Who I am as a Writer

That is the fun about exploring who cares if it matches or makes sense?

Of late I have found myself reading posts and forums on the work of writing. How outlines must be created, chapters briefly explained. How every day one must sit down at a certain time and write a certain amount of words. I read these words and I am at a loss to understand.

I am not that type of a writer. I cannot do outlines. I cannot set aside time every day at a set time to write.  I write when my voices speak to me. I have no control over what I write because I am only the conduit for my characters.

Does that sound odd? I have always been lost to my characters. I can write no outlines because I do not know where the story is going. I cannot control much beyond finding pen and paper or my phone to write on if they decide to talk to me when I am not at home and have my computer handy.

My email is filled with little notes to myself from my characters. Not because I believe that they are truly sending me emails but because some times they let me know of a small but important factor of the story not yet told. And so I email myself that note so as to not lose it and every time I open up to check other emails, there is it re-reminding me of their intent.

My first draft will include everything that my characters want it to include. The second draft will be a parsing of the first draft. In some cases whole chapters will be rewritten or deleted as unnecessary. Third draft a little more cutting and reshaping. The story is still all theirs I am just modifying with their assistance. Fourth draft, by than we have found our voice and the story speaks strongly. This is based on my experience of writing a novel in high school.

My characters stopped coming to me when I become not me. Twenty some long years while they remained silent. My poetry was my only outlet but it was written in bursts of heartache and pain. Depression and naked vitriol. Since becoming the saner happier version of myself, my characters are returning in full force. They are awakening and boy oh boy are they rarin’ to go.

I look at my writing today and I love where it is going. I am never going to be famous because of my words and I probably never will make enough money that would allow me to retire from my job and write full time. But I will write. And I will create. Because for me, like the Bards of times passed, it is the story and the characters that call to me and draw me in.

I chose to share my writing in part due to a fellow blogger who pushed and kicked me into joining WordPress. Also, I finally am in a space in my life where I am proud of how I write and I want others to enjoy it. I do not seek acclaim (a wee bit of praise is nice lol but just knowing others see my posts is validation) for I finally am writing in freedom and peace, and I am loving it.

 

WIP

Why did they follow me? I laid my head on the table, one eye closed so I could see the men that sat around me. I had drank too much. Again. So much easier to cloud my mind with alcohol than face the issues I had to.

“Princess?”

My Paladian. Why did he continue to wear that rusted armor? Why when it must be a weight upon his shoulders. I loved him. This man who chose to follow me despite the fact, no, the absolute certainty that I was going to lose here. I cannot even begin to reason why I have the followers that I do. Much better to remain drunk all the time. Way way better.

“Princess? We need to look at these.”

“What are they?” I squinted at the lines that squiggled and moved on the paper.

“It is the map you demanded. The lay out of the King and Queen’s armies.”

“Are they together?”

“The King and Queen?”

“Yes.”

This war was madness. I did not even want to be involved. My parents dove into what should have been a private family matter and made it about showing their power? I really cannot tell you. Once I found out that I was faced with this battle, I began to drink. And I have not stopped since.

I drank at supper time mostly. If my Paladian was lucky he would try to catch me just after the hang over left my body and my hand found the wine I demanded be placed at my bedside. Were he to catch me out it was hell. For he moved the carafe just out of my reach and I would have to crawl from my cot to reach it. After the first time when I fell to my knees and had to travel across the floor like a baby, I remained in bed until the shaking stopped.

I looked at my brute of a man. Well I sorta squinted at him but he was a marvel to be seen even through one eye. 6’3″, with a body that was mmmmm the abs on this man were tighter than hospital corners. His long blonde hair was caught back in a pony tail and he shaved nearly every day. Because he thought I hated the gentle scratch of his whiskers. When really I loved it. But I live in a time when women do not voice their preferences.

“Princess you need to look at this.”

He waved the paper at me. I lifted my head and he slid it before me. I looked down and as I did the table began to do the wave lift. You know what I mean, it appears that the table warps and moves like a wave. Usually that is enough to send me sprinting for the nearest latrine but tonight I swallowed my bile back down.

“Princess may I assist?”

My second in command. A Dwarf. Mathais is his name. He is smart. He is cute. He is short. I am sure without me my Paladian and Mathais could have already won this war. And yet they both remain by my side. Fools the two of them. Like really what on earth did these two men see that kept them at my side.

“Ah I see. Your father has loped around and cut off any rear retreat Princess. Your mother is off to the Southeast. That only leaves us with the Northern Passes.”

