The Lost and Found

I found my notebook!

You know the one that I told you about losing a couple of post ago. I found it and I didn’t even have to burn the city down, which is good because arson can carry a pretty heavy prison sentence. (although that would give me ample time to focus on writing)

So my notebook has been found and in the process about 3 chapters recovered. That was close, because having to rewrite those chapters would have been a massive set back but now that is no longer a concern. Aside from that I have dived headlong into chapter 25 and I have to tell you things are getting pretty hairy. So much so that you know what, I’m going to let you read it. Well i’m going to let you read some of it.

I know, I know in  the last post I went on and on about how I couldn’t let you read anything until I was done. Well guess what, I lie. It’s a large part of the job description of a fiction writer, besides rules are made to be contorted to fit your own selfish needs and desires right? Right?

And now I know what you’re thinking “What about the ‘Honesty in Writing’ post you put up a few weeks ago?” And to that I have a two-part response.

1. Stop using my past blog post against me.

2. You’re taking that post out of context.

Besides we’re not talking about what I said we’re talking about what I’m saying, and I’m trying to tell you I’m posting an excerpt of Chapter 25 once the chapter is done. Don’t worry, there are no spoilers or anything. Just a perfect point in the story to introduce you to my writing style and give you an idea of what type of book I’m actually working on. Now with that being said, let me get out of here. I’ve set a goal to write a chapter a week and my deadline is fast approaching.

Until next time,

Lefty

The Completion of Chapter 24

It’s time for a book update. Which is good because I have an update for you. It would have been awkward if it had been time for an update and I didn’t have one. Then I’d have to make up excuses as to why I didn’t have what I was supposed to have. Then you’d be looking at me with that look that you have when I show up without something when I’m suppose to show up with something. Like that time I showed up without my pants.  Haha do you remember that? You should have seen your face, that was a crazy night, but that’s neither here nor there. What is here however, is the book update.

So I finished chapter 24. Yep, finished it. And just to fill you in, during the last book update I informed you that I had completed chapter 16. Apparently I’d written 8 additional chapters between now and then but life got crazy so I didn’t get to blog about it then. But I’m blogging about it now. Quit complaining.

24 chapters complete and on the books. (ignore that pun) And I tell you, the second half of chapter 24 was an experience. It was deep. It is deep. I want you to read it. Now. Like right now. I want you to read the second half of chapter 24 right now. But you can’t. And I can’t let you. But I want you to, if that counts for anything. It probably doesn’t but I wanted it noted that I put it out there just in case. Anyway chapter 24 is done and I’m making my way to Chapter 25 immediately. I’m going to finish it and then I’m going to finish the rest of the chapters and then I’m going to edit them and then I’m going to get someone else to edit them and then you can read them all. I can’t wait. You shouldn’t be able to wait either. You have to wait but you shouldn’t be able too and if you are then there is something horribly wrong with you. But alas, if you’re normal and I suspect you are (except for that night with the whole missing pants thing, with the police and the riot squad and the guy from Best Buy [that night was legendary you were pretty awesome] ) then the wait shall soon be over… eventually.

 

Till next time,

 

Lefty

 

P.S. Don’t forget your pants.

Blood, Paper and Ink

I have an odd obsession with paper. Paper and Ink. As weird as it sounds, when I’m writing, I have to actually physically write and in a technological age such as ours, with all of our smartphones and tablets and laptops and desktops that makes me a bit of a dinosaur(a Tyrannosaurus Rex to be exact). Nonetheless, I can’t write by typing my ideas directly into a computer, well I can but I don’t like too, I like to write. There’s just something about a blank page that I find inspiring, intimidating and alluring all at the same time. As a result of this infatuation I have piles and piles of notebooks lying around the house. Some filled to the brim, others still empty, eagerly awaiting to be filled with new ideas and new stories. And I love that, I guess filling up another notebook gives me a certain sense of accomplishment that makes me want to just write more. I’m even obsessed with the buying of new notebooks, its like a guilty pleasure. And I don’t mean composition notebooks or spiral college rule notebooks. I mean the good stuff, the moleskin type notebooks, just a smidgen-of-quality shy of those leather-bound journals. When I see them I gobble them up, I need them, have to have them, as I said, it’s an obsession, (I’m not even gonna go into my thing with pens and other writing utensils).  Keep in mind, once I’m done writing I still have to type out the handwritten text into my laptop, but I don’t mind the extra step, it gives me an additional opportunity to proofread if nothing else. Now this little writing quirk would be fine in of itself, only now disaster has struck…

