Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    A (Dancehall) Day in the Life


    Marvin Hill -- Pursuit



    It’s a glorious day today, weather-wise; a warm day – not just a not-cold day but an honest-to-God warm warm warm day with soft breezes and white clouds like scrim taking the edge off the sunlight.
    I’m outside, there’s fresh earth on my bare feet, my skin smells like honey, my hair like jasmine and vanilla, the boyos are playing together (Jack is pretending to be a dog named Cookies – inspired no doubt by Julie’s new puppy, Pancakes) and the windows are all opened to take in the fresh air.

    I got the test results back.

    I’m sitting out in the sunlight and warmth of the garden, watching the boyos play, and planning what I’m going to plant in the spring, and where, and I’m thankful that the techs didn't find anything disturbing, and I’m trying to decide if I want to follow up with an MRI or not, thinking that I should, but not wanting to think about it, so I’m back to watching the guys and wondering what to plant, and where.

    Inside, the computer shuffles through my favorite songs and I listen – Shawn Colvin rides shotgun down the avalanche. The Foo Fighters have their hands on a miracle. Nickel Creeks wishes me out of the woods. October Project advises me to cover the mirror and hide in my dreams. Emmylou Harris dreams about angels turning to ashes and tumbling with me to the earth so far below, Michelangelo.

    The last episode wasn’t so bad, but I made O stick around anyway, because I didn’t want to try and ‘watch’ the boyos when I couldn’t see anything at all. Luckily, the ocular passed fairly quickly, and didn’t take all my vision, and there was no pain afterward. It’s just an inconvenient bitch, though, you know? We could have gone to a birthday party that afternoon, but I didn’t dare drive. And I was fine, and the boyos missed a birthday party for no good reason.

    So, I guess I’m leaning toward the MRI. I’ve kinda learned a lesson this week about better safe than sorry. I just want to switch my primary care physician first. I think I could find a sympathetic baboon who’d do a better job. (Sorry. I still haven’t gotten past the “Oh, I didn’t think you’d cry when I told you you’d better plan on having kids yesterday because it’s not going to happen for you” appointment.)

    Ok, done with the bitterness.

    So, I think I talked to every single one of my neighbors today, including S. a couple of blocks down, who was on her way to the hospital with breast milk for her twin boys. They were early, but doing just fine, and should be home soon. I’m seeing play dates in the future. God, I hate that term; play date.

    Then I sat for a while in the swing in the back yard, and watched a falcon ride the air almost listlessly, until he dove and an incredible speed to catch a sparrow. You should have seen him arc back up about three feet from the ground. The sparrow escaped, lucky little thing. The falcon dove for another bird and missed again, I assume, since he came back up empty-taloned, and flew east.


    Now to bed.


    de nada

    Friday, February 24, 2006

    Now a little comfort blog -- Because we all need it

    Marvin Hill -- Inky Puddle


    Some people eat comfort food.
    Some read their favorite books over again. Some put on a ratty old sweatshirt they wouldn’t trade for the finest Prada dress.

    For me? Well…it’s this:
    Night scenes
    Gothic architecture
    Candles
    Gauzy curtains
    Perfect hair
    Ridiculous amounts of mascara
    Everything moving in slow motion
    Dramatic backlighting
    Doves
    Glowing eyes
    Doors opening by themselves
    Wind machines
    Gorey-esque schoolboy with wings
    English schoolboys
    English schoolboys wearing not much at all
    English schoolboys wearing not much at all getting all wet
    Ninjas! Ninjas! Ninjas!
    Fancy dinner party
    Water splashing out of silver wine glasses
    Fencing
    Hard bodies tumbling through the air
    Ninjas again!
    Motorcycle gang dancing on a staircase
    English schoolboys in football shoulder pads and tight pants and nothing else
    Hard bodies tumbling through the air redeux
    Running down endless halls in slow motion
    Running down endless halls in slow motion with dramatic backlighting and a wind machine
    Food fight!
    Half-hidden face with chiseled good looks. And wet.
    More glowing eyes
    Possessed choir boys
    Possessed choir boy flying through the air
    Gorey-esque kid again
    Hard bodies dancing in bondage wear
    Bondage boy in feathers

    And finally what I like to call the, It-Was-All-Just-A-Crazy-Dream…-Or-Was-It!?!?!? factor.



    Yeah. I watch old 80s videos. (Name that one.)

    'Splains a lot, dunnit?


    Wednesday, February 22, 2006

    Is It the Time of Year?

    Marvin Hill -- Vessels


    Is it the time of year?
    While other months are named for Gods, and mortals who considered themselves gods, February has a very different meaning. It comes from the Latin Februaris, which translates as the month of sacrifice, specifically expiatory sacrifice; the sacrifice of atonement.

    I'm seeing a lot of sacrifice in Blogland, and in real life too. Everyone seems to be going through a rough patch, losing things that are important to them. Health, jobs, friends, marriages, sex drives, inspiration (and the least of all – manuscripts, ahem.)

