Saturday, May 4, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: What were they building?

Two jars of rarified air
Two jars of common air
One jar of the wind untamed

The unused speech for Richard Nixon if the moon landing failed
The left knee of an acclaimed diplomat
My seven favorite episodes of Gigantor from when I was six years and two months old

Three locks of an Amazon leader’s hair
Four handfuls of earth from the Underground Railroad
One pinhead of angels

My father’s unconditional love
My mother’s borscht recipe
One willing test subject/heir

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Message for Mona Liddel

"Hi, I’m calling for Mona Liddel. I just wanted you to know that I’m your son.

"This isn’t a crank call. You put me up for adoption in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1995. You left me a toy airplane, which I kept until we lost our house in a factory accident. I… I’m your son. I’m not crazy. I got your information from the adoption center.

"We’ve met three times. You think my name is ‘Jesse’ – it’s not, it was my dog’s name as a kid, and I panicked when you asked that time while we were waiting in line. I don’t even know why I had to see you. I’m not a stalker. I just recognized you in this coffee shop, and came by the next day at lunch to see if you’d return, and got lucky. And then I promised I wouldn’t go back again today, but I got a call from the hospital. That’s why I’m actually in town – there’s a great oncologist who specializes in kidneys only eleven blocks from here. Howard Kleinman, he smells like fish food. After they called, I couldn’t help it, and I almost came over to your table today. I’m actually sitting across from where you were having lunch.

"Damn it, I sound crazy. Mo… Mrs. Liddel, I’m dying. It’s my kidneys. I’m not looking for an organ transplant or anything—Kleinman says the onset was too rapid anyway. It’s a freak problem that might have had to do with where I grew up. There was a factory nearby that processed a lot of chemicals, and it exploded, and really, you don’t need to know about that, because I’m not calling you because I’m dying.

"I guess I’m calling because I’m not brave enough to walk up to you. This is easier, and I need a little easiness right now. I’ll be at this table for at least another hour if you want to come back. See me, yell at me, or whatever.

"You’re beautiful, by the way, when you don’t think anyone is looking. All three days now you’ve gotten that way, with the long stare, like something big is on your mind. If you wanted somebody to talk to about that… I don’t know.

"I wish I’d inherited your cheekbones.

"Okay? Okay. I hope I see you again some time. Otherwise, I guess, goodbye.

"Yeah, goodbye.

"Oh God, my name’s Kevin. Your son’s name is Kevin.

"Okay, goodbye."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reflections Post for the A-to-Z Challenge

Well that wasn't as hard as I expected. Blogging every day for years strengthened the parts of the mind that do this kind of work, but I anticipated it to be more challenging to keep up, especially after I caught my lung infection. There's probably something to be said for writing about a world you've spent years making up and can keep making up minutes before going live.

No, I didn't fudge. Everything I posted pertained to fiction I've written, or that is on the docket.

There were definitely shortcomings. I look back at several days with many interesting comments that I simply didn't have the ability to answer, choosing instead to lie in a coughing heap on my bed. And I know there are many Fantasy-oriented blogs that participated in the challenge that I simply never found. Hopefully next year will have more specified sorting options when people sign up; the "Writing" tab only helped so much.

As the only downsides, though, the blog hop was great fun. I seldom write explicit world-building like my twenty-six posts, and found that kind of irreverent prose very fun to write. Sometimes it was a challenge to keep things short; especially after a week of reading thirty entries a day, I know I cherished people who could keep their posts to one screen-length. I wonder how many people felt I was slacking off, and how many were annoyed when my entries grew huge, like on W-day. Commenters were very polite, as expected. I've yet to run into a proper blog hop troll.

What I wanted most was to meet some passionate and interesting bloggers, and I got that. Dan Miller  and Jenelle Schmidt were total pleasures to talk to at all times, and the bloghop got me talking to Laura Eno again, which was long overdue. At one point I think Jean Yates offered to be my new mom. I even got lucky late in the game, crossing paths with people like Samantha Geary, who had the most narratively ambitious A-to-Z's. Her and Shell Flower - I just can't imagine writing and sharing a big on-going story like that. Maybe that means it's what I have to try next year.

The question now is how many people keep chatting after the event has ended. If all those relationships evaporate in May, then all was for naught. Any who've lasted with me this far know they can find me here, still plugging away daily, and on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: 6 Simple Health Tips for Writers

1. We all like to mix something in with our yogurt. But have you considered mixing in raisins or cranberries instead of Skittles?

2. Recent studies show that a sizable percentage of athletes get out of bed before noon. See if you can match their records by rising at 11:59 at least three days per week. Try to space these days out, though, so as to not injure yourself.

3. Many authors suspect all the exercise they need is walking the mailbox to pick up their fat checks. However, push your limits. See if you want stand up a few times per day, or even walk to the bathroom rather than using the rope-drawn pail system erected beside your desk.

4. Many authors find podcasts encouraging for their struggling processes. But did you know you don’t have to listen to them while sobbing in the bathtub? They’re also suitable while sitting at a desk, making coffee, or walking to your therapy session. Experiment!

