Loud and Quiet Days


star_life_cycle

I’m feeling a bit ~quiet~ today, which is a thing that comes and goes in waves. You know those days where you turn a bit inward and think a little deeper on things than on most days.

Today my thoughts are hovering over reality, expectations, promises [kept and broken], goals, forward motion, commitment, longevity, why some supernova collapse into blackholes while others morph into neutron stars. You know, light stuff like that.

When I drift into these moods, it’s nice to find other’s words to help express what I’m feeling. It’s part of the processing, I guess. A way to sort things out—simplify them—and ease back to a more outward existence.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” ~Anais Nin

And a lot of times one set of words will lead me to another set, which may or may not be directly related but possesses this ethereal connection somehow.

A lot of you will readily know this reference

A lot of you will readily know this reference

And I seem to stumble upon the most random & interesting tidbits when in this mindset.

Described by one scientist as “the ultimate alchemists,” stars are pretty incredible in that they are these miraculous self-contained and proactive systems that, with the pure power of their own mass, produce the principle elements of life.  Then, because all life is about connection, they clump together into star forming regions (or nebula), evolving, and turning themselves into new stars. ~ Lynn Johnson

So, yeah: growth and transformation and thoughts and stars.

The great thing about these ~quiet~ days is how they usually spark new ideas. They serve as those star-birthing nebulae. And they also help existing ideas, thoughts & emotions kinda coalesce. They’re as welcome as the ~loud~ days, and perhaps cherished because of their rarity.

Here’s to hoping you find that perfect balance of ~loud~ and ~quiet~ days.

nebula A lot of times, my ~quiet~ days are triggered by hurt. Someone I trust, I’m close to, lets me down in some way. The processing is how I stretch beyond the hurt to forgiveness. Because nobody wants to be a blackhole.

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Phreak Show Ink – Twiggy


Twiggy

Twiggy the Blubber Girl

Twiggy - Wink, cupcake & all

Twiggy – Wink, cupcake & all

It took two weeks to get her image just right, but Twiggy [I feel] is gorgeous. I had a very strong concept in my mind. And, for some reason, I feel like I owe Twiggy a perfect execution of that vision. Don’t ask me why I feel so possessive of her. I just do, and can’t exactly explain it.

Right now, she and Jamie are battling for the top spot of Phavorite Phreak Tattoo.

Until now, the phreaks have been kind of scattered, spread in a pre-ordained layout to make room for them all. With the proximity of the images coming together, it’s actually starting to feel like the beginnings of a sleeve. Over the next couple weeks, the individuals will continue to interact with the ones who have come before them. The gaps will fill, the images will play off one another.

My experiments to either write or edit while getting inked? Both failed. Too much physical sensation to go to the mental place needed for those tasks. But I’ve found I can read easily enough [between conversations]. Last week, I just so happened to be reading a scene which talked about the three kinds of people who get tattoos. In my own words:
– One timers
– I have one and might get another
– The addicts

Wouldn’t say I’m an addict, but I’m definitely a fan of immortalizing ideas & images worth immortalizing.

Twiggy Excerpt

Twiggy was, as usual, sitting on her bed shoving food in her mouth. “How’d it go?” she asked.

I squeezed out my hair. “We damn near got struck by lightning.”

“I hate the thunder. And I eat when I’m scared. Want a chip?”

You eat all the time.

“I don’t think my stomach can handle food right now.”

I caught a whiff of pungent stank. Was it Twiggy’s rank chips? Oh gods. No. It was my skanky armpits, the oniony b.o. rejuvenated by the sweat and the rain. I really needed to slough off the week-old funk clinging to my crevices. I had my backpack, but my clothes and hygiene bag were still in my car. Miles away. Out of gas. But, damn, I needed to get clean. A saying I’d once heard—maybe at school, or online—flashed in my head. All things being equal, fat people use more soap.

“Do you have any soap?” I asked my hefty host.

She wrinkled her nose. “Well, yeah. Tons of it.”

