Sunday, July 22, 2012

As Requested: An Excerpt!

I apologize for asking for input and then disappearing from the blog scene. This being summer, I'm still super busy taking mini-trips and trying to get a job and getting organized. Soon, I'll [hopefully] have exciting things to tell you about the lovely city of San Francisco. For the moment, I'm going to post an excerpt from one of the 20+ stories that I would finish writing if I could quit being so ADD about it.

Now, this has never been read by anyone else [unless someone's been hacking into my computer, which is doubtful] and is thus in a highly unedited state. But I got the idea of doing a Sleeping Beauty retelling, and I happen to like Sci-Fi, so that's what this is an attempt at doing.

Time Thief

Station S16B97-1

                Red lights swirled ominously around the sterile workspace.

                Shadowy figures appeared on the wall, creeping towards the dark corners of the giant room.

                Shouts rang out and heavy footsteps neared the hole in the command center’s wall. Heavily armed men in protective gear poured in, quickly fanning out in search of the saboteurs, while several anxious engineers began to go over every piece of equipment still intact. Quiet boots followed them in as a well dressed man examined the damage. After consulting with their teams, the chiefs of Security and Engineering hurried over to him.

                “No enemies present, sir,” reported the Chief of Security as he took off his helmet.

                “We w-won’t kn-know the ext-t-tent of any d-da-damage until a f-full diagnos-s-stic ch-check, b-b-but it s-seems to b-b-be clear, s-sir,” stammered the Chief of Engineering.

                The Unit Commander pushed past them and strode purposefully to the far side of the room. A startled engineer, feeling the UC’s gaze on him, leapt from his station and offered his chair to his superior. The man stared resolutely at the screen. “It’s her, isn’t it?”

                The lights stopped flashing.

                The engineer stared at the ground and barely moved his head.

                He nodded.


                The Sleeping Beauty. She was found by a wandering minstrel who had left the main road out of fear of highwaymen. When he couldn’t wake her, he sprinted back to the monastery which had sheltered him the previous night. The monks deemed her a miracle, sent by God for redemption, while the more zealous hermits prophesied doom at her awakening.

                Over the years, the stories about her took on a life of their own, spreading from ports to towns to tiny hamlets. Legend had it that the one that woke her from her endless sleep would be eternally blessed, or at least hailed by the masses as a miracle worker. Lord Calhoun didn’t believe in such fairy tales, but he grudgingly accompanied his niece to visit the sleeping lady. He didn’t much like the idea of Ardis begging for a miracle to remedy the theft of her dowry, but he had exhausted all his better plans.

                “Dear Edward, don’t be so gloomy!” the girl implored, cheerfully adding, “Cassandra Adams went to see the Lady and was betrothed the very next week!”

                “Coincidence,” he said stiffly, but smiled in spite of himself at her blind innocence.

                A jolt of the carriage brought their attention to the crumbling stone wall of the monastery nestled in the Blackbriar Forest. After 100 years of sleep, the Lady was very well known but attracted far fewer visitors than at the peak of her novelty. As such, repairs on the old buildings had been severely delayed.

                The two disembarked and were escorted through the main gate of the complex by an overenthusiastic young monk. “First visitors all day, not got too many this week either, I expect it’s on account of this rain while Brother Egbert fears the End must be nearing…” He chattered on as he led them through arches, creaking staircases, doorways, and twisting corridors.

                At last they came to the barred room which housed the sleeping Lady. The monk gave a password to the guards, who unlocked the rusty door and shoved it open. Edward watched, amused, as Ardis peered excitedly into the room, and then nervously began tiptoeing towards the large canopy bed where the miracle woman lay. As she knelt reverently to whisper her wishes into the Lady’s ear, Edward leaned casually against the wall and examined the large cell.

                The monks had covered whitewashed walls with elaborate tapestries portraying the Lady, awake and smiling, blessing the men and the land that had kept her safe for so many years. Water gushed in the rivers, trees burst into bloom, and livestock multiplied at her command. Besides the ornate bed, a gift from a wealthy admirer, these were the only furnishings in the room. Still, it was far more opulent than any of the monk’s cells.

                Edward glanced over at the bed, surprised to discover that his niece had already risen and was beckoning him to petition the Lady himself. He grunted his decline.

                Ardis frowned heavily and cast sorrowful eyes at him. “My dowry,” she whispered.

                Her uncle sighed and pushed himself off the wall. He bowed his head, as if to pray, and then caught sight of the Lady for the first time. He blinked and moved towards her bed for a closer look. His eyed widened in surprise, peering desperately into the woman’s face.

                It was her.

                He had seen her face at his manor, laughing at him as she vaulted through a window and balanced on the air. She had disappeared almost immediately, but what concerned him most was the fact that she had disappeared with the last jewels from Ardis’ dowry.

                This woman, this lady, who they had come to for help was the very thief who had undoubtedly ruined his niece’s prospects.

                There was no question it was her face.

                But the Lady had been asleep for 100 years, even he knew that. How could she, in a windowless cell under constant guard, escape from the monastery and travel to his family’s estate, miles away?

                “Are you quite done praying, Eddie?”

                He blinked, unaware that he had unconsciously sunk to his knees by the bed. He suddenly felt dizzy and reached out to steady himself, accidentally brushing his hand against the Lady’s, still and soft. The guard at the door took a step forward, and Edward quickly stood, backing away from the Lady.

                 He was through the doorway, a mumbled apology to the guard, when he heard Ardis' gasp. "Edward, look!"                

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Input and Direction

I feel like this may be another exercise in futility, but here goes.

I am notoriously bad at making decisions. Even with trivial things like what to wear, I can never make up my mind without asking my sister her opinion.

In the same vein, I'm also really unsure if blogging is really my thing. I keep being super critical of myself when no one reads or comments on my posts. The ones people have seemed to really enjoy were the ones from my trip to Peru, and I can't just fly to foreign countries to write interesting blog posts [although I would certainly love to, were money not an issue]. And my reaction to Bin Laden's death. That's not going to happen again.

I tell myself this is silly, that I don't want or expect as big a following as some of the blogs I read. I'm not a famous author, I'm not a unique parent, I'm not writing wonderful comics.

If you didn't know before, these are drawn by Kate Beaton at Hark! A Vagrant
I get that, I really do. But it's got me thinking - I really don't have a theme here. It's all in the title, I suppose. I'm rambling. There are a lot of things that interest me and I like talking about them. It's nicer to feel like I'm talking to someone when I write, rather than just talking to myself.

But the difference between writing and having a conversation is that there is all sorts of feedback that gets lost between computer screens. I don't know how anyone reacts unless they tell me, through comments or in real life. It's really weird, especially having taken so many classes where we talk about the importance of communication.

So I haven't been writing a lot lately. I'm feeling kind of tired. Maybe I'm feeling kind of communication deprived. I think this is one of those chicken and egg situations. Do I not write because I'm tired and then end up getting emotionally exhausted because I'm not writing? Or is it the other way around? I don't know.

The point I'm trying to get to is this: what do Y'ALL want me to blog about? Do you want to see more book reviews? I can do that. Do you like when I talk politics or current issues? I can attempt more of those. How about more on figure skating or movies? I like those posts.

Or do you want to hear my opinions on other things? I haven't really touched on feminism, or languages, or adoption, or child development, or history, etc. I have a lot to say on these topics, I just don't know if it would be interesting or not.

SO. Comment on Facebook or comment here. Tell me something: what about my writing interests YOU?