth tones, brown and green, with actual paving stones of some kind for the stairs. The floors were wooden, and walking down the upstairs hallway felt as if I was in some tunnel under the earth. I reached the door quickly, feeling as if I was walking through some Hobbit home, and knocked.
        Adrian opened it a few moments later, suppressing a yawn. He was wearing pyjamas that looked to be a couple of sizes too small and there were dark circles under his eyes. He stared up at me in puzzlement for a few moments and rubbed some sleep from his eyes. “Hi?” he said, voice soft as ever.
        “Sorry, your mom never aid you were asleep.”
        “Stayed up late,” he said around a yawn, heading back into the room. I followed. It was plain and functional, with a bed, dresser, computer desk and nothing else. No pictures on the walls, posters, or anything at all. Everything was in shades of dull green, almost as impersonal as a hospital.
        “Your mom clears your mom daily?” I said.
        He nodded, pulling out the desk chair and sitting down as he stretched, absently rubbing his right arm where I’d squeezed it yesterday after. “You need something? Sorry, didn’t mean to sound rude --.” He yawned again.
        “Is your mom really your mother?” I asked without thinking.
        “What kind of question is that?”
        “I meant, step mother,” I said quickly.
        He shook his head. “She’s my real mom. Why?”
        “I thought she was a wicked stepmother,” I said defensively.
        “Oh.” He was quiet a few moments. “Why are you here? I mean, it’s neat having someone visit me, but not at seven a.m..”
        “Sorry, I just -- something happened to my mom.”
        “Is she okay?”
        “I don’t know. Look, I -- her hands have eyes on them!”
        “Oh.” It was a very different kind of ‘oh’. He didn’t look surprised as much as resigned and went over to the dresser. “You mind turning around? I should get real clothes on.”
        “I could wait outside,” I said.
        “Better not; Penelope hasn’t had breakfast yet.”
        “And Penelope is --?”
        He said something muffled, then: “Sorry, sister.”
        “You don’t want me to wait outside while you change because your sister hasn’t had breakfast,” I said, studying the dull green walls. “That makes no sense.”
        “Does your mom?” he said, a little sharply.
        I turned angrily at that, then froze and stared.
        Adrian had some sweats on and a t-shirt in one hand and I could see the outline of my hand where I’d squeezed his arm in anger as a deep, purple bruise around a far too thin arm. I looked down at my hand and back up, but he’d already wiggled into the shirt, blushing furiously as he did so.
        “I - I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to --.”
        “I’m fine,” he lied. “I just bruise easy.”
        I turned around again and heard a grunt as a dresser drawer opened. “Adrian?”
        “I’m fine. And I’m sorry for what I said about your mom. I’m just tired and I wasn’t thinking straight.”
        “You ever had coffee?”
        “No.” He sat down on the bed beside me and put socks on. “The world is weird enough; we don’t need stimulants on top of that.”
        I had to grin at that. “Feels weird enough today. I’d rather have you not fall asleep mid-conversation, though. Breakfast, my treat?”
        Adrian was silent a few moments, as if mulling over the intricacies of breakfast, then nodded. “Fair payment.”
        “Nothing’s free,” he said, opening the door. “For one thing, another thing has to be exchanged, yes?”
        “That doesn’t apply to just asking questions!”
        “I think it always does,” he said as I followed him down the stairs. “There’s always a cost. Like when predators attack.”
        He looked back up the stairs at me in surprise. “Prey always jump up. It’s like showing off; slows them down.”
        “It tells the predator they’re healthy,” I said.
        He nodded. “And the cost is a few lost seconds, an exchange.”
        “Listening could be cost enough,” I said dryly as he began putting in a black snowsuit.
        “Most people don’t listen; they just wait their turn to talk.”
        “My mom --.”
        “Breakfast first,” he said. “Please. I’m tired, coffee might be good, and I’m going to have to ask you questions too.”
        I started, but said nothing as his mother watched us, eyes cold and dark, not helping her son, only saying he needed to wear more. Adrian told her he had to be able to walk as well, dryly, and received no reply except a stony silence he didn’t seem to find bothersome at all.
        I would have dragged him out the door if I didn’t think it would hurt. I did up his shoelaces while he got the mittens on, trying not to look as impatient as I felt. Adrian just dressed in silence and shook his head when I went to talk as we went outside.
        I headed down the street towards Pat’s Grill. The food was decent, cheap, and it was only five blocks; Grandpa had taken me there a few times when mom had to go clear up business dealings from back home before mom began insisting he make and eat breakfast like everyone else
        I tried not to wonder what he looked like now. Or what customers would think at his store, if they showed up and saw changes in him, if they could at all.
        Adrian reached out and took my hand in his, squeezing it lightly and saying nothing. I returned it as lightly, not noticing anyone watch us from the bus on its way to school.

