Time to Reclaim the Narrative

 

It is 10:30 on Friday night and this is the first time in the entire week that I haven’t had to answer to anyone or do anything for anyone else.

I am a mother and a wife. At any given moment, I’m under pressure to change a diaper, give a kiss, give a hand job, make a dinner, prepare a lunch, make an appointment, chaperon at a park, be a good listener, scrub a floor, fix a television, queue up a children’s show, give a critique, look beautiful, stop snoring

satisfy

satisfy

satisfy.

All week long my duty is to satisfy a need. All week long, I defer my wants and dreams in order to satisfy the needs of a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a husband. Peripherally, I am sometimes asked to satisfy the needs of my mother, step-father, sister, father, step-mother friends, former co-workers, neighbors…. anyone who I know who has a need.

and it is 10:30 at night all three of the men in my life are in bed, sleeping, not needing me.

So I’m sitting here, blogging, exhausted, wondering where the hell all of my creative energy went. Wondering how in the world I am going to get creative this weekend and keep on moving forward toward this dream that I’ve been dreaming for a very long time.

I’ve decided that I’m going to change the tempo of this narrative. When it comes to how I think about writing and how I write about writing, it is time to change the pace.

I love blogging. I have a mommy blog next door that I post to three times a week. I’m going to continue to blog over there regularly because I’ve built up a cool community that I don’t want to let go of. I’ve been sitting here wondering about what I want to do with this space–right now, it’s serving as a weird task list on the internet. That hasn’t garnered much of a following, and quite frankly, it’s getting depressing. I get the impression that this is how early writing careers really start: With fits of brilliance and success and longer periods of not meeting goals. If you are a regular reader, you’ve seen this. I’ve had a run of a few really good weeks of pumping out a short story and a flash fiction and getting stuff edited and feeling accomplished.

But I’ve had many more weeks of making excuses and biting off more than I can chew.  Then coming to this blog and having to write about my failures doesn’t make me want to write… that’s not true. It does make me want to write and be better, but not for positive reasons. Not for reinforcing reasons. The tempo and melody of this narrative must change if I’m going to transform myself from a stay-at-home mommy dreamer into a published author.

Essentially, this blog is a dead space. I really hate that, because I love blogging and I want to share my process with you.

So I am, but just not as frequently and not in the way that I have. The task list will look different and the posts will be reduced to once a week. I’m going to blog in this way–a narrative way, a way true to my voice and my reflections of the week rather than a bullet by bullet weekly power point.

Because when I look back, success or failure, on this blog, I want to know that my voice was shining through for the entire time. That hasn’t really been the case, but the power of this space and this larger journey is that I can change it when and how I want to.

I know that there are a few of you, (I see you, Jeff Kent!)  who read me regularly. To you, I say Thank You because it means a lot to me that this space is something to someone. I know that some of you read my mommy blog and found your way over here (or vice versa), and I’m going to admit that some of the mommy blog is going to bleed through over here. But not totally. I want this space to be about my dream and about my ideas and about my struggles and triumphs, not about my life as a stay-at-home mother. But Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are a huge part of my day-to-day life (and the two biggest excuses for why I haven’t been writing) so their development is going to come up more over here.

Because my day job (and night job) are important and they aren’t going to change. So instead of divorcing them from this dream that I am dreaming, I’m going to integrate them into the narrative.

Because my narrative is powerful, and a driving force for why I’m here and why I’m working so hard. And my narrative is going to be the reason why I’ll keep writing and I’m praying that you’ll choose to read.

So thank you for your time. And your thoughts. And I’ll see you every Friday from now on. I’ll post excerpts of work that I’ve done, I’ll post full flash fictions because I love Chuck’s challenges, I’ll tell you where I triumphed, where I failed, and why.

and if I spend less time blogging, I should have more time to write fiction. And writing fiction is what I want to do…

and if I get better and more consistent with writing fiction, well then, I’ll blog a little more. Because I really love blogging.

So see you next Friday, and every Friday here after. And thank you for reading my blog. And if you are curious about a crazy black stay-at-home mom and her two beautiful bi-racial sons, please feel free to pop over to my mommy blog.

Optimism Monday: Groove Is In The Heart

 

Alright, I feel fully and actually recovered, now. I woke up in a good and writing mood this morning. Me thinks it is going to be a good reading and writing week. I hope to get a lot of fiction written, and also a lot of blogging done, too!

