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.”

…Seriously?

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 ^_^

Beautiful Wanderer

Ten days since my last post.  I really suck at this blogging thing :\.

Anyway, here’s another short story!  This one is 1,067 words and will probably take no more than a few minutes to read, if even.


Beautiful Wanderer

               Cold cracked night chilled Seresa through three layers’ clothing, and though she could have waited warm and companied in the station lodge behind her, she preferred to reminisce with Skadi’s kiss.  She had once bellowed with the thunder as she made love astride, half-naked; shedding her tears to snow and sleet; freeing herself from a cage seventeen years pure at the time.  She shushed his identity and fed their memory to the violet soul she discovered that day; smoldering perpetual; burning kindles of mystery and sex and redeeming that heat for the present.

                Decency would have asked a name, but Seresa preferred that blinding passion.  It inspired her to remain fun and foolish.  Prudence served most persons, but Seresa had been born into a fairy’s legacy: a canopy of bright blue hairs and a bouquet of ethereal violets sprouting wings from her upper back.  Spectacle granted her opportunities with schools and masters; the talents she amassed won her wealth; and then she purchased her freedom from worldly worries.

                Train whistled far away but not far from arrival.  Seresa glanced back to the footsteps staggering into the cold, and some of them stared back.

                Pretty brunette scorn took to her side just shy of her own fair height.  Seresa felt the gaze, then scrutiny.  She took a peek into those sea blue eyes and saw a scathing judgment carved down to the ocean trenches.

                “How’s life on easy mode?” asked the young lady.  She seethed her rhetorical intent, but Seresa replied anyway.

                “Pretty good”, and just talking back incurred a swing of fist.  She subtly dodged and caught the inexperienced body from falling via poor weight distribution.  “Careful”, said Seresa, and having been defeated, or at least perceived as defeated, the girl crossed her arms and quivered in frustration.

                Beneath that full and sensible coat, Seresa recognized the office attire of a pen pusher trying to take advantage of male prejudice: a white blouse thin enough to hint a bra, a black miniskirt and all her legs drawn down to the high heels.  Skill had lost to pretty, so skill became pretty, but not pretty enough to win by cheating.  Now she lugged two suitcases stuffed beyond their boundaries, running away to God-knows-where with what dignity and assets remained.

                Seresa embodied everything this corporate refugee hated.  A periwinkle jacket blouse draped a shawl-like top over her shoulders, and the dress underneath layered pleated skirts to a lofty perimeter about her shin.  Lavender frills flashed along every single line; nightly threads segregated touch and step from the callous world; a crop of her hair had been spun into a spiral over her nape.  Seresa wore in travel what this girl would reserve for grand occasion, and thus she stood accused of brandishing her advantages.

                She did not apologize for dressing to whim, but she accepted the biases placed against her image.

                “I’m Seresa.  What’s your name?”

                “Sonya Clyde.”

                Seresa offered a smile and her hand, and after fidgeting through the screeching, horning approach of the train, Sonya finally sighed and accepted the gesture; receiving something in palm through the exchange.

                “What’s this?”

                “My ticket for yours”, offered Seresa.  Sonya reminded her that ordinary persons did not get to sleep under covers while riding coach, but Seresa insisted on the trade.

                Car doors opened, steward and staff descended to greet passengers and review tickets.  A young lad clad in the same navy blazer and trousers cut through the contracted mass of people, seeking Seresa and identifying her colors with ease

                “Seresa Sonada?”

                Seresa stepped behind Sonya and presented her.  Sonya played her part and claimed, “That’s me!  I’m Seresa!” and a bribe convinced him as such.

                “If you’ll follow me, I’ll show you to your car.”

                “I get my own car?” and it was actually two cars, but Seresa let that surprise lie till Sonya had the privacy to explore her gift.

                Sonya started to run off, but she spun about and smiled solemn thanks; a reflection of goodwill; before grabbing her escort’s hand and charging toward the mystery accommodations of the rich.  It was just a temporal blessing that would subside in value upon docking tomorrow night, but it would charm her for a day and vitalize her faith in good people.

                Seresa trickled in with the last passengers and followed the procession until the person in front of her passed up an aisle seat in the midst of the car.   The location crowded, but by persons who exuded temperance and quiet desire; and so Seresa fell into the chair, flirted a smile to the man on her left, and then folded arms and eyes.

                As her mind recessed into the headrest, she recalled the days without cushions or high chair backs.

                Back then, she could not even rest her eyes; because back then, her livelihood fit into two duffle bags on her lap.  One momentary lapse in defense could lose her life’s material value; and so she watched her peers, watched her belongings while she wore down over ten hours or more.  When she finally arrived, she often went straight to her new job, working the full day without reprieve for her travels, without sympathy for her exhaustion.

                She used to be Sonya, but luck finally landed her an office infrastructure where her relentless positivity received affectionate praise instead of hostile gossip; where the untouchable boss noticed her ingenuity instead of her body.  She joined a meritocracy, and like a balloon freed from binding rope she rose beyond the clouds and forged her home where the great memories resided.

