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Monday, 28 December 2009

Out Of Hiding

I know I haven't updated this thing for ages. I've had a very bad cold. But I am seriously enjoying my week and a half of lazing around doing nothing. I'm making the most of it, as the chances are that next year the company I work for won't let us have the 'in between' days off between Xmas and new year. Boo. :(

In other news, I have decided to write another Doctor Who parody, in honour of David Tennant's last story. I need to get round to posting the entire series on this blog at some point (possibly back dated so they don't show up on the main page).

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Nanowrimo 2009: final score = 93462

So close!

Never mind. I came close enough to 100k to say that I jolly well gave it my best shot. And I would have reached 100k if it haddn't been for a couple of small factors over the weekend - out on Friday night, hungover on Saturday, hand cramping on Sunday and giving me nightmare visions of having carpal tunnel syndrome. In th end, only coming 6500 short was pretty impressive. I still have a ways to go before I can write 'The End'. The novel itself will probably make it to 100k. Excerpts to follow. Maybe.

I didn't get to bed until about 2am last night, I was too busy jubilating on the forums. :)

A final note for Nano 09 - I came close enough to writing 100k to want to try it again, but at the same time I don't ever want to go through that again. It's back to 50k for me next year.

The End Of The Dream - Part 5

(Available to read until February 11th!)

*

It is a cool and dark night, and the leaves from a tree beside me brushing my cheek. I look up at the sky and gasp, averting my gaze, as a ball of flame rips across the sky, obscuring the stars, and turns the whole world into a blazing fireball for a few moments, before the flames are pushed away by the growing wind.
I stare up at the clean, unmarred blue sky, covered in stars, as though I have never seen it before in my life. And in the distance I hear the rushing of the wind.

*

I read that over and over again, and took it to Rupert.
"You've got to be making that up, JK." His use of that name stirred what felt like a hundred new memories, a nest of snakes. I'd taken to only writing the important memories down. It's amazing the kind of rubbish the human mind stores inside those gigantic metaphorical filing cabinets - the lyrics of songs I hated, anniversaries of meeting ex boyfriends for the first time, how to make quiche. I loathed quiche, but I knew how to make it.
"I'm not, Rupe. I promise."
"But you must be, unless its the aurora Borealis, and they don't really have that over here." He snapped his fingers, "Maybe you were on holiday or something?"
I shook my head. "I don't think so. There's another one." And I pulled out another notebook to show him the first memory that jarred with everything else in my life. I had written my way through two notebooks already by this point. I used to sit in a chair in the corner of the rehearsal area at the Bolero Amateur Theatre and scribble furiously into my notebook, a cup of strong coffee at my side and usually someone chattering at me aimlessly.
"See, everything else makes sense, but not these. They stand apart. They're like nothing else I've ever experienced, and they're not even like the rest of my memories. The rest of my memories... how can I explain it to you...?" I paused and stared at Rupert trying to think of a way to make him understand. "They don't match the rest of them. No... that's not it. They don't connect with anything else. There's nothing to link them to anything else in my mind."
I put a hand helplessly to my forehead. It felt too full sometimes, when all the memories, all the forgotten thoughts, came rushing back.
Rupert stroked my hair. "Easy girl. Stop. You're thinking too hard. If you just let it come, maybe you'll find out what these..." he gestured at the last page, the anomaly. "... things are." He paused, and stared at me.
"What?" I snapped. And then I winced. I hadn't meant to sound so harsh.
"Perhaps... perhaps it's time." He looked down at the floor and back at me, chewing on his lip.
"What?"
"There's something you told me about yourself, before. I didn't think I ought to tell you about it until now, because of what would happen." He closed the notebook, and tugged gently on my arm. "Come on, I'll get you a cup of tea."
"Do I drink tea?" Since coming home from the hospital I'd defaulted to coffee with milk and two sugars, not really knowing why I didn't much care for the taste. It was what I knew I drank. In the early days, what little I knew of myself had been what I had clung to.
"Silly girl. Of course you drink tea. It's like your life support system."
And so he told me. He told me about the first time I'd
lost my memory, nearly a year ago now, and he told me what it meant to me. He told me everything I'd said before I went to see the hypnotherapist, the rip that had nearly claimed my life.
"The way you were before you went to Anita... it was strange. It was almost as if it was the first time I'd seen you truly alive, talking about this thing that you lost, and you didn't even know what it was, but you wanted it so badly, not just for you, but for the girl you used to be before you lost your memories the first time." He took my hand suddenly across the table and I had a flashback of doing the same thing to him not so long ago, although it was a lifetime ago for me. "That's the only reason I'm telling you all this. For the girl you lost last year. Because you want to be her again. I'd just rather you didn't kill yourself trying..." He smiled, looking sad and happy for me all at once, "But I wanted to give you the choice."

