Thursday, October 15, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

After much internal debating, I have decided to participate again this year.

To kick off the thought process, I have also decided to steal a plot line. As such, I am officially stealing the basic plot of "The Tempest". I doubt Shakespeare will complain about this.

Because it's a play, there will be much to do to make a novel of it.

I have been rereading the play online. I also am using an unusual reference dictionary - Samuel Johnson's dictionary to be precise. While I have an excellent vocabulary - there are words that Shakespeare uses that I simply don't know. Yarely was one of them. There are others that have changed in meaning over time, this dictionary is more likely to have a definition that makes sense. In fact, this dictionary has many examples of usage and a good proportion of those examples are from Shakespeare.

So, I have a plotline. I need new character names and a bit of world building. But the stage is set, all I need are the players.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Time - A short story

“Once upon a time.” Doesn’t that sound like a typical and safe story start?

Of course, if you think that, then you don’t understand time. Time hates to be called into account. He hates to be mentioned in any form.

He also has a long memory and a taste for revenge. Beware of beginning any tale as “Once upon a time”.

You don’t believe me? You think time is merely a concept? A construction? Have you not heard the tale of Manuel the Bard? Nor that of Cassandra the Storyteller?

Sit and listen as I tell you more…

Manuel the Bard was the most amazing performer. He could sing and play on his guitar all the best known songs without flaw and wrote his own music on a regular basis.

He decided to compose a new piece celebrating the life and love of the Lady Feinal. Her beauty was still much discussed, even though she and her husband Prince Aekyn had lived and died more than 200 years before.

Unfortunately for Manuel, he began his ballad with “Once upon a time”.

Time took offence and then upon a revenge.

Manuel grew older and older. His sight was weak, his hearing gone, his fingers too curled to play an instrument. Still he lived. All his friends died and still he lived. In fact, he still lives though he wishes he did not.

Then there was Cassandra the Storyteller. She always held her audiences spellbound with her tales. She knew the old folk tales, tales of the gods, and tales of the travellers that had returned from seeing the world. All this and she had yet to reach her twentieth year.

Everyone in her town loved Cassandra. She was welcome in every home, and would be offered food and a bed during her visits. In exchange, she would entertain the household for the night.

There was a fateful evening where Cassandra started her story with “Once upon a time…”

Time struck back.

For Cassandra, the days suddenly began to fly by. By the end of a year, she had aged ten. Five years for the rest of the town was fifty years for Cassandra. During the sixth year after uttering the phrase, she had passed of old age. She looked to be eighty even though her real age was 26.

Never begin a story with “Once upon a time…” Time does not like that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Student and the Magician

(This story was based on this prompt from Seventh Sanctum. "This is a tale of personal transformation. The story is about a smooth magician. It takes place in a keep in a university town. The story climaxes with someone getting lost. A magical accident plays an important role.")

“Yo, Bailey, you going to the show tonight?”

“What show? I’ve been so deep in my coursework that if it’s not in one of my books, I haven’t noticed it.”

“Campus art gallery has a magician doing a show tonight. It’s 20 bucks to get in, part to pay for his appearance and part to pay for some renovations,” Ollie replied. “His show is supposed to be pretty good.” Ollie slapped at the book on the table. “And you really need a break, mate.”

“I must have been out of the dorms at least once today,” Bailey huffed.

“I might believe you’ve been out once this week. But not today or yesterday.” Ollie tapped Bailey on the head. “Your brain is going to be mush. Nothing but mush. Tell you what, I’ll shout the first drinks.”

“It’s in the gallery, Ollie. There may not be drinks,” Bailey protested. He tried to concentrate on the book in front of him.

“Of course there will be drinks. Where do you think the REAL money for the renovations is coming from? Overpriced beer, but you can get slapped with penalties if they catch you sneaking some in.” Ollie reached over and closed the book. “Come on, it will be fun.”

“Are you going to take no for an answer?”

Ollie gave an exaggerated sigh. “I’d rather you said yes, but I’m not going to drag you there. So, I guess I’ll have to find some hottie to buy a drink for.”

Bailey stood up and stretched. “Well, if you are going to twist my arm,” he said as he held out one arm. Ollie lightly grabbed the wrist and gave it a tiny twitch. “OUCH! All right, all right, I’m going,” Bailey laughed.

“The show starts in 2 hours. Time for you to change your clothes and we can grab a burger before heading for the gallery.”

“Change my clothes?”

“I swear you have been wearing the same shirt all week. Go on, get changed and we can take off.”


They arrived at the campus gallery half an hour before the show was due to start. As Ollie predicted, there were drinks available. The choices were overpriced beer or overpriced wine by the glass.

“I love the high class,” said Bailey as he grabbed the plastic cup.

“Don’t bitch about it. After all, this one is on me. When you buy a round, then you can complain about the plastic.” Ollie took a gulp of beer. “Besides, can you blame them? I’m sure they will have plenty to clean up as it is. They don’t need broken glass everywhere.”

“Dude, check out this sculpture. I swear, we should be art students. My baby sister could do better than this.” Bailey was staring at the twisted form on the pedestal. It was composed of ‘found’ objects, namely trash collected from around campus.

“You know why we aren’t art students. The odds of being successful at it are too low. I know I don’t want to spend four years just to flip burgers because I can’t find a job.”

“Not every business student finds a job,” protested Bailey.

Ollie shook his head. “Our odds are still way better. Especially if we do well at one of the special subjects in the last year.”

They wandered around, looking at the other art while waiting for the show to start. A couple of beers later and the art was looking much more interesting. Much of it was for sale, but neither of them had the inclination or cash to think about buying anything.


The magician was Malthos the magnificent. The show itself was pretty decent given that it was a small stage in an art gallery. Bailey was certain Malthos could do more, if he had a more elaborate place to set up. As it was, the magician had made a lot of things appear and disappear. His pretty assistant had been through the crowd a few times, much to the delight of the guys.

“Now for my next trick, I would like a volunteer from the audience.”

“Here’s where they grab a plant, wonder who it will be?” said Ollie in an undertone to Bailey.

Malthos scanned the audience a few times. Several people raised their hands but his eyes barely paused as he looked around. He pointed directly at Bailey. “You, sir. Would you kindly approach the stage?”

Bailey looked around but everyone was already applauding and the assistant had a firm grasp on his arm. “Right this way, if you don’t mind.”

“But I do mind. Take someone else.”

His protests fell on deaf ears. He gave up and let himself be led up on the stage.

“Now, kind sir, your name please.”


“And have we met before, Bailey?”

Bailey shook his head. “We definitely have not.”

“Now, all I need you to do is step into the magic cabinet, right over here. Will you do that for me, Bailey? Don’t worry about anything, just step inside.”

Bailey nodded and stepped into the box. He heard Malthos talking to the audience as he shut the door. He began to worry about his next exams. They were soon and Bailey wasn’t as prepared as he wanted to be. “There are times when I wish I were somewhere that exams didn’t matter. Grades didn’t matter. For that matter, somewhere that universities don’t even exist.”

Time passed and Bailey grew tired of standing. “Ready or not, here I come,” he said as he pushed open the door.

He was in a lush green forest. He looked back but the cabinet was gone. “Where am I? How do I get home?”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Lights - a short story

Henry came home after work. He went into the kitchen to get the daily newspaper and then walked over to the living room light switch. When he flicked the switch, there was a brief flash and a pop as the light burnt out.

"Martha, could you get me a light bulb. This one in the living room just went out."

"I'm sorry, dear, but there aren't any left in the house. I had four extras but this is the fifth light bulb to go out this week. I should have bought some more at the store but I thought that after four bulbs in one week, we wouldn't need any more for a while."

Henry grumbled as he looked around for another place to read the paper. He finally settled in the dining room. Just as he settled down to read, there was another pop. One of the lights in the chandelier had died. Fortunately for Henry's temper, there was still enough light to read by.

The next day at work, Henry found the light in his office had gone out. He called the maintenance department, who promised to come right over and replace the bulb. It took two hours for maintenence to come and the office was too dark during that time for Henry to read any of the reports on his desk. Finally, there was a knock on his door, and a voice said, "Maintenance."

"What took you so long? I called your office three times, trying to find out where you were, and all I was told was that you were on your way." "Well sir, we had go out and buy lights, and we've spent the rest of the morning trying to catch up on replacing them. I don't know why but we never just have one light go out. It's always a lot of lights, and we never seem to keep enough extra bulbs in stock."

Henry thought about the coincidence of lights burning out, but soon he forgot about it. At lunchtime, down in the cafeteria, he run into Thomas Chambers, one of the company's best research and development men. He decided to pull Thomas's leg a little.

"Hey, Tom, I have a little problem for you to work on. Why is it that light bulbs always burn out in clusters?"