                Seresa had given Sonya a business card behind the ticket, and for the fate of her own fortune, she may have erred.  Seresa’s intelligence consoled a reflection in those blue eyes, but where Seresa tinted with violet love, Sonya draped her wrath in the blood of the incompetent.

                Perhaps she invited a superior mind to usurp her, but a true competitor invited every legitimate threat to her table; challenged all to dethrone her; and in doing so she was pushed beyond her own perceived limits.

                And if Sonya or some other took her place one day, Seresa would bow gracefully and congratulate her successor just as her predecessor had done.

                Certainly, she would not lose any sleep over her career.  It was just one path of many she could follow, and she was rather curious about those other avenues.

End


Meritocracy?  In my country?

…It’s less likely than you think.

I’ll try to put up another blog post this week; maybe even two!  They probably won’t be stories, but I just want to get into the habit of blogging.

Scrap Writing

So I’ve decided to revive an old habit: scrap writing.

Basically, I write up random settings/characters/ideas just for practice’s sake.  Sometimes I keep rolling with it, but mostly I leave the scraps behind.  Getting caught up with a short story just because it’s nearly done and then stalling for days; usually just leads to a broken down engine that falters for months.

Fred Gallagher probably put it best: Creativity is a muscle that requires regular exercise, lest it suffer atrophy.


I’ll be throwing scraps around on the blog, if only to keep updating it and maybe find and excuse just to rabble; I like rabbling, I like putting myself on here because I intended this to be a “blog of me” and not just my writing stuff.

Often my scraps will focus on descriptions: partly because I love flinging words at pictures; partly because I find it easier to just ignore descriptions throughout a complete story.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Most descriptions are unnecessary and/or exceed reasonable length; at least in my experience.  Eventually I’m going to get into “Writing Technique” posts where I talk about my writing design choices, and I choose my words deliberately when making description.

But…

I’m not always certain of the result, which is why I prefer to scrap write those things I struggle the most with: settings, people, objects/animals, and above all else: describing the person whose perspective I’m following, without the description feeling “plugged” and “disruptive”.

That said,

Scraps away!


SCRAP

            Vanessa drifted through Kalina after the night and snow sublimated her messy world into impure absolutions.  The pebbled schematic of rust and dust blanched white beneath her booted step; sky-scraping glasses once blue with the moon blacked out or shimmered with human spirit.  Even concrete lost its shadows up high where the clouds had fallen low enough to obscure shape and form.

            Bars and Clubs disrupted nature’s monochrome with their invitations: extending warm glows and neon invitations to Vanessa; offering her renewed life and company; but she settled for the first bench on the road; sweeping it of snow with her gloves and settling into the seat of her apricot coat.  She dangled cashmere legs and a lofty, floaty shin skirt to the airs; muffled her face in black and navy hues; and closed her violet eyes to the occasional boy admiring the black hairs sleeking down to her brow, her shoulder, her back.

            She should call it a night; go home; but isolation wore her down.  She did not want to crawl into an empty bed on digested leftovers and no conversations to mull; and she was content to simply exist within public space till this urge dissipated or was satisfied.

SCRAP END


I tend to worry about my coherency when it comes to descriptions.

Do my words confuse you?

Does Vanessa’s description feel “plugged”?

Feel free to comment.  I’m always open to critique: positive, negative, and whatever else.

 

Oh, and if you like a piece of scrap writing and would like me to evolve it into something longer; let me know and I’ll see if anything comes to mind.

‘Nessa and ‘Lily

A short little fantasy-adventuring fiction sketch.  Not a complete story.

Scribbles and bits, so to speak.

‘Nessa and ‘Lily

                Vanessa’s life measured poorly by standard of purse strings and estates, but she liked her life.  Many would not respect her occupation by calling it as such, but meandering through the world, taking on quests, collecting bounties, plundering ruins, and foraging through hard times when others could only pray… pumped a joyous cancer through her heart and blood that could no longer be boiled beside soup pots or tempered by the work of an anvil.

                She was a mercenary in league with herself: an Adventurer.

                It was not a better life or even a wholly different life so much as a trade: offering up stability and consistency to gain a capricious mind.  Money still dictated her strategy; sex lured her fancy; vanity became her impetus.  She just exercised her coins on the move: earned them city to city, helping one woebegone city-bound civilian after the other.

                When fortunes blessed her with loot and gold, she stayed at inns beneath cotton or silk sheets.

                For now, she slept by the guard of bark and leaf; rain swept, rain soaked and awaiting the sight of game.

                Vanessa had spent two gold coins on a peck of blueberries and a peck of almonds, but her favorites tasted tame and familiar after the thirtieth snack.  She sought the luxuries found in predation: the superior health of venison cooked fireside and the empowered elegance promised by muscle.  She was scrawny and bony, especially for her height.  Constant traveling toned something lithe and pretty out of her, but unless she stripped down to her physique, others adventurers scoffed at her request for partnerships.