I’ve lost one of my notebooks! My son was born in April, I put my notebooks aside, we moved out of our condo, I put some stuff in storage, I put some stuff in my dad’s attic, put some stuff in my father-in-law’s attic, moved into a house, I hadn’t written a words in months, I figured I’d get back to work once things got settled, I got settled, I was ready to work, and I looked up, AND I’M ONE NOTEBOOK SHORT! Dear God why did this have to happen to me, I’ve tore my house apart looking for it. I’ve tore my dad’s house apart looking for it. Now I’m going to have to tear my father-in-law’s house apart looking for it! (Which is going to make the next family gathering a little awkward) But I must find it, it’s got like three or four chapters that I have to transcribe outta that bad boy!

Ah well, it’ll turn up, or I’ll burn down this city to find it!

Till next time,

Lefty

Honesty in Writing

Life is chock full of deception. Little white lies, black fibs and colorless lies of omission are all over the place. You tell people they look nice when they don’t, you tell them you had fun when you didn’t,  and for the most part these are harmless half-truths, not even full-blown lies really. These everyday dishonesties are just the cordial terms or communications needed to keep out society civil, and I’ll be the first to say they’re all desperately needed. Imagine if you told your boss what you really think about his tie, or if you told your wife that that dress does make her look fat (of course there is no dress in the world that has ever made my wife look fat, she’s perfect she looks good in everything… (hi honey!)). Point is, if we didn’t keep up appearances the world would descend into chaos, a chaos of petty insults and minor injuries, made all the more painful because we know they’re true. We’d kill each other inside of a week if everyone expressed honest opinions openly and freely.

But not in writing, as cliché as it may sound, on the page honesty is the best policy. The writer is liberated, completely free to be as honest and as forth coming as they would like, as a matter of fact I have found that the more honest the more unrestricted the writer is, the more fulfilling the text. When writing, you don’t just say a character stinks (or neglect to say a character stinks when the characters does in fact ‘stink’) No, you describe, in raw unadulterated detail how the character smells. How your olfactory receptors are being attacked by the stench, how you can smell the  buckets of sweat that have dried and transformed themselves into layer after layer of caked on dirt and grime. You would not hesitate to mention how the unnatural body odor intermingled with the ever-present scent of sour clothing have now joined forces with what is undeniably the smell of trace amounts of urine and human feces which have not only invaded your nose and sense of smell but have now crossed the threshold of the senses and have gotten into your mouth and sense of taste and now have you seriously considering how to remove both your nose and tongue from your face if you are not able to breathe fresh air immediately.

Real life would never allow you the opportunity to be that honest. But in writing you’re free. Everything that goes unsaid in reality can be openly expressed in writing. What I find interesting is that I write fiction, which is all lies, large over arching lies, but they’re honest lies. So I guess that makes me an honest lair and since we’re being honest… I can live with that.

 

Till the next lie,

 

Lefty.

Back in the Saddle

I have been waiting to use this expression for some time now. It first struck me as an utterly remarkable phrase while playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare II. You complete the opening mission and gain the in-game achievement “Back in the Saddle”.  The phrase came up again while I was playing Final Fantasy XIV, as the name of a particular mission when a once long gone character makes a rather grand return. (Notice an odd trend with me and video games…) In both instances this phrase struck a cord with me primarily because it brought on a feeling of familiarity with nothing more than a few simple words, and to initiate a feeling solely with the proper positioning of a few key words is writing in it most powerful form.

Enough stalling! I’ve been away for a little more than 12 months an entire year and now I’m back in the saddle! (of blogging and what have you) And now so are you, so buckle up cowboys and cowgirls we’re about to ROLL OUT! Get along little doggies! (Maybe I’ve taken the country western cowboy theme a bit far…)

Okay more writing about writing coming soon. Welcome Back!

See you soon,

Lefty

Storytellers and the Stories they Tell…

I’ve come to find out, writing in itself, is nothing more than storytelling. A fairly straightforward concept I know, but that’s the reality of it. So the first prerequisite to be a writer is to simply be a storyteller. And at least that part I have down. I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember, and not just the lying type of story telling. That doesn’t count.

My earliest memory of story telling goes back to maybe the third or fourth grade. For some reason the teacher gave me free time to do as I chose (only God knows what she was thinking) and I, being the studious young man that I was, decided that to write a story. A comic book actually. And I did. I wrote a captivating tale about a villain with a skull for a head and buzz saws for hands. (Yes, two buzz saw hands!)
I even animated it, I drew the characters inside little story boards within the margins of the yellow sheets of notebook paper than stapled them together along the edges. It was amazing, even if I do say so myself, but it wasn’t only me who said so. I showed my teacher and she was so… so… I don’t know what she was, I guess “impressed” is the best word to describe it. But she was so, whatever she was that she had me read my story to the entire class. I got to sit up in the front of the class, you know like it was story time and the class sat around me and I read my little story to them all.  I would look up between horribly formed sentences and terribly drawn doodles and see eyes wide with excitement and intrigue, waiting in eager anticipation to hear what happened next.
I remember distinctly at the end of the story the Villain or Anti-Hero being violently kicked out of a window and falling to his death, or perhaps not actual death, I can’t remember if I was already planning a sequel or not but you get the point. Skull Head-BuzzSaw Hands goes out the window and my story ends. And afterwards the little handmade comic book goes into the unknown void that was my little desk and was lost for the remainder of the school year. That is until, nearly the last week of school, when everyone is cleaning out there desk and cubbies in preparation for summer vacation, I pulled out this crumpled little yellow comic book, and in retrospect quite foolishly, announced to the class that it was up for grabs before I flung it carelessly into the center of the room. I suppose I was half expecting that no one would be interested in a homemade book and it would go into the trash with a thousand other un-submitted homework assignments, failed spelling test and everything else we would stuff into our desk in hopes of never seeing again. However much to my surprise, my classmates jumped on the crumpled little comic with so much fervor and enthusiasm that it was ripped into a prime number of little pieces and taken by multiple kids as a souvenir for them to remember the school year. Which means they probably forgot it even existed the moment the last bell rang or perhaps they didn’t but I know for a brief moment in the fourth grade I was a storyteller in its purest form. So I guess that’s the feeling I chase now every time I write, to simply tell a story I love and hope that someone else will love it too.
Sometimes I wish I would have kept that little handmade comic book, but I’ve come to realize that’s what stories are for. Not necessarily for the storyteller, but for the tell-ee or the audience, or the reader or whatever the case may be. Once you tell your story, once you get your story out, it’s no longer solely yours alone, but it then belongs to everyone who loves it, and I think I like that.
Anyway.
Till next time,
Lefty

The Boy Who Cried…

I’m still working on Chapter 24 but I’ve decided to post an excerpt from the book. This is from early in the book and is the first appearance of the main protagonist. Comments are always welcome.

