Tag Archives: writing

I Have a Blog No One Reads, Too — And I Know How to Use It

So. . . it’s been awhile. Turns out when you give birth to twins, your ability to sit still for lengthy periods of time seriously dwindles. I did pull off the all-female production of 1776, which was nominated for five local BroadwayWorld Awards and won for Best Costumes (YESSSS!). I was nominated as Best Actress in a Musical and as Person to Watch, which was very flattering and exciting, even if I didn’t win. I also performed in two other productions (Into the Woods and a world premiere play called My Dear Miss Chancellor, which was about a secret society of sword fighting lesbians set in Jane Austen era London and yes it was as bad ass as that sounds).

I’ve been busy. Happy. Exhausted. Busy. And not very full of writing, I am sorry to say!

So what, dear reader, has brought me out of hibernation?

Why, self-righteous rage, of course!

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Star Wars Fan Fic

This is a fan-made Star Wars anime that is gorgeous.  In two minutes, this wordless cartoon made me feel more than in six hours of Episodes 1-3 (for the record, my children will have to discover Episodes 1-3 on their own.  I want no part in exposing them to that sort of filth).  I posted the video on Facebook and the following conversation ensued:

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan:  Although it always makes me feel guilty rooting so hard for the Empire.

Me: Who knows what the Empire had on those pilots, though? Maybe their families are being kept in a room with the oxygen slowly being siphoned out — maybe they pump in another liter of air for every rebel ship taken down.

Friend and Fellow Star Wars Fan: I wanna read that fanfic.

 

. . . . okay :)

 

