Thursday, February 12, 2015

Of Fear and Fire

I'll admit that I'm scared.

For years I've cobbled together books. Some have been good, most have been terrible, but all have been crafted in the pursuit of something more. I want a better life, a brighter future and something profound offered by each written page. Progress is a sort of promise; an assurance that I can get where I need to be. The more I write, the closer I am to my goal.

I never realized how far away I truly am. Replies have passed before my eyes in what seems to be a swirl. Most of it's positive, really, praising the writing, complimenting the author, but... There's always a but, the big B-U-T, intended to follow the good with the bad. It's one simple word, three little letters, and yet they can make heaven into hell, twisting guts into knots, and turning sweet words sour. But it's simply too dark. But the main character's unlikable. But the story's just not for them. There are so many buts that interrupt hope, that introduce fear, that stop exhilaration before it can truly take off. Ultimately the replies are easy to bear because there are other editors, other opportunities, other chances to succeed.

But my chances are dwindling. A field of potential players has turned into a handful, with each new rejection putting me just a little closer to failure. Sometimes I want to scream, others I want to cry; ever knowing that my chances are limited and that my prospects are almost exhausted. I'm going up against the gatekeepers, and their doors are slowly closing. A piece of my heart, hell, a part of my soul is being denied, and I don't know exactly how to save either.

Even so, I do know how to start over. I know how to put words on the page, one after another, and sometimes even have them make sense. I know how to build back up the word count that I lost, a single sentence at a time, replacing the story that was rejected with something more. I've done it before and I don't doubt I'll have to do it again. Ultimately, it's because writers have a little bit of the phoenix in them. They're creatures of birth, death, and consequently, rebirth. We burn brightly before finally going dim, only to rise back up again, far more brilliant than before. Defeat isn't final, rejection isn't the end, refusal isn't ultimate -- they're only an opportunity to rekindle that burning fire, to stoke it higher than ever imagined and come back better.

I'm scared. I'm honestly terrified, but fear simply doesn't last. It gives way to a need to thrive, to grow, heading toward those goals that originally set us down the path. We all want something better, brighter, a bit of profound in the superficial. We don't want to hurt, we don't want to weep, we don't want to worry -- we all want success without the hurt along the way. But as we grow, we learn they're all part of the process, a little pain for a lot of gain.

Starting over will always be scary, but everything worthwhile begins with a little fear.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Girl Friday


I don't want to die.

It's not because my life is so sweet that it should continue. I'm not nearly that conceited. I've not got some grand goal I have to accomplish either, nothing big outside some simple revenge. It's not even the fact I've got somebody to live for, though she certainly does exist -- short, surly, keeping me from stepping too far outta line. No, I don't want to die like this for one simple fact that I certainly can't escape:

It'd be too fuckin' embarrassing.

I'm tied to a chair, which isn't anything new. The Tomte with a crowbar, however, certainly is. She's four feet of fury, yellow eyes narrowed, small teeth clenched, an inconsequential little thing until you're brought down to her level. Then she's hell on heels. She's currently working on a problem, and its name happens to be Johnny Sinclaire.

It's a problem I'd rather remain unfixed.

"Where's the money, Sinclaire?" she asks. Me, I could tell her the truth. Where it's set, stored, make life a little easier for myself.

'Course, where would the fun be in that?

"Why's a pretty 'lil dame like you worryin' 'bout money?" That's at least worth a rap on the knuckles -- she gives me two. I jerk forward, teeth clenched and feet stampin', ready to come up out of the chair and give the bitch a taste of her own medicine. Sadly the ropes hold and so do I, easing back down.

"Where's. The. Money?"

"Where's yer husband? I'll be happy to tell the man of the house." I probably deserve the crowbar to the teeth. She knocks my smile crooked and certainly makes it a sight redder. My fingers flex against the wood of the chair, a solid sort of cypress. There's no way in hell I'll be tearing through the wood, especially with an abused set of digits.

"What are you? Retarded? Dumb? Or do you just like pain? If so, I can give you a lot more where that came from." One thing I gotta respect about this broad is that she does exactly what she says. The Tomte winds back like a batter, steel slung over her shoulder. It's an admirable sort of stance, worthy of the Babe himself. What ain't so admirable is when the crowbar comes down, taking me right in the breadbasket. She shatters something deep inside, bringing black blood bubbling up on my lips and running down my white shirt.

I really liked that shirt.

"Yer gonna talk, human, one way or another. Why not save yerself the pain and me the effort?"

"What if I said I'm a conversationalist?"

"What if I said you were insane?"

"You probably wouldn't be too far off the mark." I flash a grin, my eyes glancing up to the shifting shadows. "Listen, you want somethin' and so do I. I spill the beans 'n what use do you got for me? At best, I get left here to rot away. At worst, you finish the job you already started. What's the fuckin' benefit for me? You gotta incentivize this shit." That seems to get her gears grinding, a frown lining her thin little face. Me, I've got no problem waiting. Every second passed brings the end a little closer.

At least, that's what I tell myself.

"What if you've got my guarantee? You tell me and I let you go, no harm, no foul. You leave me alone and I do the same to you, you of course forgetting about this 'lil money situation. That way we're not looking behind our backs, waiting for someone to jump us." She's lying, of course. It's all in her expression, an earnest face, but dishonest eyes. She'll get what she wants and then I'm fucked. No, I've got another plan.

"That's actually a problem for me." Her eyes slit.

"And what part of that's exactly a problem?" she asks in dangerous tones, lifting that crowbar up from her side. I ease up a finger, pointing at her. Or rather, behind her.

"I might have somebody here t'jump you." The Tomte freezes. Turns.

Me, I've got a reason for living. She's short, surly, and keeps me from stepping too far outta line. If I do manage to go too far, then she pulls me right back in. I say too much, she shuts me up. Ethel's a good gal.

She's also throws a mean sucker punch.

The story was decent, but I wasn't so pleased with the audio. I recognize in certain points I could have emphasized more, or brought more panache to it. We'll just chalk this down as a learning experience. Else I'm going to do twenty more takes on this damned thing, and slowly slip into madness.

Ia, ia, Cthulhu fhtagn!