Gloaming: 3

Apologies; the month was hectic, and the novel has been going oddly slow; still feeling my way around the plot.


The important question to me wasn’t how I’d ended up with the groundhog’s shadow in mine, as much as: if you see a groundhog on February second with no shadow at all, what does that mean for six more weeks of winter or what? I’d have asked Adrian, but I was pretty sure he’d have just said that he had no idea.
        Duncan was shovelling the sidewalk outside his house when I went by and waved to me. I returned it.
        “Hey, you.”
        He grinned. “Sluffing off?”
        “A little,” I admitted.
        “So, what’s wrong?”
        “Normally, I make a joke, you make one, we get serious later. If we bother. So spill.”
        I had to grin at that. “Just something weird I saw.”
        “Huh.” Duncan looked at me, and he didn’t even bother with a joke about my reflection. “Want to talk about it sometime?”
        “Maybe later,” I said, a little surprised I’d been that easy to see through.
        He didn’t press it and went back to shovelling as his father yelled something out the door about wanting it done before the snow melted before slamming it. I winced, but Duncan just kept working. I left him to it, since sometimes being a friend is knowing when to walk away, when words just aren’t enough and don’t matter.
        We’d taken to playing the DS Lite at my place, after his dad had sold his. I’d asked why, not getting it, and Duncan had just shrugged, voice light. “Dad’s got a drinking problem.” And then he laughed. “Mom calls it that. But it’s not true. Dad has no problem drinking at all. The rest of his life, now --.” And he’d just shrugged and kept playing, and beat my high score.

Someone had already shovelled the driveway when I reached Grandpa’s house. It was probably mom, since the sidewalk was done as well. Grandpa’s sign was still in the yard, even in winter. Some neighbours had taken issue with Grandpa never mowing his lawn shortly after we’d arrived. I’d said I could, but Grandpa had said it was his lawn and a matter of principle. Hence the: ‘Caution: Dandelion Preserve’ sign he’d put up in September.
        I’d asked him how serious he was and he’d just smiled, told me all jokes were half-truth, and began learning how to make dandelion tea. Given that, the neighbours took my mother’s palm-reading hobby entirely in stride.
        Aside from it, the house was pretty normal all told. Yellow and brown, one level, and just one oak tree in the back (Grandpa hated raking leaves as well; I’d never been certain why he hadn’t moved into a condo and avoided a lawn entirely.) The interior was mostly country, even in the garage: lots of wood, warm colours and a homey feel to everything.
        Mom was making a stir fry when I came in from the garage, singing Billy Joel songs to herself. The kitchen had brick walls, which Grandpa apparently had insisted on, and more pots and pans than seemed remotely sane. I avoided using most of them to be on the safe side.
        “Singing means I was right about Ichabod?” I said.
        Mom looked over. “Maybe. Grandpa told me about your all-nighter. You want to tell me why?”
        “I made a new friend,” I said. “I wasn’t sure yesterday, when we met, but we met again today. He was wondering what I was doing in the park. Nice kid, but a bit too serious. The kind of homeschooling my mom warned me about.”
        “Flattery will get you nowhere,” mom said.
        “So I should stop?”
        “Heavens, no!” We shared a laugh and mom put the frying pan down on the stove, turning off the burner. It was only then that I realized she was wearing oven mitts on both her hands.
        “You burn yourself?”
        “Oh, no. I’m fine.” She took them off and showed me her hands. “See?”
        I looked at the bumps on her palms in confusion, about to ask, when the eyes opened up. The same green-brown of my mom’s, but on her hands. I stared down in shock, and mom looked down as well.
        “Is something wrong?” she said, or started to say, but I was already in the hallway, skidding across the floor. I remember reaching my room. I don’t remember bolting the door, but I know I did. I slammed it, locked it, and buried my head between two pillows as her questions outside rose into stern demands I ignored.
        Reading palms. It was almost funny. I made sounds that could have been laughter and hugged myself in the dark. My diary was on the desk with my pen beside it, but I couldn’t bring myself to write anything or even get out of bed at all. I was cold, and hot, and running a fever and terrified and helplessly sane.
        Somehow the shadows in the room were only shadows and I slept in fits and starts, wakening to the certain feeling I was being watched from the shadows even though the room was empty. Turning on all the lights just made it seem darker an d I eventually dug out my headphones and played show tunes under the covers until dawn.

