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Turn to Face the Strange Ch. 7

Well, sweet playfellows, I said I would return to this tale when I was not drowning. It's been a strange life since that statement. In fact, I went full and well under, and I thought I would never surface. But here I am. Maybe I'll tell you that tale some time. But I'm only just scabbing over. Wait till I am shiny, pink, and new, and these wounds are battle scars that tell of my daring feats.

Until such time, THRILL to the

Mystery!

Intrigue!

Cats!

in the long-awaited seventh installment of

Turn to Face the Strange!

Time May Change Me...Collapse )

 


Sneakers - a sneek peek

Yo yo yo. Here's a thing I wrote for my fiction writing class. The prof seemed to quite like it, so I thought some of you might as well. I hope you do, 'cos this is just the beginning! Oh, and if any of you are wondering what happened to TtFtS (which I don't think you are), I've got a lot of schoolwork, so bugger off. Ahem. What I mean is, I'll try to get back to it when I'm not drowning.


Sneakers

I don’t know why I remember buying a pair of sneakers in Burbank, but it seemed very important that they looked cool, like I was an athlete. We had just moved into a townhouse. It had stairs, and an attic, and a room for me to have all to myself. And it was on a proper street in a real neighborhood. As we pulled into the underground garage, I saw a girl hanging about in front of the apartments next door. There was nothing particularly interesting about her, but she was the first kid I’d seen on the block.
I was so worried she would disappear before I could get outside, but it was imperative that I put on the new shoes first. They had bright blue swooshes on the sides as if to imply the wearer ran so fast she was merely a streak of light. I trounced down the steps and looked about as if I were just checking things out. Then I “noticed” the girl. “Oh,” my face said (or so I imagined), “there is a person - probably not as cool as I, but I suppose I could manage an interaction.”
“Hi,” I said, sauntering down the street a bit.
“Hey,” she responded. She did not look overly stunned by my glamour and style.
“I just moved in here,” I told her, with a jerk of my head, as if it were just any old place, which in truth it was.
“Cool.”
“My name‘s Mandy.” I put one hand on my hip, cocking it to the side.
“I’m Rebecca.”
“Cool,” seemed a safe response. “How old are you?”
“Fourteen,” she said, and immediately I felt inadequate. “How old are you?”
“Thirteen,” I lied. I was just twelve.
“Cool,” she said again.
I looked around, as if for some more interesting activity. Finding none, I lounged against the brick wall Rebecca was sitting on, sticking my legs out so she had a good view of my shoes. I glanced at them in an offhand way, but she didn’t follow my gaze. What we talked about then, I have no recollection, but the subject of my sneakers did not come up.

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Alright, so, this is the haps - and you had better listen 'cos I am painstakingly composing this on my phone - or, really, no you needn't bother, this is the silliest of posts, but guys, I had to put this somewhere or I was going to explode.

There is a boy. He sits next to me in French. And basically he's just the coolest. So blah, blah, friendship, blah, and now here I am having FEELINGS and it's - uncomfortable. It's like I've got an itchy spot on my heart that I just can't scratch. If this is only nature reminding me to procreate, OK, fine, but don't bother me with this tosh! He'l be talking, and I'd like to just listen, but then I'm worried - am I staring? Am I blushing? Do I look awful? Does he know? Is it obvious? Did that statement contain more than surface value? Say something clever! Oh no, fix your hair - can you see a mirror? Fuck now you look like Kristen Stewart! Why do people sweat!?

And people just - don't feel that way about me, so when I get romantical feelings, it's really very upsetting. It can be depressing and ruin my whole day or even week or, say, five
years of my life. And also, good lord, I spat coffee. It was
gross. And did I mention he's cool? He picked up my guitar and just started riffing and then played the fucking Decemberists. It just really does not get cooler than that. But my strings are so old, he probably thinks I don't really play and I'm just a poseur when really I am just lazy!

