Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Coming to the End of the Beginning

There are officially 5 days (including today) left in November. To say that this month was a busy one is an understatement. Between dealing with some family problems, accepting the fact that I was going to get a B in my Spatial Statistics class, and the stressful month of work, I was ready to pull my hair out. Through it all though I kept up with my month long writing sprint; some days I wrote dozens of pages and others I wrote none.

Pretty much writing “Loose” kept my sanity. I was able to take all these problems of the month (and even the past) and throw them into these stories. I ended up focusing more so on her 20s than any other age range because I feel more connected to her at that stage of her life. I attempted to write about 16 year old Loose but found myself having a hard time with it. Part of this may have to do with the catalyst for the whole series being very difficult for me to write, or more so to get in the mind frame to write.

Instead I focused on what that situation had turned her into. Lucy Quinn is one of the most intense characters that I’ve ever written. She is an outlaw, loose cannon, fighter, and lover. She fascinates me and scares the crap out of me at the same time. We’ve even got into some fights about the direction of the stories (which I outline in my last post “Loose and Stubborn”). All in all I love her and couldn’t ask for a better companion for this past month.

Most of you know that I have been writing the bulk of her stories in long hand. I’m currently at 123 pages (This does not include front and back since I’m using wide rule so one page front and back really equals one page typed) in my notebook which translates to about 20 stories. I supplemented these 123 pages of long hand with 6 short stories typed up (when the hand cramps set in). All together I’ve written about 155 pages of Loose’s stories and I’m continuing on.

My goal is to finish up the last 18 pages of my notebook by Saturday. That is not the end of Loose though. Her story is one that is multi-layered and could go on for hundreds upon hundreds of stories. Honestly I’m not sure if I’ll publish all of them, or any of them really. In this process I’ve also learned that Lucy an extension of myself, I very intense, somewhat crazy extension but an extension nonetheless. She is a poster child for fighting back and standing up for yourself – a cause that sometimes I find myself lacking on.

So until I decide what it is I’m going to do with all these stories (which could continue and continue for all I know), I thought I’d share a few of lines from my favorite “Loose” stories:

Fight Night
“Knew there was a reason we kept you around,” Tom said kissing her on the forehead and squeezing her tight, “You’re a goddess.”
“Yeah you better bow to me… I got my pretty face messed up for you,” she smiled through her now black eye and bruised neck and cheek.

“So you’re adding Good Samaritan to your resume? Does that go before or after murderer?”
A smile passed her lips, “We could go on with this witty banter all night but I got what I came for.”
“What was that exactly, the truth?”
“More like fewer lies…”

News (aka the story I had to wrestle Lucy over)
Drew then just started laughing, “Shit…”
“What?” she cracked a smile, sitting up.
“How messed up are we in the head? Could we really pull this off? The two of us?”

“Usual state?” she laughed, “Not even sure what that means anymore. Sometimes I wonder if things were easier when we were just the bad guys.”

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Loose and Stubborn

Lucy Quinn is Stubborn: that should be the title of my newest short story. Yes in fact the character out ranked the writer in this case. Lucy “Loose” Quinn is my newest obsession in my writing world. She is fierce, strong, smart, caring, and did I mention stubborn? Usually I can coerce my characters into doing what I want; I can lead the story in the direction my mind has thought of. There are times when I deviate from that but for the most part my stories start, climax, and end where I want them too. Well, there’s a reason why this short story series is called “Loose.” Lucy is a loose cannon. If she wants something she goes after it no matter what the implications are. If someone hurts any of the ones she loves she barely hesitates to slit their throats.

This has led many of her short stories to go in completely different directions then I first envisioned. In this particular short story of hers titled “News,” she sure has a lot of news for me. See her best friend who she’s known since she was 16 (she's now 31), has lived with since she was 21, and who plays a pivotal role in her outlaw life/family, decided that he was in love with her. Now the two of them getting together is just a bad idea, not to mention the fact that she doesn’t like men. They both have the same emotional issues, and at this point in their lives have both met heartache and then some. Essentially they’re way too comfortable with each other so they think they are meant to be together.

Lucy is convinced that Drew is not only her best friend but her soul mate. Drew is convinced he is in love with Lucy and has been for a long time. They’re both idiots. They are too caught up in their own heads and reeling from their recent losses (And from Lucy getting shot and almost bleeding to death) to think straight right now. They think they should be with each other because it’s something familiar; they don’t have to try and find someone. The problem is no amount of me trying to rationalize this is helping. As of now they’re drifting closer and closer together. It’s going to happen and when it does it might be something that’s great and lasts for a little while but eventually the relationship will implode.

That has been my inner struggle today: arguing with my very fictional character about her life decisions. Once again though she is too stubborn to listen to me; she will continue on this path. I’m just waiting with bated breath (as I furiously write) to see how long this lasts. My guess: one of them is going to end up very hurt or possibly even dead from blowback of their relationship.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Technology: Archaeology’s Biggest Hindrance

Technology is all around us: computers, Smart Phones, MP3 players, cars equipped with smart technology, and the list goes on and on. There are very few things in this day and age that don’t require some level of technology. This is both a good thing as well as a bad thing. Today, as I sit here on a computer that is equipped to do a plethora of tasks for me yet all the drives I usually access are down. This has rendered me unable to do my job. The very thing that allows me to do my job is hindering me. Now of course no amount of cursing or banging of my computer will help so I’m sitting here pondering the use of technology.

The use of shared drives, clouds, external hard drives, and even regular hard drives is an everyday occurrence in almost every job. We store massive amounts of information (classified information as it pertains to my job) and yet when these drives stop working, we can’t access it. So what happens if there is some kind of huge destruction of our world and all technology and media is wiped out? Then all the information is useless. For example, what if you have hard drives filled with data and databases of every news clipping dating back to the 1700s. How will we view it? If computers are wiped out, DVD players destroyed, other technologies destroyed; how will we get this information? The answer: we can’t.

So what does this mean when it comes to preserving our past for future generations? Well that’s the issue at hand. Let’s say our cities here in the US are reduced to rubble; come a thousand years from now archaeologists come along and want to learn about what our society was about. Well unlike many ancient societies, our ways of life are immortalized on disks and drives in trillions of gigabytes of data. But what’s the use if they can’t be viewed and examined? Of course archaeologists can find about our ways of life by artifacts just like past societies have been examined but how about all the news? How will they tell how our government was run? How will they even know that we had a government?

Let’s look at the Ancient Mesopotamians. We have tons of records on them that have lasted thousands of years. What’s the reason for this? They carved everything into stone. Stone beats technology every time because stone can survive brutal attacks by neighboring kings and regimes. Not only did they write out the list of kings, their economic standings, social hierarchies, and resources into stone but they also would carve scenes in history into stone.

There are many depictions of great battles carved into stone pillars on temples, in pots, and sometimes even into the ground itself. We can then see what was happening at that time and get a much better understanding of the culture. This is something that we are lacking in our society. Now am I going to take up stone carving instead of updating my Facebook status or tweeting? Well let’s be real probably not but it gives us all something to think about.

One thing we do have is our monuments. We have great monoliths like the Washington monument, the WW II memorial, other war memorials and countless engraving on plaques around our nation describing what had happened. This is our ticket to immortality as a society. We need more of this! More physical documentation near important sites around the country that will be a permanent fixture and will hopefully be preserved for future generations. We need to stop this constant inputting of data in databases and drives to “preserve” it. Chances are it won’t be preserved as well as something that is carved into the ground or on the side of a building.