Extra credit: Teenage Mutant Ninja Fan Fic

~~~

Jaclyn stared down at the pinprick of blood on her index finger.  It was remarkable how despite the number of souls she had sent back to their makers, she had never once seen a single drop of their blood.  The sight of her own mesmerized her.

A particularly loud squawk from her infant son, squirming on the changing table, brought her back down from the black.

“Alright, alright, almost done.”  Jaclyn finished pinning the cloth diaper to her child, lifted him to her shoulder and turned.  She startled at seeing her husband, Larek, leaning against the doorframe of the nursery.  He was smiling at her.

“What?” She said, shifting uneasily.

“I just like seeing you all domestic.”

“Har har.”

Larek wrapped his arms around them and pressed his face into her neck. “It suits you.”

Jaclyn closed her eyes and inhaled the scent of her family.

“Mama!  There’s a man at the door!”

“Coming, Remmi,” she called. “Wait for me.”

“Zak already opened it!”

“I did not, the wind pushed it!”

Jaclyn and Larek shared a smirk before heading toward their front door.  Rounding the corner, Jaclyn’s blood chilled when she saw the uniforms.  She handed the baby to her husband and gestured they stay.  She slowly walked toward the open door.

“Boys, go to Papa.”

Zak and Remmi obeyed, sobered by the tone of their mother’s voice.

Jaclyn planted herself in front of the Imperial officer.  “Can I help you?”

“Ahh, Captain Jaclyn Antarres,” he said. His face was cheery in stark contrast to the helmeted guards that flanked him.  “What a pleasure to finally meet you.  Your reputation proceeds you.”

“It’s Mrs. Reed now,” Jaclyn said nervously, wondering what Larek’s face looked like behind her.

“May we come in?” Said the officer, still smiling.  “It won’t take but a moment.”

“Of course.  Larek, would you take the boys-”

“No,” said the officer, “please, don’t usher them out on our account.  This may well be a family decision.”  The officer helped himself to a seat on the couch.  The guards remained standing at his sides.  “I am here to inform you that your services are needed again, Captain.  Congratulations!”

She followed him into the living room, her body tense. “But. . . but the Empire won.  Why do they still need me?”

“Oh, of course we won, thanks in part to your tireless efforts, but there are a few loose ends.  I won’t bore you with the details, after all, do they really matter?  The Empire needs you, Captain.  Won’t you join us?”

Jaclyn sat down across from the officer.

“But, Jaclyn,” behind her, Larek’s voice was thick with disbelief, “You said, I thought-”

“It’s not what you think,” she said, staring at her lap.

“I’m so terribly sorry, how embarrassing,” said the officer.  “Perhaps I am mistaken.”

He produced a small device from his jacket pocket and clicked a button.  A holographic video projected on the coffee table.  Cheering Galactic Republic soldiers choked a Star Destroyer landing strip as they surrounded a TIE-fighter.  A young pilot nimbly leaped from the cockpit.  She removed her helmet, revealing a young Jaclyn, grinning and pumping her fist.

Jaclyn stiffened, hearing her husband gasp and her boys, not understanding, grow excited.

“It’s Mama!” shouted Zak.  “Look, it’s Mama!”

“I want to see it again!” Remmi pleaded.

The blue light of the holograph reflected in the steely eyes of the officer as hundreds of Separatist fighter jets exploded in the living room.  “Am I confusing you with another Jaclyn Antarres?”

“No, sir,” Jaclyn whispered. “That was me.”

“Oh good!”  The officer clicked the button and the image disappeared.

“Aw, no fair!”

Quiet, boys,” barked Larek.

“You had me worried for a moment that I had come to the wrong house!” Continued the officer, seemingly oblivious to the family tension. “You know how government bureaucracy can be so messy.”

“Yes, sir,” said Jaclyn.  She didn’t dare look at her husband.  She could feel his stare burning into the back of her neck.  “I’m afraid I can’t accept this honor, sir.  I just had a baby, you see, and-”

“You won’t reconsider?”

“Well, maybe when the baby is older, I could-”

Jaclyn didn’t notice more guards had already filed into the living room, surrounding her family.

The officer stood.  “I’m afraid, then, that we are no longer asking.”

~~

Zak and Remmi had never been off-planet before and Jaclyn wished she could have enjoyed their wonder as their home planet became smaller and smaller beneath them.  At least it took their minds off the cuffs around their wrists and ankles.  Larek held the baby, his eyes closed.  When she reached over and put her hand on his knee, his eyes snapped open.  The fury in his face made her recoil.

“Captain? So you were good at murdering people, were you?”

“Larek, please, I can’t be blamed-”

“You worked for them,” he hissed. “You lied to me.”

“Larek, I was young, I was broke, it was a job.  I didn’t know.”

“The Clone War was nearly over.  The Purge had already happened.  Don’t tell me you didn’t know.”

“It was a job.”

“For the wrong side.”

“For the winning side.”

“I see.”

“Larek, it worked out for us.”

“Has it?  Our children are in chains, Jaclyn.”

“I’ll fix this, I’ll-”

“Kill when you’re commanded.  Like a good Imperial dog.”

“That’s not fair.”

“Fair?!  My parents were murdered by the Empire.  My childhood home was razed to the ground because we were accused of harboring Jedi.  For all I know, it was you that did it.”

“No, I never fought on the ground, I was only a pilot, I was only-”

“A coward.”

The ship jolted as it entered the tractor beam of the Star Destroyer.  Tears brimmed in Larek’s eyes as his children cooed at the size of the warship.  Jaclyn looked at her feet.  She’d seen plenty before.

The Reed family was herded to the detention level and Jaclyn noticed quite a few other families, their civilian clothes pitably plain next to the gleaming white stormtroopers that patrolled the halls.  Droids zipped and tottered by, ignoring them.  She could tell the other former pilots by the guilt on their faces and the betrayed looks on their spouses’.  She wished she could hold Zak and Remmi’s hands.

~~

“I don’t want you to go, Mama.”

“I know, darling, Mama will be right back, I promise I’ll be right back.”  They were in a cell now, much nicer than Jaclyn would have expected.  It was square and squat, but there were chairs and a thick glass window that looked out into the hallway.  Red, black, and white uniforms passed by outside.  Perhaps they only planned to intimidate, nothing more.

“Please don’t go, please don’t leave me.”

