The first day of the rest of my life…and where to start…

April 1…I’m now officially out of my “day job” with three months paid leave. The closest to severance pay the organization I work for would ever give; and certainly not something I ever  imagined would ever happen.

I feel adrift, though I dutifully have taken my aging car (“Goldie”; she appears in  “Passionate Hero” ) in for a major service, managing I guess to put one foot in front of another in a sensible matter. I’m also looking to this period as a gift for my writing. I certainly will have to look for another job (and any new job for me involves a  major move); and I also need to do something fun, something to remind me that there’s more to life than my present work dilemma… And this morning, I’m struggling with a writing dilemma: what I feel I “should” be writing and what I want to write. As those who follow my blog know,  in my writing, I go back and forth between a fantasy world and the “real” world of the protagonist, in order to explore themes that come up in my own life.  It’s a fun creative way for me to explore these themes; and I hope those who read the stories will enjoy  them, and be able to relate what’s going on.

My writing  dilemma today is that I believe I “should” continue on the story in sequence, and the themes that keep coming up are definitely out of sequence. Not that I haven’t done writing that’s out of sequence.  I have a great writing consultant, Julie Rodriguez, who encourages me to write whatever comes. I just completed a scene where the protagonist Connie realizes that she’s like her fantasy hero, Xavier, in her “inability” to compromise; except that she’s more indirect, something that has consequences she doesn’t necessarily want so see This scene would come near the end of the story, as it  happens after Xavier has ventured into Connie’s world; and is part of  the story’s resolution.  It certainly was  important for me to write it when it comes to me. And I realize where I am at –in the actual story–is nowhere near that: Connie is still in Xavier’s world, as a way of trying to escape from the stress of her job.

Now it’s true that the “theme” I’m struggling with today–grief about leaving a situation that clearly wasn’t working, almost preferring that over the uncertainty of not knowing, not having something to cling to–does have something to do with the next section of the novella.  After all, Connie is trying to escape from her job through the fantasy; she’s not prepared to admit: maybe it’s not working, and  she needs  to take steps to get out of here.  And  her fantasy world is also becoming rather complicated.

Xavier is about to champion her cause–a claim to some ancestral lands–which  she’s not even sure she’s comfortable with, seeing the land as really belonging to the people who’ve lived on it for generations. And then there’s the other people in the situation: beginning with the aging  King Leopold, who sees himself as gracious and fair; but who leaves the details of granting Connie’s request, to his son, Prince Rainier.  Rainier wants to add Connie’s land to his, in order to keep up his family position,  and to provide for the upkeep of the court, etc.  The other character in the scene is Princess Madelyn, once the beloved of Xavier who later  disappointed him by marrying for money and prestige, as her family desired.  More diplomatic than Rainier, she’s concerned about things appearing just and fair; but in the end, what needs to be done–in order  for herself and her family to flourish–is what she’ll do. She also has a fondness for Xavier and enjoys teasing him about “what could have been.”  And to  Connie’s frustration, Xavier buys into it.       

Certainly, a lot of what’s going on here does fall into the category of : “maintaining what we have”, regardless of what it may cost others, or, in the end, ourselves. The alternative isn’t even considered…which is something I can really relate to at this point in my life..

Just some thoughts

 

M.C. Piper

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Getting back on track…and why am I doing this anyway?

I’m aware that I want to get back on track with my writing. For me that means getting on with my next novella in the Kooteani Brown series. In some ways, I’ve never left. I have an excellent writing consultation, Julie Rodriguez, and I’ve been careful to keep up our regular consultations–because on principle, I wasn’t prepared to give up my writing, regardless of what was going on around me. And, not surprisingly, my heart just wasn’t in it in the same way as it was before. And now I’m prepared to get back into it.
And the issue that comes up for me around all of this is: why am I doing this? Why is it so important for me to continue?…Maybe it’s as simple as: this is a creative way for me to be with what is happening–that not only gives me the distance that I need, but also gives me the opportunity to create a story with fun characters who– in their own way–grapple with some of the issues that I find in my own life.
In the most recent novella the protagonist,Connie, has to deal with “niceness” both within herself (that causes her to dishonest with Xavier, her would-be hero) and within the work situation (where the people were “too nice” to tell her what was really going on with them). In the framework I’ve chosen (with the protagonist, Connie able to escape to the fantasy world of her hero, Xavier; and Xavier able to cross back into hers), I’m able to be with the whole “niceness” things–even learn what I need to learn about it–and yet do so in a creative fun way, in my writing.