I let him keep the two notebooks I had finished, and when I left his house that evening, I felt curiously light. That funny feeling you get when you realise that there's nothing you can do about the way life turns out, and all you can do is control the things you can control and let the rest of life sort itself out.
A squirrel bounded across the pavement in front of me as I walked and shot up a tree. It stared down at me as I passed. "Hello," I said. It fled, tiny claws scraping against tree bark as it vanished further into the depths of leaves. I grinned, and an old woman in a green Toyota stared at me as if I'd grown an extra head.
Rupert had told me everything I needed to know. All I needed to do now was wait, until it was time. Until I knew what I was fighting for. You see, I had no recollection of losing those ten months of my life, it was just something I'd been told. At that time I couldn't remember what it was like to go to bed on a warm April evening and wake up in the middle of February, and find it snowing outside. When I remembered that anguish, the helplessness and bewilderment of wondering where all those months had gone, then I would have to think of a plan to get those lost memories back.

*

The secret memories, the long lost memories from those missing months stopped coming back to me in my waking moments. I remembered things like the names of the girls I hung around with in primary school: Ameline, Louise, Beth, Sarah. Sarah had a heart murmur, and left school right at end of year six to have an operation. When she came back she had cut her hair with her mothers kitchen scissors and dyed the reminder of it bright blue.
I remembered how to make Harvey Wallbangers and Raspberry Mohitos, even though I wasn't supposed to drink, and in fact, I hadn't drank for years. I remembered the entire monologue from the beginning of Richard III.
And at night I dreamed. I know I dreamed, but in the morning when I woke I could remember nothing, the dreams flowing away from me like trickling water. I remembered a word, or a sound, or the flash of an animal in a tree, or a shadow floating overhead, but nothing more, and it pounded in my head all the next day, until I sank once into my grateful dreams.
I used to sleep with one of my precious notebooks at my side, and a pen clutched in my hand, which I would always drop, or throw across the room in sleep. But by chance or some sort of strange subconscious design, I would forget to pick it up at the moment of my waking, while the images of the dream were still fresh, and a second later all my other thoughts would rush into my head - breakfast, hunger, that film I'd forgotten to record, work, taking Tabby to the vet to get her teeth cleaned, the need to buy some new hair grips - and the dream was gone. My head always seemed too full of stuff. Sometimes it was as if it was stuffed with cotton wool and every day I tried to cram more in, and sooner or later my mind would self destruct again.
Through all this life went on. Present life. All thought and hopes and memories, and the future, the hellish future.
"Never mind all the things you've lost, what about the things you have? What about that nice young man?" my mother rambled at me.
Instantly my blood turned cold. "What nice young man?"
"That... oh, what's his name? Gary?"
"Oh, Greg. I've finished with him. He got his nose pierced."
"Oh. Well I thought he was nice. Rupert liked him."
I could never quite work out how my mother felt about Rupert. Sometimes she seemed smitten with him, worshipped the ground he walked on, and at other times it was as if she didn't quite trust him.
"Well, Rupert doesn't always know what's best for me, does he?" I snapped. I'd recently remembered him trying to persuade me to cancel my visit to the hypnotherapist. I know it hadn't turned out to be a complete success, but it had at least worked. I just needed to find a way of remembering my past without losing my mind and forgetting it all again.
But as yet, I didn't even know why I wanted to know about my past so urgently. Rupert had said something about a man with flames coming out of his fingers, flames that shot up to the sky, and it meant nothing to me, unless it was something to do with the sky blazing into fire.

But life went on, even if there was too much of it for me to cope with, too many words jumbled up inside my head and not enough time to write it all down. I had lines to learn - the new amateur theatre group I'd joined were putting on The Crucible, and I was playing John Procter's wife. Lots of lines to learn, lots of anguish. It was good. It felt wonderful to be living a life other than my own, to not have to be myself for a while.
On the opening night I was afraid. My mother and Rupert were in the audience watching me, but I wasn't worried about that. I remembered banging my head last time I stood on a stage, the bump on the head that had somehow rattled my spoiled memories and started this whole thing off. What if a similar thing happened tonight?
The lights came on. I could hear the hammering of my heart as I stepped outside, into the great circle of light. I started to speak words that now meant nothing, words that were exorcising themselves from my head even as I was saying them. I almost saw the words floating up in the air, on the light, golden, leaving me.
The relief was tremendous, and I wondered, if only I could do the same with some of my other memories. If only I could send the unwanted ones off in the air like these lines, strings of thoughts that weren't my own.
I didn't forget the lines totally. They were always there when I needed them, on stage, but the rest of the time, watching TV, drinking tea, asleep, they seemed to float above my head, not quite a part of me.
Three days later, after the last night, I woke up with a hangover like sensation in my brain, although I hadn't been drinking. I found myself unable to remember a single line from the play. The script, battered, endlessly shuffled pages, lay on the floor where I'd left it the night before, too tired to even bother undressing myself properly.
I tried to forget some of my own surplus memories - the names of friends long lost, how to do long division. Seriously, when was I going to use that knowledge? And yet, it had haunted me for nearly a week, and I'd had to sit down with my notebook for two days to get it the long division out of my system. I couldn't get enough of the bloody things. I have a notebook filled with sums.

