silence on the home front;

Been quiet here lately. Not even crickets sounding off. There’s a good reason though, I promise.

I’ve already failed this portion of my quarterly goals, but that’s alright, because it’s helping me make sure I get to another part of it. I missed last week’s blog post but I’ll be posting an additional post tomorrow. That post will be the beginning of a short story serial that will be going up in a weekly format, and will hopefully be something you’re all interested in.

It’s the story of a girl named Auberon, who has spent her entire life wanting to escape and have freedom on her own terms. She just wants to be able to live her life as she sees fit, and decides to settle down in a small town she’s never heard of, slowly making herself something that might last. There’s just one small thing though…this town isn’t exactly as quiet as most small towns are supposed to be. This town is sitting on a secret, and Auberon might be exactly the person it needs to uncover it.

The story is, if you’re looking for a genre breakdown, a YA paranormal/supernatural piece. It’s going to be posted weekly, every Thursday evening, and I’m really excited to share it with whoever is going to be reading it.

Back to radio silence – I’ve got some finishing touches to work on.

Muchly. ❤

unstoppable force meets immovable object

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There’s a bar by the windows. She sits there partially because there is nowhere else, and partially because of the trapped feeling that blossoms in her chest as she looks around the otherwise packed cafe. Here, she can study the stained glass of the theater across the street. Here, she can keep an eye on those who walk in, out, and by…and also on the corner of the room, where the door reads EMPLOYEE’S ONLY in damning red letters. Here, in the corner of the bar where she can see it all, she feels safe.

She knows that safety would be gone the moment she passed through the labeled door, the moment she slipped underneath the EMPLOYEE and shut it behind her. The idea makes her chest flutter weakly within its cavity – or maybe because of the person sitting beside her, with the flat chest and the shaved head, who she can’t stop stealing glances at. She knows she wants to grab their hand and run through the door, throwing ideals of safety out the window for the chance of adventure and maybe love…but instead she remains sitting. She’s quiet. She reads her book by the windows, easily distracted by passers-by.

Instead, she dreams.

—It isn’t safe, just beyond the door. She hears it buzzing. It’s constant, like the soft whir of a fan, but higher pitched. As though there’s some sort of frequency attached to it. No one else seems to notice it and never has. Despite the fact that she’s come here every day for months, she’s never once witnessed an employee step past the threshold. She wants to know what the buzzing is – almost yearns for it sometimes, on the days when the fluttering in her chest gets overwhelming and the fear subsides just long enough for her to wonder if it would be worth it to run through and forsake it all. She knows that ultimately, it’s too much for her. She never could. She relishes the safety of her books too much. She relishes the dream of slight perfection in the back of her head, the one that always pinpoints the person with the shaved head and tries to beckon them to look over at her.

For the first time, in that moment, they do. They look with their soft grey eyes at her and the fear all but leaves. Instead she’s caught by their beauty, the simpleness, the way the corners lead up into soft eyelashes that almost touch their cheeks as they blink. It’s in that moment that she decides. Fuck the fear, fuck the buzz, fuck it all.

She doesn’t speak, she just stands, and she crosses the room. No one notices, no one at all, except for the person with shaved head whose eyes follow her all the way. They follow her even as her fingers touch the knob. The buzzing has grown increasingly louder.
Louder, and louder still, until it’s all that’s in her head. Except for those grey eyes, which for some reason keep her unafraid. She looks back at them. They look back at her.

 

Bach, Bach, Bach It Up

A prompt delivered by the wonderful Malena Munford, via her book Just The TitlesIt’s a lovely little thing made to inspire artists in whatever way they see fit, and this specific prompt of sorts spoke to me. This is just a quick one-shot. Unedited and posted as quickly as it was written. Have fun, and I hope you enjoy.

(and even though this is technically posted on Friday and is thus late, I am refuting this fact because I haven’t fallen asleep yet…which means that it’s still Thursday to me, right?)

xxx

People were always telling me that I reminded them of Bach. It was probably because my name was Sebastian, and because I’m a cellist – his cello pieces are some of his most famous and beloved works, you know. People tend to ignore the fact that Bach was an organist, though, if only because they like the other similarities or just don’t give two shits. I would say that the coincidences end there but I would be lying. My parents are German, through and through, all the way down to their brusque accents and appreciation for anything ending in ‘-wurst’. It was for all of those reasons that people had stopped calling me by my given name and some how, I had ended up with the nickname “Jo”.

The final bit of irony was the fact that people called me Joe and not Yo. I tried to correct people at first. It didn’t stick, but the name did, so I eventually gave up.

It’s that name that I hear called now as I stand just outside of the auditorium doors, my cello propped up in it’s case on the wall. I’ve been working my fingers against the palm of my hands to the point where the skin is almost fire engine red. I can’t help it – the nervous energy runs through me and has to come out somewhere. I’d rather it try to escape now than during my audition.