And that’s why it’s important for me to continue to write.

Just some thoughts

M.C. Piper

support…what would I do without it…?

It’s been awhile–as usual…and I’m especially aware of how important consistent support is important for me as part of the writing process. I’ve chosen to have a writing consultant, Julie Rodriguez. She was unavailable for awhile; and while I “heroically” continued without her, it was tempting not to “bother”.After all, there were many other demands on my time, with other people interested in what I could contribute; whereas my fiction writing–no one else seems to be really all that interested…It’s the old cliche: If a tree falls in the forest and no-one hears it, does it make a noise? If I write a story and no-one reads it, does it “make a noise”? Is it worth doing it?
I can answer for myself: fiction writing feeds my soul in a way nothing else does. So it is worth it.
And it’s hard for me to hold on to that when I slog along in isolation. It makes all the difference to have someone read my material, and give me ideas about how to go from here. It helps me to get unstuck. A nudge about how something more decisive is needed to move the story along; or if a theme comes up, and seems “to take over”: go with it (as a story–and the characters–have a life of their own)…this makes all the difference to me and my ability to tell the story I want to tell.

Thanks for reading

M.C. Piper

fun idea…that’s going nowhere…

One of my frustrations as a writer is  that I constantly come up with fun ideas–that I know will never go anywhere…I’ve sent enough unsolicited material to producers, etc. over the years to know that it doesn’t work: I’ve never had one “bite”. And while on occasion I still do send it– thinking what do I have to lose?–there are other things(like the idea below)that  I just  have to accept–fun as it is–this is as far as it will go…No-body’s waiting in the wings to develop it …or even look at it–if I do the developing..

MY FUN IDEA…THAT’S GOING NOWHERE…

It’s a comedy…about the descendants of a well known TV western family….

Pseudo Reality Show   Bev Cartwright  “The Nevada Pines”

A direct descendant of “the” Cartwrights, Bev Cartwright 50 lives on small ranch, a pie wedge of land that overlooks Lake Tahoe.

A conservationist, who’s passionate about her land, she runs some horses and –other people off it– on a regular basis. Struggling to make ends meet (if Bev is stay on her land at  the Lake Tahoe shoreline, she needs to direct the horse straight ahead  into the water—if it moves  to one way or another, she’s trespassing.), she finally agrees to be on TV reality show with her family. The only other alternative would be to sell the ranch. That would bring in top dollar from investors and she’s not prepared to do that.

She tells the interviewer about  the ranch :

“A Cartwright’s been on this land well nigh over 150 years.’Course it was hard the first generation or so—the sons couldn’t marry, their perspective wives always dying off. It was known as the “Cartwright curse”.  Finally Great Great Great Grandma Cartwright arrived. She married the youngest when he was 50, managed to avoid all the pitfalls and mysterious illnesses; and actually buried her husband before she gave birth to a daughter—unheard of in the family before that time.  After that the family flourished.”

“Though,” she adds, “the one stipulation for  Cartwright women is that they  can only marry men with the name Cartwright. That’s why I never married my children’s fathers.They weren’t Cartwrights. But it’s just as well.  I would have ended up divorced three times. As it is, I can honestly say–I’ve never been married…And now there’s a new ” Cartwright curse”–none of my children will leave home!

The Cartwright “children” are:
Adrian, 30, is a still working on a PhD at a local College—having changed major three times. His father is Joe Biggar, a Native American who went back home to start a Casino.
Adrian is philosophical, studious, with a flair for technology—sure that what he’s onto—is the thing that’s going to get him launched into a career, or whatever. Except that he can never settle on anything. He’s also gay.

