One Day Down

I started my daily writing yesterday! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, but it’s also only the first day. I think it’ll definitely help me write more in the future and actually get a novel completed. Then again, I probably shouldn’t think so far ahead, it’ll only make me mess up.

On a side note, I did GISHWHES for the fourth time last week. For anyone who might not know, it’s the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen! Basically for a week, you are given a list of around 200 items or so to complete with your team. Each team has 15 members. Some of them are goofy, like get a photo of a stormtrooper cleaning a pool and some of them are actually really helpful to people. There was one this year to help raise money for two Syrian refugee famlies, which we raised enough money to help four or five families. It’s a lot of fun, even though it can get rather draining on you.

Misha Collins, who’s an actor and the creator Random Acts charity, is the one who created GISHWHES. He’s pretty awesome. So, if anyone wants to go crazy for a week, sign up next year. It does cost a little money to get in, but there’s also the chance of getting a Gisholarship, which is when someone else who signs up pays for someone else to get in.

Anyway, enough on that topic. It just ended yesterday, so it’s still fresh in my mind. Back to writing!

 

Writing is Hard

Everyone in the professional writing world says to make yourself write every day. It helps keep your creativity running and helps you get into a zone where you will write when you need to. It’s just so hard to do.

First, I’m a college student, so when I get done with classes, I don’t want to think about doing more writing. Usually, I want to do something like play video games or watch TV, anything to get my mind off of school. Plus, I’m a creative writing minor, so I get lots of writing in anyway.

Second, when I sit down to write, I usually write a lot if I’m in the mood. Other times, I’ll sit down and literally nothing will come out. The funny thing is that if I’m writing something for school that has a deadline, I tend to write it with little to no problem. Maybe I just need a deadline to make me write.

Third, I’m honestly just lazy. The amount of times I’ve started a new story is astonishing. I tend to get bored with the story I’m writing or I find that it’s not going anywhere, so I start again with something new. There are a couple of stories I always seem to come back to, but I never finish them. Also, there’s one story that I started a sequel on when I haven’t even finished the first story. I know how it ends, it’s just the getting there that’s difficult. I really want to finish it, but it’s on my laptop which isn’t currently with me. I think that’s preventing me from writing more to the sequel, which I started the other day.

I guess I really answered my own question while writing this. I need to set goals for myself and stick with them. For now, it will just be writing a certain amount every day. I’m going to start off small, say like 500 words or so. I think I’m also going to set long-term goals, like finishing a certain amount of my novel by a certain time. I could even say that I want the other novel done by the new year, which gives me a couple of months. Then, I won’t touch it for a little while before editing, which will be tons of fun. Since I haven’t actually finished a novel like that, it’s going to be an adventure.

For anyone out there who has the same issues as me, I hope we can both push past them and make this work. Writing has always been a huge part of my life and I don’t want to let it waste away.

One Week

In the grand scheme of things, one week doesn’t seem like much time at all. It’s only one of fifty-two in a year. A lot can happen in a week, though. People can get married, divorced, have a kid, or even die.

I’ve had my cat for five years, ever since she was only a few months old. She’s orange and white with a long tail. Her tail has darker orange rings going down it and she has some barely noticeable darker stripes on her torso. The white on her goes from her chin and on her underbelly, then jumping to her paws. She has an orange spot on one of her paws.

She’s been a mostly outdoor cat for most of her life. My mom thought it was best, since she doesn’t like fleas (don’t even get me started on this). When we got her from the shelter, her name was Dora. They had found her and her brothers and sisters wandering down a road with their mother. She was the last one left of her siblings. As much as I wanted her to stay an indoor cat, my mom insisted that she should be allowed outside.

From day one, I always worried that she would get lost or get hurt. She got bitten on the leg once, but it healed up. She is a very intelligent cat and knew when to run and when to fight.

