Bus Observations: The Old Man

I take the bus. Not out of some deep rooted environmentalist belief that I’m saving the planet, but out of convenience. There just so happens to be a bus stop right in front of my house and I get dropped off within a block and a half from work. There is also the savings of not having to pay for parking in downtown Regina, as well as the cost of gas. And to top it off I don’t need to deal with the horrible drivers that this city seems to spawn. There are times when I am shocked that there aren’t drivers plowing their vehicles into my living room.

What I have been noticing now that I tend not to read on the bus (entirely owing to not having any new books to read, I need some suggestions) is that I tend to observe the regular people on the bus. Why I have taken an interest in people when for years I haven’t really cared is beyond me. Though I will admit that its often times entertaining. Take for instance the old man.

Now I don’t know where this old man starts his journey along the bus route, for he is always on the bus before I get on. He sits in the back corner of the bus, a frail and withered hand resting on a lunch kit while the other is rested ever so slightly on the window. His wrinkled face turning to catch sight of new passengers as they get on. In the front pocket on his chest there is always a copy of the bus schedule; though it sticks out enough to make you feel that in a stiff breeze it would blow away on him. Usually around halfway through the trip he’ll stick his tongue out for a moment or two. Upon reaching the end of the line he quickly jumps up, eager to be off the bus first and rushing out into the cold morning air.

As my mind is want to do, I have found myself creating little mini stories for the people I observe and this old man is no different. For example he is almost always on the bus each work day, and the lunch kit makes me think he’s got some sort of job, even though he looks like he’s 90. What kind of job? I don’t really know, I never actually see him after I get off the bus. This realization got me to thinking that perhaps he’s a super hero, albeit an aged one. He has spent decades protecting this city against the scum of the underworld, and though he wishes to retire he still sees that his city suffers. Perhaps too his arch nemesis is out there too, and it is he who our ancient protector is taunting with his tongue stuck out. But why would he be taking the bus? Don’t most super heroes fly? This puzzled me for a bit, and the only reasonable conclusion is that he knows the dangers of an old person flying around. I for one am terrified of old people driving let alone flying. And for that kindness on his part I salute Captain Old Man, our aging protector for good.  God speed good sir.

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Keeping the words flowing

It has occurred to me that at the very best only the most casual of individuals will find their way to this blog.  As such I’ve decided that this blog shall service as an on going journal where I shall expound upon whatever the hell it is I feel like writing about.  With the sole purpose of keeping the writing spirit free and working dutifully in the word mines deep in my subconscious.  These are very dangerous mines, where many a strong willed spirit has succumbed to the traps that the dark god Lazisor has left; hoping to catch unknowing prey.

Today has been a bit off for me, at least for the most part.  My job still wears away at my will to wake up in the morning and I still peruse many a webcomic and at times perhaps too much.  I have stumbled upon a new comic entitled Allan that has amused me today. It’s a fun autobiographical comic about a 17 year old kid. There’s a lot of times you are rooting for him and I at least felt a moment or two of “Shit that sucks man”.

Also it seems Quake Live has come out into open beta. So I think I’ll be checking that out over the next little while. Perhaps it’ll hold me over until Resident Evil 5 comes out. On a side note on online gaming, if you play Urban Dead you can find me in the Earletown suburb on the north east end of the city. Look for the character James Chown, usually hanging out at that Acourt Arms pub.

Was a bit depressed today and for some damnable reason that got the creative juices flowing once more. And it also made me realize just how depressing most of the stories I write are. Suicide, murder, insanity, loss, etc. My stories are a veritable perfect storm of misery and despair. Sometimes I think my lighter stories such as Modern Warfare and The Moon’s Gaze are just the eye in a mighty hurricane of suffering. I have the urge to do a lighthearted story at some point to help off-set this but as it stands now I have six stories churning in my mind. So, until I get these finished there isn’t much hope for a character of mine having a happy ending.

Finally I plan to update this blog/journal at least once every couple days now. I figure if I can keep to a strict posting schedule here and constantly writing about 400 words I should be getting back in shape. Flex those writing muscles! Oh Yeah!

Complicating matters

There hasn’t been much done on my end when it comes to writing over the last few days.  With a combination of work, helping the girl friend prepare her new room, and general laziness I haven’t written a whole lot.  Though I have written some what has been typed out just isn’t sitting well with me.  It’s a bit of an issue when this happens;  I always end up obsessing over words and flow and never actually get anything completed.  The biggest issue I have is with my short story The Kiss, that has been in a state of being written for over three years now.

The problem comes from the second half of the story, just after the above mentioned kiss.  Throughout this story there is a focus on the music and the beat, and how it draws this poor guy in.  And there is a very clear shattering realization at the end of the story, at least for the man.  The issue is that the writing style gets broken up just after the kiss.  It goes from my overly descriptive prose to being a dialog between the man and the woman.  The problem is that I know how it needs to come across but I haven’t found the voice for the woman.  She’s confident and playful, leaving hints and riddles;  always alluding but never explaining fully what is happening to the man.  And she most definitely doesn’t elaborate on the music.  I think I just need to go back through that entire section and plot out what I need her to say, then focus on making that come across.

