Scrap Writing (9.30.2015)

More writing scraps to discard!

I may re-purpose this piece into a fully fledged short story, but for now I’ll leave this.


Scrap Writing

                Lady fingers and a hasty blonde ego pushed milk, cheese, and eggs across Vanessa’s belt line.  Vanessa smiled with her courtesy, scanned with her habit, but her eyes followed a snowflake down hairs as nightly and drawn as her own.

                A young raven woman swayed between handmade, wood-made homes; wandering through a world that longed for the electricity in its past. She held her hands up to the clouds as they fell down around her.  And then Little Sister looked over her shoulder: through the iris emeralds that had watched Vanessa grow tall and cynical; and she smiled to Vanessa from the grave.

                The sky wisps had heralded snow and a shivering shellacking; as did her phone’s meteorological report.  The posthumous would forever tease her with bygone happiness, but she could, at the least, capture fragments of her favorite memories falling past the window panes.

                Anticipation for the night nearly ruined it though as she picked up the carton of eggs to bag it, but pink hairs barged into her vision as Lylette entered her space to intercept the damaged goods.

                “This one has a broken egg.  Can you get another?”

                Vanessa scurried off to the refrigerator and flipped through the last six cartons, but at the end of the day the lot had been picked through and the imperfect batches remained.  She shuffled eggs around to make a good eighteen and hurried back with apologies and bows.

                The lady looked ready to vent over minutia, but she left without spoiling Vanessa’s evening.

                “Thank you”, Vanessa said, “I have bad eyes.”

                “I think they’d work better if you used them.”

                Vanessa would more easily manage this grocery store than execute its functions, but she lacked ambition for the real world.  She lived in her mind, and she’d likely land the homeless shelter if not for Lylette’s hand tugging on her leash once in a while.

                “What were you thinking about anyway?” and Vanessa talked of snow, but not sister, and Lylette looked out the window and wondered.  “It’s cold, but I don’t see anything.”

                Vanessa sifted through applications on her phone and showed Lylette her Weather App.  A physicist by name of “Lazy Hazy” pointed to west-moving cold fronts and said, “Like, a nine-five chance of snow, dudes”, before kicking back airs that were bad for his brain; and left Lylette wondering how someone so high could engineer radar and computer programs to extrapolate the weather.

                “How does he predict the weather anyhow?”

                “Calculus”, Vanessa said, and just like that Lylette lost all interest.

                Lylette knew math and snow from her window sill: always threatening to pile over her; but Vanessa had to chase down her numbers.  Other kids played; she went the library with her pencils and scribbled all over their excess text books.  “Math is fun”, she had said, and thus her days of sociopathy began.

                Vanessa and Lylette chatted idly about non-math things till they were told to close the store.  “I’ll leave the eggs to you, calc girl”, and Vanessa moved all the good eggs into fresh plastic cartons that she labeled as mixed batches.  The six cracked shells she put into a cardboard container and took with her as she and Lylette checked out.

                “Are those the cracked eggs?”


                Childhood treasures grew into her vices and values, and any meat had been a treasure.

                When they got back to their apartment, Lylette dibbed the hot water, while Vanessa took over the kitchen.

                Two sloppy yolks she threw away.  The intact four she scrambled and cooked extra brown -just in case-, and chopped them up on her spatula.

                Sesame oil in a wok; brown and red rice from the day past; Vanessa waited till heat left a mark on her rice before tossing it around.  She opened two cans of sliced pineapple and poured the juice into the fry.

                Chop, sort, slice; she pushed her pineapples off her cutting board.

                Too much liquid; she cranked up her heat.  Crack, crack, sizzle bop: better than brass to her midnight ear, but she turned on some ZUNpets anyway.

                The best food was timed with a work-weary appetite, and she had her fillings ready in the cold.

                Onion, pepper, mushrooms and squash -yellow stuff and zucchini green too- diced and sautéed early in the day.  She tossed them in… tossed the egg in… tossed in peas, corn, and a whole bag of kale ‘n greens from her frozen stores.  She laid her pepper blanket red, black, and thick; pinched her salt; and stirred the spicy season in with tamari, tamari, tamari.

                She never got enough tamari in.  She threw half a cup in -maybe two-thirds-, too much for sure as she tossed and turned till dryness and fluid mediated an accord.  Vanessa served up two bowls in time for Lyllette, and one bite later Lylette said, “Needs more tamari”, but that didn’t stop her feasting.

                Fried rice spun nicely in a microwave, but fresh off the burner they shoveled it in.  The mushrooms and eggs bounced around so spongy and soft and carried the sweetness of the pineapple.  The rice didn’t muddle or mush and it fluffed up in her mouth.  The chaotic dispersal of carrots and onions and pepper gave each bite a different chew; and the greens and squash extended the soft texture of the dish without dumping in more rice, more carbs.

                A peppery heat soothed her icy breaths, and she settled into winter and whiskey under a blanket as she closed her eyes and whispered, “PSHUU!”


So there’s this little anime called Wakakozake.  The episodes are two minutes long, and they follow an Office Lady after work as she eats out by herself.  She talks about the food, makes you hungry, and goes, “PSHUU!” when she feels happy.

It’s silly, it’s cute, it’s kind of pointless; I like it.

I wanted to cap this piece off already, and Wakakozake came to mind so I just gave Vanessa her “PSHUU!” moment.

On that note, I don’t think I’ve written a cooking sequence before!  I deviate from my usually slow prose style, but hey, cooking is fun and energetic!

Let me know how I did!  Like something?  Hate something?  Say so!

Also… I used “ZUNpets” in a writing piece…


Have some ZUNpets.