Jaclyn ran her hand through her son’s hair, but before she could speak the guards roughly grabbed her arms and drug her out of the cell, slamming the door behind them, cutting off the wails of her children.

Jaclyn whipped her arms around and released herself.  The officer stood impassively in the hallway.

“Was that really necessary?!” She snapped. “We’ve come quietly, haven’t we?!”

“And we’ve been more than patient.  Your fleet awaits you, Captain, and we don’t have time for any more sentimental moments.”

A hissing sound filled the hallway.  Jaclyn looked up and then through the glass window into her family’s cell.  Larek could hear it, too, and was gathering the boys around him.

“What’s happening?  What are you doing to them?”

“That is their air supply leaking into the hallway.”

“What?!”

“The general is so very fond of games and incentives.  For every rebel ship you take down, another liter of oxygen will replenish your family’s cell.”

“One,” she choked. “One liter?!”

“The average adult needs 550 liters of oxygen a day,” said the officer cheerily. “So I hope for their sake, Captain, you have very good aim.”

Jaclyn rammed herself against the glass window, watching her children’s mouths open in screams that she couldn’t hear.  Seeing her, they broke free of their father and ran to the window, faces red and wet with tears.  Their fingers couldn’t reach the glass.  She looked up at Larek, who only stared back at her from across the cell, his eyes empty.  The hissing stopped.

Not bothering to wipe her eyes, Jaclyn turned to the officer.  “Take me to my ship.”

 

~~

Black uniform hugging her body, helmet under her arm, Jaclyn strode toward the landing strip, callously ignoring salutes from lesser officers as she passed.  She recognized no one from the old days and bitterly envied her former compatriots who managed to disappear or die young.  She put on her helmet and climbed into the cockpit. Her TIE was an advanced model, though the interior didn’t feel much different from her old ship; the controls had a nicer font and the seats were leather.  The escalating whirr of the ship’s engine sent adrenaline shivers through her body.  It felt like home, she conceded guiltily.

How easy it is to shed your humanity in space, she thought, dazed as it came time for her ship to launch into the black.  After all, the X-wings weren’t filled with people, they were filled with oxygen.  And Captain Antarres intended to get every last one.

 

A Reset

My dad once told me a story. He was a young actor in New York and had a lot of young actor friends.  One such friend was turning down auditions for commercial work because he said he was afraid that it would “hurt his career.”  My dad, an eloquent man, responded with, “What career?”

I think I need to revisit this story more often.

Since moving to Seattle, I have been pursuing theatre.  I don’t even know in what capacity yet. Should I be able to climb up to the status of it being a “career,” then bully for me, if not then I’m happy to do theatre as a passionate hobby.  To tell the truth, I don’t know how honest that is, but that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

I have been on quite a few auditions lately and have done very well at most of them — this, in and of itself, is a triumph.  I am really proud of the work I have done in the past year, even if it hasn’t necessarily bore me much fruit.  I wanted to be in four productions this year and am halfway through my goal.  After being passed over the last several times I’ve auditioned (and gotten to callbacks, even!), I admit that I’m starting to get all moody about it.

And it’s only fricken July!  The year is barely half over!  I needed a reset.  Fortunately I have a brilliant vocal coach and supportive friends and husband and I’ve been able to get my head straight.  But it had been eating at me for awhile.  Worrying about my “failed” career.  What career?  Ha!

To clarify: I don’t mean that in a negative, derogatory way, but in a FREEING way.  I have nothing, therefore, I have nothing to lose.  This is a good thing.  This concept should be paradoxically relaxing and energizing.  I have everything to win.

Speaking of jobs, I have four more days working at Cheezburger and even though I am so glad that I took this job and have really enjoyed it, I am really going to be happy when it’s over.

I am looking forward to having a quiet, boring day.  I am looking forward to having a quiet week.  I am looking forward to having my thoughts and my time to myself.

I am currently working on an idea for a musical.  This is a seriously lofty idea that may in fact turn out to be a disaster.

I’m not going to delete that last sentence, but I think that that is extremely telling of my state of mind about my art right now.

Disaster?!

How could it be a disaster? ;)  Why do I have to make every artistic endeavor a matter of complete triumph or failure?  Can’t it just be?

Also, I know that I have been derelict in my monthly-writing promise.  I’ve done some work on my musical, which I am not ready to share publicly, but I would still like to work on my Mia stuff.  I really like her and I like my idea so I will keep pecking away at that.  There.  I’ve made a public promise to myself and now it’s time to keep it.

Worst Internet Radio Commercials

I listen to a lot of internet radio (Spotify and Pandora) at my job.  Here is a list of internet radio ads that I hear multiple times a day and make me want to throw something.  I’d love to keep adding to this list, except for some reason they’ve determined that a person who listens to musicals, bluegrass, 50’s music, Green Day, and Ella Fitzgerald only really needs to hear the following advertisements.  Over and over and over.

– The ad about how UTIs are really painful.  If it were a short ad it would be okay, but the anti-UTI lobby ponied up for 30 second ad space.  (also, anti ootee, hehe)

– I don’t even know what this ad is about because I can tune most of it out up until the girl sees a kitten and screeches “GOOCHI GOOCHI COO!!!”

– The ad that has some pretty decent music and I start bobbing my head and get all excited that I might have discovered a new band/song only to find out that it was a jingle.  And then I feel like a tool.

And the fricken WORST ad where I actually rip the headphones out of my head:

– The horrible ad about getting a flu shot because you could infect your baby, which is accompanied by the constant sound of an infant violently coughing that gets louder and louder as the ad goes on.  I don’t even have a baby and I become panicked.

