The “Non-selected” Hint Fictions

I recently entered this hint fiction contest and I’m not going to put up the one I entered right now, but there were a few others that I was choosing from, and I guess I’ll put those here.
Now I’m trying to get something with zombies going, preferably a short story, but I’ve never been a master of that type of succinctness.  I’m novella, or ultrashort at best.  Creature of extremes, I guess.

Well, here they are.

World Peace

“I have a better idea,” she said. “Shut up.”

They waited.

“That’s the idea.”
She was right.
nothing left to say
Friends hear your story.  Family are your story.
The cat’s muzzle was coated and sticky, but at least I didn’t have to clean up that night.
Date Night
The chicken special was always a favorite.  I ordered the beef.
Famous Last Words
“How many times must I ask you to pass the freaking knife?”

I look in the mirror and see who I am now, with no one else to tell me I am her.
Repercussions for the Lone Survivor
The eyes watching didn’t judge.  Damn them.

Locke & Key Volume 1, Welcome to Lovecraft

Way behind the curve, here, but I just read this creepy, interesting graphic novel by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez I am impressed and am bound to be grabbing the next volume for reading sometime soon.

First, the art.  It’s lovely and eerie.  The eyes of the dead are particularly well captured.  My only complaint was that the uncle and the initial shots of the villainous lackey looked very similar, but that might have been on purpose for the fades.  In the “sketchbook” section at the end of the TPB it was easier to see the differences and the family resemblances of the kids and adults in question.  The designs of the eponymous keys were gorgeous.  I often struggle with semi-abstract design, myself, and was left applauding.  All the little atmospheric touches were outstanding.

The story itself was both a great set-up/teaser to further adventures and a heart-tugging tale on its own.  Bode was a cute, curious kid and his adventures with the keys and other aspects of Keyhouse (the childhood home of the kids’ uncle and murdered father [don’t worry, I’m giving nothing away, there]) draw you in, and almost make you forget about the other kids’  backstories and obvious troubles and secrets (beyond the obvious).

The human antagonist is remarkably disturbing and presented unflinchingly without rubbing one’s face in the more unsavory bits.  He does awful things and experiences awful things, sometimes on screen, but the scope of the panels and the art has a certain discretion.

The understatement that offsets everything about the whole situation serves Locke & Key well.  I can see myself buying this someday.

Update 10/26/2010

Crocheted Socks for Cousin
Crocheted Kid-size Socks

The picture to the left is the socks I made for my cousin’s daughter.  The final sew-up got put off for a while.

I really like making socks.  They’re small and quick to make.  THey’re also comforting to have around.  I’m thinking about trying to make some knee highs or thigh highs that are neat-looking to go with boots, because I love tall boots and socks.  Obsessed much?  At least I’m moving on to different styles, but I default to the german flat style because I have the pattern memorized, when I travel.

Currently, I’m working on a couple variations of the top-down crochet raglan sweater template that I found.  No pics yet.

I’m also downloading OsX app development system.  I’m thinking of making something for gaming.  I’ll be bugging my husband, who is an avid gamer and RPG developer, for help.  I also intend to go back to the blogging platform I was messing with.

I’ve got lots of ideas for ideas, at least.  That’s seldom the problem.

I “wasted” more money than I ought to on yarn this last weekend, too.  Sock yarn, mostly, or at least fine yarn for some of the projects I’ve seen around.  It’s hard to really find the finer yarns around here, because we don’t have a real yarn store in the county.  That’s my excuse, as if I couldn’t buy stuff on eBay.

So, yes.  I’m pretty happy project-wise.  Job hunt wise, don’t ask.

I am kind of thinking about going back to school, hardcore, and getting a MLS.  I’m kind of trepedatious about the application process.   It points out that I really need to engage with people more.  I remember when I wasn’t quite as timorous when dealing with people.  I think I felt more like I was “okay” then.  I’m not not “Okay” now, but I do wonder sometimes.  I need to get my don’t give a rip back.

Anyway, that’s the update.

Recycling, Writing, and Self-Starting

I know I said before that the hornets were gone, but I’ve been seeing dead (and sometimes not-so-dead) individual ones around the house every few days.  Yesterday, there was a ginormous one in my office, messing around in the window.  It was bigger than the others and a darker, orange-er, color.  I kind of hope it was the queen, because I stabbed it to death when it was in one of the cracks.  I felt very, what’s the word, is there a female word for macho?  I felt whatever the female word for macho is.  I liked it, and I kind of need that right this moment.

Lately, I think as a result of telling myself/deciding that I was going to get serious about things (writing, code, day job hunting) I’ve become sort of extra blocked and stalled.  Things and ideas are freezing up.  Part of me says this means I need to cut out extraneous things, but… I don’t want to.  I’m going to take some intermediate steps.  Time is being blocked out for no distractions, within reason.  Cripes, I even freeze up when I get out my knitting/crochet.  I get it out and then… just… don’t.