Speaking of Touhou, I listened to some Touhou arrangements while writing, because I always listen to Touhou music while writing, and this particular arrangement stood out to me:

Alice Magica Spei by circle: Secret Messenger

If Yuki Kajiura ever arranged Touhou, I wager it would sound a lot like this.

I adore this music.

I also listened to KOKIA, who I learned about over at OtakuLounge.

Tatta Hitotsu No Omoi by KOKIA

I normally don’t listen to Japanese music because I don’t understand the words, but this song relaxes my usual tension; and Japanese phonetics have a way of melting into the sounds.

I let the auto-play on Youtube take me to some other KOKIA songs.   Vocalized music in general has a very low success rate with me, but I found myself liking about 3 out of 5 KOKIA songs, with the rest fairing no less than a neutral response.

I’m going to start my re-watch of School-Live!  I prefer to watch something twice over before critiquing it, as the first viewing will carry too much emotional reaction.

I liken it to studying an NFL game.

  • Enjoy the first time around for “what” it is and what happens.
  • Go in deeper the second time around, study the film, and seek out “why”.

I’m still debating whether to write a review separately, or combine a review and critique together and format my discussions into increasingly deeper layers of analysis and spoilers.  That way, if someone not familiar with School-Live! reads it, he/she can stop at a given point and say, “alright, I’m interested, I’ll stop here, watch it, and come back”, while maintaining interest to those who have seen School-Live!

Then again I feel like there are reviews everywhere for every show ever, so I may stick to a pure critique.

Paper Days


After spending a frustrating week trying to put the ending onto this story, I’m finally done!

Paper Days is a little over 4,000 words, so about a 7 to 10 minute read.  It follows up on Under the Cherry Blossoms, which I updated with some punctuation improvements.  I also changed the name of Taiga’s daughter to Kanna.

Reading Under the Cherry Blossoms isn’t necessary to read Paper Days, or at least, that’s how I intended it.

Paper Days

                A boy ran through Taiga’s cherry blossoms, holding a newspaper in his hand and dozens more on his back, ready to hurl at a person and their home: indiscriminate of care.  “I’ll take it here”, she said, waving, and he planted his foot where grandeur delusion saw his arc rise gently with the petals in the wind and fall into her lap.  Instead she lunged from her seat along the patio edge and covered half their distance in a second’s split -ten meters in all- and caught the paper along with his heart.

                Taiga walked up to the kid and asked for her other newspaper.  He stared at her: all blushes and awe, and so she bopped him on the head with her rolled up prints.  “I want the Japanese and the English one…” and he fumbled and said “oh”, or some like before handing it to her along with a note.

                “Miss Daisy said to give this to the first person who asked for both papers.”  The notice claimed a month’s worth of neglected pay for the news service.

                “Are you married?”

                “Hah?” and she spared no feelings for his cherried cheeks, “I’m twice your age and I have a four year old daughter.  Get a clue.”

                The boy sniffled and threatened to flood her conscience with her wordly insensitivity, so she treated him to a silver coin from her purse.  “Uh, I’m sure you’ll find yourself a nice girlfriend when you grow up… so, cheers!  Smile!” and by simply patting his shoulder with a happy notion, she sent him off under the mistaken impression they were betrothed, no matter how she denied it.

                Stupid kids and their stupid logics filtered phonetics to mince meaning down to the pretty favors they wished to hear.  Taiga could yell at him, because kids could not fool themselves of emotions, but either way she’d hear from his mother.

                Her own beloved Kanna opened the door -that front door in need of some slick-, walked it down the crevice in the floor: pushing that heavy boon till she tucked it into the wall, and then waited on Taiga for a response.  Somewhere in the shine of those ruby irises, a sparkling hope would tell all to Taiga: decipher that way of thought she used to know before the politics of life swept away childish comprehension; but until she saw it, she had to rely on a guesswork of words.








                “Okay, what?”

                Kanna led Taiga around by the lips, dancing around her desires till she walked with her head bowed.  “What did I even do?” Taiga wondered, and how would she lift her daughter’s spirits?

                She stared at the notice, and fetched her daughter out of their room.

                “Want to go to town with me?”

                Kanna forgot whatever grievance upset her so and followed her mother out of their family shrine, hanging off Taiga’s hand mouthing out “Yay!” without the sound.

                They had never gone out together: never ventured beyond the courtyard of cherry blossoms without losing one or the other for her sister.  Kanako could translate the gibber garble of child speak and make legible intents from it; could share a consummate relationship, with two smiles, facing one another.

                Alone with her, Taiga dreaded the little ball of chaos rolling every activity spied into her hopes and dreams.

                A good citizen swept beyond his home, and Kanna asked for a broom to help clean the stone tile road.  “We have brooms at home.”  Two boys kicked a ball, and she wanted straight away to be their third player or to mimic with her mother.  “We can play when we get back.”  She spied hues not cherry blossom pink or cherry blossom brown: the orange of a dyed banner, the burgundy paints on a persons’ home, bright reds and purple blooming by roadside gardens: colors that she wanted to add to her rainbow.  “You want a brush, paint, and rain?”

                Further down the road, homes packed closer together, sharing communal resources like fencing, low walls, and plumbing; but before the sudden urbanization, a few poor homes scattered near or within far sight of the road, relying on longer walks to town, on wells and buckets to fill their basins.

                One of these residents, Yui Kanade, hauled several gallons in each hand while allowing her twinned terrors, Taka and Taki, to assist her effort.  Just the sight of those brats invoked reverberations of their infantile cacophony, but they did not kick or scream or troll the sane.  They devoted themselves to the task of handling those giant buckets: buckets they could not possibly move, but they pushed with their hands, pedaled their little feet along, and focused their eyes toward a victory they believed in.

