Archives for the month of: March, 2012

A couple of people have asked about my ‘how to’ editing process. I’m working on a hard copy print out that runs 297 pages/99004 words. I find I need a hard-copy to make notes, cuts. I’ve never been able to do that on screen – even for poetry I have to have a hard copy. In this draft I’m filling in spots where I put (research) on the first blurt – one example is my hero gets assaulted, hurt enough for internal bellding – I didn’t know what it woudl to do that when first worte the scene so when I came to it this time I googled ‘fractured ribs’ – this is fiction so I merely want to sound belivable not medically precise.

I’m just at the 101 page point in my hard-copy draft – 34,263 words; now edited to 96 pages/ 32,427 words. Progress is being made.  Once get this draft done, hopefully by the end of April, I’ll do a bit of polish with ‘search’ – type in certain words, phrases I fall back on too much – i.e. – thought, thinking, felt, just, seemed, …ing, …ly words – that sort of thing. Then I may get another print out or perhaps find some first readers for a pdf version. [any one want a pdf of the first 101 pages?]

Here’s a small before-and-after example of an edited section:

brief context – An intruder has tried to break down Harris’s apartment door (why? you’ll have to read the novel when it gets published) The police have escorted her of the premesis. Max is building security.

First version:

“Harris pulled off his boxers and got into the shower. He’d had no time for one the last few days. He must have stunk when Max was talking to him. Hot hot water then a fast icy blast and back to the hot. Detox his system faster from the pain meds. The bandage softened under the hot water and suds; he carefully eased it off. The bruise was pretty bad but his ribs were merely tender when he carefully soaped them. No spikes of pain.

He went on to the balcony to let the sun dry him off while he ate from a bag of double chocolate cookies.  If anyone saw him they were looking for it. Warm sun on his arms, chest, cock and balls.  He stretched out on the chaise to let the tension of the past week flow out of him and into the sun. After five minutes he turned over.

Sleepy he went back into his apartment, laid on the bed and drifted off wondering why the curse had reversed. Was that what happened if he didn’t fulfill an initial infatuation?  The busboy at Story came to mind. Alex. Fuck. That wasn’t the answer he was looking for.

It was about six when he was wakened by more knocking at his door.

He pulled on sweat bottoms and answered it. It was Max.

“Sorry to disturb you again Mr. Stevens but I have to fill in this incident report.” he read out what he had written down. Harris had nothing to add.

“If you’ll sign here. I’ll take pictures of the damage for insurance purposes. That’s some bruise you’ve got there.”

“Yeah. It was her son that did this.”

“Sometimes it seems the universe has it in for us.” Max laughed.”

 

revised version:

“Harris pulled off his boxers and got into the shower. He’d had no time for one the last few days. He must have stunk when Awad was talking to him. Hot hot water then a fast icy blast and back to the hot. Detox his system faster from the pain meds. The bandage softened under the hot water and suds and he carefully eased it off. The bruise was bad but his ribs were merely tender when he cautiously soaped them. No spikes of pain.

He went on to the balcony to let the sun dry him. He finished off a bag of double chocolate walnut cookies wondering why the curse had reversed. Was that what happened if he didn’t fulfill an initial infatuation?  The busboy at Story came to mind. Alex. Fuck. That wasn’t the answer he was looking for.”

….

This is the end of a longer scene – a time for Harris to reflect on the curse, how it works, to realize there have been consquences he has to face. Some of the cuts were to tighten sentences – some were to remove extranious information – the cookies were more important than how he dries off on the balcony – I added a bit to the type cookies as junk food is important to Harris – ‘finished off’ is more telling about him than ‘ate from’ – his coversation with Max added nothing & took away from the strength of ‘That wasn’t the answer he was looking for.’

