• First Sentences

    Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes

    What to write when your mom is visiting and you just got a new iPhone so your mind isn’t anywhere near the process of crafting words and sentences? Hmm. I really don’t know. So, moving on to a first sentence form 6/17/2010:

    It’s been three weeks since she moved out and the living room still feels half-empty every time I enter the apartment. Mundane furniture surrounded by gaping holes, solitary hollowness where her ordinary things once stood. I walk through quickly, don’t let my eyes linger on the areas I need to fill, and am grateful her bedroom door is shut. It’s easier that way.

  • Tuvok, from Star Trek: Voyager
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Brief musings of a Trekkie

    In rewatching Star Trek: Voyager, it has occurred to me that the hard time characters give Vulcans about not expressing emotions the way most other species do is…kind of racist (speciesist?). Yes, we know Vulcans do feel deeply, but they’ve learned to control their emotions and that’s very important in their society. The ribbing is portrayed as being in good humor but underlying at least some of it is this idea that they should be less Vulcan. Imagine telling a black person to be less black? A Buddhist to be less Buddhist?

    Last night, when watching the beginning of the episode Tuvix, I wanted to tell Neelix to shut up and stop nagging Tuvok about not expressing himself as exuberantly  as Neelix.

    I know, of course, that there is a level of arrogance Vulcans tend to have about themselves and their cool, logical superiority, so I’m not saying this doesn’t go both ways. Perhaps, though, the underlining intolerance of “be more like me and less like you” should have been explored more specifically in relation to the interaction of Vulcans and other species.

    Anyway.  Today’s First Sentence is actually from a fanfiction story I wrote about Silas and Bod from Neil Gaiman’s the Graveyard Book. It’s from 4/6/2016.

    “You’ve been drinking.”

    “Don’t worry, not a lot. I mean, I can’t drive but I won’t be hung over or anything.”

    “How reassuring.”

    P.S. The image above is from Star Trek: Voyager and I don’t in any way own it.

  • Zombies, Oh My!
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    All we want to do is eat your brains

    So much more shredding today. Past Erika, why didn’t you shred these documents as you went? Do better next time!

    Today’s First Sentence is probably as close as I’m going to get to writing about zombies. It’s from 2/19/2013:

    People ask what your plan is for the zombie apocalypse, if you’ve thought about what people you’d want with you or where you’d go. All of this ignores the most important question: would you want to survive a zombie apocalypse?

    I’m really not into zombies so I don’t know where the above came from, or if it’s even true. For all I know, it gets asked all the time if people would want to survive a zombie apocalypse.

    Hmm. The more I think about the random zombie First Sentence, the more I think my friend Andrew was in some way responsible. Him and the song I got this post’s title from, a song I probably never would have heard without Andrew, and one that I certainly heard a lot because of him.

  • Story Excerpts

    The Other Side

    Shredding and organizing paperwork hasn’t left me with much time for posting. Selling my place will be worth it, but I sure wish I could get to the selling part without all this work,  and without having to move afterward.

    This is an excerpt from a novel I wrote in 2008 and 2009, titled “The Other Side.” If I completely rework the point of the novel, it’s got a great premise.

    It’s a day like any other. After finishing my morning exercise routine, I shower, eat breakfast, gather my things together, and prepare to leave for work. As always, it’s a struggle to get out of the apartment without letting Serenity, our kitten, get away. The demonic ball of energy, as I lovingly call her, is frustratingly fast and determined to escape her boring confines. Fortunately, my roommate and I have devised a strategy.

    Balancing my belongings in one hand, I grab a plastic toy and throw it across the living room. The second the black bundle of fuzz darts after it, I open the door, slip out, and quickly shut it behind me. Immediately, I turn the key in the lock and congratulate myself on another successful exit. Today will not be a repeat of last week, when I arrived at work an hour and a half late because I spent the better part of my morning trying to locate and capture the runaway.

    I’m so pleased with my non-eventful departure that I almost miss the only oddity the

  • Storyboard index cards
    Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    I will get you out of here

    In preparation for putting my place on the market, I’m getting ready to take down my storyboard/timeline of plot lines and themes. I call it a “storyboard” but it spans no less than ten walls of my place over 182 separate color-coded index cards. I’m fairly hesitant to take them down, but they’re not exactly a friendly sight in photos of my place or for people during walkthroughs.

    My next step is to take thorough photographs of each section, both to showcase my hard work and in case I ever need to put them all back up again. That novel, after all, is still not in final draft form.

