Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Book I am Writing...

I want to write a story that will seize and hold my reader’s rapt attention. I want them to remember and love the characters long after they’ve read about them. I want my reader to be able to clearly visualize each scene playing out in their head as if they were watching a movie. I want my readers to feel ubiquitous butterflies in their stomachs as they read and re-read the love scenes, causing deep tell-tale folds to appear in the bindings. My story will be neither sickeningly sweet, nor unbelievably spicy. It will not be historical, with awkward sentence phrasings; neither will it be contemporary, only to become out dated a few years after it’s published. The story I want to write will be timeless and beloved by millions.

And, it is also a dream.

But, we are discussing here the kind of story I want to write, not the kind of story that I am writing, which may or may not end up falling into any of the above mentioned parameters. I realize with trepidation that undertaking the task of penning one’s first novel is a daunting process, comparable to stripping naked and standing on stage in the middle of a theatre of your peers. Often, its enough to make one want to give up, put their clothes back on and go back to sitting comfortably in the audience, casually flinging either tomatoes or roses at the next poor naked soul to appear on stage (as if your opinion were gold). But, one must not give up, and neither can I!

The novel that I am currently whipping up is one cup political intrigue, two cups monsters, one half cup conspiracy theory and a whole bag of romance. I am carefully mixing all of these ingredients, and will bake them as long as necessary with a bit of dry humor and a few mixed nuts. With a little luck I should end up with something worthy of a bake sale, at least.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Waianapanapa

I also wrote this piece for my Fiction 101 class. The assignment was to describe the most beautiful place we had ever been to.

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The first time I saw it I was on vacation with my parents. It took nearly half a day to drive there, though the road to it was filled with many splendors along the way. As a matter of fact, “The Road to Hana” is known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The journey is the road, for many, but for me, what I found at the end of the road was the most beautiful.

I stepped out of the sticky leather back seat of the rental car (why would a rental car have leather seats on Maui?), and stretched in the warm, clear sunshine. The parking lot was small, the asphalt dotted with potholes, and painted with uneven white parking lines, which everyone seemed to ignore. At the end of the parking lot was an overlook, and we staggered toward it, our legs rubbery from sitting and our stomachs growling for our picnic lunch that was neatly packed away in an ice chest. But, as we reached the lookout, I looked down upon an earthen paradise; a magical, fragile masterpiece created by the hand of God himself. I had never seen anything as beautiful in my entire life, and I immediately felt a spiritual connection with this beach.

We made our way down the path that led to the beach, and stood in wonder as our feet sank into the billions of small black pebbles that made up the warm bumpy carpet beneath us. The sound as the aqua colored waves crashed onto the pebbles is almost indescribable. It was like the rhythm of a thousand steel drums beating at once, followed by the crashing of a thousand cymbals in unison. With each thrust of water, thousands of pebbles were upturned and shifted, replaced by new pebbles. In the distance, a humpback whale breached.

Later, as we ate our lunch on a picnic table near the parking lot, a small white dog walked out of the jungle to greet us. We shared our lunch with him, snapped his picture, then watched him disappear back into the jungle. It was only after we returned home from this trip did I learn that Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, is known to have a small white dog as a companion. It is a good thing we were kind to the mysterious stray white dog!

I returned to this beach a few years later with my husband, and was so excited to share this place with him. The second time I set foot there was even more magical than the first. When we arrived, there was a drizzling rain, so we sat in the car for a bit. Soon, much to our luck, people started leaving. It seemed as soon as the parking lot emptied, the rain stopped, and we had this paradise almost completely to ourselves. The gray clouds hung low and heavy in the sky, and the air smelled of fresh, cleansing ions. The seas were calmer than they had been my first trip, but on this day we were blessed with the presence of sea turtles frolicking happily in the water. We watched them from above; their jeweled shells gleamed in the water and were as large as coffee tables. They waited for each wave, and then dived beneath it, almost as if they were playing a game.

