Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wednesday Word Count - April 26th

What Am I Working On?
I finished Narrative #2 yesterday!  I actually have a completed short-story :)

Word Count?

How Do I Feel About The Process?
Right now I'm feeling really good that I finished a short story.  Even though it's a 'documentary' style piece, it's the first thing I've written and completed to some length, other than an essay, so I'm feeling proud of myself.  

I'm a bit envious of some of my other classmates who are able to create these amazing stories, settings and characters.  Maybe one day that will happen for me, or maybe writing stories in a 'documentary' style will be more fitting for me.  Either way I'm feeling encouraged and isn't that the point? 

What Am I Reading?
Don DeLillo
White Noise: "The Airborne Toxic Event"
John Updike "Separating"
Roald Dahl The BFG with my son.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Narrative #2 "From Cursed To First" (An Ascension Story)

Here is my version of an "Ascension" story from The 20 Master Plots, following the Chicago Cubs history-making rise to winning the 2016 World Series after 108 years.

From Cursed To First
(Ascension Story)
As the rain began to fall at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on that cold November evening, the ominous feeling of dread was inescapable.  It was Game 7 of the World Series and the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians were tied 3 games each.  Neither team had taken home a World Series trophy in a combined 176 years.  The Chicago Cubs had the longest drought in baseball history, 108 years, and many fans believed that drought was due to a local tavern owner and his goat were asked to leave a game at Wrigley Field because in 1945 because the smell of the goat was bothering other fans.  The tavern owner was said to have placed a curse on the Cubs as revenge for being asked to leave.  So now in 2016, it was a huge deal that the Chicago Cubs were even in the World Series, since their last appearance was in 1948, a year in which they lost.  
For the 2016 Cubs squad, having won an incredible 103 games in the regular season, the best record in baseball for that year, fans were optimistic that the curse was finally over.  Or would something happen like it always did to derail their efforts.  
During the 2016 postseason playoffs, the Cubs managed to beat out the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division Series, 3 games to 1.  Next, they had to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League Championship Series.  They managed to emerge from the series victorious with a 4 games to 2 victory, a feat not accomplished by a Cubs team since 1948!  Sixty-eight years the Cubs had waited to advance to the World Series and now, they’d finally done it.  

