Category Archives: Writing
“So you got a girlfriend?”
“Why have a girlfriend?”
“So you don’t live alone.”
“I live alone.”
Ambitious. But then again, they all are.
“Ech,” I shrug, ” People will talk. This town? They all up in everyone’s business.”
The corner of his mouth lifts, “I don’t live here.”
We high five.
Moments later, he returns to my cafe table holding a piece of paper, which is ceremoniously placed beside my wine glass before he struts off. I lift it and observe a phone number, written in his own hand, circled, with his actual name under it. I’ve been calling him something else for over a year! I laugh into my glass while thinking, I was 17 when he was born.
Ardent. Overconfident. Of the Generation of the Oversharers.
Not only was Colin Jost’s jab at Batman’s age so hilarious, it was very on point. 75 years with this “superhero” and the only thing that made him “super” was his belt.
My writing partner and I rant frequently about the nonsense that is the Justice League. First, how is it that Batman can quit, come back, quit again, and no one says, “You know what? Go do your own thing Batty!” He’s obnoxiously emo.
Then there’s the utility belt = superpower thesis? I mean, we’ve got Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman (why but okay still), Hawkman, I mean, beings of supernatural ability and deity status as founders of the Justice League, and Batman qualifies as an equal on that Pantheon? Beyond me.
So it’s been quite enjoyable to sidebar on the ridiculousness of Batman as we design a skeletal structure of a modern day Wonder Woman saga. While I never really invested much in Bruce Wayne, I will at least acknowledge his longevity and his influence on comic lovers. Yes, Batman. Everyone wants to be you.
En homage to the Dark Knight, here’s an excerpt from my recent writing session involving Batman and Wonder Woman:
Diana exhaled a weighted sigh into her tensed fist. Just then, the quick swish signaling the door to the room opening carried towards her, followed by an outline of the familiar cowl and cloak of the dark knight. Hmph, Diana thought, Bruce Wayne decides to make an appearance in just this moment. So as not to look vulnerable, Diana straightened her shoulders and erected her spine, releasing her lips from her fist and rolling them inwards to regain moisture. As she finished the replenishment, it dawned on her the human might have taken the gesture the wrong way.
“Yes?” she snapped.
Batman continued his silent stroll towards her. “Brooding in the dark is my thing, Wonder Woman.”
“Oh I’m sorry. Am I stealing your thunder again?” She smiled, proud of her comeback, then glanced up at the shadowy form situating into the chair beside her.
“I deserve that.”
Diana arched an eyebrow in surprise.
In what seemed to be a rehearsed motion, both superheroes collapsed their backs against the large chairs, leaned back, and crossed their hands over their laps. They sat in tandem silence for quite some time. Batman and Wonder Woman were most familiar in this place, the special stratosphere of melancholy. Where some faltered in navigating, the two seemed to master this particular space, their physical challenges no match to the crippling strength of their respective inner turmoil. The only difference between the two was one wore his pain like a shiny bright badge of righteousness, while the other tucked hers away, in an inconspicuous chamber of her Amazonian heart.
Diana maintained composure despite her worry, as it was the mortal’s nature to misconstrue this state as fragility; Batman, Bruce, using the tired technique of throwing his passion to her feet like a symbolic gauntlet of deliverance, expecting her to fall to collect him, lean on him, maybe even collapse in his arms, letting him rescue her from her agonizing dismay. Then he’d undress her, slowly, methodically, owning every centimeter of her body, converging his phallus with her god-made genitalia, trying desperately to inherit through coitus what was never and will never be intended for humans: the gift of immortality. Sex, then, was Bruce Wayne’s only way to feel most like Zeus, and in his arrogance and superiority, command Wonder Woman to be his Hera, with every thrust, inserting his will in the hope she’d accept him as his equal, or even better, by the sounding of her ecstasy, accept him as her master.
No, Diana decided, as she crossed one resolute thigh over the other. We’ve done that dance too many times.
My first book signing. We ran out of books. I actually had to run out to my car for the two books I had in the backseat; luckily, leftovers from an earlier attempt at guerrilla marketing. The last fourteen months of my life living dollar to dollar so I can get published, and now I’m holding 10s of dollars, 20s of dollars, in one hand. I didn’t think I was gonna sell any books tonight, so I didn’t think about maybe having a bank bag or lock box or something to put this money in. I’m so fuckin’ irresponsible. I sold out my first event. Jesus Mahoney Christ, this shit’s really happening! Wow. Just. WOW. 4/9/14 @ 11:38pm
A casual traipse through my LinkedIn feed brought me to this article: How To Leave Your Ego At the Door Although this is framed for the corporate/private sector types, the points are applicable to the artists/wannabes as well! Here, my reactions to the points…
1. Keep introductions short
You know who are the WORST at this? Poets! They spend thirteen minutes to introduce a three-second poem! Their meanderings about their mother’s nicknames for vaginas and the need to always wear a hat because of medications (as recently-experienced examples) take away from the poetry listening experience. Standardize an intro; read it if you have to, commit it to memory, OR, since you’re a featured poet, just read the damn poem!