And suddenly it was time to move on again. Time to stop moping about at home with daytime television and the relics of a life I was trying to tune into again. It was months since my visit to the hypnotherapist, and through the months, through the visions and dreams I'd had, and Rupert's endless words - how could I ever remember all of Rupert's words - I had started to regain some of the urgency with which I went to see Anita in the first place.
I began to feel empty again, with nothing to fill the gap, not even the theatre which I so loved.
I tried to live a normal life. The company where I'd been working before, Rupert's place, let me have another job, in the accounts department this time, with the Japanese girl, Anna, and Sally. Rupert was just around the corner. It was good, being back in that office. It felt like home, all the chatter and laughter and the in jokes.

*

I feel sick. I'm waiting to go into an exam, in a sterile white room, only I gradually become aware that it isn't an exam waiting room at all. I'm in a cell, painted white, with a bench along one wall and a bottle of water fastened to the wall. There is a man sitting on the floor beside me, his back against the wall, and we are both waiting to die.
I jump when I hear the sound of the door opening. The man beside me springs to his feet and he winks at me, and suddenly I know that we are going to get out this. The whole world is filled with a deep brown eye, winking at me confidently, and a few words, almost a slogan: "We don't die today!"

*

"You ok?"
I look up into Sally's broken mouth. She smiles, but the crease in her forehead deepens as she studies me, her hand on my shoulder.
"I'm fine, Sally."
"I hope so. I worry about you sometimes." It's a joke, us saying that we worry about each other, the stress, the threat of redundancy, overtime, the boss shouting at us, it all adds fuel to the fire of being 'not all right' in a fun kind of way. Sally was very theatrical. She would lean on her desk after a bad phonecall, lay her head on the polished wood and moan in despair. This was the cue for a round of tea. We all had our own signals, a kind of office sign language. Anna would tap at her keyboard very loudly, face stony and staring at the computer screen.
"Would you like a drink, Anna?"
"No. I'm fine. I really am. I'm not stressed." And she wouldn't look at you.
"You are stressed. Let me get you a drink."
"I'm not stressed."
She would continue to insist she wasn't stressed, no matter how many times you tried to tell her that she was. It was hard to tell if this was denial or a high form of sarcasm.
Me, I threw myself into everything that came my way. It was almost a comfort to be told I was bad at something, or to have a debtor start crying on the phone because she wouldn't or couldn't pay her bill. It gave me something else to concentrate on.
And in the evenings I would pore over that little notebook, whichever successor of that first fake leather book I was currently using. Writing and writing, feeling like I was writing the biography of someone very close to me after their death. Because while I could remember the memories, I couldn't remember getting the memories, if that makes sense, which I know it doesn't unless you have had the same thing happen to you. I felt like an imposter whose head was slowly filling up with the thoughts and memories of someone else.
There were some memories that seemed even more like memories of a stranger, those dreams where I was running underneath a vast green coloured moon, that lit everything around it a pale green, rich, something like a Santa's grotto, and always that presence beside me, a presence that exuded confidence and brilliance and shone like the sun.
Or dreams where I was hanging over crevices, screaming in terror, yet somehow knowing that within seconds I would be winched to safety by hands I couldn't see, and hauled into the safety of a boat. The rope had burned my hands, but I didn't care. I was alive, more alive then than I had ever been before, more alive then when I kicked at those blue boxing pads for all I was worth, more alive than when I had to play the old one in Mama Mia (and before you say anything, that's the miracle of stage make up for you) and trembled until the second I opened my mouth and found myself singing, passably, if not well.
More alive than when riding the roller-coaster that turned you upside down for a full five seconds, shrieking.
Because I knew, during any of those things, I wouldn't actually die, no matter how much it felt it like it at the time. And more than the actions themselves had done, my old and secret memories, the past life I'd had and lost so many times, could kill me.

*

I met Toby on a cold January evening, night of the last of the Christmas parties. It was a work thing, half house-warming, half post Xmas piss up, and I didn't know anyone there except for Sally, and Anna, whose party it was. Rupert was laid up with a nasty type of flu and had lost his voice. I hadn't thought it possible.

"Hey JK. No voice think im dying. Njoy party without me chicken. xx"