                The feeble strength of a barely able child merely contributed to the unstable kicks that bumped sips of water over the lip, but Taiga sensed something more in the action: a feeling treasured that she wished would grace visible spectrums for her sake.

                Miss Kanade smiled to her, and so Taiga waved back and tried not to stare, but a few slow steps and no turn of head hardly convinced her daughter, who joined audience.  Her neighbor did not seem to mind, and after disappearing into the door of her humble home, she emerged once again to say hello properly, though she tacked on an annoying address for Taiga’s higher status.

                Taiga did as she always did: with her hands hidden in each other’s sleeves, a slight tilt of head and the faintest attempt at smiling that never showed through her stoicism.  She said, “Hello”, and then waited for the other party to attempt picking up the line, though the small and cheery Yui had never feared Taiga’s quills.

                “How are you?”

                “Fine.  You?”

                “Good!  Just pulling up some water while the well’s deep…  With so much rain lately, I thought I’d enjoy a luxury bath…” and she snickered like she was telling a naughty secret.  Taiga did not comment on the guilty pleasures of the poor, but asked if her children always helped.

                “Not usually, but recently they like to help around the house, so I let them do what they can.”

                “Does it do something for them?”

                “Mm…  Nothing material, I suppose…  It’s just us three, so we have to work together.  I can’t selfishly take on all the work.”

                Yui spoke opposite from Taiga’s common knowledge, though Taiga had only traded the briefest conversations with persons of similar wealth; or overheard conversations that mother and her friends had shared.

                “Do you have a husband?”

                “He died before Taka and Taki were born.  What about you?”

                Taiga declined the question; answering all the same.

                Yui smiled to her, for her; hugging her in sympathies.

                “If you need help, advice, or a friend; I’m always here”, but Taiga could not imagine herself burdening Yui with her woes.  She had fair wealth and a wise sister to rely upon.  Yui couldn’t even keep her children home while scrubbing floors at The Crossroads.

                “I’ll keep your offer in mind”, and with a wave she continued along with Kanna in tow.

                The Town of Iwata offered every stimulus Kanna could hope for: bewitching mysteries showcased behind glass and framed by the floral aesthesia she adored.  Door after door promised bewilderment for her childish mind to explore, to wonder, and to play.

                To Taiga these were familiarities.  Kyoko sold Taiga the gray and blue kimonos she wore, and next door, old mage Bob would enchant them to provide icy comforts against the summer sun.  When she wanted cast iron pans or a new throwing knife, she loyally chose to walk through Hokuto’s shop entrance; for his father forged her sword, and he carved and polished the wooden sheath on her left side.

                From time to time, a new name would sprout and stick, and Taiga enjoyed the exhilaration of exploring a new mechanism like the camera, or Daisy’s printing press contraption; but every new discovery branched off a science she understood, and she rarely enjoyed the thrill of pure ignorance or the subsequent satisfaction of solving impossibility.

                Everything though was impossible to Kanna, and she continually charged toward the latest perplexing phenomenon to flirt with her desire; as if forgetting the parental hand that leashed her movements.  If her feet were a till, she’d have plowed a trail of rings around Mother’s path.

                “Kanna… would you calm down?”

                “~Yes~” she said; and for a time she calmed down, but Kanna began tugging once more and running against her mother’s grasp.  “Mama!  Look!  Look!” and Taiga glanced toward a window filled by carved wooden animals and jewelry too dazzling to be true, and placed amongst a collage of foreign-purchased exoticisms.  No theme connected these items except for flash and uselessness: the kind of stock dependent on material justification.

                “You don’t need that junk”, said Taiga.

                She pulled her daughter along, but Kanna did not find a new muse to ogle.  Taiga felt her wrist pulled further and further behind her, until Kanna planted both feet and stubbornly leaned back.

                “What are you doing?  Come on!” and a simple tug proved her superior power, but Kanna refused to give in.  She kept yelling “Mama!” and Mama just pulled her along.

                Taiga tried not to let the nuisance get the better of her temper, but her daughter inflicted an unbelievable stress upon her wrist.  She could split plated armor under her katana’s arc or haul a forest’s share of logwood in a day, but with every tug against her body Kanna proved more agile and leveraging than Taiga’s passive attention.

                If Taiga gripped tight, Kanna would settle down enough to let those fingers relax and then bolt forward.  Taiga yanked her back, but Kanna predicted the gesture and she’d stumble backwards; turning her mother’s corrective maneuver into overcompensation.  She kept leaning one way or another; throwing her weight such that the force had to be supported in Taiga’s forearm, in Taiga’s patience.

                “BE STILL!

                All her frustrations condensed in her eyes, into her habitual glare, and Kanna just had to look up at the moment of Taiga’s weakness.  Frustration spun her to directionless anger, but Kanna gave it a home; and Taiga hated herself for shadowing her daughter’s luster.

                Silence bore their footing through the last road.  Kanna controlled step and sound to mute her presence, but Taiga didn’t know how to tread fear except by stepping on the trigger plate.  She tried to keep her quills soft and wished upon her daughter’s ephemeral memory, but she felt no vitality in those fingers as she stepped into Daisy’s print shop.

                “Kanna, can you sit over there?” and she obeyed with eyes hiding within the wonders of the floor.

                Across the shop, Daisy strode out from behind her counter full of books; wearing scorn as surely as her knee-cropped dresses.  Her female compatriots oft scolded her fashion, and men fantasized about the mind behind those curly blondes, but always within closed rooms: where whispers would not provoke her talents for cursing and hurling books.

                Taiga tended to like such persons, but the challenges from glare to glare usually fired up a fight.  When Daisy saw no will to spat, she looked to the girl: the girl suddenly a part of Taiga’s world.