The Cubs started Game 7 strong with leadoff hitter Centerfielder Dexter Fowler delivering a homerun in the top of the 1st.  By the 5th inning the Cubs were riding high on a 5-1 lead over the Indians.  But when Cubs Pitcher Kyle Hendricks walked a batter, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon made an abrupt pitching change, pulling Hendricks out and replacing him with Jon Lester.  This mistake on Maddon’s part began to unravel the Cubs precious lead over the Indians. Before the inning finished, Lester would give up 2 runs and between he and Veteran Catcher David Ross, they added two major errors to the inning.  Things seem to stabilize a bit when Catcher David Ross hit a homerun in his last Major League Baseball appearance before retiring.  The score was now 6-3.  Fans back at Wrigley Field were watching the game on a jumbotron and were anticipating a win of the World Series, and as strange as it sounds, it’s something no living Cubs fan has ever experienced.
In another unorthodox move, Cubs Manager Joe Maddon pulled Pitcher Jon Lester in the top of the 7th to put in his closer, Aroldis Chapman who would be pitching on only 3 days rest. Closing pitchers are typically used to close out the 9th inning, and are rarely brought in so early, or on such short rest.  Maddon’s gamble quickly turned advantageous for the Indians.  The Indians managed to get two men on base and one of their star hitters, Rajai Davis hit a home run tying the game 6-6.  
All any Cubs fan could think about were the “curse” that has plagued this team since 1945. Were the Cubs really going to blow their chance at victory?  Would this be yet another heartbreaking and disappointing loss?  Every Cub fan is thinking, “Here we go again, so close to victory and it falls apart!  Again!”  The score stayed tied through the 9th inning and because the Indians were the home team, they get the last at bat.  In the 10th inning it began to rain.  The rain was getting heavier so the grounds crew at Progressive Field decided to initiate a rain delay and cover the field.  The Cubs players hung their heads as they exited the field, worried that this may in fact not be their time. Cubs fans were thinking, “was it the curse preventing them again?”   If the rain passed and they were allowed to resume, and if they lost, would it be because that a tavern owner and his smelly goat were asked to leave Wrigley Field some 71 years ago?  
“The Curse” or “Curse of the Billy Goat” began in 1945.  Billy Goat Tavern owner, William Sianis brought his pet goat to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs play.  The Cubs were in the middle of Game 4 of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, and had not been to the World Series since their win in 1908 (37 years prior) when Sianis was asked to leave the stadium because fans were complaining about the smell of his goat.  Upset by being asked to leave, Sianis allegedly declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”  The Cubs lost Game 4 and ultimately lost the World Series that year. Accounts of this incident differ and the Sianis family claims that after he and his goat named Murphy were “kicked out of Wrigley Field”, William sent a telegram to Philip K. Wrigley that stated, “You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again.  You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat.”  While no one truly knows for sure what really happened that day in Game 4 of the 1945 World Series, the effects of this incident certainly played a part in the psyche of the Cubs players and their fans for the better part of 71 years.
        An incident with a black cat in 1969, a supposed wet glove and Cubs fan Steve Bartman in 2003, only added weight to “curse” lore.  During a critical game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in September of 1969 in the race for the pennant, a stray black cat walked between Cubs captain Ron Santo, who was on deck at the time, and the Cubs dugout.  After that incident, the Mets pulled ahead of the Cubs in that pennant race and would go on to win the 1969 World Series. In 1984 during a playoff game in the postseason, the Cubs had a two game lead over the San Diego Padres in a best-of-five series.  However, in game five, first baseman Leon Durham allowed a ground ball to blow past him in the 7th inning, citing the occurrence was due to a “wet glove”.  That crucial error allowed the Padres to turn the momentum of the game and go on to score four more runs, resulting in winning the series. The most notorious incident that most people will remember today is that of Cubs fan Steve Bartman.  On October 14, 2003, in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, the Cubs were ahead of the Marlins 3-0, while holding a three games to two lead over them in the best of seven series.  When Marlins 2nd baseman Luis Castillo hit a foul ball, Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached out to catch it, diverting Cubs outfielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch it and delivering the 2nd out to the Marlins.  The Cubs would have been just 4 outs away from winning the National League Pennant, which would have advanced them to the World Series, something they had not accomplished since 1948.  This incident marked a turning point in the game and the Marlins went on to score 8 runs with the Cubs losing the game 3-8 and in turn also losing Game 7 as well.    
       Decades of Cubs fans have lived with the lore of the curse and had adopted the mantra, “Maybe Next Year”.  In fact, when Cubs fans saw each other in passing wearing a Cubs shirt or hat, they would often speak those words to each other, “May Next Year.”  Despite the resolute acceptance that the Cubs are the “Loveable Losers”, loyalty to this ball club is like none other.  Games at Wrigley Field are almost always sold out.  There is never a sea of open seats in the stadium.  Cub Nation remains strong.  Even attendance at away games, Cubs fans are ever present. Year after year dedicated Cubs fans hope and pray that the mantra of “Maybe Next Year” will turn into “This Year!”
January of 2009 turned out to be the year that the Chicago Cubs began their journey to the 2016 World Series when Tom Ricketts, the owner and CEO of Incapital LLC and director of Ameritrade, an investment company his father started when he was just eight years old, led his family in the bidding process to acquire the Chicago Cubs from seller Sam Zell.  Ricketts became a Cubs fan when he moved from Omaha to attend the University of Chicago with his younger brother Peter. The brothers used to attend games frequently. Tom also met his wife Cecelia in the bleachers within the “Friendly Confines” of historic Wrigley Field, the home to the Cubs since 1914. The sale of the Chicago Cubs to the Ricketts Family was approved unanimously by the owners of the other 29 Major League Baseball Teams and Tom Ricketts was introduced as chairman of the Cubs on October 31, 2009.  Two years later on October 12, 2011, Tom recruited Theo Epstein as President of Baseball Operations and former general manager of the Boston Red Sox.  Under Theo’s leadership in 2004, he helped the Red Sox end an eighty-six year drought and alleged curse of their own.  Plagued with the “Curse of the Bambino”, referring to the sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1918, the Red Sox finally won a World Series Championship.  Rounding out the Cubs front-office lineup was Jed Hoyer as General Manager.  For the years of 2010-2014, the Cubs went through a period of “Decline and Rebuild” as they ushered in the youth movement by slowly building a team of young but skilled players.  The Cubs also focused on replenishing their minor-league system.  The final piece to the puzzle occurred in November of 2014 with the addition of former Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon.  With a strong front office and strong roster beginning to form, would the Cubs have what it takes to break the supposed curse that has plagued them for so long?
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series…
After blowing their lead against the Cleveland Indians, and going into the 10th inning tied at 6-6, the players exit the field for the rain delay sullen.  Immediately Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward calls a team meeting in the weight room.  Heyward delivers an inspiring speech to his fellow teammates, “No! Don’t do that!  Don’t hang your heads. WE NEVER QUIT!  This has been our motto all season long.  Let’s go back out there and do this!  THIS is OUR time!”  Heyward’s speech was exactly what his teammates needed to hear.  What started out as an ominous rainstorm that rolled in and swallowed up any hope of winning, turned out to be just what the team need?  That 17-minute rain delay was enough wash away 108 years of frustration and 71 years plagued by a supposed curse.  The Cubs emerged from that rain delay energized and ready to finish what they started.

