Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

I Can Do This

October 20, 2013

I can totally do this.

“You can do this,” the small, still voice in my head said.

Not the crazy chorus of naysayers that usually live up there, and suddenly I saw where and when and how.

Last night after I finished my blog I watched a badly pirated version of Project Runway, hey we all have our foibles shut up, and then regarded the message a friend of mine had sent me about November Novel Writing month.

Or whatever the acronym is.

Basically it is a call to arms, or words, if you would, to write a novel in one month.

It’s totally doable.

I have done it before.

I can do it again.

I will be doing it again.

As it turns out,  I signed up for the thing.

The last time I took a writing challenge it was to do a post-a-day blog back nearly four years ago.

And look at me now.

Blogging away, even at two a.m.

Soul Coughing cheerily singing away about the Chrysler Building, and a hot cup of Bengal Spice tea by my side.  I lit up some candles, ambience you know, and slipped into my yoga pants.

After taking a few amusing photographs of my larger than life hair.

The foggy ride home did a number on it, it is gigantic.

I mean really.

The last time I had hair this big was when I was in Paris and I went and saw LOUISAAAA performing at a club.

I was out until the wee small alcohol soaked hours of the literally underground music scene–the club was a gigantic cavernous underground space–and my hair was smashed with cigarette smoke, sweat, and the vodka fumed breath of thousands of early twenty something grinding away in a night club.

I walked home that night through the chilly mist and felt like my hair was expanding off my head and it certainly was.

I took photographs of myself in the kitchen of the apartment and posted them up.

Partially because I felt sexy for being in Paris and being up at five a.m. at an underground night club, and well, my hair looked freaking amaze balls.

It did not smell good, but that’s the magic of photographs, they’re not scratch and sniff.

I have Paris a lot on my mind.

Harking back to this time last year as the last few days were winding down to my inevitable leaving, because I was given a book tonight “Time Was Soft There” a memoir of a man who lived above the infamous Shakespeare & Company on the Left Bank of Paris, and because of the aforementioned novel-writing month thingy.

First, let me say that I have no plans on writing a memoir of my time in Paris.

Second, let me say that I will be using every single experience, taste, touch, smell, notebook and blog post that I wrote to help me write this novel.

I wrote the synopsis on the website last night after I registered to do it.

I have had this idea kicking around for a while and thought I would be writing a short story but, no.

I am writing a novel.

I am further writing a science fiction novel.

Despite the last science fiction novel I read was when….

No clue.

I don’t really read sci-fi or fantasy.

Although I do love a good bodice ripper sci-fi read once in a while.

And some of my favorite writers, especially short story, were science fiction writers.

H.G. Wells.

Phillip K. Dick.

Frank Herbert.

Ray Bradbury.

I feel the general style of the writing will be something akin to Dick or Bradbury.

I do not put myself at their level, nor will I ever label myself as such, I am however, going to explore writing this genre.

My setting will be Paris.

The Paris of a post-apocalyptic world and the Paris of the near recent past.

Like, oh, beginning a little over six months ago.

I have the opening line.

“The monkey is off my back, but the circus is still in town.”

I have a thematic “man against the world”.

And there will be a love story, the near recent Parisian past will frame the love story.

Despite my not having a romantic liaison there, many, so many romantic things happened to me, not excluding receiving a package with mixed cds in it from a lover back in the states.

The night I got it was raining and I was disconsolate and the rain sluiced down in the courtyard and I was cold and lonely and it was raining in Paris and then I open the package, see the book, cry to find a few Euro tucked in the book, and then the cds.

I made it a quarter through one of the songs and started to leak tears.

Two songs in, maybe, it could have actually been the first one, I was sobbing.

Gut wrenching sobs.

Heart breaking open sobs.

And did I regret things?

No.

I actually wanted to feel some regret, but I knew that the feeling was bogus.

The choice to move to Paris, abandoning so many things, so many loved ones, lovers, and familiar places and faces to embark on a new journey into the unknown, carrying its own kind of romantic peril was totally the right decision.

It was.

My heart got peeled down to cordon and tendon.

I was not just wearing a heart on my sleeve, it was bleeding all over and it was a mass of sinew and song.

