Saturday, August 19, 2006

AW Chain (Round Four) -- The End!

We have now reached the end of Round Four in the AW Blog Chain. It is still a fairly new phenomenon but always a wild and exciting ride. I see Round Five is getting started soon as well.

Before me, Midnite Muse made a really beautiful post about her pre teen and teenage years, about her family and their lives on Lake Cushman in the Olympic Mountains, and about finding her muse. Finding your muse. I like that.

I discovered my muse when I was nine years old. It was the year Stephen King's The Shining came out. Up until then I was reading stuff like The Wednesday Witch and Harriet the Spy. I was very serious about becoming a spy. I kept several red, spiraled notebooks with loads of secret information about my dog, my parents, the neighbors, the neighbor's dog. No real stories though.

It was also at that time I fell painfully in love with a boy, a boy I'll affectionately call Jack Torrence, or JT for short.

Here it is 30 years later, and I am still smitten with this man. And it hurts just as bad. But back then we were just kids, although he was six years older than me.

You see, I was an only child and an Air Force brat and we were all over the place. I was shy and lonely most of the time. My mom had to go out and make friends for me each time we moved. But my parents were best friends with these other parents who also happened to be in the Air Force and, to my delight, were transfered to all the same places we were. That family had a whole bunch of kids, mostly boys. I really got along with two of them. JT being one.

JT was the most beautiful, sweetest, most intelligent person I had ever met. This was crazy love, can't-sleep-at-night, invade-your-dreams love. But I never let on. We clicked and enjoyed being together and that was enough. Fishing, hunting snakes, building tree houses. In the summer we lived on sipping Honeysuckle and chewing wild onions. When we were forced to stay in we'd lay all over his sofa and watch The Monkees or Planet of the Apes. Sometimes we'd retire to JT's room and he'd play guitar while I sung Peter, Paul, and Mary songs. He was the first person to ever put a guitar in my hands and teach me to play. As well, he was the guy who told me if I really wanted to glow like a lightening bug (like his younger brother was doing) I'd actually have to kill all those insects to squish their juices on my legs and arms. Yuck!

I distinctly remember going to his house one evening and trotting off to his room to play. He had Toto's Hydra on. Toto may not be the best band in the world but Hydra has got some awesome mood going for it. I still get goosebumps when I hear that beginning.

He then sat me down and placed his copy of The Shining in my hands. He had marked exactly the pages he wanted me to read. The Room 217 scene. He was really stoked about the book and wanted to see my reaction. My reaction lasted about two to three weeks; I didn't sleep at all.

Next time I went to his house, he had out a manual typewriter (anyone remember those??) on his pool table and informed me that he was writing a novel. He had it out, pages numbered and chaptered and asked if I'd like to read it. Sure! I remember being very impressed and telling him so.

He then told me very calmly, "You can write a book too, if you want." All sorts of cogs and wheels began to purr in my head and a dream was born. It was then that I really tried to write. Oh, I didn't actually learn what plot or characterization was until about five years ago. But I sure filled my notebooks with things other than the exact time my neighbor took out his trash and my pooch's snack of choice.

I guess what makes him my muse is his damned presence. No, I haven't seen him since I was fifteen, but if I ever get tired of writing all I have to do is think of him and I'm back into my story greedy and concentrated. If I ever get too busy with life and forget to write then I'll invariably have dreams of him and again jump back into some tale. It wasn't until recently that I noticed he also shows up in all my stories, in some way or other.

Now to truly make this a chain, I need to connect this post to Quidscribis' first entry where she talks about what are you going to do to make the world a better place.

Several years ago I fell extremely ill. I got better. But afterwards, I made an effort to try and locate JT after thirty years. You never know when your gonna go, and he was still haunting me good. It was one of those urges you just can't stop. Unfinished business, I guess. I succeeded in finding him and we had a whirlwind of communication for about four months. I was absolutely astounded when he confessed that he had (and does) felt the same way I did. (That revelation is also what made us end the renewed friendship.) Now he has quite a big name in his field, travels a lot, does lots of cutting edge stuff, stuff that not only helps the people who populate this planet but also might save an entire species.

Maybe it is trite. I suppose all artists, writers, musicians want to make the world a better place, change the world, influence it in some way. And I must admit I do have those day dreams.

Ol' JT and I promised we'd meet again someday, somewhere, somehow. I know I'll never do anything as huge as save a species or improve the human lot. And I'm perfectly okay with that.

But I honestly want to be a better person. I want to be the type of person who has something intersting to say. In my own way, through creating characters and worlds, through research and careful observation of a foreign culture, I want to give some new experience to some new person. Instill even a bit of that intense curiousity that JT introduced to me.

And so ends Blog Chain 4. Stay tuned for Five, coming soon!

Until then here is a list of the entire Chain Four.


Pass the Torch

The Road Less Travelled

Fireflies in the Cloud

Even in a Little Thing

The Secret Government Eggo Project

Curiouser and Curiouser

At Home, Writing

Mad Scientist Matt's Lair

I, Misanthrope - The Dairy of a Dyslexic Writer

Beyond the Great Chimney Production Log

Flying Shoes

Everything Indian

The Hal Spacejock Series

Organized Chaos

Of Chapters and Reels

Just a Small town girl

Midnight Muse

Kappa no He

AW Chain

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fireworks 花火!


If there was one thing I could show all my friends/relatives back home it would be...a Japanese bar. If there were two things, the first would be a Japanese bar, the second fireworks! Actually, no. Maybe fireworks would come first. It would depend on how thirsty I was and how much of a lush that friend/relative happened to be.

We went to our little city's firework display. In the grand scheme of things it is pretty tiny, but still breathtaking. The pictures below don't do it justice. The colors! The shapes! Smily faces even! I've seen fish, morning glories, and various Pokemon characters. I've heard the real fancy towns have much better ones.

hanabi tate color

hanabi bright

Another thrill about fireworks here is that you aren't kept far away. You can pretty much get as close as you want. The result being, that after a while flaming chunks of debris start to fall on your head. J and his buddy ran around collecting these and we ended up with an entire bag full. Below is the child with a couple of the bigger pieces. They are said to be good luck. I am expecting to win the lottery any day now. I may have to to afford these plane tickets. Yowch!

hanabi kakera
Because I can't get any pictures to upload, I haven't been able to put up any new blogs. And I've actually have things to talk about, pictures to show! Festivals for the dead, local festivals that last four days, fireworks, and our new killer goldfish -- he has eaten about twenty minows since they all started living together. He's a mean ... ...

Got asked to do a rewrite and also an e-mail from another Ed who wants to hold on to that story until he can find a place for it (next issue, he thinks). Also got a request for a partial for Elastic. But I figure that is just the regular course of things. When they ask for the whole thing...then I'll loose sleep. Right now I'm wishing I'd sent two other stories...Damn!

It's Obon, the whole dead-people-coming-back-to-visit-their-family thang. You're not supposed to kill bugs during this time, you know, just in case they happen to be brief reincarnations of your long lost relative. I ruined a frog the other day. I didn't mean too. Poor little guy. Man, you don't run under the mower, dude.

Wish I could put up pictures. *sniff* Maybe tomorrow.