Sunday, July 31, 2011

Breathing new life into old things

One my youngest's favorite stories involves a sock monkey.  I can't remember the title off the top of my head, but that isn't that important.  What is important is that he likes the book, and especially the sock monkey.  After listening to the story recently, he decided he wanted a sock monkey.  As it turns out, I have one, sealed in a tub in the attic.  I can't remember when I got it, but I've had it as long as I can remember.
For the last week, he's been asking to see it.  I finally dragged the tub down out of the attic a couple days ago.  After locating the sock monkey, I started thinking about all the stories we made up about them.  We had names for all of them.  We even developed personalities, relationships, jobs...a whole world for them.  Well, at least part of the world (more on that later).  Our imaginations, under the direction of my older brother, had created a vast world for our toys to live, play, and experience all manner of adventures.

It's been a long time since I've thought about their world.  I've forgotten most of their names and personalities, but I remember some of it.  I'm feeling there is a story in there, but I'm not sure where I want to go with it.  You see, the world we created wasn't a perfect place.  This wasn't a place full of sunshine and constant happiness that you see in most stories involving children our age.  At the same time, it still maintained some measure of innocence.  I have very few memories of my childhood that are happy, but I remember these were always amazing and wonderful.

Another problem with writing a story about the world of my stuffed animals was that it was so immense and complex.  A fear a children's book wouldn't be able to capture enough of the essence to make it live.  On the flip side, some of the innocence that made it so special would be lost if I wrote it to a more grown up audience.  A true conundrum for me that I hope to resolve soon.  I think writing a story about them would be good.  I've written a poem about them (one of the few from my teenage years that wasn't filled with angst or anger).  I'll have to post it some time.

Here is some of what I remember:

  • All of the toys lived in a terraformed area of the Antarctic.  We wanted some place remote and difficult for the real world to get to.  I remember my brother also suggested that we have some sort of cloaking device to hide them from people.
  • It was a mighty kingdom ruled over by the benevolent, and pink, teddy bear named Sleeptight.  He was the oldest (older than even me), and biggest of all the toys.  He was also my favorite.
  • The kingdom had a prince, named Sleep.  He was my brother's favorite, so he got to be prince.
  • They had enemies, so they had a captain of the guard, a stuffed buzzard, named Buzzy.
  • We had a couple alien races, the Jelloons and the Gagleans.  The Jelloons were a couple of stuffed jellybeans that my brother and I had.  We only had one Gaglean, named Gagloo (that's what it said on his tag).  I've never seen it's like.  The Jelloons and Gaglean were scientists (they were after all aliens).
  • Buzzy had a father, named One Ear (I think).  He was probably my first(?) stuffed animal.  I've had him as long as I can remember.  He's a panda, and yes, he is missing an ear.  One Ear had a brother, named Samsonite.  He was a large panda bear that I got when I was older.
  • Buzzy had a trusty mount that we ride into combat. His "steed" was a white stuffed dog named Blue Eye.
  • There were two sock monkeys.  One for me and one for my brother.  Their names were Monkey See and Monkey Do.  They were floppy (as all sock monkey's are) and were kind of silly.  I'm not sure what they did, but I'm sure it was silly.  Monkey See had more stuffing that Monkey Do so we decided that Monkey Do was more "athletic".  Beyond that, I don't remember.
There is more in there, but it is easy to see the complexity.  What can I say, we were children.  We didn't have TV or video games.  The internet wouldn't be invented until I was almost in college.  All we had were books, our toys, and our imaginations.

Monkey See is now named "Sock Monkey" according to my youngest.  He's been walking around and taking good care of him.  There is a story in here.  One of these days, I'll have to tell it.  We'll see where it takes me.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Harvesting

The System Lords decreed it.  Their will be done.  Soon the Harvesters would come to reap their fill of those they felt worthy.  Soon after the Ravagers would come and scour the planet clean.  No one could know who would be selected and who would be purified in fire.  The Harvesters were indiscriminate in their choosing.  Theirs was an arcane selection.  Strength and status meant nothing to them.  They chose because they could.

As their sky-ships darken the planet, prayers are offered by some.  Families say good bye and make peace with their gods.  Some will fight.  All who fight will be cleansed.  The rest stand in congregation as the Harvesters make their selection.

No one will see the servants of the System Lords.  It is not for the lowly to gaze upon their terrible visage.  Those who are chosen, simply vanish as if they never existed.  The only evidence of their passing are the wails of those left behind.

Cries rise up as family members disappear in columns of light.  The Harvesting has begun.  Woe be to those left behind.  Your hour is at hand.

Praise be the System Lords!

--Cardinal Solifcant III, Deacon of the the Most Holy Lord Vs'ith.  The Harvesting and Purification of Heretics. Vol. 1, verse 45.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...

I'm not sure what I envision for this blog except to say "here it is...this is my brain."  Kind of bold, maybe a little vain, but I guess that's as good a start as any.

I decided to start this blog because "it was time" and I needed some other creative outlet that wasn't necessarily dependent upon someone else saying, "Ok. This is good."  I plan on talking about just anything that comes to mind.  Some of it will make sense, some of it will be just drivel...all of it will be me.  I've got a lot floating around in my head and it needs to go somewhere...I guess that is what is expected of someone who wants to become a writer (more on that later).

I'm writing the way I think.  It isn't always structured and it doesn't always make sense.  I think of it as more "Free form" thinking which some may call "Stream of consciousness".  Either way, if I think it, it gets written.  If the grammar is bad, it doesn't matter.  If the spelling is bad, well, I have spell check.  :D

Becoming a writer...well, I've always wanted to write.  Most of what I have done, up till now, has been poetry.  Some of it got published in my high school literary magazine.  Some of it got published through  Nothing came of it except to say, "I did it.  Here it is."  It helped alleviate the pressure of thought that pervades my skull most days.  Now my focus is on writing stories.

About 7 months ago, I submitted my first story to a publisher.  It was a children's book (weird I know!).  It was titled "Bobby and the Big Split" and was about a boy who came home to find out his parents were getting a divorce.  A heavy subject, but I thought it had merit and other seemed to think so too.  Unfortunately, I haven't found a publisher that will agree with me.  I don't take this as a rejection of my talent, but rather as a realization that I haven't found the right home for it.

Story number two came shortly after and was title "Sir Grumpsalot".  The story was about a knight who was so busy being grumpy that he didn't notice the beauty around him...until someone made him.  A writer friend said that it was "my voice".  This was surprising as I don't think of myself as a humorous writer (just look at all the angst ridden, depressive, and angry poetry I wrote as a teenager).  As with the first it has been submitted, but I haven't found a publisher that wants it.  As frustrating as it is, I know that it, like the first, hasn't found a good home.  Patience is a virtue and time is forever.  The fact that I wrote it is the important thing.  Getting published would be awesome, but all things come to pass in the way that we need it too.  This isn't so much an admission of the power of the divine, but rather acceptance of reality as I see it.

Story number three, titled "Goobasuarus Dex" is in the works (yet another kid's book).  Got draft one finished and am waiting on comments so I can write draft two and send it off to other people.  I'm not sure about this one as much as I was about the first two.  I like it, but something isn't right.  We'll see what happens.

I have a lot of story ideas and you'll probably see pieces of them on here.  You might see other things as well. It really depends on what is floating to the surface of my brain.