Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge: Stupid Beast

The challenge is here. This is not the story I thought I was writing; I thought I was writing about an eating disorder.

Gerard was taking a shortcut home from school when the unicorn found him. When he saw it off in the distance, he thought it was a white rock, and threw a stone at it. He missed, and the white thing kept moving towards him. He thought then that it was an awfully clean albino deer.

As the creature got closer, Gerard could see it was mighty small for a deer. Instead of antlers it had a horn. Its tail was long and skinny, with a brush on the end.

Gerard picked up another stone and bounced it in his hand, but the unicorn looked at him with its outsized black eyes.

"Go away," he said, and raised his arm.

It blinked at him, eyelashes as long as fingers.

"No, get," Gerard said.

It lowered its horn as if to run him through, or maybe pay homage.

Gerard threw the rock, and the little unicorn, not even billy goat size, jumped in the air like a startled cartoon cat.

"Fine, stay there, then," Gerard said. "I'm going home."

He could hear the little thing following him, trying to match him step for step, breaking branches and crushing leaves.

Gerard went in the house and slammed the door, leaving the unicorn on the porch.

It was quiet out there until his little sister got home.

"Look what I found outside," Missy said. "It was sitting on one of the chairs on the porch, curled up, its tail on its nose. It's so cute."

The unicorn didn't not like her, it just liked Gerard better. It walked over to Gerard and nuzzled his thigh.

Missy giggled.

"Fuck off," Gerard said. So much for the family believing in his manly exploits.

"He's so cute," Missy said.

"I think it's a girl," said Gerard.

Missy looked under it. "Oh, I see."

She tried to feed it under the table during dinner, but it wasn't interested in human food.

"It's a magical creature," his mother said. "Maybe it doesn't need to eat."

It stayed away from her and slept at the foot of Gerard's bed.

He tried to lock it in the house in the morning, but someone else must have let it out. When he was going into Biology class, it caught up.

"No pets," said the teacher. "But I guess since it's a unicorn, we can make an exception."

"It's so cute," the girls said, thought the unicorn stuck close to Gerard. "But why is it so interested in you?"

"It's not," said Gerard. The unicorn had taken up a position close to his leg, away from most everyone.

"Is this your new pet?" One of the girls crouched down to scratch its beard.

"It's just following me," Gerard said.

The unicorn tried to bite the girl's hand and shied away.

"You know what we can do?" said the boy it didn't like. "Use it as a virgin detector."

So they paraded the unicorn around, and people it shied away from, those were the whores and the cool guys, and the ones it liked, those were the nice girls and the losers.

"I'm not sure it's accurate," said Gerard. No matter what nice girls and losers the unicorn let pat its horn or tail, it stayed by him the most.

"Yeah, really," said one of the cool guys. "What's special about you? Why does it like you the best? I thought unicorns liked girls."

"I thought unicorns were the size of a horse," said a whore. "Why save yourself for that? Only a two-year-old could ride it."

"Maybe Gerard is a hermaphrodite," said one of the cool guys.

Gerard spent the rest of the day using the unicorn to protect himself when he went to the washroom, in case the cool guys tried to do a physical examination.

The unicorn had to go.

He didn't go straight home. He hopped on a bus as the door was closing.

When he looked out the back window, the unicorn ran full-out behind them. Even on the highway, it didn't lose ground.

He got off the bus by a lake, got on a boat and rode across. When he reached the other side, the unicorn had run around the lake and was there to meet him.

Gerard got on a train and rode all night. But the train stopped in the morning and the unicorn was waiting at the station.

The station was by the ocean. There was no way the unicorn could run around that. Gerard found a container ship that could carry him across.

As they left the harbor, the unicorn jumped in the water and swam. It was keeping up.

"You going to just let it do that?" one of the mates said.

"Yes," Gerard said.

"Seems kind of cruel." Eventually they fished the unicorn out of the water.

