Thursday, November 27, 2008

part 4 of Therese Story

{note: I am over 7000 words now} {this is half of chapter 4 } by Frank Coughlin

Surprisingly, she kept her cool despite hearing the crackling of fire in the basement.
“This is it,’ she thought, ‘do or die time.’ She knew she had the answer and she knew it was not in her consciousness. Once again she imagined herself meditating and once again she was instantly in a state in a deep relaxed state. The image of her friend Diane stood in front of her.
‘What you want is through that door.’ Diane said as she pointed at a dark door behind her. Therese ran to the door and tried to open it but it did not budge. ‘You must open it with your desire, your will, your intent.’ Therese tried again but the door did not budge. She look back to her friend and asked: ‘What do I need to do ?’ A tone of desperation was creeping into her voice.
‘I already told you,’ Diane replied, ‘use your desire.’ Flames began to appear all around. Therese turned to the door and tried one more time. ‘God please,’ she screamed, ‘open this damn door.’ The door did not open. She pushed again, this time screaming ‘I want to live.’ The door opened.
She found herself standing in the kitchen, smoke was pouring up from the basement and it was hot, stiflingly hot. The air burned in her lungs.
‘Oh my god,’ she thought, ‘I ‘m alive. I am breathing.’ A wave of happiness washed over her. Then she saw the table and her body still laying on it.
‘The knife,’she said, ‘I have to pull out the knife.’ She rushed over to the body, grabbed the knife and for some strange reason, she looked into the body’s eyes. She gasped. They were empty. And then . . .
She found herself back in her body, looking out at an empty kitchen still unable to move. She pictured herself meditating again and instantly found herself looking at a now open door. A voice from behind her said: ‘Whatever you do, don’t look at your own eyes again. If you do you will surely die.’ She did not recognize the voice but she did not care to find out who said those words. She just wanted to live.
Again she went through the door. Again she found herself in the kitchen, staring at the body on the table. Flames were coming through the door to the basement. The heat was unbearable. She grabbed for knife and screamed as it burned her hands. She could not pull it out. The knife was too hot to hold. She was too late.
At that point, she panicked. She ran through the kitchen door into the parlor. The whole house was full of smoke and parts of the floor were on fire. She ran to the front door, turned the knob and pushed her way to freedom. The cold night air shocked her system back into thinking. She thought about going back in and looked through the doorway at the parlor. The kitchen was engulfed in flames. and the furniture was starting to burn. It was too late.
At that moment a curious thing happened. Therese’s consciousness split into three parts. In one part, she felt herself lying on the kitchen table, her body convulsing vainly fighting to keep from burning. He had been wrong. She did feel the pain of burning and it was horrible.
In the second part, she was standing in the doorway of the house’s front door looking in at the burning parlor and feeling helpless.
And in the third part, she was inside of herself, somewhere looking at both scenes, the kitchen and the doorway.
‘You have to choose,’ a voice from behind her said, ‘which will it be ?’
She wanted to turn around and face this voice but she found herself unable to move. This mysterious voice was the same voice that had told her not to look into her own eyes. It was not his voice. This voice was much colder sounding as if it came from something not human.
‘You must choose now.’ The voice demanded. ‘Life or death.’
‘I choose life,’ she whispered. Her voice was raw from inhaling smoke. She was standing in the doorway watching the house burn in front of her. She was alive and she was in shock.
She ran from the house silently, not looking back, not even when she heard the first explosion. Not long after that fire engines came screaming down the street, one after another, blaring their horns and flashing their lights. She kept running. She did not want to be found. She did not want to be seen. Her magic eyes helped her navigate in the moonless night and she kept whispering to herself a single phrase over and over - ‘I choose life ’.
Somewhere, miles later, she stopped, both running and talking. And fainted.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Part 3 of the Therese Sacry story

(part two of this story is the post below this one.)

He caught her as she went slack and gently laid her on the table. The dagger had gone so deep into her heart and beyond that the tip was now sticking out some half a dozen inches beyond her back and yet there was no blood on it. Therese felt no pain, in fact, she felt nothing. He kissed her on her forehead and closed her eyes.

