Monday, February 21, 2011

True North.

Oh my. It's been too long since I've posted on here. I've been spending all of my time working on the novel--writing a little, stressing more and overanalyzing the most--and not enough time reflecting on the process. At the end of the day, I'm just so tired of staring at the computer screen that I can't bear the thought of writing any more. But! I will persevere! Not that anybody is likely reading this blog, but still. It more for me and my memories than anything else.

I took a much need mini-vacay this weekend. As a few of my friends wives and girlfriends were out of town (mine was as well), it was boy's night out. For THREE days straight. Everything from fishing to excessive Patron shots. And caffeine and cigarettes mixed with a terribly inadequate amount of sleep has taken its toll. I'm running on fumes today.

But fumes were all I needed, I got more pages done today and I'm pretty sure I've got an end in sight.

Daily Update
Page Count - 182
Sample -
"He set the spatula down next to the stove and came over to her. This was the point when the argument could get going. All he had to do was throw another hook and the bell would ring, but he didn’t. They both knew an argument would just be a distraction. Instead, he pulled her up from her chair and wrapped his arms around her. He felt him sniffing her collar softly and knew he could smell the cigarette smoke lingering in the fibers but she didn’t care. Mrs. Lisburn could smell the whiskey that floated out with each of his breaths. Neither of the couple commented about each others scents and after a time, he let her go and returned to the stove. She sat back in the chair and watched him as he scooped a soupy noodle substance onto her plate. He did the same for his plate and poured them both a glass of water. The other two place settings remained untouched."

"There was no question if the gun from Bryan’s shoebox worked any longer. He barely graced the trigger and cylinder rotated, the hammer rocked back and forth and the bullet fired true, from the tip of the barrel to the fleshy space between the esophagus and jugular of the man rushing at him on the rooftop."

Sunday, February 13, 2011


In the past few days, all I've done is work two jobs. One at the bar and the other right here in front of this computer. Writing this has become my full time employment, and at the end of the day when I'm all out of words, I'm very tired. The same goes for right now. The girlfriend has been at work, so I jumped on the opportunity of a quiet house. Not to say that she is loud, but when she's here I have a tendency to gravitate toward her rather than the keyboard.

The weekend should be for resting but I've squeezed as much creativity out of it as I possibly could. Tonight, will be my rest night. Little TV, little dinner. All right.

This is coming out much faster than I originally thought it would. And its becoming longer than expected. An event I was leading up to that I figured would happen around page 75 has been pushed back to at least 130. I'm hoping to get a first draft finished within a few weeks then take a significant break. Maybe two weeks, then come back to it for the real work - revision.

Daily Update
Page Count - 114
Sample -

As he bypassed the trophy altar he could hear the chk-zzzzz of the poloroid camera, the shutter closing and the picture sliding out from the mechanism. He stepped into the ticket booth and inched to the stairway door. There were a dozen steps leading to a room that looked like it was lit by the same candles as the terminal. When he placed a foot on the first step, the floor flashed brilliantly as the camera snapped another shot. He took the next steps very slowly, cursing himself for choosing to try and help the owner of the scream. Why had he even gone inside the Pinkston? His brother told him never to go there alone. And there he was, walking down into what, for all he knew could be hell itself. 
It was too late to turn back, if the photographer or his subject were to look at the staircase they’d see his shoes and most of his jeans. He just prayed the photo session was satisfying enough that neither felt the need to look away. The artist turned the knife around in his hand so that the blade faced downward. If he were to suddenly be rushed, he might be able to bring the switchblade right down on top of their fucking head. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Party Hard.

The past two days have been a whirlwind. I can't stop writing. The story just seems like it's unfolding for me, like I'm not even the one writing it. The character are deepening and the scenes are feeling richer. But maybe thats just the delirium talking. My brain feels a little fried and I've smoked too many cigarettes. Besides working at the bar, writing has become my full time gig and since I got back from my residency at the coast, I've been putting in some serious overtime.

I might need to take a night off. Clock out early. Even writing this post is tough.

I've been thinking though, if this were to ever get published, who would I dedicate it to? There's the girlfriend, the parents and the professors and mentors. I'd want to list them all but that wouldn't be special for any of them. Maybe I'll just dedicate it to RedBull and the muted reruns of NCIS that I have playing the whole time I'm writing. Hmm.

Well, 'til next time!

Daily Update

Page Count - 88
Sample -

He parked out of sight and the four young men scrambled out of the Vanda Bear. They walked along the chain link fence looking for any easy place to jump over when they came to a section that had been cut, a flap hung downward like a door coming free from the hinges. Abel stomped the mesh into the ground and stood on it so the other three could pass through easily. Ketch went, then PriM, then Bryan. 
As he doubled himself over to fit through the space, the gun fell out of Bryan’s pocket and came to rest on the rocky ground with a thud. Ketch and PriM were far enough ahead that they didn’t hear it, but Bryan turned to look at Abel and his eyes were locked right on it. 
Abel whispered, “I didn’t know it was gonna be that kind of party.”

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

China Grove.

My goal for today was to write three pages. Just three, not a very large order. But after going to the gym and running all the errands I had to take of, I sat in front of a blank page for an hour. I struggled through two paragraphs and it finally hit me, I was blocked. Gasp! The worst enemy of any aspiring writer is the block that looms just beyond the next sentence. I battled fiercely with my opponent for a few rounds then finally succumbed to its power.

I was winded. I had to step away from the keyboard and from the few meager and, dare I say marginal sentences I had written and called a time out. I ate something and took a breather on the couch. Zoned out with the remote control and glared menacingly at the computer taunting me from across the room. My laptop and its aluminum grin sat triumphantly and continuously reminded me of my inadequacy. After awhile I became fed up with the non-verbal insults and I rejoined the fight.