“Can I borrow some?”

“For…?”

“The rain. I’m so in need of a shower. You don’t even want to know,” I said.

Twiggy pinched her nose closed. “Oh, I know,” she said with a smile. “We have showers, silly.” She brushed sour cream and onion crumbs off her boobs. “We may be phreaks, but we’re not slobs.”

Confession: I DO know why Twiggy’s image is even more important to me than the MC Tera’s or the love interest Niko’s. Many readers have identified with Twiggy’s struggle. I feel an obligation to them to get her right. Maybe obligation isn’t the right word. How about, I have the desire to do right by Twiggy and—by extension—to those who identify with her.

Phreak Show Ink – A Sleeve of Characters


Placement of Tera (misspelled by my assistant), Romeo, Niko & Phineas

Placement of Tera (misspelled by my assistant), Romeo dropping down from her banner, Niko – Prince of Torture perfectly place by the elbow (gonna suck!) & Phineas w/ his top hat

A funny cylops-blob for Jamie (on the fishbelly, of course) and Jules on the sensitive underside

Doug Doug the Dimwit high on my shoulder, Jules on the sensitive underside (ouch!) & a funny cylops-blob for Jamie (on the fishbelly, of course)

Mantis blob with Lil Diva propped on her hip (top),

Mantis blob with Lil Diva propped on her hip (top), Jules wrapping him/herself around, Mama Snow by my wrist

Twiggy on the outside forearm,

Twiggy on the outside forearm, a glimpse of Mana Snow beneath her

I had to take a pause in my NaNoWriMo drafting for Epistle of Doff this morning. Reason: to consult with my tattooist on the sleeve images for my completed novel, Phreak Show.

Joe has purchased skulls and such from my business & does amazing ink work. When the idea to immortalize my phreaky characters hit me, I decided to return Joe’s patronage. His earliest appointment was 7 months in the future. That future arrives next Saturday.

Since NaNo means slacking on the blog, I figured the email I sent to Joe this morning was a way to show it some love. So here it is, chock full of links and words. I’ll be chronicling the sleeve as it progresses, so y’all might as well get in at the planning stage.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joe~
 
Lots of multimedia/data resources for this sleeve. Take a breath, give your creativity a good whack to get it cranked up, and dive in.
 
Here’s a copy of the original facebook msg I sent you back in May, with my thoughts on the style.
 
I want to do a sleeve of tats over the next couple months consisting of the characters from my latest novel, Phreak Show. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy, set in a modern-day sideshow with some steampunk/Victorian & magical tendencies.So, the characters are basically sideshow performers/freaks. I’m envisioning a bit of New School flare in coloring and style, with some high-contrast black, fused with some elements of old sideshow banner art.I can, of course, totally dredge up base images and we can work on the designs from there. But, I’m thinking how cool it’d be for the artist to get a vibe for the characters through reading the book. So, yeah, let me know if you’re game.
 
Here’s a link to my Pinterest. There are a few boards with labels starting with “Phreak Show” which have my inspiration images for the characters, clothing, jewelry, etc for the book. http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/boards/
 
This one specifically has the cabinet cards I made up for each character http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/phreak-show-cast-steampunk/  It shows them in their “everyday” forms, but I want the tattoos to add the element of their transformations into their sideshow personas like: Twiggy the Blubber Girl, The Prince of Torture (a tatooist!), etc. The original, color images I used are here: http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/phreak-show-castoff-images/ and these may be more helpful for reference purposes.
 
I’m thinking just head & shoulders for each one, with a ribbon/sideshow banner beneath with their sideshow names.
We have 8 appointments scheduled, right? There are a total of 8 (or 10–depending on how they’re counted) separate character images. Plus the smoky, colorful ribbons of “aether” to fill the spaces in between. So, I guess we’ll have to see how to work those all in? Or schedule some future dates to finish? (If I don’t go broke first!)
 