………

May 10, Thursday – hosting: The Beautiful & The Damned with guests: Spencer Butt, Gemma Files, Carlin Belof

June 1-3 – attending: Bloody Words

June 12, Tuesday – feature: The Art Bar

July 22-27, Sunday-Friday – attending: Aubert Workshop

August 19, Sunday – feature: Plasticine Poetry

August 23-26 – attending: Fan Expo Canada

pov = point of view – in my NaNo novel I use multiple pov – every other scene told from point of view of my hero Harris. Others told the pov of people who have interacted with him – whose lives have also been caught up in his family curse – not everyone who gets caught up in it get a pov scene, mind you, but I wanted to explore just how this curse effects others – those who don’t remember the event at all & one who does remember -

My pov never changes mid-scene. When this happens in books I stumble a little as I read. It can work but, maybe because I’m too aware of it, it always pulls me out of the story, no matter how well it is done – I’m currently reading Book of Tongues in which this happens – the only drawback to an excellent book -

As I edit I am very careful about my use of pov – first draft, who cares, really – cutting where needed – some I wasn’t sure on first write if I was going to need them or go back to them – so I cut two major scenes between Harris’s parents in which they discuss recent events and the history of the curse – I realized these added more pov’s than I wanted. They offered information while slowing down the story itself. Any important information in them will be placed into other scenes.

I hated cutting these darlings as I liked the intimacy between Harris’s parents – but that wasn’t enough to keep them there, plus the story isn’t about their relationship. I also made sure the pov’s were limited to two – my hero & his ‘antagonist’ – by the second half of the book.

As I do these edits I wish there was a way to ‘preserve’ the cuts the way they often include bonus material on DVD’s – there’s often a bunch of deleted or extended scenes. The ‘writer’s cut’ version like the ‘director’s cut.’

……….

here’s one of those parent scene that got chopped:

Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.” Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.” Harris’s Dad opened the bedroom door. Helen was still sleeping. He stepped in, undressed as quietly as he could and slipped in beside her. He enjoyed the warmth of the bed, the smell of her, the sound of her gentle breathing, the heat of her body.

“Tom, that you?” she muttered letting a hand drop onto his stomach as she rolled away from him and onto her side.

“It’s not the pizza delivery man.” he spooned close to her.

“That’s good ‘cause he barely speaks English. You and Harris seemed to have more to talk about than usual. Everything all right with him.”

“The usual young man unmarried stuff.”

“He’ll find someone.” she snuggled into him. Pulling his free hand to her breasts. “You did.”

Tom nuzzled her neck. “That’s for sure.”

“What time is?”
“You got some place better to be lady?”

“No, but supper has be started. Laundry to be done.”

“It can wait.” he pulled her face to his. They kissed. “You know he doesn’t remember Clara at all.”

“My sister. You talked about her? Why?” she pushed herself away from him and sat on the edge of the bed.

“It sort of came up.”

“I told you how I feel about that bitch. She came here to pull us apart.”

“Helen that was decades ago.”

“She wasn’t your sister, sleeping with your family like that.” She stood and began to get dressed. “When we grew up she always wanted what I had, you know. Always. My Christmas presents would end up as hers if I didn’t fight for them. My parents never understood why I didn’t want to share. They never asked that bitch to share with me.”

“I know but …”

“Don’t start defending her. You know, that was only time we almost got a divorce. You know that don’t you. She almost succeeded in pulling us apart. Couldn’t stand to see me so happy.”

“Divorce!” Tom pulled his pants on.

“That’s right catching her in bed with Harris was the last straw after catching her coming on to you.”

“What! She never came on to me. Never.”

“You and Harris have one thing in common. Convenient memory.”

“When?”

“The first night she was here on that visit. She flirted with you right in front me and Harris. More than flirted.”

“Nah.”

“Believe me, a woman recognizes that sort of thing even when men don’t have a clue. You thought she was being nice I suppose.”

Tom recalled that first night. They went to the airport and picked Clara up. Came back to the house, got her settled into the spare room, had supper and then a blank till the next morning.

“She did seem a bit cool the next day, I suppose, but after the flight I figured she was just tired.”