Turns out, all I needed was to regroup. The three pages I had intended to write turned into thirteen. And I love the shit of of them.

Daily Update
Page Count - 68
Sample -
"The house was quiet save for the echo of a dog barking in the park across the street. Paul, outstretched on the couch, looked around the living room. It hadn’t changed for as long as he could remember; the same oak armoire that housed wedding china and little league trophies loomed in the furthest corner, the matching bookshelf rested in the opposite and the mocha-colored wraparound sofa that Paul had slept on took up the majority of the rest of the room. His mother’s collectibles, the little russian dolls that get smaller and smaller still, filled the shelves that framed the bay window above the couch. The three rings from the coffee Paul and his parents shared remained on the oak coffee table but the mugs were absent, taken away and cleaned by his mother while Paul slept."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

At the Gay Bar.

After work last night (mind you, I work at a bar so clocking out can be between 230-3am) I decided that I wasn't happy with the choice of my novel being told first person through multiple characters. When I got home and sat in front of my computer, I cracked open a beer and got to work on the 48 pages i had. I fell asleep about 430 with my head on the desk and about halfway through the pages.

When I woke, I realized there was no turning back and i finished out the project. In the course of transferring, I began to add new depth that just wasn't possible through the lens of first person. Don't get me wrong, I love to write in first person, present tense. In fact, most of the short pieces I've written have been structure in just that way but for this (much longer) story, I needed a change. I'm not as comfortable writing this way but I can almost bet I'll learn more about the craft and the characters I'm imagining by stepping outside my comfort zone.

I'm off to work again tonight. Just in case you were wondering, I work security at a gay bar downtown. Makes for some interesting scenes I paint into my stories. Some of which has found its way into the novel. I'll post a sample below.

Daily Update
Page Length - 55
Sample -

Paul got to work and found Persephone Chase, the club’s drag queen emcee doubled over near the double glass doors. Drunk, she had let her mascara run down the length of her face making her look like a cross between the Crow and Cruella DeVille. She was hired at Circcles a short time after Paul was and not a week had passed in two years without her alcoholic ass coming close to a nervous breakdown because of a bra strap malfunction or girdle being one size too small. Sometimes she’d come out of the dressing room in sweatpants screaming that she wouldn’t go on stage because she couldn’t get her package tucked between her butt cheeks comfortably. It was always something.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

New Slang.

I am completely overwhelmed with this computer. As this is my first Mac, I'm sure I've discovered only about 5% of what the machine is capable of. The unfolding discovery of it has taken time away from writing today but I'm sure it will pay off in the end. If anyone has any beginners tips for using a MAcBook Pro or have any cool features to tell me about, don't be shy.

I'm going to close the lid soon and leave the apartment to join the living soon. My lady was accepted to University of Portland (couldn't be more proud) this morning and is now in front of the mirror primping for a night of celebration at a plethora of dive bars.

Daily Update
Page Count - 48
Instead, sparks flew from the dripping wires and lightning shot out of his legs. I didn’t believe when I saw it--on each leg three bolts of electricity exploded from his calves and blew out the toe of his high-tops. The surge licked at the air like lizard’s tongues and dug themselves into the wooden flooring.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Graduation Day.

I missed the delivery of my new MacBook Pro by 4 minutes this morning. FOUR MINUTES. Now, I've been waiting all day to drive to Lake Oswego to pick it up from the sorting center. Maybe the missed delivery was a blessing, though. I had wanted to get a few pages done today and if I would have had that new laptop in my grubby little paws, I know I wouldn't have written a single word. So, in essence, I have to express my gratitude for the punctuality of the drivers employed by FedEx. Well done and thank you for encouraging me stop procrastinating and write.

That said, I've written six pages today. And I'm fairly happy with the results. They'll probably be distilled down to one or two during the revision process, but at least I wrote them.

Next on the agenda: eat something and convert, consolidate and save everything to an external in order to shift all my files from this PC to the new MacBook. Hello, tedium and exhaustion. Wish me luck and next entry will be written on "Dolph." (I haven't even turned on the new computer, but I feel that it will be so amazing that I should name it after Jean Claude Van Damm's nemesis in Universal Soldier.)

Daily Update
Novel Length - 43 pages
Sample - There were no overturned chairs or bent spoons, no accumulation of garbage or charred remnants of wallpaper and drywall from a random fire. He couldn’t see any lengths of rubber straps. The room was free from a metal bed frame without its mattress and wiry springs jutting upward.  Not single bloodstain or smudge of human remains. No Leonardo DiCaprio hovering over a stained toilet wretching.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Down Rodeo.

I woke up with a head cold looming on the horizon and I expect it will reach full force by this evening. In response, I am prohibiting myself from being in the outside world and thus, give myself time to start a project I've been putting off: Creating a blog.

Everyone tells me how important these things are, so here goes. In the future you will undoubtedly experience me babble on about unimportant things as well as track the progress of the novel I have begun writing during my first semester in Pacific University's MFA program.

As this is my first rodeo, I welcome and beg for any advice or tips on not only the blogging world but the writing/literary world as well.

Daily Update
Packet #2 - finished and ready to send. 
Novel Page Count - 36. 
Sample -
He stood mid roof.  It was so quiet. He held his breath and heard nothing, not rats scurrying, not the murmur of traffic, not even the buzzing of insects. He ran a hand across the exposed portions of his skin, checking for mosquito bites.  Nothing. Along with their voices, the bugs were gone. Even the hum of the city, the air conditioners. Absent.