First up was Outfielder Kyle Schwarber who rendered a base hit into right field.  Pinch runner Albert Almora Jr. is called in to run for Schwarber and represents the tying run on 1st base.  Earlier in the season in April, Schwarber and Fowler were involved in a collision in the outfield, resulting in Schwarber having to have a complete left knee reconstruction.  After months of rehabilitation, Schwarber was cleared to play in the NLDS against the Dodgers and now, he was in his first World Series.  Next up 3rd baseman and 2016 MVP Kris Bryant gets out on a fly ball.  The Indians pitcher walks first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Seasoned and multifaceted player Ben Zobrist was up and delivered a much-needed base hit that sends Almora Jr. in to score.  Now the Cubs lead 7-6.  The Cubs were able to push past the tough moment of doubt.  Next up Miguel Montero gets a base hit and sends Rizzo home. Cubs now hold a 2 run lead over the Indians.
The Indians fail to come back from the 2 run deficit in the bottom of the 10th with their last at bat.  With 2 outs, a ground ball is hit to Cubs 3rd baseman Kris Bryant.  He scoops it up just has he as done in so many plays before this, but his foot slips on the wet grass mid-throw to 1st base.  Anthony Rizzo steps up and elevates himself slightly on the bag to catch the throw from Bryant and it’s the 3rd out.  Game over!  The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series.  The players on the field and in the dugout ran onto the field in exuberant shock and joy.  It’s an amazing feat. 108 years of drought is finally over and the curse of the goat is finally over as well.

In a post game interview with 3rd baseman Kris Bryant, an interviewer asked him how did the

Cubs overcome the Cubs curse.  Bryant simply replied, “We are all too young to know anything 

about that.  I guess it was our time.”  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - April 19

What Am I Working On?
I'm finalizing my draft for Narrative #2.  I changed directions a bit to I reworked the story.

Word Count?

How Do I Feel About The Process?
I'm still working on some ideas for my portfolio.

What Am I Reading?
Sylvia Plath poems "Lady Lazarus" "Daddy"
Anne Sexton poems "The Truth the Dead Know" "The Starry Night" "Sylvia's Death"
Roald Dahl The BFG with my son.

And I just began re-reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - April 12

What Am I Working On?
I'm still working out my "Ascension" story and I have a better path for it worked out in my head, I just need to get it typed up!

I'm interested in the experiment I missed from Monday, Choose Your Own Adventure Story, I'm excited to try something with that idea.

I'm also working on a few poems for my portfolio, again so far in my head, nothing typed out just yet.

Word Count?
None - We left of Mammoth last Friday for a Spring Break trip and just returned last night so I haven't had a chance to type anything out, although I had some time to think about several ideas in the car while driving back and forth.