“As you can tell by now, my dear Therese, you are not dead.” he said out loud. “The Toliver is a mystical blade and does not kill or wound you but it does render its victim inert, that is to say, awake, conscious, but completely devoid of all bodily functions. If I was to take this blade out of you, you would become alive again and there would be no marks or cuts on your body. Your body would be back to normal again. “ He opened her eyes again and turned her head so she could look at him. He unbuttoned his shirt and opened it, exposing his chest. “See, no scars or scabs. You may not know it but you are not breathing. This is why you thought I was dead all those years ago.Now you know, I was not. You could have easily finished the job then but I am glad you did not. If you had, this night would not be possible.” He smiled an evil smile and closed her eyes again, gently turning her head back to its original position. He left the room and came back with a small pillow which he placed under her head. He then noticed that the blade had slid upwards halfway out of her chest.

“Oh, no no no. Can’t have that.” he mumbled to himself. He went to a cabinet and produced a small sledgehammer. “Knifey has to stay in you.” He began to hammer the knife back down. Since it was already poking out Therese’s back, his pounding pushed it into the table itself.
‘He is nailing me to the table.’ thought Therese, ‘I wonder why.’ She was alive and in no pain but neither could she move nor could she fall asleep. ‘So this is how I left him. He must have hated me for years.’ She could not even feel the blade push through her as he hammered the hilt to her chest. He pulled on it to see if it would budge and it did not.

“One last whack for good luck,” he said as he hit the dagger harder than he had done so previously. Therese felt the hilt push her ribs up against her heart.

“And you are going to need all the luck you can get.”

Therese heard him walk down the stairs to the basement where he stayed for about five minutes. She then heard him walk back up.

“Wow, you sure brought a lot of incendiaries.You weren’t taking any chances were you ?” He sat down and opened her eyes. He turned her face so that she could see him again. “I know what you are going through right now, but forget about all that stuff. You need to listen to me and remember everything.”

“In about an hour, your little devices will go off. I added a little gasoline to get things spread right so this old house will go right up. Nothing will stop it.” He stood up and glanced directly into her eyes. “By that time I will be long gone. There will be no one one here to help you.. You might be wondering why I pounded you to the table. There are two reasons. If there is an explosion and there is a good chance there will be, I don’t want you bouncing around the kitchen. Also on the odd chance that someone does come in to rescue you, they will not be able to pull that knife out. The table is bolted to the floor so this is where you will remain until the flames comsume you. Your body is pretty near indestructible but after an hour or two of intense heat it will break down. You, however, will feel no pain. So I’d say you have about three hours max to free yourself. Good Luck.”

He turned to walk away and got almost as far as the kitchen door and then turned around and smacked himself in the forehead with the palm of his hand.
“Oh, I almost forgot. I need to give you some knowledge. “ He seemed to reach into his forehead and pulled out a small green pyramid. He took the pyramid and placed on her forehead. She felt a slight burning sensation as she watched it dissolve into her head. “It is Wyrd knowledge. It only makes itself available when you need it. I have also written how to escape on the back of your pillow. That’s in case you get stuck and need a cheat sheet. Stay calm..” He bent down and kissed her. “Gotta go. Bye my love.”

He turned and walked away. This time, Therese heard the kitchen door swing open and shut, followed not too long afterward by the sound of the big massive front door opening and shutting and then there was silence. At that point, Therese knew she was alone.

‘Good,’ thought Therese, ‘now I can finally work at getting free.’
This was false bravado. She didn’t dare attempt even thinking about escape while he was around for fear that he could read her mind. Now she was rid of him and could start thinking about escaping. But first she had to deal with the panic she was feeling. She was never more scared in her life, not even when she was trapped in his magic snare earlier that evening. ‘This is his revenge,’ she thought, ‘he made me young so I would suffer longer.’ If she could breathe, her breath would have been frozen inside of her; if her heart could beat, it would be beating a mile a minute. ‘Hours,’ she thought, ‘I will be burning for hours.’ She had no doubt that he told her the truth about the fire. ‘He’s that way. He will only tell you enough to increase your sense of terror.’ She had no doubt that the fire would start in one hour since that was the setting she herself had put on the incendary devices. The idea that he added gasoline meant he wanted the fire to spread fast, faster than she would have done.