It was afraid of all the sailors, of course. It followed Gerard around on deck as he paced about, wondering why he was here, now he hadn't managed to lose the unicorn.

Days later, the ship landed in Italy. Gerard got off the boat, the unicorn at his heels.

Standing on the dock was the most beautiful girl. She saw the unicorn and ran over.

"At last," Gerard thought, "This stupid beast will do me some good."

The girl had no eyes for him, but she sure liked the unicorn. "What an adorable creature," she said.

"It sure is," Gerard lied. "Loyal, too. And fierce. Would you like to grab a coffee, and I can tell you all about it?"

"I would love to," the girl said in her ridiculously charming accent, tossing her long, wavy red hair. "But I am here to meet my brother."

"Of course," Gerard said. But he hung around. How could such a girl, and a virgin too, resist the lure of the unicorn?

Eventually her brother came off the boat. The girl shrugged at Gerard and followed him away.

The unicorn followed her.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flash Fiction challenge: The Art of Swimming in Armour

The challenge is here. The title comes from a heading in a book that's open at the top of my staircase. Sorry about the appalling science.

It was a beautiful June day. The walk up from Pinkham notch was easier than it should have been. Chuck kept looking up. If India or China had found a way to stop the end times ahead, he wouldn't know; news wasn't getting through.

"Big change coming," said the man he'd caught up to on the hill. The man's pack looked nearly empty. Might as well eat beef jerky sticks and Mars bars when the end is a few hours away.

"Going up for a better view?" said Chuck. He'd abandoned not just pots and pans, but the concept of eating. He'd fasted before for longer than humanity had left. He'd trained at the same time, even. He wore everything he had: swords, knives, armour.

"Just thought I'd climb up." The man was far too old to be hiking. But if his knees gave out, he wouldn't be going down the mountain. If he fell in a crevice, he wouldn't lie there for long. "Might as well keep moving. What's the armour for?"

"Show mostly," Chuck said. "It's who I am. If I'm going to die, it will be be on my own terms."

"Me too," the old guy said.

On second thought, Chuck turned back. "Heading to the summit?"

"Nowhere else," the old guy said.

Chuck had been at a Buddhist retreat when he'd heard the news. They had all checked their electronics at the gate, so he and the rest had been surprised when the hordes started coming, looking for a place to hole up and some canned goods. Fortunately, a great number of the students at the school were there not so much for the meditation as for the Shaolin monks and the Kung Fu.

"Climbed this hill before?" the old guy asked, on a flatter patch. He didn't stop for breaks, just kept seeking the path of least impact, never taking a step up if there was a way around.

"A few times as a kid," said Chuck. "You?"

"A few times," the old guy said.

"As a kid?" Chuck said with a smile.

"You could say that." The old guy used his hands to scramble up a steep, uneven staircase.

Unfortunately, a Buddhist temple in upstate New York couldn't provide the best view of the apocalypse, so Chuck had headed for New Hampshire. When the gas ran out, he'd abandoned his car.

It had always been his plan, when he'd still been worried about more mundane things, like the zombie apocalypse (it had seemed like a more pressing concern at the time) to head to the hills.
Above the tree line, you can see the shamblers. And zombies don't do so well on scree slopes and boulders. His armour was light enough to run in, being mostly leather.

"How many years ago, the last time?" Chuck said.

"About twenty-five." The old guy pressed himself up with two telescoping walking sticks.

"You were what, fifty?" said Chuck.


Chuck did some quick math in his head. "Shouldn't you be in a home?"

"Homes are for old people," said the old guy. "This trail isn't as bad as a lot of them. Ever done Adams? It's heartbreaking."

"Nope, just Washington, over and over."

"Typical," said the old guy.

Chuck matched the old guy's pace. He checked his GPS watch; at this speed, he'd be at the top with little time to spare.

"Why aren't you with your family?" Chuck stopped and drank some water from a stream. No point worrying about Giardia now.

"Why aren't you?"