“Are you shitting me?”

I gaped at Mathais. The Northern Pass? What could possibly make my parents think that this was a good choice. Ah yes, my absolute despisal of cold weather. So they felt that if they punished me as though I was a wayward child, that I would cave. I am guessing that neither one of them truly knew who I was. This attitude was enough to make me dig my heels in and send someone ahead to have sleds and warm clothing waiting when we got to the mountains. Along with a casket or two of brandy. It is brandy that warms you on a cold winter’s night is it not?

“Wait what about the Southwest? I know that we would be passing through the desert but surely we could travel that way?” Thomas called from the corner of my tent.

Dear, sweet Thomas. He who believed that following me was going to make for great tales. He was going to create ballads and poems of wonder based on my deeds. He was going to be the greatest minstrel of all. Riding my coattails to get where he wanted to be. So far, he had seen me puke a lot but no real heroic deeds have I performed.

“The Southwest is dominated by Perius, and I am sure that he has joined with mother and father in plotting my ultimate demise,” I spoke bitterly.

Perius, my childhood playmate. At the time a prisoner ensuring his father’s goodwill towards my own. Neither of us knew this. Neither knew that we were being groomed to marry, a desire that I outgrew when I was sixteen and found Perius kissing my brother in the garden. When his father died, conveniently upon Perius turning eighteen my parents could not even mask their glee. Duke Margion had had appetites and a long standing idea for expanding his fiefdom. It meant annexing parts of my parents land hence Perius becoming my friend.

“Princess no one, least of all your parents want your demise. You know that,” the soft voice from behind me made me grit my teeth.

He still wore his priestly frock though he was a disgrace. The church had cast him out for he spoke still of the gentler Mother that we use to worship. She who provided the bounty of our fields and our wombs. She who bore the warrior sons that had helped to build our kingdom. This theme of one male god was unimaginable. No man brought forth life, he lusted and desired only to conquer and seed the world with his spawn.

I sighed. My team, small and worthless. What did I fight for? Love? It was not for my people that is for sure. I did not even know my people. What I knew were the stupid ideas of a girl child who as Princess was kept ignorant of the ideas and mores of the people she saw only as shadows.

The unthinkable was about to happen in my family. My parents had two children. Myself and my slightly older brother. He was exactly nine months older than me. Now that I am older and understand the anatomy and childbirth I find this hard to reconcile but my parents insist it is a truth. Older brother Kayia was meant to rule the kingdom. I was meant to make a marriage that enveloped more land, making Kayia a greater King than even my father had been.

My marriage to Perius had it gone through would have brought another quarter of the continent under my family’s reign. But well there was the small problem of Perius liking men, mostly my brother, and the smaller fact that I knew about it. That was a family meeting I wish I had been drunk for.

Kayia threatened to denounce the throne as ill gotten if my parents forced either him or Perius to marry. I had waved weakly from the bottom of the table where I and my Paladian (or rather another childhood prisoner, this one having become a lover) sat but we were ignored. It was quite the incredible argument I can tell you that. I do believe that that was the night my desire to become drunk and stay drunk may have begun.

My parents scoffed at Kayia’s threats. I groaned. You think that I am stubborn for deciding to trek over the mountains, into territory so new that no one knew what lay on the other side, ha, Kayia has me beat. Has. Had. My usage of present and past will switch around as each piece of the story becomes relevant.

Kyia. My brilliant beloved brother. I know that he is birthed of my mother, for we share similar features, but who my father is is a mystery. Kayia with the subtle influence of my mother’s looks, appears to be the exact version of my father. Only not so stern, not so angry, not so needy.

Kayia. Long and lean. A sturdy 6’2″. His caramel hair flows over his shoulders. Deep amber eyes that glittered golden when he joked and teased. That flared with love and desire as he glanced at Perius. Kayia, the stupid ass who helped me to start this war.

“Princess? Would you like another glass of wine?”

I lifted my head slightly from the table and gave the smallest of nods. The room did a spin-a-roo on me but once I had more alcohol in me I was going to be fine. Just fine. I knew that I needed to come up with a plan. I needed to have something firmer than just a direction to travel in. There were a lot of people depending on me. Again, I am not sure why. I do not offer them anything. I have made them no promises but it turns out that my parents might be crazy?

