• 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.

  • 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.

  • First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    A stretch of fence

    During my lunch break today I began perusing my completed short stories in search of the one to edit and post next month, hopefully on October 1. There isn’t a clear winner yet – I’m quite fond of Extinguishing Eternity and A Way Out but I may opt for something more polished. Both of those are in rough draft state.

    All of these stories are from before I got swept away in the unexpected current of an unplanned novel, meaning they’re at least six years old. I, of course, have everything I’ve ever written (that wasn’t for school), so much of my writing is far older than that. It’s hard not to reflect on how much I’ve changed in that time.

    Couples are far less likely to be a source of drama in my writing now. Characters may have boyfriends or girlfriends, husbands or wives, but they’re not part of the problem (the driving issue of the novel that needs to be resolved). You’re not going to find me writing about a failing marriage, infidelity, how to handle a long distance relationship, etc. Not because those things aren’t realistic, but because I’m no longer interested in exploring them.

    As someone who doesn’t want children and doesn’t expect to get married, I find there’s very little out there that doesn’t focus on characters who are somehow interested in partnering up. I want to write about those people, about all the ways we can find and create meaning in our lives on

  • In memory
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings


    I’ve been listening to Amanda Palmer’s music on and off since finishing her memoir. “Lost” is a particular favorite:

    no one’s ever lost forever
    when they die they go away
    but they will visit
    you occasionally
    do not be afraid
    no one’s ever lost forever
    they are caught
    inside your heart
    if you garden them
    and water them
    they make you what you are

    It rings true to me that the people who have died will always be with you, in your thoughts and memories, that if you nurture your memory of them they, and the loss of them, help shape you. The ones we love the most linger the deepest and their loss changes us.

    Last year I lost one of my closest friends. His memory visits me often. I wish I could rewrite our last conversation, our last words, but I will always remember him and the shape I carved for him in my life.

    It seems appropriate that today’s First Sentence should be one I envy a little – the recognition of the end. It’s from 1/30/2013:

    They tell me to “just be with her,” as if it’s easy. It’s not. She’s dying. I don’t know what to say. When I sit here, listening to the steady EKG and the consistent breathing, I know they will both stop soon and I feel like part of me is stopping too.

  • Dreaming in Parallel
    First Sentences

    Dreaming in parallel

    I had great plans to work on my website this evening, and I did, a little. Then all my energy ran away. I tried to take a nap (ha!) but, as usual, couldn’t fall asleep. Regardless, it’s been a pleasant evening of Star Trek: Voyager, surfing the web, and general relaxation. The website will still be there for me to work on tomorrow!

    Today’s musing First Sentence was written just a few minutes ago:

    I don’t believe in fate, but I would like to believe in parallel universes, one for each possible opportunity, decision, and fling of chance. I wonder about the parallel universe where our differences didn’t destroy us, about the universe where people cherish and celebrate differences instead of dehumanizing each other over them. I wish I could take you there.