I laid out the rough outlines/placement I have in mind. Pics of my (roughed in) sharpied left arm are attached.
Roughly, here’s the order of inking I’m thinking. Totally open to your input. Maybe we can squeeze multiple characters with close proximity in during a single session:
– Phineas – top of forearm http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218339/ (This image is pretty spot-on. Love the dark shadows, but would like deep colors mixed in so it’s not solid black. Def want his signature eyes to stand out–they’re milky-blue, covered in cataracts)
– Tera – outside of bicep http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398272931/ In the story, she transforms to look like other people’s worst fears. So, not *exactly sure how to represent that…Also, she wears a heavy hood to conceal her face until the transfomrations are complete, so that might be an element to incorporate as long as her fiery red hair is still partially visible. (Romeo, a copper monkey may hang from her banner into the crook of my arm)
– Niko – perfectly placed for the Prince of Torture…near the elbow. A combo of this image http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218239/ along with shirtless Adam Levine http://www.pinterest.com/pin/354377064398218378/ (For the ink, half of his face ‘normal’, the other half tattooed and pierced
– Jamie – top half underside of my forearm (no image of him on any of the boards – he’s the Tera gets of her baby brother – only effed up into a cyclops baby)
Those are the first 4. I’m thinking we can decide the order of the rest and space them out as we go, using the sharpie template along with sizing as a guide for their placement.
 
I’ve also attached the manuscript. If you want to check it out, the main character, Tera, gets an effed up tat in chapter one, then enters the Phreak Show at the end of chapter 2. After that, the sideshow personas of the characters unfold over the following chapters. 
LAST LINK! lol – http://www.pinterest.com/LucasMight/tattoos-steampunk-otherwise/ This board will give you an idea of the types of tattoo styles/coloring/imagery I’m drawn to. I don’t want to dictate the style so much as I want you to interpret my ideas into your own Joe Crossman style. As long as the ink is helz-yeah-phenomenal, and consistent throughout the whole sleeve, I’m pretty open.
Thanks, man. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Lucas

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joe doesn’t know it yet, but I plan on typing with my right hand in his shop next Saturday. NaNo is live & Doff wants out of me. There’s no reason [other than the pain of metallic, pissed-off wasps hammering into my flesh] I shouldn’t keep hacking away at the next novel while getting inked with characters from the previous one.

Whether Phreak Show ever gets traditionally published or not, I absolutely love the characters and their story. Will I regret immortalizing them in my skin forever? Absolutely not. As long as Joe doesn’t eff things up for me like Niko did for Tera. Or did Niko really mess up her tattoo of Jamie…?

How Hot Is Too Hot?


Man on fire 1

I like hot stuff. On a scale of vanilla to battery acid, I prefer food heat levels somewhere in the radiator vicinity.

A fear years ago while travelling down in Louisiana, my companion and I selected a loverly little spot to grub on some ribs. The waiter took our order, including what kind of sauce we wanted the ribs soaked in.

I sat up straighter, pushed my shoulders back, and looked him dead in the eyes. “Hot. Like, super hot.”

“As hot as you’ve got,” my companion added.

“The Inferno’s the hottest we suggest.” His top lip quirked up. “But we do have a sauce that’s not on the menu: Petey’s Insane in the Membrane Melt Your Face Off Sauce.

Challenge.accepted.

Mr. Waiter warned us. He tried to talk us out of slathering it on the ribs, and offered to bring a cup of Petey’s on the side. Helz naw! We were living the life. If we were gonna go hot, we were gonna go hot.

My companion & I tucked in our napkins. Kerosene fumes assaulted our noses as we closed in on the flammable meat. Eyes locked, we took our first experimental bites. The sting was immediate. We chewed, eyes watering, sweat erupting on our cheeks, not even pretending like the agony was worth it. Then the liquid lava kicked in. Holy hell was it insane. In our membranes, our tongues, teeth, tonsils, our very souls. We cried, coughed and chewed, somehow choked down the first napalm chunks.