That segues nicely into I have not finished the sweater I’ve started, yet, but I do have the first neck-parts done.  No pictures, now, at least.  I’m using some yarn that is really plush, and has been in some UFOs (UnFinished Objects) before, namely, my abandoned mitif-type tank tops.  This time, though, for sure.  I have to laugh at myself while I type that, because it’s definitely fitting with the theme of freeze-ups.

Recycling’s a thing that I wonder about holding me back in writing.  I have ideas and characters that have either sat for awhile waiting to be matched up or have just gone nowhere for whichever reason I might have (I’m going to try not to play a blame game with me). Regardless, I wonder if trying to fit those unused or underused things in and working with them right now might not be keeping mbe back from having ideas.  There are things I really like, for instance my original heroine/villainess, and I have a recurring fascination with superhero type characters, and (I have to admit) mutant stepcousin’s of the Supernatural-verse because I just like that world and (see previous entries) see better ways to have taken the whole mythos.  I like normal people doing extraordinary things… and extraordinary people doing ordinary things.

I’m also just continual crisis of confidence woman.  I’ll just leave it at that for now, perhaps.  Maybe if I did more, took more risks in all the bits of my life I’d have less of that.  Either way, I think and hope the key to being able to do is doing, in some fashion.  That, and focus.  Focus on what I want to do as opposed to what just takes up space.  Maybe, when I can’t write-write or something I should just write down the thoughts and imagination flights in my head.  Make it all “real.”

Anyway, I’m admitting I’m frozen and announcing that I’m going to push forward.

I did make some very fine cookies, yesterday, whilst trying to get productivity going.

TV: It’s not you, it’s me?

Lately, it seems like every time storytellers, on television in particular, can disappoint, they do.

My question here is: Is it them, or is it me? Is it wrong to expect something really clever that I couldn’t come up with myself or that holds up, to my mind, the premises set forth? Am I setting the proverbial bar too high?

This article addresses a lot of the problems with one program in particular in words that are at least as good as any I could come up with. There are other issues, but what they said is a big part of it.
SPN, Heroes, Star Wars, Dark Tower, BTVS/ATS Comics,

Supernatural has been on a downward slide since Season 3 was cut short by the writers’ strike.  They elected to cut short the plot that had been informing the atmosphere of the show since the beginning: What was up with Sam and how will it affect things?  When they came back, everything took a different direction and where they dealt with anything from pre-Season-4 it was in a “and this is what happened while we weren’t looking, but we won’t go into that” way.  It was very perfunctory. Things fit if you squinted, but it felt like a left turn and the heart of the show was altered and ignored in favor of the new “Look! Angels!” mythos storyline, as though what they had was not good enough.  Dean was stripped of his essential “Dean-ness” and though we did already know that he had deep self-esteem issues, they weren’t addressed so much as accentuated and used to break him.  Two years later, they haven’t rebuilt him in any recognizable form and Sam has been relegated to “When we don’t have any other monsters, we’ll hate on him” status.

Of course Lost left me wondering at the end of its run, too.  I have not yet gone for the big rewatch and made any statistical data on mystery-to-“character” moments and look for clues that we were going to be left high and dry.  The truth is, I love the characters, and I would have been upset with something that left them ambiguous… and really, this sort of did.  It told us that the island was the most important thing time in their lives, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care what the survivors did with the rest of their lives.  Still, eventually they all reunite and “move on” is cool enough.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I got this feeling:  This was a cop out on the mysteries of the show.  They set up some genuine puzzles and then just walked away with a mysterious look in their figurative eye.  It was something of a screw you to the people who really made the show what it was (and no, I don’t mean the Jack/Kate/Sawyer/Juliet ‘shippers, although they were a fun group to watch get wound up).  I enjoyed the “Hi, we’re Sci-Fi, but look, we’re also a soap opera” dichotomy, but to choose one in the way they did insults the other.

So I was disappointed again.