I live in a land where there are a vast array of cultures and characters. We do not turn any away but we do insist that they are kept in their place. Or rather my idiot parents insist that those they feel are beneath them are kept to their place. So essentially everyone who exists at this point and time. My parents believe they are so superior they want to be worshiped as gods.

I am so sorry for bouncing all over. Introducing you to people. Giving you brief biographies. Will this story have a happy ending? I am not sure. Am I scared shitless? Damn rights I am. I lead an army of folk, people who no longer want to feel inferior. Who no longer want to worship my parents as gods. How they have settled on me to be their savior I have no idea.

Paladian

I watch as my Princess raises her goblet to her lips. I know that the sour swill she drinks will cause her to black out. Cause her to forget for a short while the problems that she is facing. None of this should be her burden. Damn Kayia for doing this to her. He is not nearly as perfect as some thought of him.

Perius. He loved Kayia. Why he is angry with my Princess I do not know. This is not a subject that she will discuss with me. There is a secret burden that they share. There is a secret that eats at their souls and that is why my Princess is always drunk and Perius seeks to end her life.

Kayia. The golden Prince. His birth had been preordained. The stars aligned. Gypsies had told tales of his coming. Only one with the true sight saw the damage he would wrought. She was killed, racked before Kayia was born. No one wrote down what she foretold.

The King and Queen. Entities who had appeared. Who gathered their people together, welcoming everyone and all. They reigned in peace and no one encroached on their kingdom. Until they did. Like small gnats you cannot see but feel biting you in the middle of the night.

Kayia came first. And than my Princess. She was beautiful at birth. Or so the stories have told me. As a child her lips were a rosy red and pursed like a furled rose bud about to bloom. As she aged, they became less pronounced as she grew into her face. Beautiful auburn hair capped head. Long and with a lusty cry. She announced herself to the world and her brother’s howls could be heard to entwine with hers.

Telain was docile in the crib. She was intrigued by the shadows that danced across the ceiling. She grew quicker than most children are suppose to. At six months she was standing in her crib, bouncing on her toys, squealing to play with her brother. At seven she discovered her feet and how to move them. Her governess was forever on the run after that.

All knew. How could they not. No woman has ever fallen pregnant the same day that she gives birth to one child. The King bore it well. But the stress as the queen grew ever larger caused his hair to grey. He took to leaving the castle and riding in the woods. Trying to out ride his problems most said.

The Mad King

Oh they all laughed at me. As my Queen’s belly grew. I could see them snickering in the corners. See how they waited until I was around the corner before they began to mock the cuckolded king. I began to feel how I was losing my grasp, that my kingdom may soon fall. They told me of a boy King who would save us all. They told of a girl child who was going to destroy it all. What am I to do.

I love my wife more than any can imagine. I would never cause her heart ache. But within her belly she carries a monster. A child who is going to tear apart my kingdom, wreck havoc to all I have built.

I knew what I was going to have to do. I knew that this very act was going to destroy the relationship that the Queen and I shared. My sweet Queen. She who bore me the son who would carry on my crown. I could not allow the girl child to live. I would be there at the birth and smother the child. Failing that I will put her upon the rocks, upon the shores of the lake and something will take her. I would pray that something would take her.

The rage I felt lead me to leave the castle grounds on a daily basis. I fled to the forest, searching for vagabonds and derelicts. Anyone I could take my fury out on for my sweet Queen would not tell me what had happened to her. I bloodied my sword a lot that summer. And there were a lot of storms.

Most of the time I was able to chive and harry my steed homeward. But not that one night. I knew that there was something magical about this night. The air as I rode through the forest was hot, cloying, a wetness that hung over your body, your face, clung to your hair. My armor was heavy, pulling me downward until I slumped over the horn of my saddle.

My stallion’s head dragged close to the ground. I could hear his wheeze as the humid air began to suck the life from both of us. There was a reason this was happening. A stray thought straggling through my mind. I felt as though I was drugged. My stallion stumbled, falling to his front knees and I tumbled off. I laid in the grass, the stars glinting through the thick forest top. Was this my final day?

When the hag appeared, grizzled and rotten, I was resigned to my fate. I knew this witch. She had foretold the birth of the girl the same day my son was born. I had watched as her body stretched and ripped on the rack. The stench of the grave clung to her and I gagged as she stood watching me crawl forward.

“What? Have you come to watch me die?”

“You are not dying. Only detained.”

“Detained? Why?”

“Tonight she will be born. Tomorrow they will have bonded and nothing you do can tear them asunder.”

“Who will have bonded?”

