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Home, Again

Ireland was amazing. I have many photographs and memories, a few that I will be sharing here in the coming days. It took a few days for me to detox; next time I go, I’ll stay longer to better take advantage of the scenery and the sea air. Ironically, I was sunburned. The day before I left, the forecast said that it would be in the mid-sixties, overcast, and rainy the entire time. There were only two days of such weather. The rest of the time it was in the low seventies and hardly a cloud in the sky. It made for beautiful pictures and spectacular views.

I do have a couple of different stories in the works, thanks to the trip. One of them may show up here in an abridged version for the sake of a contest. An author is giving away ARCs in exchange for ghost stories. If any of you are interested, here’s the link: http://www.jaimeleemoyer.com/delias-shadow-arc-contest/.

Well, that is all for now. As soon as I move my pictures to the computer, I’ll put a few of them up here. If I can figure out how to make my own theme, I may use them for the blog. I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your summer.

Eire!

One week from Thursday I will be on my way to Ireland. That’s right–Ireland. The plan is to do a bit of writing whilst I’m there. I’m not sure that will happen, but an effort shall be made. The weather is a balmy sixty degrees. I am a-tingle with anticipation. I won’t be posting anything while I’m gone and probably not for a few days after I return. Unless something strikes me between now and my departure, this will be the last upload for a couple of weeks. So, here’s a poem about dreaming…

Black as night and blacker still.

A growing emptiness I cannot fill.

Blind and unseeing, I stumble on,

Hoping and waiting for the dawn.

Terrors before me, fear behind,

Pulling, pushing me out of my mind.

Neither up nor down, near nor far –

Lost without a guiding star.

Falling then for time untold,

Rushing water, brisk and cold,

A sudden light before my eyes,

The sound of loud and desperate cries.

I hear the words as a gentle stream:

Awake! Awake! It’s just a dream!

 

Z.

Shakespeare

This was written for a history class a couple of years ago.

___________________________________________________________________

The Common Man
The stage was set, the players in the wings;

The lights were dimmed, the crowd was silent, hushed.
Long had the world been thus in her waitings.
Thank thou those men of noble birth who brushed
Upon the canvas of the populace
Colors, shades, and shapes anew; men who wrote
With mighty pen, words valued then far less
Than older thoughts more beloved, yet they smote
The hearts of men, women, even the young,
The kingly and common, there to ensconce
Within their souls a song as yet unsung.
Thank thou, my friend, those men of Renaissance.
For it is their work in science and art,
Of paint and stone, of spirit’s love and fear,
That crafted the stage, that readied the heart.
It is they who paved the way for Shakespeare.
When all was prepared and his time was come,
When great works fled noble halls and did fan
The winds of change which turned the minds of some,
Then was greatness bestowed on common man.
For the words of this man, revered someday,
Were heard by more than the gold-gilded few.
They were the joys and sorrows meant to sway
The farmers, traders, butchers, shipmen, too.
 
Upon any given day, before noon,
The Globe theatre could its flag unfold
And announce to the city its platoon
Of actors later there a play would hold.
Across the city and in varied places,
Two or three tales in a night they would tell.
Woes of the day, the story erases,
Starting at two and ending near eighth bell.
From dingy alleys and manicured lanes,
From unkempt hovels and pristine abodes,
The people would come, all decked in their chains,
Wearing their finest, coloring the roads
With the layers of purples, reds and blues,
Yellows and greens, like a vivid patchwork,
All manner of dress, all manner of hues,
Embroidery coupled with bead and quirk.
Linen, wool, and silk – together they strode
Up to the doors of the common playhouse.
Regardless of means, regardless of mode,
No matter the credo one did espouse,
Here all were welcome and none turned away.
Each paid he the price, then was bid enter.
If giv’n one penny, the wage of a day,
Stand he could before the stage’s center.
If paid he two pennies, got he a seat.
With one penny more, a cushion was lent.
Additional coin for drink, food to eat.
Thus, then, were time and money both well-spent.
Enraptured by love – Juliet! One kiss –
Ensnared by the chase – fair Kate, shrew untamed –
Enraged by greed – Macbeth destroyed by this –
From play to play, each his own hero named.
 