Let’s make up a list:

1) Send off Accountability for review from a writer in my writing community who I have a lot of respect for. I’m nervous, but I’m looking forward to his feedback from this rewrite.

2) Rewrite and post Before Her Time rewrite.

3) Start a YA idea that I’ve had for a few weeks. I’m excited about this one–I don’t have a name for it quite yet, but hopefully it will give me one by the end of the week.

4) Flash Fiction! Chuck’s Challenge is cool this week. The Title generator gave me “The Wrath that They Murdered.” I’m really feeling it. There is also “Gods in the Beard” and “Heaven is Logical.” All three of these are begging to be written… we’ll see which one I choose.

 

Four items, but at least 6k worth of fiction this week. Moreover, add the mommy blog and this blog, and I’m in for a lot of words this week. A good thing–my brain has been begging for some exercise!

Let’s get to work. It’s going to be a great week!

Accountability Friday: Failing Up

 

So I can tell you that I didn’t meet all of my goals this week, but I am feeling fairly accomplished anyway because despite the acute challenges of my week, I still managed to create fiction. I’m looking forward to snuggling up to this computer and finishing up a few things so that I can walk into this weekend feeling really accomplished. Moreover, I feel like I can end this week feeling stronger than I did the week before: I have moved my family, I have settled them into our new home and our new life, and I was still able to create something for myself in the process. That’s fantastic.

Let’s go to the board:

 

1) I’m so pumped about Chuck’s Flash Fiction challenge this week. We’ve got to create our own “punk” genre and the muse threw something cool at me: Blacksploitation Samurai-Punk. Oh yeah. Get pumped. It’s going to be a great week.

Done and posted.

2) I’m going to, for the love of God, edit this prequel for Before Her Time. I’m excited to finish and put it back out there.

Can’t cross this out right at this moment, but I’m on track to finish tonight. And I have a reader for it, which makes me happy.

3) I have notes in my notebook for a start of the reboot for the original Before Her Time. What I have (5 handwritten pages) is pretty good. I’m going to digitize and continue. I’d like to post that by the end of the week.

I’m going to table this until Monday so that I can start fresh and feel like that is going to be the Story of the Week.

 

Thanks for sticking with me as this has been a bit of a rocky blogging time. But I’m back and I’m settled and I’m ready to rock and roll. I have ideas in my head and words that need to be written. and published.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Flash Fiction: Honkey-Bot Beatdown (1200 words)

 

So for Chuck’s challenge this week, he asked up to create our own “punk.” Inspired by my move and locating some old gear from the kung-fu days… and of course, our two swords, which we have strategically placed in the house… I decided to write some “Blacksploitation Punk.” This also features my first ever fight scene. I’m very pleased! 

 

 

 

“Damn, girl, they gonna send their best shit to take you out? That’s just cold,” the high pitched comment of the 9-11 dispatcher came through loud and clear, though Gloria’s ear was nowhere near the phone.

“What you got in that house? You know, protection?” Gloria crawled into the nursery where her two sons slept. There hadn’t been any noise in the house over the last five minutes, but she knew that the intruder was still there. She quickly locked the door behind her and walked to the closet.

“In this room? A short sword and a short staff,” Gloria whispered, opening the door and taking them from a hidden ledge.

“Damn, that ain’t enough,” the dispatcher mocked.

“No shit, sweetie,” Gloria quipped. That, she said a little too loudly and the children stirred. Another few steps were taken below her. “My husband done took my favorite kanas with him…How much longer?”

“Given the type of unit that is probably there, we need to send more than the usual amount of force. Unfortunately, there are four other intruder incidents happening in the city…”

Gloria unsheathed the long sword and crouched into a defensive stance. A draft went up under her chemise, reminding her once again that she shouldn’t sleep so under-dressed when her husband wasn’t home. The steps stopped and started in intervals, accompanied by the rustling of papers or the slide of furniture. It was all a front, though. Gloria knew she was being baited to come downstairs.

“Less excuses. I need a time,” Gloria whispered sternly.

The clicking of long acrylic nails onto a keyboard came over the phone along with a sucking of teeth and clucking of the tongue, “Bitch, you lucky some turkey-ass assassin ‘bout to walk through your door, otherwise—“

“After I’m done killin’ this bot, I’m comin’ down there to get you too, bitch.”

“Yeah, you a badass, but is you bad enough to kill that honkey-bot downstairs?”

Gloria crouched into a low horse stance, “Tell the blue that I’m in here fightin’ when they decide they gonna come out.” She hung up before the dispatcher could give more excuses. There was no way any simple uniformed officers were coming to her door.