I won’t ever forget that night, it was ghastly romantic and it was all in my head.

It usually is.

The stories.

The story was already there.

It was just waiting to be lived.

The places I walked, the people I met, the kindness and sometimes unkindness of strangers, the Trocadero Bridge, seeing people come into visit that I had not really known very well and watch them become my friend and compatriot and supporter over night, all the museums and smells, the chocolate and boulangeries.

Oh.

My.

I have some material.

“Carmen, most writers would kill to have had the experiences you have had,” Alan Kaufman said to me once from his perch in the corner of his room up in the Tender Nob.

And that was seven years ago.

I have had a few more experiences to add to that.

I have a wealth of material to exploit and exploit I am.

“Write a book in a month?  Seriously?”  A friend who I poked to join the challenge e-mailed me back.

I could hear the incredulity in his voice.

Yup.

I did it when I took Kaufman’s class, and I do it every day, here, in this blog.

You think this isn’t some kind of book, The Book of Carmen (versus the Book of Dave, which I will also not compare myself, ever to Will Self, that is just retarded to think that), then you would be wrong.

This is a living memoir.

I am my own version of Anais Nin.

Sexy in my own way, courageous in my failings, leaping again, and again, into the arms of the unknown, fraught and full of angst, but also laughing like a fucking idiot when I do.

Because it is a kind of crazy love, this romance with the written.

I realized today when I was writing my morning pages that I did actually have time, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesdays between work and early evening commitments to sit down in a cafe, maybe Tart to Tart or the Beanery at 7th and Irving, and write a 1,000 words or more, and Thursdays.

Well, shit, Thursday is easy, I will write during my charges THREE  HOUR nap.

Friday I have currently booked as a half day, so I can get that kicked out then.

Saturday and Sunday, when I am not surfing, heh, I will also write.

I won’t tell you the rest of the story, but it’s there.

I have it.

I don’t know how it ends.

But I know how it starts.

And I know that I can do it.

Oh, yes I can.

“Dear Carmen”

May 31, 2013

We like your writing very much.

Holy shit.

I am getting published.

I knew it was happening, or I should say, I had some suspicions it might.

The magazine contacted me while I was still in Paris and asked me for an author’s bio and a different file format for my submission.

I had forgotten about it.

and would like to publish “The Button Boy”

Wait, did yo say you would like to publish The Button Boy?

You did not.

Wait.

You did!

Jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick.

I cannot believe that my first publishing credit (ok, I am going to clarify that, it sounds like I have not been published and I have, The Peacock, also in Paris, published a piece I wrote, but it is a student magazine and I was not a student there, I knew the editor and she needed something in a pinch and I tossed out a little epistolary to accompany some photographs in the magazine, so technically I do have publication credits.  And there is this, my blog, which is published every night, but neither were submitted publications) is a short story.

Not only a short story, but a science fiction short story.

“May I make a suggestion,” my room mate said as I was laying my weary head down on the table top at 36 Rue Bellefond.  I was either beating myself up for not doing enough work, or I was castigating myself around my edits to my book, or I was dying of fatigue from having crammed in a full day of walking the cold, wet, mean streets of Paris, taking photographs and trying to live the idea, the fantasy, of the kind of life I was supposed to live in Paris as a struggling writer.

Where is my tiny violin playing for me right now?

“NO, I don’t want your suggestions,” is what I thought, “sure,” is what I said.

“Well, when you are tired of all this work that you are doing, and I know that it is work, you are putting in a lot of time, doing things in Paris, writing, taking pictures and stuff, why don’t you write something fun for you.”  He said unfurling the scarf from around his neck.

“You know, just write something completely out there, something that has nothing to do with what you’re working on.” He said and stepped toward the stairs, turning on the overhead light.

“Hmm, I hear you, you may be right,” I said.

I was being flippant.

But something dinged in my head.

Something said, he’s got a point.

Do you want to be happy or do you want to be write.

I mean “right”.

“I do have an idea for something, now that you mention it,” I said and he paused foot suspended in mid air.  “I saw something on the Metro the other day that I could not figure out what it was and I suddenly got a line, a sentence, and it’s been stuck in my head now for a week or so.”

