• 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • First Sentences

    It’s called magic

    Short one today because I didn’t have a chance to post before heading out for the concert. My brother and I are currently waiting for Dave Matthews Band to start.

    Today’s First Sentence was written on 2/3/2013:

    I never had an imaginary friend. I didn’t have to, not with a real companion no one else could see. If she had come to me as a teenager or adult, I would have questioned my sanity, maybe seen a therapist. Instead she appeared to me as a child, at an age when it’s easier to believe the impossible. When you’re five it’s called magic. Now I don’t know what to call it.

  • Dreaming Tree
    First Sentences

    What do you say to that?

    Progress on the non-blog redesign is going well! I found an image that I love and am working on header, font, and link styles. I’d say it will be done and live this weekend but I’m going to a concert at Shoreline in Mountain View tomorrow and that will take up a chunk of my time. It’s a Dave Matthews Band concert. The picture above showcases the opening line to one of my favorite songs by them. I hope to be inspired.

    For the first time since I restarted these mini-blog posts, perhaps for the time since I created the blog, today’s First Sentence was written…today:

    “Are you sure?”

    “Yes.”

    She nods, not unkindly. “Who’s the money for?”

    Sorrow rises in my throat, fills my eyes with tears. “My sister.” I hand over the stack of completed paperwork to give myself something to do.

    “The credits will be transferred to your account as soon as the procedure is complete.”

    It’s nothing the lengthy legal jargon didn’t tell me but I suppose she doesn’t know what to say. I’m about to trade my health for the financial security of my little sister. Unless I find someone else willing to take on a terminal illness, I won’t live out the year. What do you say to that?

  • Me holding the bible
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Am I right or am I right?

    Today I found the perfect image for my redesigned non-blog website. An open book below a beautiful moonlit, star struck sky. It required some Photoshop editing to make it wider but seemed worth the effort. Then I read the description and discovered that my “perfect image” was an illustration of a religious book displayed during a religious observance. Now I can’t help but picture my “perfect” banner image being the Bible, and myself showing it off as if I wrote it. That’s probably the wrong approach, right?

    Needless to say, my search for a perfect image continues.

    It seems blasphemously appropriate that this be my First Sentence today:

    Others have done an excellent job of making people fear the Devil. They’ve planted ideas, woven the pain and misery of hell into a sales pitch for Christianity, painted him as the master villain who seeks to steal your soul. Even I, a once proud atheist who calls ‘Lucifer’ friend, am afraid of a deceit that will end in eternal torment.

    Originally written on 2/14/2013, this will serve as the basis for a short story I’d like to write. A decidedly non-Christian, fantasy story, as a heads up.

    P.S. Yes, on this particular occasion, I’m right. Also, always read.

  • First Sentences Notebook - front view
    First Sentences,  Random Ramblings

    Commencement doesn’t get cancelled

    To say the last several days haven’t gone as planned would be an understatement. The WordPress redesign consumed the better part of Sunday, most of Monday, and almost all of yesterday evening.  Allow me to illustrate: last night I wouldn’t have had dinner if a friend hadn’t insisted, and I certainly wouldn’t have eaten at the table if the same friend hadn’t strongly advised me to step away from my computer for the meal.

    The redesign wasn’t fun and I let it get the better of me. I became fixated on the challenge of making it work how I envisioned, and not in an invigorating way. I seemed to take it as a personal affront to myself and our technological advances that they could have implemented WordPress so obtusely. How, I asked myself, can we have sent people to the moon, but  have default WordPress excerpts strip text formatting and “advanced” excerpts that don’t know how to deal with a short blog post?

    Tonight also didn’t go as planned. I began redesigning www.erikafriedman.com. I want something with a pretty banner image and responsive design. Although the non-blog portion is not WordPress, I approached the new project with apprehension. Yes, my coworkers recommend Bootstrap as an easy way to create a simple responsive design website, but my coworkers are all programmers and I am not. It didn’t seem inconceivable that what was easy for them would not be for me. I took it as a good sign that they