Now, centuries later, much has been changed.
For ’tis thought that he is common no more;
That famed Shakespeare is from hence estranged;
Minds of the “normal” his words only bore.
Think thou this is true? Shakespeare is removed?
Only scholars, elitists, can divine
The morals therein, which were well-improved
From bygone tales, and thus his work enshrine?
That is not the case, here I assure thee.
As in days of yore, our theaters hold
Tradesmen and scholars, rich and poor jointly,
Though Shakespeare’s tales are not often there told.
However, my friend, the truth still remains:
He wrote for the nobles, farmers, and thee.
The themes in his plays are not ancient strains,
But the music that shapes the melody
To which we each in turn still sway and dance.
For love and hate, fear and joy, time will span.
Into the glass, cast ye a careful glance.
Meet in thy reflection, the common man.

___________________________________________________________________

Z.

Leaping

As I’m sure you know by now, the semester has ended. I spent the last week working and playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. There was some eating and sleeping in there, but that’s about it.

A few months ago, I decided that I would not take any classes this summer. This was due in part to my desire to breathe. It was also because I wanted to write–really write. I’ve started one novel and an anthology of sorts; their bits and pieces can be found scrawled on scrap paper or in MS Word documents. I mostly write poems and short stories. Until this point, my only audience has been my family and teachers. I considered posting a few things here, but I was always worried about copyright and somehow losing my pieces to unscrupulous characters.

Google is both a blight and boon. Never use it to research medical symptoms. However, I did find some helpful stuff about copyrighting that has eased my mind somewhat. It also occurred to me–like a lightning bolt to the brain–that nothing will come of my words if I don’t show them to folks. Rest assured that there is much tremulation and trepidation on my part. My squeak of choice is meep, high pitched and mouse like.

Be that as it may, in addition to being exposed to my random musings you’ll now be subjected to scribbles! You know about my infatuation with fantasy; the things I write, though, are kind of all over the place. Leave comments at your leisure.

This first one is the result of my sister’s wedding plans. Hope you guys like it…

__________________________________________

I don’t know how many times I asked her over the years. My question was always the same, “How will I know?” Her answer was always the same. She’d shake her head while she fiddled with whatever she could get her hands on to give her time to dodge the question. Then she’d answer the way that nearly all adults do, “You’ll know.” Only once was her answer different from this.

It was a rainy night in September, cool in the twilight hours. She sat in her usual chair and I sat on the couch, doing homework while watching a movie on the TV. Mother was writing in her journal – something she used to do after I went to bed, but I was staying up later and later these days. The film was in its final scene. I wasn’t watching too closely as we’d seen it at least three times. My eyes were on the algebraic equations on my paper when I heard it – a contented sigh. I glanced up to see the inevitable long, slow kiss wrapped in smiles and bathed in those happy tears about which we’ve all heard. Even though I’d seen it before, it still held my gaze. Something about the scene just made me feel better…about everything.

“Did you guys do that?” I asked as innocently as I could.

She blinked twice, quickly. “Hmm?”

“You and dad – were you guys like that?”

“Oh, I suppose so.”

“You ran after him?”

“Of course not. He ran after me.” She smiled at this and winked. “He used to say that I was his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: always visible, yet ever out of reach.”

“What? You didn’t like him?” I knew the answer, but it was fun to get her talking about how they met.

As expected, she rolled her eyes. “Now you know that’s not true. I just didn’t like him as much as he liked me. Though I wasn’t really paying that much attention at the beginning.”

“So…when did you know?”

She didn’t hesitate this time or shake her head. She just started talking, “All fairy tales end the same, you know. ‘And they lived happily ever after.’ Even these romantic comedies end that way. Oh, they don’t say it, but that’s what the last scene means. They kiss and walk off holding hands with each other, smiling and laughing at things you can’t hear. That’s what those screenwriters intend: ‘Happily ever after.’

“Oh, I know you think it’s silly. ‘No one can live happily ever after.’ You’re right. We can live happily for a while, but happiness comes and goes. You see, love, it’s not the ‘happily ever after’ that gets us. It’s the hope of the happily ever after.

