Shifting out of complacency creatively

I imagine that lots of people feel the same way I do:

that somehow with Donald Trump’s election as US President there’s been a shift… things that I thought would never happen…are happening…

And I’ve had to come to the realization–that I was comfortably coasting in many ways–thinking things would remain basically the same and now…what?

But the situation is not all bad. It makes me realize how like a lot of people I wanted to believe that I can just go along with what is, and everything will be fine.

I guess it’s a human tendency to want to believe that I all I have to do is put one foot in front of another and trust that the right things are in place–so I don’t have to step outside my comfort zone. But even before Nov 8–that was an illusion…

I just listened to the C.B.C (Canadian) news–and no mention of Donald Trump. Not that they don’t mention him regularly–they do. But the truth is that there is SO much more going on in the world…the horrific situation in Aleppo…I don’t even have words for it…and the fact that Britain is waking up to the reality of full scale sexual abuse of young men who were simply trying to get a foot hold in their beloved game of soccer..

Such news reminds we how as humans can overlook so much–in attempt to stay inside our comfort zone.

And I have to admit: I’m no exception.

I suspect that it was a luxury I could indulge in because though I’ve had my challenges I’ve basically avoided the worse of the violence–I’ve never lived in a war zone; always had a place to live, food on the table;never been sexually abused. I can talk about the emotional abuse I’ve suffered; and I’m basically in one piece, with fairly good health; and, if anything, I’m getting more time to write fiction (my passion) and work on my emotional/spiritual healing than ever before.

But now–I’ve been shaken up…and my first resource– is as usual my fiction writing…

This week I did come up with a new story idea…”Dead End Cafe” a story in the old Twilight Zone style…The Cafe includes unsettling group of characters who are referred to as the Cartel; and who talk about and are followers of “The Ronald” (sorry I can’t be any more original than that–at the moment!)…and whose rise to power–they revel in, and boast about their part in it…including the manipulation of social media with fake news,etc.

The protagonist is Kathy, a waitress at the Cafe who supports herself by working at the Cafe. Like nearly everybody else, Kathy has accepted that her security rests in remaining in the cafe. She believes that outside the Cafe she will not survive–no job, no way to even begin to take care of her physical needs. It’s a terrifying place

So she works there, wanting to believe that–after all–she can have some influence over the powerful who come there…

There are at least two other characters–who even wander in from the outside…
One of which is…a young woman who has been through the worse possible
things that the world outside the Cafe can do…though it becomes increasingly obvious that what happened to her–was more the doing of the Cartel–or at least–their murky antecedents…

And so, she urges an increasingly terrified Kathy to step outside of the Cafe…for the world as dangerous as it may seem–is also beautiful…for after all it is the world as it really is, the only world that we as human beings can be part of..

As usual my fiction writing gives me a way of dealing with situations in a way that’s creative, and helps me see through it to a more hopeful place…

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

After Tuesday…now what?

First of all, I need to state I’m a Canadian…and  I still feel that–even for me–nothing will ever be the same after the US presidential election.  There has been a shift–one that deeply disturbs me– and one that I can’t ignore.

So the question is: what now?  My writing consultant  Julie ( who is an American) and I set up another consultation  tomorrow, confident (at least on my part) that Hillary Clinton would win and life would carry  on as usual.  I emailed Julie  this morning,  reminding her of our  planned  session. I even sent  some  material I had written before Tuesday.  It’s early days. Maybe best to carry on  with business as usual– at least  for the present.

I’m not sure we’ll be able to do that.  As  previously mentioned, I  write in order to creatively deal with real issues in my life. I use  fantasy and humor and put out  whatever’s going on in story form.   This process touches me deeply and I  find resolution, healing and a sense of abundance  in my life–which I would not have otherwise.

So I’m not even sure that I’ll be able to carry on  with  the story that I’m writing–it may seem irrelevant given the events of the past week.

What  may be more relevant is a story about  would be a story  about acting vs. reacting. That is, in the face of change that I experience as a threat to myself and everything I believe in:  how do I act rather than react?

One of my favourite sayings is: “Don’t just do something. Sit there.”  At this point, I do need to  “sit there”  and   see what comes up for me to do. And that’s not a comfortable place for me to be.

But right now, I’m not even sure if I can come up with a fiction scenario and a cast of quirky characters  to be part of that particular  story. After all, it  has to be first and foremost a good story.

Meanwhile  I need to get on with my day.  It’s Remembrance Day and I’m part of a Community choir that is singing: “Let  There Be Peace on Earth”.

