BOLDY GOING OUT IN SEARCH OF JILL PRESSER

 

Slaving away over edits hasn’t taken me completely out of the loop, although a double-whammy Easter certainly did. Picture two belief systems coinciding on the same day, and then add food and drink and what do you get? Enough food energy to power fresh writing and a restless muse.

Which brings me to the whole ‘getting out and about’ thing that many folks ‘in the know’ insist every writer must pursue. I tend to agree. Getting out can’t hurt, especially when I bring to mind a Hollywood wonk who, many years ago, spoke unkindly of an accomplished character actor whom, he believed, would “go to the opening of an envelope” if there was any appreciable benefit to be derived.

Benefit? Let’s see: the actor is still working and the wonk is long gone. I can’t even put a name to the quip.

Leaving the house, aka pushing away from the keyboard, helps my edits because I get the benefit of distance: what’s in front of my face, and, so, gets over-looked because of it, hits me like Thor’s hammer after a few hours off.

So, I’m going out Thursday night, not only to get some distance, but to also check out a singly fascinating criminal defense lawyer named Jill Presser. Jill not only educates, but she INSPIRES by putting her arguments out front and up top in front of the Supreme Court of Canada no less.

That impresses me.

And it might just speed up my work.

Wishing good #writing. Good #editing!

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant,

I am

FUNKHAUSER SIGNATURE

April 18, 2017

 

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NANO AND THE MUSE

It’s with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to another NaNoWriMo season. On the one hand, I’m delighted to have (realistically) come out of it with about twenty five thousand usable words to build on when edits begin; on the other hand, the intensive energy that went into their creation has spilled over into other WIPs that now SCREAM for attention.

 

It is a happy problem to have. Subjectively, I’m delighted that the muse is so strong; objectively, I’m torn between following them (yes, there is more than one) or putting a lid on it all so that I may clean my house (not pretty after a month of creative).

 

fireIn a previous article punched out on the eve of this year’s effort, I talked about finding inciting incidents—the ones that make us BURN—and following them to a fiery NaNo conclusion. In every sense, this is what happened in 2015, but with one amazing difference: as SHELL GAME began to take shape, kernels of competing ideas—pop scenes—inured to places of NaNo’s past.

 

My sparkling diamonds—pop scenes—invaded mid sentence, forcing treesopen new pages and a flurry of keystrokes. In one instance, an entire scene written in just twenty minutes became the ending without a middle fully realized. Relieved to know where my gem was going, I was interrupted by a pop meme that reminded me of my mandate as both a funeral director and purveyor of fiction. That meme, both bon mot and bête noire, took me to a darker manuscript begun in 2010 that had posed many problems in the ensuing years. Thanks to NaNo, I suddenly (and very unexpectedly) had an answer to questions both structurally and tonally. I can’t wait to get back to it.

 

doggieBut wait! After another shining moment sparked by a week-long stay in a gorgeous part of the country, I found myself smack in the middle of a conundrum. Isolated, without internet connection, devoid of fire pallets (burning stuff helps), and only a large hunting dog for a bed mate (Ah Choo) I had another soul saving 15,000 words to add, but for ANOTHER NaNo, this time begun in 2014.

 

WHAT’S IT ALL MEAN?

 

As much as I can tell, I have a few options before me: 1) finish the NaNo 2015 project at the expense of all others; 2) put this NaNo on the shelf and follow the meme’s and landscapes that call me to NaNo’s past and previous; or, 3) shut this damn laptop down and get some sleep…

 

Or, I could clean my house.

Adult, unapologetic and wholly cognizant, I am

 

A.B. Funkhauser

Lover, NaNoWriMo

LIGHT BULB NOT INCLUDED

Where I come from, Hydro electric power is at a premium. That’s because environmentally conscious legislators stick handled some ballyhoo through our august house of parliament mandating the use of high cost mercury filled light bulbs. These, said to last forever,—(they don’t)—force tremendous savings, resulting in surpluses that the aforementioned legislators give away to our neighbors so that the status quo is maintained and we can enjoy higher prices.

Bully for us. There’s always a silver lining.

While others bitch and moan over the obvious injustice—my Sensy Burner™ for example has been without tiny bulb since the kibosh on luminescents—good hearted optimists like me embrace the darkness. And a good thing too: Darkness, like paint stripper, takes away everything cracked and peeling.

Every year around my birthday, I meet up with my old friend The Muse for a little vin rouge and a lie or two. I love these meetings, especially since they date back some thirty odd years.

Muse and I have had our fair share of triumphs and failures that include, but are not limited to, expanding waistlines and thinning hair. None of these matter, because in the afterglow of what is time, space and many, many vintages, neither he nor I change.

If anything, we travel backward.

“You haven’t changed a bit,” one of us says each year, usually after the first bottle.

“I know, eh? Funny how that is.”

Sometimes, after rehashing an old tale with plenty of add-on embellishments compensating for faltering memories, one of us will start eating out of the other’s plate without any thought to the patrons sitting next to us. We can do this, we tell ourselves, because the grey hair and lined faces that announce us on arrival gradually fade as the hours wear on.

Youth, you see, has a way of getting away with things that time and sober thought cancel out. It’s true every time; this year was no exception:

“Madame? Monsieur?” the concerned wait staff interjects once the peas start rolling onto the floor. “I must give you a caution. We here at M**ton’s take the utmost pride in the atmosphere we present and we rely on our patrons to do the same.”

Muse clears his throat before blowing the pretty little table candle out. “There,” he says, affecting invisibility. “No one can catch us now.”

It’s not until the next morning when I wake up safe and sound in my own bed that I realize that I’ve time traveled backward. “How did I get here?” I ask my husband while trying to blot out the natural light that recuts all kinds of crevices into my wise old face.

“The train,” he replies. “Muse piled you on the first one going east.”

“That’s bold,” I comment, before realizing that there could be no other conclusion: neither The Muse nor I could make sense of the e-schedule as posted despite the tinkly lights showing the way.

“Where are you going?” I query my husband who, with keys in hand, makes a bee line for the door. “It’s not even noon yet.”

“Light bulbs,” he says pointedly. “Two out in the family room.”

I laugh as I wave him off.

For as much as I curse the light and the hydro that brings it, there is no escaping the reality of a new day and the bright things it possesses.

THANK YOU, O MUSE. UNTIL NEXT YEAR… AND TO OTHERS: HAPPY ST. PADDY’S DAY!

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good day! Let’s stay above it.

ABF