On another note I think I have come up with an actual use for Twitter.  Now, like many people I find Twitter to be perhaps the most pointless service imaginable.  For example, why would anyone care if I’m eating a sandwich right now.  Do they really need to know that it was a delicious turkey on rye with a bit of Miracle Whip?  No not really, either that or they are easily entertained to a horrifying degree.  But that’s just my opinion on the service.  My plan was to use it as supplemental material for the upcoming project.  Having little updates from the future protagonist as he explores and does his thing.  And then have the updates on the blog go into what he had seen and what was going on.  We shall see how this goes, I may or may not attempt this.  Like most of what I do it rests on how ambitious I am.  But I figure since I’m going to be writing this story using the Internet as a back bone I may as well use as much of it as I can.

Also, I have a potential plot for a sci-fi story.  This is strange and uncharted waters for me, so we shall see how this goes.  Just need to start keeping my netbook handy for when new ideas strike me I can jot them down so I don’t forget.

Reflecting on the writings of young me

I can’t lie that I don’t have fond memories of the stories I wrote as a child.  Remembering those days hen pecking at our old IBM 386 with Windows 3.1.  How I’d search through the dictionary for ten to twenty minutes trying to find a cooler word than bus (I ended up with omnibus which does relate to a bus in one definition, and I will admit it is a lot cooler sounding).  Messing with the fonts and setting them to size 16 to turn my almost two page story into a five page story with .5 line spaces instead of single.   It makes me smile just thinking about it.

What doesn’t make me smile is the horrible plots, characters, and dialog.  Oh how naive I was to start my writing endeavors with first person narratives.  And to star myself!  I was a budding Mary Sue but had the balls to actually inject myself into the stories, not hide behind some flimsy one dimensional character.  Some of the plots  for my seven hundred word epics were hilariously bad.  Vampires, ghosts, water monsters, and a demon bus.  Yes, as far as I can remember that story was titled The Omnibus of Doom.  I was such a witty lad.

Though truth be told the first of these short stories has evolved over time into what I’m currently call my novel.  Yes, a two and a half page epic story of me summoning a demon has now morphed into a probably four to five hundred page battle against the very threads of fate that bind the world together.  It is a bit awe inspiring now that I think of it, that such a humble and incredibly bad story can be fleshed out over time to become something far more interesting.  And with luck actually decent.

There is one other story that I wrote a during this time frame that I may return to sometime.  It, like most of what I wrote at the time, starred me in a laughablely thought out tale of a school making zombies out of the students.  I think if I could come up with a less stupid outcome and actually write it more a kin to the style I employ now it could be entertaining.  If not altogether unsettling.

But oh these stories I have brought up were not the first of my writing endeavors.  No, that honor belongs to a story I wrote in Kindergarten.  In which I typed it up on an old type writer, illustrated with stick figures, and aptly titled Treasure Hunt.  Oh how I wish I still had a copy of this story.  If only to feel that youthful energy I once had and to see where I first got set on this path once more.

The Moon’s Gaze

The valley had not seen such a serene night in ages. Young children had already been tucked tightly into bed, some squirmed to wriggle free of their linen prisons. Nary an animal dared disturb the tranquility of the night; dog and cat alike curled up about their owners feet. An old man and wife sat on their porch; their eyes locked towards the sky with silent smiles on their lips. There was little wind, only the slightest of breezes that rustled the leaves and grass. Fireflies would soon gather by the largest hill and dance the night away. High above the Moon gazed down upon the valley with longing, and it was then that it noticed the two figures laying in the grass atop the hill.

It was a boy and girl who laid on their backs gazing back at him. Through the eons that he watched the Earth the Moon had always felt embarrassed to intrude upon such intimate scenes. Yet he could never bring himself to look away. Tentatively, bashfully, he leaned in ever so slightly in the hopes of hearing what was said. At first there was nothing, and the Moon thought that perhaps they were speaking to softly for his ancient ears to hear. As he began to withdraw he heard the girl giggle and saw the boy smile; the sound and sight filling his aged soul with joy.

“Tell me again.”

“Do I have to?”

“Please?”

“Alright… You make me want to do incredible things, feats no other person on this planet could ever achieve. I’d move mountains, rock by rock, to spell out your name so that the heavens would forever know that our love was eternal. To position the stars so that a portrait of you will last until the end of time. If it would make you smile I would fly out and bring back the moon so that you could hold it in your hands.” The Moon chuckled softly.

“I want to become the best person I could ever be; to become the person who will forever make you happy. To be your light in dark times, and to be your shield when you need protection. I want to be your one and only from now until we are old and gray; gazing upon the stars knowing that we did right. To see our kids-”

“No matter how sweet your words are we won’t be starting on them tonight.”

The boy and Moon laughed, “In time, to see our kids grow. To watch their triumphs and to help them back up from their defeats. To teach them the rights and wrongs of the world to the best of our abilities. To see them learn from their mistakes and to learn from their successes. To help them along their way as they become adults and to them help find their place in this world. And to hope that with luck they will find the one person who they will spend their lives with.”