    The heart of winter, February takes -- usually without asking.

    Doany of you see this too?

    Maybe there’s a way to switch out Isaac for the ram, so to speak?

    What is in your life right now that is on the sacrificial altar? What would you place there instead?

    Feel free to post anonymously.

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    Lost


    Marvin Hill -- Who Knows?

    (I'm thinking of getting this tattooed somewhere. Whatcha'all think?)


    “Label/Receipt Number: 9101 --- ----- --- -------

    Status: Electronic Shipping Info Received

    The U.S. Postal Service was electronically notified by the shipper or shipping partner on February 07, 2006 to expect your package for mailing. This does not indicate receipt by the USPS or the actual mailing date. Delivery status information will be provided if / when available. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.”

    Well, that figures.

    My contest entry has been lost in the mail. It was scanned in, then disappeared.

    My husband has sent books to the four corners of the earth. He’s mailed books to every continent except Antarctica. He’s mailed a book to Nepal, which I believe is on the opposite side of the world from Hell’s Half Acre. He’s only had three go missing in twelve years.

    My manuscript can’t even make it to the East Coast.

    It’s enough to make one feel as if the universe is against her, if she were so paranoidally-inclined.

    (Hey, it could be. Really. Wait til you read Chapter 18.)

    So, I’ll make a second attempt to send out said contest entry tomorrow. The mail is not running today. (See!? Call that coincidence? I don’t think so. Just because this so-called President’s Day’s been around for a while doesn’t mean it wasn’t instituted in advance just to thwart me.)

    I’m so glad I’m not paranoid.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    The female of the species signals her readiness by removing her pants in the kitchen

    Marvin Hill -- Fly Through Dream's Door


    So after a little extended family unpleasantness

    Or is that extended extended-family unpleasantness?


    Valentines Day was quite nice.


    The boyos in bed early.


    An orchid, chocolate, champagne.


    I don’t know who these women are,


    The ones who complain about receiving the above three every year.


    I guess I’m easy


    To please.


    So, afterwards


    I dreamed peaceful dreams,


    Dewdrops scattered like stars across my childhood lawn,


    Clustered in the leafless maple branches outside my old window.


    Tasting a dollop of crème fraishe flavored with


    Honey and rum


    Atop a slice of chocolate mousse cake.


    Walking in the woods, smelling of resin and wet earth,


    Toward a lighted window.


    I awoke refreshed this morning.


    There’s just enough champagne left


    To make a nice risotto


    Which I shall do tonight.

    Monday, February 13, 2006

    Progress


    Marvin Hill -- A Book Bound in the Skin of Trees


    I seem to have gotten past a writing block these past few days. I've finished polishing a chapter (Steeplechase), and have added a page or two to the current one (Catching Hell). I've got 311 consecutive pages, with about 45 'floating pages' that I need to write my way to, or eliminate altogether. Looks like I'll be doing a little of both. Writing the synopsis really helped clarify things for me. I've always known the ending, I just haven't always seen a clear path to it.

    For the new folks, you can read the first chapter under my September archives. It's the first thing that pops up.
    It's a farce, so, um, laugh, ok?

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Fractal Geometry

    Fractal Geometry

    “A modern mathematical theory that radically departs from traditional Euclidean Geometry, fractal geometry describes objects that are self-similar, or scale symmetric...”

    Fractals are easiest to see from a middle ground, from a point on a line in time that lets you see the patterns you’ve lived before, and the patterns you find yourself moving into, and how it is the same dance, no matter which part you perform, no matter how you might wish it differently.

    I’ve crossed someone, not by my actions, but by what I have failed to do. I have pushed away smothering help – help that is tied to obligation, because I hate the debt it brings. I like to think of myself as self-sufficient, a lone wolf. A pattern standing alone. It is foolishness.

    “…This means that when such objects are magnified, their parts are seen to bear an exact resemblance to the whole, the likeness continuing with the parts of the parts and so on to infinity…”

    What we see depends so much on where we are standing.

    Where is the harm in standing alone, I ask, of carving out my own path? I try to walk away, I listen to the friends and family who say ‘J. is in the wrong, not you.’ I listen well. My anger flares at hard memories that play over and over into the night, her bitter insults. But now J. is facing difficulties that I am in a position to understand better than anyone; however, I've been accused of being selfish, unthankful and uncaring, so I'm afraid to extend any support at the moment…which makes me feel selfish, unthankful and uncaring.
    On the other side of the pattern, at the most uncanny time, someone from my past has contacted me. M. is unsure still of how she crossed me, of why I stopped talking to her, unsure of how to seek my forgiveness, but wanting to all the same.

    “…Fractals, as these shapes are called, also must be devoid of translational symmetry - that is, the smoothness associated with Euclidean lines, planes, and spheres. Instead a rough, jagged quality is maintained at every scale at which an object can be examined…”

    The edges of beauty – of perfection – are rough and chaotic.