Was the text I'd received earlier that afternoon. So I spent much of the evening standing at the buffet table, nibbling nervously on the cheese straws, or sitting on Anna's new sofa, sipping at a glass of wine chatting to her cousins, who clearly felt sorry for me, and had no doubt been made aware of my 'history'. I heard them chattering in rapid Japanese when I got up to go to the toilet. I went to stand outside for a bit, despite the biting cold, and saw it was beginning to snow. I felt wretched as I looked up into that inky black sky, and thought 'if only the snow was warm, it wouldn't be so bad' and that maybe there was a planet out there somewhere that had warm snow. I sat on the outside step, surprised a tear was running down my face. I swiped the tear from my face, and licked a droplet from my top lip, tasting salt, as I heard footsteps behind me. I ignored them, and entwined a hand into the long grass that grew between the rocks on Anna's new rockery. Her flatmate had made a joke about digging up the garden and having a swimming pool installed.
"What are you doing out here?" a voice asked. I looked up to see a tall man, muscles in all the right places, wearing a short sleeved T shirt and a decidedly cool looking cigarette. I licked my lip again.
"I might ask you the same question," I said, looking away, feeling absurdly like Tess of the D'Urbervilles.
He laughed and took a drag on his cigarette before sitting next to me, and I caught a whiff of his aftershave. I turned my face away even more, so that I was looking up at the stars again.
He followed my gaze.
"You want to be up there, not down here with all of us, is that right?"
"How did you know?"
"You just have that look about you, like you want to be somewhere else. Like you've tasted something better." I looked at him and he smiled. It lit up his face, causing wrinkles where there shouldn't yet be wrinkles in his old-young face, showing teeth stained by too much nicotine. There were strands of grey in his black hair, or maybe it was brown, it was too dark to tell, and his eyes were the deepest and darkest blue I had ever seen, almost verging on black themselves.
Before I was aware, and luckily before I had gasped at the sight of him, at the feeling that I was coming home, he stuck a hand out at me, leaving the cigarette dangling in his mouth. His other hand he used to steady me, for I was shaking. He must have thought I was going to go tumbling into the rockery.
"I'm Toby. Hello."
"Hello."
It was a funny handshake, him holding me with one hand. I told him my name.
"What are you doing out here, then?" He used my name, tripping it over his tongue lightly, as if tasting it.
"I just needed to get out for a bit. I can feel people talking about me."
He took another drag on his cigarette, and then stubbed it out on the rockery, put the stub in a glass jar that had used to contain coffee, but now contained a mixture of soil, stones and cigarette ends. I thought he might go inside then, but he didn't. He settled himself more comfortably on a rock and stretched his legs out in front of him. "Why would anyone be talking about you?"
I eyed him, cocking my head a little. He swam in my vision from the wine I had drunk earlier. "Don't you know?"
He shook his head. "I don't even know Anna. I came with her brother."
"Oh." I wanted to tell him, and yet it would be so much easier not to.
We sat silently for a while, the light drifting in from the kitchen, and the sound of voices reached us, from that warm house. I breathed in, tugging at the grass, and alternating between looking at the garden - beautiful by moonlight - and back up at the stars, and thinking maybe this man was right. I did belong up there.
And all the while I could feel those blue black eyes burning into me.
"You shouldn't be out here in the cold. It's snowing again."
It was. The white flakes had become superimposed on my eyes, I hadn't noticed that the grass and the rock I was sitting on were turning white. "Oh... " I muttered again, as a few flakes landed on my bare leg, and slid down, cutting me with a cold knife. Toby helped me up.
"Come on lass. Spacegirl you might be, but you're not immune to the cold." His hands were warm.
"Spacegirl?" One of my shudders went through me when he said that, a hundred memories clamouring at the back of my head, just too far away for me to reach them.
"Hmm? Spacegirl? Oh, just ignore me. Too much Pinto Vino, or whatever that awful wine was."
He patted me awkwardly on the shoulder, smiled reassuringly, and then left me, alone with the falling snow.

It was a few days later. "I want that report done by the end of tomorrow," said Calvin, but you could tell his heart wasn't in it. He had his coat on already, it was so cold, and was tapping irritably at his keyboard. He grinned at me, as he spoke. Everyone had their coats on, as thought they were going to run out the door as soon as the clock on the square struck five. I didn't have my coat on, I was still a temp and trying to make an impression. Seems that was my whole life, trying to make an impression.
Rupert took my arm, linking it through his as we met outside my department. "Good day, darling?" he asked, grinning. He had his voice back and was fill of beans. "Look, do you want to go to the pub, cause I've had a rotten day?"
"I'd love to, but your car's parked outside on the street." We weren't allowed to do that outside work hours. If we were going on a night out we were supposed to wait until the executives had gone for the night and then put the cars in the office car park.
"Oh, shit."
He tugged his arm from mine and tripped to the door ahead of me. I went down the stairs at my usual slow pace in my new shoes. Rupert slammed the door and there was a rush of voices outside, talking fast. Male voices.
Suddenly Rupert was back. "There's a man outside."
"OK. There usually is a man of some description outside."
He stood at the front door of the office, his hands in his pockets, suddenly looking smaller.
"Yes, but this one's asking for you."
"Me?" The excitement burbled in my breast like a runaway dove.
"Yeah. Says his name's Toby or some such shit. Gosh, you've one white. You're not..." He came towards the stairs again, arms held out. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah." I smiled at him to show how absolutely fine I was. He stepped away from me, his mouth curving into an uncertain line.
"So, who is he then, this Tony?"
"Toby."
"Sorry. Typo." He smirked out the side of his mouth, still looking worried.
"I met him at the party. You know. Anna's thing?" Heat flushed my cheeks, embarrassment or excitement, I wasn't sure which.
We walked back out together, me just behind him, Toby was waiting for me outside, arms crossed, smoking another cigarette. I stood in the doorway, just looking at him. "Hi."
"Hello," He smiled at Rupert in a way that clearly said, 'Get rid of him'. "How are you?"
"How did you find out where I worked?"
"I just did." He held out the spent cigarette end out to Rupert with a grin. "Listen. I'm really sorry to ask you this, but could you get rid of this for me please? I just... I don't want to chuck it on the floor, you know."
Rupert looked at the cigarette stub, and then he blinked up at Toby.
"There's a bin in reception, disguised as a crocodile. I suggest you use that." He walked away and over his shoulder he called, "JK. I'm going to sort the car out. I'm going to the pub."
Toby watched Rupert's retreating back, a small smile fixed on his face. "I don't think your boyfriend likes me very much."
"He's my best friend. Not my boyfriend."
"I still don't think he likes me." He looked down at the stub in his hand. "I suppose I should get rid of this thing then. I should stop smoking. It's a disgusting habit."
"Then why don't you?"
He glanced up at me, eyes like a bright bird's. "You ask a lot of questions."
"Only about you." I leaned against the doorframe, arms folded.
"I'll tell you in a minute." He ducked into the building, I guessed to dispose of the cigarette end in Rupert's crocodile bin.
I waited, watching Rupert manoeuvre his car, great fat blue thing, and I stared at it. He seemed to have it stuck between the industrial bin and the wall. The window unwound and he stuck his head out.
"You want some help?" I called across the road.
"Go to hell. Go out with your boyfriend." He yelled back. I gigged between my gloved fingers, and waited for Toby to come back out.
"I can't stop smoking," he said. "I tried once and I started to get, you know, not hallucinations exactly, but it wasn't good. It was like having a hangover all the time only worse."
"I've never smoked. Well, a few, but when I was much younger." And I couldn't remember what it had been like.
"Well, my advice is, don't start. You never know, you might be alright, but you might get addicted easily. Is your friend alright over there?" He pointed to Rupert.
"He's just letting off some steam." We listened as a stream of abuse floated out of the car park.
"How did you find me?" I asked again.
Toby grinned and leaned cheekily against the wall, hands in pockets. "I asked Anna. Clever me."
Go figure, Anna was off for a week at some training course, first aid or something. She would have told me if she'd been in. Still, she could have phoned me.
"I'm going to kill her," I muttered.
"Why?"
I shrugged. "She shouldn't have said anything. Where I work, it's... you know, private. You could be anybody."
"Hey, I'm kosher. I'm her brother's best friend. I'm not a mad rapist."
I snorted. "That's what you would say, if you were a mad rapist." But I couldn't get over the way his black eyes sparkled in the sunlight, the same as they had in the moonlight, but now you could see the blue in them. I grinned, then imagined my teeth sticking out stupidly, and tried to contain the smile.
We stared at each other for a few seconds, each leaning on the opposite side of the doorframe.
Finally Toby said, "Right... well then, there's a reason I came to find you."
"Oh yes?"
He blushed, slow and lovely, like a tide coming in. I had never seen the sea in this new life, but I remembered, vaguely, a holiday to some foreign place I couldn't remember the name of, with some girls from college.
The blush spread to the angles of his face, and he looked away from me. "Well... we didn't get much of a chance to talk the other night. I wondered if I coul..."
I saw Rupert swagger up out of the corner of my eye. "Have her number?" he interrupted. "What you doing, hanging around my girl?"
"Rupert..." I warned.
Rupert stood at right angles to us both, a mark from the inside of his car on the wrist of his white shirt, just visible as he stood with his arms folded across his chest, scowling.
"What?" he snapped. Oh dear, he's starting to sound like me.
"Rupert... come on, you're not my mother."
He brightened instantly, a wicked grin appearing on his face. "I'd love to know what she thinks of this."
"Do you think I should go? I mean, I can-"
"And you can shut up!" it was my turn to snap, this time at Toby, who was slowly inching away from Rupert, away from me, down the street. "Rupe, give us two minutes."
"Oh, that's a quick one." He turned to Toby, "Are you sure you can-"
I grabbed Toby by the arm, and dragged him down the street a little way, stamping hard on the ground so I couldn't hear what else Rupert might be saying. Toby watched him.
"Look, what is it?" I asked Toby.
"Is your friend alright?"
"Yes. Just very protective of me."
"And jealous, it looks like."
I smiled, feeling it was my turn to blush, and this time I didn't have the cover of the night sky and the stars to shield me. "We've been through a lot together."
"You keep saying things like that. What's the matter with you?"
I waved my hand in the air, watched him. "I don't think I know you well enough..." But he kept looking at me. "I had amnesia a long time ago, well, not that long ago really, and Rupert helped me through it. I'm alright now." Yeah, apart for ten months of time that I can't account for. As well as all the little gaps. "I'm sure Anna must have told you all this."
Toby shook his head. "Believe me, I had to force the information I did out of her. She's a better friend than you think she is." He glanced at Rupert again. He stared at us, leaning against the wall, arms still folded, tapping one foot irritably against the pavement. I followed his gaze.
"Look, "I said, "I'm going to go with him. We're going to the pub. You can come too, if you like." It was an empty offer.
Toby laughed nervously, and threw his head back. "I don't think he'd want me there. It would just be too... weird. But, look, I came to ask for your number, if that's ok?" He flushed again, but not so strongly this time. "We could go for dinner, I mean, some other day. Not today." He gestured towards Rupert again.
"Have you got a pen?"

*

"Who the hell is he?" snapped Rupert once we were in the pub, The Fleet Horse, with an opened bottle of some awful cheap wine in front of him. I was mixing some of it with my usual lemon and lime soda.
"I told you, just some guy I met at Anna's party. He's nice."
"No he isn't!" Rupert snapped again.
I reached across to take his hand. He flinched away.
"Rupert, come on."
He shrugged. "Well, I don't like him. You want to be careful."
That was the last word that was said on the matter.

We went to see Macbeth, and laughed our heads off. Afterwards we went to the Wetherspoons across the road from the theatre.
"I've never liked Shakespeare," Toby said, sipping at a bottle of Corona, and playing with his empty cigarette packet.
"I loved it. I've never seen Macbeth before." I paused. "I've never seen any Shakespeare before."
"Never...?"
I shook my head, unwilling to say any more.
"What happened to you? Was it a medical thing? Or..."
I shrugged. "I just woke up one morning and found I'd lost ten months of my memory, and in trying to get it back, I lost all my memories. I haven't got all of them back yet. Sometimes I feel like I could be anyone, like I'm a stranger living in someone else's skin."
Toby gazed thoughtfully at the bottle of beer. "I can't imagine that. Not knowing who I was."
"Yeah, well, Rupert helped. He used to tell me stories - the craziest things. And it helped me remember. I still can't remember a lot of things I learnt when I was a kid - you know, Geography and history and everything. That's why I don't know anything about Shakespeare."
Toby grinned. "Well, you're not missing much. He's an acquired taste. English A Level, you don't want to go there.
"Oh, I did, by all accounts. Can't remember any of it though. I can't drive either. I tried to learn again a few weeks back, but I kept finding that I'd forgotten everything I'd learnt the week before, when it was time for my next lesson. So I gave up. I can't seem to learn anything. I forget a week later."
Toby put his arm round my shoulders, and I snuggled into his chest. It felt nice. It felt better than nice.
"You can come back to the flat if you want." It was the flat he shared with Anna's brother.
"I think its a bit soon."
"I don't mean for that. Just a glass of wine and we can sit on the balcony."
I burst out laughing. "It's January!"
"We'll put on coats, It'll be lovely. They said it was going start snowing again tonight."
I refused, three night in a row.
And on the fourth night, it was still snowing.


*


About The End Of The Dream: The End... is a novella I wrote between March and July of this year, and its unnamed main character and her situation are loosely based on a well known TV series. It was originally a short fanfiction piece, but evolved into something more - roughly 42000 words long.

At this time I am not planning to sell this novel, but I would still like it to have a bit of an audience. Feedback and comments would be greatly appreciated, of course. :)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Public Service Announcement

The End Of The Dream will be available to read on this blog from December 1st.

I'm planning to post one part a week until the end of January (probably), and each part will be replaced at the start of a new week with the next part. So I'll post part one on December 1st, but I'll delete that post on December 8th when I post the second part.

At the moment I'm just looking for some feedback on this novella, so I'd really appreciate it if you could read the parts and leave comments. :) I may publish it as a free Ebook (or one available for a small price), but I've got to work out how to do that first...

Won!! (Sort of)

I've reached 53,000, so I've won Nanowrimo, but I've still got a loooong way to go to reach 100k. I won't feel as if I've won unless I get my 100,000 so getting to 50,000 is a bit of an anticlimax.

And now I have to write 47,000 in nine days. God help me.

On the plus side, I think I'm at that point of being more than halfway where it's like being on a rollarcoaster and there's some momentum there, and I can just write and write until I'm finished and hopefully everything should fall into place. It's difficult to describe, but it's a great feeling.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Nano Update - Day XII

Yes, I know Roman numerals. How sad am I? I mainly learnt them from Tarot cards, though.

Anyway, re Nanowrimo: I'm at just over 35k and I'm finally starting to enjoy myself. This last week has been a slog and a half, especially with the hectic social life. I love my social life. I didn't much of one when I was a teenager, so I'm hugely grateful for having a social life now I'm couple of years into my 20's, but couldn't it hang fire until December?

Mention of December opens the doors for my Christmas rant, which I don't have time for now, but which I hope to be able to blog about over the weekend to give you a change from going on and on about Nanowrimo.

I'm happy with my novel today. I've written 2900 words tonight, and I'm now only 4500 words behind. And my characters have started to do things by themselves, which is wonderful.

And on that high note, I'm going to bed. :)

Monday, 9 November 2009

I Rock!

I'm up to date!!

I made a proper day of it yesterday and wrote 12300 words, and I'm now a couple of hundred words ahead of my Nano goal. Yes!

Seriously, that makes 3000 words a day look like a piece of cake. If I manage to get 100k by the 30th November, I'm going to have a large drink, and a cigarette, and I'm going to watch Grease. And then I'm going to have a lie down.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Day V

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason, and not a lot of plot going on...