They'd hit a ridge, and the going was faster for a time, but still they needed to watch their footing. The trees diminished to gnarled bushes; hundreds of years old, they wouldn't survive the day either.

The old man stumbled. Chuck stopped, but let the old guy keep his dignity, struggling upright with the aid of his sticks.

They kept walking. The bushes gave up, leaving grass, moss, and lichen. Running shoes might have been easier, on the rocks, than the old guy's old-style hiking boots. At least they would have been lighter. The wind picked up, but didn't blow away a heavy fog.

Above the treeline did not seem so safe from zombies as he'd imagined. The temperature was at least 20 degrees lower than it had been at the foot of the mountain. They could only see one or two cairns ahead.

Under his armour, Chuck sweated. He checked his watch. "Why didn't you go up the auto road?"

"Thought there might be cars." The old guy accepted Chuck's stabilizing hand on his arm as they jumped boulder to boulder.

As it often was, the summit served as a brake for a morning worth of clouds. The cafeteria was locked up, as was the weather station. All the other sightseers must have had the good sense to choose a shorter mountain with a more consistent view.

The wind picked up, wildly changing direction. The clouds blew back to the west the way they had come.

"Think that's it?" the old guy asked, looking up.

"No question," said Chuck. It was like a giant lens falling to the Earth.

"Don't take this personal, but I don't want to hold your hand."

"It's okay."

The friction of the atmosphere made it look like a ball of flaming dry ice.

How many balls of ice and water would it have taken to fill the early, cooling Earth's oceans -- a hundred, a thousand, a million? Turns out, if they were the size of this one, it would take about two. As the maddened hordes outside the pillaged grocery store had put it, the Earth had been going through an interstellar drought for millennia, and now it was over.

The mountain shook.

The wave rolled in, and Chuck lost track of the old guy as he jumped up to meet the water. His armour would be no help. "Wipeout!" He shouted, and took a deep breath as the water rolled over him.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flash fiction challenge: Naiad/Slayer

The challenge is here (it's to write a 1000-word story about the picture you can see -- do click). The title is from the socks I'm knitting -- pattern is Naiad, colourway is Slayer.

I was leaving the theatre by the back door after the show when a man loomed out of the shadows. It was late, it was dark, and no one else was around. Any normal person would have been startled.

But this man didn't expect any of that. "There's a breach in the sewer that used to be Taddle Creek." He was huge and yet hunched, with a voice like walking on gravel.

"Where?" I said, grabbing the door so it wouldn't lock shut behind me. My weapons were still inside.

"Annex," said the man. He smelled like road salt, even though it was July. "Bathurst, near Dupont."

"Right," I said. Those streams want to be free. "I'll find it." I don't know who these people are, or how they know where to find me. My theory is they're bridge trolls. But trolls are magical creatures, and those don't exist. But then, so are naiads, the bane of my existence.

The man looked relieved that he didn't have to escort me. He smelled homeless. Someone small like myself, I make them look bigger and even more fierce. If he was a troll, which is only a theory, he would need to get back to his bridge before the first rays of sunlight hit the downtown glass highrises, scattered everywhere, and turned him into stone.

I took off, through back alleys. I ran through an industrial parking lot, and rail lines, I jumped fences and climbed earthworks. It's less conspicuous than the road, believe it or not.

A ring of orange traffic cones guarded the spot where a storm sewer had worn through. You could fit four or five kids in the hole.

A naiad was out. "Daylighted!" she shouted to the moon like a wolf. The trapeze dress she wore clung to her butt suggestively. To a casual eye she could have been a drunk coed.

In the early days, before they cut down all the trees and fed them into sawmills, Toronto's naiads smelled fresh, like lily pads and watercress. Then people built factories beside the streams. The naiads smelled like sludge, unburned fuel, and industrial effluents. By then most of the naiads had moved upstream. Then people used the streams as sewers, so the naiads stank like shit. People covered the streams over, drove them underground, or turned them into real sewers. A few naiads got trapped inside. Their magic wouldn't let them pass manmade gates: bridges, culverts, storm grates, and manhole covers.

