Lynette M. Burrows

More than a Game

Lynette M Burrows, spooky apple orchard,When I was a child, about eight- or nine-years-old, my mother went to the hospital to have her third child. My brother and I were packed off to an aunt and uncle’s house. Now, this aunt and uncle had five children. The two oldest were off to college. The two youngest were about the same age as my brother and I. The middle child was a teenager, uninterested and uninvolved in the lives of children.

My aunt and uncle lived in an old farmhouse that had been updated. There was an attic with two bedroom spaces, each holding a pair of bunk beds. The second-floor held four more bedrooms. A living room, kitchen, dining room, and den made up the first floor. And there was a basement, the realm of the children. The basement had several rooms of bookcases and cabinets and a door to the outside.

Outside was a wonder. A  grape arbor and an orchard gave us plenty of room to be rowdy kids running around.

The three boys and I invented an adventure game. Being the only girl, I was the heroine or the damsel in distress, depending upon the turn of the play. The boys were the heroes and occasional victims. The evil villain was invisible, an unknown who left threatening notes. We dashed in and out of the basement, zig-zagged through the spooky fruit trees and grabby grape vines, uncovered clues and threatening notes, did heroic deeds, and wore ourselves out with fun.

Lynette M Burrows, grabby grape vines, Heather Hopkins

I’m certain we had quieter activities after a filling evening meal, but I don’t remember those. I do remember climbing upstairs to the attic bedroom, into the lower bunk, and falling fast asleep.

I woke gasping for air. Ice cold hands were around my throat, choking me! I couldn’t see who the cloaked villain was but screamed for help. The three boys rushed to the room and pounded the villain with their fists. Lights came on, the villain disappeared. I sobbed my tale of fear to my aunt and uncle.

The boy heroes identified the dastardly villain as my teen-aged cousin. He was punished. I was soothed. The visit was short (probably not to my aunt and uncle). My brother and I went home and welcomed our new baby sister.

Today, I feel bad for my teenaged cousin. He took the game a little too far, perhaps, yet, the choking was minimal and momentary, or I wouldn’t have been able to scream.  Looking back, I was frightened, but the fright was temporary.  I have a fun-to-tell memory, my brother and cousins got to be real heroes, and I got a story, two blog posts, and a novel out of the adventure!

What do you recall fondly? Childhood memories? Adventures as a Teen? Trials and Tribulations of being an adult? Any lessons you learned from these? Please share your story below in the comments below.

 

Images: “Vines at Dusk” via  Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Heather Hopkins.

“Spooky Apple Orchard” via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of R. L. Rose

Writing the Hard Stuff

Writing the Hard Stuff

Time for a glass of wine.

When I say hard stuff, I don’t mean porn or description or character or plot. The most difficult things to write are those things that come from our deepest, darkest places. The places we hide from most of the time.

I recently wrote a scene meant to tap into that place in myself. An hour and a half later, a mere 550 words had me trembling with fatigue and sick to my stomach. Yup. It was that dark of a place. Inside me!

We all have those places. That side of us that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. It’s dangerous to touch those places of fear, loathing, hate, or even fierce love. Most of us like to think we are genuinely nice people. I know I do. Yet, I have dark corners in my psyche.

So what do you do? First, do you like to read about characters who have to face a piece of their own darkness, their own demons? Is that the kind of story you aspire to write? To write that kind of scene, to make the scene come alive, you have to be willing to write the hard stuff. You have to be willing to expose yourself to your readers.

You may want to journal about that dark corner of your psyche first. That allows you to be very personal. Give yourself a break–chocolate and buying something sparkly can help. (I don’t know where I got that idea!) After some time passes, re-read your journal entry and re-imagine it in terms of how it applies to your character. Then write.

I’ve put off writing my scene FOREVER. It was a scary place to go. Having written the scene I can say that it is dark and awful and . . . not 100% me. How can that be? Because while I drew from my experiences to create my characters, I gave them traits I do not have. Those traits subtly change my dark thoughts and memories into something different. It will work that way for you, too.