We did not get visited by a stray white dog on that day, but I believe it is because I passed Pele’s test the first time. I would like to think that she blessed me because when we got home I found a black pebble embedded deep in the sole of my shoe. I figure, if I didn’t know I was taking it, it was a gift from her and I will treasure it; a small token to remind me of my moments in paradise, at Wai’anapanapa State Park on Maui.

Love Across the Ocean

Here is a short scene I wrote for my Fiction 101 class. We were supposed to come up with an interesting proposal scene, and this is what I ended up with. I may eventually turn it into a full length story.

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“Aaron!” Stephanie yelled happily into the phone.

“Sweetheart! I miss you so much! It’s good to hear your voice!” He said.

“What’s going on? Are you safe?” She asked.

“Yes, for now. I think they have stopped bombing for the night. We had a few close ones tonight, a little too close for my comfort. Jimmy nearly shat his pants twice!” Aaron managed a slight chuckle at the memory of seeing his camera man stumble at the sound of the mortars as he filmed. Aaron had been a BBC reporter for ten years, mostly on location. He liked to be in the middle of the action, he felt it was his duty to show the gritty reality of war to the viewers at home.

“Baby, I miss you! You have to stay safe for me,” Stephanie urged him. She was nearly seven thousand miles away, on the other side of the globe, safe at home in the Washington DC apartment that had both of their names on the lease, even though he was barely there. Most of the time, she was in London at his flat. A long distance relationship was difficult, but theirs had survived over a year already. She felt helpless watching the BBC every night, waiting for his report to come on so she could read his eyes. The first time they met, he had lied to her, telling her he was a business man on holiday. His excuse was that he didn’t want to scare her off.

“We are staying safe, I promise. Did you see my report yesterday?” He asked.

“Yes, I did. I’ve been recording everything for when you get back,” she said.

“What did you want to talk to me about? In your message you said you wanted to talk about something.”

Stephanie shifted uncomfortably to her other foot and twirled her hair. “Well, I have some good news...”

“Did you get that job at the museum in New York? That’s wonderful, darling!”

“No, that’s not it,” she took a deep breath, “I’m pregnant, Aaron.”

Just then there was a loud noise and the line went dead. Stephanie’s heart leapt into her throat as she stared in disbelief at the phone in her hand. She put it on the receiver and waited, her heart pounding loudly in her ears. Perhaps their call got disconnected. After a minute, that felt more like an hour, it rang.

“Aaron?!” She choked desperately into the phone. Her throat was dry.

“Yes, Steph! God, I’m sorry! They’re bombing again, it cut the phone lines. I’m on my cell now.”

She cleared her throat. “Did you hear what I said before it cut off?”

“You got the job?” He asked.

“No, honey, I’m pregnant!” She said.

There was silence for a moment, followed by a loud “Woo hoo! Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Woo hoo! Guys, I’m going to be a father!” she heard him tell his team mates. He was laughing.

“Marry me, Steph!” He shouted joyfully into the phone.

“Marry you?” She smiled, giddy at the thought.

“Yes, God yes! Marry me! I love you!” He shouted.

She laughed, tears coming to her eyes. “Yes, yes, yes!” She imagined him jumping up and down just as she was doing there in her living room.

“Bugger, they’re bombing again! Can you hear me?” Aaron asked.

“Yes, Aaron, you get on the next plane home!” Stephanie told him.

“I will. Oh, honey, we’re having a baby! I love you!”

“Get home!” She yelled into the phone, with a smile on her face.

“I’m on my way!”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A list, the first of many...

People that freak me the hell out...


1.People that ask me if I had my son circumcised, and when they find out the answer, they ask if my husband is circumcised. How is it that either one of those questions anyone’s business but ours? That completely freaks me the hell out.

2. People that take “stay-cations”. Ok, I know the economy is bad, bla bla, but I’m talking about people that can afford a vacation but would still rather stay at home. Bizarre! I have actually known people who have cut vacations short to come home a few days early. WTF is up with that? They would rather come home and do all their laundry than lay on a beach for a few more days? This does not compute with me and it freaks me the hell out.

