More!…Said I Need

December 12, 2009

I could use a little more of this.  Wouldn’t hurt a thing, you know?

More growth and accomplishments in my craft as a writer.  More words to add to my novel’s first draft. (Though I topped 50K, I’m probably only halfway finish with the real first draft before the major chopping begins).  More discipline and just-do-itness…enough to not wait till someone calls a Nano for me to get serious about cranking those words outta me.  (But I gotta say, I am so grateful for this kick in the butt contest). 

Need I say “more”?  More love and patience from my underground fans, aka friends and family (lol) who have been anxiously awaiting my book release party for the past couple of years.  Some of them didn’t get the memo about a novel easily taking between 5 to 8 years from concept to hit the shelves.  Less than 5 is the goal, but all I can say right now is that I’m much “more” closer  to “The End” than I was a month ago *wink*. 

Ok, enough “more”.  So.  It’s twelve days into December, the month for editing, and I have not opened my draft since Nov.30.  Frankly, I needed to put it down for a minute, let the story simmer, my characters bake, and my fingers rest.  Nano was no joke!  But as I’ve been sleeping, eating, and thinking about the story, I think I’m ready to get back to the grind.  Heck, I’m interested in knowing how things are going to end up, transition.  At the 50K chapter, my protag was just about to do some soul searching and see the light on a few things..and then all hell breaks loose.  Feels like that steep incline just before the climax, and I’ve gotta deliver the tension…hmm.

I think I’ll crack it open tonight.  Peek inside and take a look around like a visitor.  And then, just as the words begin to sense my presence, I’ll lure them into the sky, and see just how far this draft can fly.

Need I Say More?

November 13, 2009

nano_participant_redSo, the mad ashe.selah comeback and re-org is still on hold, while I crank out words faster than the government cut checks to Haliburton during the Iraq War.  My first ever ever NaNoWriMo is in full effect.  Last week, I was above quota.  This week, esp. having celebrated a birthday yesterday (yayah!), the newbie is down 4K words.  But that’s ok.  I’m on vacation, and I’ve got some me time to try and put a dent in 10K words by the end of the weekend.  Ooh she’s so ambitious lol!

Anywho, I’m having a ball, I think.  No, I am.  I haven’t written this many words in the two years of deciding to write a book.  There.  I said it…don’t shake your head lol.  It’s been part content, part analidity (I made that word up).  My internal editor is a wicked perfectionist, and I’ve been ruthlessly mocking her – dangling participles in front of her sneering eyes, hanging the moon in previously sun-filled scenes.  She’s going crazy, but she’ll be okay.  Like the story goes – December is for editing…that’s when I’ll let her out to play.  Right now, output is all I need to care about.

Speaking of which…back to my 17K present, in search of the 50K finish line.  Love to all, hope you’re doing well :)!

My first short story ever, ever.  Gentle, constructive criticism welcome *smile*.

“Jessica!  Jessie, I know you’re in there!”

Lights out, blinds closed, Jessica sits motionless in the corner behind the door, clenching a wad of her long, black hair in both fists.  Her forearms hide her baggy eyes, but the tear drops splattered across Niagara Falls expose her devastation.  Jessica forgets nothing, not even the souvenir shop where he’d bought the sweatshirt.  Jason told her then, “You’ll get more wear and tear out of it than I will.”

“Jessieeee!  Jessie, please open up!”

Jason pounds the door with one hand.  The other stays warm in his pocket grabbling a small package, a new Metro card, and his car keys.  He stops a moment to rest an ear against the door, holding what little breath he has left to hear the slightest sound of life inside — his life inside.

The frigid temperatures have been cruel to him on an already wickedly cruel night.  First, a stalled car.  Next, the midnight Metro Bus to Union Park gone.  And now, the more he bites his lips, the more Jack Frost seems to crack them open. His only salvation to reach her tonight was the ride.  Thank goodness for the ride!  He purposed to return the favor to the Wymm family, show appreciation for the ram in the bush.

Thirty-seven minutes into her resistance, Jessica’s mind grows weary of hyperactive questions with no clear, honest answers.  “What in the world was he thinking?”  “Why would he do something so stupid?”  “How could he break his promise?”  “When will I ever be able to trust him again?”

And then, a question picks the lock on a secret place in her heart, crashing her pity party.

“Didn’t he promise never to make a mistake?!”

Holding and rocking herself, Jessica winces not only at the question’s absurdity, but at the only answer that is both clear and honest.

“Did I ever promise to do the same?”

“Jessieee!”