“Tired! I was gone less than five minutes. She was pissed that I caught her with her hand down your pants. Saying something like she had find out what was making me so happy. I told her this was one thing of mine she couldn’t have. And you acting so innocent. I made sure you didn’t leave my sight. Then when we both caught her with Harris and you acting like it was nothing for Christ sake. She was a grown woman.”

“Harris was …”

“Not that again. He was an attractive lad and she couldn’t be blamed for not being able to control herself. Bullshit. You made it sound like it was his fault and I asked myself did I want to be married to man like you.”

Tom wondered did something happen between him and Clara? He had never considered it till now. This was the first time Helen had mentioned it. But he’d thought Helen was the end of his curse. Maybe she wasn’t?

“Once she was gone it was like nothing had happened. You’re right, Harris didn’t have any recollection of it. That made it easier for me to let of it too.”

…………

stsml

The more time I have the less work I do – odd how that works out. When I only have an hour or so to work on my edits I get right down to it. When I have time to spare I futz around – check email, look at comedy sites (Over Heard In New York), in general waste time and end up editing, futzing, editing.

I’m putting more attention to detail this edit – at one point a woman writes down a phone number and puts it into my hero’s jacket pocket – sounds pretty simple but it’s a very hot day, my hero hasn’t been wearing a jacket up to this point & later when he gets home he isn’t wearing a jacket – if he is wearing a jacket what is it?  a sports coat? – not his style – a jean jacket? what else has pockets, because having her ‘force’ the number on him is important.  Having her put into his pant pocket was way too sexual, at this point, for her. But he does wear hoodies later in the book  – so I opted to go with a hoodie after eliminating the jacket & first trying to have the note shoved  ‘into an outside pocket of his shoulder bag’ – which seemed like too many words & too clumsy.

Here’s another of the scenes that got chopped – I liked having my two leads interact as they worked together on the ‘curse’ but it didn’t add enough to their interpersonal conflict & also felt too rom-com – it added little momentum at a point in the plot I didn’t want things to slow down even this much -

……..

“So there isn’t anyway of breaking this curse? Because us acting on it hasn’t done much. Our not acting on it hasn’t done much either.”
“I did go to a … spiritualist … a woman who knows all about this sort of thing. Even this was new to her. She think it’s really a gift. That I have the eye of love, sort of the opposite of the evil eye.”

“Fuck. Why didn’t you say that sooner. Father Theodosius will know what to do, for sure.”

“Who?”

“Theodosius. From the Greek Orthodox off the Danforth. My yaya once got him to bless our kitchen to ward of bad spirits when she was baking.”

“Yaya?”
“Grandmother.”

“Well this is more than yaya’s bad spirits.”

“Come on you gonna dismiss one faith for another?”

“I didn’t dismiss it. It just that …”

“You believe. Like you didn’t believe about this curse at first either.”

“Yeah but Tobias had religion. It didn’t help him.”

“How do you know?”

“Okay, I don’t know but I’m not … of the faith. You think he’ll what …. light a candle say a prayer to the Virgin and this will go away?”

“It’s worth a try isn’t it.”

“I don’t know. It would feel to weird to go into a church. We were never a religious family, you know.”

“Would it feel anymore weird than this.” He grabbed Harris hand and put the palm on his crotch. Harris tired to pull it away but Alex held it there.

“I guess not.”

“Then let’s get out of here.” He went to the door.

“Now?”

“Why not. He doesn’t live too far from me anyway.”

It took them about an hour to get to Father Theodosius’s house.

The door was answered by an ancient woman all in black. She had them wait on the porch. After five minutes Father Theodosius came out. Alex explained why they were there and Harris gave him the diary to read.  They sat on his front porch as he read through the Tobias papers.

“This is a very ancient spell. One of those that promises good but doesn’t reveal the cost. How has it manifested in your life Harris?”

“Exactly as it says, I guess. I became a dad without even knowing it.” He told Theodosius about his aunt.