Duncan locked his bedroom door all the time after his father stole his DS; I never locked mine before that night.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gloaming: 2


Adrian pulled the hood of the snowsuit up again. “Do you like hot chocolate?”
        “Look, I never said you had to believe me,” I snapped.
        He stood up, shoving the scarf into a pocket. “I do.”
        “Just like that? I saw a groundhog that didn’t have a shadow!”
        “I know you did.”
        I stood as well. He didn’t fall back, this time. “What?” My voice was almost as quiet as his normally was. My mom does that, when she’s really angry: she just gets quiet and cold, and I’d never thought I had it in me to do the same before now.
        Adrian sighed, not moving. “Can we talk about this somewhere else, inside?”
        “There’s a coffee shop on the corner of Six and Eight,” I said, still quiet, “and you are going to talk. Got it?”
        I marched towards the coffee shop, then had to stop and wait for him to catch up.
        “Thank you,” he said. “It’s hard to walk in large shoes.”
        I said nothing and we reached the coffee shop in silence.
        The Coffee Place was your average downscale hole in the wall; all the drinks were in mugs or takeaway, the coffee was just listed as coffee, and even called itself small, medium, and large instead of other sizes that impressed no one. They didn’t even serve tea, believing it was a way of ripping people off. They did make awesome hot chocolate though.
        I got two hot chocolates while he claimed the chairs by the fire and peeled off the snowsuit and a sweater. I walked back as he was putting his shoes back on.
        “Three pairs of socks?” I said as he finished putting the second boot back on.
        “Yes.” He wrapped his hands around the coffee mug and inhaled the aroma of the hot chocolate for a few moments before looking up at me. “I couldn’t ask until today.”
        “About what I saw?”
        Adrian licked his lips. “Would you have been back tomorrow?”
        His gaze was just a gaze this time, but even so: “Yes,” I said. “I don’t know why.”
        “It is dangerous.”
        “Coming back to the field, or not knowing why?”
        That won the hint of a smile. “Both.”
        “You saw the - the groundhog too?”
        He shook his head. “Not then. I saw where its shadow went., when I saw you. But you want answers, and the groundhog can’t give them.”
        “Because it’s a groundhog, maybe?” I said.
        “That, and you have his shadow.”
        “I stole the groundhog’s shadow.” Adrian nodded, then took a sip of his hot chocolate. “That makes no goddamned sense!”
        “The groundhog you saw did not have a shadow,” he said. “The shadow has to be somewhere, correct?”
        “Don’t shit with me,” I snapped, grabbing his arm when he reached for his coffee again. “You don’t try to pull logic out of your - your ass after telling me I stole a shadow!”
        Adrian stared at me, then his arm, then said: “Could you let go? You’re hurting my arm.”
        I blinked, then let go as he rubbed it with his other arm, looking paler than he had earlier.
        “I --.”
        “Don’t. I’m sorry.” He picked up the mug again, wincing a little and trying to hide that. “I told you I had a medical condition, right?”
        “You look kind of thin,” I said.
        He shook his head. “I’m not -- strong, if that’s what you mean. But that’s just me, not other things. I see things that as they are.”
        I waited, he said nothing else. “That’s a medical condition?”
        “Most people don’t. They see what they want to, or have been conditioned to, or --.” He frowned, thinking. “If one person says they saw a ghost, the chances are that others will follow suit. Mass hallucination. People see what they want to, not what is actually present.”
        “Including, what, captive shadows?” I tried, but the sarcasm was utterly wasted.
        “So it involves being sorry how, exactly?”
        “I’ve never had to explain it; I don’t think I’m doing a good job.” Adrian set his empty cup down on the table and looked at it.
        “You buy the second one,” I said.
        Adrian looked up at that. “I guess telling isn’t enough,” he said a few moments later, picking up the mug. Steam came out of it.
        I stopped him before he could drink from it, not caring how it looked to the staff.
        “It’s only half full,” he said, showing it to me. “And not as good. Magic is a lot of things, but it’s no longer a way into Eden by the back door.”