Jessica crawls to her feet, carefully peeks through the living room blinds, then leans against the wall with more questions.  “Strange. Where’s the old Honda? How’d he…”

“Jessica, c’mon!”

She peeks again and surveys the quiet street in vain for an accomplice hiding in a parked car.
At first, her swollen eyes squint right past it.  Finally, over in the grass where the driveway and sidewalk intersect, she sees it; an old bicycle lays on its side.  “He didn’t. He didn’t.”

Jessica’s heart sinks as she calculates the distance from Jason’s house to hers, plus late-October temperatures in Buffalo.  She realizes the entire night could be summed up as simple as this: after two years, she still has a lot to learn about Jason’s heart, and more importantly — her own.

Jessica almost didn’t recognize the sudden silence.  The yelling and pounding stopped, as if synchronized with the blue and white lights now circling her living room walls. “Oh no, the neighbors!”  Jessica scrambles to the door, fumbles through the locks, and swings the door open to rush Jason inside.  She’s too late.

Jason glares a hole into the police car hood, where his hands remain in plain sight.  “How could she call the police?”  Over in the grass, the officer lifts the bicycle, examines it, and lays it back down.  “This your bike, sir?”

“No, officer.  I can explain. See, first of all, I love that woman inside, and…uhh…I was halfway here for our big night…on time mind you…when my battery died…that’s my Civic back on Elmwood…did you come Elmwood?”

Police dispatch interrupts the officer’s next question.  He motions Jason to continue as he returns a ten-code into his shoulder mic.

Jason presses his story, unaware of Jessica’s approach.

“Anyway, I missed the last Metro…it was cold…and…umm…I saw this old bike laying in the bushes near a mailbox on 3rd, and…I knew for sure my prayers were answered…I rushed right over here…and I…”

“It’s ok, ma’am.  I’m going to have to ask you to stand there.” The officer shines his light on Jessica, and continues communication with dispatch.

Jason didn’t know whether to smile or cry, eyes fixed on Jessica in his favorite sweatshirt.

“…I…I promise I was going to bring the bike back in the morning…”

“Is there a problem, officer?  This is my boyfriend.”

“..It’s not like I’m some kind of bike thief or anything….thought maybe they were throwing it away, but…”

The officer ends transmission with dispatch. “Riight. OK. Look son, I would love to hear more about your undying love and bad luck, but the owners don’t want to press charges, they just want their bike back.  Some story about their grandfather rode it across two counties to propose to their grandmother.”

The officer directs Jason and Jessica to the bicycle, and picks it up by the handle bars.

“See here?  Wymm. Will. You. Marry.  Me.  That’s extreme sentimental value, son…and lucky for you, eh? Why don’t you give me a hand.”

Jason and the officer maneuver the bike’s wheels to fit neatly in the trunk.

“Looks like you couldn’tve picked a better bike to borrow.  But don’t press your luck, understand?”

“Understood, sir.”

The officer’s right turn signal disappears from view as Jason and Jessica walk back to the house arm-in-arm.  Jason reaches into his pocket to find the small package.

“Jessie, there’s something I’ve been dying to ask you all night.”

Jessica places her finger on Jason’s lips and smiles.

“The bicycle said it all.”

Copyright (c) 2008-2009. ashe.selah.  All rights reserved.

The Love You Need

November 3, 2008

Well folks, it’s been a loooong six month wait.  A wait that ends this week with round 2 tests at the doc’s.  I’m in cool spirits, with confidence in the Love I love…. 🙂

—–

Krystal watches her from the waist up.  A trepid view of her at work between two knees. Gentle was good, painless divine.  Determined to interpret every wrinkle in her forehead, every squint of her eyes, she gave Krystal nothing to wrap her wits around.  Not until that moment.  The moment that shattered silence into a million pieces on the exam room floor.

Somehow, even before the first word left the doctor’s lips, Krystal knew.  After today, she would never be the same again.

Life had taught Krystal many things.  When it comes to words…the ones that warm the ears, prick the heart, and rock the soul…sometimes the position one is in, at that moment, heightens the very intensity and relevance of the words spoken.

Snapping off the left, then the right latex glove, Dr. Harmon smiles and lays it on her.  “Mrs. Ashe, you have got to make sure…you get the love you need.”

As if all the air had been sucked out of the room, Krystal couldn’t breathe, let alone speak.  How do you respond to something like that? “Okay” seemed inadequate, almost juvenile.  “I will” felt utterly ridiculous.

“…the love you need.”