2. Don’t let recognition or achievement get to your head
Wow. Completely inapplicable to artists. The whole point of artistry IS recognition and achievement! The fun part is listening to these lists of awards they provide, feeling they’re completely fabricated or worse, distributed amongst a handful of club members. I notice in the blogosphere a bevy of circle-jerking awards (not gonna point any violators out; I’m limiting myself to general snark today). Recently I sat in on a book reading and was impressed by the award this woman had achieved for her memoir, but the excerpt she shared was so…what’s the best way to put it…? Entitled White American Woman Problem I couldn’t conceive how she earned it!
3. Surround yourself with humility
The artist who’s the WORST at humility? One Man Show Performers. Oy vey! I like the author’s statement here: “If you hang out with egomaniacs, you’ll likely become one.” Damn straight.
4. Present yourself through logic
The moment this happens in the arty world, time will stop, space will implode, and all we know to be true will be GONE.
Coming from a technical background, thinking scientifically by nature, and having dealt with people of all mental disorders, it is very painful for me to try to plan even the SIMPLEST events using who, what, when, where, and why with my fellows. Let me correct myself; it’s always ONLY “why”! The decision makers are the main violators of #3.
5. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
I’ve sat in writing groups where they take it much further: don’t call yourself a writer if you’re not published, don’t call yourself published if you’re not under a major press, don’t even fuckin’ THINK about sitting at this table unless you have an MFA from a liberal arts college! So of course, I attend because I love watching people go ballistic once finding out I fulfill only one of all their demands. Hehe.
This is a tough day.
The day prior, I spent two hours assessing all that’s brought me to the case that I am today, and with the unlock of that vault, the visions, the faces, the incidences all start rushing back to the limelight. My mind, always going, always processing, is working this fresh batch of latent emotion into the combine, making last night’s dreamscape a Who’s Who of nightmares.
I woke to terrible news having nothing to do with me.
The worst feeling a woman can have, the loss that’s uniquely our own to bear. While I couldn’t reach her I reached out, knowing she’d fallen, and she needs to know she can depend on me. I’ve done a horrible job demonstrating reliability recently, but it doesn’t change the rules of Sister Code.
We women consider ourselves independent and self-reliant, but it is in these moments regarding motherhood that sisterhood must be invoked. It is the loneliest place to be, the mind, when the womb is in trouble, and it is unfortunate that even the most sympathetic, caring male in our lives can’t possibly understand what it feels like…the loss of the light within.
I kicked myself hard for paying more attention to a female antagonizer then following up with my friend yesterday, somehow my lack of check-in caused this. She’s scared out of her mind and I’m conducting a senseless war?
Drop my sword on my e-enemy, rush to raise my shield over my beloved friend, and block the arrows volleying her way. That is sisterhood.
Sometimes a Brit can remind you how safe and sane we are as Americans. Or at least, delude ourselves to be.
A standing routine of mine is Documentary Day. Usually a Sunday, if not dedicated to doing something away from the screen or requiring the brain (one in the same, right?) With March Madness ABSOLUTELY earning its name this year, I needed something to help me restore faith in my fellow countrymen, to see Americans as my compatriots again, and to do it in the most non-polarizing way possible.
My friends, Stephen Fry in America. Watch it. It’s on Netflix or elsewhere on the Interwebs and it’s magic. Yes, I did try to embed it and failed so I’d rather you just type-y type-y in the search engine…saves us both effort.
While it’s all from the perspective of a sensible, self-described neurotic, it’s a valid take on what people of other nationalities think of us; we, the insular, proud, and megalomaniac U S of A.
I had me a good round of laughs in a reclined state, and by the end of Season 1 I actually felt better about my national assignment and my chosen station in life. Spirits not quite restored, but yeah, feeling a bit more Mericuh! after it.
I found Season 1, Episode 4 hit some familiar notes in that a few of my novels are based on or about the places he happened to visit. So there’s synchronicity folded in too. Huh.
It is not a relief to hold your debut novel in print format. In fact, it is the opposite. Your back tenses up. Your face sours. Your lower sphincter tightens.
What the hell have I just done??
But then, your face loosens, slacking your cheeks enough to produce a smile.