Tom chuckled, "Is this one of this new cosmic problems caused by the invasion of earth? Henry, you're going to have to do better then that if you want me to believe you. Next thing, you'll be telling me about a guy in a red suit, and a bunny that delivers eggs." They talked about other things while they finished their lunch and both of them forgot about light bulbs.

Tom's lab was working on an automatically fastening seatbelt. The work had just progressed to the final testing stage when the lab was hit by a plague of lights burning out during critical moments. First, there was the light over his desk, then the one one over the scaled down model of their new belt, then the light right over the full scale seat belt fastener just as they were trying to test it.

"Henry may have been just joking around last week but he may just have a point." Tom did a few quick calculations on his computer. “Definitely, the odds against a coincidence are almost astronomical."

Tom set up an experiment in his lab which had a series of ten lights automatically turned on and off, four times every hour. There were five cameras set up to film the lights. The cameras took a picture once every minute.

After a week, Tom developed the film. At first, the only thing he noticed about the lights was when one of them would burn out, another would go out within two more on/off cycles. Then he noticed an odd blur on one picture just before a light burned out. That blurry spot was far too small to be human and there were no animals allowed in the lab.

Tom replaced one of the cameras with a high speed movie film. This was set up to take pictures just before the light was due to come on. On this film, Tom got an image of a small creature that appeared just before the light burnt out. He spent the afternoon making a still picture from the film. He rang Henry on the office telephone. "Met me at the pub on the corner, after work. I've got something to show you."

Tom had been served a drink by the time Henry arrived at the bar. "Drink up," said Tom, "I think you'll need one before I show you what I brought." Henry ordered his drink and waited until he was half through before he spoke.

"Well, what's this about? I can't spend long here, Martha hates it when I'm late."

"Remember the problem about lights you talked about a couple of weeks ago?"

"Are you trying to get even for that simple joke?" "No, I found the answer. There is a reason why lights always burn out in groups." He handed Henry the picture he had developed that afternoon.

Henry stared at the picture. There was a small furry beast, standing on the ceiling of a room, doing something to a light. It had large hands and eyes. "Good fake. How did you do it, put a light on the floor done up like the ceiling?"

"It's real, I swear. Hard to believe but true."

"What is it? I've never seen anything like that before."

"You remember in world war II when a plane went wrong, they would blame gremlins? As far as I can tell, that's what this is. My theory is that they consume power, and after the war, they decided to go after the most common appliance they could find."

The men stared glumly at the picture. "What hurts is that I don't ever dare tell anyone about this. I'd never be believed again. But I've put traps around all the lights in the lab. Maybe, someday...when I've caught a specimen to show people."

"Yeh, but if they were easy to catch, wouldn't someone have done it by now."

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Back to gym

As I do every once in a while, I decided it was time to get a gym membership. While walking dogs is good exercise for the legs, I don't get much exercise beyond that.

Women, in general, can use strength training to help avoid 'bones of glass'. Being fragile and easily broken.

So, I joined Friday last week. I have been 4 times since joining. Not enough to make a noticeable change yet but first is just developing the habit.

Same gym group that I always join. Local people, several gyms in town, not too expensive.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Well, not going to put THAT on my bucket list - the Archibald Prize

So, drawing is a fun hobby.

And I've been particularly prone to drawing people (or Sims) as practice

Now yesterday, a random thought crossed my brain about the Archibald Prize - a prize in Australia awarded for a portrait.

Just for the hell of it, I went to look it up. Australian resident - check. Needs to be a painting - okay, have to put that entry for a year until I can paint with physical materials and not digital. There is a fee, but it's pretty tiny and I could do that.

Subject needs to be an Australian, well known in their field. Fine, I can handle that.

Subject needs to be aware of the artist and have at least one sitting. ANNDDDDD there's the huge NOPE. There's just no way I'm going to ask anyone well known in their field to sit for a portrait painting. Just no.

Funny, it's not the idea that I'd lose. In fact, I expect to lose. But the idea of asking anyone to sit in real time for a portrait? Never.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Trying to find the inspiration to finish

NaNo 2014 - I won. Huzzah and all that.
But, the book isn't finished. It's probably about 3/4 done, but not finished.

Since around the start of the holidays, I started seriously slacking off in writing. I was hoping that I just needed a break and I'd be ready to finish the thing in the new year.

But so far, no. It's not writer's block. It's just no desire to finish the stupid thing.