                Meat allured her idealized self, but a deer or rabbit would not simply walk into her shelter.  She’d rather flop about the mud; let her mind root itself and share thoughts with Mother Nature; but every moment lazed only reinforced that brittle image; and so she rose from her soggy perch to trod into the fog.

                While she searched for prey, she dittied a rhyme for her bored mind:

                Gray, gray, everywhere gray;

                White wash water flushes the day,

                Precipitous, monotonous nimbus ahead,

                From this rising mist they fled:

                My meat, my prey, my reason for fire,

                A meal for wet bones, for soaking silks.

                Somewhere I cannot see

                Someone is watching me

                Boot prints stood by a tree not far from her place of rest.  Said boots could not fit a bigger man, and she fancied the idea of a cute admirer: someone small enough of body and ego to push down and tame.  His reason for hiding, watching, was his shy courage; clinging to a flower he savored for her.

                Just the thought burst a laugh from her.  “Some luck that would be!” and she unbuckled the strap that secured her sword to its sheath.

                Boots and gloves; leathered and steeled; protected her movements to the elbows and knees.  Her leather cuirass mounted shoulder plates to keep her sword-arm safe, and her belt draped chainmail over her skirt to the sides and rear.  A misguided arrow would not easily take her skin, but a competent intent could slip a knife through to her heart or slit her sleep.

                She kept three lunging strides between herself and every tree thick enough to hide a body; honed sights on shrubbery and keened herself for a crossbow bolt; but the ambush came on the heels of a frail and inexperienced woman, who sprung from a tree directly ahead of Vanessa’s sight, and she watched the gal trip and fall face-first into the mud.

                Defeat permeated this lady of rags, who dirtied the mud by her presence, and brandished a stick too rotted to break skin.  She rose and stared; two ruby irises dulled by death’s door; and tried to make a threat.

                “Give me a coin… or something to eat…” and a habitual mannerism followed with an automated “please”, enticing Vanessa to snicker and giggle as her would-be-assailant amended her threat with, “or else…”

                “I don’t have any money”, Vanessa said, “spent it.”

                The haggard soul tilted and peered round Vanessa’s belt for a container of food.  The pouch on Vanessa’s right side allured her eyes; moved her lips; but her debts finally caught up to her and forfeited her struggle.  She sunk to her knees, fell onto her back.  Her eyes gazed skyward but there were no sights or sounds in this world left for her; the characteristics of her physical shell were just a happenstance of her final moments.

                In so many cities Vanessa witnessed this suicide: a mental fatigue for the constant crediting of pride; asking, begging, pleading for a morsel to sustain upon.  She offered hope and resources to those she could, and sometimes they accepted.

                Vanessa’s stores did not swell any longer, but she approached the girl and asked her to stand.

                “Why?”

                “I give charity to help others; not indulge myself with false heroism.  If you have any dignity then we’re equals, regardless of what our clothes might say about us.”

                The girl stood, and held out her hands.  Vanessa clasped bony fingers, touched skins too stained for this monsoon to cleanse.  She willed the airs to whirl round, to violently brush water against mud and blood till everything particulate had been raised into her levitating stream; and a flick of her wrist sent the wash water to the side, back into gravity’s care.

                Vanessa put her palm over palm, and deposited a handful of nuts and berries.  She ate, but the bafflement on her face questioned the substance cracking between her teeth.  “Where did you get those?  You didn’t reach into a pocket.”

                Vanessa opened her empty hand and another mouthful of trail snacks stole onto her grasp through the cover of black wisps.  “You can conjure food?” she asked, and she grabbed and swallowed this phenomenon as quickly as she questioned it.

                “I can phase things out of existence; recall them when I choose.”

                “You could steal a lot of stuff that way.”

                “I could, but I don’t.”

                Vanessa did not have to explain honor, for this girl kept it within her silence; allowed it to forfeit her life in lieu of begging, and then refuse a fourth handful of nuts and berries.  “I have more”, Vanessa said, but she did not care.

                Through staining filths, a few hairs hued true to their pink pigmentation.  It was a lightly, joyous chromatism that shimmered in adulation, and marked her in hatred.  There was no town where a pink haired girl could hide from gossip and spittle, and her sharp incisors ensured an enemy within in every populace to rile up the crowd.

                An accident, a crime, or just a season of bad weather; one scared fool would correlate trouble to her pink hair, and then the world’s fortunes became her responsibility.

                Vanessa was less human than this girl, but her clothes did not split to the whim of glass shanks and steeled edges.  How would she have fared if her long black hairs and violet sights swapped colors?

                “What’s your name?”

                “Lylette.”

                “I’m searching for deer, fish, berries… anything to eat, really… would you like to come with me, Lylette?”

                Whether Vanessa staked her invitation upon sagacity or pity, she could not discern; but she suspected a selfish motive within the act; for Lylette’s quiet consent realized the image she always desired for herself: not a stronger, more beautiful person, but someone who traveled in company.

End

I welcome all critique; even negative.

Just be polite :).