Tag Archives: writing

Mia, Descendant of Monsters

Third writing assignment!  No theme this time, just the beginning of an idea I’ve had for a long time. This month has been pretty busy with rehearsals and whatnot, so I didn’t write quite as much as I would have liked.  More for next month :)  Happy March!

(Also, I have spent WAY too long trying to format in this godforsaken software. . . so please excuse the inconsistency of the spaces between paragraphs.  I have no idea why they won’t stay where I tell them.)

~~

A Forward

My great grandmother was a conqueror.  History has recorded her as an exceptionally ruthless barbarian, cleansing her hands with the blood of her enemies.  Victims of her horde’s atrocities numbered in the thousands and that is only taking into account the dead.  Villages disappeared.  Bloodlines ceased.  She was thorough — I suppose that is the glib way to put it.  The Horde War, though decades ago, echoes painfully in the minds of my fellow countrymen.  My peers have relatives who still hide food under the floorboards and sleep with daggers under their pillows.

She was never brought to justice or trial, but instead murdered by her daughter, my grandmother.  My grandmother was murdered by her brother, my great uncle.  My aunt killed him, eventually.  Family tradition, you might say.

It is hard to gauge how strange your own family truly is until you meet someone from the outside.  My bloody lineage made this very difficult.  I never knew my great grandmother, or my grandmother for that matter, but our family has carried their legacy.  Changing names was tried (and refused by some), but it is pretty easy to track us down, given both my family’s predilection for over-speaking and the acceleration of technology.  No more does one have to wait for a stranger in a pub to hear news.

In perhaps a futile attempt to distinguish some relatives from others, I have taken it upon myself to write out my family’s history.

I apologize in advance for any liberties I may have taken.  I think they were not on purpose.

– Mia Fox, daughter of decent people, descendant of monsters

~~

I Join My Family

I am seven, I am the youngest. The lightbulb has not been invented yet.  I am sitting on the edge of the bed I share with my sister Saga.  She is three years older than me.  She has my writing folder, my special folder.  It has everything in the world to me — poetry, stories, drawings, lyrics.  She’s holding it in front of me and talking in that calm voice she gets when she’s about to do something horrible.  Whatever is on her mind at this moment will be nothing compared to what it would be if she read its contents. . .
“So Mia, what do you have to say to that?”
“What?”   I cannot focus because all I can see is the folder, waving back and forth, a page peeking out.
Saga rolls her eyes and exhales loudly.  “You do all my chores until my birthday, including the chickens-” I hate chickens – “and I will give you your folder back when I turn eleven.”
“Saga, I need it before then.”
“Well then I guess leaving it out for all to see wasn’t very smart, was it?”
“It was under the bed in my box, Saga, you took it-”

Saga opens the folder and holds a single page above her head.  Staring at me with dead brown eyes, she crumples it and drops it.

If I were anyone else but me, I would scream.  If I were anyone else but me, I would jump at her and claw her face off.  But I am me.  And so I am obedient.  Quiet.  Small.

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Marion of the Lists

Here is my second writing assignment!  The theme was “First Day.”  This character is from an old D&D campaign, but I like her so I’ll keep reusing her!  Ten points if you spot my very obvious Tamora Pierce reference (although, I guess Marion, by virtue of being a red-haired lady knight, is sort of an homage all of her own. . .)  Enjoy :)

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“Damn him and his toasted arse!  If it’s not the slags, it’s the swill!”

Gilder hurled his cap to the ground and did a war dance on top of it, cursing gloriously.  The nervous page shifted on his feet while the short man finished his tirade.  The boy had had the unfortunate duty of reporting to Gilder that one of his jousters was passed out at The Mutton Chop, and the keeper wouldn’t let him leave until his debt was paid.  While he wasn’t unused to delivering bad news, sometimes the receiver got a little carried away.  Gilder, who ran the jousting in town, was mostly the good sort, but any man could get mean when someone messed with his coin and the page preferred to leave without a black eye.

“How much does that red-faced bilge drinker owe?!”

“Not sure, Mister Gil,” said the boy.  “But prolly lots, seeing how the keeper’s got him locked in the back.”

