Thursday, May 11, 2017

Final Post?

     Seeing as this is the end of the semester, this may be the end of the blog. And then again, it might not be. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that this marks the 22nd post I've shared on a public blog.

                                                           What am I working on?

     I'm attempting to write poetry. My poems usually end up being nature-related; I guess it's the easiest thing for me to think poetically about. But, even then, I still have difficulty writing a full poem, long or short, without first spending an enormous amount of time thinking it all out. I keep determinedly sitting down with my notebook and pencil, staring hard at the blank lined paper as though willing it to sprout a sonnet. This method often proves to be fruitless.

     As I've mentioned before, I have a few titles for poems, but the words just haven't arrived yet. It's slightly problematic.

                                                  How do I feel about the process?

Tired. Although I sometimes write out just one line that feels perfect, and it gives me enough motivation to keep trying (I think that was a life-lesson right there).

Total word count: No clue.

Well, that's it for today and possibly for the year. However, as an English major, I really don't intend to stop writing altogether any time soon.

Thank you for coming - exit to you're left.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Letter to My 40-Year-Old Self

Dear Forty,

Exactly twenty years have passed since the day I was born. For you, twenty years have passed since – well, since today, when you were twenty years old. I have never been able to comprehend what life would be like beyond my teen years, but here I am at twenty and, so far, nothing strikes me as being significantly different. I still need to tidy up my room (to put it delicately), I still write in a half-print-half-cursive hand that few find legible, I still write stories, I still stare into space making passersby stop and ask if I’m alright, I still wander in the backyard with no shoes, occasionally fashioning from the white blooming jasmine a piece of jewelry or some other such accessory, I still listen to Irish music, I still have hermitess tendencies when it comes to going anywhere that’s not home – I’m still me. What a surprise. You’d think such a statement would be obvious, but it actually does come as a bit of a surprise when I reach yet another year and find that that older future person that seemed so mysterious and changed has simply been me all along.
So I feel quite comfortable imagining the years passing by in their lightning-quick way, and all the while remaining me – progressing, hopefully, but never entirely changing the nature of myself; my own self is something that will never change, not even in twenty years.

Sincerely, Twenty.

Friday, May 5, 2017

First Drama Scene - The Eighth Wonder


Mr. Moore, middle-aged businessman.
Mr. Henry, young traveler.

Setting: a crowded train in the 1930s.

Act 1, Scene 1

(Mr. Moore shoulders his way to the back of a crowded train, travelling coat slung over his left arm, clutching a suitcase and newspaper in his right hand. Mr. Henry follows closely behind, holding five huge suitcases and a rolled up oriental rug under one arm, a big black camera hanging from a strap around his neck. Conductor sees Mr. Henry and runs to meet him).

            (Grabs handle of massive suitcase).
CONDUCTOR: Mr. Henry! If it isn’t the Adam J. Henry – world traveler!

MR. HENRY: It's been a while, Conductor!

CONDUCTOR: Quite a while! I'll give you a hand there -
            (Takes biggest suitcase).

MR. HENRY: Thank you!

(Mr. Moore tucks solitary suitcase into overhead loft and sits down near Mr. Henry and train Conductor. He looks grumpily at the suitcases on the floor, one of which has large gold lettering spelling out ADAM J. HENRY).

CONDUCTOR: Paris was nice?

MR. HENRY: As was India.

CONDUCTOR: Making the big trip today?

MR. HENRY: Yes, the Eighth Wonder of the World! 

CONDUCTOR: The other seven weren't enough for you, of course.
(Leans elbow against luggage rack overhead and pounds suitcase with his fist).

MR. HENRY: What are the seven to the eighth?

CONDUCTOR: You must be excited, Adam.

MR. HENRY: Oh, I’m beyond excited! Do you know how long I’ve waited for this? Far longer than I should have!

CONDUCTOR: You’ve been very patient. And you’ve seen plenty of amazing places in the meantime!

MR. HENRY: Yes, I have, and I’ve enjoyed those places, but I’ve never been so happy to board a train as I am today!

CONDUCTOR: Well, you enjoy yourself! Good to see you again, Adam!

MR. HENRY: Good to see you!

(Conductor walks back up the train, interacting with other passengers. Mr. Moore coughs into a handkerchief. Mr. Henry notices him and beams, holding out his free hand).

MR. HENRY: Adam Henry!

MR. MOORE: Charles Moore.

MR. HENRY: On holiday?

MR. MOORE: For a short time.

MR. HENRY: It’s a round trip then?

(Mr. Moore nods curtly).

            (Packing suitcases in luggage rack overhead).
MR. HENRY: One-way for me!


MR. HENRY: I’m there to stay for a long while, I hope.


MR. HENRY: It’s by far the greatest place I’ve been to yet, in all my years of travel!
(Tosses large stamp-covered case into overhead compartment. Clasp pops open and photos and letters fall on Mr. Moore's head).

MR. HENRY: Oops! Sorry about that!

MR. MOORE: No trouble.
            (Bends over and starts picking up his things).
MR. HENRY: These cases get so full! It’s all I can do to get them shut all the way when everything’s in!

