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Tag: Between Light and Dark

L is for Lakes, Rivers, and Oceans #atozchallenge

Day L of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: lakes, rivers, and oceans.

I have a strong affinity for water.  Maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces? Whatever the reason, I find bodies of water, no matter the size, relaxing and rejuvinating. They help me focus, help me think.

When I’m looking for a quiet place to read or write, there are several spots along the nearby rivers that I head to. And when I lived in North Dakota, I frequently found my way to a secluded spot along the Missouri River (if not randomly driving along it to the South Dakota border).

La calanque d’En-vau, Cassis

One of my best memories of my semester studying in France was a weekend spent in Cassis, just lying on the beach watching the water.

And when I lived in North Carolina, I loved weekends spent at the beaches near Wilmington.

Last spring I went on a massive week-long roadtrip, following the Mississippi River down to the Gulf of Mexico to spend an afternoon lying on a Florida beach, alternating between reading and writing.

I also made a couple weekend roadtrips to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, and this summer hope to hit lakes Erie and Ontario, Niagara Falls, and maybe Lake Huron too.

I write about water as well. My story “Of Gods and Floods,” published in last year in Shadow Road Quarterly, is about two kids living in Cairo, IL, when the Army Corps of Engineers blew up levees to alleviate flooding along the Mississippi.  And I’m currently working on a story about a guy who lives near the Kerguelen Islands (see map), which is probably my #1 destination right now.

photo from http://prullmw.xanga.com/

That being said, I don’t do boats because I get seasick very easily. I can do canoes, but anything larger – motor boats, small cruise ships, ferries, etc – is out of the question.  And I don’t go in water deeper than my knees or where I can’t see the bottom because of sea monsters – sharks, squids, jelly fish, Leviathans, etc.

Which element do you most rely on to relax and focus?

K is for the Kingdom of Loathing #atozchallenge

Day K of the 2013 Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: The Kingdom of Loathing.

When my kid was a baby, a couple friends tipped me off to one of the funnest games online, The Kingdom of Loathing.  It’s a text-based MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) consisting of stick drawings.  It’s very tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, and sometimes just plain silly, poking fun at various cult and pop culture offerings from the past few decades.

You start off as a stick figure in one of the six various classes (I prefer Seal Clubber or Disco Bandit), then complete fifteen main quests and numerous smaller ones, fighting off reanimated leftovers, drunk hobos, hippies and frat boys, pirates, and really just a bunch of random bad guys.  You start each day with forty turns, but you can get more by eating food and drinking booze you find along the way.  Gold buys you new skills,

Once you beat the Naughty Sorceress in the final quest and free King Ralph, you have two choices: keep playing (the Old Man by the Sea directs you to harder oceanic levels), or ascend to Valhalla.

Normally I choose to ascend. You pick who to be for your next run.  In addition to gender, class, and skill to learn permanently, you can choose various options to make the game harder, like playing hardcore (can’t use anything from your previous life, including all your old stuff, or get help from friends) or going on a restricted diet.  A harder run gets you special items when you finish.

I find this concept really interesting, to the point that it’s influenced the collection of short stories I’m currently working on, to be released hopefully around Christmas.  What if when we die, we get a checklist of options to choose in our next life – ways to make it easier or harder, with more karma earned for a harder run? What if the choices we made in a previous life influence our future lives?

All the stories in this collection, tentatively titled Between Light and Dark, will focus around this idea, of two soulmates dealing with the repercussions of the choices they make not only in their lives, but in their afterlives.  And making it even more complicated for them is that often they don’t even know what those choices were.

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Weekend Writing Warriors 4/7/13 #8sunday

Today’s 8 are from a new story I’m working on for part of a collection of shorts I want to put out at Christmas (assuming I finish all the stories by then).  All the stories are connected; two of them, “Bardo Bureaucracy” and “The Kindness of Strangers,” have already been published. And while it won’t be part of the collection, my Amazon short “Tim and Sara” is related to all these stories as well.

In today’s story, MC Mia keeps hearing people telling her she’s going to die. She meets Chris, who’s been hearing the same thing about himself, and they fall in love as they spend more and more time together trying to figure out what’s going on.  They learn that they’ll die when the sun dips below the horizon on a certain day, but Mia still doesn’t know why this is happening, only that it’s part of some higher power’s plan.

As just a sliver is left above the water, Chris turns to me and says, “Fuck it all. I won’t let Them take you without a fight.”

“What about you?” This isn’t part of the plan; what if it makes Them angry? Selfishly, what if They decide to make it hurt?

“Don’t worry about me.” He mutters something under his breath in a language I don’t understand, then kisses me hard.

“Chris,” I cry out through his kiss, and then the sun is set and the world goes dark.

Post a link to your eight sentences blog entry, or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

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