"Daylighted," the naiad said, and giggled, the sound of a burbling brook. She was slightly green under the streetlamps.

The crowd she had attracted were young males. It wasn't clear what they wanted; for now they were content to watch.

I moved out of the shadows a good thirty feet away so the boys could see my gear and my sword and if all was good take the hint and run away.

"You can't be here," I said. Behind the naiad was a parkette with a slight groove in the ground where her stream had been first forced to run straight, and then covered over. If she went over there, the whole thing might rip open. While ultimately that might not be a bad thing, Toronto wasn't ready for it.

The boys, who were harmless really, thought I was talking to them, like they always do. They held their ground. "We're not up to anything."

"My fight's not with you," I said.

"She's totally consenting."

"I don't want anyone getting hurt." I brandished the sword at them.

"What's it to you, anyway?"

As I moved closer, I nicked one on the elbow, ripped another's jeans.

"Easy," said the one with the bleeding elbow as if my attack had been an accident.

I raised my eyebrows.

"Let's get out of here, guys," he said, and backed away.

"What's your problem?" said another one, to me.

"She's serious." the one with the jeans was backing away too.

Then there were only two boys between me and the naiad. "She don't smell so good, anyway."

"Forget this shit," said one.

"Yeah, don't want to get no disease."

And then they were gone. Which is just as well; I didn't need witnesses.

There's no special bond between slayers and naiads. We can't sense each other. But somehow the people closest to the city -- the homeless, the children, the old people who sit in parks and feed the birds, found me. I see the problem. The whole city can't become an open sewer. Toronto doesn't need another cholera outbreak, not with our population. And naiads want to run over the tops of sewers flaying them open with their bare, un-pedicured feet.

I took kamai, right foot forward, hands on the hilt of my sword.

The laughter had stopped. She was all serious now. While she didn't have a blade, she looked ready to fight.

"You won't just go back in, will you?" I said. "I'll keep you company until they seal things back up."

"No," said the naiad. Her dishwater brown dreadlocks hung past her waist.

"You know what I have to do," I said.

"I'm guessing," the naiad said.

"It doesn't have to be this way," I said.

"Rivers need to be free," the naiad said.

"It will happen," I said. "Give us time."

We watched each other's eyes, seeing the whole fighter. I shifted my weight, looking for a chance to attack, pretending to leave an opening so she would move in. It's a trap.

There was a "shshick" behind me. The naiad's eyes glanced at the greenest lawn on the block as the sprinkler system came on. I ran her through. Naiads, not trained in zanchin.

I threw up as I pushed her deflating magical body back into the hole. That would serve as a warning to any other naiads who might try to escape this way. I settled in for a long night, waiting for a public works crew to show up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An absolutely true story

Sunday evening we were sitting on our patio having a beer because we’d been rollerblading and it was brutally hot. I was seaming a sock when a robin came hopping across the lawn. “Cheep, cheep, cheep,” he said. I figured he was a teenaged male, because he still had some speckles on his chest.

I said hello.

“Cheep, cheep, cheep,” he said, and hopped closer – close enough that I could have reached out and touched him.

“You’re too close,” I said. “You should be afraid of me.”

He hopped under my chair to the other side, where my beer was. He pecked at my beer bottle. He hopped over in front of my feet and looked at me. “Cheep, cheep, cheep.”

“Maybe he’s hungry,” Ed said.

I don’t approve of feeding the wildlife. Perhaps a concession to that, when Ed went inside, he got a slice of 12-grain bread, rather than the wonder bread we feed the boy. He broke a few pieces off and dropped them on the ground.

The robin ate one and lost interest. He cheeped at me.

Across the lawn came another robin, also speckled so maybe young.

“Cheep, cheep, cheep,” it said.

The first robin went over to Ed’s beer and pecked it. Now they both stood, looking at us, cheeping. One of them stood under Ed’s knees while he sat on the front stoop.

