Treats for Tricks (or Tricky Treats)

And now, for something (quasi) completely different: a (tricky) treat – an early (!) blog post! Without further ado:

Happy Halloween! Happy Doctor Who Day! Happy NaNoWriMo Eve!

As I’ll be out and about today, quasi-reviving a inadvertent tradition of seeing a Broadway play/musical on Halloween (a quasi-double header, as I’ll be seeing Drunk Shakespeare  and Aladdin today/tonight, so there’ll be blog entries for my theatre blog for those experiences) a few thoughts on the aforementioned festive greetings.

Quasi-confession: I’ve never really been an active participant for Halloween. I’ve never (really) put much effort in putting together a costume and going trick-or-treating; oftentimes I’m the one on the “other” side of the door, handing out candy to the neighborhood children. I’ve never (really) been to any Halloween-themed parties, aside from the mini-ones thrown at work, and those usually consist of bowls of candy and (mainly) dessert foodstuffs (as, obviously it’s still a professional workplace). Nevertheless, it’s a festive holiday for many, a night for mischief, masquerade and (maybe) magic – and this year (I believe) there’ll a full moon out in its bright, shining glory.

So it should be a fun night. [“Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight”]

There’s also a new episode of Doctor Who tonight (which I’ll obviously watch sometime tomorrow), and from the trailers I’ve seen thus far (I do my best not to read spoilers) it’s a fitting one to be shown on Halloween night, though I have sneaking (bad) feeling that it’ll be another two-parter. I’m really enjoying this season thus far, and Peter Capaldi’s interpretation of the titular Time Lord; my musings about Clara are meh to eh – she’s all right, but a bit too much. I’m curious to see how she’ll depart from the TARDIS, and who the next companion will be – hopefully someone new (though I would not be too opposed to the return of a former companion, even one from the Classic Era).

Last (but never least), it’s NaNoWriMo Eve, and after a fair amount of plotting and pondering with regards to which part of the Epic Saga that is, was and always will be the MASC Chronicles to attempt to write for NaNoWriMo, I’ve (quasi) tentatively decided to step inside the box (because it’s bigger on the inside) and truly pants the novel, which is (again) tentatively entitled Meta For Metaphor. This story isn’t a part of the Epic Saga, but in a way is part of the Epic Saga – kinda like Schrödinger’s cat – in that the basic premise (thus far) is it’ll be a story about a writer attempting write a story about a writer attempting to write a story. Whether  this will turn out to be akin to the oft-mentioned yet never really explained Meta story, or actually become that Meta story remains to be seen.

One (of among many) observations I’ve made thus far with the writing of this blog over the years (which from a certain point of view can be construed as a Meta narrative in and of itself, as I am a writer attempting to write about my journey writing the various works-in-progress) is that every week I’ve taken the time to write something for this blog, and within an hour or two (give or take) I’ve written at least 400+ words (usually quasi-random musings about stuff). According to my (highly accurate, detailed) spreadsheet, I average about 2,000-odd words within any given month, which is an achievement in and of itself. I figure if I apply that logic, (which will help me here) theoretically, I can actually(!) achieve the NaNoWritMo objective of writing a 50,000 word story.

That is, if I can cobble together a coherent story within that time frame. Then again, I’m kinda, sorta doing that now, so in a way, I’ve been writing a quasi-coherent story.

One week at a time.

Oh, and quasi-brief update on the antics in the Land of Exposition (which, again, will warrant its own [separate?] narrative story)

  • Construction is still underway, with loads of mad-dash scrambling to get things done in a timely manner, as other special projects have come about to delay the overall process.
  • Quarrels between the Ducks and the Swans continue to pop up every now and then, often with fabulous Fosse choreography, entertaining one and all – the Pigeon Posse have begun to sell tickets and market appropriate merchandise.
  • The FanGirl Meter (patent pending) is going through a new update, as the patches to fix the bugs led to an odd virus that turned every other word purple. No one knows how this happened. Outside consultants have been contacted to investigate the issue.

That’s about all that’s going on thus far – next month begins the NaNoWriMo updates – let’s see if my quasi-experiment actually works.

Oh, one more thing: Let’s Go Mets! I believe they’ll prevail and win the World Series this year.

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A Kind of Immortality

Quasi-fresh off from watching this week’s episode of Doctor Who – “The Woman Who Lived”, the conclusion / continuation of last week’s episode “The Girl Who Died” [I have a very bad feeling that Series 9 will consist of two-parters, judging by the promo for next week’s episode, they can’t possibly start and resolve that storyline within 45 minutes.], the notion of immortality and its effects has arisen for the topic of this week’s entry. Once again, the topic I had thought I was going to write will be postponed for another week – when that topic will actually be written is anyone’s guess.

Anyway.

In a wonderful (strange?) way, those who create works of art (paintings, music, literature, etc.) guarantee themselves a kind of immortality without the actual burden of eternal life. Those works of art (for the most part) exist long after its creator has shuffled off this mortal coil and gone off to whatever afterlife exists, so long as there are those to help keep their essence/spirit [i.e. the aforementioned works of art] “alive”. While I have no strong religious beliefs, I’d like to think that when we leave this mortal realm, there’s something else waiting on the other side… which would make for an interesting tale/saga…

And there go those plot bunnies, putting ideas in my head.

Again.

After all, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie (to name but two) lived in the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th Century and their works (and their brilliant characters) are remembered, read and adapted for just about all the current media – film, radio, TV, video games, etc. Those stories become their legacy and their calling card (as it were) for past, present and future generations to revel (or revisit) the worlds in which they created. It’s interesting (and fun) to know that countless generations before (and after) mine have been (and will be) introduced to these same tales, and find the joy and wonder in them.

All of this can be said of most authors/composers/artists (though some might become infamous as well as “famous”), so long as copies of said works exist and are accessible to the masses. This is one of the many reasons why the Arts is so important at every stage in one’s life – from childhood through adolescence and into adulthood – while technical/practical knowledge [math, sciences, economics, etc.] is important, creative knowledge is equally important. It leads to a well rounded perspective and outlook on life and its nuances. Standardized tests (and their results) measure a person’s ability to memorize the knowledge he/she has learned, and doesn’t (in my opinion) gauge a person’s ability to understand the knowledge he/she has learned.

[OK, I hadn’t intended to step onto any soapbox to expound on education or anything, but it’s quasi-relevant to the topic of which I’m writing based on whatever notions pop into my head.]

Anyway.

Most stories (and fictional characters) live forever – some become quasi-templates for other writers upon which to base their stories, thus perpetuating the notion of immortality. So long as someone is around to tell the story, pass down / spread its message/moral/warning to others, the creator of that initial story extends his/her legacy and in a way keeps them alive.

For those who are following (and care about) the quasi-meta narrative (of sorts) based in the Land of Exposition and the invasion/occupation of the Real Life Brigade: an update of sorts – and one day, some day I’ll cobble together all the references to the Land of Exposition, and its citizens into a quasi- coherent collection of tales. The Real Life Brigade is still in the midst of getting all their ducks in a row, metaphorically and literally speaking. They brought some ducks and their ducklings when they decided to commandeer space (and time) within the Land of Exposition, which cause some minor scuffles with the resident Swan Squad, who seemed to take offense at the duck’s militaristic mindset. Thankfully, the Pigeon Posse and the Conclave of Owls intervened and brokered a truce, though how long it will hold is (again) anyone’s guess.

The Muses are still wandering about, finding things to do and feeding the plot bunnies with all sorts of interesting/useless knowledge (and some amazing chili), and the FanGirl Meter (patent pending) is undergoing some necessary updates to its programming and installing patches to fix any bugs lurking about.

And Me? I’m pondering on what new(ish) work to submit as my 2015 NaNoWriMo project. Most likely, it’ll be an underdeveloped plot outline within the MASC Chronicles or any of the other fleeting ideas floating around in my head.

Time will tell.

It always does.

Déjà Vu All Over Again…

Quasi-continuing with the theme of time travel, alternate history and parallel universes – fresh off watching the latest episode of Doctor Who “The Girl Who Died” – another two parter? Really? Well, at least the episode didn’t end with a cliffhanger, but once again had me literally leaping out of my seat and wildly gesturing towards the screen; for that, well done, Moffat! – the notion of memory and recurring themes springs into my head. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before in a previous entry (which further emphasizes the whole meta quality of my writing blog writing thus far), so at the risk of repeating myself (again?), I’ll keep going.