‘Why ,’ she pondered, ‘does he want to kill me fast ?’ That question knawed at her and gave her hope. ‘Maybe, he does not want me to suffer at all. Maybe he wants to kill me as fast as possible, so I won’t figure out how he got out of this situation.’ Hope began to spring up inside of her like wildfire. She began to consider her situation and what she knew about it. He had been in this exact same situation and escaped despite the fact no one ever came to help him. So there was a way out. There would be no help coming for her, since she had told no one about her plans to burn the house and this would be the last place anyone would look for her, if they were looking at all. Besides, they would not miss her for at least another day, let alone go looking for her. No, she would have to do this on her own.

She remembered how he was long ago, how he was always testing her, giving her tasks to do with no instructions, not caring if she succeeded or failed. ‘Oh my God,’ she thought, ‘That’s it ! He is not trying to kill me - he is testing me !‘ Now, hope stood as the victor over panic and despair. ‘There is a way out and he wants me to find it !’

A flood of memories came back to her.
“The ultimate test always deals with life or death.” His words came back to her. He was telling her about how a sorcerer teaches his apprentice. “The teacher sets up the lesson this way in order eliminate hemming and hawing, to leave no room for anything other than success since the greatest motivation humans have is to keep living. Failure means death. “ She had thought his words absurd at the time. ‘If anybody puts me in a life or death situation,’ she had said at the time, ‘they had better run because I will succeed and then I will come after them.” He laughed and told her: ‘Don’t worry, I would never do that to you. You couldn’t handle it.’ Those words had cut her like a dagger. It was then that she began to doubt her relationship with him.

‘God, how time changes things,’ she mused, ‘and yet does not. He did not think I was ready then but does now. Back then, I had fire in my veins. It was called youth. Nobody could show or tell me anything, not even him. I was in love with him; madly, wildly in love, and I would have done anything he told me to. And then he told me I was not ready, that I was not good enough for him and my love turned swiftly into hate. It wasn’t long after that I stabbed him in the back when he was most vulnerable. I stabbed him in the back with that damn dagger, the very same one that now holds me down . He trusted me and I stabbed him in the back and I loved doing it. ’

She stopped for a second and sobbed a spiritual sob since her body could not and would not cry. ‘How could I have done that to the man I loved ? How could I have been so cruel and thoughtless ?,’ she thought, ‘How could he ever forgive me ?’

It was was the thought of him that brought her out of her feelings of remorse. ‘The test,’ she thought, ‘I have to focus on the test. There is no time now for this sentimental crap.’ She laughed. Those, of course, were his words. She could see the wisdom in them now. She would focus on the task at hand. She knew she had the answer inside of her. He had gone out of his way to take away any possible physical means of her escape - that was why he pounded the knife into the table. That was why he told her the table was bolted to the floor, she realized, to prevent her from wasting time trying to think of a physical means of escape.

‘You gotta love him,’ she gushed, ‘he is efficient. He used my own devices against me and the very knife I had betrayed him with. I’ll bet he made up this whole plot on the spot. What a genius.” She stopped herself again. ‘Oh God,’ she thought, ‘I’m falling in love with him again. I got to stop wasting my time on this sentimental crap.’

She tried to think of what to do next but she couldn’t come up with anything. Nothing made sense. She thought of her old yoga buddy Diane, who never seemed to be without a plan or an idea. What would Diane do ? What did Diane always say to do ? She pictured the image of Diane sitting cross-legged in front of her mind’s eye. The words came to her instantly: ‘Don’t hesitate, just meditate. The idea will find you. You just have to make yourself available and willing. And you have to WANT it.’

‘No problem there, ‘ Therese thought, ‘ I’ve never wanted anything more in my life.’ Therese pictured herself in a meditation pose, breathing the yoga breath and instantly she found herself in a deep relaxed state of mind. It seems that not having to deal with a physical body made this process much easier. Another thing to thank him for. At that moment, he appeared in front of her.

‘The answer you seek is in there. ‘ He pointed to a swirling black patch just beyond him. ‘If you don’t believe me, ask her.’ He pointed to a mirror which held Therese’s own reflection.
‘Trust your heart,’ the mirror-Therese said, ‘the answer lies in the void.’

‘The void, of course,’ the real Therese sighed, ‘the answer is in the last place I want to go now.’

‘The void is the place of nothing, absolute nothing. It is not a place really or even an empty place because both places are something. The void is nothing. And as such it is the birthplace of creation, where all ideas come from. All creativity comes from the void. All potential things exist with no substance in the void.’ The words of her yoga teacher echoed in front of her. ‘It is a wonderous place you can visit anytime, the only catch is you can’t take your ego or your consciousness with you. And it is a place without time, so you could spend days there without even knowing it.’