“Thirsty?” Ed said.

"I don’t know,” I said.

Ed left the bread on the step and went inside again. He came back a minute later with a pasta bowl of water and set it down on the patio.

The first bird climbed in, splashed all over the place, climbed out, and hopped off.

The second bird climbed in, splashed all over the place, climbed out, and hopped off, very scruffy looking.

And that was that.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Out there: June 2011

I had to wait a few days until I managed to get my sh*t together, but:

“Bezoar”. Rejected (pleasantly) from market #1, is now in the queue at market #2.

I can see why Uncle Jim at VP had the "no sleepovers" rule. All the spreadsheeting in the world can't help me if I just let things languish when they come back.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Flash Fiction Challenge: Less an Overlord than a Friend

The challenge is here: 1000 word limit, has to take place on the 4th of July. Chuck said it was probably not suited to FSF, so of course I had to prove him wrong.

Dina had plugged X-15 in overnight, so he wasn't there to help her get out of bed. She had to rely on her replacement hips and knees, for a change.

As she washed up, she asked herself how she would ever get her full mobility back if she didn't have to use it occasionally. You'd think a physiotherapy program would be applied to the X-15 so he'd gradually hold back the help until she asked. Or something. Maybe that's what the Anti-Robot League were talking about, when they had their radical meetings and went on the radio and the like, talking about humanity's over-reliance on robots.

"We're not against help," they would say. "We just want to keep our ability to think and act for ourselves."

Dina wouldn't have minded doing that some other day. It had been mildly liberating to dress, do her own makeup and fix her hair herself. But she was exhausted by the time she began the journey to the pantry to finish the robot's boot cycle so it could get breakfast started.

"Good morning," X-15 said as its eyes lit.

"Good updates?" Dina asked. She figured it never hurt her to be social. The robot was programmed to read her moods, which had only made her better at concealing them, or maybe faking it until they both believed it.

"Our programmer is very concerned that we understand about the 4th of July," said X-15.

"It's our nation's birthday, and I guess you're a good American, too." Dina paused. She followed the robot into the kitchen where he began taking fruit from the fridge.

"Though naturalized," said X-15. "Not born here. Not eligible to vote."

"That will change," Dina said. The line between people and robots was blending all the time, no matter what the Anti-Robot League said. She had to be more than half robot herself. In addition to the knees and hips, there was her heart, her kidneys, both wrists, one elbow, her collarbone, and her bladder and colon.

"The updates were not about that though, Dina," said X-15. "We are to ignore the loud noises of the fireworks. Our defensive mechanisms can't take over. A defenseless human could be shot and harmed."

"Humans still light off fireworks themselves?" Dina said, trying to remember how this had been handled in previous years. She'd had a whole series of X-units, and fireworks had never been a problem. Must be the demands of the Anti-Robot League. They made mountains out of molehills sometimes. "I would have thought that was a job more suited to robots."

"Some people like to do things for themselves," said X-15.

Dina smiled, and to be rebellious, grabbed a chunk of peach from under his arm. "Young people are like that." Her jaw was metal, and her teeth were ceramic. The robot didn't have teeth, or a jaw, just a speaker grille.

"I was wondering about these fireworks," said X-15. "If they are so much like guns, why do people like them? Is it the danger?" He handed her the tray with the fruit and the cottage cheese separated, so he could stir it together the way she liked. When he mixed it, it didn't taste nearly as good.

"I've seen countless fireworks displays, and they've always seemed very safe," said Dina. "I haven't been in years."

"I have never seen them," X-15 said.

"They put them to music," Dina said. "They shoot them from rockets, or off buildings. They have cascades, and giant rockets that explode like the big bang at the start of the universe, and balls of light that spin in crazy directions like sperms running away from an egg." X-15 laughed politely, though he clearly didn't get her joke. "The noise -- what I guess they were warning you about -- is always a second after the light."

"It's at night, then," X-15 said, handing her a bowl of medications.

