Day Six: The Realistic Dreamer Climbs a Tree

I am what you might call a realistic dreamer of unrealistic dreams. You probably don’t, but you might. I have this tendency to dream the elaborate fantasy, always complex in detail, always glorious to behold. Life, conversely, likes to drop rocks in my pond, fracture the stillness of the water with ripples that bound end-to-end, and sit in amusement upon the shore whilst I fuss and complain about it. I believe life does this to everyone, if for no other reason than to realize my desperate hope that I am not alone at the center of the bullseye.

As always, I will endeavor to get to the point, despite my consistent desire to offer preamble to every form of thought I ever have ever.

You see, I don’t like to write at home. Not the home I currently live in anyway. Over the years of rental madness, I’ve had a writing space here or there, but never anything fitting my need for isolation and inspiration in one. One major hurdle I’ve always dealt with is how easily I am distracted. Roaming the webbernuts, catching up on a show, grabbing a book, yelling at the cat and dog because THEY WON’T QUIT STARING AT ME FOR THE LOVE OF TIMMY CHRIST, snacks, sitting on the patio, whatever. It’s just too easy. I need a place that is solely for writing, secluded yet in proximity to home, inspiring and radiating in a positive flow of creativity. I often times head for a cafe–which is great for caffeination, but horrible for creativity. Again, distractions.

What I need is this:

Behold the beauty that is the writing treehouse.

The future home of bestselling books I will write because it demands it.

Granted, I need a house. A house with appropriate trees. And resources, a.k.a. “money”. And someone who knows how to build one of these things that won’t drop me into squish the first moment I step through the door. You know, just to name a few. But that doesn’t keep me from dreaming about it. Seeing myself with some dopey smile, typing away, a cup of coffee on the desk fueling the words that flow onto the page. Beautiful words. Words that inspire, or at least inspire you to buy my other books.

So if anyone wants to make that happen for me, you know, I’m game and stuff.

Is it realistic? Or am I a dreamer? Or is it just something I really really want and you can shut the hell up about reality?

I always tend to the latter.

I didn’t want to write Friday. I had a whole day, minus a few hours, in which to create, but I just didn’t want to. I whined to my insistence, balled up on the floor and scared the hell out of the dog, and outright refused to participate. Being at home contributed. I had other things to do. Important things I had neglected, like scooping cat poop out of Her Majesty’s litter box, washing dishes, watching an hour of that Guns N’ Roses concert I had on the DVR so I could marvel at how awful and out of breath Axl Rose sounded. Ultimately I wrote a paragraph, and only because it popped into my head and I didn’t want to forget it. Then I left the file open the rest of the day as a good-hearted testament to my desire to write something later. Which I didn’t.

This is not terribly uncommon for me. It’s likely the primary reason why I have only published two books thus far. Yeah. Likely.

Today, I went to a cafe. My usual spot. Usual time, when I know it will be mostly empty for two hours, yet the coffee is still fresh from the end of the lunch rush. Still, as the caffeine train wailed at the station, distraction happened. I people watched. They played Jan and Dean and the Beach Boys so my brain was like, No worries, dude, I know these lyrics. Check it, and proceeded to continually interrupt my flow. I managed to write Chapter Three, knowing it will likely be gutted later because it probably sucks. But it’s written, which is still better than not. And because I vowed to keep this blog project raw, I’m posting it despite my insistence that I log out immediately and go edit.

Not that I could. It has to sit for a day before I can look at it again. Distance and all. Like revisiting a soup the day after you make it. Sometimes it’s better than you thought. So, here it is. Agatha’s thirteenth birthday, and the chapter–more or less, since this is all narrative–the story told me I need to start Agatha’s tale with. As I said, it will look different at some point.

This puts me at exactly 6,100 words, or roughly 6.8% of my target of 90,000 (which would be about 300 printed pages). After this, Chapter Four will return us to the present, with a surprise awaiting Agatha.

As always, comment away. I welcome the input.

Chapter Three (Word Doc)

Chapter Three (.pdf)

The Immutable Lifing of Life

Nine months, twenty-five days, and some hours I’m too lazy to count. That’s how long it’s been since I last wrote here. I guess that qualifies as an appropriate gestation period of silence. Oddly enough, birthed unto the world, that silence now screams, betraying the calm that was my earnest effort to ignore it forevermore.