                “Well she looks miserable.”

                “Shut up.  What do I owe?”

                “Silver per paper”, and Taiga resolved the bill by flipping a nice round coin of solid gold into Daisy’s grasp.  Daisy bit it, verified the solidarity of its substance, and tossed it over her shoulder.

                “So, who’s the girl?”

                “You care?”

                “She’s cute!  Unlike you…” and the familial connection invoked a double-take.

                “Who would do that with you?”

                “A con man.”

                “Oh…  My condolences…” she said, and she bowed briefly: the first shred of apologetic decency Taiga had ever witnessed from the blonde badger.  Taiga theorized more dimensions to Daisy than was shown to her: aspects lying quiet beneath that violent individualism and waiting for the right lure to emerge.

                Weed and Woe met eyes; and that Daisy ran-skipped over to Kanna: drunk with cheer and full of words for the little girl despite being warned that the tyke didn’t speak English yet.

                She plopped down and started gibbering off to Kanna: talking about dragons, wizards, and talking muffins she knew from her bed-mast bookshelf as a child.  Daisy animated her head and hands to the whim of her voice.  She must have made some funny faces too, for she had Kanna giggling right away.  Daisy took control over the girl’s breathing and excited it til Kanna had to bounce on her bottom and kick away her excess energy.

                “Hey!  Hey!  Would you hold onto my picture books for me?” and by putting palms and outstretched fingers together into a prayer-like gesture, then pointing a finger to Kanna,  she seemed to understand some reward for herself and nodded.

                Taiga’s ego stood agape as Daisy got up and passed her by.  She tried to say something; anything to discredit Daisy, but the badger had her tail this day.

                “Only you and I read the words.”

                Daisy left.  Taiga stared at Kanna, who reflected the gaze and tempered down.

                And down…

                Taiga grabbed a book and a seat and faced away from Kanna: figuring if she couldn’t evoke happiness, then she could at least stay out of the way.

                Daisy returned with three books too big for children’s arms and too big for adult words.  Taiga peered over her shoulder and watched Daisy point through some of the pictures she had colored in with a brush as a child.  “You can ask your mother to buy you some colors!” she said, loudly, and Taiga followed the hint.

                “Kanna, would you like to buy a brush and paint!?”  Taiga hoped the attention would elicit the same manic joy she had witnessed earlier, but Kanna just nodded; smiled even.

                Daisy gave Taiga a shoulder satchel that had been nicked and patched over.  She put the books in and told Taiga to give the satchel to Kanna when she grew big enough to wear it.  “When Kanna wants new books, bring her by again.  I have lots of books I can give her.”

                “That’s generous, for you.”

                “Painting children my color: alluring them to books over swords… I’m hardly being selfless.”

                Daisy saw them off; saw off Kanna at least.  Taiga walked down the street with her daughter in hand, who smiled toward the Daisy and memory.  When their eyes met, Taiga smiled as best she could, but Kanna chose to admire the pebble stone road.  Kanna saw right through to her real face: her perpetual stoicism dyed with a bit of scorn.

                Why then couldn’t she see the struggling parent that desperately wanted to repair their history?

                Or perhaps she could, and Kana simply failed to interpret this grown-up sentiment.

                Daisy loved books and that love didn’t require language to communicate.  Taiga thought about her own loves; about what could put a genuine smile upon her own form.  A fight with an audacious thug would be convenient, but she wondered if violent heroism would really soften her daughter’s guard.

                There was little a mercenary could offer to a daughter in good faith.  Self-defense; but only after Kanna had grown enough to understand physical acuity.

                Taiga went to the crafts store and paid a little extra to have Kanna’s paint and brush sets sent to their home.  “Want to look around?” and though Kanna kept glancing at pottery and fountain pens, she shook her head.

                “Want to eat?”

                Taiga led Kanna into the deep town where restaurants shamelessly aired their salt and sauce to the tourist population.  Stores and stands stood border to border and lined the road to either side with more hot meals than the local populace could consume, but any person passing between Alendria and Chowa had to come through here, and those one-day residents numbered enough for Taiga to sweep Kanna off her feet.

                “Let’s look around”, she said, and she poked her head through curtains til an old man was audacious enough to beckon her inside.  “Come!  Come!  Sit!” he said; sit on the only two seats left in the house.  The tables were mobbed, and Taiga and Kanna filled out the end of the bar as the old guy took their order, rejected it, and told them what they really wanted.

                “Grilled kabobs; you’ll love it.”

                “Yeah… sounds… good…” she mumbled.  Kanna seemed to like his energy, and as long as she was smiling, Taiga would settle for whatever.  She didn’t feel like fighting the chaos.  She was tired of fighting and always losing.

                Chatter filled the background and blended unto silence.  Taiga felt the world surpass her as a homogony of vigor and decisiveness bustled around her.  Everyone seemed at purpose; full of intention.

                There were people at her back; some distance to her back at a table.  It was fine, except she hated to sit where eyes could watch her without being matched.  She didn’t like giving up the end seat, but she didn’t want some stranger by her daughter’s side.

                Taiga wanted to bristle.  Anger had been her savior through four years as she smashed doors, broke bones, and threw half-dead ingrates before magistrates.  She was supposed to let it go when she claimed Kanna.  These past four months should have bathed in blossom-blinded-bliss, but Kanna would run up to her and spout kiddy things that did not match the logic of the world.  Experience was supposed to refine her reactions into choices, but her parental mind never sharpened beyond a blunt instrument.  She could analyze along standard thought lines, but Kanna had no desires for power, money, and sex; just toys, dolls, and Mother, and “Mother” was a difficult thing for her to provide.