There. The Dedication Page. The old boy telling me, “Good on ya! Finally! Well done, homie!” I always figured he called me that.
It looks good.
I flip through the pages. Bold, pronounced chapter numbers. Easy to read text. Good grouping, good flow. It looks. Good.
I scoff at my Author Page. The photo you guys picked made it in the book; thanks for taking that pressure off my mind.
I palm the back cover, at the gorgeous rendition of the protagonist, then flip to the front cover, and admire Marie Chapin’s beautiful disaster. The bold blue words revealing an inconvenient truth.
That’s when my hands start to tremble.
Three years. Three productive, revealing, empowering years, and the result is this novel. Not just another sci-fi story; it’s a Game Changer. Already receiving delighted buzz regarding its release, even fun expressions of impatience, both on the ground and in the ether. Friends from Canada down to South America, friends from the United Kingdom all through Eurasia. Friends in Oceania, the Middle East, Southeast Asia. A support network built solely from the launch of this WordPress blog. For your support and love via zeros and ones, I thank you.
Give me until April 4th to set up shop and then, the OFFICIAL release of I Blew Up Juarez. We are planning a Meet The Author event locally, and I’m working out the kinks to sponsor a virtual book reading hopefully around the same time.
I am going to keep a stash of printed books in The Treehouse too, so if you live in the United States and want a SIGNED copy of I Blew Up Juarez, please notify me via @VonSimeon, my LinkedIn page, or here in the Comments area, so I know how many to put aside once the shipment gets in.
Ahhhh….but there’s more.
Last week, I signed an agreement to be a contributing writer with Thirteen Press out of London. The short story you helped me edit will be featured in Night Walkers. I’m cleaning up another psycho-terror story to submit around summer, at the soonest. So yeah. Both sides of the pond, you can find Von!
Ahhhh…but there’s more!
My writing partner and I have committed to another project. We’re combining individually-developed Wonder Woman fan fiction into one saga. We had our first collaboration this morning at T and Me and it was awesome! While she immerses in studying all things Wonder Woman, I’m studying historical women warriors, starting with Queen Boudica and then, going back to my studies of the Dahomey warrior women. This shit’s about to get real.
Finally, I’ve submitted prose to a local literary journal with high probability of acceptance, and then, because I’m a zealot, I submitted a poem to a Goodreads poetry contest. Cross fingers I at least final; I haven’t written much poetry since I started developing Juarez.
So…what have you been up to?
A mother of five nervous children gathers her brood in a small cave. They’re hiding in the woods, biding time until the hunt for the family passes them by. To soothe her babies, she closes in towards them and says, “I’m going to tell you the story of how life began eight billion years ago.”
Stop right there! Eight?? Von, you’re wrong. Life began FOUR billion years ago.
Are you sure?
What is science fiction writing except a creative way to ask the question, “What if?” In my story, life did begin eight billion years ago, ushered in by a cataclysmic event known locally as Brahman’s Clap, known to us as The Big Bang Theory.
In my story, life exists on Earth, and it began four billion years ago. However, we were slow to develop. Other universes, other worlds, developed faster.
There are sci-fi absolute-ists, sci-fi relative-ists, as well as sci-fi theorists, sci-fi philosophers, even sci-fi dictators. These genre writers, the company I keep, employ the skill of thinking scientifically – exploring, experimenting, observing, notating – to create worlds.
My science fiction writing is a fun experience, but I also challenge you to think, to draw conclusions, and develop a plausible result on your own. I want to encourage discovery and exploration with my work. I don’t want to be “like…” or “as…” my science fiction predecessors; I want to move forward, bring the story of creation into the 21st century using discoveries of the last few decades: quantum mechanics, anti-matter, nanotechnology, metaphysics, dark energy and others.
The Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey reboot has really encouraged me to enhance the content of my yet-published works. Just finished watching this past Sunday’s episode covering the topic of natural selection. The question of artificial selection is introduced in my upcoming release, and carries over into the next book. While the protagonist is disillusioned with humanity, several supporting characters remain in awe of it. This is something I champion: in order to enhance the human experience through the 21st century and beyond, we must maintain a state of awe.
If you’re feeling cynical, as I tend to do, merely revisit the original Cosmos episodes with Dr. Carl Sagan (on Hulu.com last I checked) or the 2008 Discovery Channel mini-series, “When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions.” I have it in my Netflix queue.
Tonight, look up to the stars, and while you’re looking up there, wave to the scientists on board the International Space Station. Yeah, we did that. Isn’t it awesome?
I just LOVE when a posited theory becomes evidenced right when I’m about to release a book referencing it!! Thanks Universe. :-D Read the news here