After my parents divorce, my dad got married to my best friend’s mom.  It’s not as great as people make it out to be (she’s not my best friend anymore, but that’s another story). She got a black cat who decided she was the dominant cat, even though she was both younger than mine and had only just gotten there. She was aggressive towards my cat, but a sweetheart to people. Though my step-sister is unaware of this, my dad and her mom actually gave her away because of how that cat was acting towards mine.

Then, my step-sister got a kitten that was taken from it’s mother way too early. She was maybe two or three weeks old. She was really sweet when she was that young, but she was also dependent on us for survival. My cat didn’t really care much about her. My other step-sister, who is a lot younger, isn’t very intelligent when it comes to pets. She tends to be aggressive when she shouldn’t be. Therefore, that kitten ended up growing up to be vicious towards both people and animals.

And then, less than a year ago, they suddenly got a dog. I was away at school and no one said anything to me. I saw it on Facebook. My cat had only ever been around my sister’s dog and she was terrified of her.

I already knew that the only person who gave two shits about my cat other than me was my dad. Even then, he didn’t feed her enough or clean out her litter box enough. I came home for less than an hour a few weeks ago to bring stuff home from college and she was skin and bones. Part of that is because she eats for a few seconds and runs back outside. But it’s mostly because she doesn’t get fed enough when I’m not home.

In between visiting people, I stopped by my house to pick up some things for my summer class. I noticed my cat had an abscess on her back behind her shoulder blade. I showed my dad and figured out what he needed to do to make sure it healed. I wanted to stay and take care of her myself, but the person I was visiting for a week was waiting outside and they lived two hours away. After we left, after driving for almost half an hour, he suggested we turn around and I bring her with me. I said no. I really wish I had said yes.

My mom just moved into a new house with her husband of a year. My plan was that I would talk to them about taking my cat so she could be fed properly when I couldn’t be home. I still have another year of school and the apartment I’m staying in doesn’t allow pets. I was going to talk to her once I finally got home two weeks after school ended. I have been going to different places, like my brother’s, my sister’s, and my boyfriends house.

Then I get the text. Five days ago. My dad told me he hadn’t seen my cat in almost two days. I was with people having a pretty good time until that came. News like that always seems to happen when you’re having a good time. I wanted to drive back that night, but I didn’t have a car and I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t want to drive almost three hours that late at night. I kept asking for updates and hoping she would turn up. She had done something similar once before, but it was only for a little over a day.

Three days ago, I finally got to go home, but only for a few hours. I was house/pet sitting at my sister’s for the weekend. I got home and immediately went into the woods to call for her. It was a surreal experience. I don’t really know how else to describe it. I had done this so many times before and she would always come running to me eventually. This time, she didn’t. I went inside and found something that sounded like a canned food can to hit a fork against. She still didn’t come.

Maybe it was naive to think that she would magically show up just because it was me. She has never really been a cuddly cat, but I was always the one person who she would let hold her. It may be for only a minute, but she would always let me do it. I thought the sound of my voice might call to her or something. It didn’t happen.

Since then, I’ve posted on Facebook, hoping someone might see something. The local animal shelter also posted a missing cat post on Facebook. It’s gotten a lot of shares, but nothing has come of it yet. They did post it after they closed for the weekend on Saturday, but maybe they just haven’t listened to their voicemail on the shelter’s phone since then and someone called it in. Someone could easily have found her injured and be taking care of her.

Not knowing is worse. People always say that on TV, but you don’t really know how it feels until it’s you. When I went home to search for her, part of me was hoping that if I didn’t find her alive and happy, I’d at least find her body somewhere. It hurt so much when I started to think of that, but I just hate not knowing what happened. It hurts ten times worse. I don’t think I’ve gone a day since then without thinking of her and just sobbing. I can’t let her go, not when I don’t know.

And, of course, I looked to the internet for similar stories. Cats had come back months after they disappeared. Reading things like that only makes me hold onto hope that she’ll come back. I was going to call the local vet office, but they ended up being closed when I thought of it. I’ll have to call next week and see if she was brought in by anyone.