        I stared, then watched as my mug was suddenly almost half full as well. Adrian set his own down quickly, but I caught the slight tremble to the cup before he did.
        “It’s not easy then?”
        “Not in the normal world, and definitely not doing things on the fly like that.” He picked the mug up again with both hands. “The gloaming is gathering around you, because of what you saw and refused to unsee. Magic, in other words, from where magic went to die.”
        I took a drink of the hot chocolate, trying to gather my thoughts. It was a little watery. I took a drink of it, feeling a little better, and said the words all parents hate to hear: “Why me?”
        He gave a half shrug,. “I don’t know.” He looked up from his drink “It wasn’t an accident though. Somehow the groundhog’s shadow entered your own before you saw the groundhog. You did it, or she did, or something else.”
        “I like accidents,” I said, quoting Duncan. “They’re good for blaming other people.”
        Adrian shook his head, taking another sip of his drink. “When it comes to magic, there aren’t any accidents. There is the gloaming proper, magic, fate, destiny, the influence of gods and powers, dreams and wishes, us and our potentials ... a lot of things.”
        “Even the stars?” I said.
        “I had a really good horoscope today.”
        Adrian stared at me for a long moment. “No.”
        “So, astrology --?”
        “Just because magic is real don’t mean some things aren’t bunk,” he said tightly.
        “So,” I said, “what about chakras?” Adrian just stared at me. “Okay, then. I sort of feel better, actually. How much is ‘bunk’?”
        Adrian shrugged. “I’m not entirely sure. People can become aware of the gloaming on small levels, and see it through their own beliefs. It could manifest as chakras, for that, responding to need and desire.”
        “But the map isn’t the territory,” I said.
        Adrian smiled slightly for a moment. “Definitely not. And some of the stuff that isn’t real about magic is deliberate, like auras.”
        “My mom has seen auras,” I said.
        “Then she saw what she wanted. They’re actually a myth invented by magicians. Put out word auras exist, and those who ‘see’ them aren’t suitable candidates for real magic.”
        “But auras have been reported for longer than magicians would make made this myth, right? I’ve had enough lectures from my mom on Saint Hildegard and the like.”
        “Migraine aura art. You have a migraine, you translate it into art. Normal headaches probably work to, but it’s where magicians got the idea from. I think the whole holy auras for people and such is just what it seems to be, artistic licence. And how people translate what they see in their heads, making it bearable, normal. Making the wondrous mundane.”
        “Which would be why everyone knows about auras,” I said slowly, putting down my empty mug. “They are mundane now, at a certain level.”
        “Yes. At least, that’s my understanding of it.” Adrian finished his drink and started putting his snowsuit back on.
        “You never said why you really had to come outside and bug me,” I said.
        “You’re attracting the gloaming to you,” he said, wiggling his right arm into the snowsuit. I fought the urge to giggle and helped him instead.
        “Thank you,” he said once we were done.
        “Magic is dying. But it dies slowly,” he said as I opened the door, following me outside. “Like gods, long and slow. And it doesn’t want to die, so when people become aware that things aren’t kosher, it latches onto that sometimes. Puts more magic into the world, uses your confusion as desire. Things will begin to happen around you, the magic tough other people. They might find it normal, or not. And eventually ...”
        “Eventually what?”
        “I don’t know. I imagine the result is different for everyone. I thought someone should warn you, in case -- before -- it started to happen to you. That was it. I should get home now.”
        I nodded to him, thanked him, and went to catch up on lost sleep.
        And sometimes, hearing is like sight. We hear what we want to, or don’t hear what is really said. I’m not sure what would have happened, if I’d known what he meant then. Maybe it would have turned out differently. I don’t know. And even if I could know, I think it would hurt too much to know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