5. Many authors celebrate hitting their word count goals with a snack, the most popular being a cheap bowl of cereal. Don’t worry, we health nuts won’t take away your sugary reason for living. Instead, simply try 2% milk in your cereal instead of gravy.

6. Spend a mere one third of the time you would be complaining about writer’s block by instead lifting weights. You’ll likely turn into an Olympic champion, or a prolific novelist.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

‘Z’ is for ‘The Z,’ the world’s only zombie reservation.

‘Z’ is for ‘The Z,’ the world’s only zombie reservation. It’s the farthest thing from appearing in any of my scheduled books, at present the tentative setting for my seventh down the line, and so it’s closing out the A-to-Z challenge.

The Z lies deep in the north-west of The Frontier (see ‘F’), and is the only place in the world that still experiences zombieism. Zombies are very old hat for this world, a vestige of an apocalypse so old there is no record of it. It’s widely believed that zombieism is caused by magical bacteria, which is why The Z is such a quizzical place. That the infected only spawn from this place seems more like a curse.

A nice place to keep your undead.
The geographic area is a mild plateau featuring jungle flora and extreme humidity. Anyone who dies there rises, yet people who spend significant time there and die elsewhere do not rise. Zombies exported from The Z can spread the condition through fluid transfers, yet the infection spreads much less quickly in such cases. This has been documented by Red Brigadier Wisemen (see ‘R’) who were willing to subject themselves to the condition for the betterment of common knowledge. Searching for the cause is impractical do to the myriad flesh-hungry beings that live there, and because of The Z’s wardens.

Regardless of the cause, The Red Brigade has set up a barrier around the entire plateau, and thousands of believers spend their entire lives there, ensuring no zombies escape. They do not begrudge the risen, seeing it as merely the final change and likely one coming from The Fifth, their most feared god. A zombie is a fellow to be respected, just as a farmer who turns into a scholar is. What the Red Brigade do they view as both in service to the rest of the world, and ensuring peace to their undead brothers and sisters. The task is so great that many zealots seek other infections, such as vampirism and tentacalia, to assist in keeping zombies away from their borders.

The Red Brigade also serve to prevent other creatures from entering ‘The Z,’ as zombiefied humans and triclopes are bad enough. A zombie centaur or hadrosaur is much worse. The apex zombie predators are stuff of legend, roaming in the very depths of the plateau, along with a lost tribe of scientists who were allegedly seeking to weaponize the area’s unique bacteria.

Monday, April 29, 2013

‘Y’ is for ‘Yegg.’

'Y’ is for ‘yegg,’ individuals particularly interested in safes. Their particular interest is getting inside them and taking their insides elsewhere, or if the safe is small enough, taking the entire endeavor elsewhere. Preferably to a workshop with good sound-proofing.

Yeggs are common because safes are common, having been left behind by so many civilizations that thought they were going to live longer. Apocalypses destroyed many possessions, but a sturdy box has outlasted many an owner. Most of the known history (and the better part of the gossiped and unreliable history) are from documents found in safes.

Of course, so are the few functional guns and most of the powerful magic items in circulation. Any worthwhile scavenger has to know how to crack safes, and the really good ones get famous. In The Frontier, Kazh Anzhel gained fame for cracking two gremlin vaults, the only person ever known to perform the feat twice. Being human, he was a pride of the Empire of Gold and Jade, even though he was known to rob them as well. His skill with locks was so great that it was rumored to merge all-chemistry, forging keys that opened doors not only in walls, but in the ground, in the earth, and within gravity itself.

Kazh Anzhel quit the safe-cracking business a few years ago on account of apparent death. His daughter, Ninx Anzhel, has done an excellent job honoring his memory by outdoing him. All of her targets are deemed impossible, like a life-sized statue of a tyrannosaur and the stage from the world’s first theatre. She recently stole the ceiling from The Empire of Gold and Jade’s royal palace. Anyone who knows how she did that should contact their nearest magistrate.

Ninx is one of the main characters of Last House in the Sky.

And no, I didn't make up the word 'yegg.'

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Close to the Close

I’m sitting pretty. The last two posts for the A-to-Z Challenge are in the queue, Y taking us into a risky line of work, and Z taking us to the deadest place on the planet. It’s been fun and surprisingly easy to blog like this. It turns out having a common theme between a month’s posts, especially one I’ve worked on for so long, kicks on my novel-senses and makes it easier than thirty unrelated posts. I’d say I’ve missed the random fiction, but I’ve been too busy being half-dead for most of the month.

Aside from #fridayflash, the site saw very few true Bathroom Monologues in the last month. That’ll change this week. I might do a wrap-up post on Wednesday, but there will be at least one non-Fantasy Bathroom Monologue before May 3rd’s #fridayflash.

Constant readers: what kinds of Bathroom Monologues have you missed in April? The really short ones? Dialogue-driven? Monologue-only stories? The really goofy ones? I’m very curious what readers hankered for during the April experiment.

I’m also grateful, to readers old and faithful, and new and minty. You’re why I’ve kept this up for years.
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