And it's really unfair that love has such a double standard - mutual love = purity and beauty, etc. Unrequited love, though - it's this shameful secretive thing, disgusting, destructive,
pathetic, and worst of all, useless. I mean, thank god, I don't love this guy - I've learned it really is a choice - but I can't help a stupid crush, and omg would the world just go away and leave me to my self-pity? Kaythanksbye

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Ravings of a Paranoid Insomniac

Woke quite sudden in the still, dark hours of the morning, filled with terror, absolutely convinced the eery music in my head was real. After searching for its source for several minutes, however, I was forced to concede it was only the echoes of a dream.

If a dream is powerfully emotional, could it perhaps slip somewhat into being? Could it be that those after-images are not tricks of the mind, but things which almost exist? Things we feel so deeply we are half able to pull them through to this plane from another? After all, who's to say the dream world is not actually a reality we only catch glimpses of? An alternate reality. It is bizarre because it doesn't follow the rules of our world, but perhaps we are just as bizarre and impossible to them. Could there be a world of wild aspirations and what-ifs?

Perhaps in dreams we see our own heaven or hell. Sense does not come into it. But in reality do we ever experience such pure happiness or horror? An irrational emotion is the strongest kind.

Or perhaps the dream world is a sticky earth-ball, being made of bits of everybody's strangest, most gruesome, beautiful, delightful, mad imaginings - a glutinous, undulating world with rolling fat waves of bizarre. And by the nature of this dreamscape, we sometimes stumble into others' dreams. One's foot goes Sploosh! into the mud of someone else's strangest thoughts, and down one sinks, choking on someone else's most inhibited desires, until Pop! - one comes right out the other side, emerging from the clear pool of a child's pure fantasy.

Oh, but I'm merely torturing myself! I can only dream of dreaming - I am imprisoned in reality by vicious insomnia.

"And in my sleep
What dreams may come
Before I'm woken by alarms
Put on my riot gear"

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Dreams, the Internet, Boys, and the MWE

 

         Today (but this was actually written yesterday) - oh day, oh sun, oh waking hours, hours of operation, I cannot make heads nor tails of you - today, I really did absolutely nothing.

         Every day I set my alarm for nine or ten o' the a.m. and practically every day I fling out an arm in the intoxication of sleep and turn the alarm off.

         Round noon, I finally rise (wipe the sleep out of my eyes) and reprimand myself for the nth time.


"Self," I say, "you are sleeping away your life!"


"I like sleep," I respond. "There are so many things to dream."


"Dreams," argues the logical bit of my brain, "do not pay the bills. They are selfish deadbeats, just like their fathers. They will spend all
your money and drink all the beer."


"Don't! Don't!" I cry. "I love them! At least they haven't sold out to the man!"


"Please to be quitting the nonsense, Cam. This is rubbish. You don't speak to yourself like this."


"Well, I might."


"But you don't. You've only just made it up, because you think it's funny. You can't go misleading kindly audience types into thinking you're that clever and spontaneous."


"I'm spontaneous."


"You are a writer. You're the opposite of spontaneous. You analyse and edit everything you do and say to death so that it's publish-perfect."


"That was well expressed. Publish-perfect. I'm making a note of that."


"My point exactly."



        The real point being that unless I've got work, I've no idea what to do with myself during the day. The hours of nine to five are so uninspired - so old hat - so - so nineties! I mean what stuffed suit thought of that anyway? Why should daytime mean awake-time?


Night is much lovelier and more exciting and generally makes everyone look better. And the moon is so much more inspiring, because you can actually look at it with your eyes - not like the sun, that big, bright braggadocio.


Though, admittedly, darkness presents quite a problem to photography. And people really are very fond of their own image. I have found it out, then. This is obviously the reason for the correlation between daytime and awake-time.


I, on the other hand, being not terribly fond of my own image, prefer the more creativity-rich Night. Or a brutish, brooding storm. I'll take a good storm over almost anything. I could move to England purely for the weather.


Which brings me back round to the actual subject matter on which I wished to enlarge.