And then our faces melted off.

Bread didn’t help. Drinking tea was like tossing water on a grease fire. We scraped our lips and tongue with our napkins—to no avail. Once the feeling returned to our limbs, we squeegeed the ribs with knives and napkins in an effort to strip off the incendiary barbecue paint. Damn that sadistic Petey and his murderous sauce!

Last week, I posted about a personal experience with an offer of rep and the reasons I declined. Going into the drafting of that post, I definitely weighed the risk of sharing it with the world. Sure, I could have kept it all tucked in, buried in the shadows, vaguely hinted at, or completely cloaked from interweb eyes. But I had a burning in my gut; sharing the experience would help others. This wasn’t just about me. And, perhaps, by openly sharing my experience, reasoning, and process, other querying writers might pause, and breathe, and assess an offer of rep not just with emotion, but also with tempered wisdom.

I know too many amazing writers who jumped at their first offer, only to regret that quick decision later.

So, tiptoeing onto the tightrope, I sought a way to share my story, while giving enough specifics to be genuine, but not too many that I’d tip over into unprofessional. I sought to be truthful, to speak with candor, while only naming one party—myself. Personally, I believe I stayed on the tightrope.

The positive response was overwhelming. Something in my words obviously struck a chord. My personal favorite DM: You’ve got balls of steel, man. Kudos. An agent took the time to send me an encouraging email regarding the post. Folks engaged in active conversation about the topic. Which is to say: this hush-hush thing was laid out on the table where everyone could see, poke, and discuss it.

As in all public things, which are open for judgment, my post received a few tsk tsk tsks.

My thoughts?
Opacity helps no one.
Transparency can actually hurt the sharer.
– But a Translucency exists between those two extremes.

And you know how random synergy seems to pulse through the writing community? [Eerie that…] Parallel conversations on complimentary topics cropped up. Things like a Twitter convo about how much is too much to share regarding rejections. And, in another synergistic moment, Oversharing was the focus of the loverly Fizzy’s post from earlier this week. And scroll back to @millercallihan’s Twitter feed from Wednesday to see her thoughts & advice.

If this isn’t apparent yet, in every facet of my life, I burn white-hot: creative ventures, work, relationships, emotions, humor, opinions, writing. Passion sears through me and ignites everything and everyone within warming distance. Rarely does any of that go up in flames. Instead, my life glows with heat, and adventure, and love, and surprise, and beautifully insane randomocity.

I have no doubt that some believe I burn too hot at times.

But some things remain opaque. There are things I absolutely know NOT to share. Specifics and stats you will never, ever know. These are the sacred things, the things which are nobody’s business but my own, things which—by sharing—would be of no help to anyone else. These things, while they may still blaze and spit flames, remain safely caged behind the fireplace screen and out of the public eye.

I’m curious what you all think. Some things are an enigma to me. Like how querying writers, as a rule, shouldn’t publicly share stats on rejections, but as soon as that writer is repped, those stats are almost a requirement in the announcement post. I suppose it’s okay to share that once-taboo detail once you’ve crossed into the promised land?

So, how hot is too hot?
What are the things best left opaque?
What are some translucent areas you feel are left up to circumstance & personality?
Are there times when you’re actually scared to Tweet or post something, out of fear that it might sour an industry pro’s view of you or your work?
At what point does a writer/author’s transparency cross from Inferno into Melt Your face Off with Cringe?

FTR, I don’t have a problem with sharing rejection info—to a point. I’ve posted a few pie charts detailing the different yeses and nos in my querying process. But I chose to share percentages, not numbers. Another off-limits for me is naming specific agents or agencies. Super blasphemous. As is submissions & rejections to publishers once over on the other side of the river in the promised land. For what my opinion’s worth. 😉

Sucking Smarties Until the Chocolate Comes


But it aint chocolate

But it aint chocolate

FACT: Every stage of traditional publishing is slow.
FACT: The waiting can drive you batty.
FACT: Distractions between stages are a necessity.