I already know that I won’t be able to live at home if she isn’t there. Everyone at my house except my dad is toxic to be around. Even he’s slightly toxic, but in the chain smoker kind of way. If she doesn’t come back, I’ll have to leave. Maybe I’ll come home for little bits of time this summer, but I can’t stay. I can’t feel completely alone in that house.

I feel bad for my dad. I know he feels guilty about what happened. He was taking care of her abscess, but it sounded like he didn’t put anything peroxide or anything to keep it clean. At the same time, he’s already given up on her coming back. He thinks some animal smelled her wound and attacked her. The logical part of my brain is saying that it is totally possible. The rest of my brain says fuck the logical side and says she’s fine, probably being taken care of by some little old lady and is trying to get out of her house every second to come home, but she won’t let her until her wound is healed. Which is what my dad should have done.

I also feel guilty. I didn’t go back and take her with me. Part of why I didn’t is because the place I was going has four cats and a dog, all of which my cat doesn’t like. Plus, she would have to be confined to one room the entire time I was there. I should’ve brought her anyway. Guilt is stupid. I wanted her to have freedom instead of being confined and she went missing. I feel guilty about it.

I could go on all day about this, so I’ll just say one more thing. Izzie, please come home. Find your way back home and I’ll be there waiting for you. Please, just come home.

Recommended Book – Paper Towns

John Green has written quite a few young adult fiction books. After the huge hit The Fault In Our Stars movie was, Paper Towns is the next movie adaption coming to theaters.

Paper Towns is a mystery about a senior in high school named Quentin (nickname Q) and the girl Margo he’s been in love with for a very long time. The girl takes off one day, leaving behind clues as to where she might be. Her parents don’t bother trying to find her, since it was not the first time she had run away. It is left up to Q to find Margo.

If anyone is looking for the kind of heartbreaking story that was The Fault In Our Stars, that is not what this book is. It is not primarily a love story either, though that is what drives the main character to search for Margo. It is a mystery that really makes you think. Overall, it is a good book for someone who may not want to read just another love story.

Letters – Poem by Tamara Keeney

My wonderful sister Tamara sent me this poem to post on here.

Letters


My grandmother lost herself in letters and syntax and grapes that refused to ripen, waiting for my grandfather to come back and rebuild their charred house, to hang the Jesus holograph photo in the kitchen. She waited for us to come back for her empty yellow high chair she glued to the ceiling and for her low oak branch that hoisted us onto thrones and prison cells.

Her letters reversed themselves on paper as they traveled across state lines. She revealed truths of songs turned to scissors and leaves turned to cats and still I replied, writing each letter in straight lines, dousing the corners in chardonnay and licorice. I admitted great secrets in whispers and told her of my sexual conquests with other women I had accidentally fallen down for.

She said I was her favorite and sent a slice of doughy apple pie inside cat-figured salt and pepper shakers. She explained her green thumb was cut and wouldn’t stop bleeding on the apple tree my grandfather planted in his lungs.

I dribbled the pie along my windowsill and wrote that the cats were well-fed and keeping the paprika in check. I asked if she missed my father fishing in the pool of wire and trout and God and screwdrivers, if she knew he sat long nights in front of fires eating cherry tree branches, if she could write and explain his father was hammering and painting and hanging and fishing for brook trout.

She scribbled my father’s name and let the pencil find the side of the paper then take over. It sketched water lilies stretching off the page, notes deflating and missing the paper’s lines, locks without keys, bowls of plastic bananas, apples, pears. It snuggled in the white spaces and bent and tore her Ts and Ns and Es until it collapsed off the page and table to rest.

She apologized and explained her thoughts were runny and smelled like new books. She remembered a small girl who once climbed her oak tree and plucked winter branches off to paint leaves on the ends.  She asked if I remembered—the girl who donned a summer dress and jumped from the low branch, flapping frozen branches in each hand as she fell.

Recommended Textbook: The Hollywood Standard 2nd Edition

Since I didn’t get into the creative writing course that I wanted, I decided to take a screenwriting course. With that course, our required text was Christopher Riley’s The Hollywood Standard, 2nd edition.