Another day wasted in front of a stupid computer screen. I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. It is a truly fantastic place in that it is like a magical abandoned mansion on the edge of town. One can get in easily, but must be wary of the porch - it looks stable enough, but its wooden planks are completely rotten in places, and the inexperienced adventurer will fall straight through, to be bombarded forevermore by utter rubbish.


Once inside, however! Oh, there is simply no end to the secret wardrobes, crawl spaces, medieval passages, Underground Railroad tunnels, walled up corpses, and, if one is lucky, a leftover cask of Amantillado. Naturally there is the attic of lost treasures. And a dumbwaiter which leads somewhere else on Tuesdays.


On the other hand (I do always consult my left, because he is an idiot savant and sometimes comes out with the most astonishing pronouncements), the world wide web is also a great, gaping black hole which can swallow one up and spit one out three years later. And on the other side, one finds she is an uneducated, malnourished loser and wishes desperately that she could go back, but alas - it was not to be. She has become, irrevocably, a lamely emaciate nerd, with a useless hobby of anagramming.


As it turns out, it is a very happy happenstance for my writing that this laptop, on which my thrilling prose is composed, does not have the capacity to host that sometime black hole which is the death of productivity.


Round about seven, I began to be restless, and despondent over my lack of popularity and the non-fruition of my genius, so I hatched a plan to save either the world or my brain, but not both. (For if my brain begins again to work properly, the world is certainly doomed). Taking my poor, crippled laptop, I made away like a thief in the night!


To Sitwells! (A most excellent coffee joint). And there I sat, surrounded by surrealist art and strange-strumming instruments and very badass hipster youths, with a pumped-up drink to hand. And sat.


And sat.


And sat.


Staring at a screen, debating whether the words "writer's block" are more akin to Voldemort or MacBeth.


(Ala - "Fear of the words 'writer's block' only increases fear of the block itself," or "A terrible curse befall ye who speaketh aloud of the Scottish impediment!")


And after an hour and a half of sitting and staring and pondering and being distracted by cute boys, when the cafe was closing, I had written one paragraph.


But before they could turn me out onto the street, I had to pee and, oddly enough, this was the reason the evening turned out not to be a dead loss. For, at the back of the place, the talented young artist whose surrealist works had been displayed about the cafe was packing away his pieces. Seeing this, I paused on my way to the loo to tell him how very fantastic his art is, and his name is Donny, and you may view his art here: http://laskroto.deviantart.com/.


Another odd meeting took place as I was exiting Sitwells. I was hailed by a quite handsome fellow I had never met before, who turned out to be Michael McIntire, guitarist and singer of The Marmalade Brigade. He was enormously friendly and chatted me up for a bit, and I gave him my number, and I'm beginning to think Sitwells is the place, you know. To meet cute, artsy chaps.


Even if it is not the place to write a brilliant masterwork of sheer genius.


And now, since this has degenerated into utter frivolity, and it is four o' clock in the morning, and I've developed a powerful need for a spot of soothing tea, I bid you a very. Good. Night.


[Bows, with much flourishing of her plumed hat.]


And now about the very exciting today times!!! I have finished the first chapter of the Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma (MWE)! Oh, but there is still so much more to write! It is an exhausting thought!

Anyone care to guess what the MWE actually is based on my playlist? If you guess I shall give you ... something really great! Cross my heart and hope to die!

"What the F*** Was That!?" - Evil Dead the Musical
"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" - Daft Punk
"Another One Bites the Dust" - Queen
"Smooth Criminal" - Michael Jackson
"Undead" - Green Goblyn Project
"Blood" - My Chemical Romance
"Beautiful" - Moby
"Battesimo del Fuoco" - The Dear Hunter
"Earth Died Screaming" - Tom Waits
"Mending of the Gown" - Sunset Rubdown
"Don't Make me a Target" - Spoon
"St. James Infirmary" - Louis Armstrong
"Double Trouble" - John Williams
"Climbing the Walls" - They Might be Giants
"Exterminate Regenerate" - Chameleon Circuit
"Supermassive Black Hole" - Muse
"Remains of the Day" - Danny Elfman (from the Corpse Bride)
"Hedwig's Theme" - John Williams

Haha! Stumped? Anyone care to hazard a guess? 

