The May 3rd Story (Story-A-Day May!)

rumored to be the inner courtyard

rumored to be the inner courtyard

Today’s caveat: I skated for the first time since before surgery, I worked on getting ready for an art festival tomorrow, and I went to a birthday party. I’m tired. Very tired. But I refuse to give up this early in the month, and I wanted to add another character to the mix. So. Here’s today part. With more time and energy…but at least something is written!

The three teens stood close together under the trees around the Asylum. The moon glowed through the branches, but only a sharp eye would have seen the young people standing there. They wore black, as they always did, and hoods hid their faces.

Sneaking into the Asylum had been Hannah’s idea. She’d longed to see what was inside for as long as she could remember. It was rumored that her grandmother lived in the Asylum, but whenever Hannah asked her parents, they hushed her and reminded her that all of her grandparents were dead.

The boys with her had quickly agreed to join in her adventure. Of course they wanted to go. That’s what they said. Neither would ever admit otherwise to Hannah when under her gaze. But looking up at the high walls, both boys wondered if they liked Hannah that much.

She sensed their hesitation. “I’m going first,” she said. “Don’t follow me if you’re scared.”

The boys insisted they weren’t scared. They said one of them should go first and make sure it was safe.

“My plan. My glory,” she replied. In her gloved hands she held the hook and the rope she’d stolen from her father’s workshop. She stepped out from under the tree, steadied herself, and tossed the hook up. The first few tries sent the large hook hurtling back at them. They boys jumped backwards. She kept trying.

Eventually, the hook caught. She pulled herself up. At the top of the wall were spikes and embedded in the concrete was broken glass. It took effort, but she’d been training for this. She managed to balance herself with one foot on each side of a spike. The heel of her boot cracked a bit of glass. She could see into the courtyard. Finally, for the first time she saw the front doors of the Asylum.

A light glowed above the grand doors, but otherwise the building was in darkness. The moonlight reflected on window panes. She was surprised that there were no bars on most of the windows. She’d assumed there’d be bars.

One of the boys called to her.

Hannah looked over the grounds, and it seemed safe. She was about to say something to the boys, when the sound of a rusty hinge caught her attention. She looked up at the roof. She gasped.

A boy in pajamas was climbing out a window. The roof was steep. Surely the child was going to fall.

Hannah bent down and picked up the rope. She began to coil it into her hands.

“Hannah?” said one of the boys. “What are you doing?”

With all the rope in her hand, she let it fall to the other side of the wall. The little boy, she notice, was still standing on the roof, his hands outstretch as if he were catching moonlight.

“Han!” said the other teenage boy down on the ground. “Hannie!”

She looked down at the two of them, gave a wave, and began her journey down into the Asylum.

Validation Drug Trip

I’d love to say that I need no outside validation for my writing…but then I’d be lying. However, validation seems like a drug. Every time you need a little bit more than last time to get that lift.

Fairly soon I’m going to have to resort to a cheap compliment fishing expedition to get the validation I crave, even though that kind of validation is never as good as a pure freely-given compliment.

HOw much do you rely on others to tell you your writing is any good?

Inundated, overwhelmed, and out of my mind. You?

My son's "Are you crazy?!" look.

I’ve got a stack of novels and short stories I’ve written and a folder stuffed with rejections. I think I fumbled (to put it politely) my last effort at getting an agent. But self-publishing doesn’t appeal to me either.

You know those hoarding shows where you can see people surrounded, no, overwhelmed by the dross and remains of their lives? I feel like that except instead of pizza boxes and newspapers and cats, it written words and all the talismans that cling to them. I don’t even know where to begin.

Some days I think I can do anything I put my to. Other days…I wonder much I could carry to the dumpster before my mind clears.

Ever think of just throwing all those words away?

What I Hate Most about Art

bunny ornaments

Pricing. This Friday is time again to hang my art in public (public hanging!) and decide what numbers to put on those little tags.

Part of me wonders why art can’t just be free. Oh, that’s right. Artists like to eat and have heat in the winter.

Crazy but true.

So, yes, I know all the things to consider: cost of materials, amount of time, quality of piece, how much I want it to sell, what the market will tolerate…

I’ve read a lot about pricing, but that hasn’t made it any easier. Money is another word for psychological land mine.

Now, I’ve made a few handmade books. Most of them are small books–a short story or two inside. Only one is a hardcover.

My research on how to price handmade books has pulled up only blank books, like leather bound journals or small, pretty books that are works of art but contain no story.

Now, a hardcover book cost $30, right? Give or take.

But that’s a factory made book.

But charging for my time and materials…means a crazy high price.

So logically it seems foolish to make things I can’t sell.

But I don’t do it for money.

But I’ve got to cover my cost because I’m not a trust fund baby.

Besides, who even wants a handmade book in our ebook world?

Oh, well. It isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t sell. That’s the nature of these things.

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P.S. I’ve been working on my other blog–where I’m famous in a parallel universe. You can find out more here.

Magic Pixie Dust & Other Ways to Act like a Grown-up

My next art show is January 20th. My spring semester starts January 9th. I’m not prepared for either.

If I could give up washing dishes, laundry, walking the dog, and parenting, I might feel okay with these dates–and I might not have this headache.

But no pixie is going to sprinkle my apartment with magic dust and announce, “You now have the gift of extra time!”

Bills will not pay themselves. (Shocking, isn’t it?)

I don’t need to live in a spotless apartment (please, never stop by unannounced), but I do rather like eating off clean plates and wearing clothes that don’t smell. (I’m a conformist.)

The thing I’ve learned about art shows (at least, my art shows) is that they do not pay for themselves. From a budget perspective they are foolish endeavors… why go through all the bother?

I know plenty of people who when deciding where to live and what to study and what job to take look at the money. They have a lifestyle they want (above the basic food-and-shelter), and they act accordingly. Often these people have lovely houses in nice neighborhoods and they do things like take trips and go shopping for new clothes.

When I’m in these people’s houses I feel I’m from another planet and my brain is incapable of figuring out how these people manage it. They have matching furniture in the living room!

Okay, I’m rambling when I’ve got plenty of work to do.

If you know how to juggle everything and live like a grown up, please let me in on the secret.