This book is very simple to understand. It is a useful guide whether you are a new screenwriter or one with experience. At the beginning of the book, it has a quick start guide which goes through the basics of writing a screenplay. From just reading that part, anyone could easily start a screenplay.

Most of the book gets into more specific things on writing a screenplay, like writing for a single camera versus multiple cameras. Along with showing how to write something, it also gives examples on what not to write, which can be very helpful.

At the end of the book, it gives samples of scripts for single and multiple camera angles.

Overall, this book is a good companion to anyone who wants to try out screenwriting and see if it is for them.

Great Uncle Wilson – Play Snippet by Libbie W.

One of my friends, Libbie W., is a playwright. From a prompt she was given, she came up with this snippet of a play.

—————————————————————————————————————
GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
Children, I’m afraid I have a matter of rather grave importance to discuss with you.

LILITH
What is it, Great-Uncle Wilson?

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
Well, it is most difficult to try to explain, especially to ones as young as you, but I feel that by this point you have enough spirit in you to fully understand what I am telling you.

TOMMY
Yes, of course, Great-Uncle Wilson.

LILITH
What do you have to tell us?

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
Well, children…I am deeply sorry to tell you this, but I am actually not your Great-Uncle Wilson after all. Yes, yes, I know, you must be surprised to hear me say such a thing. I’m sure that you never thought that there was a ghost of a chance that your dear Great-Uncle Wilson could possibly be a fraud. I am sure that this news upsets you greatly, so I will give you a moment to let this sink in.

LILITH
But, Great-Uncle Wilson, we already know that you are not really our Great-Uncle Wilson.

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
What’s that, now?

TOMMY
It’s true. We’ve always known you are not our Great-Uncle Wilson.

LILITH
Neither of us had ever heard of a Great-Uncle Wilson.

TOMMY
And we often overheard Mother talking about how she wished that you would just leave us alone and let our family get on with our lives.

LILITH
But tell us, Great-Uncle Wilson, if you are not our Great-Uncle Wilson, why are you here in our home?

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
Well, yes, I was getting to that. Now, children…I am deeply sorry to tell you this, but you are no longer alive. But I am dead serious when I say that you are not quite dead either, more somewhere in between. Yes, yes, I know you must be surprised to hear such a thing. I’m sure that you never thought that there was a ghost of a chance of your lives being so short. I am sure that this news upsets you greatly, so I will give you a moment to let this sink in.

LILITH
But, Great-Uncle Wilson, we already know we are not alive.

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
What’s that, now?

TOMMY
It’s true. We’ve known for quite some time that we aren’t living any longer.

LILITH
After all, we always found it so strange that we no longer needed to sleep or eat, and yet we never felt any of the effects of it.

TOMMY
And we only ever seem to hear our parents talking now, we never actually see them anymore.

LILITH
But tell us, Great-Uncle Wilson, what does us not being alive have to do with you not being our Great-Uncle Wilson?

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
Well, yes, I was getting to that. Now, children…I am deeply sorry to tell you this, but I am actually a reaper and I have been sent to fetch your souls so you may return to the afterlife. Yes, yes, I know you must be surprised to hear such a thing. I’m sure that you never thought that there was a ghost of a chance of your dear Great-Uncle Wilson taking your souls into the afterlife. I am sure that this news upsets you greatly, so I will give you a moment to let this sink in.

LILITH
But, Great-Uncle Wilson, we already know that you are a reaper.

GREAT-UNCLE WILSON
What’s that, now?

TOMMY
We’ve always known that you were a reaper.

LILITH
We were wondering what was taking you so long to tell us and bring us into the afterlife. We were beginning to think that you had forgotten what you were.

TOMMY
After all, there’s certainly no sense in keeping Mother and Father hoping that someday we might wake up. It wouldn’t be right of us to let them think that.

LILITH
But tell us, Great-Uncle Wilson, why did you not tell us sooner about who you really were, and why you were really here?