Her eldest son rolled. Gloria didn’t flinch, knowing that he wouldn’t wake up fully. She couldn’t invite the honkey-bot in here. Kissing each boy on the forehead, she said a little prayer before returning to her weapons. The sword could slice through the still-human parts of the bot, but not the powerful metal portions. She was faster with the short-staff anyhow, and it would damage all parts without risk of getting stuck. She picked up the solid and light wood, placing it at her side before sliding through the door.

The small landing and balcony of the second floor revealed no clues. The staircase of the row-home hugged the wall, and it felt cold through her thin chemise as she descended. There were no sounds coming from her kitchen and living room.

“I know you’re there, bot,” Gloria ventured above a whisper.

No reply. Not even a shuffle. Placing feet on the wood floor of the entrance hallway, she put herself in bow stance, her back facing her locked front entrance, her staff ready to strike in her right hand. Her eyes were used to the dark, yet she could see nothing.

“Gloria White,” a deep male voice echoed from the darkness. Human, so this really was a top-of-the-line intruder. “Your non-husband is dead.”

Gloria frowned in the darkness but felt no pain. She didn’t expect him to live very long. She didn’t expect for any of this to last.

“Gloria White,” the charges continued, “you are harboring citizens of the Majority. This is a capital offense.”

“The Sanctuary City of Baltimore allows for mixed-race children of citizens to—“

“The United Majority of America does not recognize dual citizenship with rebellion territories,” The bot dismissed flatly.

“There are plenty of little high-yellow babies in this city—“

“You have five minutes to comply with the directive.”

Gloria used her left hand to turn on the hallway light. Honkey bots always stood at six-foot five, as this was a primary requirement for the infusion. The still-human skin was bronzed and scared—he’d seen a lot of combat. The muscular build was not surprising, nor the massive hands balled in fists. It was the red and unflinching eyes that were always unnerving. She wondered for a brief moment, observing the bot’s short blonde hair, if at one point he had the oh-so-rare blue eyes that the Majority was trying to return to the population.

Lowering into her stance, she twirling her weapon as to prepare her wrist for combat, Gloria growled at the unhuman red eye. “You’ve got five more minutes to function, jive motherfucker.”

Mechanically and yet swiftly, the man flexed and drew the long sword from behind his back. He kept the gun holstered—no need to alert the neighbors.

The hallway did not leave a lot of room for maneuvering, so when the bot charged toward her, Gloria’s only move was to block. Twisting her legs and tightening her body, she placed all of her energy into holding a strong and tight staff, deflecting the mighty overhead blow. Screaming, she lifted her entire body, knocking the machine off balance and allowing for one swift strike to the face before slipping to the right and running into the larger space of the living room.

The blow had done nothing to slow the bot, who pivoted and chased, but with more room now, Gloria was given confidence. He answered with a swift swipe to the face, cutting above her brow. The bot was quick with the sword, but Gloria was faster with the staff. Powerful slices gave opportunities for quick, disabling strikes. Cutting contact and powerful slams took the air out of Gloria, though the will to fight remained. Frustration brought harder hits, taking out functionality of an arm and reducing functionality of a leg. Wordless and soundless, the bot yielded little. Pivot, parry, slice. Pivot, parry, charge.

Chemise tattered, sliced and bleeding from head to toe, Gloria found herself cornered in the hallway again, her heavy breathing made the only sound in the room. She sat in a deep cat stance, all of her weight on her back leg, her staff still at the ready. The bot towered above her, bruised and broken in places, yet still powerful and functional.

“Surrender the citizens,” The bot commanded.

Gloria spat a bloody wad at her opponent, “ain’t nobody gonna walk out of here with my babies.”

Sword arm still functional, the bot raised it one last time, “Gloria White, you have committed a capital crime again the United Majority of America.”

Gloria licked her lips and smiled. As the hammer came down, her leg flashed in front of her, a mighty circular kick deflecting the blow and knocking the bot off balance. Using both hands, she brought her staff down for the hardest strike she could manage on his temple. He dropped like lead before her.

Screaming, she kicked the bot in the chest three times, letting out the last of her anger. The metal infused body did not yield as flesh would, shooting pain through her, yet she didn’t care. The screams, of course, woke the children, who began to cry above her.

Getting down on her knees, she picked up the bot’s head, looking into still functioning red eyes.

“Tell the Speaker that if he wants my babies, he better come get them himself,” She growled at the dying machine before slamming his head on the floor.