“There ya go, buddy, write about that,” then he trundled up the steps and I sighed and went back to editing the photographs I had taken that day, a job in and of itself that took anywhere from an hour to two hours depending on how many I had taken during my walk about Paris.

in the next issue of The Bastille.

“You should come check it out!” She said to me one afternoon as I was rinsing out a tea cup in the kitchen of the Scots Kirk Church, “I go every Monday, it’s a lot of fun, and yeah, there’s some drinking, but most people are pretty chill and there’s some good stuff and I love going.”

I knew what she was talking about, I had seen the flyer for it in the window at Shakespeare & Company on one of my first visits to the famous book store across the river from Notre Dame.

Paris Spoken Word Open Mic.

I googled the event.

I made plans to go.

I did not go.

I had a baby sitting gig.

I got a case of nerves.

I was tired.

I was full of excuses.

I don’t have anything to say.

“Hey, I’m going to go this Monday,” Hannah said to me as we hugged outside 65 Quai D’Orsay.  “You should come, you don’t have to perform, I just like to watch actually, we can just hang out.”

“Ok,” I said, I had begun to see, with the help of someone wiser and more experienced and oh, I don’t know, not me, that I have limited perspective and that I often make fear based decisions and that I need to practice saying yes instead of no.

And fellowshipping is good.

So go.

I went.

I performed.

I got high from the adrenalin of getting on stage.

The lights bright, the faces rapt, I felt caught, captured, held, and I recited “While You Were Sleeping”.

I had them in the palm of my hand and I knew it.

Then, I was hooked.

I went back, I did more poems, I did “Cry Baby” and I did “Into the Pink”.  I read a long free verse poem called “Fevered”  I read an old poem about an old lover that I wrote on a break in between a double at Hawthorne Lane while having coffee at a cafe on Market Street in San Francisco back in 2002.

At one of the Open Mics the MC mentioned that The Bastille was closing down it’s next round of submissions, if you want to submit then go to blah, blah, blah.

I wanted to submit.

I had a feeling that I would get in.

I was feeling cocky and high from the performing.

I did not always nail it, but when I did.

I really did.

“So, I just wanted to let you know, I took your suggestion,” I told my room mate one evening.

“Which one,” he said without breaking a beat.

He had given me a lot of suggestions.

“The one about writing something fun,” I said.

“Oh!  Awesome, good on you,” he replied, settling down at the chair kitty corner from me at the table.  “What did you write about?”

“I actually wrote a short story, a science fiction short story at that, I have never written science fiction before, either,” I said.  “I was at Odette & Aime and I did not feel like I was done yet, but I was finished editing, I did a full chapter, and I read for an hour and I was just suddenly poked to take out my notebook and write something completely different.”

“Good for you!” My room mate exhorted again, then he told me about his day and I zoned out a little thinking about how I wanted to write more of these short stories, how good it felt to write.

We’ll be in touch to let you know when it will come out and to get a free copy to you.

I’ll send them “While You Were Sleeping,” “Cry Baby,” and something else, I thought as I looked over the submissions page.

A little voice said, send “The Button Boy”.

I had put it, the short, up on my blog and my friend had given me a really detailed and lovely response of his reaction to the story just a few days prior.

I never expected that they would choose it.

I never thought, boy, when I get my first piece published it will be for a magazine in Paris and it will be a science fiction short story.

SCIENCE FICTION!

Not a poem, not an essay, not one of my blogs.

A science fiction piece that I was inspired to write because I saw something on a little boys’ head that did not make sense to me, I made up a story to explain the unknown.

This is how Gods are created and constellations and mythologies, personal mythologies, my history.

I can still see that little boy and the gigantic plastic button, which I learned later is a hearing aid, on the back of his skull with a little wire running into the black nest of his short cropped hair.

I can see the car I am in on the Metro and I know where I am going.

And now I know what piece I need to work on next.

But just for this moment, just for today, I get to celebrate this little victory.

I get to bask.

Then back to work.

But for now, the basking.

Bask.

Bask.

Bask.

All the best,
 
David & the rest of the editorial team DSCF5360

You Know it’s a Bad Date When

April 23, 2012

You find yourself daydreaming about oatmeal.