    It seems appropriate that today’s post should have something to do with my novel.  This is an excerpt from the first chapter. I’m not even going to hazard a guess as to when this particular section was written, I’ve been working on this novel for at least 5 years.

    As I leave, I speak to the prisoner. <Hold on. I will get you out of here.>

    Back in the barracks I sit on my bunk, staring at the darkness, at the barely visible edge of wall and ceiling. There are no more murmured conversations, everyone is quiet. An occasional scream is the only thing interrupting the stillness.

    I forfeit sleep in favor of thinking through plans and permutations, methods of escape. There’s no way to do it without blowing my cover. Later today, at 1300, my paid three week DOH leave

  • First Sentences

    Perhaps you’ve heard of me?

    This is from a fantasy short (tiny) story called “Hello. I’m God.” I was thinking of reworking its plot but I reread it and it’s hilarious (if I do say so myself, and obviously I do) so now I’m not sure. From 9/22/2009:

    Hello. I’m God. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? I thought you might have. You probably also know that I’ve been around for a long time. A really long time. I’ve done a lot of stuff, created a lot of people, and do you know what I regret? My single mistake? My one, solitary error in judgment that haunts me to this day?

    Free will.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    The Silence is a Trap

    We’ve watched a lot of Columbo this weekend. It’s a different approach than most detective shows where you’re trying to figure the mystery out along with the protagonist. It’s fun to see how Columbo nails the murderer.

    Unrelatedly, today’s First Sentence is from 7/5/2011:

    The silence is a trap, the longer Danielle waits the less she knows how to break it. She eats last night’s eggplant parmesan, watches Matthew do the same. Her heart is clenched. There’s never a good time to deliver bad news. Her confession tastes like sour milk and every time she opens her mouth she stops, green eyes studying the delicate blue flowers that decorate their white plates.

  • First Sentences

    Upside-Down Teardrops

    I’m leaning toward posting A Way Out on October 1, as long as I have time to make a good editing pass. Extinguishing Eternity needs more work.

    Posts this weekend will be short with my friend visiting. This is an even older one than usual, from 4/24/2008:

    When I think of her I always think of spider webs, burnt marshmallows, rain, and upside-down teardrops. The confining white walls of this terrible room can’t take that from me. The frustratingly consistent numbers that flash across the dreary display, the cables and tubes that hook into her fragile body like a horrible science project gone wrong, can’t take that from me. Nothing can. Not even the steady beeping of that infernal machine.

    Beep. Beep. Beep.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    What have you done?

    It’s a short one today. I’ve spent the evening making order out of the disarray in my guest room. A good friend of mine is visiting this weekend and I’m sure she’ll appreciate having a place to sleep where she doesn’t have to share the pillow with random empty boxes.

    I’ve been relistening to the first season of Serial. It’s just as fascinating the second time through. I’m sharing today’s First Sentence because it’s the only one that could even pretend to try and be reminiscent. It’s from 1/29/2013, so there’s obviously no actual relation.

    I’ve walked five paces from your front door when I hear the gunshot. I’ve never heard one before, not in real life, only the loud cracking backfires that I sometimes imagined were distant shots. Now the real thing is tingling in my ears and I know it’s impossible to confuse with anything else.

    My legs are weak, unsteady, as I turn on the spot. What have you done?

    Full disclosure, I have no personal experience with hearing a gunshot and I’ve read some conflicting things in terms of how recognizable they are. The above could be total bullshit.

  • Messy bedsheets
    Random Ramblings,  Story Excerpts

    A dilemma

    Extinguishing Eternity is a short story I like a lot overall, except for one aspect of it that I’ve always harbored doubts about. It’s fantasy, and the setup is that there is going to be an exchange of information. A vampire is providing the information to a client. Typically, one piece of information is given and the payment is blood. This client is different – she offers an unusual amount of her blood, and she also offers sex for access to additional information.

    I’ve never felt sure of the sex. On one hand, I am tired of how women are sexualized in our society, on the other hand, women should be empowered to do what they want with their lives and bodies. She enjoys the sex, which is more than can be said for the other part of her payment.

    In recent years I’ve listened to Dan Savage’s sex and relationship advice podcast. Sex work and sex workers come up on the Savage Lovecast in a way that is free from judgment, and I’ve heard from and about people who are in this profession willingly and like it.  To be clear, my character is not a sex worker, it’s just something that comes to mind as I consider whether or not to keep the story as it is or replace that part of their transaction with something else.

    I don’t have an answer for my dilemma yet. I’d be happy for any thoughts anyone has on it. In