Henry, 27,  is the  second son, result of an affair between Bev and an erring Lutheran minister from Wisconsin, Bjorg  Jensen. After a “downfall” in the Nevada night life scene, the minister “reforms”  and flees  back to his former life.
Henry is big, lovable,  and  sucker for beautiful girls, whom he believes at all costs.This has gotten him into all sorts of trouble, and landed him in various 12 step groups. He also works as a Bouncer—though he’s constantly getting fired—as he’s a sucker for anyone’s hard luck story.

Josie, 24, is the youngest. Her father is African American jazz musician,Lee Dejour who came to Vegas to work.  Jessica is impulsive,  romantic, and  an excellent horsewoman. She often gets into trouble, with Adrian and Henry coming to the rescue. She’s also pulled by her love of music—she’s a talented singer—can’t decide between the ranch, and the life of a musician in New Orleans.

Of course all three fathers  turn up from time to time.

And  finally:

Victor Lam—a Chinese business man comes to make money in Nevada. He invests in  in Liz’s ranch—with the hope she’ll fail and he will get  50% of the profit from the land sale. A nice chunk of change.
But he ends up—supporting Bev in all her projects—against his better judgment…

The nice thing about blog is that–at least–I can put my idea out here…

Any other ideas of what I could do with it?

Thanks for reading

M.C Piper

Back again

It’s been awhile–partly due the busy-ness of my “day” job, and partly because I’ve been doing other  things–in order to get “Passionate Hero”  out there.  I’m aware that I enjoyed writing it and put it out on Kindle–in the hope that some others  might  enjoy reading it, too.

And of course with a million plus books on Amazon/Kindle–some actual novels written by well known writers–there hasn’t been  a  flurry of attention paid to “Passionate Hero” .  I tell myself–that’s to be expected–and really I just want to call people’s attention to the fact that it’s there–if it interests them.    Julie M. Rodriguez  worked with me as a consultant/editor on “Passionate Hero” (I put her name on the book because without her, I never would have gotten it  finished in a readable form).   Younger than I am ( most people seem to be these days!),  she  really liked the story herself, and assured me that she saw it an appealing to all ages.  That was certainly helpful, as I was afraid it’s nostalgic vent–the idea of looking back to a childhood cowboy for “advice”–might rule  out anyone younger.

And so where to go from here?   I’ll continue putting “Passionate Hero” out there, of course.  And I need another focus. Once more Julie has come to my rescue. She suggests–getting started on my next novella.  Even before I  put  “PH” on Kindle, I had decided on writing a series of novellas based on the organization that the heroine Marcy Wilkins works for.  It’s the Kootenai Brown Personal Advertising Agency, where the staff help their clients: “Be all  they can be…and let the world know.”    In Marcy’s case, she’s on the edge, needing help herself to be all she can be.  And thus, a  Trickster–type character,  Adolphus Cornelius Cartwight–ACC- sends her a computer worm… which allows her to  become  involved  in her cowboy hero’s world, and she in his–and she learns what she needs to know.

In the next novella, the heroine who needs ACC’s help –at least at this time– will be Connie Butt,  a mousy Charlotte Bronte-type character.   She’s a  “failed” writer–unable to make a living writing; but she writes well, can boost others, do good copy for them; and so she’s perfect working for KB, bringing out the best in others and letting the world know.  But when it comes to her own life–putting herself forward as the writer she longs to be–Connie is at a loss.  She hides behind others and is afraid of being found out–for the fraud that she feels she is.  (I came up with such clear ideas after a consultation session with Julie–I’d highly recommend a consultant or someone to bounce ideas off–it’s so important for me…)

Connie’s hero will be more classic, though troubled–like Rochester, or  the Cyrano de Begerac  character.  Dashing–but haunted; swashbuckling but a poet/philosopher who’s haunted by this own imperfections, and the corruption of the world around him.  I have some ” ideas”  about him, but I have not put the flesh and bones on him–to make him a real character, someone who is alive, acting and responding  in the world around him.  To get from “ideas” to a solid flesh and blood character–that for me is the real challenge in writing

Just some thoughts

Thanks for reading

M.C. Piper