What about the feeling vulnerable and exposed? Will someone ask if you actually lived that scene? Maybe. What should you do or say? I can’t really tell you how to protect yourself. As for me . . . I plan to smile and say “Only in my nightmares.” And, “If you thought that one was bad, wait ’till you read the next one!”

Do you visit dark places in your reading? Do you reach into the dark corners of your psyche when you write? How do you get through it? Or do you shy away from the dark side entirely?

Image:”Life is Hard” via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anne Helmond

The Wormhole of Wrecked Resolutions

Hello! I’m back!

*Crickets*

Well, I can’t blame you. I’ve been gone a long time. Where was I? I was lost in a wormhole.

wormhole

unedited photo: Wormhole by Steve Moses via Flickr Creative Commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/smoses/16997463929

According to space.com, a wormhole is a theoretic passage through time and space that could create shortcuts across the universe. This wormhole was first proposed by Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen in the theory of relativity. They thought of it as a bridge. Well, let me tell you, wormholes can have mighty long bridges. Life handed me a one-way ticket through a wormhole about two years ago.

Scientists speculate that it takes negative energy to keep a wormhole open. Check.  I’ve had my share of negative energy ranging from having to say goodbye to beloved pets to hated-but-required tasks of the day job, to housework (oh, the waste of time!), and the nightmare and heartache of a loved one’s life-limiting illness. My resolutions, my goals, slid out of sight as I trudged one foot in front of the other, trying to make it through to the other side of the wormhole.

Yet, in the quantum foam that formed my wormhole there existed moments of awesomeness. I attended a life-changing Master Immersion Class with Margie Lawson and participated in an online FAB 30 class. I experienced the joy of my son’s wedding, a grandson’s enthusiastic exploration of the day, critique partners who cheered me on in my writing journey, and quiet moments of tenderness with loved ones. But in my travels through the wormhole, I found I was missing something.

You see, when life handed me the ticket through the wormhole, I battened down the hatches to focus on two things: my writing and my family. I didn’t want to look back and regret not having been there for the moments my beloved and I had left.

Those moments have been precious. I wouldn’t trade any of them. Not even the “negative” ones for without them my “positive” moments would have been less shiny (and I do love shiny!) I will not ignore those moments ever again. I know that now. But in my anxiety to be certain I didn’t miss those, I missed a whole bunch of moments with you folk, my readers, classmates, and friends. My bad. My deepest apologies to all of you.

I’m still on that bridge through the wormhole. It’s not a flat bridge. It’s not a yellow-brick road to the land of Oz. There will be times when I post irregularly. But I won’t ignore the online moments anymore. My moments with you are a valued part of the wondrous trip through the wormhole we call life. I don’t want to miss any of them. 

Have you ever been lost in a wormhole? Please, take a moment and, in the comments below, share one of your wormhole moments.   

Science Fiction Mashup

Here are some fun science fiction magazine sites. If you haven’t visited them, click on the links below. Among these I’m sure you’ll find something that speaks to your SF bug.

Asimovs Science Fiction

offers samples of their print and e-format magazine, links to author, magazine and other SF related sites, and they feature a couple of new author blogs each month.

Amazing Stories Magazine

calls their site a Social Magazine. Scroll down the page to see some of the fascinating posts and join the forum to participate in the conversation.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine 

is up in space! (in the library of the International Space Station). This site offers the usual plus a reference library and an events calendar.

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 

features a blog with interviews, reviews, and articles as well as a forum for discussions among fans.

Sfsignal

is considered a fanzine(a nonprofessional, nonofficial publication by fans). You’ll find book and movie reviews, free fiction, convention information, and more at this site.

 

Hi! I’m popping up out of my writing cave for a few minutes to say hi and share some links you might want to know about. I’ll be heading back into the cave in a minute. I’m determined to finish this re-write before I take off for an intense immersion class. In the meantime, I will try to post a short piece every couple of weeks. I’ll return to a regular blogging scheduled in late October.

I hope you found something of interest in this mashup of Science Fiction Online.

Are there science fiction sites you visit regularly?