Story Start To Story Snippet

(A while ago I posted a story start about Fay and people not remembering if they existed or not. Well I finally got a sort of interesting idea in my head for a start to something and it fit best with this idea. So I wound up writing it down at a Starbucks this weekend over an iced chai tea latte with soy milk – I’m lactose intolerant. Either way I wanted to share the progress of this and give you all a chance to see and critique what I came up with!)

 

Foreword

It is said that long ago the Fay and other such creatures retreated from this world. But the problem with long agos is that no human is alive who remembers them.

 

Chapter One

The stars winked in and out of view behind wisps of cloud that floated aimlessly across the sky. The only indication of their existence was the blacking out of the stars that they, themselves, caused. There was no moonlight to give a silver lining to the edges of those wisps and, in fact, there was no moon at all. It was one of those rare nights when it was a new moon that had drifted over the horizon early in the evening, brushed along the treetops, and dipped back out of view. And this far out into the uninhabited mountains there wasn’t any residual light from the settlements that lay on the plains below.

It was on nights like this when the shadows run the deepest that it was easy to trick the brain into believing that something was out in the woods moving among that near absolute blackness. It was always said that nights like this were the times when dreams were closest to our world, so close in fact that many said whatever one dreamed on a night like this would come to being in the darkness only to fade away with the morning light. Perhaps it truly was the dreams of those slumbering through this dark night that were causing the flickering movement in the shadows or perhaps it was something else entirely.

Vanja was inclined to believe that it was neither. Instead she preferred to believe that her tired eyes that were ill suited to seeing in the dark were simply mistaking the swaying of a branch or two for movement of something she could not name or properly see. Still, her eyes tracked those swaying motions deep in the shadows as she listened to the muttering taking place behind her.

Ideally the fire would have been lit way before this but heavy rains all evening had prevented them from getting that task done. Now Somerled was struggling with that while Mieke and Noelia were trying to cobble together some sort of dry patch for them all to sleep on for the night. It was Vanja’s job to keep an eye out for anything that might want to harm them, of which there was plenty that actually existed in the world. This forest was deep and old, made mostly of pines this far up into the mountains. The only good thing was that it was the height of summer and not the dead of winter. This was a two fold gift in that the weather, while rainy, was not below freezing even tonight and most of the predators around here had plenty of game far easier to hunt and catch then the four humans.

Weekend Camping

This last weekend my roommates, boyfriend, and I all got out of the house and decided to go camping in the Rockies! It was almost a perfect weekend for it. We did have a little rain and it was still pretty damn cold at night. However, it was still a great time and we had a lot of fun!

It was honestly really great just to get out and be in the wilderness again because sometimes you just need to take a break from everything else. It was only about a 48 hour period but it was still 48 hours with no phones, no internet, and no need to talk to anyone outside our group. It was a great time and I wanted to share some pictures with you all!

Really it was a great time and I am hoping we’ll get to go again soon! We all want to go back down to the Sand Dunes here in Colorado for a bit so we can sled down them. I’d also love to take them all camping in San Rafael Swell like I used to do as a kid. And of course we have the wonderful Rockies here in our backyard for quick weekend trips!

We wound up seeing a lot of hummingbirds flitting and diving about but not a lot of other creatures. I will admit though that my boyfriend had a run in with a black bear! He was out on his own hiking around the area not far from the camp and came upon the black bear. Thankfully he’s a big guy and knows what to do when he runs into a bear so he scared the black bear off.

Honestly its always great to get back to nature and makes me feel really good. I just feel more freed of worry and relaxed when I get a chance to go out and just be. I guess I live in a pretty good state to do that!

Anxiety Storm

Lately my anxiety has been really bad. Its been bad enough that its taking a serious toll on my energy and my mood. I feel so much stress over finding a job, doing my writing, and making it all balance out. Its so many things at once that I often feel like there is no way out of it all and that just makes it ten times worse. When I feel like I can’t see a way out of everything and that everything I do or touch is only going to have a negative outcome it becomes such a bigger problem then it really should be.

