A witness in the night

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Acknowledgement lucastorquato27.deviantart.com

I wasn’t at my best, hot, bothered, coughing, feeling sick. But that’s the time she chose. We hadn’t had a real talk, the way she wants, for a while. Evidently, I had been working, making progress, trying to move forward, damn.

The shimmer around her was an omen of what was to follow: the bitter complaints of a very dissatisfied lady, or rather ladies, since she was wearing all their faces, at once. I could tell she was furious.

“You have been at it again,” she said, as I was trying to focus on her shape in darkness, almost frightened, “yes, don’t play the innocent, it ain’t working, Monsieur le littérateur, de mes fesses, you are! First you set me on with a couple of robotic morons, and in uniform, just showing what a lamentable case I am, in your words, Sir!”

What the heck was she talking about now… It must be about the story, the girl… “Yes,” she resumed, pointing a vengeful finger at me, “You know perfectly well what I am talking about. No respect for anything. The last thing I know I am described, hopeless, as a sort of female predator, but, just a minute, not only that, an immoral kinda despicable spy. Yes Sir, no denying please! And once again, no discussion, no consultation with me: to hell with your feelings, girl!!”

I was speechless, which was probably best. I urgently needed the loo, but she was in the way, less than a meter from the bed. I had a sweat.

“Besides, you are now setting me up, again, as a complete idiot, a kinda pussy cat, ready to roll over for that distinguished, and rich, of course, lady. I assume you modelled her on your wife! YOU are, Sir, the despicable character in this story…”

There was a pause. Her shape was getting a little vaguer, was she going? Bad luck, she must have been thinking.

“Just one word of warning: don’t, just don’t set me up to become her lover! This is not me, I am not like that! I…”

I risked a word, to my peril,

“You mean, you don’t like women?”

“You, innocent you, you know perfectly well this is not what I mean, I am a human being, I have feelings, I let you know! I am not someone you, or that slut, can pick up in a club, and then pack up like, like…”

“This is not what I…”

“Shut up! You don’t even know what you’re doing. You use creatures like me as if they were your slaves, no respect, no real understanding, is this what you call writing?”

Another pause. I was by then desperate, but she gave no signs of wanting to move on.

“I am not going to have this. Not again. You never put things right. You start something, you don’t finish. And I, am the victim! I had enough!”

I attempted conciliation.

“I’ll rewrite those scenes. You know what work in progress is, don’t you?”

She was laughing, how beautiful she was in her anger…

“I despair. Your punishment will be your own readers, I mean the few who risk approaching that… well, pretend story! I am going home, where you cannot touch me!”

I felt confused, abused, abandoned. As she disappeared I could hear her laughter down the dark corridors of my imagination. I was alone, morning was still far away…

 

Image: Warrior Angel – 23-06-12 by Lucastorquato27 on DeviantArt

Hesitate #WritersWednesday

Today’s prompt

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“You have to tell the truth,” she said, serious and mocking at the same time, “the truth about me, the person I am, not the one you would wish me to be!”

I was a little peeved about that statement. I thought I was truthful, without hesitation about her qualities and shortcomings, being a cool and objective observer. Now, in the middle of the night, as she looked at me, I was beginning to doubt. Was I writing about her real self, or someone who did not exist? A doppelgänger of sort?

“But,”she continued in her calm voice, “you should know, if you can’t do it naturally, I’ll do it for you. And I won’t hesitate to show to your readers what the truth is about this great author!”

Then I woke up. Her voice was still ringing in my mind. There was a long time to go before dawn. I wished she’d been here, for real, telling me more about herself. My beloved hero, the perfect woman…

Picture: Joanna Pallaris, via  ilpianobis

 

Clean #amwriting

The Prompt

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Each day some words appear on the page, tentative, surrounded in mist,  as if those words emerged from a cloudy landscape, as yet unformed. Summoning a clean page let the characters know: they are not alone, more life is being breathed into their world, a genesis.

Their impatience is a testimony to their precarious existence: until the work is complete, they don’t know for sure that they will survive the latest twist, those nightly revisions, the dreaded editing. For words may disappear, and with them, the reasons for those fragile beings to be born.

Each day, for us too, is a clean page, to be written with care, and attention to detail: for the number of pages is finite, and the Book has many characters.

Conundrum #DailyPost #WritersWednesday

When is a logical proposition a conundrum?

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Well, is there such a thing as the writer’s conundrum? That would be, perhaps, a logical proposition as to the role of writers, their responsibility, their freedom. Isn’t it the case that, for example, a writer whose inspiration is drawn from the society of her time, somehow owes that society something in return: her novel, her contribution to the common welfare, maybe the denunciation of evil?

So, how about this writer’s conundrum:

His inspiration came from the characters he created, but, once created, the characters didn’t let him develop the story: they wanted to tell their own… 

Image: Jeanne Mammen, Jüngling, c.1943-45

Disagree #DailyPost #WritersWednesday

Inspired by today’s prompt

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“It’s me you’re babbling about, isn’t it?” she said, on a tone of voice that betrayed her mounting anger. I kept silent, no point in denying: the computer screen clearly showing the latest entry on her story was there, in front of us. At this point she was arguing with her ex-husband, and a row was boiling.

“I asked you before: let’s talk first before you start writing about my intimate life, wasn’t that made clear to you?” I could not disagree, we had that conversation a year ago, she’d complained about not being consulted on details of her life she wanted to be true and accurate. Then she even went as far as mentioning “abuse”. An author abusing his characters, well, this character, at any rate.

I wanted a way out, but knew she would not give up easily. “I suggest you read the draft, and I’ll do the corrections you want, within reason. How does that sound to you?” Her reply was as icy as her grey eyes:

“The fool doesn’t even know the power of words. Think again: what you write can never be erased, or edited out. You just hurt people with words, as sure as you would with a knife! So take that for a certainty: I DISAGREE with you messing with me, my life, past and future, unless I have knowledge, beforehand, of what you are plotting.”