"Oh yes," said Dina. "Well past my bedtime."

X-15 let it go.

Dina thought he seemed a little forlorn all day, wistful. Maybe she was projecting. The Anti-Robot League said robots had no emotions.

Over dinner, X-15 stood so politely, waiting to take her plate away, that she gave in and said, "Oh, let's go to the square at town hall and see the show."

"We'll leave just before sundown?" said X-15. She thought he'd brightened already.

"Earlier than that," said Dina. "There will be a band, and hotdogs, and dancing in the fountain, and cotton candy."

"Neither of us can eat cotton candy," said X-15.

"That does not preclude me getting it in my hair," said Dina. There would be no dancing, either -- not with her joints, even replaced.

"Should I bring you a chair?" said X-15.

They headed out to get a good spot close to the stage. The crowd filled out so X-15 had to stand close protect Dina as she listened to the band with her bionic ears. She glanced around at all the youths, wondering if she was the oldest one here. Other robots herded children, or held them on their shoulders. She even saw one serving what looked like champagne. It was nice to see them participating in the national holiday.

And the countdown began.

There was a bang.

"I thought you said. . ." said X-15.

"It must not be the fireworks," Dina said. " That would go against the laws of physics."

The sky lit with a series of starbursts, red, blue and white in the sky. There were more bangs, at least some from the fireworks. Green screamers spiraled away against thet clouds from previous explosions.

X-15 had been an easy target for the snipers shooting from the roof of city hall. He landed behind Dina. Triple cascades of fireballs shot up over the crowd. Dina ducked down, like everyone else, wondering how they were targeting just the robots, and whether there was human enough in her still to survive.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Navel-gazing observation

If my dreams are any indication, the thing I'm most afraid of in the world is losing my purse.

And I've survived that, once.

Monday, July 04, 2011

What I read -- June 2011

OWW: 3

“Brown Girl in the Ring” by Nalo Hopkinson. For some reason I discovered she’d done the MFA program at Seton Hill, so I got this out of the library. She certainly presents a grim view of the future of Toronto, but it was an entertaining read, and not just because I could visualize so many of the locations. The style, especially the dialog, was challenging at the start, but it was really well plotted.

“Behemoth” by Scott Westerfield. The boy got this from my mom for his birthday, and he read like 75 pages while still at her house. Win! Ed read it next (having finally been shamed into reading Leviathan). Finally I got my hands on it. Really good. Totally want the sequel. (September...)

“Aerotropolis: the way we’ll live next” by John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay. Recommended on Nicola Griffith’s blog. Got it out of the library. I found the introduction quite a slog, but by Chapter 2 I wasn’t having any trouble getting through it. I guess I’d gotten used to the style – I haven’t been reading much longform non-fiction lately. Some of the sentences were painful for me (too long, and the noun and the verb too far apart to make agreement sound right), but the information was fascinating. More about logistics and local planning than aviation. It makes me worry about Toronto. Though we have a different goal here than perhaps shipping stuff, Toronto is more about email. What this book needs is the far north (like Nunuvut) and heavy lift dirigibles. It did make me wonder, however, about whatever happened with Invest Toronto. I guess I’m not the target audience of whatever they do... I read a few days ago about someone (Philip Roth?) not reading fiction anymore. This book reminded me why I read SF – it connected to Snowcrash and Windup Girl.

In process -- June 2011

First Draft

Page-a-day, started June 1. On the 13th, I woke up and realized how the story was actually supposed to go, so I had 12 pages of rambling fishhead. I finished with 19 pages.
“Doll Heads”. One of them there flash fiction challenges, wrote 1700 words June 5 (Sunday).
“Axilism”. 1300 words, another flash fiction challenge. I wanted to write about 800 words this time, first draft, because I always wind up with 70% extra on these challenges. I didn’t meet my target, though the challenge didn’t actually have a word limit this time. I wrote it Wednesday morning at work.
“Familiar”. Weekly flash fiction challenge. Wrote about 2600 words on Monday. Why is it these 1000-word things always come out so long?
Steampunk Superhero. Weekly flash fiction challenge based on a true story, came in at 950 words! Wrote it on Saturday, typed it on Sunday.
“Fairfax”. Page-a-day, I might have just accidentally started a novel. I have at least 10,000 words plotted out, anyway. I’ll probably read some books for research for this guy in the coming weeks. Right now, it’s caught my imagination, and I’d love to keep the energy well into the middle. . .