Its interesting how anxiety morphs like that. It can start from something so small like an offhand comment by someone or being late in responding to a call but it builds and builds on itself until its such a big dark storm of fear and panic that you feel like there can’t possibly be an escape. It becomes a prison of my own design and creation. And its a prison that I often can’t find my own way out of.

I’ve talked to others about it before and I get a lot of advice to just force myself to do the things that make me anxious or just deal with it because everyone gets a little anxious about things, right? But that’s not what this is. I’m not just a little nervous about a job interview or a phone call. I’m irrationally fearful of it and my brain explains every step of how its going to go wrong and how that’s going to lead me down a path where I wind up alone with nothing. Its a paralyzing fear that makes me short of breath, sweaty, and blanks out my brain.

I sometimes wish I could impose those feelings on the people I talk to for just a moment so they understand what I go through over and over again in a single day. If I could just show them then maybe they’d fully understand and not say the things that make matters worse. I am well aware that my anxiety is not rational but I can’t just step out of it and or flip a switch and make it stop. Its a long process that drains my energy because I fight it every day and often I lose to it. Lately I think I’ve lost to it a lot more then I’ve won against it and that’s a bit disheartening. I’m hoping its just a phase I’m going through and that in the long run it’ll turn around for me again but I suppose the only thing I can do for now is wait and see… and keep telling those I talk to what its like until they understand.

Garden Your Way Out of Stress

So I haven’t been posting at all lately and mostly that’s because my stress level has gone through the roof. When I’m feeling that stressed out its really hard for me to do anything much less write down my thoughts. Though someone pointed out that maybe I should write more to get my stress out (thank you therapist!). So now I’m considering doing that but for today I found a bit of a better way to get my stress out.

I’ve never been great with plants though I really wish I was. My mother has orchids that bloom every year and each year they seem to produce more and bigger flowers. For the life of me I don’t know how she does it though she claims its just regular watering and orchid food. I’ll be trying her theory but I’m not so sure its going to work. I’ll certainly keep you all updated on how well it goes.

Being that I live in an actual house now and not an apartment I have a yard. In fact I have a very nice front and back yard here in Boulder with grass (lots of dandelions) and even some really beautiful flower beds (that had quite a few weeds). I’ve been putting off weeding because I wasn’t really sure what was weeds and what wasn’t weeds. On top of that it felt like this insurmountable task just given how many weeds there were and how mixed in to everything else they were. It was insanely daunting to the point that I was almost tempted to just take everything out and start over but that was way to expensive and wasteful to do.

Either way my dad and roommate took me out into the garden today and showed me what to do. They showed me what was weed and what wasn’t, answered my questions when I had them, and helped me clean things out. I slowly found that it was actually really helpful in getting stress out. I just imagined the weeds as my problems and ruthlessly pulled them out which really made me feel much better! It, of course, didn’t fix any of my problems but it gave me a chance to work out some of that anxious tension and stressed out energy that makes things even harder to figure out.

Hopefully now that I have some of that gone I can focus on getting things done, getting some real rest, and also moving forward in a positive light in my life. I’ve got some ideas of ways to spend my time while I get a job (and it really is just a job for money and not a job for the love of the work) that should help me feel less stressed out every day. The pressure to get a job really has been a driving factor in my feeling constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. I want a job, I want to be making money, but I’m terrified of getting stuck into some job that I hate with no way out. I’m terrified of finding a job that leaves me emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted at the end of the day to the point that I can’t write and express myself. Even writing this I can feel it writhing up again and threatening to choke me into taking whatever job I can get to make the money I need and just say fuck it to my life goal of writing a novel. But that’s not the way to react to this because it would just be going backwards and, like a shark, I refuse to do that.

Either way if you have some stress in your life to get out I suggest you find a patch of garden and start pulling weeds.