Like reams of Polaroids scattered in her mind, Dr. Harmon’s words were worth a thousand pictures.  Nine hundred and ninety-nine of them told tales of toil, near hits distracted by attractive counterfeits, scenes of searching for even the slightest resemblance of love — neatly packaged with Krystal’s name affixed to the label.

Beyond that batch of madness, one Polaroid remained.  The first one ever taken.  Still under-developed in a film of dark grey, waiting patiently to be fanned and shaken.

“…the love you need.”

Krystal didn’t need her legal training to see it.  She clearly recognized the inherit assumptions supporting Dr. Harmon’s statement.  Get the love I need?  Heck, do I even believe the love I need exists?  And if it does, does it cry out for me, does it need me as much as I need it?

As if her thoughts had echoed to the grave, Krystal could hear Grandma Josephine, as clear as the days she sat in her Big Mama chair with her light blue house dress, rubbing her feet together.

“It?!  Chile, donchu mean Him?  If you believe in God, you believe in Love.  God IS Love, baby.”

Somehow, even before the first word left the doctor’s lips, Krystal knew.  She would never be the same again, not after fanning and shaking the first and last Polaroid.  Krystal realized — her last and only real hope had been waiting first in line.

(c) 2008.  Ashe.Selah

You Didn’t Write That

September 19, 2008

So, I’ve got this pet peeve, right?  Doesn’t matter if I’m at the job or at home.  But since I spend most hours of the day in front of a computer, the likelihood of someone picking this peeve is rather high.  Hear me good…Do not, under any circumstances, stand behind me reading my screen…geesh!

I don’t know if this comes from my days fighting micro-management in corporate America, or from my Mama’s ever-knowing, all-seeing eye (took me years to realize she was watching me sneak goodies from the fridge through the reflection in the breakfront LOL!).  Which brings up another thought, maybe because I’ve lived so cloak & dagger, super secretive, I always think I’m under the microscope.  Hmm.

Anywho, this pet peeve has been the catalyst for some interesting moments, to put it lightly.  I’d lash out, feeling someone’s glare creep up the back of my neck, and promptly ask with as much attitude as I could muster, “May I help you?”

Well, I’ve been trying to take a mini-chill pill on this thing lol, and one day, even though I knew hubby was reading my screen….I just let it happen.  {Feeling my own head} What?  When he was good and done, he says, “Who wrote that?….you didn’t write that!”  Laughing, I replied, “yes I did!”  He walked away with his lips tooted in the air.  That meant two things.  One, “stop telling them tales” LOL!  And two, “who is this woman?…this is not the woman I married”.

If anyone has had a front row seat to my 180, it’s hubby.  When I tell ya I’d never had a desire to write or read, he’s the loudest voice in the amen corner.  And while not all aspects of life change are easy or without challenges, I’m having a ball exploring this new love of writing and reading.

Hey, it was only a rough draft of a few intro paragraphs, my character beginning her search for answers, but…..You wanna read my screen too?

If God made another vegetable rich in iron on the third day, He hid it from my Mama.  All I knew was that this stuff rhymes with feet, and that’s exactly what they tasted like.  Feet.  Feet soaked in vinegar. Wet feet that left big pink footprints on every other food on the plate, if I let the juice run.

Cole knew it was true.  Sitting across from me with his uneven fro and half-formed smile the moment Mama sat his plate down.  He wouldn’t even look at me.  Partly because he knew I had a silly grin on my face, fork-mic in my hand, and I was just dying to make him laugh.  He’d be in big, funny trouble too.  Cole could bust out laughing at any table in the city of Orlando, except the avocado-green formica and chrome dinette located at 2075 Mercy Drive, subsidized Unit #106.  Especially when Mama had just presented a nutritious, gourmet meal, rich in iron, on a food stamps budget.

I could tell he wanted to politely excuse himself from the table, take a trip to the only  bathroom in our apartment, and pull a somersault out the broken window above our toilet.  It occurred to me too, on a separate occasion.

But, like any big brother setting a good example, he graciously said, “Thanks, Ma” before Mama’s fingers even released the plate.  We both better had.  See, it was better for us to offer speedy thanks, than to appreciate Mama off beat to the battle cry of “Whadya say?!”

“You’re welcome”, Mama said without slowing down, or even looking back at Cole.

“Thanks, Mama!” I said, as she zipped around the table with my plate of white rice, one fried chicken leg, a square slice of Jiffy cornbread, and a battalion of beets. Cole slipped me a subtle nod of approval.  Apparently, my verbal appreciation beat Mama’s expectation of an on-time delivery.  Two points for me.  Though, by the looks of my pink rice, Mama had let the juice run.

…continued (c).