‘But I don’t have days, just minutes, ‘ thought Therese, ‘and I don’t have bodily functions to yank myself out automatically. I could go in there and never come out. Trouble is, I have no other choice.’ So she gathered herself as best she could and dove into the dark swirling mass.

When she became conscious again, she was instantly aware of the smell of smoke.
(end of part 3)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Part two of Therese and the hanted house

(part one of this story is several posts below. The story so far concerns an old lady who goes into a haunted house to burn it down. She gets caught in a magical spell set by her former lover who she thought was dead. He mocks her and then turns her into a young woman of approximately twenty years old. Part two starts at that moment when she realizes she is young.)

Therese was in shock. She kept gazing at different parts of her body such as her hands and her hair, testing to see this was what she truly had become - young. She pushed up her sleeve, lifted her pants leg, felt her back. All evidence of her former aged body, the wrinkles, sagging skin, the aches . . . were nowhere to be found. Slowly, she stared at him and forced words to come out.
“Wh, wh ah ah y,” she said, “Why did you do this to me.”
He just sat there and laughed a mocking laugh. “Who cares why ? Aren’t you happy? You no longer have to be a shriveled up old hag waiting for death. Now you can live again.” He stood up and waved both hands wide. “The whole world is yours now. This is your new life.”
“But why are you doing this to me? I was quite content with my life. I was ready to die.”
“Were you ,” he countered, “were you really ? And why did you come here tonight. Why now, after all these years ? “ He paced back and forth in front of her. “I’ll tell you why. You came to make sure that you had killed me. You were going to burn the house down after you looked in on me, after you had made sure once and for all that I was dead.” He paced some more. “I’ll bet you hoped my body was decayed beyond recognition, nothing left but dust and bones. I’m sorry to disappoint you, my love, but I am still very much alive, maybe even more so than when you knew me.” He went back to the table and sat down.
“I suppose you are due an explanation.” he gestured to the chair beside him. “Don’t worry I don’t bite - at least not anymore.” She sat down.
“I’ll start either with what happened to me or what I just did to you. You pick.”
“What did you do to me, how did you do it ?” she said barely above a whisper, “Tell me.”
She had thought about running but she knew that was useless, he would have caught her in a heartbeat or she would have been trapped in another snare. He was like that - he had plans on top of plans. She was still trapped despite being able to move around and she knew there was no escape. Whatever revenge he had planned, he would get. Her spirit sagged with hopelessness.
“Contrary to what you might be thinking, dear one,” he said looking into her eyes, “I am not getting revenge on you. Not now, not ever.” He waited for those words to sink in.
“I made you young so you could live another life, one better than this last one which I messed up for you. What you did to me, I can never repay you for, because you see you gave me a new life - a better life.
“Oh I admit for a long while I wanted revenge on you but that was impossible. I was stuck here, stuck with myself and there was nothing I could do about anything. All I had was me so eventually I got around to looking at myself. And what I saw I did not like.”
“But what did you do to me ?” she asked as tears welled up in her eyes. “WHY” she whined. She wanted to beat on him. She wanted to hit him as hard as she could but all she was able to do was cry. He watched her sobbing and sniffling and waited for her to stop.
“Because I love you, Therese dela Santos. I have always loved you even when I wanted you dead.” He took a deep breath. “As for what I did to you - that was merely some human alchemy. I guess you could say I re-arranged you, made you what you were supposed to be.”
“You are probably feeling in better health than you ever did. I did that once before to you, when I rearranged your eyes. Do you remember that ? You loved it at the time. All the wonderful new things you could do - see in the dark, have perfect vision, the ability to focus on far away objects . What happened ?”
“I started to seeing into people, seeing what they thought, seeing what they thought of me.” she answered, “I hated it. I hated you. I wanted to be normal, ordinary again but you were never going to let me be that way. I had to become the perfect woman for you.. I couldn’t take it anymore - that is why I did what I did.” She began to cry again.
“Well, no harm no foul. “ he laughed. “As you can see I am better than I ever was and I owe it all to you. You never killed me, this body can’t be killed that that way. I found that out when you stabbed that knife in my back. The alchemy I just did on you I did on myself, that very day. I guess I was still weak from the transformation, otherwise you would have never got close enough to me to do what you did. I can tell you from experience, your new body ages very slowly. You could easily live to be two hundred.” She held up her hand to stop him.
“What are you going to do to me now ?” It took all her courage to speak those words, her hands were shaking.
“Nothing,” he answered, “nothing at all. You can walk out of this house now and be on your way.” She got up immediately to test his words, but he did nothing as she walked to the kitchen door.
“One thing before you go,” he said as she pushed the door open. She waited. “Have you give any thought to what you are going to do next ? I mean, look at you, no one knows who you are.”
“Oh, they know me alright. I ‘ve lived here for decades on this block. I’m grand-Grammy . . .” His words sunk into her brain. Look at you. No one knows you. Oh, my God. she realized, they wouldn’t know her, would they, she had the same clothes, she probably sounded the same, but would it be possible that they would know her ?
“I know what you are thinking,” he said, “you’re thinking these people would see the real you in such a young woman. You’re thinking you could someone to believe you. I hate to break it
to you but they wouldn’t. Too hard to be believed. You think you could convince someone because you know everything about grand-Grammy, where everything is in her house but the truth is your neighbors would call the cops on you in an instant. There is an intruder in her house, they would say. You underestimate how long you have made the impression of an old woman in their minds - they could never accept you as this young thing. You must be some sort of stalker, some demented young woman who wants to be great-Grammy, that must be why you are in her clothes. The next thing they will ask is where did you put the body of the old woman. If you don’t get locked up in jail, you sure as hell will be locked up, doped up and chained up in the psych ward. But don’t believe me, go ahead and find out for yourself.”
She sighed another sigh of hopelessness. He was right. She was at his mercy. There was nowhere else for her now. She went back to the table and sat down.
“Okay,” she said, “what happens next.”
“Well this is more like it.” he said smiling his Cheshire cat smile again. “I need you to commit to one day a month with me, the rest of the time is yours to do what you see fit. I’ll give you a new identity and enough money to get you going. I need to show you how your new body works. It will take time for you to get adjusted so be patient with yourself. If you are good at it and I have no doubt that you will be, the whole process should take six to seven months tops. Are you ready to commit?”
“Yeah sure,” she said half-heartedly, she knew enough not to trust him but he was her only hope right now. As for his story of one day a month, she simply did not believe it.
He got up and went to a drawer. He pulled out a box and shut the drawer. He dropped the box in front of her. “This is for you.”
She opened the box and gasped.
“Its called the Toliver,” he said. “Take it out.” He did not have to tell her its name, she already knew. The long dagger with the emeralds on the hilt. The long dagger she had stabbed him with all those years ago. “Take it out.” he shouted, “this is your first test.”
“I don’t want to touch it.” she protested and slid the box along the table to him.
“Then I am truly sorry.” he said sadly, “but karma must be paid.”
With blinding speed, he grabbed the knife and crossed the gap between them. Therese could not even blink before she felt the dagger plunge into her heart.
(end of chapter two)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gathering what I have written into one big messy XMAS NOVEL

