Stealing Time.

I know I’ve been absent here for a long time, but I think I’m finally ready to come back. See, we signed up for this little thing that has been sucking away my time and energy, and I’ve been using it as an excuse for not writing. We thought about jumping into this project for a while, but we finally decided to pull the trigger in January and become foster parents. Yup, you heard right. Along with two preteens of our own, we now have a 1 year old baby. It’s been a crazy beautiful and intense 8 months, but I feel like we’ve finally settled in to some sort of rhythm. It helps to have the girls back at school.

I still dream of finishing a novel one of these days. Actually, I think I’ve finally found a way to help me stay on track! I bought a notebook and have been writing the traditional way, pen to paper. It seems like my writing time is always stolen between appointments, while waiting in the car, or on family trips. My laptop sucks, and honestly sometimes it’s just tough to be creative when Facebook keeps beckoning me away. Oh, you. You know what I’m talking about. Another perk to writing longhand is that I can’t go back and delete everything I wrote the next day because I think it sucks. It keeps me moving forward, and I wish I would’ve just started doing this a long time ago. I still think everything sucks every time I re-read it, but I am determined to make it all the way through the story line and wait to edit until I am typing it up. It feels really nice to be unstuck.

I started looking into some novel writing software – do any of you folks have experience with this? The prices range a lot. What are the things I should really make sure to look for? Any great recommendations? I am looking most seriously at Write it Now and Write Way. Also, still looking for a critique buddy…

Last thing for you all. Just came across this blog by Chuck Wendig and really like it! He’s got great insight for any aspiring writer, but he’s kind of a smart ass so avoid it if you don’t like sarcasm. I especially like this one and this one. That’s all for today, folks! Have a beautiful one.

There were fireworks on the bay that night. Christian contemplated the surreal evening as he watched the glittery embers drift and fizzle toward the ghostly city outlined on the horizon. He was so blindsided by everything that was happening that he was having trouble sorting through it. He couldn’t figure out if he was overwhelmed with extreme happiness or if he was gasping for air in the middle of a train wreck. Continue reading

Annie

She didn’t let go.

She didn’t want to look at him because she was afraid of what she might see. She was afraid of what he might see. Annie had been rattled all afternoon, no matter how hard she tried to pull it together. It was better for her not to look, but she knew didn’t want to let go of those fingers. They felt like a lifeline, although she had never thought of herself as someone who needed to be saved. It was so strange. Her entire life had been an exercise of self-sufficiency and she never felt like she was even close to coming apart until now. Continue reading

The Evening at Large

Start here to start at the beginning…

Christian

The paddle board session was epic. They wrapped it up around sunset and then walked to a nearby Thai place. Neither of them had ever eaten Thai food, but somehow it fit into Annie’s idea of a fancy dinner spot. They pretended like they knew what they were ordering, and when the food came they laughed at it. It was a good thing they were both the adventurous type. The eclectic dishes were surprisingly delicious, and as they ate Christian talked Annie out of going dancing. “We’re all sandy and sticky,” he lamented, “anyone who tries to dance with us will be scared away by the smell! Besides, the deal was I would dance with you if you surfed with me, which you somehow dodged.” Continue reading

The Bay

Start HERE to find the beginning of the rabbit hole…

They ended up paddle boarding on Mission Bay. The guy at the rental shop talked them out of renting surfboards when he realized they didn’t know what they were doing. Apparently there was a hurricane off the coast of Baja, and that made for some pretty big waves in San Diego. The bay was sheltered enough that the surf couldn’t really come through, and he promised them that paddle boarding would be a fun alternative. Christian was a little disappointed, but Annie secretly felt relieved (though she’d never admit it.)

Figuring out how to balance on the lofty foam boards wasn’t as difficult as one might imagine, and soon they were paddling with determination across the glassy surface. With no destination in mind, they wove in and out of buoys, racing along until Annie thought her arms might fall off.  “Christian, hold up!” she hollered, slowly lowering herself to straddle the hefty board. Continue reading

Annie

Her errands took a significant chunk of the day, and she finally was able to make it over to Christian’s house in the early afternoon. She heard muffled yelling as she approached the door and realized it was Christian reprimanding one of his brothers. Just as she pivoted her heel to leave (she’d come back, she just wanted to buy him some more time,) the door flew open and his brother Jon stormed past her. Jon was 13 and was quickly turning from a quiet kid into a troubled teenager. Annie had only known him for a really short time, but she could see the anger and confusion that bubbled just under the still cherub-cheeked surface. She was sure Christian saw it, too, and her heart caught in her throat when she thought of how difficult these upcoming years were going to be for him. Continue reading

Christian

Christian woke up in a bad mood. He wouldn’t admit to anyone that Annie’s imminent departure affected him in any way, but he knew he was moping. It was just that life here was hard. And redundant. He knew that it was important for him to set a solid example and that his mom deserved a break after working so hard for them. He knew that he couldn’t just spread his wings and fly away like she could; there was too much here holding him back. It wasn’t quite jealousy – no, he didn’t think he would leave if he could. He was lucky to have his family here. It was hard, but he had grown up with a lot of love and support and it was in his nature to want to step up and provide for his family here. He liked San Diego okay. The weather was always good, the beach was an amazing asset and TJ was close enough that he could regularly visit his dad and eat decent tacos. He wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he was moping because she was leaving. He had grown accustomed to thinking there was only room in his heart, his head and his life for his immediate family, but over the course of the last two weeks she had slowly started to prove him wrong. He’d lived his day-to-day fine for the past eighteen years without her, but he’d only just started to feel alive. Continue reading

Annie

Start here to read from the beginning…

She woke up the next morning with a hangover. Annie had never been drunk before. In fact, Annie had never really done anything that could amount to any kind of trouble. She had seen the unfortunate long-term effects that came with an affinity for alcohol in her grandmother. Hard drugs weren’t something anyone in her family did, exactly, but crack was something that was sold now and again when they were really hard up for money. The crack heads that came around during those times were very nice, but crazy enough that Annie was sure her auntie’s timing of these sales correlated to everyone being home from school on purpose.