How Do I Feel About The Process?
I wish I could come up with more interesting worlds and concepts like some of the other students.  I'm really impressed with some of their ideas.

What Am I Reading?
On The Road (Part 1, Chaper 1) Jack Kerouac

Howl Allen Ginsberg

What Am I Watching
Nothing this week.

What Am I Listening To
CNN on satellite while driving to Mammoth and NPR

Pat Benatar (an oldie but a goodie)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Experiment #2 - Poem


When are we going to be done focusing on color and our differences?
In reading some texts from 30, 40, 50 years ago, nothing has changed really.
We fool ourselves, thinking that we are civilized,
That we have moved past simple divisions of color or of thoughts.

But in truth, some people remain stuck,
Blinded by their own ignorance to empathize with anyone of a different color,
Anyone who may have a differing opinion.
Well, now we have the Orange one.
One who spews hatred to anyone who crosses his path.
White, Black, Brown, Man or Woman, it does not matter.

We must stand united against this Orange tidal wave,
Washing over us,
Drowning our humanity.

We must not be divided,
We must not be discouraged, but rather forge,
Forge ahead and lift up one another up out of the abyss
And into the light of a colorless and cohesive humanity.

When we do that, the Orange swamp will be drained.

Word Count Wednesday - April 5

What Am I Working On?
I'm currently working on multiple projects, first is the 'Ascension' story of the Chicago Cubs and their World Series win after a 108 year drought and what changed to make that happen.  Second, I'm also working on some poetry, but it's not going that well and I'm unsure how to help myself be better at that.  Third, I'm working on Narrative #2, a continuation of my story The Lab.

Word Count?
I'm not altogether sure, I've been writing in my notebook/journal and haven't physically counted.

How Do I Feel About The Process?
I'm not feeling my creative juices flowing as much as I did the first half of the semester and I'm not sure why.  I'm writing stuff down, but nothing I love so far.

I had a really hard time with the in-class experiment today.  I could not think of any ideas to go with, nor any poetry-like words to write.  I would very much like to change that so I will challenge myself to do so.

What Am I Reading?
Gwendolyn Brooks :
                 "A Bronzeille Mother Loiters in Mississippi, Meanwhile a Mississippi Mother Burns
                 Bacon" - I loved this piece written from Carolyn Bryant's perspective.

                "The Mother"

Flannery O'Connor "A Good Man is Hard To Find"

James Baldwin "Sonny's Blues"

What Am I Watching?
1 episode of the Showtime original show Billions

Bill Maher

John Oliver

What Am I Listening To?
Johnny Cash playlist
Pearl Jam
Evita soundtrack

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - March 29

What am I working on?:
I've been spending some time journaling/free writing ideas, just to get my creative juices flowing.

Word Count:

How Do I Feel About The Process?
I found the improve exercise we did in class extremely helpful, and I had never thought about it to help the writing process.  What a great idea!

What Am I Reading?
Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman

John Cheever "The Swimmer"

What Am I Watching?
Not much this week.  I've been busy with PTA meetings, a photoshoot for my son and getting 4 days of my son's homework finished in two days because of a baseball game tonight and baseball practice tomorrow.

Bill Maher on HBO was particularly good this past Friday night.

What Am I Listening To?

Some classic Billy Joel and Adele this past Sunday while we were doing chores around the house and some Pearl Jam classics in my car.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - March 22

What am I working on?:
I'm just now getting back into the swing of things.  We had Spring Break and I had an essay due yesterday for my American Lit class.

Now I can focus on Experiment #7, I was assigned "Ascension" from the 20 Master Plots book.  My idea is to follow the story of the Chicago Cubs baseball team in their 'ascension' out of being losers and not winning a World Series for the past 108 years!  It's an incredible story (if you like baseball ;-) and it immediately came to mind when I received my assignment.

Word Count:
About 200, I began free writing and will work on it further.

How Do I Feel About The Process?
I wish I could carve our more time to write.  I'm juggling 2 classes at Moorpark, being a wife and taking care of the home, a mom and making sure my son's homework gets finished (yep! homework in 2nd grade) and I also volunteer at my son's school and run the art program for his school.  Not to mention trying to find time to exercise.