She knows her strength: characters have their rights, and for a writer, breaching those is a sure road to bad writing. I went to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea, but when I came back she was gone. The screen showed in large characters:

“YOU’D BETTER LISTEN THIS TIME!”

Buddy #TheDailyPost #amwriting

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Publish a new post on your blog interpreting the theme.

(S)he follows me everywhere: in these pages, at the gym, at the supermarket, on the long walks on the Downs, in airports, in the canyons… His – or her – face has changed a little in time, but not that much. It may have been someone I knew, long ago, or just the sum of many people, met here and there, in crowded stations, at school, on the battlefield: who knows?

(S)he haunts the cities I visit, seeking inspiration. It’s always about her/him. And (s)he knows it, revels in it, who could be more important than her/him, the character at the centre of everything this fool writes?

Survival #TheDailyPost #amwriting

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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April was a blessing, a trip to a far away and remote country we love, meeting fascinating people, and that reflective time that a writer always needs. Of course there was the challenge, but we had planned for it. It was fun.

The truth is that we did not write anything of substance for a year. I say “we”, because the “characters” – I see them as some kind of spirits, the kachinas of this occult art – did not contribute much either, and so it is only fair to include them. There were titbits of flash fiction, the beginning of a plan that led nowhere…

In brief, the rot had set in. But once back to this crowded little island, ideas came to the surface, en masse. And now, there is a structure slowly emerging. The characters are taking shape, their souls are stirring.

Ha! Creation… The old Scrivener has been taken out of mothballs. No longer survival time, but Renaissance!

Fight #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

 

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It took me a long time, to understand who you were, and how it was that you came to us now, reminding me of a nearly all forgotten past. Sarah and you are one, even if herself did not see that when you first came in our lives. It is a complicated tale for us humans to fully apprehend – and yes, I know you are as human as us, only ahead of us, the being we will one day become. Sarah’s happy, for me and for herself. We are reconciled with you, Melissa, and I am reconciled with my lost youth.

Of course I cannot follow all the mathematics, and even less the physics, although Gabrielle’s spent a fair time explaining the transforms to us. Sarah is a much better mathematician, and she does understand quantum physics far more than I do. You and her had a good time discussing the reasons for Lagrangian logic, or we would say, mechanics. Old Newton must be turning round in his grave…

As you recall I am an incorrigible romantic: watching the two of you, in Gabrielle’s old house, laughing and juggling with those exquisite slides, I kept dreaming. How similar you two are, and how beautiful. Gabrielle said I had nothing to fear: neither she nor you are pretending to be extraordinary, merely living at a level of complexity slightly away from us, but still it leaves us plenty of space and time to enjoy ourselves, with you. Sarah has bought into the idea that I am now able to visit you, Melissa, in Gabrielle’s world, and that does not involve any risk to my body. Still it is a little difficult for me to accept that simple reality: what travels are quantum of information, to use our archaic description, and this avoids the quantum electrodynamics limits of old very gracefully. So, for now, I have given up deciphering the equations, I just enjoy listening to you, the sound of your voice, the warmth you and Sarah have brought to my life. As a writer I am very privileged.

But will I be able to tell our story? That is without betraying the sweet secret: Melissa is immortal.

Originally posted as “What I see”

Sentimental #TheDailyPost

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Sentimental you are, for sure, and just loving to keep things in their place too. So that no genuine feeling gets lost, in the tumult of daily life.

So, you want clarity, you there, me here, or at least some place. Just in case something goes awry, then I must supply the explanation, the justification, who knows the how, when and so what…

Hardly a chore that is, what wouldn’t I do for you, my sentimental half? As the song went, from dawn to dusk, and a little later still. For this is my role, as a non-sentimental soul, just materialistic, as it were. Find and state the reasons, unravel the logic, apologise as necessary.

This is a nice routine, that keeps your mind free, for those high feelings. In the meantime, I am working hard at becoming, one day, more sentimental…

Image: Study of Mrs. Allan Bott, Tamara de Lempicka, c.1930, via http://kundst.tumblr.com

 

As a #writer, is #Facebook useful to me?

Au Pont de la Tournelle

Today, a very good friend of mine, in real life as well as in cyberspace, quitted her Facebook account, which she created in 2009. She said to me she no longer had time to keep her page up to date, even to the minimum level that would be of interest to her “friends”. And she added: “But of course, the real friends and I keep in touch, by writing – yes! oldfashion letters – and via our blogs, that are the right places for a genuine exchange of ideas.”

It makes sense to me. When I started using Facebook, it was an attempt to build up the main character in my first novel, and later on, to promote my work. It has been a mixed success. Quickly the character achieved a life of her own, and was never really dependent on social media for her development. From a writing and work promotion viewpoint, I have to admit having had close to zero contribution through the Facebook page I created for the novel. By comparison I found Twitter a far more effective tool, to meet other writers, keep up to date on news that interested me, and promote my work.

In truth, the real writer tool is the blog. There, it is possible to develop a meeting of minds, with genuinely interested readers, and people of common interests, who are willing to take the time to comment and follow. It’s give and take. There is nothing artificial in the development of such communities. Given the time it takes to keep up on social media, one has to be economical, and discerning. Has Facebook helped me in my development as a writer? The answer is, probably, very little, compared with the real progress made on the blogs, and, also compared with the source of inspiration and contacts I found via Twitter.

Is this then, conclusive? I have nothing against Facebook, it’s fun to use, but just appears, often, pointless. This is of course a very personal viewpoint, what does not work for me may well do marvels for others! Our main resource is time. So, maybe, it’s time to reconsider?