I’m not ready to start my next novel. It’s percolating, but the idea isn’t hot enough yet. The concept hasn’t reached its boiling point. So, while it simmers, I’ve been fighting off the crazies by both reading and writing (shorter pieces).

There is this [anonymous] bestselling YA author, see, and I’ve tried my best to like her books, to enjoy them, to discover their appeal. Last week I made a third attempt—the first book in a trilogy—in hopes that this would be the one which would win me over. No ma’am! Not even close. I slogged through it, forced myself to just.make.it.to.the.last.page, which is a horrible thing to have to do with a book. And thus, my non-relationship with this author has officially ended with a whimper.

Flip that coin over. Let’s talk about some BANG. Through the wonder of word-of-mouth, which is to say: a random Tweet floating by in my feed, I strolled a block to my local library & checked out Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. Now, let me state for the record that I rarely read Contemporary YA. YA Fantasy? Yes. Non-fiction about psychology, science, philosophy, astronomy, etc? Why yes please and thank you. So this wouldn’t normally be a go-to novel for me.

Well, I suppose the best testimony for how much I dug it, is the fact that I ordered Rainbow’s new release, Fangirl, the day it came out. This is the first hardcopy book I have purchased in probably a dozen years. My m.o. is 75% borrow from the library and 25% purchase for the Kindle. So, obviously, excited. Whatever your preferred genre to read and/or write, whatever tastes you normally fall back on, I highly recommend both of these books. Because: quirky, endearing, relatable, solid.

Now, on to the writing-as-impatience-repellant.

Flash fic keeps me loose. It’s like the warm-up laps in a pool before swimming from Cuba to Florida. It purges ideas—exorcises them, if you will—to clear out headspace and make room for more. But it has its limits. Flash fic is akin to eating a pack of Smarties when you really really want chocolate. (Y’all know exactly what I mean…) So, I chew on it when there’s no time-chocolate, attention-span-fudge, or even complexity-syrup in the house. But it doesn’t satiate the craving for: more, a robust arc, deep characterization, subplots, intricate weaving of symbolism or layered themes.

That’s where short stories gallop in like white horses, or unicorns, or bronies, or [equine analogy of your choice]. If novels are king-size candy bars, then short stories are like the fun-size. Scroll down a post or two and you’ll find where I mentioned that “dark” seems to be whispering my name. (Mmmmm, dark chocolate is the best.) So I says to myself, “Self, how about some short stories? Make ’em dark. Oh! And I know, seek out venues in which to share them.”

On some as-of-yet-undisclosed Friday in October, my Until it Pops, short story (weighing in at 3,400 words), along with accompanying illustration, will be part of the #DarkCarnival. http://penandmuse.com/freaky-fridays-dark-carnival-writer-illustrator-showcase/ 

Then there’s this other project, which isn’t so much of a definite thing. Today I submitted my short story, Bastardbreed, (weighing in at 6,200 words) off to the guys heading up a Clive Barker fanfic anthology. (Which feels a little weird for me to say. Like fanfic is somehow unclean or not real writing. Which is silly. Because I created my own offshoot of a world, birthed brand new characters, and incorporated all the complicated elements listed three paragraphs up.) If the story makes the cut, it won’t be available for public consumption until Fall 2014 when Tor releases it in simultaneous hardcover & paperback.

FACT: Traditional publishing is a reaaaaaallllllyyyy slow process for high-octane chaps like me.
FACT: I won’t let my wiring keep me from pursuing that end.
FACT: I’m writing, reading, percolating, producing, and sucking on Smarties until the chocolate comes.

Update: So once this posted, I found out that Canadian *Smarties* actually ARE chocolate.
FACT: I feel ripped off, ‘MERICA!
FACT: I should move to Canada.
FACT: Everything should be made of chocolate. Except that would be really messy & make many things anti-useful. Nevermind. NOT A FACT after all.