In the computer programming world, there is a saying "Don't reinvent the wheel." which means if there is a program out there that works good already use it in your program rather than writing your own version (which you would have to test too). Computer geeks are if nothing else sensible about not wasting time and effort. Of course, this saying came from the time when computer programmers actually lived in the USA - nowadays these jobs are farmed out to India where the geeks there are willing to reinvent the wheel.
But the point is the above noted saying is particularly useful in writing the Xmas Novel. I will demonstrate using my stories as examples.
I have a story in which two people are traveling in a car out West. Driving in the plains states is boring to the point of coma inducing. So the the two people can tell stories to each other, such as the woman and the haunted house which I wrote earlier and other such stories can be worked into the body of the main story - it might not get published but such a technique was used in "The World According to Garp" which was a bestseller and the main character was a writer.

So I am now in the process of sorting through my previously written stories and picking ones I like and seeing how they can be woven together. I compare this process with decorating a Xmas tree. You bring out your old ornaments, incorporate some new faddish lights and add some other stuff simply because the old ones don't work anymore.
I figure my new Xmas Novel to be about 20,000 words or so but I have not gotten it all together yet so I am still working on it but since this is a good idea that will help in padding your Xmas novel, I thought that I would pass it on.
Keep writing, Frank

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Clearing Confusion, Confound It

There are a couple of points I want to make here. I am not sure if these points will clear up some confusion or confound things into even more chaos.