[Also, as a footnote/random fact, the title of this week’s blog is a quasi-homage to the late, great Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who coined the phrase “déjà vu all over again” along with a host of other great sayings.]

Anyway.

Over the years/decades, I’ve dreamt up a lot of characters, narrative arcs and plot twists – some were brilliantly complicated, some were absurdly convoluted and other were just comical. Some were left in “the Vault”, the repository hidden somewhere within the Land of Exposition, not too far from the Character Development Inn and Contemplation Lake. The Real Life Brigade discovered its whereabouts “accidentally” (and proceeded to attempt to crack the intricate code, only to give up when the AI interface started quoting Monty Python sketches and song lyrics instead of asking the assigned security questions. The Real Life Brigade minions completed one section of their new building (tentatively named “The Department of Auditing and Processing and Filing Paperwork”) and proceeded to audit, process and file the necessary paperwork to finish building the rest of the building. The Planning Committee, in charge of the Administrative branch within the Land of Exposition, who run the logistical goings-on behind the scenes (and behind some fancy screens) proceeded to review these documents and launched their own audit investigation. Needless to say, the Real Life Brigade will keep everyone busy in the days/weeks/months to come.

But I digress.

Old ideas, whether they be names, plot points, or general history, have a way of lurking in the shadows, biding its time to poke about and mingle amid the new ideas. They find a way to bypass the intricate AI security system of the Vault and reemerge as a quasi-new idea. Or a memory echo. Or like a mind worm.

The whole concept of déjà vu (as I understand it, at least) as it relates to my (seemingly never-ending quest to actually!write something) is probably the reason why/how my  five-and-a-half page ghost story snowballed into a three part, 36 book series saga that spans over time and space, with probable jaunts into parallel universes. Characters and narrative arcs I outlined years ago become incorporated into the main narrative or in the exposition – they become part of the “what if?” equation which (almost) always leads to an alternate/parallel universe where Timeline B happens because Character A didn’t do something important, so Character P and Q were able to bring about Plot Twist #9 which led to Event X.

OK, I just made all that up right now, but it could happen.

It might already have happened.

Or it will happen.

It’s kinda like the Bootstrap Paradox. (Google it.)

I should get back to the plotting and pondering, and prepping for this year’s NaNoWriMo – I might get around to writing that Meta story, or the idea(s) proposed in last week’s blog entry.

Or maybe something new/old will find its way to the surface.

Only time will tell. (and I hope Time will tell me soon.)

Ooh. Personifying ideas and concepts.

Now there’s a new/old idea.

Time Travel Revisited

Quasi-fresh off from watching this week’s episode of Doctor Who “Before the Flood” (which was pretty good at tying up the plot threads from the previous week’s episode “Under the Lake”) the notion of time travel and the possibility of alternate/parallel universes has reappeared.

Yet again.

While the minions of the Real Life Brigade continue building their new edifice in the Land of Exposition, from which they will headquarter their operation and issue forth decrees and such, the time travelling Muses (and their plot bunny minions) returned with new/old ideas. There’s always been the notion of using alternate history as a plot device in the MASC Chronicles, and the idea crops up every now and then. Another great passion of mine is history, and in an (entirely plausible) alternate universe, I’m an historian spending (most of) my time pouring over ancient texts, searching for causality and parallels to make sense of the world in which we live, hoping to improve quality of life, the universe and, well everything.

Or I could write about it.

…and there goes another plot bunny, and quite possibly the general premise of this year’s NaNoWritMo entry.

Well, that’s now sorted.

Maybe.

Anyway.

I actually intended to write about something else for this week’s entry (which will now most likely be written next week), but (once again) quasi-influenced by Doctor Who, the insertion of using alternate history as the foundation upon which the MASC Chronicles is set is tempting, not to mention time consuming.

(See what I did there?)

Obviously, researching actual history in order to create alternate history is a daunting task – purists will quibble over inaccuracies and anachronisms and point out how certain events should be fixed points – yet the fact that the task is daunting makes it all the more interesting to tackle. On the other hand, keeping track of the diversions and figuring out which events should be “fixed points” can get confusing. Moreover, changing history can also lead to creating parallel universes within alternate history, which can then lead to paradoxes and inadvertent time loops.