Flash Fic: Alchemy 2.0


Ipad Gold Ingot

To be honest, I’m not sad that Paracelsus is dead. He was old as dirt. Not only can I do my own thing now, but I don’t have to cringe at his judgmental, gold-toothed sneer anymore.

Don’t get me wrong; he was an okay mentor who taught me the basics of alchemy. I’d be nowhere as awesome as I am without him. But, the thing is, he was stuck in the old ways. As wise as he was, Paracelsus wouldn’t accept that we have technology in the 21st century that the old coots didn’t.

Like his whole Great Work obsession. I get it. It’d be cool to create a Philosopher’s Stone to transmute junky base metals into gold. But, really? Who cares?  For thousands of years, wrinkly dudes with scraggly beards have been trying to do that. It’s not gonna happen. Just move on already.

He never even got close to making it happen. Instead, he charged me with stupid busywork of extracting existing gold from ore. A bunch of rock crushing, washing the dust over copper plates coated in mercury, then the repetition of that tedious refinement process, over and over again until he had a few tiny gold flakes worth a couple bucks. Boring as crap, not profitable, and totally not alchemy.

Paracelsus was all about the exoteric, physical process. I’m much more spiritual, into the esoteric/mystic vibe. My new process marries the ancient with the modern. Pretty genius if you ask me. And my piles of glittering gold speak for themselves.

I use some old-school materials like salt, mercury (of course), caustic lime, and sulfur. But they’re just catalysts to amp up the intensity of the spell. The Molecular Receiver and 3-D printer soft-wired through my smart phone hotspot make the actual alchemy possible.

Chugging a few shots of absinthe doesn’t hurt.

That stubborn, backwards-thinking Paracelsus would say I’m bastardizing the alchemical tradition. Whatever. I’ve got more gold than the geezer ever dreamed of. Sure, I’m not actually creating it from scratch, but neither was he. At least I’m making precious metal instantly appear. And it’s not like I’m stealing. I’m simply finding things which were lost and forgotten.

Take my first experiment two months ago.

I lit orange candles, for luck, during the full moon. Eff off if you think that’s lame. Some of the old traditions can’t be broken. I laid out the salt circle in my mom’s basement and ignited the mercurial sulfur amalgam in a coffee can. Low tech stuff. I calibrated the printer and backhauled the Molecular Receiver’s signal over the wi-fi. High tech. Next came the software-of-sorts. Every good alchemist knows you need magick to drive the process.

I filtered this ancient incantation from Tycho the Elder through my voice recognition app. I was super cautious, though. I had absolutely no idea how much lost gold was out there, so I set the parameters pretty tight to only include [“charms” AND “baubles”].

Then I chanted.

What gold is lost, I must now find. Charms and baubles, make them mine.
Bring them back, they must be found. Take my fortune, spin it round.

One iteration is all it took.

The 3-D printer immediately started spitting out gold: lockets, tiny spoons, fancy buttons, these cool little rosettes, clasps, bracelet charms in all shapes and sizes. Before I knew it, mom’s musty basement was flooded with stuff lost over the centuries. I could barely keep up with the transmission. At one point, I was scrambling with a shop broom in one hand and a rake in the other, trying my damndest to make room for more. By the end, waist-deep in gold trinkets, I had no choice but to disengage the receiver.

Stick that in your stinky-ass pipe, Paracelsus.

That single interrupted spell produced a crapload of gold. In theory, I’m an effin billionaire. I only scrapped a small portion of it—a shoebox worth—and scored 350 grand. I reinvested it right away: upgraded all the equipment, bought some property. It took me three full weeks, four dozen truckloads, and two pulled muscles to haul all that scratch to an old 50,000 ft2 warehouse-turned-mystical-lab on the south side of town.

By then, the moon was already waxing full again. I cast the spell to summon gold statues lost through antiquity. I qualified the parameters [height>=6” AND height<=12”] and [“soldiers”]. I ended up with my own army of 30,000 miniature warriors. It felt wrong to melt them down. So I lined them along the edge of the mezzanine so they could watch over the awesomeness happening in my lab below.