“You want to know how you’ll know when you’ve met the one? Because there’ll be a moment when all of those happily ever afters don’t seem so impossible, when you’ll feel as though you really could be happy forever as long as that one person is by your side. In that moment, fairy tales will become real.”

*                                                 *                                                    *

That was years ago, now. I hadn’t actually thought about that talk for quite some time. It came back to me, though, just the other day. I had asked you to meet me at our restaurant, remember? As usual, you arrived first and got a table for two. By the time I got there, you and the waiter were on a first-name basis. I walked through the door and looked around for you. But I’m observant, like Sherlock Holmes. It was at least a minute or so until I spotted you. You must have seen me through the window because you were already waving your hand over your head.  You were standing awkwardly with one leg still partially tucked under the table, a huge grin on your face because you were laughing at me (or maybe at both of us), and a napkin somehow sticking to your lap. That was it. That was when I remembered.

You see, don’t you? You understand what I’m saying? That was the moment, love. Right then, I believed every word of every fairy tale I’d ever heard. Right then, I knew that I could have a happily ever after. Right then, you changed my world.

__________________________________________

Z.

Journal Entry 20

Finals are next week. Craziness! As such, it’s time to take a look backwards, to see where I was and where I am now and how I came to be here.

If you read the first journal entry, you might remember that my desire for this course (at the end of all my rambling) was to be heard. As convinced as I was then that developmental editing played a significant part in that goal, I am even more so now. Throughout this semester, I’ve seen what good and bad editing can do. The latter, even if it’s just poor or incomplete, can cause a reader to stop listening altogether or to discount what’s being heard. The same is true of copy-editing, but maybe to a lesser extent. If you think of a novel as a dress, copy-editing makes sure that all the measurements are right, that there’s enough fabric, that the pattern is followed to the letter; developmental editing chooses the pattern, the material, the accessories. A dress may fit perfectly, but if it’s hideous it will hang on the rack for all eternity. If the fit is wrong, but it’s gorgeous, there’s still hope; I can lose weight, let out the seams, or use accessories to disguise the ill fitting sections. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

We spent a lot of time choosing the right material. I really enjoyed the chance to read within my preferred genre, to choose fantasy novels in need of editing. It made it so much easier to delve into the class. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I  enrolled; I figured there would be a lot of reading and that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it, but that it wouldn’t matter much whether I liked the material. Instead, I got to read some pretty cool stuff (and some pretty awful stuff) in the name of education!

I also really liked the group set-up. Rather than focus on group activities and group work for the duration of the course, we spent the first half in our groups and the second as individuals, though still in contact with the group. For folks who are “anti-group,” this worked really well. It managed to give a sense of collaboration, an insight into how an editorial team might function in an actual publishing house, while still allowing the individual to develop and to get a feel for freelance editorial work. There’s an awful lot of group in this paragraph…

The assignments were usually straightforward, though a little tricky. Most classes require students to simply memorize information and then spew it forth when necessary. Developmental editing’s guiding principal is clarity; under the auspices of clarity, there are all manner of edits that can be made to a piece. You also want continuity and believability. Let’s quote Pirates of the Caribbean now: “…the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” It’s like the “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff” of Tenant’s Doctor. Each piece is different and requires different things from the editor. So, while the sheet may have said, “Do this,” it was also saying, “There are lots of ways to do this.”

The extra stuff was a lot of fun, too. I mean by this the production work that we did: analyzing an author’s digital presence, writing a plan to improve that presence, devising a marketing scheme, and coming up with a media release. It felt like I was getting more than lessons on developmental editing; I was getting an introduction to the publishing world and how books come to be. We basically followed manuscripts from their inception to their release (hypothetically, that is). These tidbits were wholly unexpected. They were also insightful. This work tends to be on the periphery of readers, so it was cool to experiment with the behind-the-scenes aspects of publication.