3.People who have never gone through any bad shit, but act like they know how it feels. Well, they can shut their pie holes and get back to me after they have some life experience because I’m not listening to any of their advice until that happens, no matter how well meaning they are. Just because you know someone who went through something, or you saw Oprah talk about, doesn’t make you an expert and you freak me the hell out.

4.People who are obsessed with name brands. Holy crap, nothing makes less sense to me than this! These are the same people that could spend 3 hours in a store and not come home with anything. Shopping with these people is complete torture for me! I could be writing, reading, hiking, or any thing else under the sun that would add more richness to my life than wasting 3 hours in a store looking for a white damn t-shirt. Go to Target, buy a white t-shirt! 10 minutes. Done. Holy crap, these people freak me the hell out!

5.People that watch life from the sidelines. These are the same people who are “amused” by art that they don’t understand. In their own minds they are judging the artist to be some kind of freak, just because they don’t fit into their definition of what an artist should be. Screw them and their definitions, and their narrow minded lives. Go back to your fashionable lattes, lifeless department stores, and TV talk show therapy. You freak me the hell out.

6.People that collect Thomas Kinkade shit. A picture with the matching placemats and switchplate cover to go with it!?! OMG, it freaks me the hell out!

7.People that buy art to match their sofa. See above.

8.People that don’t go camping! These are the same people that can’t sit at home with the TV off for a day without going crazy. I don’t understand these people. Are they so uncomfortable with their own selves that a day in quiet contemplation is so foreign to them? Can they not go for one day without Entertainment Tonight? These people freak me the hell out!

This is not a complete list by any means, but I feel better already!

Cheesecake

Cheesecake. It sounds good enough, two of my favorite things combined into one. Cheese and cake. But, there’s nothing good about it! It’s a pale brick, mixed up with some sugar, vanilla, maybe a few eggs, barely baked then flapped on a plate with a cherry on top and called ‘dessert’. It’s disgusting. It has the density of a meteorite.

Cake is a wonderful thing, when it is baked thoroughly. It is pure happiness on a fork; fluffy and sweet, evoking memories of happy celebrations. Cake should be light and fun, with sugary icing and sprinkles, not flapped on a plate like a trowel full of mortar. A proper cake is a party. A proper cake marks a special occasion and brings a smile to everyone’s faces. A proper cake is happy. Cheesecake is not happy. People who consume cheesecake usually do so in private, eating it slowly while in their pajamas, as if it were some unspeakable secret indulgence. When a friend orders cheesecake from a menu, they usually get a gleam in their eye as if they just committed a sin. When they place their order with the waitress, she will usually repeat their choice “Ah, the cheesecake,” while nodding her head approvingly. As if “I’ll have the cheesecake,” was the password to some secret club. If I order an ice cream, my choice is never repeated to me or met with such excited approval. Cheesecake is obnoxious; it is the offensive joke of dessert.

Once upon a time I decided to give cheesecake another try. I hadn’t had any for years, nearly gagging at the sight of it. But, there I was at a restaurant that was actually named after the vile, semi-dry, clay cake. In fact, this restaurant claimed to actually be a factory or the stuff! So, since I was inside a factory of cheesecake, I decided to give it a shot. Why not? After all, millions of people can’t be wrong, right? The list was an entire page long. How many different varieties of the sludge could there be? It was all basically the same sludge, but they would mix different ingredients in, or change the toppings to make you think you were getting something unique. Well, I ordered the least offensive sounding concoction on the list, a slice of carrot cheesecake. Apparently, it was supposed to have actual carrot cake swirled into the cheesecake. I was cheating, in a way, since it was only half cheesecake. But, oh how I was wrong! It was beyond even my worst expectations. I tried not to breathe in as I took the first bite, chewing with my front teeth like a rabbit and swallowing with a drink of water. I picked out the carrot cake pieces and carefully separated them from the glop. I ate the few, scattered pieces of carrot cake then put my fork down, finished. Defeated. My husband laughed. The waitress was concerned; apparently something was wrong with me. Against my wishes she boxed it up for me, a cute little present to remind me how different I obviously was from the rest of the world.

Well, shit...

Here I am. I suppose I will post a few older writings, just to get things moving along.