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Friday, February 12, 2010

Prompt Friday: Supermassive Black Hole

“He’ll never set the world on fire.”
Supermassive Black Hole

He’ll never set the world on fire.

Kevin blamed it mostly on that incident involving his first attempt at making Ramen on his own in his college dorm. After spending three hours in the snow, in his boxers, at two thirty in the morning with fifty of his newest enemies set him off from fire and anything flame-related. He even got a little jumpy around his birthday cake.

But even more than that, Kevin never really felt the urge to do anything that required a fire extinguisher to be close at hand. And it was never like he had any dreams of grandeur. He had spent too much time just trying to get through the day without getting cut in line at the bank or getting hit by a bus while crossing the street that he didn’t have much energy left to think about being exciting or wonderful or any other adjective other than ‘visible.’

And that was something Kevin was working on with his shrink. When she remembered that he had an appointment.

Because that was Kevin’s problem. He was normal. Forgettable, really. When he was a baby, his mother had forgotten him five separate times in various parking lots, and had once even packed him in the trunk with the groceries. His father had left for a weekend-long father-son fishing trip without him, and hadn’t realized that Kevin wasn’t in the truck when he was packing up to return home.

Kevin had gotten used to being invisible and really didn’t want the attention anyway.
Until he saw her for the first time: Miranda Philomena Oliviette Cassandra Jenkins. The girl with too many first names, too much eyeliner and fire-engine red hair. She waltzed into his nine a.m. astrophysics class exactly thirteen minutes late, stomped the snow from her Doc Martins and slid into the empty desk next to him neither acknowledging nor ignoring his presence. She started picking at the purple nail polish on her thumb, flicking the chips onto his meticulous notes, and cracking her gum.

She was a transfer, he found out, through careful eavesdropping. She was an enigma wrapped in a thin casing of mystery who only slept two hours a day, the rumor mill delivered. She went to every party every weekend, and could shotgun two beers in under a minute, he heard through the grapevine. She only spoke in riddles, and had a challenging twinkle in her eye, someone said. She was a quiet, thoughtful, beautiful girl comprised of personas and masks, who pulled everyone toward her with certainty and confidence, he discovered for himself.

For eight weeks, Jenks sat next to him in her absurdly bright-colored clothes and dark makeup, flicking nail polish of the week chips onto carefully drawn star charts and calculations of the gravitational pull of Sagittarius on objects of varying size (including a bowl of petunias). And for eight weeks, Kevin contemplated the best way to ignite her world with the strength of a thousand burning stars.

Two weeks before the end of the semester and two days before he was ready to pull her out of her seat in class to somewhere far more exciting – an environment more suited to her – she was gone.

In her wake she left a gravitational singularity that pulled him apart like a supermassive black hole devouring a star, tearing it apart into its components, scattering stardust across the universe. He fell into the center of the space she formerly occupied, and suddenly became the center of the galaxy.

nt - 2/13/10

*Prompt taken from The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Question Wednesday

Q: If you had to spread words as a message to yourself across time and space (like 'Bad Wolf' in Doctor Who), what would your words be and why? And why do you need to leave a message to yourself?

A: Well, clearly, the reason I would need to leave myself a message is because I probably did one of the following:
1. Got lost and needed to leave directions.
2. Forgot to turn the oven off at home.
3. Lost my car keys.
a. Or cell phone.
b. Or wallet.

Anyway, if I had to leave a message to myself, it would probably be “Give ‘Em Hell Kid,” because, while somewhat verbose, it’s not only the title of a My Chemical Romance song (and therefore immediately recognizable to me), it also motivates me when I’m feeling kind of down about where my day/life/career is going.

Back to work. It’s supposed to snow like hell today/tomorrow, so maybe I’ll get a day off of work and have a little extra time to write. Thanks again to Julia for the question. If you have a question you'd like me to answer, feel free to
email it to me.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Status Report Monday (with a dash of commentary)

Official word count for Harem of Droids: 45,059.

Honestly, I thought I had a little more than that, so seeing the little word count ticker in the bottom left of my screen increase so slowly makes me a little tetchy. I don't get as much done on the weekends as I'd like to, but I did spent a good amount of time on Sunday painting my grandmother's finger- and toenails bright flamingo pink (with glitter). That is time well spent, if you ask me.

Further time well spent is the five hours a day I spend driving, thinking about how to flesh out the setting, plot and characters of Awixa. This concept will not leave me alone. Since I plan to set it on Long Island, and I spend all day visiting various locales on Long Island, it's hard to escape it.

Now, for the commentary I promised. Saturday, I re-watched SyFy's Alice. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. It may have even ruined the Tim Burton version that is coming out shortly (even though I am really looking forward to the soundtrack: Almost Alice). Anyway, the SyFy version has a bit of a rom-com angle to it that doesn't detract from the movie, but did set me to thinking. Sure, the whole 'finding romance in an unlikely, somewhat extraordinary situation' is great, but what I want to know is: what happens to that couple three weeks later?

Once they're actually a couple, their adventure is over, and they've settled back down in their normal lives, how is this extraordinary relationship going to have any chance in a mundane kind of life? The arguments over who can’t pick up their goddamn underpants off the floor?; and why is your mother a hag, what do you mean, my mother is a hag?; and why is it so hard for you to just pay the friggin water bill without me having to expressly ask you to do it?; and good god, can you please just pick a restaurant that you want to eat at?

I desire to know the answers to these real life questions that plague relationships.

These mundane, domestic quandaries that make all the lovey-dovey crap that we see in the movie itself seem a particularly weak reason to initiate a relationship in the first place. It's like going to summer camp and making a new best friend. For that one week, the two of you are completely inseparable, and come the end you're going to stay in touch forever and ever amen, but in reality, you go home, get stuck back in your normal routine and lose interest. That thrill and excitement is gone, and life returns to pre-summer camp status. And yes, I realized that this is what fanfic is for, but once that 'aw-so-cute-squeaky-fuzzy-awesome-shiny' feeling you get at the end of a rom-com fades away, I just want to know that they'll be okay and real life won't ruin their relationship.

Anyway, that's enough cynicism for today. I am back off to work to see if I can pass that 50k mark without having to round up.