For all you (talented) out-of-work writers out there, do everyone a favor.  Stuff your dreams of glory deep deep inside.  Please Join an ad agency and save us.

The Concert

Hiya folks!  Late on this month’s writing project and, I admit, I took advantage and wrote a little into May.  Here is another Mia excerpt.  If you haven’t read the first two, here you go:

https://oneclassydame.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/mia-descendant-of-monsters/

https://oneclassydame.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/more-mia/

~~

The Concert

 

I am sixteen.  I have not yet secured my position at the Academy yet, but I will this year.  I am in the smoky basement of a pub called The Underground.  We are new enough to town that few know what our family looks like.  It’s still easy to go out without getting harassed.  Electric lights of green, gold, and amber flash on and off, lining what appears to be a stage made of crates.  A lone microphone stands crooked in front.  The place is packed and noisy, young people, my peers, I guess, milling around drinking bright-colored alcohol out of beakers.  Some of the beverages are smoking.  My older brother does not know I am here.

I try to dress like young women my age, but I never seem to have all the elements together.  I’m always missing a key jewelry or the right boots or a debonair hair treatment.  Bustles are still in, but long underskirts are out, showing off stockings of all colors and patterns.  Corsets are visible and sexy after hours.  I am dressed in a black blouse with a high collar, black leggings and my lightweight sparring boots.  In an attempt to be fashionable, I stole one of Saga’s black silk cinches, which I will pay dearly for later, and secured it around my waist.  I have no skirts in my closet.

I do not say this to be ironic, but I wore all black before it was a statement.

The emcee, wearing a hat made of a variety of colored foxtails, approaches the mic carefully, leaning forward to speak into it without touching.  It must be one of the old microphones — my brother told me about them.  Apparently some of the more cantankerous models would electrocute people.

“Crazies and powdermen, continue to marinate!  Tonight’s eccentricities will begin in a few ticks so drink up, slobs!”

The crowd responds with a mix of dull acknowledgement and unnecessary cursing.  I remain in the dead space between the alcohol corral, piled high with kegs and stills, and the dance area.  People mill around me in colorful swaths, not noticing.

“Mia, my favorite niece!”

Aunt Elin never ceases to amaze me.  Although she is more than twice the age of most of the people in the room, she is dressed to kill.  Her hair, currently blonde with blue streaks, is piled high on top of her head. She wears a cerulean silk corset ratcheted tight with what looks like silver gears and teethy wheels.  She has no undershirt or chemise, showing off her bare muscular arms and shoulders.  She wears a silver bustle with dark patterned hose and boots with a heel sharp enough to poke someone’s eye out (and probably has).  There is nothing subtle about Aunt Elin.

“You here to see Artie?”  She leans over to shout in my ear, her breath thick and sweet with liquor.

“Yes, Aunt Elin.”

“Good girl!  Stupid of him to try and keep the family away.  ‘Slike he don’t know who he’s dealing with, right?”

“Yes, Aunt Elin.”

“I was gonna tell your father, but I wanted to see if this kid was even talented.  Fucking up on stage would be punishment ‘nuff.”

My brother, Art, is a musician and a singer, like my mother.  It has been hard for him to “book gigs” because many establishments still do not like the idea of having our family as patrons.  If they find out who Art is, they sometimes book him only under the condition that we stay away.  One relative of a genocidal maniac singing songs will sell tickets.  A passel of them cheering him on might start a riot.

So I admit that I am not supposed to be here.  But I am not one of the family members that Art should be concerned about.  Aunt Elin has found a young man enamoured by her statuesque beauty and is convincing him to buy her more whiskey.

Art is the first musician on.  He looks like my mother’s side of the family — tall and lithe, olive complexion, a long straight nose, brown eyes and hair.  I am the only one of my siblings with the traditional Fox Family green eyes.  Art carries on his guitar.  A girl with a bright red bob follows him on, holding a typewriter and with various bells around her neck.  She sits on a stool next to a large leather suitcase.  Finally a very handsome blonde man enters, a dark green bowler perched on his curls, an overly large purple bowtie secured about his throat.  I swear I can see his blue eyes from where I stand.  He’s wheeling on a beat-up bass.

Without introduction, Art and the blonde approach the microphone, temples touching, eyes closed as they softly sing in harmony with each other.  The room quiets.  It is hard to tell whose voice is whose, the audience is captivated by every breath the men take together.  The singers are joined by the percussive pecking of the typewriter.  Then the girl begins to kick the suitcase in rhythm.  The blonde takes a harmonica from his breast pocket and wails into it, his breath heavy into the speakers.  Then Artie begins to play.

I hope you do not think it hubris, but my brother is a genius guitar player.  I smile.  Mama would be very proud if she could hear him.

The blonde attacks the strings of his bass and the floorboards pulse beneath my feet.  Everywhere I look, I am meeting the eyes of someone my own age who is happy because of my brother’s music.  I feel young.  I hear Aunt Elin whooping and see a flash of blue as she is twirled by a young man in tails.

The chorus and bridge hit and no one is still, not even me.  Unknown hands take mine and I’m dancing, I’m dancing, and I’m being passed around between other girls and boys like I’m one of them, like I belong here.

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More Mia

Continued from last month’s project, here are two more snippets from Mia, Descendent of Monsters.  I should figure out a way to number these so it will be easier in the future to start from the beginning. . .

Also a BIG thanks to my Facebook weapons nerd friends!  I think once you read this, you’ll know which weapon I needed help finding ;)

Also also, yes, I realize that I refer to my husband as M Fox and the name of this character is Mia Fox.  I have a thing for foxes and apparently no imagination, okay?  Sue me. ;)