Lastly, the teachers were not too shabby <wink, wink> They’re both authors, one from romance and the other from speculative/fantasy/sci-fi (because they’re lumped together always). This was neat because we students were able to see how things worked in a couple of  genres. The big-name houses are different; acquisition processes are different; the inter-genre “politics” are different–and we caught glimpses of this without having to go through it ourselves. Their frustration was our gain, so to speak…which sounds less awesome when you read that twice. They were both crazily open with us and that lack of inhibition increased the Awesome Factor and the Learning Factor. If you feel like you can’t talk to your teachers, odds are you won’t be asking the real questions for which you need answers.

I heard that there was another section of this class. It didn’t sound nearly as fun as this one…

Z.

Right. This is just a recap of my group’s activities in the early part of the semester. We were the Sci-Fi/Fantasy editors for our publishing house; this post is just to discuss whether we could have worked as an actual editorial team.

Overall, I think we did work well together. I mentioned before that J and I were more laid back, broad-picture types, while K and L seemed more to-the-letter and detail-oriented types. L did love lists to a startling degree. It was kind of neat that it worked out like this, because an entire group of one type or the other would have been problematic. Either nothing would have been done on time in an organized fashion, or nothing would have been done on time in an organized fashion. See what I did there? I thought it was clever…

I could see some potential issues arising from personal preferences, which is normal in any workplace. We didn’t experience any kind of upheaval or confrontation in the short time that we worked together, but that does not mean that would have been the case in the long term.

Meetings were almost entirely in class or via Google Docs. Being college students and working at various jobs kind of wreaked havoc with any plans to meet in person. We managed it only once in the semester…maybe twice. Electronic communication is not ideal, but it is better than none at all. Had we been truly an editorial team, it would not have been a problem. I imagine that we would have had offices in the same area of the building and weekly meetings.

Collaboration can be a wonderful thing, particularly in editing. “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.” Yes, it’s a Bible verse. Don’t panic. See what I did there? Also clever…

(I’m not really sure why I’m doing that, but I’m leaving it in there.)

Z.

Journal Entry 18

Are you folks growing weary of my “mad dash” routine? I know I am. My A/C adapter decided that it was thoroughly disillusioned with its life and committed suicide. Here’s a good tip: Always have two computers and always keep copies of your work on both.

I just handed in the marketing/promotional plan for my author and his book. I think I may have muddled things a bit. When I started out, I was hoping to sever the ties between the book and RPGs. Somehow, my mindset shifted and this plan emphasizes the connection. Nope, I’ve no idea when that happened. I think I have an idea as to why, though.

Did you ever read those adventure books in which you chose the path you took at the end of a section and it told you to turn to a given page to see the consequences of your choice? I loved those things. I was the one who got to decide how the story went. After reading over Defender several times, I realized that it held a similar attraction for me. I have a history in MMORPGing, so when he talked about slaying a dragon and what characters were doing during the battle, I flashed back to how my own battle fared. You know what else it did? It kind of got me back into RPing. I’d taken a hiatus from gaming because school should really have most (if not all) my attention. So, in a way, I’ve read his version and now I’m creating my own. At least, that’s how it connects in my head. Basically, my theory is that the similarities to RPGs could actually be more of a benefit. Folks who RP tend to read, at least that’s the case in my experience. They may not read Shakespeare or Aristophanes, but they read. This story has promise; it just needs work. If we could refine the prose, it may even find a place outside the RP community.

Another reason for the shift is this: It is what it is. Editing can clear up the inconsistencies, make it look better; underneath, though, it’s still this guy’s RP campaign. Even with better word choices and structure, the similarities will be difficult to ignore. So, instead of trying to change the entire premise of the book, let’s just own it and make it better. Who knows? Maybe RP will make a comeback…

That was the only major thing. Otherwise, I stuck to the method I used for the digital presence piece, which means that I created a whole bunch of fictional scenarios. We also had to create a “media release.” <cough, cough> Let’s just say that mine should not be released. It’s pretty awful. Just a picture of the book against a gradient background with some text and a nondescript tribal sun. If I were the author, I’d be panicking. My artistry covers stick figures and fuzzy blobs. That was probably the tough bit for me. I didn’t like handing in something that awful, but my talents are not really geared towards artistic representation. Come to think of it, I probably could have described what I wanted. Not that it helps me much now, but I’ll have to ask them about that.

Z.