It’s not my fault. I just didn’t want to do it.

In part, I admit, because life has been … well, it’s been lifing pretty hard. That’s not to say that its myriad pokes and prods have left but puncture wounds and headaches. No, it’s pushed, encouraged, picked me up in moments of stress and told me it would all be okay, then kicking my ass because I looked like I needed it. Still, the lingering lifieness of life has left my writing focused to work I wish to get published rather than words that summarize my current state of mind. The need for those words to be structured properly, for the story to be conveyed with ease, perfect flow, characters worth remembering, everything that makes a book what you hoped it would be, has far outweighed the need to blog. In essence, I mean to say that I want to be damn good at it.

So there’s that.

Ugh. I just saw this picture. The webbernuts seems to exist solely to see how many different ways it can make people cry.

SO MUCH LOVE.

SO MUCH LOVE.

What’s interesting, and eternally frustrating to me, is that much of the lifingness of life these past months has to do with matters of a personal nature. I won’t talk about that on social media, or certainly not here. Which sucks because I’ve always viewed my blog as a therapist of sorts. One that offers no feedback, true, but one that patiently waits out my rants and thoughts and worries and fears and more thoughts and more fears and more worries and sad. So, the few times I’ve wanted to write about it, I’ve arrived to find the door closed, the Inner-me offering a finger waggle then pointing me away. And so I trudge off, hands in my pockets, lip pouted, mumbling about something inane that Inner-me just ignores because it’s inane.

And there you go. It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?

There’s no real point to this. If you’re reading, I apologize. Thanks for stopping by. Leave a quarter on the counter on your way out, if you would. I just wanted to write … something. This is certainly something. Pride. Beaming. Smiles everyone. Welcome to Fantasy Island.

I actually do have something to announce. I just can’t do that now. Basically, I have the news, I just lack the trumpet. I mean, I don’t know how to play  a trumpet, per se, but I can make noise with one. Which is a lot like writing. Making noise. I can make noise. I’ve also been working on a new book, with additional side projects, while continuing to push The Storyteller and the Shadowheart of Ahriman (which has endured more blood cleansing than a dialysis patient, but is somehow better off for it). Maybe for the sake of having someone read something I’ve written or am writing–which is a more difficult task than I could have imagined–I’ll just start posting bits on here. Maybe you can read a whole book out of it. For free. Why not? I wrote it for it to be read. Sure, I’d like millions of people to be enjoying it, but the simpleton mathematician in my head seems to think one is greater than zero, so okay then. If for no other reason than to keep him from mathing, I’ll do that. I hate math.

This is the only certifiable math I’ve done in a good many years:

The Simpson are no longer funny, because math.

The Simpson are no longer funny, because math.

Chew on that. Just don’t expect it to make sense.

 

Adventures Are Not Always Better Than Tacos

It’s been suggested I write about my 7-hour adventure traveling 12 miles from work to home in Atlanta’s Horror Snow. But what can I say that hasn’t already been said? For that matter, what can I say that I haven’t already? I’d offer my sanity was saved by the existence of Facebook, and my insistence on keeping a phone charger in the car, but those who know me might dispute I had any sanity left to begin with. Also, when I find myself saying “I was only in the car for seven hours,” I do so as a comparable to the experience of others, and it begins to feel more like I experienced a mild inconvenience on the way back from the store. People ran out of gas, were trapped in their cars for up to 20 hours. Kids on buses, the elderly in parking lots and on the shoulder, freezing, hungry, scared. Some slept in stores, or at strangers’ houses. Me? Well, I had a 24 pack of water in my backseat I happened to buy that morning, had fueled up the day before, eaten before leaving work. All things considered, I was fine. Frustrated, sure, but fine. I knew I would get home. There was no danger of reckless driving; I used second gear for all of five seconds on my 7 mile trek around I-285. Hard to get into a serious accident at 1 MPH.

You can never have too many plus sides.

You can never have too many plus sides.