“More than his bout in bets, then.  Curse his soaked hide!  You get out of here now, I’ve got some thinking to do.”

After the grateful boy left, Gil turned to his three other partners in the tiltyard — the armorer, the weapon master, and the head of the stables.  They stared back at him in tired resignation.  Sir Duncan was a disgraced knight, but he had been a damn decent jouster once.  Or at least he won more than he lost, which was all that was needed of him.  These last few months had been particularly irregular, though.  It used to be that paying your tilters was enough to keep them on time and sober enough to ride.  Not with Duncan.

“That bastard’s cost us three bouts this week already, Gil,” said the head of the stables.

“Yeah, when’re we going to cut him loose?”

“When you figure out a way to end the wars and keep the young men around, then we’ll talk about cutting tilters,” sneered Gil, unfairly.  He knew the armorer was right.

“I can do it.”

Gil turned around.  A female wearing breeches and a smock stood in the opening of the tent.  She was tall for a girl and dirty, like she didn’t sleep inside.  Her red hair was completely untethered.  She looked him straight in the eye.

“‘Ere, what’s this!” Cried the weapon master.

“Yeah, throw the baggage out,” said the armorer.  “We got a problem to figger out!”

“I know you,” said Gil, engaging her against his better judgment.  He motioned for the others to be quiet and they obeyed.  Although they each helmed a vitally important part of the operation, there was no doubt that Gil was the head of the snake.  “You’re the one the men have been complaining about, the girl hanging around the yard trying to have a go with the lances.  Don’t you have a husband or something?”

“Duncan’s always half-drunk for these bouts,” she said, unphased.  “Everyone knows it!  He’s the laughing stock of this yard.”

“You think I don’t know that?”

“I can ride ten times as good as him.  And I can win.”

Gil sighed.  He blamed those modern scribes, always writing those damn romances about swordmaidens.  Now every slip of a girl fancied herself the next Lioness Rampant.

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Fifty shades of stupid: It’s a trap!

Alright.  By now at least someone you know has read 50 Shades of Grey, or you’ve read it, or you’ve heard of it, or your favorite sex shop is inexplicably covered in “50 Shades Inspired Kits!”

I too was curious about this “phenomenon,” or at least about how people were so surprised about it.  I mean, women reading erotica?  With sex in it?!  Get out of town and take a bus!  I admit I read the Twilight series.  It was all pretty awful, the writing, the characters, the story.  And yet somehow awfully engaging.  Bella is a disaster of a shero nightmare from the Hades pit of despair.  As a lover of Tamora Pierce, I felt the icy grip of shame clutch at me whenever I read a page of Bella’s incessant whining.  So when I heard someone had published some erotic fan fic, and that the public at large was into it, I was curious, but not ready to commit.

Fortunately I was saved.  Apparently E.L. James is a worse writer than Stephanie Meyer, has unwittingly (I can only hope) romanticized domestic abuse and completely and totally misrepresented the kink/BDSM community in ways that amount to slander.  The fact that she barely admits that her work is fan fic and actually is SUING PEOPLE FOR WRITING FAN FIC BASED ON HER NOVELS makes me actively dislike her.  But what alerted me to these horrors and saved me from wading into a feminist nightmare alone was a woman named Jenny Trout.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Fan Fic

So I managed to find a couple other writers who are interested in actually producing some writing instead of falling into the pit of uselessness that I have only just recently crawled out of.

Ahem.

So once a month I will be posting my exploits!  This month’s theme was fan fic — you know, start us off easy.  I went with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, if that wasn’t already obvious from the post title.  I didn’t polish it or anything, I mostly just wanted to get my muscles moving again.  Also, I grew up on the ’80’s cartoon and the live action movies, so I’m working from those universes.  I decided to go with the lore where Splinter was once Hamato Yoshi, as opposed to Yoshi’s pet rat.  (A pet rat learning karate?  That’s just nuts!)  Enjoy!