Oh, that was so uncool. But funny.

So, yes, Nanowrimo update. It's all gone a bit Pete Tong. The first two days were absolutely brilliant. I did 3700 words on the 1st, 3200 on the second. That really impressed me as I'd been at work all day. Then, the following happened:

Day 3 - Fell asleep and scraped togather 1300
Day 4 - Went to see Muse* and wrote 0 words. Haha...
Day 5 - written 3000 words so far, but need to write another 5500 words by the end of the night to catch up.

That makes total word count 11100 (give or take), and right now, I'm supposed to be at 16700 if I want to make my goal of 100k. At this moment, I feel like Writer Cat (in the sidebar) looks. And I have officially flipped out.

Help. Why did I decide to do this?

*Muse were bloody amazing though. Matt Bellamy has a piano that lights up! I want one.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Day One In The Nanowrimo House

And I'm up to 3015 words already. If I was only writing the normal 50k I'd be laughing my head off round around now. I'm aiming to write at least another 1000 words tonight, because I really can't see myself writing 3350 words after a full day at work. Not even close.

Thankfully I have a day off this week so I can pretend to be a real author for a day.

Mind you, if I can write more than 3350 words today it will be the first time ever that I have reached my daily goal on the first day, aiming for 50k or not.

And I've even had time to muck about on the forums. :)

Saturday, 31 October 2009

In Other News

I have finished revising The End Of The Dream. Oh bliss, and wonder. I've done it. I've actually revised something and not ended up hurling it out of the window in disgust because it's irrepairably awful!

Slightly perturbed that it appears to have gained nearly 3000 words during revision though. Isn't a completed draft of something supposed to equal 90% of the first draft? Mind you, I did have to rewrite the entire ending.

Thing is, what on earth do I do with it now?

One Day To Go

Ok. I think I'm ready. But let's do this Trainspotting style:

Doing (and winning) National Novel Writing Month: Stage One: preparation. For this you will need: one room which you will not leave; one pc; official fingerless 'Novelling' gloves, one pair of; one playlist; tea, endless supply of, for consumption hot or cold depending on how well the writing is going; easy to eat foods, such as grapes, crisps, buscuits, endless supply of; mouth wash; vitamins; water; Lucozade; one bucket for urine, one for feces, and one for vomitus (ok, that is a joke. I have a perfectly good bathroom!); various DVD's, mostly featuring Johnny Depp and/or directed by Tim Burton, or Doctor Who; and one bottle of rum, for when I get totally and utterly sick of writing and need to get hammered.

We'll leave the nasty things that you stick up your *censored* out of the equation, I think.

And now... now I'm reaady. :) Bring it on.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

A Title, A Title, My Kingdom For A Title...

And I think I have one. But even if I don't I have found the theme for this year's Nano novel.

I ended up listening to the song that won this year's Eurovision Song Contest and found that the lyrics and general atmosphere of the song evoke the same kind of feeling as what I want the novel to have.

The title is still subject to change but its better then the one I had before:

Jingle Scissorclaws - A Fairy Tale.

I'm on Grimms complete book of Fairy Tales at the moment, to help me with the plot and see if I can't find an alternative title along the way. It worked for Dancing For Ribbons (I picked up a book on the Georgian era, when Dancing for Ribbons is set, and that was the first phrase I read when I opened the book at random)

November the first, here we come. For the first time, I feel like I could actually do this. :)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Nano Worldbuilding

I have to say, worldbuilding is a lot more fun when I'm actually creating new worlds instead of researching 'real world' stuff. :) My Nanowrimo planning is going brilliantly. And I really hope that hasn't just jinxed it.

I still don't have a decent title though. I can't call it 'Jingle Scissorhandscat'. I just CAN'T.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Now On Twitter

I have finally joined the ranks of Twitterdom.

Find me at @roseghost on Twitter.

I'm thinking about doing a Twitter novel, using the really pared down style of messaging on Twitter. Each chapter/scene can be no more than 140 characters long.

I'm thinking maybe that is a project for December, though.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The End Of The Dream Revision

I'm surprised at how well my revision is going. Reading through The End Of The Dream, it seems to be a remarkably clean first draft. I've almost finished the read through and working out where the problems lie, but there don't seem to be that many problems. But then it does have a very simple plot.

I'm more confused about what to do with it after revision. It's a very loose Doctor Who fanfiction, although I don't mention any of the names or situations from the series. I hint, but no more. You'd probably only guess what I was writing about if you were a fan of the series, but I don't want to try and publish and find myself faced with a lawsuit.

I think I'm going to post it here, in chapters, and on a few writing communities that I'm on. Then I maybe, just might hit some of the internet magazines to see if they will run it as a series piece. We'll see. I don't really want to make money from it, considering how heavily influenced it is by Doctor Who, but I want people to see it.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Dancing For Ribbons Update

Just one thing i forgot to add - I have finished the first 'book' of Dancing for Ribbons, and have now written almost 30,000 words of the novel!!!

:D

Holy F***!!