1) The two novel attempts are separate entities.
The attempt with Susan (bad name) Smith grew up out of a prayer (believe it or not) that I wrote yesterday. I think that I like the name Susan so I will keep that but I am looking for a short name that starts with 'S' because I also like the alliteration feel to her name. So until I hear a better name she will become Susan Short.
The attempt with the Therese in the haunted house grew from a 200 word story I wrote in class last week. I stopped that one because I felt it was too dark.
I might have to start something new because the last one is too strange. Oh Well.

2) The idea behind the Novel for Xmas is that you write 1500 words a day. Period - end of story - It does not have to be grammatically correct or make a whole lot of sense, It just has to be a lot of words, string together somewhat and FUN. thus we prove that we can write a novel, which is something we can say at cocktail parties during the holiday season.
For example:
Stuffy Person holding apple martini: So good to see you. What have you been doing ?
YOU: I'm putting the finishing touches on my new novel.
(Stuffy Person is impressed)

Snooty Relative: We bought all our kids Cadillacs and Harvard med. school gift cards. What did you get your kids ?
YOU: Personalized autographed copies of my new NOVEL. Signed and numbered.
(Snooty Relative is relatively impressed)

So start before it is too late. Write a novel before Xmas, simply by writing something everyday.
Lin has a great start. She could call hers - Chronicles of Lin (a story of Lion (okay, really a new cat), a witch (okay, really us haters) and a wardrobe (okay, Lin's wardrobe)) I am not sure if it has been done before but it sounds like a hit.
You could call yours (meaning you, Diane) My tuesday with Barak - Once again it sounds like a sure fire hit or bestseller or both.
So get cracking on your novel today.
We can exchange them at Xmas as gifts (to each other).

Lastly, the next post is a mistake I made by answering some question about making links to this page. See ya,
Frank, Taomaster of words and pages

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Spirit Journeys: Death of the Ego (or not)
My Spirit Journeys: Death of the Ego (or not)

Next attempt at novel writing

The last few years I have spent in a hermit like existence. The plus side is that I was able to be greatly introspective and this also allowed me to grow. I was able to shed a lot of baggage (metaphysical baggage) and I feel that this was a necessary step. I have been taking steps (some baby sized, others bigger) since. Lately, the last year and a half, I stepped out of my comfort zone and started teaching a class in creative writing.
Since I am the teacher, the class reflects me and my attitudes and biases and bents. There is a psychological nature to discussions because I believe that writing is all about story telling and story telling involves getting the insides out. And the process of getting the story out from inside yourself involves (for want of a better term) psychological processes. Still I have learned much about myself through the interactions with my wonderful and imaginative students. The greatest lesson being fun; the writing works much better when you are having fun.

The writing class has also been a superior way for me to meet my blocks in writing. I have found that I can write and I can write entertainingly. Now, comes the hard part, the part where I do something with my writings. Can I make my dreams happen ? I hope and I pray so. This is the part where the angels jump in, take my writings, and secretly send them to publishers and agents. Then they, the publishers and agents, come beating on my door with offers of money, sex and fame.

But the real goal of this essay is to start on my done-by-Xmas novel which is my start at making myself get out there and produce something that can be used as a wedge to get me into the world of book publishing. So here goes. I do not pretend this is my best writing but if it gets published, it will be.
I will start with the first thing any novel needs – the title. The last paragraph's last line gives me an idea. Sex, money, fame are realistically one thing: desires of the ego, things we think we need in this life. Illusions, perhaps, but an idea that I think that can make a good title.

Desires of the Ego

I think this is a good title but it needs some zing, some grabby tabloid upgrade. So I decide to make a new title because after all, this is the first thing the reader sees and this is the first attempt at hawking them. Come read my novel I want to say because there will be these things will be there and you will be entertained. So my next attempt at a title goes like this:

SEX, MONEY, FAME (Desires of the Ego)

I think this is a great title because, well, it has it all in terms of hooks. What more can there be besides money, sex, and fame? Uh oh, doubt has come into my mind and now I thinking (always a dangerous thing) I have to make a decision here. Do I want to go with my new title or do I want get rid of the scholarly sounding part in the parenthesis and go with a totally tabloid title? I decide to go with the tabloids (hey, Enquirer still makes money, you know). Now my title looks like this:

I am happy with this title, it has a catchy, grabby feel and it does not turn off Suzie Soccer Mom with scholarly subtitles.
Now I have to start with the actual story. I think I will start by making my main character female. I will call her Susan Smith for now until I think of something better. My story will be about the coming of age of Susan (Susie) Smith and how she learns that there is more to life than just the desires of the ego. But, of course, to make it entertaining she has to go through these processes, these phases of being dazzled by fame, sex, and money. I begin to think of a book I have just read "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert (which, by the way, is a fantastic book, well written and articulate, concerning a woman's journey to her soul. I think a sub-title could be My Year of Being Good to Myself). The reason I have thought of that book is because my book has a three word title too. Other than that there is not too much similarity in these two books. Granted, my main character is a woman and she will experience life in order to grow in spirit but she will do it by becoming absorbed into the world's of money, sex, and fame and she will have to rescue herself from these worlds somehow. But at least I have a vague plot and that is a start. The cynical part of me asks 'What do you know about money, sex and fame ?' and my honest answer is: next to nothing but that will be a challenge I am willing to take in order to get my novel done. I am of course talking about the research part of making the book, my attempt to find out about sex, money, and fame.

Sex. This seems to be the right place to start doing research. I will have to place Susie in a situation where sex is all around and where she realizes it is not what it is cracked up to be. I am thinking of a ski chalet because I have been in that situation but sadly, not in the wild sex party part. But it is a situation that I am somewhat familiar with. So here goes the start of the Sex section of my novel. (Note the actual story will be in italics).

I am nearly naked, lying face down in the snow and the thought comes to me: 'Am I having fun yet? ' The reason I am lying face down getting acquainted with the white stuff from the sky, the reason I am having trouble bouncing right back up and brushing the snow off my naked if not for panties body is two fold. One, I am drunk, having left sense and inhibitions (if I had any) far behind. Several (my word for having lost count) shots of watermelon and other sweet intoxicating concoctions have done that job for me. I am officially buzzed. This is the state I wanted to be in, the place where I thought I could finally let go of Jack, the heartbreaker, my former beau and current foe.
The second, and more profound reason, why I am not jumping right back up and rejoining the party is joy. I am feeling it here, in this fresh falling snow, and it touches all of my body, even my soul.
At this point, I have to interrupt and say that no, I have never been naked (or even nearly naked) lying face down in the snow. I have been in a drunken ski chalet party but alas I was not drunk and I did not want to be part of the party. One reason was I was already taken (by my wife who was with me) and another reason was that I was worn out by a full day of skiing. I did see on my way back to my chalet several scantily clad young girls running through the snow being chased playfully by scantily clad young men. They seemed to be quite intoxicated, having spent most of the day getting that way. Which might explain why they were not worn out. They were for the most part ten years or more younger than me and my little clique of old farts. We had come to ski, enjoy the snow, and sleep. The younger people had come for something else. So I am incorporating several of these young girls into my heroine, Susie. I am not wishing I was a girl or anything like that. I just think the story might be more interesting if the main character was female. I do not recommend this crossing gender lines for the beginning writer as it might lead to gender confusion and other interesting possibilities your counselor might like to explore, slowly and costly. But this explanation gets boring so I will go back to the story of Suzie in the snow.
Maybe, it was fate, sticking its leg out that made me fall face forward, and maybe some higher being helped out too. I mean I fell hard but I landed softly on freshly fallen snow. There was nothing for me to trip on except of course my own two feet. I was too drunk to feel scared about falling and too drunk to even think about it either. So I fell swiftly and in doing so I removed myself from the hedonists around me. It was as if I had been swallowed up by some snow monster, only my outline was visible to others and they were far too deep in debauchery to care.
So for several moments, I lay there alone in my white meditation room made of snow, reveling in the joy I felt. I was too drunk to think and in retrospect, I think that was a big reason I was able to feel this joy – I could not think of a reason not to. And that was why I came on this hedonistic adventure in the first place, to feel again, to stop thinking
about my failed relationships. Joy was not my goal but feeling good was.
d of part one