A Light Bulb Going Off

Writers block is a terrible thing that all writers have to deal with at one point or another. If someone who claims to be a writer tells you they’ve never had writers block then please send them in my direction because I would love to know their secrets! I have had a lot of writers block in my life and I’ve heard a million different ways of dealing with it.

The most frequent advice I have been given is to take a step back and go do something else while letting yourself think about it. Or, you know, not think about it because that might be better. Either way its usually advice saying that you need to step away from the problem and give myself time to let my thoughts figure themselves out.

Honestly this never really seems to work for me and I usually just get myself more confused and more blocked. It just never seemed to work for me and I just didn’t understand why. I thought I had to be doing it wrong or that I had to be mixing it up somehow because if everyone said it then it had to work, right? After all no one would be giving out advice if it didn’t work for them or work for someone, right?

Well I think its because it certainly works for some but not for everyone and I’m just not one of those people it works for. That really hit home today when I was googling random writing related quotes and found this one. I think I’m one of those people who needs to write through my thinking block and not think through my writing block. I think I’ve been looking at it wrong all this time because its not really writing block for me so much as its a thinking block. My brain is getting in the way of the story and I need to let it get all its words out of the way so it can get back on track.

So, here is my contribution for today and to all those other writers out there who aren’t finding the “just think through it” advice for writing block helpful. Hopefully you’ll find this advice as helpful as I have found it.

Yeah… I’ve Got Nothing

So I’ve spent most of today trying to figure out what to post about today…. and, like the title says, I’ve got nothing. I’ve wracked my brain over and over again but I keep coming back to a big old blank page. To me blank pages are a little daunting and most certainly intimidating so I think I’ll talk about that.

One of my biggest challenges in writing is honestly just getting started. Those first few words that I put down on an otherwise blank page seem impossibly difficult to pick out from all the words in the English language. I feel like they carry so much weight and thus must be the perfect words to start a new story or a new whatever its going to be. I feel like everything that I think of to put down just isn’t good enough. Even starting this I wasn’t sure about what words to use and kept second (third, and even forth) guessing myself.

I feel like I frequently forget that I can go back and change the start if I don’t think its up to grabbing people’s attention. Just because I’ve put words down doesn’t mean they have to stay there in that particular order forever. This is a medium that can be changed and altered at any time when inspiration or thought hits home and provides you with exactly the words you think are best. And of course your opinion on what exactly is best can change as well. One day you might think you have hit on the very best idea out there and the next day you go back and wonder what the hell you could possibly have been thinking the day before.

Frankly I find a page with words on it much preferable to a completely blank page. Once I’ve gotten started and have something down its easier to continue from there and keep going. I feel like the words somehow get together and birth more words in my brain but its that first spark of black on a white page that is so very hard to come by. In the end, however, every great novel has (at one pointed) been born from a blank page. The words needed the space to move, breath, expand, and become the great work of words it was meant to be. And even then it only does that after you’ve gone back a time or two and allowed yourself to edit the words on what had at one point been nothing more then a blank page.

So maybe I shouldn’t fear the blank page but embrace it as a chance to create something new that, in the end, may or may not be all that great. But without that first creation on a blank page I’ll never find all the words to write a novel worth reading.

Awkward Small Talk – First Draft

Eulalia had purposefully picked a table in the corner that allowed her to face the rest of the room while having two walls behind her. No one could come up behind her and startle her and she could easily see anyone heading her way and attempt to avoid conversation by ducking behind her computer and pretending she was busy. It was a good coping mechanism with not wanting to talk to most people or at least that was Eulalia’s opinion on the matter.

She’d finally gotten herself engrossed with the show she was catching up on when she reached out to pick up her chai tea and realized it was empty. That was enough to bring her attention out of the show and back to reality. She let out a little annoyed sigh and stood, jerking her headphones out of her ears with a wince as she did so. She looked around, her cheeks already flushing with embarrassment, to see if anyone had noticed. A few people were looking at her and she quickly averted her gaze, hastily trying to get her headphones coiled on top of her laptop. After a few moments of struggle she just left them where they were and made her way back into line at the counter. The little cafe was busy but mostly with people just grabbing their order and going so she didn’t feel too worried about leaving her stuff. Not to mention it was within her line of sight the entire time anyway.