I turn to look at the attendant, my eyes wide as I try to keep my nerves in check, and nod once. They hardly notice me, not bothering to look over their glasses to make sure I’ve heard them. As they disappear behind the heavy door I grab my instrument and begin the journey inside. I’m afraid that the trip from the hallway to the stage will be longer and more strenuous then the audition itself. I worry that I’ll trip and fall and leave my cello in pieces, the cello that I’ve played so diligently for years, the cello that has the grooves of my finger tips in its long and elegant neck. Her name is Sabine. I’d had her since they’d forgotten my name was Sebastian and decided I was Jo – I’d always known that she knew what my real name was. Sabine was the love of my life without question. It wasn’t the music, it wasn’t the composers, it wasn’t the notes or the feeling but the instrument, so well cared for and in tune with myself. The idea – the fear – of her breaking on me when she was only chance at greatness? It was more terrifying than if I went flat.

By the time I reach the stage I’ve tempered my fear, sure that I’ve encountered the most terrifying part. Except for the audition itself that is.

I was the sort of person who thrived on lack of sleep. Four, five hours at most and I was springy and awake and with a simple cup of black tea (one sugar, cream for days) I would be able to plow through the day. It must have been the nerves, but the night before the audition I had been a right wreck. I figured I would tuck in early and wake up before the birds, rehearse my piece a few more times until I felt like the muscle memory could play the piece without me if my mind wasn’t there. It would all work out fine. Except it didn’t, because I woke up seven hours later. The sun had risen happily into the sky and the birds were chirping and singing, practically taunting me. I had tried to write it off as something small – perhaps I was staving off a cold and my body needed the sleep. Maybe it was something else. I knew it was the nerves, knew that I sounded like a woman from an Austen novel, but I couldn’t help it. This was going to the audition that defined the rest of my life. Which was funny enough, considering that the audition and the seat that I was playing for wasn’t all that important. What was important was the the maestro. The woman who would be judging me, feeling me out. I didn’t care if I didn’t make this orchestra – it was hardly the best. What I wanted was to make it onto her radar, for her to hear me play, just the once.

After all, we had spent our entire life in the same house, growing further and further apart note by note. It would only make sense that she heard me play…just once.

She had eventually stopped using my given name too, even though she was the one who had given to me in the first place. Maybe she thought I wasn’t good enough to be so openly compared to the great composer, although she had never heard me play, so who was she to say?

I closed my eyes as I unbuckled Sabine’s hefty case. I tried to imagine the bow beneath my fingers before I touched it, tried to feel the vibrations of the strings against my neck and chest. I imagined every single piece of the music before I set it in front of me. There was an impatient tapping of a pen from the auditorium. No doubt she was impatient, ready to be done already, having already heard her fill of mediocre musicians from behind the black curtain that separated us (all in the name of diversity, of course). I wondered what she would think when she saw me take a bow in front of her. She wouldn’t gasp or feign shock. Too stoic for that. Would she raise an eyebrow, would the corner of her lip upturn? Downturn? No, she would simply stare at me. Acknowledge that she had heard it. I suppose that was all I wanted.

My hand found the bow, my fingers found the strings, and with a deep breath that settled into the well of my chest I drew my weapon across the valley of what very well could have been my demise. I was being melodramatic. I felt it fit. A humming, vibrant G rose from the depths of Sabine, filling the room and reaching the rafters, and with that singular note I fell away from the world, forgetting the woman that sat on the other side of the shade. I forgot that I would go home to her and hardly speak more than a few words as she sipped on decaf coffee while Mozart reverberated through the house. I would forget that I had missed her and the way her voice sounded when she spoke, how I often wondered if her larynx was covered in dust or if it was just the mantle in the living room. I forgot the audition felt like it was the end of the world, maybe the beginning of a new one…and instead, I played, like nothing else in the world mattered.

 

 

on the absence of anxiety and timeliness,

Today was an all around good day. I woke up, I went to a staff meeting, I came home. I felt – for the first time in a very long time – like I could sit down and genuinely relax. Like my mind was clear, anxiety not bundled in my chest. It was a strange feeling. Of course it was welcomed with open arms, but the embrace was wary. When you have genuinely “good days” as rarely as I do, wariness comes with the territory. I’m like a dog with a history of abuse. I want to trust it, want to know that I can relax and fall into the feeling like a summer camp trust exercise. Ultimately though, I know that most of the time the feeling is fleeting. In fact, the moment I realize and acknowledge the feeling, it almost always disappears.

So today was an anomaly.