Today, peace seems a  long way off–further than ever. But at least we can sing about it.

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

The need to stretch further

I never thought of myself as one who has writer’s block ; and yet after speaking to my writing consultant, Julie., on Saturday, I felt blocked.  I had a setting, with characters and a theme. I’ve decided to write  a modern ghost story–with the very haunting theme of violence against women… (Please forgive the pun…but for me the word “haunting” is appropriate  as the fact that women–being one myself–would put themselves into a position to be harmed even killed by a partner does haunt me)..

This made even real  someone I respect for her wisdom and kindness  could herself become  a potential victim of violence from a  soon to be ex-spouse.  I say “potential” because although the “signs” are there…nothing has happened, or may happen…She’s choosing to live her life believing that it won’t…and who am I say she’s wrong?

Yet, it’s the kind of  incident that throws me back on my fiction writing. Creating story a story around  what’s up for me gets me in touch with my deepest feelings;  and I have a sense of “Ah..Ah!” in a transforming way,  that touches my inner being.

And so I set up a story where the protagonist Suzanne, herself coming from an abusive relationship,  doesn’t know to do with her mentor Belle’s revelations.  It so happens that they are with a group in an old hotel; and  Suzanne quickly befriends  Meg, whom she takes to be a rather oddly dressed member of the Hotel staff.

Meg has her own  story  of violence against her–and seems to be unfolding parallel to Belle’s  situation…although when she’s actually killed,  it become obvious that she’s a ghost. What happens in Belle’s situation is more up in the air…

And typically I’m finding that to go where I need to go–I need to go further in writing the story…

The three male characters at present all represent different–yet similar–aspects of abuse. I need to create at least one sympathetic male character  in both  Meg’s and in Belle’s world… not only to be fair (I hate  it when women are stereotyped; I don’t want to do that to men.)….but also–more selfishly–because  that’s the only way the full story can be told…the only way that I can have the “Ah Ah” moment….that leads me to what’s most true for me: fiction writing feeds my soul in the way nothing else does…

Something that I am priveledged with other writers

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

Finally getting (my fiction writing) life back

It’s Saturday and…I’m off…and  I find that it does take some time for me to get my focus back to  writing the  fiction that I love.

When I was thinking  about this blog  I was going to entitle it:  “Getting my life back” but I realize that wouldn’t be accurate.  I do have a life outside of my writing–a good life, filled with the usual  ups and downs.  I sometimes think my biggest problem is just accepting my humaness and the humaness of others.  I have this fantasy of how we  should all be; and as it’s all in my head–not much chance of  any of it ever happening!

And so –do I write in order to get beyond the “mundane” details of life, to create  larger than life characters that never  bogged down in the trivial preoccupations that seem to be so much part of my life?

Some writers do write in this way.  And more power to them.  They have legions of readers; they’re obviously  filling a real need.

But that’s not  how  I want to write.  For me, the so called trivia that can make up our lives says  a lot about us as human beings. It’s a way in which we deal with–or avoid dealing with–with the larger issues that are uncomfortably there–whether we like want them to be or not.

Of course, I’m far from the first writer  to write this way.

Virginia Woolf’s  classic “Mrs. Dalloway”   is but one classic  in this  genre.

And while the style of realism works for many  writers,  I  much prefer the Fantasy genre.  Though story it allows me to name what issues that I’m dealing with in a creative way. I often show  the “preferred” solution of the fantasy world  which,  in the light of day , though inadequate,  leads  the protagonist  to  what she needs to be about…in her own life…

And so obviously   my writing is very much tied up with my life.  It’s another way of being in it…

And yet, it does take me time to get  my writing life back… I feel sometimes that I’m coming out of a fog…and I have to have it slowly clear before I can get back to the characters…and their world…

Luckily I am meeting with writing consultant, Julie, today and that will help me get my focus back…

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

A Modest Book Launch

 

I’m surprising downbeat for what should be a Book Launch.

I finally have my third and last novella  in the Koootenai Brown series  “WANTED ILLUSTRIOUS ANCESTOR: Legacy Legendary ”  on  Kindle.   For me that is a major achievement.  It represents hours of writing and  re-writing, of  putting flesh and blood characters in concrete situations with all the details needed for them–and the story –to come alive   I   had Julie Rodriguez  work with me on it–what a gift!–and edit it  for me.  I also revised the first two  in order to fit them into the   series, and had Julie  created new covers for them.