A key hung from a shoestring, and the shoestring hung loosely from the neck of a small boy. He fiddled with it, struggling to pull it from underneath his shirt and place it into the front door. He was sniveling; remnants of tears could be seen along either side of his face, along with a large welt stained across his right cheek, it would turn dark purple by tomorrow. A school yard fight, with a school yard bully was the source behind his unusually frantic disposition. He was usually a happy and joyful child, but this had been his first fight, ever. He was eight.
            He knew his mother would be upset that he had been fighting, but truthfully it wasn’t his fault. Nick Abernathy had followed him half-way home from school, teasing him about his father. He was dead. But Nick said he was probably just a “dead beat” who ran out on him and his mother, and she probably just made up the story about him being dead because it was better than admitting he and abandoned them. He tried explaining to Nick – along with the small group that had gathered to watch his persecution – that his father was a hero who had died bravely as a U.S. soldier. A hero who had died protecting everyone and everything that he loved. A hero like in his comic books, a hero like Powerman, or the Olympian. Nick and the other kids laughed at this explanation, then Nick pushed him… so he punched Nick, and our small boy fought for the first time, and he lost.
            The key served its purpose, there was a catch and a loud click as the door unlocked, and the sobbing young fighter made his way inside.
            “Mom!” he called out, but received no response. The house was dark, the curtains drawn over the windows, blocking out the afternoon sun. He darted to the bathroom, making a futile attempt to clean himself up. He splashed water on his face, ran a cold towel across his eyes and took a deep breath, all in the hopes the he could wipe away the smell, look and shaky nerves of a fresh fight. None of it worked, not even in the slightest.
            He crept slowly into his mother’s room, opting to get a jump on explaining himself first, before she found out what happened by some other ‘unscrupulous’ means. Her room was just as dark as the rest of the house, perhaps even more so.
            “Mom?” he called out again, his voice already prepped for pity. She still didn’t answer. She lay in her bed, her back to him, apparently sound asleep. It was odd, she never slept during the middle of the day, and her room – which usually carried the delicately sweet scent of roses and wildflowers – filled his small nose with the strong and pungent odor of what he thought to be rotten eggs, in actuality it was sulfur; specifically it was brimstone. He stepped forward, and at that moment a bright yellow butterfly fluttered from his mother’s bed, landed on his open, awaiting hand then floated silently out of the room. His heart sank and immediately he knew something was wrong. He ran to his mother’s side.
            “Mom? Mom wake up!” she didn’t respond.
            “Mom!” he shook her shoulder. “Mom wake up please!”
            Nothing.
            “Mom you have to wake up now! Please mom, wake up!” Hot, wet tears began to streak down his face once again. “Mom please wake up! Don’t – please I’m sorry, don’t leave me!” by now he was screaming his face wet with tears, his nose runny and red; he struggled to catch his breath between pleas of desperation.
            “Mom please, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m… so, so sorry.” He buried his face into her chest and neck, she was still warm, she stilled smelled of roses and wildflowers. He inhaled the sweet aroma, taking in long lungfuls, desperate to breathe in as much of her as he could before the rotten stench of sulfur and pain pushed her out of his memories.
            “Mom?” he called out again, this time more gently, less hysterically as if his overactive emotions were what kept her quite. But still she didn’t reply, she simply lay motionless, lifeless, her beautiful brown face frozen in the last expression she would ever wear, a peaceful and serene smile, now stained with his tears and phlegm.
            Nate,” whispered a hushed little voice from out of the darkness of the room. It sounded slightly like a small child, probably no older than the boy himself.Nate can you hear me?
            “Wh-Who is that, who’s there?” he sobbed.
           It’s ok, I’m a friend.”The voice replied.
            “Why can’t I see you?! Where are you?”
           There’s no need for you to see me, at least not right now, but I’m here, I’m with you now, that’s all that matter.
            “Well if you’re a friend then help me, my mom is hurt, o-o-or she’s sick, she needs to go to the hospital.”
           No Nate… she doesn’t, I’m sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone.
            “NO! You’re lying! She’s not gone, she’s not! She wouldn’t leave me here, she wouldn’t leave alone like this, she wouldn’t  I know she wouldn’t ..” Nate clenched tightly to his mother, crying frantically into her shoulder.
            Nate I’m sorry, it’s true. But you don’t have to be afraid, you’re not alone, you’ll never be alone. I’m here –
            “Shut up! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t need you! I don’t need anybody… WE don’t need anybody, get away… get away.” Nate held on, sobbing and panting, determined not to let anyone pull him away.
            Nate… you have to leave… it’s time – it’s time for us to go.
            “No!” he sobbed.
           It’s too late, I’m sorry… we’re already gone… its already over… besides, you have a job interview in 3 hours.
            “What?!”
            Nate awoke covered in a cold damp sweat. Sunlight peered in through his bedroom window. He checked his alarm clock. 6:58 a.m. It was scheduled to go off in 2 minutes. He had his first job interview since graduating college at 10 a.m.
            “It’s going to be a long f***ing day.” He mumbled to himself, no one replied.
***