Despite the fact her head lolled at a particular angle due to the enthusiasm of my jailer, I could in fact feel her disdain. As my steed neighed next to me, nudging me, I stared at her. She was dead and still was making me feel like a child.

“Idiot.” she scoffed. “Your wife, the babe and the boy.”

“Oh no, that is not allowed.” as I stammered out the word I realized how stupid I sounded.

“Ohhhhhh so the king is going to stop the bonding as he lays on the grass. Defeated by humidity and heat. I don’t know what else defeated you,” she snapped angrily.

“How are you even here? Have I gone a little crazy?” I asked. “And are you responsible for all my grey hair?”

“I had nothing to do with your grey hair. Dummy all your worrying and stressing over the new baby. Do not understand why you could not just accept it.” she actually turned her back on me.

“Alright I want the grey hair explained to me. I had beautiful caramel hair just like Kayia and now it is grey, white whatever color you call it!”

The witch glared at me. Pointed at her neck as though making a point. I nearly laughed but only she could give me answers. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. Finally despite the armor I was able to sit up.

©Jay-lyn Doerksen

May 28/17

 

 

 

 

 

My love affair…….

So all my life I have had a love affair with books. I love to read. My mom use to and now I have them, pictures of when I was potty training. I had a stack of books on one side and a bag of cookies on the other side of me. When I had the choice of watching t.v. or reading, I read. My favorite thing to do was go to the library. I use to walk to the library or take the bus and than walk home. Reading the newest book I could find.

I was most reluctant to get a Kindle. I mean I love the smell of books. New or old, the smell of the paper. Nothing is sweeter. Hearing the crack of the spine of a brand new book, nothing sounded more like a perfect hymn than that. The physical weight of the book in your hands. Books, books, books, my ex use to mock me.

I only broke down and bought myself a Kindle after my mom did. She raved about it so I cracked and got one. And I love it. I still love my books, but a Kindle. When I traveled down to Mexico to see my mom, I had this thin book that holds tons and tons of books. It did not add any weight to my luggage.

I began to purge. All my books. Really I gave them all to my sil and niece and nephews. I packaged up all my books and sent them on their way. I can still get them back. The fact remains though that I only kept my favorites. George R.R. Martin, J.V. Jones, Brent Weeks, Brandon Sanderson. Terry Pratchett. He and Brandon each have a whole shelf to themselves. I am sorry, I forgot to mention J. K. Rowling and Robin Hobb. I order the kindle version and print version as well.

Was recently having a conversation with a friend. We were discussing tenent insurance and how I really should get some.

‘Yes you are right. I mean it would be hard to replace all my books.’

‘Your books? Don’t you think that you should be more worried about getting a couch, a t.v. maybe a bed? Books do not need to be replaced right away. They can be gradually acquired.”

I looked at this person with an absolutely horrified look on my face.

‘We cannot see one another any more.’

The look on his face was priceless and I was joking but seriously!! What is wrong with you? Books are my passion. Words written down, stories told, they are so important to me. And to tell me that books can gradually be acquired.

I made the mistake of texting M about this. And she mocked me. She sided with him. She was going to tell him to flick his lighter next to my books. I would have killed him. First, I have an absolute fear of spontaneously combusting. Do I realize that is so unlikely to happen?  Yes I do. My ex flicked his lighter near me several times and earned a punch for his efforts. And now you are going to flick your Bic near my books? He didn’t because she woosed out. So she used it to taunt me today.

Eventually our conversation ended up with her mocking me and me going into the apartment. My plan was to go back to bed. I ended up sitting in front of the computer and playing games on Facebook. And as she was sitting on the front step, in between her door and mine she heard me lock my door.

‘I am going to break in and touch all your books.’ I hear her shout through the door.

I start to giggle and turn around. I stand at the bottom of my stairs. My door closed and locked.

‘You don’t have to break in, you have a key,’ I bellow back.

‘Huh, mumble mumble mumble,’ M mumbled. Not sure what that means.

I told the story to my CS girl and assistant manager today. My CS girl could absolutely not believe that he would say I could acquire books gradually. Like seriously, everyone knows how I feel about books and reading. My assistant manager said those are fighting words and he really does not know you.

I love reading. I love words. I love how I can combine them and make pictures with the prose I write. I love reading the stories that others want to share. Some I envy because I think I will never be good enough and some I believe are compatriots. I denied myself the joy of writing but I have never denied myself the joy of reading. For within those words I am able to lose myself.