MR. MOORE: Indeed.
            (Tipping an envelope off of his hat).

(Mr. Henry shuffles around in a mess of papers. He picks up a black and white
photo of a ruin. He waves it at Mr. Moore).
MR. HENRY: The Parthenon!

            (Looking down at photo)
MR. HENRY: Thought I’d never see it. But I’ve been there three times now!

            (Unfolds his newspaper).

MR. HENRY: Machu Picchu… and the Hanging Gardens! I thought I’d lost this one!

           (Mr. Moore turns a page).

MR. HENRY: I haven’t read a paper in years! Haven’t had the time, what with all the moving about from one place to the next, getting settled here and then uprooted to move over there – There’s my old college professor! We met up at the Lighthouse of Alexandria –

MR. MOORE: Excuse me.
            (Gets back up and walks over to the conductor).

MR. MOORE: Listen, can you find me a seat somewhere else on this train? I don’t think I can take an entire train ride seated next to Mister, over here.
(Jabs a thumb over his shoulder at Mr. Henry, who is still collecting the contents of his suitcase).

CONDUCTOR: Who, Adam? I’m sorry, but we’re pretty tightly packed. You go on and have a seat. He’s alright!

MR. MOORE: Rather spritely.

CONDUCTOR: Know where he’s off to? Ask him; you’ll understand.

MR. MOORE: Yeah, I heard. Eighth Wonder, wherever that cheer-inspiring monument may be.

(Mr. Henry begins to whistle loudly as he slams trunk closed and swings it back into the luggage rack).

MR. MOORE: This is my first out-of-country experience and I’ve already had the wind completely taken out of my sails! He may be a world traveler at the age of – what – twenty-eight – but does he have to shout about it everywhere he goes? I’m finally leaving the country, and I get to make this grand travel at the side of some guy who’s been there and back a hundred times, who’s so used to the sight of the entire world that he needs an eighth wonder to make his travel collection complete! Well, I’ll ask him what this wonderland is and wherever it is I’m going too!

CONDUCTOR: Oh, but –

MR. MOORE: I don’t care how far away it is! I deserve it after fifty years stuck in the states!

CONDUCTOR: Well, I think you’re being a bit rash, after all –

MR. MOORE: I’m going to make things right starting today! Any place that self-important-twenty-some-year-old thinks he can gloat about to me, I’ll – I’ll – Well, if there is such a thing as an Eighth Wonder of the World, I’ll see to it that I’m not the last one there!

(Stumps away. Mr. Moore returns to his seat, looking annoyed. He sees a photo lying facedown on his seat and bends to pick it up. He then freezes in mid-act while turning it over to hand back to Mr. Henry. His face softens).

MR. HENRY: Ah! I must have missed one! I’ll take that, thank you!
            (Takes photo back).
I apologize again – I’ve been dropping things all day!

MR. MOORE: …No trouble.

(Moment of quiet. Mr. Moore watches a young couple with three small children near the front of the train, happily setting their things in order. Mr. Moore turns back to Mr. Henry who smiles).

MR. MOORE: Where did you say you were headed?

MR. HENRY: I didn’t!

MR. MOORE: Sorry?

MR. HENRY: I didn’t say!

MR. MOORE: You mentioned the Eighth Wonder?

MR. HENRY: Ah, yes! I’ve been to the other seven already – I’ve been to just about every place. And now I’m returning to the one place I can’t visit enough.

MR. MOORE: You’ve been there before?

MR. HENRY: Many times, yes. I leave it only when I have to, which is more frequent than I’d like.
(Mr. Henry looks somber and he stops speaking, looking out the window. After a while, he looks down at the photo still in his hand).

MR. HENRY: Do you know, I’ve walked the sands of Egypt, cruised the waters of Venice, stood atop the Eiffel tower, seen the giant falls of South America – I’ve seen every place I ever wanted to, but no place satisfies me except – except that tiny little house set apart in the country… there’s a small boy there with brown eyes that just match his mother’s… and a tiny toddling little thing with big blue eyes and dark curls. Lucy will be talking full sentences now.
            (Stows photo away in inside pocket of coat).
No ruin, no city, no mountain can ever take the place of –

MR. MOORE: Home.

(Short silence).

MR. HENRY: It’s been two years…

CONDUCTOR: All aboard!
            (Train whistle).

MR. HENRY: And what about yourself? Where are you going?

(Mr. Moore stands up).
MR. MOORE: Home.
(He pulls his suitcase out from the luggage rack and strides back up the train, swinging his arm).

CONDUCTOR: All aboard!

(Train whistle).

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

                                                          What am I working on?

     Kent Higgins keeps showing up on the doorstep of my imagination. I think he wants me to write his story. The thing is, I have a hard time figuring out what era my stories are set in. Something tells me this one will be in the early nineteen hundreds... again. For whatever reason, I have a hard time liking my characters when they're set in modern times. I don't know, maybe this one will be a little more modern, we'll see.
     Yesterday I finished writing a short play. That was actually pretty fun! I wasn't sure how that would go since dialogue has never really been my strong point, but it didn't take me very long to get about five pages done - in fact I think it was only a couple hours to complete it from start to finish.