I'm still working on balancing it all and its the ever-constant struggle to achieve it.

What Am I Reading?
I'm still trying to read Room

I also just sped read Eat Right For Your Type.  It's a book about eating right for your blood type.  I found the information I once knew, and had forgotten, very interesting.

What Am I Watching? (I know, write more and watch less, but I need some downtime!)
Over Spring Break my friend turned me on to a Netflix series about the Irish Rebellion called "Rebellion".  It's really good, I'm in the middle of the 3rd episode.

John Oliver's Weekly Show on HBO.  I freaking LOVE him!

Dancing With The Stars on Monday nights.  It just resumed the new season this past Monday and I have to watch it now because David Ross, former catcher for the Chicago Cubs is on it!  Grandpa Rossi is the man!!

Showtime's "Homeland" when I can.  I love that series!

CNN (Anderson Cooper 360 is my fav) to keep abreast of the circus.

I'm also going to add What Am I Listening To?
I'm a huge NPR fan and listen to KCLU in my car.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Word Count Wednesday

What am I working on:
I'm working on my experiment #6, The world is exactly the same except......

Word Count:  
1,988 for the rewrite of my narrative #1 assignment. 

How Do I Feel About The Process?:
I love the 'community' we've created among our 'Houses'.  Its nice to be able to share your ideas, challenges and fears about the process with encouraging peers.  

I'm struggling to find new, fresh story ideas to branch out a bit.  I'd really like to come up with another original story idea, something in the first person, which I think might be a bit easier for me to practice with. 

I'm inspired by other writers in our class.  Certain writers are amazing and I wish I was as talented at this as them.  I'm determined to keep going though, practice, practice, practice.  

What am I reading:
William Faulkner As I Lay Dying

Emma Donoghue Room, lent to me by Chloe Frederickson, thank you :)

Stephen King One Writing

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Word Count Wednesday

What am I working on:

I'm working on my narrative story to share with my house, Wade and the group for Monday.  I'm not sure if it will be a short story or a novella. The last two weeks and has been challenging, everyone in my house (including myself) are finally healthy again (knock on wood).  I'm finally starting to get back into my groove and am starting to write again.  

I've been rethinking my story a bit.  

The gist of my story is, I'm fascinated by the thought of existence.  

Those created naturally and those created with the aid of technology. 

The question I'm asking is, would those people who were created using technology have existed eventually, or not at all? And are they different from natural born people because of the means to create them?

My main character Gabriel was created using technology.  He's always known/felt that he was 'different'. 

The prologue will be: 
His mother, pregnant with his younger sister, dies in childbirth from complications from the method or serum used to help her achieve pregnancy; Gabriel was a toddler at the time. After natural attempts to get pregnant failed, they learn about this lab that helps couples in that situation and his father pressures his mother to go through the process. His mother was reluctant, but goes through it anyway.  

I'm thinking in Chapter 1, Gabe is already working at the lab and the following has already happened  

  • He doesn't find out until he's in college that he was created using a method no longer used because it was flawed, a secret that his father had kept from him.  

  • Gabe is determined to figure out what happened and why.  Why was this method no longer used?  What are/were the consequences? 

  • He purposely ends up working at the lab, which was supposed to have stopped these methods, but secretly hadn't. He finds this out somehow. 

I'm struggling with he middle of the story.  So what?  What happens?  I know a conflict will occur between Gabriel and his father, he will blame him for his mother's and sister's deaths.  

I'm toying with an idea that at the end of the story, Gabriel finds a video message, a letter, or something (that his father wasn't aware of) that helps him resolve these feelings, but I'm not sure if that is a dumb idea or not.  

Word Count: Not much, just starting to get back at it now. 

What am I reading:
Harlem Renaissance poets Langston Hughes & Countee Cullen 
John Steinbeck "The Chrysanthemums" 
Stephen King One Writing

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Word-Count Wednesday #3 (2/8/17)

This week (since Friday) has been a bit tough.  Both by son and myself are sick this week so I haven't gotten as much accomplished as I would have liked to this.