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Heartbeats

 I have stayed up ALL night and come out the other side of crazy with my very first romance ever. Obviously I am a very disturbed individual, because it is a Harry/Draco fanfiction. It's a tad on the cheesy side and makes me deliriously happy, but also hints at darker emotions which brought them to this point. Born out of incessant listening to "Heartbeats" by Jose Gonzalez, which is an amazing song.

"One night to be confused.
One night to speed up truth.
We had a promise made -
Four hands and then away."

On an unrelated note, an idea has occurred to me which is beyond brilliant, which fills me, thrills me, with a euphoric ecstasy hitherto unexperienced by fanfiction writer! The story which I have now set to work on shall remain the utmost secret until such time as I deem it ready to be read. This thing ... It's going to be bigger than sliced bread. Just you wait.

 

 

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Turn to Face the Strange Ch. 6

Well this is really record time! I am certainly to be congratulated. If you are very lucky, you may yet get a Harry/Draco story which I am fiddling with. Wiffout furver ado, 'ere's Chapter Six:

 

 

It's Here It's Here It's Here!



Today in the post, I received a package. Oh, dear, thought I, what have I accidentally ordered? The internet is entirely too clickable.

But then I noticed that the package in question was from Amazon.

A book.

I rushed to the calendar. 2 June.

Not just any book. The book. Her book. It had finally come.

Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon.

(If you do not know who Sarah Rees Brennan is, go here sarahtales She is beyond amazing.)

Then the ripping began, and the shrieking, and the petting, crooning softly to it, rubbing it to my cheek, and more shrieking. I am afraid the neighbors may be under the impression I was being brutally murdered. Meanwhile, I was dancing like a wild thing on the loose. Somehow the furniture survived my cartwheels of glee. I phoned shiny_rosie and shrieked at her a bit, as she is the only one who would understand what I was raving on about. As usual, she was calm and understanding. She is much like me, but without all the hyperventilating. To calm myself, I made a cup of strong tea. With the tea close to hand (but not so close as to be knocked over in one of my many fits), and under the mood-lighting of a stormy sky, I began to read.

Here, in my trembling hands, I held Nick and Alan and Mae and Jamie! As I read, the characters spun by Sarah's words lifted themselves from the ink, blossoming from the pages like shifting shadows to play their story in my sitting room. Everything I love about Sarah Rees Brennan's writing was here, especially her signature wit, which I cannot imagine her writing without. She combines a dark, sometimes terrifying, adventure with quirky, real characters, with real flaws (none of this sparkling perfection nonsense), who I instantly fell in love with, and adds to it moments to make you reel with laughter. These moments allow you to relax, while subtly tightening the strings of dramatic tension. Nothing could be more true to life. Who ever feels only one emotion? She confuses and dazzles you with comedy alongside the Very Serious, like writer Cassandra Clare and filmmaker Joss Whedon, until you are whipped into a whirlwind of emotions - pretty much the way you feel about life.

Now, I must confess, I have not finished it yet, but I have a very good reason! As you can see from the photo above, I do not read books. I devour them. I am a bibliophile. But I do not want to treat this book the way I treat Christmas chocolate - that is, I eat it all in one sitting, make myself sick, and the next day I have nothing but sweet-smelling wrappers. I want to enjoy it slowly, savouring every unique flavour. So I will wait. I will make myself wait.

I hope Nick does not mind being nibbled on. He is just so scrumdiddlyumptious.

I imagine I will be saying, "Many people think I'm a blueberry scone." for years to come. I immediately began quoting out bits of it to my confused, but tolerant, father, who chuckled and said it was just my kind of humour. I hope that Sarah Rees Brennan will agree someday. For, when I become a published author, I will beg my agent to arrange a play-date with her, and hopefully she will not say, "I thought I was a bit mad, but you, madam, are a true lunatic," and brandish something sharp at me.

Also, I would have simply run to the bookstore for it, but, being the ridiculous anglophile I am, I had to have the UK edition. Tomorrow, however, I am going to get the US edition and more glee will ensue!

On a completely unrelated note, I am pushing valiantly ahead with Brave New Hermione, despite the fact that Ron is not cooperating at all and has started mouthing off to me, and I expect to have the fifth chapter finished very soon!

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In This City

 How pleasant life can be if you only put your mind to it!
 
Hardly any work today, and so I had the entire afternoon to do as I pleased with.
 
How seriously people take themselves! And how silly, how bizarre we all are! Strutting around as we do like peacocks, proudly displaying our worth!
 
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think." (Horace Walpole)
 
With a kind of ridiculous expanse of time to fill, and the day turning out to be very sunny and generally lovely, I spurned public transportation, which can be a trying affair at the best of times, in favour of a walk up to Clifton (the university area). (This is where I now sit, in front of Starbucks, with iced coffee, pen, and smart red journal, all exceedingly nice things.)
 
There is a kind of flavour in downtown Cincinnati which I am not sure I can properly express. I recently took a mad, rash, sugar-fueled, one-night road trip to Indianapolis (about two hours from Cincinnati), accompanied by my long-suffering friend, Aaron. And what we found there was so ... unexpected! It was massive! It was clean and new and shiny! And the nightlife! The streets were overflowing with people at 1:00 a.m. on a Monday! All looking clean and new and shiny, going to clubs and pubs and having exciting, city fun times. I felt like a farm-raised child out past her bedtime. And I'm from L.A.
 
There was something odd, though, that I couldn't put my finger on, as though I'd stumbled into a Twilight Zone town. Aaron realised before I did - I being wide-eyedly distracted by the flashing lights and tall buildings.
 
It was too clean. Too new. Too shiny. It had no character. I mean, I knew there was something seriously wrong when I noticed there was no gum on the sidewalk. What kind of a city doesn't have gum on the sidewalk? Perhaps they do not chew gum there; it is not allowed. Perhaps the inhabitants of Indianapolis are not real, but spring into existence for visitors. Or they may be droids.
 
Cincinnati has many flaws, but it is beautiful. It has history and character. Hell, every street corner is loitered with characters! (That was a very bad joke). Downtown Cincinnati (for the most part) is not clean. It is not new. And it is certainly not shiny (except for the colourful shards of broken bottles). But you wanna know something crazy? I love it.
 
There are a lot of trees in Cincinnati. There are brick buildings painted yellow and green and purple. There are these gorgeous old churches all over the place. There's one on Race St. with this crazy wooden bell tower that looks like it's about to collapse. And there are paintings, I mean real works of art, on buildings, sometimes framed. "Keep Cincinnati Beautiful!" they say. And if you walk north from downtown, you climb uphill to Clifton, so you can see the sprawling city below, all misshapen, crooked like a set of broken teeth.
 
It looks prettiest in winter, of course, covered in snow. Years ago, in high school, I sat on the ledge of an open window on the fifth story - January, maybe. Freezing cold. Big snowstorm just settled. Oh, then it could have been Hogsmeade, or Dicken's London. I ditched my afternoon classes that day. I blame my incurably romantic disposition.
 
But the light and shadows are beautiful in summer. Very green. Slanting shade checkering the street. A slight tang in the air of kicked up dirt. Gigantic leafy things have burst through the cracks in the sidewalk. Nobody bothers to pull them up. The fountain in Fountain Square is shooting water into the air and it does not just fall, but creates a palpable mist around it. People pause next to it to stand in the spray, and sometimes they forget themselves for a moment and close their eyes. These moments I capture - moments of such decent, human weakness. These glimpses are so secret. They give their soul a walk once around the fountain, and then lock it up again, lest they should be found out.
 
How can I talk? My soul is hidden under my pillow. I only take it out at night, when I can be absolutely sure no one is looking. I do not even have the goodness to forget myself by the fountain in the square. And here am I, taking myself so very seriously! Ha ha! We never find hypocrisy in ourselves. That is for others to be guilty of.

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