                One wrong glare, cross twitch on the cheek, or heavy step could send Kanna reeling into rejection and revive the days when Taiga refused their bond.  All the parental mistakes she should have been allotted had been used up by her four years of rage.  Her frustrations with her herself, her anger toward her unfair circumstance could not be broached by their tentative tether.

                But without anger her blood cooled, and her voids welled up in her eye.  She shadowed her budding tears with her hands and used her arms to bury her visage and truth:

                “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

                A little tug on her sleeve showed her eyes just as wet as her own.  “Idiot, why are you crying?” and she wiped her daughter’s face up with a cloth.  Did all children sponge emotions so easily?

                Six kabobs came along, and a Taiga stuck half a stick of mushrooms and peppers into her mouth and pulled it right off.  “Yeah, don’t do that”, she said with a mouthful, and she slid the rest of the stick onto the plate for Kanna to pluck with fingers and chopsticks.  She did the same with the chicken and okra skewers and used chopsticks herself from time to time, but mostly to put peppers into Kanna’s mouth.

                “These are really sweet.  See?  Yum!”

                When Kanna ate her vegetables, she was rewarded with the skewer full of slow roasted pork.  Taiga merely licked the blueberry sauce off of her finger and she could feel her fangs.  Kanako could only open her veins once every week; and red meat satisfied vampirism in ways that fish and kinder meats could not.

                Taiga could have claimed the spare, but she gave Kanna both the pork skewers and buried her laughter as her daughter attacked like a dog.  “You’re supposed to pull it off with your teeth; not gnaw on it sideways”, but it was fine.  Taiga got to clean up her daughter’s face and dirty kimono; and for once she felt like she was doing something right.

                She paid, she left, and she held her daughter’s hand.  Taiga and Kanna smiled to each other, and she thought her ordeal complete.

                But when she asked Kanna what she originally wanted, her girl clammed up.  Taiga knelt down, and she couldn’t make eye contact.

                “Hey, you can tell me.  I won’t yell this time.”

                Somewhere in that little head, Kanna kept a history of her laughter and tears, and it did not keep records in moments and times: it shaped her river of thought; and she erected dams: the same dams Taiga built into her own thought processes: the same masks and lies of calm that censored herself from the real world.

                Taiga wanted to say “Don’t be like me”, but to ask for feelings one-way was to offer blood for tears: stoicism for vibrancy.  Her habits would just end up reflected by her daughter if she continued to hide her cut-up heart.

                Taiga had seen so many smiles this day, and she let them bind her to new memories.  Yui offered guidance to someone much richer than herself, to someone less worthwhile than herself.  That Daisy could actually bloom; who would’ve guessed?  And little Kanna hustled toward the unknown; cried for the beleaguered.  She had already surpassed her mother, and this mother wanted to learn from her.

                Taiga lived in such a wonderful world, and she finally let that happiness dictate her expressions to silly contortions and an uncontrolled grin.

                She blushed darker than pig meat as she sold her pride in public space: pride in a reputation for violent psychology; but she didn’t care anymore.

                Taiga heaved Kanna up onto her shoulders and her daughter by the legs.  “I want to show you my world”, and she took off running to the shops she used to fawn over in her youth: stitch art and dolls, colorful pottery, and those frilly western dresses.  Store keepers and customers she passed by would cast lingering stares at her: as if questioning this rendition of Taiga.  She couldn’t hide her heat, but it was a happy heat, and it melted down the stigmas she imprinted onto Kanna, and the girl started pointing and yelling at everything weird and wacky.

                Taiga answered where she could, but often she joined Kanna as an equal in ignorance, and she found in herself an old intrepid spirit that used to ask questions and questions and questions until she earned a fed-up glare for not buying anything.

                She thought about how wealth enabled her to so easily supply her daughter’s interests, and she let Kanna pick out some gifts for Yui’s children.

                Taiga brought Kanna back to the store that had so allured her daughter.  She still saw trinkets collected over the droppings of someone’s travels, but she kept that wisdom to herself as she looked to the display and asked her daughter, “Hey, is there something interesting here?”

                Stutters, half-words, something that sounded like ‘egg’…

                “Kanna; I love you”, and like a spell her daughter’s blood fluttered up and up through cherried cheek and flourished eyes.  It was, she realized, the first time she said those words to her daughter; to anyone in years; and she made a silent promise to say something to the sister that had shouldered her burdens all these years.

                “I want the egg.  I want to raise the egg!”


                Sure enough, a speckled brown egg sat on a tan pillow with pastel shades of wood in the floor and shelves behind it.  Shoddy curating if she ever saw it; and the owner proved as hackneyed as she anticipated, but she accepted a gouging price for her daughter’s sake.  It was, at least, a huge egg that barely fit into Kanna’s outstretched arms; but she carried it anyway.

                As they headed for the Kanade residence, Kanna asked, “Mama, what kind of egg is this?” and Taiga wondered herself.  “Probably… a drakkid egg?”  And she certainly wished for a drakkid.  Those giant lizards cost more than the slate of gold she paid, though she warned her daughter that the egg may have already expired.

                “It might never hatch…” she said, but that didn’t really matter, “If it’s you… maybe she’ll learn to come out of her shell.”

                Kanna was warm after all: warmer than sunbeams and winter wool; and Taiga would learn to share her own heat.

                She lived under the sun, and she bloomed alongside all the rest.


Feedback is always welcome: like something?  Dislike something?  Say so!  Just be polite, or at least professional.

I’m particularly interested in temperament and tempo.  The emotional scale feels a little off, but maybe it’s just me nitpicking.