(Jan 2009)
Josh MacLeod

Being a god means no longer being accountable.

You will be given power. Yes.

You are not of this world. Oh, yes.

Yours is a power of creation. And, yes, again, yes. This is what I was given, the power to shape the universe to my will. To work miracles that drive men mad, to waken them to the larger world. I have done all this. I have seen wonders and terrors, beauties and abominations.

That I have been marked by this, I cannot deny. That I have been made Greater, I cannot forget.

And yet, the world calls. Mundane, stifling, as fragile as a reflection on water. I don't know how phones reach here. I was given a cell phone, though I've never paid a bill I know of. Told to answer it. Mostly it's other gods. Sometimes mortals with prayers. But never a wrong number.

This time, it is my mother. "Are you coming to the family reunion, Donald?" No mention that we haven't spoken for at least ten years. No explanation of where she found this number. Only the question.


"Why not?"

"I'm busy."

And there is silence, for a brief moment. "Too busy for family?" And her voice has need in it, and pain. And my Duty rises up inside me, like heartburn, reminding me I must answer pain, must work to free the world of snares. That the God Of Cracks is more than shielding from bureaucracy, more than making stands in the moments between moments, more than letting broken things fall through to heal.

"It seems not," I say, and ask for the date. My voice is different, to my ears: more Donald than Power, more man than god. I remind myself of all I am, and how small is what I am not.


The rain is not my doing, not consciously. The caterers not arriving was mine: one more glitch in the system, one more crack for things to fall though. They wouldn't trust online maps as readily, which was reason enough for what I did, even if not the reason entire. I am waiting for someone to suggest cannibalism, listening to voices, trying not to wish for some lightning.

"Road coming here was, dude, slipperier than frog snot!" "Can't we just order pizza?" "And then I said: form 224-f? Really? That isn't even my department!" "And after the lancing the baby was fine." "So I told her I didn't date protest ants! Get it?" "After he broke my heart, I told him that was just more pieces to love him with. Then he slapped me with a restraining order." "So I said, 'No, this is how you use a boning knife' and the trial is probably next year." "Donald?"

I turned at the last voice. "Aunt Agnes?"

She waddled over, weighed down by foundation, wobbling on high heels like a druken top. "Donald! Dear little Donnie. How are you?"

"I am."

"That's just wonderful! What are you doing for a living?"

"Finances," I said, which was true enough.

"Oh, a shame. I'd hoped you'd become interesting," she tsk'd. "No wife yet?"


"Everyone need a good woman. Or a good man, hmm?" She winked a few times, eyelids cracking.

"No." I put some of what I was in my voice.

"Oh, well then. No need to be like that, now, is there?" She sniffed. "Why, Gilbert is still in the Service, and our little Shadow is a hair follicle replacement engineer, and Agnes Jr. has three grandchildren, but one of them --."

"What does Shawn do?" I said, feeling the weight of things unspoken between words.

She hesitated, then said: "Hair, at a very fine salon. And he's looking for --."

"I am a God," I said.

"Oh, moved down in the world, have you? Become a CEO?"

I stared at her, and dropped the Veil. She stared back, holding her purse a little tighter.

"Well. That's done horrible things for your hair, that I can tell you!"

"Pardon?" I said, and people turned. The veil held for them, but they weren't entirely stupid, not quite all lemmings. A few headed for cars, making excuses.

"Probably the god of some big, important thing, like not seeing family, hmm?"

I could, now, see some Protection about her, and almost pitied the god who must have Chosen her.

And I reached out, with my nature, and opened cracks.

People gasped, blanched, fell to the ground. Even Agnes reeled slightly at the collective stench.

"I do hope you have another one," I said to my mother, who had turned the colour of curdled milk, and then I went home, not caring if they saw my step through the world.

I turned my cell phone off, and gathered up my power. It would take some work to ensure this miracle was lost in the celestial bureaucracy, but it was what I was About.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A quick ficlet

"So I have to eat them?"
"Yes, Johnny. Vegetables are good for you. And don't you roll your eyes at me! You have to eat them."
"I've been eating veggies at Bruce's. But we play with them first."
"We do not play with vegetables at the table!"
"Dear, if it gets him to finish supper ..."
"Fine. You may play with them, then eat -- oh my God! You do NOT do that with vegetables! Oh my God! Angels and ministers of -- you put your clothes back on right this minute!"
"Geeze. Sorry."
"What do you have to say for yourself young man?"
"Carrots are better when they're peeled. Duh."

Gloaming: 1

And here is the first installment of Gloaming. It's about teenagers, growing up, and what happens when magic begins leaking into your otherwise sane life. Each installment should be about 3 typed pages, with some variation. I promise to post one every two weeks, at least.

I'm currently writing #6 and haven't had to go back and change too much yet (though I finally figured out some things about Adrian's mom tonight that are pretty important for her). The goal is for the project to be from mostly Katie's pov (I hesitate to say all, because a scene or two may need to be from Duncan's.)