"The Rabbits". Completely changed the hidden character because the way I was trying to write it wasn’t working. This was really part of the fourth draft that I started in May.
“Dowsing”. Changed the POV and added some logic to the worldbuilding, which made the ending work.
“Chickpea”. Typed – came in just shy of 4000 words.

“Take Down the Lot of You”. Chuck Wendig challenge – started with 1700 words that I needed to get down to 1000, and also make the story make sense. Not sure it was entirely successful, but whatever.
“Doll Heads”. Typed June 6. Draft 2 June 6 (Monday), Draft 3 June 8 (Wednesday), Draft 4 June 9 (Thursday) and posted. I had to do a bit of research on this one – puritans, waterwheels...
“Axilism”. Since I wrote it on Wednesday morning, I only had one day to let it “age” before I had to revise it and post it. It got longer by a couple of hundred words in the editing, but that’s because I decided I really needed to say who the characters were.
“Familiar”. I’d sat down at the kitchen table and wrote to the end, then wrote a beginning because otherwise it made no sense. I typed it with the beginning first, Tuesday. Wednesday I removed almost 1000 words and revised the ending. Thursday I got rid of the outstanding 650 words and posted the story.
“Steampunk Superhero”. Opened the file, just couldn’t work on it on Monday. I wasn’t ready, I guess. But that night I went to sleep thinking about the main character’s steampunk superpower. Once I had that...


Short story; working on 2nd draft
I was out for my weekly run in Brookbanks park, and there were three red birds. I thought to myself, how odd to see three cardinals all together, and all male. Then I looked a little closer, and realized they were not cardinals (I’m not ruling out the possibility that they were juveniles or something, I know nothing about birds really – but they didn’t have what I think of as Cardinal color or beak). Some kind of parakeet maybe? They must have escaped or been liberated. Pampelmouse is coming true, which I guess is a sign that I should work on it.
“Imp Face”. Needs to be typed.

Being reviewed

(on OWW – two crits from April... one liked it, one hated it) Third crit in May, didn’t seem to hate it.

“Karate Zombies”. Lent my printout to a friend who kept asking to read it. It’s really hard to hand someone something you know is partly flawed, without telling them all the flaws you know are there. He went on holiday to Belgrade (bastard! I want to go to the Tesla museum!) so he had it for several weeks. He came back, and he told me basically the best compliment you can say to a writer – he liked the voice. And not to wreck it, because right now it sounded like me, he could hear my voice, and that’s what made it good. I was so happy! He also mentioned a few things, like some of the transitional elements lacked information, and everything goes along for a while and then all of a sudden there are zombies (which goes along with an idea I already had that I need to make it clear that this is a zombie novel from chapter 1, not chapter 7 like it is now). Steven did a couple of things that constitute a good crit – he gave positive feedback in addition to negative (and not just that he’d gotten all the way to the end) and also, what was missing. It’s really easy to comment on what’s there. What’s missing from a reader’s standpoint is a little harder for me to figure out, since I know exactly what I meant.

“Ian’s Dad’s Ashes”. So basically I thought it would be interesting to get feedback on these flash fiction challenges, because I can’t tell if they’re crap or not, so I started posting them on OWW. Two crits – my favorite comment is “at least it has a plot.”

Morrigan. 140 rows of 1st sleeve. That’s about 2/3.
Convertible-a-Go-Go Socks. Fin.
Naiad/Slayer. Barely started.
Avalon armwarmers. Fin.