    It is not easy for me to seek forgiveness from J., because I cannot actually see the wrong I have done. Likewise, I’ve been reluctant to forgive M., because she should know what she’s done, right? Right?
    Can’t we all just skip the rough and chaotic phase of forgiveness, and move straight to that place where there is harmony and peace? Of course not.


    “…Scientists have begun to investigate the fractal character of a wide range of phenomena. Researchers are interested in doing so for the practical reason that behavior on a fractal shape may differ markedly from that on a Euclidean shape…”

    We know what is right, what is wrong. We read it in our most sacred texts. We recite the examples of Buddha, of Jesus. We know it in our hearts. But how well can we live those truths? How well can we match our actions to theirs?


    I don't know what to do. Should I call? Should I write J. a note: "Hey. Even though you feel that I'm a terrible person, I just want you to know that I'm thinking about what you are going through. And I do care."
    I can take these words, similar to the ones M. has given to me, and pass them on down the line in a seamless continuation of an established pattern. It should be easy, but it's not.
    I think the thing that stops me from making any contact is the fear that my words will be treated with contempt.

    “…Mathematical physics, for its part, has a particular interest in nonlinear fractals. When dynamical systems--those that change their behavior over time--become chaotic, or totally unpredictable, physicists describe the route they take with such fractals…naming them ‘strange attractors’…”

    Over time, water can carve stone. But only over time.

    Or maybe I fear the responsibility I’ll be expected to take afterwards; the expectation that I change my behavior, that I bow down and admit that everything I do is wrong, and that I must become more involved, submit to that suffocating connection, all those demands on my time. Our views on family are very different, and they don’t intersect.


    “…Most physicists who study chaos (fractals) do so with carefully controlled laboratory setups of turbulent fluid flow. Individual strange attractors have been identified for different kinds of turbulent fluid flow, suggesting the existence of numerous routes to chaos…”

    People change only when their comfort level has disintegrated into something they no longer recognize.

    M. took a chance, again, that I would treat her words with contempt, as I’ve done in the past. But something’s different now. We’ve both been through rough, life-changing experiences, and without each others’ support. Have we both changed after all these years? Is it possible to maintain that change, should a renewed relationship arise, or would we fall back into old patterns? The same old dance, M. in the lead, and me trying to keep up? Should I say no and turn away, remembering all the old hurts and abuse? Is saying yes tantamount to heating heroin in a silver spoon, at a time when I want a little escape? Will it dissolve into chaos again?

    “…The nature of fractals is reflected in the word itself, coined by mathematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot from the Latin verb frangere, "to break," and the related adjective fractus, "irregular and fragmented.”

    Yet it forms a solidified pattern spanning from infinitely tiny to beyond the bounds of the universe.

    Maybe that’s all we are. Fragmented, broken people, trying to co-exist, to form a pattern that rises out of chaos into beauty.

    De nada.


    All text in italics taken from the Grolier Encyclopedia. All fractal art by Victoria B. Brago-Mitchell.


    Monday, February 06, 2006

    Big Week



    Miro Writes to Me Now and Then Marvin Hill


    If I can just get through this week…

    The manuscript is going out tomorrow. That’s it. It’s going. Can’t. Polish. Any. More.

    Birthday is on Thursday. The second anniversary of my 33rd. With family politics resembling the Cold War, I’m not doing anything for it.

    Oh, except one thing. I’m going in for a stroke screen that day.

    I’m showing some disturbing symptoms. I have been since the Ortho Evra patch. So, I’m a bit…um…

    (scared)

    concerned. I’ll let you know how it comes out. Fine, I’m sure. Writers are naturally hypochondriacs, right?

    Work is picking up, but I’m not crazy about my new contact. Not crazy about her at all.

    And there’s a ghost from the past knocking on the door yet again. After, “I’m not going to contact you again,” for the 5th time, you’d think she stop.

    Yarg.

    Ok. Enough grousing. Back to work.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Thanks, Poppy

    Marvin Hill, Ghostwriter




    As I told Mr. DeLaClowncar the other day, writing an outline for JALL is harder than writing the damn novel. He
    commiserated. He's just finished writing his own outline. It is a thing of beauty, let me tell you. So's the book, by the way.

    Anyhow, I decided to ask Poppy Z. Brite for some pointers, and, being a scholar and a gentleman, Doc Brite gave me a good suggestion:



    "These things are a bitch to write, but they do get easier with practice. One helpful trick I've found (assuming you've already completed the novel, or at least a big chunk of it) is to start at the end and work your way backward. Don't write the actual outline this way, of course, but thinking of it in this fashion can help you keep events in order, realize which characters need to be introduced and which can be left out of the outline for the sake of brevity (a Lost Souls outline I once wrote never mentioned Christian -- he's important to the heart of the novel, not so important to its linear structure), etc."

    Poppy also sent me the first outline for Prime, which really helps, since I can compare it to the final book.

    So...wish me luck (again). If I win this contest, it will send me lightyears into my writing career.

    And wish Mr. Clowncar luck, too. He's going for Breadloaf.

    And, a belated good luck to Julie. Hang in there!