Thursday, November 13, 2008

start of my novel - untitld so far

Throughout the night, groups of revelers moved past the house. When they realized where they were, they stopped and became silent, then they shuffled quickly down the street, making minimal sound until safely out of range, at which point they rekindled their merriment. It was after all, a once in lifetime celebration.
Inside the house, all was dark. There once was life moving about in this place but that had been long ago. Now to anyone passing, the house was just a scary old rundown building, a ghost of a what it once had been.
Therese was the last living person to see the house in it’s glory. That was over eighty years ago. Now she was a great-grandmother, known as great-grammy to all the neighborhood kids. She stood on the porch of the house, in front of the huge solid oak door, for what she hoped would be the last time. She was tired, ‘age will do that to you’ some might say but in reality her weariness came from a different source. She was tired of carrying her secret.
She still had the key to the front door and even after all these years, she knew it would work, because she had tested it countless times over the years, each time turning the key in the lock, hearing it click open and each time that had been as far as she had gotten.
Tonight would be different. Tonight, no one would notice and after the flames had consumed this house, no one would ever know her secret.
She did not want to face what was inside but she knew this might be her last chance. It must be destroyed. She slowly pushed the door open just enough to allow her entrance and just enough to allow her to bring her pack in too.
She did not need a flashlight or any other light, she only needed to use her eyes, her special eyes, the ones he had given her. The thought of him made her shudder. Even after all these years, she was afraid of him, afraid of what he could do to her.
She would start in the basement and work her way up from there. There were stairs from the kitchen that led downward, she thought, that will be the best way. As she walked slowly through the parlor, the thought of him came back to her. ‘What if ‘, it seemed to say to her, but that was as far as she allowed it to go.
“Get out of my mind,” she hissed softly, “I will never go back to those ways.” She stopped before the kitchen door, took a deep breath, not for courage but rather to relax her and exhaled with a shudder as all her wind left her. She hoped her fear had left too.
As she pushed open the kitchen door, she realized her fear had not left. A rush of feelings smacked her in face and her hands began to shake. Something was wrong here, very wrong.
She froze in her tracks as if some unseen force held her in place. Her fear rose off the scale. Visibly trembling, she looked down at what she knew would be there. It was.
There was a trapping symbol etched on the floor so faint even her eyes had trouble seeing it. In fact, she would not have been able to see it except for its glow. That glow, she knew, signified it had been sprung. She also knew it was meant for only her, but that is not what frightened her the most. She knew only he could have set such a trap. And he was coming, footsteps creaking off the basement staircase told her so.
The basement door swung open and a figure appeared. It was him and he was smiling the Cheshire Cat smile.
“My, my,” he whispered, “look what I have caught. My long lost love. The one who betrayed me. I have waited a long time for this moment and I am going to savor it.” He pulled out a chair and sat down. He sat thoughtfully gazing at her, using his arm to prop up his chin.
“You bastard!” hissed Therese using all the strength she had to make a sound.
“I need to shed some light on this sorry site,” he said nonchalantly, “do you mind ?” He clapped his hand and a light on the ceiling turned on. “Do you like it ? I installed it myself. It runs on batteries and a sound sensor.And since the windows are shuttered tight, no one outside of this room can see the light.” He got up and walked over to the frozen figure of Therese.
“The neat thing about this trap spell is that not that it holds you tight. The neat thing is that it does not stop me at all.” He reached inside the circle and tapped Therese on the top of her head. “See.” Therese winced at his touch.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” he said in mock tones of concern, “I only want the best for you. Here let me take that off your back.” He grabbed her backpack and removed it from her. Surprisingly, he was able to move her arms even though she could not. He set the pack down on the floor besides his chair, then walked back to her.
“I am going to give you another gift. You won’t like it but it is for your own good.” He put his hand on her stomach and began to chant softly. Therese felt some energy entering her body. As it spread, Therese began to feel a fiery pain in her joints. Her body began to spasm and she fell to the floor, writhing and in agony. She screamed louder and longer than she ever had in her life. She laid on the floor convulsing like dying animal for an eternity, and then suddenly the pain stopped. She was surprised to find that she could move but that was not the biggest surprise she felt. She felt good, and not just good but better than she had felt in long time, in fact she felt better than she had ever felt.
“Look at your hands,” he commanded. She did and was astonished to see no wrinkles, or age spots or swollen joints. She was looking at the hands of a twenty year old. “Feel your face,” he said. She touched her brow, her cheeks; they were smooth, she pulled her hair in front of her eyes, it was blonde again.
“What. . .” she said hesitantly, “have you done to me ?”
“I have made you young again.” he replied.