What Am I Working On:
I finished "The Glasses" as a news broadcast - Magical Realism - Experiment #5

I also finished the the opening section for narrative I'm working on this semester. 

The Lab (A better title later perhaps)
Mary shivered as she pulled the blankets up around her shoulders in the delivery room.  The room was cold and she was worried.  Worried something might be wrong with the baby.  This pregnancy didn’t feel the same as the first.  She’d delivered a health and beautiful baby boy just two three years prior and her son Gabriel is a delight.  Such a wonderful and high spirited toddler.  Always into mischief.  Always pulling things out of the lower kitchen drawers and screeching off in delight when Mary attempts to catch him to have him replace the contents.  
Mary and her husband John are hoping for a baby girl to round out their little family.  When they initially tried to start their family, they experienced heartbreak of 2 miscarriages.  That seemed to be becoming the norm in society as they shared their story with friends or family.  Mary and John had learned of several other couples experiencing the same problems with either becoming pregnant or staying pregnant.  One evening when Mary was over at a friend’s house for a girls wine night, she met a woman who worked at a fertility clinic.  Lindsay was her name and she was smartly dressed, even for a ladies wine evening, and very friendly.  She had given Mary her card and said that Dr. Klein, the man she worked for, was an expert at helping women achieve pregnancy.  He and the researchers at his clinic had developed a new serum that assist women in achieving pregnancy.  LIndsay insisted that Mary call the office on the following Monday to set up an appointment.  Mary politely accepted Lindsay’s card, but had no intention of calling.  While heartbroken at the two children she lost, she wanted to try again the old fashioned way.  When she went home later that night and shared with John what had happened.  John encouraged her to call.  John had been just as devastated about the miscarriages and thought this sounded like a good omen and that she should pursue it.  
The sound of John’s voice in the hallway brought Mary out of a dazy sleepiness she was beginning to feel.  It almost sounded as though John was arguing with someone.  Mary couldn’t be sure, things were starting to fade a bit.  The nurse came in and started to check on her when she realized Mary was bleeding.  Her sheets and blanket were soaked in the bright red hue of blood.  Mary had been given an epidural about an hour before so she hadn’t felt anything as well as a drug to place calm her down, but it made her sleepy.  Still in her dazed condition, she could tell by the nurse’s gasp at the sight, something was wrong.  The nurse turned on her heels and ran out of the room, quickly retrieving Dr. Klein and her husband John.  Dr. Klein took one look at Mary and ordered the nurse to immediately prep and move Mary to an operating suite.
Mary looked at John and asked him what was happening.  In an attempt not to worry her, he said, “Nothing sweetheart, we’re just moving you to another room so you can deliver our daughter.”  They chose not to find out the sex of the baby.  They loved having it be a surprise as it was with Gabriel’s birth.  But they were convinced it would be a lovely baby girl who would look just like Mary.  Mary simply smiled a sweet and loving smile back to John and said, “Ok my love, let’s go.  I can’t wait to meet our daughter.  Tell Gabriel I will see him soon with his new baby sister and that I love him with all of my heart.”  
Twenty minutes later, the life of that mischievously, sweet little boy would be changed for ever.  His mother Mary and his lovely little sister were both gone.  

Word Count: 652

How Do I Feel About The Process:
I think if I were feeling better this week I would be feeling better about the process, but I am proud of myself for writing something.  It's a start.  I'm enjoying the process of writing, pausing to ponder and think, and then coming up with another idea.  I'm not saying it's all great, but at least I'm "trying" and I'm happy about that :)  

In writing "The Glasses" news broadcast, 'holes' in a story became evident to me.  I asked myself "can't people see the crazy things happening in the Subway when they walk by?" So I noted that the employees had  had closed the blinds.  This is a simplistic example, but something to think about.  I realize as a writer, you have to ask the obvious questions a reader might ask and then answer them.  

For "The Lab", I heard or read somewhere to write what you know.  The antics of Gabriel as a toddler is my son, Mason.  He used to love taking out ALL of the baggies in their boxes in the kitchen drawers.  Or completely gut the storage container drawer. Much to my chagrin. Looking back now, I think it's hilarious.  