I sat brewed myself tea. I turned on my essential oil diffuser. I considered for a moment the pro’s and con’s of getting work done. Then I realized that these days truly come to me once in a blue moon and that I shouldn’t waste it worrying about something like work. For once, on a day where I genuinely felt that I could enjoy it, I needed to take the day for myself. So that is exactly what I did.

I “lost” my phone for most of the day and it wasn’t until the minute I picked it back up that any mention of anxiety even blossomed. It wasn’t until dinner, when I was sitting having a frustrated textual conversation with a friend who wasn’t even at dinner with me, that any other feeling than utter relaxation set in. Honestly, even that couldn’t change the way today went for me.

I cannot explain to someone who doesn’t have anxiety how absolutely freeing it is to be able to see myself and be so utterly content to give myself a well-deserved and needed break. So, today, the only reason I’m sitting down and writing this is because I promised that I would write posts twice weekly. The only reason I’m here is out of obligation and because I wanted to make sure to document this wonderful day. For the record, all I did was drink tea, nibble chocolate, watch Mozart in the Jungle…and spend a wonderful evening with some wonderful people. It was good. I needed it. Thank you, self, for doing well today. I’m proud of you.

Muchly,
Renee

on honesty, and how editing is the worst

Look at me, posting on time. Like really on time – it’s 5:30 PST and I think this is the earliest I’ve written a blog post since I decided I was going to be doing Tues/Thurs posts. Good job, me. Pat yourself on the back.

Really though, I’m only writing this blog because I am doing the inevitable: I am procrastinating. I’m very good at procrastinating, especially when it comes to writing. Or in this case editing. I’m even better at procrastinating for editing than I am for writing because editing makes me want to do a poltergeist-esque head twirl and then scream like a banshee calling for her own death. It isn’t a pretty picture.

I think the reason it’s so difficult is because I’m editing the first draft of my most recently finished manuscript, and it’s almost as ugly as the picture above. If not moreso. It’s a rough one. Quite bumpy. You know how it goes. I’m in the stage where right now I’m merely reading through everything I wrote and trying to decide what I like and what I don’t, where the plot holes are, what bits need to change and what bits need to stay the same. I’m down to the point where I’m feeling like nothing needs to stay and everything needs to go and really I should just start over from scratch and forget that the first draft ever existed. Except I also know that’s me being unreasonable and that while I firmly believe most of this first draft is going to be scrapped, there’s going to be a small amount that won’t. It’s just a matter of finding them.

I like reading my own work, most of the time. This is getting…tedious, however.

So I’m doing my best to find good music to listen to in the background but even that is proving difficult, because nothing fits the proper mood. The music I’m pretty sure would fit my proper mood is nowhere on Spotify and somewhere in the depths of my last laptop which was pronounced dead the second week of November…and would really just lend to me procrastinating some more. Which is a problem in and of itself, obviously. I’m trying to be productive, I really am. We’ll get there! One page at a time! One paragraph at a time! One word at a time! I WILL GET THERE!

I think I’ve figured out what this little blog is going to be about, and I suppose it was the obvious choice. I’m just going to document my writing, my editing, my process here. It seems like a good idea for me to keep track of myself and to keep myself honest. Someone’s got to. It might as well be me, right?

Muchly,
Renee

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on forgetting, already

It’s not even the first week into this “routine posting” thing and I’m already forgetting-slash-procrastinating. I don’t think that bodes well. I also don’t think I care.

Today was another hard day, but not until about halfway through it, because I started getting stressed out after a phone call I had earlier in the day. It’s stupid stuff, stupid little stuff that shouldn’t have mattered, but it’s getting into my head and makes me start having thoughts that keep cycling and cycling until I’m stuck wondering what the hell I’m doing. Then I end up sitting on the couch – or in this case my new recliner which I never want to get out of because it’s so fucking comfortable – and watching television and getting lost in other worlds and storylines for just long enough that I forget my problems exist. Then the credits roll, and I remember.

Having this stupid anxiety shit sucks. Some days it’s easy to live with. Most days it isn’t.

I shaved the back of my head because I thought maybe it might change things, even though I knew it wouldn’t. The thought still lingered. It’s been three days since I did it and I wonder simultaneously if it was the worst or best decision I’ve made. Fuck it, though. It’s 2016. This is going to be it. The year things change. The year that I make decisions and that I accomplish things. At least that’s what I keep telling myself in the back of my head. Maybe that’s why I’m nothing but a big bundle of anxiety. Maybe, just maybe…I’m doing this to myself.

Of course I am, though. It’s my chemicals that are unbalanced, it’s my brain that’s like this. Of course I am doing this…to myself.

Which means I can dig myself out the same way I dug myself in. And I guess that’s why I forced myself to get up out of the recliner, ignore The L Word for just a few minutes, and post this blog. I just had to. I’m done not trying.

Muchly,
Renee

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