Also, in regards to this story line…

While I have several more short stories plotted out for Taiga, I’m hesitant to continue her set of stories.

I meant for her story to run alongside my Japanese studies; except I dropped out of Western Carolina University for reasons.  I don’t regret dropping out: I had nothing more to learn that would be useful to my desired future, with the exception of Japanese.  I didn’t get very far: one semester, one very full notebook and a folder of self-recorded pod casts; but I enjoyed the class quite a bit.  The equal emphasis on each syllable renders the speech very melodic to my ears, and I loved simulating basic conversations like a cashier to customer.  I can’t say I enjoyed the writing aspect (Kanji >_>), but I loved the speech.

That said, operating a bilingual town from the language I was supposed to learn, but didn’t, is making me uncomfortable.  I guess it’s not really that important, since the central mechanic to Taiga’s stories is just plain humanity, but it’s still uncomfortable.

I’m planning a novel that will feature the same split, but I’ll be working from the English side of things.  Much easier.

In the mean-time, I’m probably going to focus on more Vanessa/Seresa/Saylene short stories while I research late 1800s/early 1900s America, England, Japan, China, and just eastern Asia in general post-westernization.  Hopefully I’ll have all the information I need by the time NaNoWriMo rolls around, as I’d like to try NaNoWriMo and writing a novel.

Thanks for reading!

Impulsive Empathy; School Live! Reflection

Spoiler Warning: this post contains major spoilers for the Anime Series “School-Live!” up through and including Episode 10: Rainy Day

My empathy does not confer with my logical half.  It jumps from reality to imagination and abolishes the barrier in between.

When I read Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, I struggled to realize that Sarah’O’Rourke cut off her finger on that Nigerian beach; not me.  I started Borderlands 2 with casual interest, and my hatred toward Handsome Jack drove me to finish the game without rest or reprieve; not until I shot him in the head.  I feel the pain of nameless, random background characters that get slaughtered by trite Hollywood directors; and it doesn’t matter if I knew them not; I give them identity, story, sadness, and terror.

Habitual transplantation of character and feelings isn’t particularly new or odd -I think-, but I continually find myself struggling against empathetic recoil.  It’s a defining trait to me, but it’s also core to Kurumi Ebisuzawa’s character from School-Live!, and I quickly identified with her and became attached to her.

And oh, the feels…

Yuri Crying

More or less how I feel after watching School-Live! episode 10.

Cover of Gakkou Gurashi Volume 2, featuring Kurumi Ebisuzawa

Cover of Gakkou Gurashi Volume 2, featuring Kurumi Ebisuzawa

I identify with Kurumi.  I admire Kurumi.

Like me, Kurumi reads the memories dressed onto individual zombies; she imagines the terrors written into fallen furniture, broken barricades, and pools of blood huddled into the corner; and then her empathy pulls lost love and terror out of the grave.

Unlike me, she persevered the zombie apocalypse.  My default response to zombies is to end it all.  It’s hard for me to even watch zombie media, but Kurumi’s courage became my courage, and she became my emotional anchor in School-Live! when I would otherwise flip out because of… well, zombies…

I loathe zombies.  I hate the mouths, I hate death by gnawing, and I hate the one-bite-kill concept.  I’m fascinated though by far more dangerous and visceral fictional enemies such as the Tyranids.

So why Zombies?

Because zombies weaponize the most vibrant of our emotions: Love.

A child gets bitten… her mother grabs her and retreats to those who care about the daughter; and those the daughter cares about.  Love leaves her friends and family vulnerable.  She bites them, and then they retreat to their loved ones… and the cycle repeats again.

Of all the characters in School-Live, Kurumi is the one most identified by Love, and the most affected.  Her symbol in the opener is a heart.  She was madly in love prior to the outbreak, and she’s haunted by the memory of killing her crush/boyfriend.  When Kurumi, Yuri, and Miki discover the document that disavows individual love in favor of humanity’s survival, Kurumi reacts with rage.  Love has driven her throughout the series, and in the presence of her friends, she takes on the front and charges into danger with her shovel.

Alone, she becomes vulnerable to the tragedy in her environs.

In episode 2, Kurumi shovels a zombie in the head and it drops a cellphone.  On the phone is a photo of the-girl-that-was and her boyfriend.  Kurumi becomes overwhelmed by the emotional rush and nearly gets bitten before double-tapping the zombie.  This event revealed the impulsive nature of her empathy, and how empathy might serve as Kurumi’s fatal flaw.

School-Live! wrote Kurumi’s piece of the story with perfection.  Episode 2 showed you her weakness… conversations foreshadowed that Kurumi would get bitten… the temperature of the series grew colder… and then you watch her stand there: shovel ready as her beloved teacher’s zombie approached from around the corner… and you knew she was going to hesitate to kill Megumi’s zombie: Megumi’s memory.  And yet the traits that ultimately undid her… kindness, love, empathy… gave you hope, because she repeatedly displayed the strength it gave her.

But there’s a clear dichotomy:

When her friends are around, love becomes power.  Her empathy draws on the fear and hope of her friends and she quickly reacts to protect those feelings.

Alone, her empathy draws on lost love, and it’s not a choice.

All the counsel, the comfort, and support Megumi-sensei had given to Kurumi became Kurumi’s opponent… and Kurumi faltered.

And just like it always does, School-Live! keeps hope alive with the pause of an episode, the promise of “medicine” and a cliffhanger.

Despite how much it hurt to watch episode 10, I’m thankful for School-Live!, regardless of how it chooses to end.

School-Live! flipped Moe on its head and gave it something substantial to stand on.

School-Live! told its story well.  Bad story-telling is the failed crutch that repeatedly assassinates the anime and manga mediums; and so School-Live! has been a treat in that regard.

