Happy 2012 to all of us! I’m back and hopefully with renewed drive after my break. It’s memory Monday at Muse Sings and only the 2nd of January for many of us, myself included. I decided to combine my New Year’s resolution (to write daily) with a memory on theme. When did my love for writing first start?
If you love my words, you must thank my mother, first and foremost. When I was still quite small (kindergarten) my mother held a growing collection of short stories she wrote. One in particular featured me and the smallest pumpkin I could find on the class field trip. I chose this little guy because I saw all the other children picking the biggest ones their little arms could fit around and lift. Still so small, I thought he must feel rather sad with no hope of a home or a child’s happy love. I explained this to my mother (I think, I do not remember doing so) and she wrote a darling short story from the pumpkin’s perspective. I adored it. The way she brought my little pumpkin to life as I envisioned him was nothing short of magic to me.
It wasn’t until my older sister began writing stories that I realized kids could do it too. She wrote a story about a lost unicorn with my cousin Diane that I remember rewriting with only a few changes and claiming my own, too young to yet understand the idea of plagiarism. My big sis wrote such fun stories with awesome illustrations. I dabbled here and there, but still nothing serious came of it until I was just too old to play Barbies any more.
I happen to think you’re never too old to quit playing with toys. In fact, I consider the MMORPG, World of Warcraft, that I play as nothing more than a more elaborate form of Barbies in a virtual playland. However, my story telling with Barbies grew stunted after a certain point and I always felt silly playing stories out with Barbies on my own. I was in the 7th or 8th grade when I started filling pages full of stories, tickling my friends by naming certain crazy characters after them.
My first novel attempt was actually one I forget about, hiding in the shadow of the two 200 page plus that followed unfinished. It was a dark romance story about a fallen angel and her love for her assigned human but she failed to guard him and followed him, without memory, to his next incarnation. I cast my friend Steve as the surprise villain at the end of the prologue; something that made him grin and laugh.
It never got passed chapter one, mostly because I rediscovered my love for fantasy novels. I frequently forget another story I sorta co-wrote with my cousin, David, called The Blue Flame. I think it even preceded Angel. We played most of it out with Barbies and action figures, but I did start the novel and write a few scenes.
I soon extinguished The Blue Flame for a new love. The Light of Doom. This was a story about a roaming phenomenon that appeared as a light and whatever living thing it touched disappeared into it, never seen again…in that dimension. The story features two twin sisters separated in this way. The one lives on Earth, adopted and unusual with her long white hair and ice blue eyes. The other lives in their home dimension/planet where this phenomenon is more well-known and frequent and is known as “the light of doom” and people assume whatever the light hits is destroyed, not just relocated. The main character on the original world figures out otherwise and she convinces her two best friends, Atsila and Divad (Alisha and David backwards; Alisha was one of my best friends at the time and David one of my closest cousins), to seek out and enter the light on purpose. Thus begins their adventures through a myriad of alternate dimensions, each widely different and a story in its own right.
I may pick it up again one day, but my interest in it was a bit squelched when I encountered Piers Anthony’s Fractal Mode series (similar concept with dimension travel) and the TV show Sliders only cemented the story’s loss after that. These years later I realize that my own dimensional travel story is not lost if I’m still interested. I have a more concrete understanding of what is and is not accidental plagiarism, along with the concept of similar ideas, but different executions and interpretations.
I released Light of Doom in favour of a new fantasy titled As Long As I Live. This story, though it seems impossible, was even more ADHD than Doom. It had about 20 main characters and each “getting to know the character” segment was like a loosely (or not at all) tied in short story. The general idea was that the villain was a time traveler from the future seeking to perfect the timeline. So each story seemed disjointed at first, but eventually these characters were going to find each other and form a sort of super hero resistance group to the villain.
It was my longest unfinished work until I finally finished a rough draft about a year ago (Forgotten Shadows). It got to the point where so much was going on in As Long As I Live that just didn’t work once I tried pulling it together that I just gave up. The general idea might still work some day.
Stalemate followed along behind that idea and it is the story with the most time, effort, and world building, even if it doesn’t hold the count for the most pages and words.
And so these few decades later we arrive at today and the most recent novels in the works, set in the world of Stalemate.
The entire journey started with an innocent little binder of stories written by my mother, picked up and continued by my sister, and passing to my hands. My sister recently said she was thinking of writing children’s stories again. I sincerely hope she does. I’m unsure if my mother will ever give it another go. I sure miss that binder of stories, we lost it ages ago.