I can’t stop making lists of all the gold I can dredge up: watches and fobs, rings, armor, chains, inkwells, crowns, chalices, flatware. I’ve got pages of programming possibilities. The most exciting are [“coins”] and [“bullion”]. Can you even imagine how much is out there? Buried in the earth, lying in the sewers, shipwrecked and lost at sea? I’ll have to set parameters like [mint_date<1500CE] and probably [max_value=10000 “coins”] and then cast the spells by time period until I find them all.

It’s ridiculous how much lost and forgotten gold is out there. I’d never be able to spend it all—or even spend what I’ve already summoned. Still, I want to find every last scrap of it. Because I’m spiritual like that.

The full moon’s rising. The candles are lit.

I know it’s stupid, but I keep catching glimpses of Paracelsus’s sneer glinting at me from the greasy, dark corners of my warehouse. Ghost or not, I’m snatching those gold teeth right out of his critical jaw tonight. His, and a million [“incisors” AND “molars”] like them.

All lost and forgotten.

Which is something I’ll never be. The filthy rich, and humble, Rodney the Magnanimous will be remembered and venerated as the Father of Alchemy 2.0. That’s got a good, golden ring to it.

I have a nice little collection of Flash Fic pieces & figured I’d share a few over the next couple weeks. Hope you enjoy!

The Taste of His Skin–Like Lemonade Spiked with too Much Sugar


creepy baby doll

[That post title is as long as some old-skool Fall Out Boy song title.]

Some things are essential in life:

  • 10-key pad on the laptop
  • Hair gel
  • Frequent kisses
  • Sugar
  • Shoe polish

I mean, come on. It’s not like we live in a third world country or something.

Another essential thing: perpetual creation

Since letting go of my obsessive Phreak Show revisions, I’ve been scribbling new concepts & possibilities as they emerge. A designated notebook, a One Note file, post-its, and random scraps of paper have all been employed to record the snippets. Some ideas are random & stand alone. They explode like witty fireworks, burn brightly for a moment, then cool into ash. Their purpose completed, they sleep. Others grow a little bigger & get amplified, expanded, more fully formed.

This is the sifting process whereby seeds are planted & weeds are pulled.
Somewhere in the mix is the germ of the next novel waiting to sprout.
And what a haphazard bunch of wildflowers they are.

I’m a spec-fic kind of guy. So that’s a given.
With this next tale, I want to go dark. Very dark. Push it beyond a little grit & really dig into psyche-twisting.
THE concept hasn’t fully formed yet, but there are a few contenders in the garden. Or, better, in the mound of oozing body parts?

For fun, raw bits of character, dialogue, ideas, science, scribbled things. Most are not dark. At least, not yet.

  • “I read carnage like tea leaves.”
  • Clocks slow down the closer they are to the strongest force of a gravitational field.
  • “In a world with such tiny grains of peace, it alone drives back the sickness and the sound. It alone allows us to walk in the brightness. To us, the ritual is not blasphemy; it is salvation.”
  • Note: use Fibonacci number for dates in the solar year (Day #1, Day #2, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233 – Julian Calendar?) as key dates/days in the spell process. [Research where these numbers fall. Count it from one of the soltices?]
  • Human thoughts are physical events which can be felt by others
  • “Take this,” Rosette says, then she tugs down her veil, and slips behind Lori’s robe.
    I unwrap the decaying cloth. The blade inside is rusted and dull with the sleep of twenty years.

    Lori steps forward. “It has your father’s blood upon it.”

    “Don’t call him that,” Rob spits. “He’s grown as cold as his master. He’s another Kraphet waiting to happen.”

    Lori’s eyes grow moist. Even though none of her life actually flows through our veins, she has adopted all the lost-ones as her own. Pain radiates from her each time her surrogate children deny their maker. She worships Laban as I worship Rob.

