Library Time

I recently got a new internship libraryat the library! Books! Leisure! Relaxed oafs! Writing time!…Uh, no. The only thing accurate is the Books! part. Librarians work at a very odd pace. It goes by fast enough for only a few handful-of-minutes breaks, but slow enough to look like we’re doing nothing.

I planned for the magical hardly-work-at-all pace. I have a short story that’s due this week, and confidently planned it to coincide with my shifts at the library. I was going to write the details of the last scene’s setting and/or the skeletons of 3 other settings.

I wrote nothing.

O.K., that’s a lie, but it was notes about the job. Doesn’t count for my current story.

What I did do was laminate book covers. You take the lamination paper, put the book two squares from the bottom and two squares from the side, turn the book over, measure it from that side, cut the paper, peel off half, or one book side, of the lamination paper. put the book under the sticky side. Use a blue edge thing, or a ruler, to press the paper over the book… oh, look it up.

That was my morning. After lunch I took the cart down to the main floor, shoveled our books and movies onto the cart, then rolled  it onto the elevator, and got off on our floor.

That was refreshing.

Then the rest of my shift was spent displaying, shelving, and straightening out the books. I got into a manga battles with two boys who didn’t think that organized shelves are nice. They thought that it’s nice if books are on top of each other and cast over the chairs.

Kind of like me at home. Don’t tell my boss that.

I’ll adjust. Hopefully. If my favorite teachers couldn’t stop me from writing. then my job probably won’t. And it ends in August anyway. I’ll pray for the sweet August free time, I’ll pray that I won’t go crazy from doing nothing after this grueling internship.

I’m Afraid

 

green-eyed Tiger

Sometimes I’m afraid that I’ve hit my head so hard and often that I’ll follow Stu Sutcliffe. That my skull has been cracked or dented to the point of sentencing me to death.

There’s a shadow- perhaps more than a shadow- of a thought that the water droplets dripping from my hair are droplets of blood that seep out of my scalp, slip through my hand that holds it, and is dripping downs to my left leg. But I look down and see no red that is not the red of my skin, but even that is worrisome. It’s not the red of a sunburn but the red of an itch that is scratched deeply but still won’t go away.

Perhaps I should shave my legs to be rid of at least some of the itch, or even all of it if I’m lucky. But I worry that the hairs will wriggle alive in the razor-sharp face of their doom. That they will wriggle out of my skin, drop down to the floor, and writhe, writhe in an unwanted living rug that I cannot step on, lest my hairs have souls that are killed by the body on which they once lived.

I am afraid that the birth of this rug will result in my death, directly because my nerves can’t stand losing all of my hairs in one instant, semi-directly because blood chases the hairs, either in such an amount that I collapse and die from blood loss, or in an instant moment where I simply explode from the eagerness of the blood to escape.

What if the blood, my blood, has no such hero-worship for my hairs? What if I’m simply left standing, with a completely bald, sooth specimen of a hyperventilating blood bag?

Perhaps the first person to walk in will see that young, bald, female me has cancer. That I had chemotherapy. Perhaps s/he will send me to the local doctor after finding out that I’ve had no such chemotherapy. Perhaps my bad luck will send me directly to chemo. Perhaps the resulting radiation will give me real cancer. And I will die.

Sometime I’m afraid. I fear that I am crazy for thinking such things. But I’m too afraid to ask.

How Objects Tell Your Story

Some objects define a person, like Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon and Harry Potter’s Firebolt or Nimbus 2000. They say that that person has got to be nearby. as was pointed out to me today When a friend asked “Hey where where you? We thought you were dead.” “I was dead. How’d you know?” “We saw the garlic bread and thought that if there was frickin’ garlic bread around, you would be in the area, but you weren’t, and it turned out that you actually were dead.”
But it doesn’t have to be a physical object. It could also be a color, like yellow is associated with the sun, or like the violence associated with Trump rallies.

Book-Thick Snowflake

 

HEADS UP! All poems that get 12 likes or more will be published in the environmental poetry and short story collection Before The Mountain Falls.

It was on a dark and stormy sea                                                                                                                      In the purple rain I saw you                                                                                                                   holding a bloody limb                                                                                                                             beneath your foot you crushed

a Book-Thick Snowflake                                                                                                                       Silent, silence

In the midst of

Breaking ship in a                                                                                                                                       dark and stormy night                                                                                                                                      on the wine-dark sea                                                                                                                                    the realization that you

Hard concrete, stifling buildings                                                                                                              So cold in the middle of a                                                                                                                           Stifling California summer                                                                                                                            hardly melting, still

Book-Thick beneath your foot,                                                                                                       Crushing it, and yet                                                                                                                                     still Book-Thick, it hardly melts                                                                                                               you  broke the ship but you can’t break

Cold ice                                                                                                                                                             intact                                                                                                                                                                      cold ice Snowflake                                                                                                                                          intact, surrounded by

Creaking, cracking planks                                                                                                                         you broke the ship, but that                                                                                                                       matters not to a                                                                                                                                              Book-Thick Snowflake

The concrete’s so hot                                                                                                                                      it shouldn’t be black                                                                                                                                    and yet                                                                                                                                                                     it hardly melts

you can be screaming                                                                                                                             Hulkify, the iceberg                                                                                                                                      but you just can’t melt                                                                                                                                 The Book-Thick Snowflake

Unblocking Writer’s Block

 

I found these things helpful while I had writer’s block. Try them out to see if they work for you.

