Back to the Airwaves

This is one of my innumerable ‘Hey Blog, What’s Up Old Friend?’ posts.

As is obvious from yesterday’s post, I’m dealing with a lot of grief. My mom passed last week and that post is all I really want to say about it for a while.

Segue from Maudlin to Shameless Self-Promotion — ACTIVAAAAATE.

Stanley Spudowski always elevates the mood.
Stanley Spudowski always elevates the mood.

Fellow fantasy writer C.B. McCullough wrote a lovely review of the book, and it makes me feel like punching the air while riding on the hoverboard from Back to the Future II. I’m going to return the favor and review his work The Path Less Traveled.

Progress on The Riddle Box continues — I met my goal of 30 pages last week, and dagnabbit I’m going to buckle down today and at least write five more.

318 Words about Death

It’s like green. Like losing the color green.

Your brain clatters on, and your heart keeps pumping. It’s just green, after all. You’ve seen green plenty of times, it’s common and commonplace. A shade that your eyes find unremarkable as a whale finds the sea.

And what’s more, your brain can process the loss. You know what things are

The Final Illustration for Siren - Owen Gent Illustration
The Final Illustration for Siren – Owen Gent Illustration

green, it’s as simple as math, as simple as subtraction. When you see the blank your mind ticks and says “Oh, that’s a thing that Once Was Green. Just move forward as if it were Green.”

The trees are blank, but I know they Once Were Green. The grass is blank, but I know it Once Was Green. Traffic lights present no problem – I see the yellow, the red and then the blank light. I press the gas as if it were Green. My favorite mug is blank but it still holds water.

I begin to avoid avocado and it’s blank flesh. Kermit is blank and his song just sounds like static. Blank lettuce, blank pickles, blank tractors on the roadway. Blank markers in my bag writing in blank ink.

Blank push-pins and my toothbrush is blank. Blank shirts in my closet, all of my money is blank. Pidge pilots the Blank Lion but still helps form Voltron. Obi-wan’s light saber is blank.  My eyes are hazel, a mixture of green and brown. In the right light my eyes are blank in the mirror.

Each blank is a scar. I move forward through the world, startled again and again by how much has been erased.

The blanks burn. They burn like a net of empty.

One day, will I forget about What Once Was Green? Will my mind triumph through silent substitution, the blanks covered by quick illusion?

One day I will see green trees again. I will see green grass again.

But I will know that they are blank.

30 Pages by Friday

ImageI’m 20 pages deep into the first draft of The Riddle Box, and I’ve been using the same 5 page/week plan as Spell/Sword — but I think it’s time to put on my Big Boy Pants. Time to write 10, son.

It will also justify my shiny new toy: a Samsung Chromebook.

Pleasant Discovery

It’s always a treat when you stumble upon a new facet of the characters you’re writing.

I’ve been with Rime and Jonas for a while now, through Spell/Sword and in

Phil Noto
Phil Noto

their far, dark future of Lodestar. As every writer must, I know a lot about them. More than I’ll ever subject the reader to, more that would remotely be germane to the narrative. But still I can be surprised, and find out something brand new about my protagonists in the process of writing.

I’ve been working on Riddle Box, the second book, and it’s a murder mystery. It’s completely different from Spell/Sword structurally, and purposefully puts the kids in a radically different situation than the first book.

Today, I discovered that Rime is a huge nerd for mystery stories.

I mean, me too — but Rime is a pretty sour sort, and can be a moody jerk. It is positively delightful to watch her get jazzed up about solving the mystery of The Riddle Box.

What’s next? Am I going to find out Jonas is an opera geek?

black wire fever

black wire fever.

I wrote this poem years ago, trying to explain and capture a certain feeling. An intense anxiety coupled with a desire to interact, to read, to flip between channels, web pages, build a model, read a book, watch a movie – flipping between different apps on my phone over and over. Just punching wires into sockets trying to suck up enough juice to lay quiet, to lay still.

It’s clearly rooted in anxiety, mis-directed psychic energy. It can be turned to

Artist Unknown
Artist Unknown

nothing productive, nothing useful, nothing creative.  Just more and more black wires leading to empty pages , burning through the html of the universe.

I’ve been feeling it a lot lately.

I wouldn’t call it a hell, but it’s definitely one of the tunnels that lead there.

Name of the Knight

Enough people have finished the book to start asking me some pointed questions about it.

Questions like:

1. Wait, what?

2. Is it RHYME or REE-MAY?

3. What’s all this about Jonas being a murderer?  Say it ain’t so!

4. You do realize that the ogre’s name changes in Chapter One?

Artist - Bruno Vergauwen
Artist – Bruno Vergauwen

5. Wait, you killed them? Why are you so horrible?

To which I respond:

1. Dude, I know, right?

2. It’s RHYME, like ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

3. Not telling. Yet. Keep buying books, suckers.

4. [hides in a barrel]

5. Dude, I know, right?

And a couple of people have also asked “So, Jonas keeps mentioning his Master, the knight he served. What’s his Master’s name?”

Here’s the fun part. I have no idea.

Names are very, very important. The best ones appear, fully formed in the savannah of my mind — or I fall upon them like wild beasts in the tall grass.

And I haven’t caught his Master’s name yet.

I know the shape of their story, the gleam in the old man’s eye — but not his name, not yet.

Isn’t this great? It’s like Spell/Sword is spoiler-proof.