Blank Document Braveheart > Pen to page. Think of the children.

braveheart-3

“It is our wits that make us men.” Braveheart

I was supposed to get on here and rant about characterizations, or even tell one of my stories since I have a good one.. but.

I’m in one of those moods again.

When I started this whole gig I didn’t call myself a writer. Even after being published the few times, I only dabbled. The label “Author” brings to mind the likes of Stephen King and not yours truly so I stuck with mumbling, “I write sometimes, yeah, sorta, no big deal.” And I still do.

Often times, I look in the mirror and ask myself questions. What? I get the best advice from that chatterbox on the other side. She is smarmy but talks long enough that eventually she says something of value.

My question: Why do I do this?

If I am a barely there writerish person who is not serious about it all then why put the pen to pad?

My mirror gal sat up a little straighter, dipped her quill a few times and said, Why not?

Now don’t get all soft on me. I’m not one of those people who gets all emotional about my writing (sniff). But if I were… Here is what I would say.

(Blurry story time with music)

The younger Logan walks into a bar. She spots a muscular mail man across the room.. Wait, nope, that’s the other blog. (backspace backspace backspace) Ok this Logan, the younger version who’s penned a few stories. She doesn’t think much of them, but her drunken Aunt raves about her talent and offers to pose for her cover.

Let’s look at the list so far: One slasher story, one guy murdering prostitutes after having them pretend to be his dead wife, and oh yes, the druggies who abducted a little girl, and the druggies who are stuck in a cabin, a few other stories that are even weirder, more druggies. (titters and shoves old pages beneath her keyboard)

She’d posted one of these onto an old site Logan prowled in her early writing debut. Checked back every once in a while for reviews… or that is to say every three seconds until comments popped up.

DING! She got one on the hook! Hurrah and the comments go:
“Hey there, Logan. Loved this, so interesting blah blah blah”

Her reply: “Thanks! Hermperderb I’m so flattered, omgerd.”

And then he said this: “Its three am here in Bagdad…”

___

And then, right then, it dawned on me—not at all. I answered back some kind of “ok thanks” and moved on never knowing how that one review planted a little seed in my barely writerish mind.

Over the years I’ve spoken about this art to people from all over the world, even having to use a translator a few times. And it all didn’t hit me until recently.

When I put a story onto the page, and it goes from here (taps my head) and through my hands onto the keyboard, it fills up the empty space on that little blinky white page, and it floats away from me into the universe.

It looks so ordinary. I look so ordinary. Just me and my fingers tapping away like a fat little pigeon (Mama from the train reference there).

And it’s alive.

“Every man dies, not every man truly lives.” Braveheart

It stretches its little legs and runs. Sometimes a little closer to home than I’d like but no matter the story makes its own way in the world.

So this dude overseas, tired, hungry, maybe even in a bad mood and for one moment, just one single teeny bit of time, maybe just maybe, I could give him an escape. My story lit his place on the other side of the planet. Glowing like a beacon, Read me!

What if I could make him smile or cheer on my hero? What if I could make him intrigued so that his stress and cares melted.. even for a while, away.

What about a gal fresh off a divorce, funeral, tax appointment right around my block? What if one of my jokes made her giggle at my silly character or shake her head ruefully at their argument? What about the guy who had stroke or put his dog to sleep? What if he clicked on my story next and thought my character had such an uplifting outlook, a fighting spirit, that against all odds he or she could really put it to this thing called life and so, so could he.

I found out my words were like a handshake. They stretched like a long arm across the continent, the seas, and firmly pressed into the palms of a perfect stranger.

They said “How you doin?” Ok for real though some of our stories are more like twerking in their kitchen, but either way it’s you. YOU! Not here. THERE! And them. For a while. That reader is all yours.

If you reach them in the sick ward, in the throes of anxiety, depression, joy, exhaustion, hyper, young, old, white, black, green, and pink.

You. Are. Part. of their world. For a short time…

AND…

That’s not just writing folks.

That’s freaking Braveheart.

L

How to kill a Beta…

Drew Barrymore in Wes Craven's "Scream"

B,

Seems as though you and I need to have a little talk. This likely will be an uncomfortable conversation— well mostly for you, but listen to what I say very closely… And please don’t interrupt.

What’s that? I can’t hear you? You want me to remove the tape from your mouth?

All in good time, my sweet, all in good time.

You remember not too long ago when I was all about the finishing of my book? Oh how I toiled. And then one day! Start. Middle. Ending. It was finished! Done. Finito. Termine. Getan. Acabado. Fin. I typed the end…

I even sang Free Falling in the car, and rubbed my eyes whenever I looked at her sitting there within my laptop. It had amazed me that nothing had stopped her from completion, or from becoming a real living thing. Not the times I’d given up, not the busy-ness of my life, and not the ups and downs of being uninspired. Nope. She was my imagination that had somehow hacked herself loose from the inside of my head and ran freely onto the pages of a novel that would maybe cleave onto the minds of many readers someday. This was what I had hoped most.

You did not see me in that moment, rubbing my hands together in preparation. I figured that with a few edits, voila, B, you would see my work and applaud, maybe even sob at the sad parts, or send me messages about how the world was my oyster. I pictured myself and my reactions as you told me such wonderful things about my writing and encouraged me to mail it out RIGHT THEN to an agent. Why B, in this version, the one in my head, you even sent me the postage stamp!

But I was very, very, wrong.

As all things go, the marriage between you and I took a turn for the worst and unexpectedly careened from happy little notes of “Oh this looks good.” to “Hmm, I dunno that this will work.” You started to sound more and more like I might need to correct things and then more and more like I’d be working… And working… And working. But-but I was finished!

What about this part right here, huh? What are all these notes about me needing to make myself clear? I bet I’m making myself real clear now aren’t I! Don’t you shake your head at me. Stop that!

Okay, lets everybody calm down. There are quite a few pages that you said I’d nailed it, right? What’s to be so upset over anyway? It’s not real life. I should just take this as a learning experience and fix the mucked up lines. Yes, yes, everyone takes a step back before they go forward. Night is darkest before the morn. Only a fool does not want correction or some such saying…

I see, yes, you are nodding that I am right. Of course I am. We don’t have to stop being friends over this.

To be honest, I never thought those corrections were a problem, not really. It wasn’t them that really put me over the edge anyway. I had actually started to sort them all out in my head, but, you see, it was when I flipped the page then it became clear what deviousness you were about, when you started to dig away at my characters. Somewhere along the way I’d been overzealous in my making of them or this was how you so delicately put it, and you seemed to be saying that I was lumping them (the flaws) all too high, too much, and not enough of other things, too much here, too little there, here – there like a yo-yo of criticism.

These are my characters, B! They are who they are! OH THE IRONY of it all, that you would want them so clean when you sent back my book in tatters and dirty, so so dirty now with red marks and <<>>>> pointy things slicing away at my heart!

Can’t you see it? I will make you see it. Yes, yes I will!

What’s the matter? Am I scaring you?

No, no, it’s gone on too far my love, and I won’t stop now, can’t-won’t it’s all the same these days. Time to say goodbye … I’ve got to bury you, B, I’ve got to stop you from doing this to some other poor unsuspecting creature and… Shhh shhh shh… It won’t hurt— Much.

Until I can fix the supposed problems of my book you have to die a slow death as punishment. You see this will help me find the things I need, and I so desperately need them, to fix, remake, a little death never hurt a story.

What’s that? This is real life you say?

Well then… You should have thought of that before you decided to become my Beta.

Xoxo

L

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