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#1 Paint, draw, sculpt switch gears from words to art. No matter what amount of artistic skill you have, it will relieve stress, distract you, and encourage creative thinking. Even simple coloring books will help.

#2 Make something new – like this vegan chocolate!

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1/2 cup coconut oil – this hardens quickly                                                                                            1/2 cup cocoa powder                                                                                                                                      3 tb maple syrup – this sweetens it, use a little less if it’s too sweet                                                1/2 tsp vanilla extract.

Mix & pour in container of your choice. I find takeout lids a good choice, those who eat cheese or butter can use the lids of their containers.                                                                               It has a fast, easy reward, unlike writing!

#3 Read Every writer has to read.  You don’t what to be asked “Who are your favorite authors?” and come up with “Me, Myself and I.” do you? Even the Beatles had/have people they look(ed) up to. Would you like to be more self-centered than John Lennon?

#4 Journal this allows you to write down whatever you want, and thus is the easiest thing in the world to write.

#5 As to your actual writing project, talk it out if you’re lucky enough to have creative people around you, or someone knowledgeable about your topic, they might have ideas about what you can do. How would so-and-so behave under this-or-that circumstance?   They might give you an idea. Also, this forces you to put your problem in words, and thus have a firmer grasp on it.

#6 Map it out if you know the basic details, give them a location. This is like a visual outline. Below is Paul McCartney’s plan of Magical Mystery Tour, not a great movie but this give each event a time slot in the order that they occur. A sketch out to know where you’re going.

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Give Your Characters a Home.

 

hogwarts-lake

What made Hogwarts more of a home to Harry than the Dursley’s house? While this may be an easy question, it is a crucial one that stabs at the groundwork of writing: how place affects your characters’ lives.

First off, is your character an indoor or an outdoor person? Remember Sirius’s careless bird chasing and general carefreeness when he was allowed to go outside. The Beatles act similar on Hard Day’s Night during the fire escape scene.They become free, almost literally uncaged. They crunch back up again when intruded. They’re still Sirius and the Beatles* but they’re more themselves when outside. Simply put, does your setting, your situation, and your characters’ mood fit together?

Going back to Harry, whose mood is more affected by the people around him than indoor/outdoor, how does he know that he’s going to have fun at Hogwarts? He almost got killed there on several occasions. Why did he keep going back?

He was accepted, even loved. It was the first place he didn’t always have to fear. He could fly, and fly and fly until the dementors got him. He could be himself.

So what is home? Home is the place where you’re happy and free. You can be yourself, wizard or not a wizard, genius or not a genius. In a quote in Golden Son, by Pierce Brown,”Home isn’t where you’re from; it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” Are your characters at home?

*Sirius and The Beatles. What kind of band would they be?

 

5 Writing Prompts From a Prompt Collector

IMG_2133[1]One of my friends recently asked me to choose a prompt from Wild Mind, a book about writing in general, to share with our class. I choose #1 (shown paraphrased). This got me thinking about prompts that I’ve stored on notecards and put in a bag. I drew out the remaining four from this bag.

  1. Write a list of words you like, disregarding the definition and focusing on the sound and beauty of the words. (innovated) Write a story, poem, etc., using your list. Include verbs. Answer the How, When, Where, and Why.
  2. Pick a story from a news source about an outrageous or terrible event. Write about it from the POV of a politician, scientist, etc., from a calm perspective that sees it as a necessary event.
  3. Then write about a trivial matter such as the dog barking, the tea being a bit too hot, etc., with a tone of complete outrage.
  4. Write quickly about a bad travel experience you’ve had. Make yourself part of the problem.
  5. (Good for learning vocab) Choose two completely unrelated words, such as coalesce: combine, fuse and colloquial: casual speech. Connect them in some way while using them in a form of expression.

I’ve collected prompts from various sources, including the book Spilling Ink and the internet. I haven’t read it, but The Idea Factory by Ryan Lanz may also be a good source. A great book that don’t have prompts but  is great for thinking about character development with mythological examples- and was an inspiration to George Lucas while creating Star Wars- is Hero Of A Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell.

Scenes From Nature

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Sitting on the bus a really long time
Sitting reading a book
But sometimes it's nice
To be dropped
off by a friend 
Near the deep blue lake

Head down to the shore
Watch the birds dive and
Swim in cold water
Lapping about your top
Feathers rustling in the 
Breeze cooling off the
Hot sun itching up

Your skin as 
Your right hand 
Plunges through a 
hole, Disturbing a
Softly sticky spider 
web, With your left 
hand waving in the 
air,Grasping at 
nothing, trying to
Lift you 
up after you
Trip, fall
over a piece of stupid, 
Bloody cement, What's
it doing in the 
Middle of the 
Woods,
Oh gross, there's a
Dead fly in the center of
Your palm from the 
Web, Now you see the 
Tiny spider Crawling
down the 

Tiny hole, Not quite 
A cave, dirt runs down as 
someone crosses the Bridge
Above, dusty, it
gets in your nose, you
Sneeze, the
Ragweed not 
Helping, you Wish

It would rain 
a Gentle rain in the
Dead of a 
California Winter, remember,
A thousand years 
ago, the Blissfully
Gentle Rain, not so
light as to drive you 
Crazy, nor harshly
Blowing down like
It was two thousand
Years ago
When you didn't 
Know you could 

Run, run, You're
free, go where no human 
Has gone, No path before
You, Run, you are 
 Free!