And Lindsay's name is a friend from my yoga class.  

I chose to to have Gabriel's father push his mother into using the fertility treatment because I need he and Gabriel to have a conflict later in the story.  Gabriel will question his existence.  Was he mean to exist at all without help?  How much intervention should be done?  When does it cross the line from simply helping someone to achieve pregnancy because they want a family, or doing it because you think you're playing God or for profit.  I need to flush all those questions out.  I'm thinking there needs to be a larger impact, a bigger question, but I haven't come up with it yet.  I will though ;-) 

What Am I Reading:

T.S. Elliot - "The Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" & "The Waste Land"

F. Scott Fitzgerald - "Winter Dreams"

Ernest Hemingway - "In Our Time" Chapter 1-5

Monday, February 6, 2017

Experiment #5 - Magical Realism

Experiment #5 - Magical Realism
Subway Restaurant + Glasses That Hypnotize Others

As a news broadcast:

In tonight’s news, KKMC has learned of a rather odd story.  

Employees at a local Subway restaurant have been hypnotizing their customers.   

Sources tell KKMC news that 5 employees of the popular restaurant chain have been wearing glasses that somehow have a hypnotic effect.

These glasses look like ordinary glasses our station is told and customers have been completely unaware.

The way these employees have been able to accomplish hypnotizing customers is by posting an employee just outside of the front door to pass out coupons to unsuspecting customers as they approach the restaurant.  

This initial interaction with an employee wearing the glasses begins the hypnotic process.

Once inside the restaurant, the employees at the order counter complete the act, fully engaging the customer who now becomes open to suggestion.

Window shades were pulled down to conceal what was happening inside.  

Once a customer is fully under hypnosis, the customer begins to do things that an employee has prompted them to do, such as dart around the restaurant clucking like a chicken, sing like Axl Rose from Guns n Roses or do the worm on the floor.  

Subway employee antics were abruptly halted when the Mayor walked in, unknowingly bypassing the employee posted at the door who was occupied elsewhere.  

It has been reported that Mayor Reynolds witnessed a group of customers doing the conga around the restaurant while in their underwear with employees cheering them on.

Observing this strange sight, the Mayor immediately turned off the source of the music, located near the entrance, surprising employees who were unaware of her presence.  

When asked what was happening, the employees quickly confessed to their shenanigans.  

The Mayor ordered the employees to command the customers to re-dress themselves and to bring them out of their hypnotic revelry.  

Customers were completely unaware of what had happened and the Mayor insisted the employees not tell them what had occured to save their dignity.

She also ordered the employees to give each customer a free meal under the guise of “Customer Appreciation Day.”  

The Mayor confiscated all of the hypnotic glasses and assigned each employee to complete
500 hours of community service.  

The Mayor noted that if any employee failed to comply with her punishment of community service, they would be subjected to performing the conga in their underwear at the next 4th of July parade.  

Each employee graciously accepted the terms of the Mayor’s punishment.  

KKMC contacted the Mayor’s office for a comment on what she intended to do with the glasses.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office simply stated, “She intends to put the glasses to good use”, no further details were given.  

Up next, the weather…..

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Word-Count Wednesday #2

I am truly enjoying both my Creative Writing class and my American Lit class.  I know Bradford mentioned that this is a new endeavor for him, but I appreciate the way he's structured the class with these "Experiments."  This process is allowing us students to move out of our comfort zone and try something new.  I wouldn't have necessarily ever tried to write a song or a poem, or "what can you come up with when you mix A and B," as in the Magical Realism/Something Ordinary + Something Magical.  Having these assignments lets us stretch our legs as writers so to speak.

For my American Lit class, I appreciate the fact that Professor Kenedy takes the time to really focus on the writer we are studying for that particular class.  Some classes I've had tried to accomplish too many things in one class without really spending the time to closely read and digest the material.  

What a great way to finish my last semester at Moorpark!

What am I working on?
Experiment #5.  In class I was given "Subway Restaurant" and "Glasses that hypnotize others".  After looking at these two ideas, I immediately came up with an idea that the Subway employees use the glasses to hypnotize the customers while they are moving down the line placing their order.  They make the customers do crazy things while in the store.  