But, man, that hangover was worth it! Thus far in life Annie had kept her head down and her grades up. She picked up extra shifts whenever she could, not because she wanted more money but because she didn’t know what else to do with herself. She’d been singularly focused on this almost tangible, sparkling orb of freedom shining brightly just out of reach, waiting for her to grab it with both arms and hang on if only she could make it over the hill that was high school. Now it was finally here, and she was ready to spread her wings!

She’d had so much fun with Christian. If last night was any indication of what she’d been missing, she was glad she hadn’t been distracted with boys and other questionable substances thus far.  The rest of her life had arrived. It was finally time to make a break for it, and then decide what, exactly, to do with it.

  Continue reading

Bah! I just finished re-reading the story thus far and it’s terrible! This is the thing I hate most about writing. It is so difficult to finish stories because the desire to go back and fix and re-write is so, so high. That’s why I really want to do it this way, actually. If it’s out there and people are reading it and waiting for the next piece, I can’t go back and fix what’s already out there. I just have to keep moving forward! I can’t wait to get to the end to be able to go back to the beginning and fix grammar and inconsistencies 🙂 Let’s get the skeleton finished, then beef it up into a real story. For anyone new, start here to start at the beginning… Here goes nothing!

CHRISTIAN

When Christian got home that night he did his best to wash the smell of cigarettes off of his fingers. He scrubbed his teeth until his gums began to bleed and then proceeded to strip down to his boxers, effectively peeling the last bit of evidence of the night’s transgressions away. Silently, ever so silently, he tiptoed into the room he shared with his brothers, but this time, rather than squeeze in between them, he opted for the carpet right next to the mattress. It was getting too tight in that damn bed, anyway, and the floor was good for his back.

Christian couldn’t sleep. He didn’t think he was gay. He didn’t think he was anything. Was there such a thing as that? It wasn’t that he thought of other boys in a way that he should be thinking about girls, it was just that he didn’t think about girls that way, either. He had too much on his plate to think about girls; he had seen first-hand the drama that they could cause. He didn’t want to think about having another mouth to feed, and girls were a straight path to exactly that. Christian’s older cousin lived close by, and he had visibly witnessed the weight of his primos’s heina settle onto his shoulders. It etched lines of worry into that space between George’s eyebrows and around the edges of his mouth, and that was before the baby was even born. Not to mention Christian’s own little brothers, the ones he had essentially raised from the time they were 3 and 5. Nah, he knew what girls led to and thus far it made him a little sick to his stomach to think about getting too close. They recently learned about asexual organisms in biology, and he felt like he could relate. Not gay, not straight – just not needing anyone else in his life for any of that. Yup, he was asexual alright.

Things with Annie were different. It wasn’t that she was female – she was just… cool. He could think of so many good adjectives to describe Annie. She was refreshing, a tiny tropical island that he could escape to whenever he wanted to get away from his reality. He’d always known Annie and liked her, but from the time they’d really started talking almost two weeks ago it was like they’d known each other forever. It was just easy with her like that. Pinche hell. He’d never thought of kissing her! Why’d she have to say that? It was like a picture that had never been drawn before that point. An idea that he hadn’t known existed until someone told him about it, and now he couldn’t get it out of his head. Well, it didn’t matter anyway. He was asexual, and he was never going to let a girl put those lines between his eyebrows.

Annie and Christian – ReDeux

So, I have an idea! But first I must digress. I took a break for a while, obviously. What can I say? My kids (and spouse – he’s a teacher) got out of school in mid-May and it’s been a whirlwind summer. I’ve got tons of new family travel adventures and staycations under my belt now that need to be posted over at my fourspoke.com website. It’s been fun times!

Back to my idea. As we wrap up this summer season, the gravitational pull of the fiction world is slowly gathering me back into its orbit. I’ve been thinking a lot about finishing this story of Christian and Annie that I never fully got to explore. I was scared away by the fast pace and inevitable reader judgement that was sure to come from hammering out something so quickly, but I also realize that I really do finish projects better under pressure. I think I would like to finish it, and I would like to finish it publicly. I am going to use this space to write it in chunks like I did for the beginning of the A to Z challenge, but I have decided on a few rules:

1) I am not going to worry about doing it alphabetically.

2) I am going to use this space as an un-edited, purely artistic space to get my story written. This means that it will be rough and will have typos and other editing issues, but I am going to try really hard not to care. No word processors – just dumping my words right into the posting window!

3) I am going to finish the rough draft by the end of the year.

4) Once it’s all finished via blog posts, I am going to collect all of the pieces and actually edit/rewrite it.

5) I will release a final version in the end. I’d really like to explore e-book options and see what’s out there.

I know I had a few people following me in the beginning and I would love you to stay on the journey with me! I can’t promise that the final, edited story will be the same as the one that’s going up first – in fact, I’m sure it’ll be quite different in the end. I think this will be a fun project, though, and I am looking forward to moving it along. Thanks for bearing with me.