Hello, me. I’m trying to remember you. They’ve give me paper and a pen. It took -- has taken -- over two weeks for me to come to grips with it not being that paper, and that pen. I knew it wasn’t at all, couldn’t be, but
        No, that’s not working.
        I promise to write more coherently, or at least chronologically.. I’m telling a story here, after all. All I can ask is that you don’t confuse the teller with the tale; I think that’s the best I can hope for anymore.
        Everyone has a story. That’s one of the things mom told me that winter. It was the winter of Moby Dick, which explains a lot of that. I plan to keep my story shorter, since I don’t know how much paper I have, or for how long.
        Writers are told to leave out the boring bits, so I’ll try and do the same. Make this just be about that winter and nothing else. But if not for this winter, my life would be just boring bits, the things left out of stories. This may limit some of the people I’m going to tell you about: you won’t understand my mom with just one winter to judge her by. So try not to judge anyone harshly, except me.
        This is a story, even if it’s my life. And all fiction is lies, even if it’s about things that happened. Even if I was there. There’s parts I remember clear, others not so much. Sometimes I get the feel of things, sometimes the think of them. Some conversations are verbatim, others are prose and not spoken words.
        I’m going to tell you some lies now, about true things.

        It started with the groundhog.
        It was February second, and it had snowed last night. I was seventeen, going on eighteen, and I like to think I was just that. Not thirty two in cynicism, eighty one in sexual awareness thanks to the internet and so forth. I was home-schooled, but don’t hold that against me. I like to think I was normal, is what I’m saying.
        The ground was slushy after the snowfall and I’d spent eight hours standing in the old Baker Street park staring at a hole on the ground. My shoes were soaked through, the rest of me getting there, but I didn’t actually feel all that cold. Mostly numb. Fogged up a little, in the head. I’d must have lost track of a couple of hours, because the ring of my cell phone jarred me.
        “Hey,” I said quickly, just managing to dig it from a pocket, check the time and open it before it went to voicemail.
        “Katie Gwendolyn Smith.”
        “Oh. Hi, mom.”
        “Where have you been? I called earlier.” And I had ignored the phone, since it was too early for Duncan to call about playing a video game together. (Things like this are why I never got call display on any phone my mom paid for.)
        “I was waiting for a groundhog.”
        A silence. “And?”
        “It’s Groundhog’s Day, mom. I’m testing the superstition.”
        “Since Seven a.m.?”
        “Well, it’s not getting you out of doing your math work. Your grandfather is going to be home within the hour; and it is also your turn to make supper, in case you forgot that as well?”
        “I’ll be home quickly,” I said, casting the ground a last look before hurrying to the road. I looked back from the road, just in case I saw the groundhog again, but I saw nothing.
        Feeling returned to my feet as I walked, and Duncan called a few minutes later, asking if I wanted to play a game with him tonight. I said I had school and he got into the usual ‘you homeschoolers get homework?’ mock horror, our old routine. We meant nothing by it, not anymore. It was just how we talked to each other, and I lobbed some fake insults his way, keeping it normal. Which was a lot more comfortable thank keeping it real. (I’m pretty sure I thought that then, or something close to it; it was a strange winter.)
        Supper was chicken surprise, the surprise being that I didn’t overcook the pasta. Grandpa said it was good, which meant it was. He never said if supper was bad, but that was because he insisted I learn to cook if me and mom were staying with him. Grandpa thought everyone should learn such things and since he had insisted I cook in the first place, he never complained about some of the results. I think he must have made grandma very happy, but mom never talks about her.
        I did the math quickly, trying for sleep after and failing. I kept imaging groundhog shadows and couldn’t shake the feeling I’d have terrible dreams if I slept. So I did English until I heard grandpa getting up and stumbled out of my room for some coffee.
        “You are far too young for all-nighters,” he said, looking over the paper at me. “You should save that for college.”
        “I wanted to get some things done this morning.”
        Grandpa just nodded; I hadn’t said what things, so he didn’t press.
        I had the coffee, porridge, left a note for mom and dressed warmer before getting out again. I made sure to leave my cell at home. The park was mostly empty except for old Mr. McClure feeding pigeons at the far end, but he pretty much did that most days all over the neighbourhood so I gave him a friendly wave and went to examining the hole after cleaning a rock off to sit on it.
        I knew the burrow had other entrances, but I figured I’d see them from the rock as well. Mom doesn’t get sarcastic often, but she definitely would have if I sprained an ankle looking for groundhog holes and waiting.
        It was a little past noon, going by the sun, and I was starting to get angry. I mean, I’d seen it yesterday morning, and it hadn’t shown up again. I was half-seriously debating a shovel when someone coughed behind me.
        I turned, almost sliding off the rock, and found myself staring at a kid in a bright pink snowsuit compete with balaclava, toque and scarf. A mittened hand waved awkwardly, followed by a soft, muffled male voice: “Hello?”
        “Hi yourself. Rock’s free,” I added.
        “I suppose.” He walked closer, moving as if he had almost no joints, and waved a hand behind him, a little to my left. “I came from that house. The one with all the trees,” he added before I could ask.
        “So, no school?”
        “Homeschooled. I have a medical condition of sorts.”
        “It involves clothing?” I said, because I wasn’t my grandfather.
        “Sorry, I thought --” I paused, not sure what I thought. “Do you need help getting home?”
        “With, ah, walking?”
        “Oh, clothing. No. My mom is very protective sometimes. I’m wearing two snow suits, else I would be walking fine.”
        “I guess that explains why one is pink?” I said dryly.
        “O-kay. What brings you out here?”
        “You have been here two days: I wondered why.”
        I eyed the house, and then his clothing. “Must be some wondering, to come all the way out here wearing all that.”
        “Twice is interesting; more seldom is,” the boy said.
        I sighed, looking back at the hole. “Go home, kid.”
        “You are looking for a groundhog.”
        I didn’t fall this time. I turned carefully, and then stood and looked down at him. “That wasn’t a question.”
        “You are in a field with them, on the third of February. It seemed obvious. You want to talk about it?”
        “Get lost,” I said, no longer feeling friendly. I was feeling stupid enough as it was, but I also knew it wasn’t enough to make me give up.
        “I just --.” I took a step towards him and he stepped back, raising his hands. One mitten fell off to reveal a glove under it.
        We both stared at it, and I looked at him, then sighed. “I didn’t mean to startle you like that.”
        “I am okay. Can you pick up my mitten?”
        “I think,” he said gravely, “that I would fall over and not be able to get back up.” And then he laughed, as soft as he spoke.
        I laughed too, surprised, and got it, putting it on him. “I’m Katie.”
        “Adrian,” he said, wiggling it after it was on his hand.
        Then he went home, making his almost-robot way back through the show and somehow never quite falling.
        And that was how I met Adrian.