Julie often encourages me: lots of people talk about writing but few people actually get around  to completing something.  She’s also told  me about  people sending her material-that  they think a one time edit on her part will be enough for the story to be published on Kindle.   And the truth is that it’s  nowhere near being ready to be published. I can identify with that.  I have such  a great story in my head–surely just putting it down in the form it comes to me is all I need to do.  Of course, it isn’t.

And so fiction  writing is definitely  work. So why do it?

Because it feeds my soul in a way nothing else does.  Somehow in creating the story, I come alive,  learning what I need to know  about my life in the process.   I suspect I’m not alone in this: it may be why most people write.

Of course, I could simply go through the process for myself–not worrying if anyone else reads it. Some people do.

Yet, I also have a desire to “put it out there”.  So here I am– publishing  these novellas on Kindle  in hope that someone else might read them.

Now that in itself  is a whole other project. There’s so many  books out there–that to get anyone interested in  even looking at them–is a project in itself.

In fairness, most people are incredibly busy these days; and to ask them to take their time to consider reading my novellas  may be asking  a lot.
But   I enjoyed writing the series; and  I do believe that other people may enjoy reading it.  So I likely will   do some things to promote  the series–some footwork around getting it  out there to people who might just  experience them as a “good read”

After all, the three stories  address our desire to sometimes live in the fantasy world of our imagination.

The three of them  centre on Kootenai  Brown Personal Advertising Agency  where the three  protagonists–Marcy, Connie and Amelia–all have the opportunity  to enter their  Fantasy worlds…only to discover the imagined worlds  don’t  provide the simple  comforting solution it was thought they would … but rather something more…

it’s certainly a theme that strikes a deep cord with me…and I’m hoping that some others may get something out of it as well

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Ah Ah” moment…and the healing power of story telling…

On Saturday   I was working  with my writing consultant, and she made a comment that created for me an “Ah Ah” moment …and revealed to me why I need to write…

We were talking about a character, a part of  a scenario in a story I was writing. I was telling her about a relationship I had.. as part of the process…and she responded with:”That sounds like a narcissist”…  and suddenly I felt deep in my gut not only the truth of that statement…but also the whole experience of what that meant….

That for me is what the healing power  of storytelling. Somehow when I put whatever I need to explore in my life into  story,   it comes alive…touching my soul..in a  way that nothing else does.

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

 

 

 

Confessions of a would be “lone writer”

Looking at my previous posting: I pick up complaining, and I’m aware I  don’t like that. I thought of removing it but I decided not to, as I struggle to get anything on my blog at all. Not because I don’t want to  (I tell myself) but I just don’t have the time…

Possibly it’s because I’m older (…as noted: I can not possibly the latest “new young writer” as I’m definitely not young!…)  and I had a definite fantasy about what being online meant when I started.   I thought being able to email my material–the ideas that meant so much to me, the characters that were alive to me–to the “right” person  (usually an actor, producer: at the time I wanted to a screen writer) would mean  they ‘d become as enthusiastic as I was about my material, offering me whatever support I needed to get the project off the ground.  The email/internet gave me access to that person.

And of course, I quickly discovered that wasn’t true. Other people–famous or not–have their own projects that they’re working on, and they didn’t have the time and energy to focus on mine–even if they were interested.  Why would it be any other way?

I did, however, “put out to the universe” ..(if I may use that terminology)… that I really wanted someone who would read my material, come to  appreciate it, and give me the support  I needed to get it together and  “out there”. And lo and behold I did find my writing consultant, Julie Rodriguez over the internet. Julie and I have working together for almost 5 years now  (I believe we started in the later part of 2011)  and  her work with me has been so invaluable  that I have discovered  the real  fantasy that I haboured: the myth of the lone writer who’s simple brilliance  draws in the reader.

And that is very definitely a myth.

If I want to put my writing “out there”,  I need   to put  flesh  and bones on the characters, put them in concrete situations that speak to others as much as me. That’s hard work…and collaborative work.  I can’t assume that what makes sense to me will necessarily make sense to the reader.  And if it doesn’t and I go down that path than I’ll be simply  writing for myself…which is fine if that’s what I want to do … But if as a storyteller I want to have others read it, I  need Julie  as sounding board.  Without her I would have been able to finish and put of what I have…

…Which reminds me:  Coming out soon.. the third novella in the  Kooteani Brown series…”Where fantasy  ‘gets real’…”

But that’s the topic for another blog…

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper