Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

unitards… September 30, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening,Grace Awakening Myth,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 4:54 am
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It’s gratifying to go back through a manuscript completed ages ago, and find yourself giggling at scenes you’d completely forgotten about.  As I’m editing Grace Awakening Myth this evening, I came across this scene, and I thought you might enjoy it, too.

Please note that this is a draft version, I can already see several things to fine tune! 🙂

Ben is backstage, preparing for a band concert.  One of his friends took dance to meet a girl he likes, and he’s about to perform in a quartet dance number as part of the concert.  Ben is narrating.

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I could sense Grace in the audience as we set up the stage for the band concert.  She must have come early with Christie.  The tenuous ribbons of connection between us floated invisibly in the air, but I could feel them.  She had been ignoring me at school, but her mind had been busy thinking about me.  She was opening possibility, and the awareness made my heart soar.

Her presence was calling to the music in me.  Surely, the other players would be captivated by it as well.  The concert was going to be a good one.

Ryan was shivering in a corner.

“What’s wrong?”

“I think I’m going to be sick.”

“It’s just nerves,” I said.  “You’ve played concerts plenty of times.  It’s always fine.”

He stared at me like I was a moron.  “I’m wearing a spandex unitard under this band uniform.”

I laughed, and as the picture seered my brain, I laughed harder.

He sent me a withering look and the tears started.  They stung my eyes and rolled down my cheeks, but I couldn’t stop laughing.

Paul came over.  “What’s so funny?”

“Ryan,” I sputtered.  “Spandex.”

Paul wrinkled his nose.  “Ooh, nasty.  Nothing is worth that, Bro.  What were you thinking?  On the other hand,” he glanced to the wings, “Georgia is looking mighty fine this evening.”

She was.  Her hair tumbled loosely in waves almost to her waist.  She was wearing a beige unitard that disappeared at a distance.  Her curves were magnificent.

Ryan sighed.  “It is sooooo worth it.  Excuse me,” he muttered to us, and went to stand with her.

Her smile lit her face as he came near.  It made my heart warm.

Paul looked around for Tanis, and saw her standing off to the side watching Ryan and Georgia.  “Do you think she’s jealous?”

I shrugged, “Maybe a little.  Don’t let it worry you.  Have you seen J-Roy yet?”

He looked around, “There he is, at the back in black.  Oh my.  Is that the same thing Ryan is wearing?”  He started to snicker.

I sucked back the guffaw that started to explode out of me.  J-Roy was clad in a black unitard.  A hood covered his trademark lion’s mane of tawny hair.  The only skin that showed was on his hands, feet, and face.  J-Roy is athletic.  He stood tall, his body rippled with muscular definition.  He looked fantastic.  “Oh, poor Ryan,” I groaned.

Ryan’s slightly paunchy belly and sloped shoulders were not the optimal build for a unitard.

Paul smirked at me, “Maybe Ryan hopes the black will be slimming?”

I started to shake, pursing my lips tightly.

Misty floated by in a glowing euphoria, with frequent glances over to J-Roy.  “Doesn’t he look like some kind of Greek god?” she murmured to me.

I pondered a lecture on over-generalization, but with another look to J-Roy I had to acknowledge that he did, in fact, bear a strong resemblance to some of my relatives.

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Time takes care of all things September 8, 2012

“Time is a lot of the things people say that God is.  There’s the always pre-existing, and having no end.  There’s the notion of being all powerful–because nothing can stand against time, can it?  Not mountains, not armies.

And time is, of course, all-healing.  Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of:  all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return.

And if  Time is anything akin to God, I suppose that Memory must be the Devil.”

Diana Gabaldon in Breath of Snow and Ashes

I found this quote rather profound.  Memory being the Devil ascribes evil to our past.  Beyond haunting, it implies danger, cruelty and manipulation.  Do our memories really do that?

Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory shows up in Grace Awakening Myth.  She and Lethe, the goddess of forgetfulness, are working together on Ben to sculpt him just the right combination of memories to keep him optimistic.  They work together to keep him whole, because he would not be able to bear contemplating the possibilities opened up by his more painful memories.

I wonder if our own memories often work the same way?  If we are successful in burying the negative history, we are re-working our own memory.  I suppose it must also work in reverse.  We can ignore all our positive experiences and craft ourselves memories of a terrible childhood, and use that strange, inaccurate perspective to fuel our behaviour.  We can view ourselves as down trodden over-comers, and use that to force ourselves to deal with current challenges.

Gabaldon’s quote is from Claire’s perspective.  Claire has a lot of memories from life in the future and in the past.  She has a complex web of memories that she might like to escape.

What do you think?  Are your memories an inspiration to your future, or are they a challenge to overcome?

 

forever June 23, 2012

Filed under: Mythology,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:55 pm
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“No measure of time with you will be long enough, but let’s start with forever.”

Edward’s wedding  speech

Twilight Breaking Dawn (pt 1)

Having just finished draft two of Grace Awakening Myth, this whole “I’ll love you forever, if all those evil doers keep out of my way long enough” thing has been on my mind.  Is it easier to love someone forever when you have to keep fighting for them?  If someone is just always ‘there’ and not at risk, is it too easy to take them for granted?

Here are Bella and Edward at their wedding, finally everything is going their way, but no one gets happy ever after at the beginning of a book.  Forever has to work through adversity.

 

reality and fiction June 18, 2010

…the difference between fiction based on reality and fantasy is simply a matter of range. The former is a handgun. It hits the target almost close enough to touch, and even the willfully ignorant can’t deny that it’s effective. Fantasy is a sixteen-inch naval rifle. It fires with a tremendous bang, and it appears to have done nothing and to be shooting a nothing.

Note the qualifier “appears.” The real difference is that with fantasy—and by that I mean fantasy which can simultaneously tap into a cosmopolitan commonality at the same time as it springs from an individual and unique perspective. In this sort of fantasy, a mythic resonance lingers on—a harmonious vibration that builds in potency the longer one considers it, rather than fading away when the final page is read and the book is put away. Characters discovered in such writing are pulled from our own inner landscapes…and then set out upon the stories’ various stages so that as we learn to understand them a little better, both the monsters and the angels, we come to understand ourselves a little better as well. (Charles de Lint. Memory and Dreams. p. 323)

I wish de Lint’s words were my own, because they’re so profound. Consider: “harmonious vibration that builds in potency.” Oh how I hope that Grace Awakening offers the reader such a lingering mythic resonancy! How I hope that as they grow to understand my characters, they understand themselves better, just as I have grown from the process.

When someone asks why on Earth I chose to write a novel with a fantasy twist, I want to be answer as eloquently as this! I am reminded of Bella’s comment in New Moon, “Could a world really exist where ancient legends went wandering around the borders of tiny, insignificant towns, facing down mythical monsters? Did this mean every impossible fairy tale was grounded somewhere in absolute ghost truth? Was there anything sane or normal at all, or was everything just magic and stories?” (p. 293) When it became clear that the story I had to tell required me to embrace myth, it was an epiphany. Once the mythology began to weave between the lines, my words flew beyond me. They started unfurling so much more than the germ I’d started with. Mythology reveals great truth, and I learned a lot from Grace and Ben, Jim and Bright, and the others in their world.  I suspect there is much more to learn.

I’m really looking forward to hearing what sorts of things the rest of you learn from Grace et al. If you’ve read Grace Awakening, I’d love to hear what harmonious vibration is resonating with you.

 

 
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