    I grip his arm, and force him to bow with me. “Thank you for the gift.”

    Lori reaches towards me to caresses the blade with her pale hand, then lovingly tucks the corners of its shroud back in place. “I do not know what help it can offer, but it is all I have to give.”

  • An anti-matter bomb would be ridiculously destructive, but such a thing would take 10,000’s of years to construct.
  • We are mostly empty matter—empty space with a few pinpricks  of material (like rocks floating in space) making up our physical form.
  • The Latin maxim ignoramus et ignorabimus, meaning “we do not know and will not know”, stood for a position on the limits of scientific knowledge, in the thought of the nineteenth century.
  • Studies show that lack of control causes our brains to see patterns in what would otherwise be randomness.
  • “Magic is real, all around us. Much of it is so mundane it is overlooked and accepted as a fact of life. Words are magic. Movement is magic. Emotions are magic. These come naturally, they are intuitive, and are thus considered normal. Then there are the higher magics, the rare kinds, the ones most would call magic. These are beyond simple comprehension, stretch past the bounds of our logic. These types of magic are harder to wield because doubt is the default human condition. And it is difficult to believe in things which we can not explain. All manifestations of magic—from thought, to speech, to gesture, to emotion, to the higher orders—can be wielded with either selfless intention (white magic), or selfish, harmful intention (black magic). But in between, where most intentions fall, there is gray.”
  • q: Spit in its mouth? Breathe into it? Hold it to her skin & sing/chant/incant to it?
  • Further along in the process, the heart falls out, because it hasn’t taken yet.
  • Love triangle: Combo of Beauty & the Beast meets Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde
  • “Science is nothing more than magick which has been explained. Gravity, magnetism, x-rays, germs, radio signals, DNA, reproduction—these are all magick.””I don’t like thinking of magick as science. I don’t want it explained away. I like the mystery.””Do you know how a computer works? How binary code and electric currents transmit images so you can play games, or chat with friends, or view pics on a screen?””Well, zeros and ones, and switches, and electric impulses…and…not really…”

    “See? Even though someone knows how those things work, and can manipulate the elements in the right way, that doesn’t make the magick behind it any less mysterious. You have no idea what really makes it all work. You only know—from experience—that it does. You take the magick behind the science for granted.”

  • The taste of his skin—like lemonade spiked with too much sugar. The billow of his heart pumping moonlight into me.
  • Mara’s eyes glaze over. “The guardians know you are coming. They will suffer the second death to protect their maker.”
  • Darkness, thick as oil, clogs the side alleys and doorways. Red occasionally burns through the shadows in the glow of hungry eyes and the flare of smokers sucking in death-grass fumes.
  • Maybe they conflict because of his interest in magic/spiritual/paranormal & her interest in solid science/provable/tangible things?
    • Random thought:
      • They have a history—when they were kids, they were “Ghost Hunters”, stayed in a haunted house, investigated graveyards, Ouija, toyed with levitation & seances, etc.
        • This is where some connections for the QUORUM can come from–contacts earth boy already has.
      • Parted ways partly due to their difference in worldviews–but MAINLY, REALLY due to a failed attempt at a relationship.
  • “Loving a teddy bear or grandma’s locket isn’t enough. Love is weak magic. Way weaker than most people pretend.”
  • The buzzing and screams work into a frenzy as they near climax, “chastising & condemning as only a wilting god can”, then
    explode, then fall utterly silent.

And I could go on and on. Somewhere in this cacophony may be the root of my next novel. Or maybe not. The essential thing is that I keep the conduit open & continue searching for that perfect seed.

And who the hell knows? I may not even end up in dark for the next novel. I doubt it’ll be sunshine & cupcakes, but I guess it could. No. Definitely no the fuck it won’t. LGBTQ themes are always on my mind. So far, I’ve been too chicken to push in that direction… Hmmm…perhaps focus on that AND go dark? :: grabs scribbling pen ::