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Friday, February 26, 2010

Prompt Friday: "Conquerors and Commoners Alike"

Prompt:
“Born on the wrong side of the tracks, she was a tough…”


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”Conquerors and Commoners Alike”


Born on the wrong side of the tracks, she was a tough teenage zombie, turquoise-blue-green hair and purple-red lips. She was a quiet girl who wore a pair of headphones that weren’t attached to anything, preferring to eavesdrop on the world around her. Everyone assumed she was empty-headed because she never had much to say, but she preferred to choose her words carefully. It seemed safer that way in an uncaring world who had little use for girls from south of the tracks.
She was not as empty-headed as everyone thought.

The chain link fence ran along the edge of the train alley, topped with razor wire that snatched newspapers and scraps of cloth from the wind.

Ha, the razor wire would always laugh, I have stolen this from you, wind. Pieces of your soul.

The wind was always silent.

Where the fence ended and the road crossed the tracks, Aurora could hear the wind’s quiet tones as it smiled to itself and rushed on its way.

You may have a piece of me, but you’ll never see my soul.

And every time, she would glance up at the sky – be it blue or grey or darkening purple – and watch the wind lift ungraceful paper and red-hued leaves ever skyward to flit and play with the birds; watch the gulls fly inland before the oncoming storm. A few times, she wished to be those soaring debris, floating high above the world, without a care. More times than not, she wanted to be the bird, testing the limits of her wings on the thermals. More in control of her destiny than any crinkled scrap of paper. She longed to fly rather than remain land-bound. A lumbering, two-legged creature, shambling along these tracks, back and forth to school, to work, to school again. Locked into a life of mindless routine and repetition.

Only once did she wish to be the wind. Another walk to school with the end result of walking into a door that was her stepfather’s fist. No one listened, assumed she was clumsy. She wanted to hit him back, to scream, to take hold of the fraying strings of her life and pull with all her might. But no one listens to a zombie.

I hear you, my child, the wind whispered, wrapping its cool embrace around her body, her bruised face, her balled-up fists. She relaxed into its touch and made her request.

There was no bright light, no sparkles, no chiming noise. Just a sudden feeling of weightlessness, a carefree, vagabond mentality. She turned north.

No one can hold you now, the wind whispered. We are your kin and you are free.

nt - 2/26/10
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Notes: Title taken from a quote by Harlan Ellison, who also said “I have no mouth, and I must scream.”

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Question Wednesday

Q: What is something that you've memorized? Not for school, but just for you? What is it, and why did you memorize it?

A: The first time I memorized something for myself, I was five years old, and memorized all of the words to Don McLean’s “American Pie.”



It’s a long song, so I will try to write a long post to last you all 8+ minutes.

Anyway, from that day on, I became a bit of a lyrics nut. I memorize lyrics to EVERYTHING. You want to know the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believing?” DONE. “Stairway to Heaven?” DONE. Sisqo’s “Thong Song”? DONE (with a splash of judgment from me).

If I hear a song once or twice, I will have the lyrics memorized. By the third or fourth time, I can sing the main melody back to you. Fifth – seventh, I can give you the bass line and drums. My head is full of music. I have songs from the 1950s up to today. A treasure trove of useless information. I can barely hold a conversation with music on in the background because I’ll be singing along in my head. I’d be awesome on that Wayne Brady show. Three notes into a song, and I can tell you what it is, who sang it, and occasionally what year the song came out and what album it was one. And if you’re really lucky, I can also give you some sort of interesting trivia information about it as well.

For example, Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which I’m sure you’re still listening to right now, was written about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly in 1959.



At the time, McLean was a paperboy, and the song is partially autobiographical, and tells about his experience in America in the turbulent 1960s. The song itself has a TON of references to artists in the sixties, including Janis Joplin, Jack Kerouac, The Beatles, Charles Manson, Karl Marx, James Dean, Elvis, Bob Dylan and a ton more. It’s sort of the Cliffs Notes of 60s pop culture. Kind of like how I studied for the AP US History exam by memorizing the lyrics to We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel.

Anyway, that is my special skill: encyclopedic knowledge of music.

So, today is my brother, Eric’s, birthday. Leave him birthday love in the comments below. He’s up at school in Massachusetts, working his ass off.

Dear Eric,
Happy Birthday, you are awesome.
Hugs and Kisses, ME.


Well, I am back off to work. I started a short story yesterday that I hope to submit for publication in literary magazines, specifically McSweeney’s because it’s run by Dave Eggers, who is one of my favorite authors. Dear Dave Eggers, if you’re reading this, let’s be friends.

If you have a question you would like me to answer on Question Wednesdays, leave a comment below, email me at nictusablog@gmail.com or use the handy box thing over in the side bar doobly doo. See you on Prompt Friday!

x-nic

Monday, February 22, 2010

Status Report Monday (take that, George Lucas)

There are tiny chickens pecking at my frontal lobe....

Headaches are like the number one killer of productivity in the world. That and the internet. Which I have been conquering recently. Anyway, for the past two days, I have had a pretty vicious migraine eating away at my eyeballs. However, I have still gotten some work on Harem done.

I also just found out that George Lucas has copyrighted the word 'droid' and that I may have to change the title of Harem to avoid paying royalties to a man who royally screwed up the Star Wars franchise.

Still waiting to hear back anything about Anomaly, but I'm about ready to start outlining a sequel to it (just in case the first one actually gets picked up). Because everyone knows that usually sequels are awful. But this is usually due to the fact that the sequel has been rushed. For example, the sequel to Avatar probably won't be as good because James Cameron had fifteen years to pick apart the script to the first of the series. Therefore, I'm going to try to pre-empt a sucky sequel and start working on it now. Probably after I finish the first draft of Harem though, which is approaching the 200 page mark (there will be a definite happy dance when that point is achieved).

Well, now I have to go and buckle down on yet another fight scene, which are lots of fun to write. This one involved rock climbing harnesses.... get excited.

x-nic