Here’s the super awesome theme song to get you in the mood :)

************

The sewers were super Mother-of-God stinky that day.  Michelangelo, in his usual almost-helpful way, had ordered several anchovy and bleu cheese pizzas in an effort to cover it up, but it really wasn’t working.  Plus, to add insult to injury, the other three turtles thought bleu cheese on a pizza was practically sacrilegious.

“You might as well put ranch dressing on it and move to Santa Monica,” grumbled Raphael.  “You can’t even pick this crapola off.”

“Leave him alone, Raph, he was just trying to help.”  Leonardo diplomatically chewed his slice, but his heart wasn’t in it.

“I like it!”  Michelangelo enthused, helping himself to another half of a pie.

“Yo Donnie, can’t you dream up some sort of wind machine to blow this stink outta here?  It fricken reeks!”

Without removing his protective goggles, Donatello poked his head out from the second story of his workshop and looked down at his brothers.  Raph’s red-masked green face glared up at him.  “There are too many tunnels.  By the time I finish building enough turbines, it would be high tide again.”

“Besides, it’d be a waste of energy to power them all,” added Leonardo.  “Just deal with it, Raphael.  There’s nothing we can do.  Master Splinter said we had to stay down here while he was away.”

“We could have asked him before he left, but someone wanted to be a goodie goodie two-shell. . .”

“How many times do I have to remind you that Master doesn’t like to be interrupted while he’s packing?!  He could forget something!”

“Yeah, like his toothbrush!” Michelangelo said helpfully.

“Damn it, Donnie, can’t you do anything?  Aren’t you supposed to be some sort of genius inventor dude?!  Ouch!”  Raphael rubbed his nose and looked down at the projectile his brother had chucked at him with stinging accuracy.  At his feet was a clothespin.

“Ooo, Donnie’s throwing presents!” Said Michelangelo, bounding to Raphael’s side and leaving a trail of toppings and hot pepper packets.  “I want one!  Ouch!”

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My haunt

*** Embarrassingly, I started writing this post in September, but never finished it because I was too lazy to get a funny photo of a sign off my old phone. . . which is now wiped and in the possession of my brother, who lives two states away.  So.  Yeah.  Enjoy!  And take this as a lesson: procrastination kills. . . photos. ***

A few weeks ago I was suffering from a little bit of cabin fever.  Which is weird, because between several trips back to California and my week in North Carolina, I have only been home for two weeks at a time since moving at the beginning of June.  But because I’m a very special type of neurotic, I managed to have a nervous breakdown about my inertia.  I could brush this aside, but actually I think the constant interruptions to my nesting is adding to the problem.  I’ve lived here for three months and I still don’t really feel like I live here.  Wah wah wah, I get to travel to awesome places and hang out with cool people, oh poor me, my life sucks.  I know, okay?  Totally doesn’t help.

M Fox’s solution?  Get the hell out of the house.  “You can do nothing, just do nothing somewhere else.”  I picked a good one, ladies.

So I found myself a coffee shop.  It’s basically a house with a back patio where I like to sit and write, or do some freelance work.  Additionally, I can make obnoxious phone calls without guilt.  AND it’s down the block from a comic shop — made this very easy to order Avatar comics.  And I’m not talking about Dances with Wolves in Blue. ::adjusts glasses and snorts::

Unfortunately being outside also means I have to fight off bees and spiders.  For some reason, this has not deterred me.  It’s a small miracle, really.  It’s the reason why I know this coffee shop is a good one, that I’m willing to put up with devil insects.  Bees are my mortal enemy, in case you didn’t know.  No, my childhood crush didn’t die of a bee attack, no I’m not allergic, no I didn’t watch as a swarm of bees took my father as its slave.  Honestly, I blame it on Maya the Bee, which was a totally bizarre German (?) cartoon series that somehow Nickelodeon used to play.  Maya lived in constant fear of the hornets.  And they were fricken scary-looking and made angry creepy buzzing sounds.   Somehow I ignored that the main protagonist that I loved was a bee.  They all became hornets.  I’ve had some smart-ass science people try and tell me that bees and yellow jackets and wasps and hornets are some how not related, that carpenter bees (also called the Luftwaffe) and bumble bees are so cute and harmless and can’t REALLY sting.  Whatever. They’re all evil kamakaze bastards.  Yeah yeah, yellow jackets don’t sting, they bite, I’ve heard it all before.