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

Again, this is not a new idea – I think – I’ve always been a fan of science fiction, and the (seemingly) infinite possibilities that lie within that genre, but I’ve never given thought to actually!writing science fiction. Mystery has always been the genre to which I was attracted – whether it be historical or contemporary, as a reader and (now) as a writer. Throwing elements of science fiction (via Steampunk, which is essentially historical science fiction) is a more recent addition to the writing process – though in looking over my archives (hand written and electronic), those elements were kinda, sorta already there, albeit covertly. Or subconsciously.

Maybe this is an instance of the bootstrap paradox. (Goggle it.)

Then again (again), figuring out what should/could/might be considered “real” history, and what should/could/might be considered “alternate” history in a fictional story is a paradox in and of itself. After all, (almost) anything goes when writing fiction – the existence of aliens, vampires and wizards (oh my!) – that’s what makes it fiction in the first place.

Aliens, vampires and wizards – I’m not sure if those three elements have ever been written in a single story before (though I’m almost certain they’ve all appeared in an episode of Doctor Whobut maybe I should attempt to write a story about that, with a dash of mystery just for fun, set in a parallel/alternate universe.

Welcome (once again) to the (slightly mad) inner workings of my writing mind.

End blog.

Dual Blogging, Redux

So my quasi-writing life and perpetual theater-going life coincide once again, as the new Broadway season starts and my usual round of theatre-going return (after a brief hiatus). Instances such as these are rare, as I’ve rarely see (new) shows on the day I write up this blog entry since I started this blog, but I know there will at least be one more convergence of dual blogging in the near future.

But that’ll be a tale for another time.

Anyway.

The denizens of the Real Life Brigade have started work on building their new facilities, clearing off some trees (some of which were due to be cleared anyway due to an unexpected influx of wood worms, termites and other wood-eating creatures of which I cannot name at this time) and making plans. A multitude of tents dot the neighboring field, as most of the Real Life Brigade folks are rural by nature, while others have migrated into the spare rooms at the Character Development Inn, partaking of its excellent food and (almost) endless supply of coffee.

So actual!writing hasn’t happened in a while, though a bit of plotting and pondering has popped up every now and then (much of which inspired by the quasi-recent lunar eclipse/blood moon). Vampires have re-emerged, as they usually do around this time of year, with their plot ninja minions. Time travel has returned as a quasi-viable (albeit confusing) option, with the return of the Madman Idiot with the Box. Interestingly enough, the wizards have stayed far, far away, possibly frightened by the Real Life Brigade and their barricade.

Who knows?

Of course, with all this talk of convergence between two of my great interests (writing and theatre-going) it’s almost inevitable that the two will overlap and merge into one oddly interesting and mildly confusing (?) quasi-fictional tale of high drama, soaring ballads and crashing chandeliers (atop a winding staircase). One underdeveloped story series (saga?) has been theatre-based – fan fiction(ish) tales of events that might have happened before/during/after certain shows (musicals and Shakespeare), and creating a possible alternate (?) universe where the feuding families theme is applied to theatre actors vs. movie stars/”reality TV” celebrities.

Once again, too many ideas, not much hope of focusing on where the focus should be.

Nevertheless, the main series saga (and the other works in progress that have actual progress) remain the main focus – or at least that should be the case. The Real Life Brigade and their demands on my time have preoccupied the Mind Palace and drained a bit of creative juice from the foundations. While it’s not exactly a bad thing, it’s not a good thing either – catching up on what needs to be done and what tasks are expected to be completed at a certain time does take time to figure out. There is a multitude of moving parts and different sized cogs in this machine, and it takes focus (and copious amounts of coffee) to accomplish it all and not drown in the sea of demands, paperwork and other things.

There has to be some kind of balance between the creative nonfiction and fiction writing, and I have yet to find that balance.

I think.

I’ll find it eventually.

I hope.

With all this impending construction in the Land of Exposition, there probably should have been an area for the creative nonfiction writing and the theatrical wing (complete with an art gallery where photos would be on display.)

I really should write that quasi-meta story saga.

Maybe I already started writing it.

Reality and fantasy collide once more.

Or maybe I’m just repeating myself.

Wait, wasn’t that a movie…?