                                                 How do I feel about the process?

     I've been able to come up with ideas for things to write about, but the challenge this week has been finding the time to write out these ideas.

     Isn't that always it? "I just don't have time." It all comes down to priorities, really. And deadlines. Ha... ha...

Total Word Count: about 1,000

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Realizations about Writing

    I hear it all the time, "Only write about what you know." But I've always wondered how that counsel applies to authors writing fantasy novels. Well, I think that some of the best authors write a combination of things they know by sight or through experience and things they know in their heart - something they carry deep feelings about. When you write about something you feel a connection with, you will likely end up producing some of your best work yet. I don't think that, in order to write an incredibly successful trilogy, Tolkein had to know what it was like to go on a journey to drop an all-powerful ring into a volcanic mountain. What I do suspect he knew, however, is what it felt like to bond with something so corruptive and yet have a strong desire to be rid of that thing. It's a relatable story that feels rather familiar to most, if not all, readers.
     By the way, "the Lord of the Rings" has been reported to have been read more than any other book next to the Bible.
     Until I get to that point where I have sympathetic feelings rooted into my writing, I just don't care enough about my work to write anything with a better quality than plain old decent.
     Then again, it's not even that. It's not exactly like I don't care, it's more like I really can't write well without feeling some moral in the story that I relate to.
     So here's my advice to myself: don't write it if it doesn't have a heart - a good heart. Like people, you only want to get to know the story if it has a good heart, and you find that out by the way you feel.
     Those are my realizations of the week.
Moving on to Word Count Wednesday (which may or may not actually include a word count).

                                                          What am I working on?

     It's been pretty uneventful in my story notebook for the past few days. I still want to write the Kent Higgins short-story I mentioned a while ago, but I don't know how likely I am to write more than a couple sentences outlining the story.

                                                 How do I feel about the process?

     I suppose I'm just stuck in one of those phases where trying to write anything feels like trudging through peanut butter.

Total word count: Nope.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Character Sketch - Avis


Age: About eighteen years old.

Role in the story: Main character's friend.

Parents: Harppolde and Zenta.

Place of birth: Waklei, the Eastern Tribe.

Skills: Rock-climbing/scaling (grippy frog-like fingers), taming wild animals (kesques being a favorite).

What she fears most: Feeling torn between two worlds (literally), Avis fears never being able to find a stable place that feels like home.

Something that motivates her: When something turns into a competition, Avis is suddenly very determined to put everything she has into the project, whatever it is. She is always eager to prove herself.

Other: Avis' wide-eyed stare can be somewhat disconcerting. Many of her physical characteristics can be attributed to the traits she inherited from her father, Harpollde. On the planet where her father came from, Ersta (referring again to "the Sword in the Sky" map), everyone has large brightly colored eyes that are completely round and have almost no whites - sort of like cat eyes. Erstans are stretched broader from shoulder to shoulder, wider from temple to temple (making space for their humongous eyes), and have slightly bulbous finger-tips. Avis has been told on occasion by her father that she looks a lot like his youngest sister. However, she has her Waklein mother's olive complexion and silvery hair and eyes... as opposed to her father's dark brown hair and vivid purple eyes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Map #2 - Three Countries and an Island

     As promised, Map #2, zooming in on Planet #1 from "the Sword in the Sky."
These are roughly the shapes and sizes of the countries Waklei (WALK-lay), Mukrone (Muhk-RONE), Pevna, and Ancern Island (ANN-kurn). The main character, Winara, lives on the tail of Waklei - the tip facing Pevna. 

I fished up a couple acrylic paintings I did a few years back on little pieces of card-stock paper. The picture above is of the sunset on the White-Sand shore of Waklei. 

The picture below is of a Hiikter plant (huge rubbery-feeling plants that glow at night) from Mukrone. There's also a few star-flies in that picture - translucent purple-winged insects that feed off of nectar stems during the day, making a field of what looks like shaggy purple flowers. After feeding off of the nectar, they take flight at night and fill the sky with glowing purple wings; hence, the name "star-flies." ... I overthink details, but it's fun.

     Just to give you a glimpse into the world in my head:

     Waklei is typically pretty dull in color, but the colors in the water and sky have their moments of brilliance. For the most part, Waklei is just made of lots of stone, a bit of moss, and plenty of white sand; not very colorful, but striking in a strange way.

     Pevna is just the opposite! It's almost always warm and windy there, and it's pretty much the land of eternal Autumn. The colors of the trees are crimson red, gold, fiery orange, and deep brown. It's probably my favorite place to write about. But if I were to go to one of these countries I would probably choose Mukrone.

     Mukrone is the greenest of the three. It gets plenty of rain and has the widest variety of exotic plants and animals. There's a sort of magical element that seems to live in the very air of Mukrone. It could be the influence of the elves that live there...

     This world has existed for me since I was about twelve years old. To me, it almost seems like it does exist in some dimension.

     End of spiel.