“Why though?”

“Because I love you.”

“Why?”

“Because you take my breath away. Because you make my heart skip a beat as you walk into the room and how it aches when you are gone. Because your smile lights up my life and turns sadness away. Because you are the love of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The girl smiled and wiggled closer to the boy. With arms wrapped around each other they gazed up into infinity. The fireflies began to dance in the breeze; the star filled sky an exquisite backdrop for their performance. The young couple held tight and kissed passionately under the Moon’s shy gaze. Sheepishly the Moon turned its attention elsewhere; if only to give them their privacy. The Moon noticed an old couple, staring back up towards him. It made him think back to a night similar to this one, many years ago. Of similar words from a similar boy to a similar girl. With a smile spreading over his age-old face the Moon turned to the East suddenly feeling young once again.

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This is the story I wrote for my girlfriend for Valentines Day.  It’s not my normal subject matter but it was nice to be all cutesy romantic in a story.  Definitely got to expand what I normally write and that’s always a good thing.

Another Year Passed

For those not in the know it was my birthday over the weekend.  Specifically on Saturday.  On Valentines Day.  Now traditionally this time of the year has been nothing but a depressing time for me.  Being born on a day specifically designed to promote endless love seemed like a cruel joke being played on me by fate.  But it appeared this year was different.  For a starter I was not going to be alone.  So it was already going to be leagues better than most of my birthdays.

For the most part it was.  I wrote my girl friend a romantic story (that will be posted here within the week if I can get time to edit it more), some chocolate and a little teddy bear that was holding roses.  So that went over well.  The only low point I can think of the day was the lunch with my family and them meeting my girl friend’s mom.  The actual meeting itself was fine, and they seemed to be getting on well.  No, it was the choice of location that I regretted making.

Now normally I have nothing but good things to say about Montana’s.  Generally I love the food, the prices are reasonable for the amount of food you get, and I just generally dig the look of the place.  And I’m always up for a schooner of Molson Canadian, which happens to be one of the greatest tasting drinks imaginable.  However, the one thing that I don’t enjoy is their birthday ritual.

Here I was all content and happy thinking I had dodged a humiliating bullet.  But low and behold our waiter apparently idolized Solid Snake because before I knew what was happening I was wearing a hat with antlers and they were singing some some obnoxious birthday song.  Even the delicious bowl of complementary ice cream could not keep my boiling hatred in check.  Someone at the table had betrayed me;  there was a Judas in my midst.  And oh, my brother turned the person in almost immediately after they were away from the scene.  So there may or may not be plotting on my part.

On a positive note I am now in position of a netbook and typed this entire blog post up on it.  Now I can honestly say its not a spur of the moment decision on my part.  Over the last several months I’ve been wanting a smaller and lighter laptop to take with me to always have a word processor at my finger tips.  In the  end this will hopefully allow me to get more writing done than would have been possible without one.

Finally, I have decided to try and move over to Google Documents completely.  Honestly I would have liked to do this a long time ago but there were somethings about the service that bothered me.  The largest was solved some time ago with the ability to edit the documents offline.  The only thing I’ve noticed is that there is a lack of options for paragraph editing (I tried to print out a story double spaced, but couldn’t find an option for it).  Hopefully as the service evolves all of the little things that I find lacking will get fixed.  Even if they don’t patch it, the fact that I can be at any computer and have access to and edit my stories is completely worth it to me.

Progress!

There is something that may not be readily apparent about me, but after about a week around me it becomes blindingly obvious.  I procrastinate to an incredible degree.  I take sitting around and doing nothing and have made it into an art form.  I am the Da Vinci of doing nothing.  Be careful; for if you see me in non-action it may be so beautiful that you will brought to tears.

But in all seriousness I seem to be bucking that horrible flaw.  Over the last few days I have not only almost finished the story I spoke about earlier, but have in fact finished a first draft of a brand new story.  Now, this sort of productivity hasn’t been seen out of me for ages.  Usually I get frustrated over a word and get up and end up playing a video game until I go to bed.  Now I’m not saying that something like that won’t end up happening again.  In fact I’m fairly certain that at some point I will be doing that (most likely around the release of Resident Evil 5).  But for now I will take each minor victory like this and celebrate.

Of this new story I haven’t quite decided what to do with it.  It is very short, coming in at an ominous 666 words in this draft.  Which is mildly hilarious considering how it isn’t like most of my stories.  And by that I mean it has no terrified characters running for their lives from un-nameable beings.  No, it is in fact a fantasy styled romantic story about a boy and a girl.  And the Moon, who it turns out comes off as kind of a Peeping Tom.  Which, now that I think about it, is pretty hilarious in its own right.

The other story, the one more familar to my particular style of torturing the characters I create, has hit a bit of a set back.  While I do like how the second half of the story is a radical departure from the first I am not a fan of the dialog.  Also, the big reveal at the end is being set up in such a weak way that it is incredibly silly.  But as things go it will be a somewhat solid section, and after the rough draft I will edit this story until it is spit shined and polished to a mirror like finish.