She was focusing on the board trying to memorize her order so she wouldn’t stutter over it and get it wrong again when she heard her name called from behind her. The sound practically caused her to jump out of her skin as she turned with wide eyes to look behind her. She could already feel her heart both sinking and galloping a mile a minute, neither of which was an enjoyable feeling. The voice was masculine and slightly familiar but the face, when she saw it, brought a blank to her mind.

“Ah yes?” The words came out more as a question then she meant it to, which made her cringe. She was still groping for a name and bringing up nothing. She knew this guy was a friend of her brother’s that she’d been introduced to one or maybe two times before but that was all she was getting.

“It’s good to see you again!” Mister Nameless came up towards her with arms outstretched. If Eulalia could have she’d have stepped back up she was frozen to the spot and wound up giving the guy an awkward one armed hugged.

“Oh, um, you too?” Oh god there she went again speaking in questions instead of sentences, she really needed to stop doing that. At least she hadn’t stuttered just yet! That was a blessing from whatever god was watching over her right then.

“How have you been?” Mister Nameless was beaming at her as if nothing was wrong and somehow that made it worse. Could he tell she didn’t recognize him and was gloating about it? Was he going to tell her brother about how awkward she was later? Her brain was certainly working perfectly if in a negative spiral of anxiety even if her mouth seemed almost glued shut.

“Oh, you know good.” Ah, that time she managed to make it a statement and not a question. She paused and god was she pausing too long? Before she realized it was probably polite to ask in return even though she wanted to turn away instead. “So, how about you?” And wasn’t that just the worst having to come up with a way to ask the same question that wasn’t just a parroted repeat of the way the other had asked it first? If it wasn’t then she didn’t know what possibly could be.

“Well I’ve been out of the state for the last few weeks visiting with family, you know how it goes.” Mister Nameless started prattling on and Eulalia could feel her palms growing sweaty. He was still talking but Eulalia had accidentally tuned him out and, with a guilty start, dragged her brain back to focusing just in time for the next dreaded question. “How has school been going?”

She gulped and for a moment forgot what her major even was much less how class had been going. “Oh, school?” Why had she said that? She sounded like an idiot. “It’s, uh, been good. I’m almost done. You?” Why did she just ask you with no context? That had to be confusing and she dropped her gaze quickly to avoid the strange look she knew Mister Nameless had to be giving her.

And now he was laughing and she had to physically stop herself from cringing because that couldn’t be good, right? He had to be laughing at her and what she’d said. She barely managed to peek up at his face before her eyes riveted themselves to the floor again. “If you mean how school is going for me,” Mister Nameless said, and was that a mocking tone in his voice or just condescending? “Well I graduated a year ago so I’ve been out of that loop for a while. Finals getting to your brain Eulalia?”

“Ah, yes… that must be it,” she mumbled, inching forward in line. She was almost desperate now to get to give her order and scurry back to the safety of her table. “So, um, how was the weather for your trip?” That was an appropriate question to ask someone who’d just recently been on a trip, right? Or was she supposed to ask about what he’d done? She never could rightly remember.

“Good, good.” Mister Nameless waved a hand to indicate that the last person in front of them in line had already moved off. “Why don’t you let me treat you and we can chat a bit more?” He gave her a bright smile and again her brain told her that he had to be relishing in her awkwardness to be smiling at her because what other reason could there be?

“S-sure.” She managed to mumble out even though she desperately wanted to shout the word no and make a break for it. She turned to the barista and managed to mumble out her order after a few tries. She stepped back while Mister Nameless ordered and paid, dreading when he’d turn around.

Oh god, was this ever going to end?