School-Live! also did something for me.

I’ve wondered for years why I have Neophobia, and School-Live! illuminated the reason.  I’ve been stuck in that room for days as Kurumi screams, her blood boils, and the infection spreads from her arm.  I drop myself far too deep into fiction and into my imagination.   I bring back all the feelings -all the despair and suicidal thoughts I would be having in Yuri’s position as she contemplates killing Kurumi- and then my common sense has to fight to try and remind me that fiction is fiction.

I’ve been shielding myself from potentially dangerous empathetic recoils, but fictional trauma led me to write my first short story Stitched Angel, and once again it’s got me writing.  Comfort is the last thing I need; perhaps it’s the last thing any writer needs.

So, thank you, School-Live!

Even if this breaks my heart.

Scrap Writing (5.27.2015)

Hello!  Hello!  I’m not dead!

I’m working on a follow-up short story to Under the Cherry Blossoms that is titled Paper Days.  I have qualms about writing Paper Days, but I’ll talk about those issues when I post it.

In the meantime, I have more scraps to discard.


Scrap Writing

                Love luscious lured Seresa from her hotel bed, and invited her to run down the hill slope and into a valley not yet tamed nor tampered by people.  She could run an asphalt marathon or beat up bullies in the boxing ring, but Nature offered her an unruly challenge and a chance to obtain the masteries locked by agility and fluid life.

                Seresa adjusted her footing for each sink into the dirt; bounced off the rock hidden beneath the ground.  Ferns and low plants routed her course round and round yet another obstacle.  The occasional tree offered a branch low enough to rush three steps up the trunk and then grab; grab and scale the canopy before dancing down to the earth.  She scaled a cliff of dirt and roots: five meters in five seconds.  She leapt across river stones on just her toes, and swam the spaces against rain swept currents.  She chased a deer, and though she could not keep pace, she could veer left to right to left with the beast without losing the wind of her speed.

                When her prey escaped her, she stopped and settled hands on hip.  She heaved for air, but felt comfortable in her lungs.  Exhaustion permeated her, and she shook it off by flexing and stretching her limbs.

                Seresa began her journey back to town, wandering haphazardly and seeking the dead.

                Life prevailed in this paradise, but so many victors required a sustenance, and Seresa sought out those poor souls: camellias ravaged by deer; a young oak starved by the growing giants around them.  She knelt before them, provided her sympathies and listened to the stories they left in the evidence.

                She touched what was left of the physical remnants and coaxed a spirit at peace to vacate this world; and the victims consoled left behind green and blue and purple wisps.

                Seresa materialized a crystal full of shimmers in her hand, and the stone sucked in each aurora.  By valley’s end she gained the magical essence of six flowers and a tree; and at the lip of her mind she wondered which of her clothes she should enchant.

End Scrap

I really enjoy Youtube’s auto-playlist feature.  Sometimes I forget about it and it’ll cycle along to vocals I don’t care for.

More often it leads me to some really, really cool Touhou Arrangements.

The Spring of Saigyou Ayakashi, by Dust Box 49/Ziki_7

If you do nothing else; at least listen from 5:30 till the end.

I’ll address how I came across this beauty in a later post ;)

Wheel of Destiny by Dust Box 49/Ziki_7

Eerie, elegant, cool… perhaps a bit threatening?

Sounds like Sakuya =P

Unknown, Little Scarlet by Diverse System/Yanagi

I never connected with the original U.N. Owen Was Her.  I found the instrumentation blaring and somewhat painful to listen to.  Remixes and arrangements enlightened me to the brilliance of the melody itself, but not even TAMUSIC could hit me with a tune that would stick.

Enjoy this one when you next study :)

I want to bring a different content to the blog… this week… tomorrow… today even…  I want to put my ideas on display.

They’re there, in my head… stuck behind self-consciousness, confidence crashes, and depression swings…

When others share their problems to me, I deliver answers cleanly, efficiently, and with great articulation.  I bumble sometimes, but I respond to others well.  Poke me with the right question, and you’ll receive an answer unique to me.

I want to talk to some of the questions that haven’t been asked; that I want to ask.

Hopefully I’ll have something soon.  Positive thoughts!

Enjoy your night :)

Scrap Writing (5.8.2015)

Whelp, I’ve gone one month and four days without posting.

Halfway through April, my eyes began to bother me… to the point where it killed my right eye just to write in a journal.

Turns out I’m near-sighted in my left eye and far-sighted in my right eye, and the disparity throws my mind for a loop.  I’ve been adjusting to glasses over the past week, and I can finally use the computer again!  Though I have to take it easy still…

I’m back to writing though!  And I’m warming up by writing scraps, as usual.

Scrap Writing

                Heading the financial assets at Paperless Press was the first stable job of Seresa’s life.  She arrived in the morning, left in the afternoon, and received a credit to her bank account each Sunday at 2:00am.  An office provided her privacy, and her cute little assistant impinged that gift.  She enjoyed his dedication to her, his reliability, and his affection, but she couldn’t lay her hands or body on him; company rules.

                Seresa couldn’t work through the night if energy and muse possessed her.  If she slept poorly she came to work groggy; instead of sleeping in, arriving focused, and working into the evening.  They shoved health seminars, relationship counseling, and business strategy meetings into her weekends when she had already mastered her health, her persons, and her work.

                Paperless Press maximized structure over individual performance; and it wore on her subtly and without her cognizance; until under a setting sun, her assistant asked her, “Are you alright?” and he cited the loss of her usual brightness.

                “Just a little stressed.  Thank you for your concern.”

                She dismissed Toby’s inquiry as a symptom of his infatuation; but when she looked in the mirror that night she saw darkness under her eyes and a wilting stem.