I am having a fabulous sushi dinner and all I can think about is, I wish I had stayed home and made oatmeal for dinner.

Yup.

It was that scintillating.

Poor man, it was a pity date.  He’s not a bad guy, but my gosh, he is a boring fella.

I completely understood how he is divorced twice.  I get it.  I am surprise he was even married twice, but I guess it takes all kinds.

I was on the dork date from hell.  Fantasy novels, science fiction, and obscure Kurosawa films.  My gentleman caller nailed them all.  That and grilling me on Game of Thrones.

Sorry dude, I have not read the books.  I understand they are great, but no, I have not read them.  Or any of the other fantasy authors you espoused.  And unfortunately for said authors, I won’t be hunting them up soon.

I may get lost in space-time continuum and never come back.

Oh. My. God.

Apple tech guy, silicon valley, science fiction, pot smoking dork.

I apparently can’t pick them on OkStupid either.

It was fun to wear heels.  He was tall.  I haven’t worn heels out in a little while.  It was nice to rock something other than my Converse.  And I have to say, I did look quite sassy.

I also got the thumbs up nod from the appreciative eye of the waiter, which was then quickly followed by looks of condolence as he came back and served our meal to us.

Sigh.

Not the worst date ever.  That honor still goes to the Russian guy who wanted to know what my favorite sexual positions was after offering to buy me a banana to accompany my latte from Star Bucks.

Yick.

But there was not a single shred of chemistry.  I managed to nod my head politely, but I got lost listening to the blow-by-blow of the latest science fiction fantasy novel he was reading.

Ugh.

Well, chalk one up to giving it the old college try.  Can’t find the one if I’m not willing to sift through the dorks.

And the thing is, I don’t dislike dorks, nerds, or previous members of the AV Club.  In fact, they can be super sweet, intelligent, nice guys.

Nice guys are nice.

This guy was just flat-out boring.  And a bit pedantic.

Ok, a lot pedantic.

I at least had the excuse of being truly exhausted from work.  No day off makes Carmen a tired girl.  Thank God the divine Ms. Beth brought me a coffee from Fayes this afternoon and delivered it with a sunburnt hug to boost me through the end of work.

I know she was not happy getting sunburnt, but it was lovely to feel a little warmth, before I got on my bike and headed off into the fog.  Summer’s officially here, the fog has rolled in.

It looked like snow.

And felt a little like it too when I was riding my bike home from Dorland Street before meeting up with Mister Silicon Valley for dinner.

He was a gentleman.  I will give him his due.  The door was opened for me, the chair pulled out, the arm offered, the check picked up.

I did my best to be nice, to be polite, but I was bored to tears.

Manners are lovely, a nice car is nice, dinner was good, and all I wanted was to be at home with my oatmeal.

There won’t be a second date.

This is not boding well for OkStupid.  I am not getting the nibbles I used to get on the site.  Then again, I am being upfront with what I am looking for and I am not trolling the site.  I have a pretty good distance from it.

I have popped on and off it since I put my profile back up, but there just seems to be a dearth of interested people.

So, what’s next?

Aside from making a spot of tea and crawling into bed with a down load of Game of Thrones.  I love the show! I just am not really interested in debating the merits of the characters with intimate details.  I don’t know the characters names, even after watching all of the first season.  It’s just a good show.

It would be like if a guy went on a date and the woman talked about the Twilight Movies non-stop.

He probably would not be wanting a second date, unless he was under sixteen and really horny.

Good gravy, I would not have dated this guy were I sixteen and horny.  Not that that makes a good measuring stick of who I want to date, but no chemistry is no chemistry.

Gah, poor guy even makes for a boring blog post.

Next.

Back to work.  Oh wait, I haven’t left work yet.  We lost two people yesterday.  I worked my day off.  I am glad I did, the shop would have been untenable had I not.  But it does make for a tired bike shop gal.

I won’t have a day off until next Saturday.  That makes for eleven days in a row with no day off.

But at the end, I get a three-day weekend.

And I am going to allow myself a new pair of heels when I get my next pay check.  I have already sourced them out.

Until then, Converse, fixed gears, and oatmeal are the rule.

 


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