Saturday, September 26, 2009

a flash of fiction

Looks like flash fiction is back on the menu for Saturdays. This was a prompt from Saturday Scribes with a theme of 'choice', and using the words 'boardwalk, sparks, circling".

Flames of War and Hope
by Paul Darcy

I could see the sparks circling high above the burning boardwalk. The air raid sirens had fallen silent now, but the city’s emergency vehicles and crews made almost as much noise in the dark of night. Underneath, like a dying breath, the eerie wails of despair and pain from victims wafted out in the smoke and ash. But there were other sounds as well, the sounds of children’s laughter so starkly contrasting these sounds of despair.

I used to walk my dog this way before the war. I’m not sure what happened to him after my home was bombed killing most of my family and blowing a hole in my world to rival any I could see in the city streets. Watching the fires attended to, I sat upon a precipice, looking over the edge and my eyes began to well with tears.

But, almost to my surprise, they were not tears of fear or pain or anguish. They were tears of joy, joy that in the midst of this evil I could still hear the laughter of children. Not all hearts were reduced to cinders, and I knew hope and love, despite the odds, could prevail over despair if you let it.

Turning from the flickering light of many fires, I walked towards the children, to join them in their games, and I began to smile for the first time in days.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

revisions and updates

Well this week didn’t fly by quite as quickly as the last - but it is gone, never to be seen again.

And it looked like our last pet rat Fluffy was on his way to rat heaven where all the cages are open and there is never a lack of something to gnaw on. But, I still had some antibiotics left over from one of our deceased rats (Harry) and I’ve been feeding it to Fluffy by spiking his yoghourt treats for the past three days - and he seems a lot better this morning as I found him begging at the cage door for treats - his natural happy self again!

Last night we were out at our yearly dinner dance tennis banquet. When we came home afterwards the baby-sitter said, “wow, you guys have a really big mouse” - how cute is that? When I explained that Fluffy was a rat, not a mouse, she looked like I was lying. Oh, the innocence of youth.

Let’s see, this week in writing - I’ve revised a few things and got some more done. First revision came from the realization that, despite my best efforts, chewing gum and walking is just too damn hard for me.

So, instead of trying to re-write my novel and work on a new short story - I’m sticking to one writing task at a time until its completed - well until a certain phase is completed.

Right now I’m getting my novel in second draft form after which time I will spend my energies whipping up a short story idea to enter into a contest. I have been told in the past to enter contests, but always shied away from the idea. Well, come end of October that will no longer be the case. I will be entered - and should I win, or even get a honorable mention, that would be very cool.

Any way it turns out, I’ll be off to the next hurtle and moving onward. The permanent state of the writer I’m afraid.

And I had some more discussions with the person (librarian in fact) asking if I would come to our local high school and talk to their students taking the grade 12 writer’s craft course. I would love to do this and it looks like it may well happen. Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted.

Well, I think I’ve captured about all of it for the week. Oh, and chapter 13 of my current novel will be re-written for next week, and I’ll then be on to the final chapter. WooHoo for me!

Then it’s edit again, re-write a third time, edit once more and polish one final re-write - then off to submission land it goes. Then for me - it’s on to novel number three.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 13, 2009

events two

Sunday already?

Wow, how the time flies during the week when you are not commuting and squatting in cubicles . . .

. . . been pretty busy this week actually on re-writes of chapter 13 of my novel. It’s surprisingly slow going - but I’m getting there, however tedious and painful the process.

Two events took place during this week, and I feel the need to relate them - oh, and to have something to post here, of course.

Event one was our regular monthly reading night. I read chapter 8 of my second draft, and it was received well. I have some sequencing issues with the story at this point, and reading it aloud to the group helps immensely in getting it all sorted. It seems I can get the group somewhat emotionally attached to minor characters and then rip their hearts out to good effect. Maybe a little Joss has rubbed off on my work . . . Anyhow, I thank the group for their input - it will make all the difference in the end when it’s in published novel form at your local bookstore (he says using “the secret” to make it so . . .) Yes, my permanent state of being is tongue-in-cheek, which makes eating and talking a challenge, but I manage somehow.

Event, the second, was going to a friend’s wedding. She is one of the nicest people I know and I was happy that my wife and I were invited to share in her day. I met her about 15 years ago, at my old workplace when she was working there as a coop student, and found out that she was a fellow writer. One thing lead to another and I asked her if she would like to come and participate in our reading nights. To our group’s delight, she did come out all those years ago and has become an occasional member and friend to us all ever since.

Now, if you know me in person, then you know I don’t make friends easily. But I’m glad I overcame my aversion to allowing new people into my life in her case. Her stories are funny, she is always smiling, her outlook is continuously sunny and she is a great addition to our ancient coven - our reading group has been together, I’m thinking about 23 years now . . .

And not only am I working on my novel, but I’ve had two really cool story ideas that need writing. One will be for a contest which is due by the end of October, and the other will be an attempt to get back into the short story publishing business again - it’s been far too long since a short story of mine has appeared in print. I would like that to change in the near future. It would be nice to go into those high schools for talks (gee, coming up in the months ahead) and show them exhibit A - a current published short story!

Well, I’m sure I will have more exciting news to relate next Sunday, so I’ll step off the box now and get another coffee before diving into more novel re-writes.

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, September 06, 2009

the writing continues

Well, as promised, I’m back on Sunday keeping you abreast of all the exciting activities taking up my writing, and real, life these days . . .

I’ve been taking a kind of half-vacation before school starts on the 8th and so have been only writing 1,000 words a day since Sept 1st. And so far I’ve managed it with some pretty good results which I am sure to share this Friday - our writing group’s reading night.

You see, I’ve been reading all about WW2, because it’s one of my interests. Why does this period in history interest me so much when it horrifies most. I guess I’m drawn to the ultimate question of why such horrible atrocities were perpetrated in the first place, and then equally drawn to the heroic sacrifices so many made to stop the insanity.

My daughter got her new cello as well - she is growing so fast. I’m so proud of her and she is playing so much better each year. It’s amazing, really. But, to my credit, I played the first several notes of Twinkle on her cello to the amazement of all. I could probably play that device, but two in the house out of three playing is expensive enough. So, unless I get $100,000 plus for my first novel, cello for me is out for the foreseeable future.

I’m also going to my first gathering, this coming Sept 8th, of local writer’s in our area. There is an assignment I’m working on for it. It’s almost the same as Saturday Scribes where we are given certain words and have to come up with a story of poem or something written using them.

My tale is about murder and mayhem and a not quite reformed war criminal - which has nothing . . .okay, everything, to do with what I’ve been reading lately. How the pirates snuck in there, well I’m not sure.

And It looks as though my writer’s talks to students will be expanding this school year as well - how cool is that? I’ll be doing a talk to our local high school for their young writer’s program as well as talking to two separate high school classes (one English and one a writer’s class) in another high school near Toronto.

I’m thinking, once I get enough professional cred (that’s a cool slang word, isn’t it?) I may put together an actual program and charge schools a fee for me to come in and discuss the whole art and science of the professional writing business.

Well, time is running out on me this morning, so . . .

Until next Sunday . . .