End Scrap

I hate structure at the expense of individual ability.  I understand why a regulated lifestyle works for so many people, but count me out.  I’m accustomed to fluidity.

Hopefully, I’ll get used to these glasses as well.

Scrap Writing (4.4.2015)

Sometimes I think I should just stay away from larger projects like a short story.  The resulting panic attacks just seem to mount up over the weeks.

I wonder if I’ll ever be cut out to write some of the novels I have in my head?

Retreating into the small once again; this bit was a short story that I scuttled because it was headed for a melancholic end.

Scrap Writing

            Vanessa lived in her thoughts, in a bed her own, her alone; on the favorable position of the second floor overtop the apartment manager’s office.  She had sights elevated and distant from her window sill, but no tenants to consider when the sun fell and her feet began to pace to her mind’s crescendo.  Passing the days warm and asleep limited her opportunities to meet another.  Nights dedicated to technical writing and editing squandered her chance for midnight romances or beers with a pal.

            The hermit’s life suited her, but some evenings saw her pained, wrought with envy for the waning sun gifting its last rays through her shuttered window.

            She dreamed a wave and a smile would wait for her on the cul-de-sac, eager to trade faces and first names and an intention to love; but when she peered through the blinds, reality drew an empty road, and she resorted to familiar vices to persevere this despair.

            Blog articles, news feeds, movie reviews… her computer engaged her mind and spun her thoughts to challenge the enlightenment of society.  She read from the branches of good thoughts charged by motifs emotional and pure; wished to connect and delve deeper into racism and sexism and greed and dig up the rot in the roots; but she settled for pushing “like” buttons instead.

            She checked her mail for work updates and a request from human resources to transfer her tasks to Courtney, the other writer.  Two more hours at the office would see Vanessa earning overtime pay for the rest of the month; and so it was suggested -without option- that she exercise her vacation days; and she sighed.

            Vanessa enjoyed sneaking poetic quips past the rule of her informational diatribe; treading the boundaries shared between technical and creative writings; earning snickers and compliments as her boss reviewed her manuals.

            Work served her challenges and her challenges to structure.

            Idleness allowed her to kick feet on her bed and read and muse; but this night her legs fell heavy and resisted her whimsy.

End Scrap

I might pick this one back up.  For now I’m following the advice of Extra Dry Martini and I am moving in baby steps.  “Just get a scrap done”, “Just get a blog post in”, and the like.

Here’s a nice piano arrange I’ve been into lately, which I’ve been listening to out of kkcwkoh’s youtube channel:

Mysterious Mountain, arranged by Senpi.  Original by ZUN.

If you have any thoughts on keeping the passion-train rolling… what works for you, muses you’d like to share, advice, etc…  I’d love to hear it.  I’m horrifically prone to Neophobia, which leads to apathy, which leads to… failure…

I’m good at writing, but as of right now I’m just a skilled editor/teacher masquerading as a writer.  I’m better at helping others write and reviewing others’ work, and one of these days I’d like to figure out how to help myself.

It’s Not Okay to Say Nothing.

So the Internet of writers blew up over an essay written by Ryan Boudinot called “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach In One.

I felt saddened that an Instructor would cling to the notion that “Writers are born with talent”; though I grieved more for the number of persons who consoled this concept of predetermination.

Indeed, certain mental attributes preclude writing mastery: analysis, theorization, extrapolation, recreation, innovation, and adaptability come to mind.  However, a lacking of one or more of these qualities can be traced back to various environmental circumstances or personable circumstances.

For example, America still lingers on the edge of authoritarian parenting.  One of the major drawbacks to this style of parenting is that it relies heavily on Negative Reinforcement.  Negative Reinforcement deters desire to commit an action.  When overused or used out of situation, this method of control damages a person’s sense of desire; and he/she may generally suppress desire altogether, or hide it, or feel ashamed to want something.

Desire drives intellectual skills, and a student raised from a heavily disciplined childhood will usually struggle in a creative writing course.  The student may lack confidence in herself, lack faith in her writing, or outright lack the prerequisite creativity traits; because she was too scared to exercise these traits growing up.

Now, I suppose these circumstances could be classed as Fate, but I don’t care; not in as it relates to teaching.

The teacher’s purpose is to identify weaknesses in the students, and help them to correct those weaknesses.

If an aspiring writer lacks key intellectual skills to become an elite writer, then help him/her to develop those skills!

Which brings me to the point that bothered me; and I speak not of the points he made, because he gives some good advice:

  • If you don’t have the time to write, make the time.
  • Write for yourself, not the teacher.
  • Make writing a passion first and a profession second.

I echo these sentiments.

This is what I found offensive:

“Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach In One.”


He perceived improvements within students’ work/mindset/passion but to failed to address his qualms with those students?  To those students?

I don’t know what goes into the MFA program, but If I pay for assistance in achieving mastery in a craft, and you are my teacher, I am purchasing your subjectivity.  If you don’t like my writing, I expect you to tell me what you don’t like and why.  If you don’t think I belong in the literary world then you better tell me why; because your critique has been paid for and is owed!

Those students got robbed of their feedback; not to mention the assistance that could/would/should have followed pending said feedback.

/end rant.

/end topic.

I’m aware I promised a post within the last week and failed to meet that promise.

I don’t know if anyone holds me to that, but I disappointed myself.  I’m aiming to put up two short stories between now and next Sunday, and at least one other non-story post (I’ll probably share some of my favorite Touhou arranges).

For now, I’m going write and listen to Desire Drive, because I used the phrase earlier in this post :)

Desire Drive by ZUN, arranged by TAMUSIC

Finish your weekend well ^_^