By comparison, I had it easy. Worst thing, aside from general discomfort, I had to deal with was an increasingly full bladder. It was suggested I make use of the water bottles available, but first off it seemed a horrifying thought to dump out water when so many people could have used it, and secondly I kept having visions of Lloyd Christmas peeing into beer bottles.

The mechanics of that still confuse me.

What reason had I to complain? I not only had supplies and phone power, I had polar bears to lead me home.

They will lead you home. Or to Svalbard. Either way, follow.

They will lead you home. Or to Svalbard. Either way, follow.

I had entertainment, and a demanding cousin who wouldn’t give me a biscuit:

It's Snow RapSnow More

BISCUIT ME

Sure, I spent the last three hours inching the quarter of a mile to the sign marking my exit ramp, idling for 20 minutes at a time, crawling toward the light like that creepy no-lower-half zombie chick from the first episode of the Walking Dead, but I knew I was close enough to walk if I had to. I knew that once I hit the road, there would be no one in the mall parking lot, and my last mile would be incident free. I knew I had a warm home, food, much drink, a comfy bed, and loving Moss waiting for me with somewhat still warm Jambalaya just a mile and half away. I knew, unlike many of my friends still stuck miles from home, my It’s Snow Adventure Really time was nearly at an end.

If you don't know Jim, well, sucks for you.

If you don’t know Jim, well, sucks for you. Almost as much as misspelling grateful.

What I went through wasn’t horrible. Being born in a car on 285 is horrible (though being born and surviving is a definite plus). Being an elderly couple stranded in a car, unable to walk because the husband is wheelchair-bound is horrible. Being told your child is stranded on a bus on the side of the road, with no gas or heat or food, and being able to do nothing about it is horrible. I just had an experience. An inconvenience. It was nothing to whine about.

I saw enough from my city to be reminded why I call it home. As I posted yesterday:

Yesterday I saw enough kindness to alter the way I feel about Atlanta. People jumping out of cars to help others gas up, offering ice scrapers to those trying to get their cars moving, businesses opening their doors, strangers opening their homes. The city wasn’t prepared for this. But the people have responded. Well done, folks.

Atlanta: We've survived the Olympics, sorta survived the Zombie Apocalypse, and we'll survive this.

Atlanta: We survived the Olympics, sorta survived the Zombie Apocalypse, and we’ll survive this.

All Hail the Empress of Doom

The past nine days have been longer than normal.

That’s not a euphemism, nor is it a reference to the summer solstice. Neither is it an effort to recount the days as only Navin can. It’s a Puppy Thing. After much discussion, the Moss and I made the mistake of visiting some puppies in order to decompress and let go of some unwanted stress. Which, I suppose is to say, “normal stress”. It isn’t as if any stress is wanted, is it? Ah. Yes. True. I could edit that, but I’m not going to. You’re just going to have to deal with it, and take your aggression out on someone unsuspecting Violator of English who dares mention the phrase unwanted stress in your presence. It won’t affect me. I’m too tired. Right, so there we were, trying to let go of life’s Force Choke, when we willfully agreed to forgo sleep in exchange for the cutest ball of fur we’d ever seen. It didn’t happen quickly. We were there for four hours. Most of those four hours involved us staring at each other, perhaps desperately hoping the other had the will power to say no, while simultaneously ready to defend our right to make impetuous decisions about cute balls of fur thank you very much.

There was a lot of this:

“Well, what do you think?”

“I think she’s cute.”

“But what do you think?”

“I think we’re in trouble is what I think.”

That moment when you walk away, puppy in arms, backseat loaded down with crate, food, puppy vitamins, leash and collar/harness, eight million toys that either squeak four millions versions of ear-splitting pain or have beady black plastic eyes that are way too easy to chew off and potentially choke to death on, treats, puppy pads, bowls, the realization that MANY trips to the vet are in your future, and a stunned look of uneasy joy that says, “Dear God, we have a puppy and no true feel for whether or not we’ll survive it.”  That.