~~~

An Old Dog

After decades of mercenary work, Colin Skydance earned a reputation as the best, and his other titles included unapologetic scoundrel and great lover of women.  Colin was fortunate enough to have been hired by the winning side of the Horde War, but those in the know were very much aware that it could have gone either way.

After retiring, Colin had settled in a remote wooded area in a self-made cabin.  One storming night, just as he was musing how the sound of rain was preferable to the usual silence, he heard a knock at the front door.  His daughter was visiting her brother up north, but even if she was in town, she would never knock.  Intrigued, Colin slid aside a small panel next to the door, undetectable from the outside, and appraised the visitor.

Drenched with rain, chest heaving.  Tired, but excellent posture — a warrior.   Shorter and younger than himself, long black hair tied back, robes.  Thick blade tied to his waist.  A Nishen warrior.  Colin threw open the door.

“Well come in, come in, don’t be shy,” he said cheerily. “Just because you’ve been sent to kill me doesn’t mean all civility should be thrown out the window.”

The visitor stood awkwardly in the door frame for a moment, taking in the legendary mercenary.  Colin had managed to keep a full head of curls, now the color of steel.  Thick black eyebrows brooded over his light blue eyes, striking even in the dark and the rain.  He still had the body of an agent, lean and tight.  Colin made a grand sweeping gesture toward the hearth and the visitor entered, taking care to wipe his flat shoes on the “Grandpa’s House” doormat.

It was a solitary man’s cabin.  There was one large room with a rug and some seating, a simple stove, open shelving.  Lamps still running on oil hung off sconces on the walls, the sticky smell mingling with the scent of burning wood. Above, a dark loft with a wooden ladder.

“You can sit if you like, though considering your damp state, I’d prefer you stand.  Oh, and not on the rug.”

“This is very hard for me to say,” said the visitor, his voice husky, on the brink of becoming hoarse.

“I can imagine.  Who sent you?”

“No one sent me.”

“Revenge, then?”  Colin meandered to his liquor cabinet and thoughtfully selected a bottle and a glass.  “I suppose I’ve killed someone important to you.  I am very sorry for that.  Whiskey?”

“No. You haven’t killed anyone I know or care about.  I’m here because of your daughter.”

Colin’s face remained impassive as he steadily poured himself another drink.  “Elin can take care of herself.  Go after her if you wish.”

“You misunderstand.  She saved my life.”

A smirk tugged at Colin’s cheek and he raised his glass, careful not to show his relief.  “That’s my girl.”

“She said I should pay my debt to you.”  The visitor unsheathed his sword, made of black metal with a divot down the center, painted red.  He held it flat in front of him and knelt before Colin.

The old mercenary slowly finished his second drink, his blood warming.  Upon his last swallow, he hurled the tumbler at the visitor’s head and kicked the offered sword into his own hand.  The visitor caught the glass and back flipped into a fighting stance.

Colin’s voice was smooth and low.  “You know who I am, what I’ve done, and what I can do to you, yet you knock on my front door with little to no proof of what you claim.  That’s pretty damn remarkable, if you ask me.”

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I swear I’m still here

Sorry dear readers, I swear I haven’t forgotten you!  I’m playing Snoopy in a local production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and we’re nearing opening so any non-dog related activity has ground to a halt.  I do have another Mia post coming up soon, I’m going to do a quiche-making ride-along, and I also have been wanting an opportunity to gush about my new favorite thing in the WHOLE WORLD.  (Hint: Start your engines. . .)

In the meantime, here is a pre-production photo of me as Snoopy, chasing the Red Baron.  Enjoy :)

Someday, someday I'll get you, Red Baron!

Someday, someday I’ll get you, Red Baron!