Heroes started strong.  It started really strong.  I loved Hiro and Ando and HRG (later revealed to have a name, Noah Bennet, but he’ll always by mysterious HRG, man with a plan, to me) and kind of hated Mohinder and Nathan and wanted to know what Sylar was all about.  I wondered why the Wincesters didn’t go absolutely bugnuts over the always-touchy Nathan and Peter (maybe they did, I won’t pretend to know all about fandom, but I never saw it explode like the other did).  I loved the serial nature of the show and the “Look!  We’re a comic and live and awesome!”  thing they had going.  Even the (presumably) TV-Budget limited “final battle” or the “We’re evolution!”/”We’re mutation!”/”We’re genetic manipulation!” didn’t make me less jazzed about what was to come.  Turns out what was to come didn’t even know what it was, and (again) the writers’ strike (people, actors are pretty, but they’re not all smart enough to come up with the brilliant words and situations on their own… pay the brains!) kind of probably screwed things up, but Season 2 was the last time we really saw HRG be truly awesome.  TV resents awesome.  Much like Season 4 Supernatural didn’t like allowing Bobby to be outstanding or Dean to be action heroic or Sam to be smart and dedicated, the people at Heroes decided they didn’t like HRG being without powers and on top of everything.  Therefore, they decided to strip him of his daughter and start making his plans fail pointlessly.  I say pointlessly because I’m ranting and because they never gave us a real payoff for his crises.  It was fail for fail’s own sake.  Later, that wasn’t enough so they also took the perfect villain and played “Good guy!”  “Wait, no bad guy!”   “Wait, no, he’s neither, and now we’ve retconned away his origins sense with bad makeup and storylines that only vaguely dovetail!”  They added supers that weren’t necessarily hiding and eclipses that effect things and storylines that got picked up and dropped like hot potatoes.  Mostly, for me, though, it was when they took HRG the ultimate badass family man and stripped him of all his adjectives.

So, of course, I’m growing twitchy.  I want to believe in Fringe.  I want to give affection to Chuck in the face of waffling.  I’d like to think Dexter will keep not dropping the ball.  I want No Ordinary Family to do what Heroes didn’t, but it can’t be the same.  I’m burned, though… and what I finally have to ask is, “Is it me or you, TV?”

I can think of a dozen ways the shows I talked about could have gone.  These ways would have made me happy.  These ways would have had some great jumping off potential.  I know of other people who are rolling their eyes at the developments in my subject shows.  I see a lot of fandom sites squeeing their butts off, though, about the same stuff (Heroes less so, but there are plenty of “Give ’em another chance, guys” folks out there).

Maybe I just love too much and expect too highly.  I have to admit, that mockingly low expectations made Supernatural and Heroes (until the final blow) watchable in their death throes (or should have been, Supernatural is in a Season 6 that I can’t even really watch through internet-friend-group-mockery lenses).    Maybe my tastes are just not what the world likes.  I want strong characters and resolution.  I don’t like it when emotion is overused and angst becomes the main coinage.   These things have more weight when used sparingly.  Sometimes characters need to win.  Some characters need to win big.  We can’t know if people are sad if they are never allowed to celebrate and be happy.

When I write, and I admit I’m having doubts about me these days, I try to plan for wins as well as losses.  I want my characters to be strong with a dash of difficulty.  Maybe if I went on, there would be need for more (if you will forgive the chatspeak, I always imagine these overwrought emotions in the language of butthurt web posters) OMGMOARANGST! because things get caught up in the weight of their own mythology and history.

I’m not going to apologize, though, TV.  You hurt me, Fredo.  You broke my heart.  Oh, yeah, don’t get me started on Godfather III.  I haven’t read the follow up book.  I’ve been caught there before.  Not again… until I get bored.

This. Is. Autumn! Look at my socks!

Yoga Socks
Yoga Socks

To the left is not just my incredibly goofy foot, but more importantly the socks I recently finished– one of them, anyway.  The socks were my first double-ended knitting needles project, and a learning experience.  I still don’t knit nearly as quickly as I crochet, and the stitch-dropping peril plagues me.  Still, I like the textile it makes, and I’m going to be doing a lot more in the future.  I’m also seeing that I am going to have to buy that adjustable circular needles set sometime.  Possibly soon.

For the time being, I’m moving on to another project, a top-down raglan sweater in crochet from a template.  I just started the gauge swatch today after spending a goodly amount of time trying to choose a new project.  I have way too many sketches and patterns around, and I have a lot of stash-yarns that I really want to use before I get all specialized (because there are certain types of yarn I will have to make a not-inconsiderable drive to buy).

Writing, though, I’m going to have to admit that I’m not happy with my progress.  I have projects I don’t want to give up, and perfectionism is rearing its head.  “Just read Meyers and do it,” really needs to be my mantra, or something less bitterly negative with the same general meaning.  I just read an article by J.C. Hutchins that made me think and kick myself a little, because while I like my dialogue skills I have to say that sometimes I don’t get a very clear picture of some of my characters for a long while.

I question myself a lot, about a lot of things.  I question myself about things I don’t question others about, sometimes.  I’m not sure when I type that how much of it could be an attempt to give myself comfort.  Either way, I know it’s true in many cases.

So, this is my non-ego acknowledgment that I have skills, and my repeatedly renewed vow to use them.  One of the novels will make me not wince right away, right?  If nothing else, I’m getting it out of my system.