And it’s impossible not to be elated, despite the surviving unease with your ability to make rational decisions. At least until she pees on the carpet thirty minutes after you get her home. Or when she does it thirty minutes later. Or thirty minutes after that. And no matter how many times you tell yourself to be patient, she’s just a puppy, she’ll learn, no worries she’ll sleep through the night eventually, your wonderful glorious dream-laden nights of peaceful sleep are gone, perhaps forever. You begin to realize how much more your little bundle of fur is sleeping than you. Sure, you can attempt a nap during the day, but you do so with the knocking presence of fear that she’s emptied her bladder in her crate and is now swimming in a piddle puddle of piss. Which is an awful image, but hardly the matter that concerns you most. No, instead it occurs to you that you’re going to have to clean a pee sponge because you selfishly chose sleep over constant vigilance. So you bypass the nap in favor of staring at a blank wall, trying to remember the last time you wondered about Heffalumps and Woozles. You attempt to plan dinner, but decide hot dogs and mac n’ cheese has never sounded better. You stock up on wine.

Still, it’s just one night. So you only managed 3 hours sleep, one ear concentrating on any sound that might be a whimper of I Just Peed Oh No It’s Everywhere. So you haven’t been up at six in the morning in years. So you reach eleven in the morning wondering how the hell it isn’t four in the afternoon yet. It’s all good. You have a puppy! Isn’t she cute? Who cares if she’s peed everywhere except the pad? At this point, I should also mention that we’re in a fifth floor apartment. There’s a lengthy hallway to the elevator. So when I say she’s peed everywhere, I do feel justified in the exaggeration. Fortunately the property management is changing out the hallway carpet soon. Hopefully not too soon, but soon enough for me to feel fine and dandy in a shrug each time my squirmy little fur ball squats in the hall because she can’t wait for the elevator.

You begin to feel like it’ll never change. That the reminder of your life together will result in conversations you never thought you’d have.

“Does she have to pee? She looks like she has to pee?”

“How can you tell?”

“She’s sniffing everywhere. Oh God, she’s peeing!”

“No she isn’t. She just sat down to chew on her foot. Honestly, you don’t have to … oh, wait. Yup. Now she’s peeing.”

Days begin to drag along with the speed and deliberate insensitivity of that not-quite-handicapped person in the motorized cart at the grocery store. Sleep is an ever-elusive prod in your weary mind. You spend hours watching the puppy, circling her, waiting for the merest of twitches in the back legs that might indicate a new pee stain to clean. Every movement says, “I have to pee.” Every whimper has you reaching for the leash, and onward to another frustrating walk with no results. You’re edgy, impatient, feeling the life force drain away, realizing the harbinger of doom was, in fact, not the floppy-eared seven-pound creature of cuteness, but you and your reckless impulsive decision-making self. It never ends.

Then, one day, unprompted, she walks over to the pad and pees dead center. She walks to the door because she has to go. She stops waking up at three in the morning, maintaining her bladder until six. It’s not much, you admit, but it’s something. Three hours of sleep becomes five or six. You and your mind-weary partner can go to the store, leave her in the crate knowing she’ll just nap. You finally allow that you no longer both have to be up at the same time, and alternate sleeping late and taking naps. You still have to keep an eye on her, but the torment of the squeaky toy is now a blessing. You know where she is, at least. You only have to panic when the squeaking stops. So, instead of Defcon 3 Pee Alert, you downgrade to Defcon 3.

You almost relax.

She learns to sit. She kinda will stay, providing the treat is visible or you sound like Zeus issuing commands from Olympus. She has no idea what her name is, or why you insist on yelling at her when she runs from outstretched arms that will surely destroy her. She falls to the floor in a crumpled mess of despair, head on her paws, drifting into an emotional coma when you call her a Bad Girl. She gains a few pounds and suddenly she doesn’t fit as well in one hand. She greets you with unbridled excitement when you return from the other room, looking as though she feared you’d never return. She has little puppy dreams of psycho cats hissing at her around every corner, whimpering, kicking her furry feet. She shuts down into a deep sleep every time you rub her belly. She’s so warm you might just fall asleep with her.

Suddenly, six in the morning feels refreshing. You’re tired, but rested. You look at her, she looks at you, and you realize, no matter the cost, no matter the nature of the decision, it was worth it.

Molly, the Empress of Doom. Look into her eyes and she will own your soul.

Molly, the Empress of Doom. Look into her eyes and she will own your soul.