How do I feel about the process?

The process is a bit of a roller coaster.  Sometimes I'm fired up with ideas and other times I'm like "I have no clue!  What the heck am I doing!"  Which I'm learning is pretty normal.  Having never really written anything creative before this class, it was a bit embarrassing at first to have my creations read, but on the other hand, its kind of cool.  I'm learning from speaking to other students as well as reading their blogs, we all pretty much feel the same way so I'm in good company. 

Another observation I've made is learning the difference between writing screenplays and prose.  A few years back I attended a fabulous Screen Writing Class at the UCLA extension.  I learned about world building, breaking the story in to 3 acts and using as few words as possible to get your point across because you are writing for a visual medium.  Prose on the other hand, you need a lot more words to get your point across.  It's fun to try all the different ways in which to write.

What am I reading now?
Stephen King "On Writing"

Robert Frost - Various Poems
  My favorites are:
      -"Mending Wall"
      - "Home Burial"
      - "The Road Not Taken"
      - "Birches"
      - Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
      - "Design"

T. S. Eliot "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" & "The Waste Land"

The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon with my son

Monday, January 30, 2017

Experiment #4 - Two chunks of a story I'm working on.

“I think I’ve discovered something,” Victoria declared to her boss Dr. Klein.  Victoria had heard of the “test program” the lab once used about 20 years ago.  Just rumors of it really, nothing ‘official’.  She asked some of her colleagues about it once, and they in turn responded rather oddly by way of looking at one another and then telling her they’d never heard of it. It was obvious to her that they knew something, but chose not to share it with her.  They told her it was an absurd question and she’d do better with focusing on her work and not on some ‘pie in the sky’ program that never existed. The “test program” she had heard about had to do with assisting women with conception that would not have normally been able to conceive.  The lab had developed a new serum that aided these women in ensuring pregnancy.  The serum made the women sick at first with strange rashes and aggressive behavior, but if they moved passed the first trimester and the pregnancy took, their symptoms subsided and they delivered healthy children.  She had also heard that the program was abruptly halted and any note of is existence was scrubbed from the public domain with no explanation.  It was if the existence of the program had vanished into thin air.  At the time, she followed her coworkers advice and dropped it.  But then she had read some articles here and there about some adults that were experiencing episodes of violent behavior, some case were so bad that some people ended up hurting themselves.  Some had even killed themselves in a violent rage.  

  Victoria stepped into the open door of Gabe’s office.  He was at his desk punching away feverishly on his laptop. The sunrays streamed in from the window behind him, casting a sunlit arora around him. She stepped closer to his desk and spoke, “You know,....don’t you?” There was an unmistakeable pause in the question Victoria asked Gabe. He stopped typing on his laptop, looked up, took a deep breath, looked down and began typing again, ignoring her question.  Victoria tried again, “How long have you known?”  Gabe finally looked up but didn’t meet her eyes.  He looked anywhere but in her eyes and replied, “For awhile I suppose, but I didn’t want to believe it’s true.”
Gabe had began to notice changes in his mood and behavior in college.  Sometimes he would find himself in a foul mood but, initially didn’t give it much thought.  Every college student or person of that age are still moving through the late adolescent stage and into adulthood with more challenges and responsibility. He initially brushed off his moods to stress of college life and/or hormonal changes.  The moods however got progressively worse. His foul temperament turned into full on violent outbursts over trivial slights. He had asked his dad if it was normal that he reacted so explosively to minor situations and at the time, his father has brushed it off as “normal guy stuff, nothing to worry about, you’ll just have to learn to control your temper” his dad replied.  At the time Gabe accepted that answer from the man he admired and loved so much.  After all, his father was his world since he was the only parent he’d ever known.  They were a team and Gabe felt if his dad says everything is ok, then it must be.  
Breaking Gabe’s far off stare at the memory, Victoria walked over to him and cupped his face in her hands, gently forcing him to look at her.  Victoria stared into his eyes searching for a moment, taking in the color of his eyes, searching for the irregular pattern in his irises and noting the anomaly she’s long suspected. “Let me help you, Gabriel” she said.