The third day he showed up before lunch, wearing less layers than before.
        “Hey,” I said
        “Hello,” he said, still quiet even with the scarf undone. Some people just talk softly; Adrian was one of those.
        He sat down on the rock beside me slowly, having only the pink snowsuit, mittens, a scarf and whatever was under it on. It seemed enough, given he wobbled slightly when he sat.
        “What are you wearing?” I finally said.
        “Two sweaters, a t-shirt, undershirt, long johns, two pairs of sweats, one snowsuit, scarf, gloves, mittens,” he said, pulling the hood back off the snowsuit. Under it he was pale with dark eyes and curly dark hair framing a serious face.
        “How do you get out of that?” I said.
        “With help.”
        “And you don’t need to wear it?”
        “Not this much,” he said firmly.
        “So maybe this is a lesson to not come out and bug me?”
        He smiled briefly at that, quick and shy, and then looked grave as if it hadn’t happened at all. “Perhaps.”
        I sighed. “You should go home before you need to go to the bathroom or something.”
        “I mentioned the problem; my mother took it into account.”
        “Wait. What?”
        “A diaper,” he said, the tips of his ears turning pink.
        “Is your mother mental?” It slipped out before I could stop it.
        “She is concerned.”
        “Concerned is a little less than dressing someone in more than six layers of clothing,” I said. “There’s no wind, and it’s not that cold.”
        “Worried, then. I am, too.”
        “About what?”
        “You. Why you are waiting for a groundhog.”
        “Look, Adrian, just go home, okay? I don’t feel like being bugged.”
        “I spent an hour getting dressed this morning,” he said, raising his voice a little.
        I sighed. “What do you want me to say?”
        “The truth?” he said, soft again. “About why you are here.”
        “Kid,” I began, and he looked into me. I don’t have words for it, even now. It was as if his gaze went right into me, pinning me in place with an intensity that took my breath away. It was as if he looked and into me, and right through me at the same time.
        I took a breath, managed a cough, and the moment passed and was gone. I looked away quickly, trying to gather my wits.
        “Please,” he said, a little louder, almost sounding desperate
        So I told him.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Radom thought

Are there people who seriously believe they should not be the exception to the rules?