 

Writer Wednesday: Heh.

 

Yeah, that’s how I’m going to describe this week. Just a shrug and a “heh.” I was really hoping that the boys were going to settle in to this new place and that we were going to keep it moving as a happy family. I also thought that the stress of moving would pass over me, allowing me to open my mind to writing again.

What I didn’t plan for, on any of our accounts, was the physical fatigue.

Moving is fucking exhausting. We got movers to do the heavy lifting, but there seems to be a lot of lifting and hauling and moving and pushing and pulling after the fact. Not to mention the fact that I went from very flat apartment living to 2 big stair cases of townhouse living. With babies.

So my body is still sore, my brain is still cloudy, and while my muse is fighting to get these ideas out, communication is getting lost in the haze. I wrote 400 words of Chuck’s Flash Fiction last night, and I have ideas coming at me left and right. I can only pray on the time and energy to get them down on digital paper.

So let’s go to the board:

1) I’m so pumped about Chuck’s Flash Fiction challenge this week. We’ve got to create our own “punk” genre and the muse threw something cool at me: Blacksploitation Samurai-Punk. Oh yeah. Get pumped. It’s going to be a great week.

and I’m still pumped. The 400 words that I have are pretty solid and I’m excited about getting on to this fight. I’m a little worried–this will be the first fight that I’ve ever written. Hope I create something good with the opportunity!

2) I’m going to, for the love of God, edit this prequel for Before Her Time. I’m excited to finish and put it back out there.

I think I’m going to edit it but not post it to my writer’s group. There were two members who read it and commented, and I’ll give them the opportunity to read it again if they’d like…but It has ballooned to almost 6,000 words and that’s a lot to ask strangers to read. We’ll see.

3) I have notes in my notebook for a start of the reboot for the original Before Her Time. What I have (5 handwritten pages) is pretty good. I’m going to digitize and continue. I’d like to post that by the end of the week.

I might have this written, but it would be too choppy to post. And again, I don’t know how I feel about posting super long pieces…we’ll see.

Optimism Monday: Back to Life, Back to Reality

 

My goodness, last week was a hot freaking mess. I don’t know how I survived! There was no way anything creative was going to happen…but as soon as I turned around and was like “cool, we’ve moved all of my stuff,” my Muse was like “great! I have a lot to tell you!”

So while I’m unpacking boxes and keeping babies off of very tempting stair-cases, there is going to be much writing going on! Let’s go to the boards:

 

1) I’m so pumped about Chuck’s Flash Fiction challenge this week. We’ve got to create our own “punk” genre and the muse threw something cool at me: Blacksploitation Samurai-Punk. Oh yeah. Get pumped. It’s going to be a great week.

2) I’m going to, for the love of God, edit this prequel for Before Her Time. I’m excited to finish and put it back out there.

3) I have notes in my notebook for a start of the reboot for the original Before Her Time. What I have (5 handwritten pages) is pretty good. I’m going to digitize and continue. I’d like to post that by the end of the week.

 

Let’s keep it at that for now, because this is a good 7,000 words worth of work this week. Let’s see what I can do with these goals.

 

Let’s have a productive week.

Writer’s Wednesday: Moving + Toddlers +Editing a short story = Pipe Dream

 

 

An Excerpt from a conversation with my muse:

 

Me: Hey.

Muse: Hey.

Me, looking down, sheepish: Want to work on that short story that we wrote a few weeks ago? Members of the group are waiting for the rework.

Muse, hands on her hips: Are you fucking high? Aren’t you moving on Saturday? Aren’t there only a million items on your task list?

Me, abashed, still not making eye contact: Yes…But I thought that we could steal away a little bit of time….you know, to stay sane?

Muse, not impressed, stepping forward menacingly: Girl, I can hear your boys in the nursery not sleeping right this second. How much time did you really think you were going to steal?

Me, looking up with doe eyes: 30 minutes, maybe?

Muse: [maniacal laughter] You really are high!

Me: [Turns and walks away, defeated]

 

I am moving on Saturday and I can tell you, my apartment is in shambles. It is very difficult to think under these circumstances, let alone create. And when I’m doing doing the packing on this side, I have to do all of the unpacking on that side. So, you know, my life is awesome.

So don’t expect to hear from me. I’ll check in on Monday or so to let you know that I’m alive. But at the moment, I’m going on a bit of hiatus so as to lighten this stressful load.

I’m sorry to disappoint, but I promise that I’ll write on the other side of this!