It's November in 31 days time. And I am never never never going to pull off my word count goal. Never in a million years of Novembers. I can barely manage to scrape together 30,000 words a month, never mind 100,000.

Hmm. Well, at the very least I can try and beat last years total of 80k. If I do that much I will be seriously impressed.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Day 12 in the big brother house...

Nothing much to report, hence the silly title. I'm not dead, just been sick for a few days (you say cold, I say swine flu. Ha) and immersing myself in Tim Burton films.

Hopefully this weekend I can get some work done on both my novels. I won't be able to work on them for the next two months (see schedule below) so I need to leave them in a good place. Already Dancing For Ribbons seems like a novel someone else is writing. It's growing away from me somehow.

Schedule for the next 2 months:

October 1st - 14th: Revise The End Of The Dream

October 15th onwards: Character building, worldbuilding, plotting for 'Jingle Scissorhands Cat'. That's not the real title, but considering that last year, my NaNo novel had 3 titles by the time I did the 3rd draft, I'm not pushing for one. I'm using a very abbreviated method from my 2YN course, as it has worked so well for D4R.

If I have any time left in October I need to do some NaNo practise to see how hard it really going to be to write 3350 words every day (including 'school' nights).

November: Write 100,000 words. Piece of cake...

Monday, 14 September 2009

On Writing (warning: rant)

Wow. I wrote 4248 words today. I love having days off work and not having anything planned because then I can pretend to be a real author, and that this is actually my job.

When I have days like this, I feel like I could seriously do this every day for the rest of my life. I'd probably have a good go at writing 4000 words every day, too.

It's one thing writing and disciplining yourself to write when you have had a 3 day weekend, and have had a mimimum of 8 hours a sleep each night for the last 3 days.

It's a completely different story when you are smack in the middle of a working week, with only 6 and a half hours sleep most nights, and the dread of what horrors the rest of the week has in store for you hanging over your head, and only four hours in the evening to do all the millions of things that you need to do, and you can see the tension wired into your face (seriously, I look about 2 years younger on Saturday night than I do on Thursday night. Weird), and writing gets pushed right to the back of the queue in favour of watching Pirates of the Caribbean (again...).

Ok, rant over. I just need to update my progress bars with my super dooper word count. :)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Constructivity

Oh, I don't want to do anything constructive.... I want to look at the NaNoWriMo website.

Oh, I'll get a cup of tea and then see what I can do. I suppose I could write for twenty minutes and then have a break for a bit.

At least I'm all set for NaNo now, with my impressive new website word progress counters (on the right). Apparently I am 12% through D4R already, but I don't think that can be right. It looks as if it is going to run over the goal of 125,000 words. By a lot.

I want tea. Now.. .

Saturday, 12 September 2009

What Happens When....

....two revelations, two ideas and a bored muse come together?

I've cracked my problem of getting Amy out of the asylum. Yes! It involves both the ideas I had already, but with twists. See, Holly (Lisle), I'm learning!

Unfortunately, I've also had an idea on how to change the opening of the novel, and I don't think it's something that I can wait until the revision to change so I'm going to have to do it tonight....

But first, a well deserved snack (strawberries and cream - I'm holding on to the summer while it still appears to be here).

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Damn...

Ok, so I've spent the entire evening setting up a new blog.

I really need to do some writing tonight. I really need to get Amy out of that lunatic asylum. But at the moment I can't think how.

Quotes 1

"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies."
'She Walks In Beauty' Lord Byron

"Paint me an angel, with wings, and a trumpet, to trumpet my name over the world."
Thomas Chatterton

"It's cheap magic, but it's all God left us with."
Stephen King

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it’s OK to be different, that it’s good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color.”
Johnny Depp

"He who waits to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything."
Samuel Johnson

"You were also Sheherazade to yourself..."
Stephen King - 'Misery'

"The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair."
DouglasAdams

"Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."
Mark Twain

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest human battle ever and to never stop fighting."
e. e. cummings

"I think the thing to do is enjoy the ride while you're on it."
Johnny Depp

"We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars."
Oscar Wilde

"The monsters and the Doctor; seems you can not have one without the other. But you and I both know, don't we, Rose, that the Doctor is worth the monsters."
Madame Du Pompadour (Doctor Who - Girl In The Fireplace)

"Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words."
Edgar Allan Poe

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."
Maya Angelou

"I was ecstatic they re-named 'French Fries' as 'Freedom Fries'. Grown men and women in positions of power in the U.S. government showing themselves as idiots."
Johnny depp

"Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."
George Bernard Shaw

"Find enough clever things to say, and you're a Prime Minister; write them down and you're a Shakespeare."
George Bernard Shaw

"How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoyed in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move!
The sound is forced, the notes are few!"
'To the Muses, st. 4' William Blake

"Man is free at the instant he wants to be."
Voltaire

"Almost everything is imitation. The idea of The Persian Letters was taken from The Turkish Spy. Boiardo imitated Pulci, Ariosto imitated Boiardo. The most original writers borrowed from one another."
Lettre XII: sur M. Pope et quelques autres po├Ętes fameux, Lettres philosophiques (1733) Voltaire