Maya the Bee — I couldn’t find an image
of the horrifying hornets.
Probably for the best.

Much in the same way that Swift from David the Gnome cemented my love for foxes (followed up with Disney’s Robin Hood, thank god I never became a furry), Maya the Bee is probably the genesis for my unreasonable terror of those striped little death creatures.  (I should probably write a thesis on how Nickelodeon, Disney, and The Simpsons pretty much made me the person I am today.  Another day.)

Actually, my favorite rebuttal (from multiple sources, no joke) to my admittedly irrational fear of bee-related insects is “Don’t be afraid, they can sense your fear and it makes them angry!”  Oh yeah, that really helps.  Don’t fear the thing you fear because that REALLY pisses it off.  That’s some serious calming shit, right there.

Anyway, back to my coffee shop, my haunt.  Aside from the evil insects, the only other issue with me hanging out at a coffee shop is that I don’t actually like coffee.  I like the smell of it, I like the idea of it.  I even admire the ritual of it.  But the taste is meh and the bigger problem is that my bowels are seriously not on board.  I’ll stop there.

Despite these two possible setbacks, I actually have really enjoyed going to the shop, getting some tea and writing a little bit.  The guy who works there and possibly owns the joint looks like a mix between Jay and Silent Bob.  (Joint, get it???)  He’s very patient with me as I continuously forget the password for the internet and my stupid computer for some reason doesn’t remember it.  I don’t know that I’ve gotten a LOT of writing done, but it puts me in the zone, so I guess baby steps.
Along those lines, I’m considering making a monthly deadline to post some fiction up here.  So, you know, beware as I claw my way back to creativity.

Also, for fun:

David the Gnome and Swift, his most excellent fox

Retraining your muscles

So it turns out that the most stressful time of my life is the time when I am not doing anything.  This may come as a shock to no one else, but it shocked the hell out of me.  I pivot back and forth between enjoying being lazy for once and then spiraling into an unstoppable guilt cycle that usually ends with me being a total bitch (love you, M Fox!)  Because you know the best course of action when you’re feeling lost and unstable and like you’re wallowing in an endless pool of possibility?  Alienate those you love. Most definitely.  Actually, I’m pretty blessed to have friends and family who refuse to be alienated despite my best efforts.

Anyway, my pathetic woe-is-me-my-life-is-actually-pretty-awesome story (do you hate me yet?) is the preamble.  I’ve been taking voice lessons with the fabulous, the marvelous, the inimitable Candice (if you’re in the Seattle area, leave me a comment if you want her info), I’m taking group banjo classes at Dusty Strings in Fremont, and I’ve started working out with a personal trainer at my gym because I can’t be trusted anymore.  All three teachers/instructors said the same thing.

“Do you have a very stressful job? Your shoulders are really tense. ”

and

“You need to retrain the way you stand/sit/breathe.”

When three professionals from different fields tell you that what you’re a tense shallow-breathing anxiety ball, I suppose it’s time to pay attention.  What none of them said, but I think it very much implied is that I also need to retrain how I *think*.  Yes, there are a lot of physical changes I need to make (this isn’t The Secret, folks), but I also need to get over this overwhelming unworthiness.

Party on, Wayne.

Yeah, I should probably retrain my preamble.

World Premiere of “Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam” at ACT

Photo by Chris Bennion

When you walk into an immigration story, you think you know the arc. Horrific stories of a war-torn native land, a degrading journey to a xenophobic world, the struggle to fit in, a dark night of the soul, acceptance of a unique melting pot history and future.

What you don’t expect are jungles and pirates and murder and hip hop and Shakespeare.

ACT’s world premiere of Trieu Tran’s autobiographical one-man show, “Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam,” is the reason why these stories need to be told. Tran’s journey shakes you out of complacency. It forces you to look at the details. For 80 minutes, you’re reminded that everyone’s history is unique and no amount of prior knowledge can prepare you for Tran’s truth.

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