“Yes but what makes you believe in this?”

He told him about Francis.

“There was no mistake. That was you in the security footage. Very curious. And now Alex brings you to me. Has he … have you …. ”

“No Father.” Alex avoided the Father’s gaze. “But I have had the thoughts.”

“I can see why you would be distressed. Even in today’s permissive society some things are to be shunned. The synod condemns unreservedly all expressions of personal sexual experience that are so contrary to God’s ordinance and the laws of nature.”

Harris stood. “Either you can help me, us, or you can’t.”

“There is nothing in the canon for dealing with superstition. Even the evil eye. But I can give you a prayer of St Michael. He is the saint that protects us from evil.”

He went back into his house.

“You really think this is going to do anything?” he asked Alex.

“We’ll try what he suggests. What do we have to lose. Then maybe we’ll do what my Yaya would do for the evil eye.”

“Which is?”

Theodosius returned before Alex could explain.

“This will help you.” he gave Harris a small rolled parchment about the size of a match. “Take it to the church. Light it one candle and use it to light another. The flame will carry your prayers to the ear of Our Savior and perhaps he will intercede with his Father on your behalf.”

“ Efxaristo Father Theodosius.”

They left the veranda.

“The church isn’t too far from here.”

They went into the small church. It was dark. He mimicked what Alex did. Lit the candle and let the parchment burn up.

“How do you feel? Alex asked him when they got outside.

“Foolish.”

“Me too.”

“Alex St.” Father Theodosius’s housekeep whispered loudly from the shadow beside the church.

Alex went to her. She spoke urgently to him in Greek. Harris could see him nod a few times. She handed him an envelope.

“Efxaristo.” he said as she scurried away.

They walked along the Danforth.

“What was that all about?” Harris asked.

“I was just tanking her for this.” He held the envelope up and opened it. He dropped two amulets with thin chains into the palm of his hand. Each of the amulets was a little blue eye woven into a small cross.

“These ward off many things. I should have thought of this before, you know.”

He kissed one amulet and put it around Harris’s neck. He gave Harris the other one. “Now you do the same.”

“It’s a bit late to ward it off. But thanks.” Harris kissed the amulet and put it around Alex’s neck as he did he wanted to kiss Alex. He moved a away from him “Whew.”

“What?”
“I wanted to … kiss you just then.”

“Yeah I felt it too. But you didn’t. Maybe all this is working.”

……..

March 25, Sunday – attending: Plasticine Poetry

May 10, Thursday – hosting: The Beautiful & The Damned  with guests: Spencer Butt, Gemma Files, Carlin Belof

June 1,2,3 – attending: Bloody Words

June 12, Tuesday – feature: The Art Bar

August 19, Sunday – feature: Plasticine Poetry

August 23-26 – attending: Fan Expo

Into the thick of the Lazarus edits/rewrites. Started by hacking out some of my favorite scenes – die, die my darlings – not easy but once I’d made up my mind, out they went – they were fun to write and have some useable material in them – that material can be dropped into the story at other points – but neither of them really pushed the plot forward enough – so my word count goes from 99,000 to 95,500 which is already more manageable.

a little writing sample

 

Here’s one of the die die my darlings that had to die: (what you may not understand in this scene would make sense in the flow of the whole story. i.e. who are Kate and David?) Although the scene explores Harris’s hereto-normativeness it doesn’t add enough. Scout is a great character, too fleshed-out to be dropped into just one scene and I really have no place for him in the story line at all. What I will keep is the description of the Slap Shott tee-shirt – a superhero I invented and used a few other times & in fact a memory of Slap plays a role in the final climax.

………

Harris stepped out of the shower. Forced himself to stand on his scale and he’d lost another five pounds. Was all this stress melting the fat off him? He put in a load of laundry and padded barefoot to the kitchen while drying himself off. The cupboards weren’t bare but nothing appealed.

He unpacked the C1P. Most of the weight were the individualized coffee sachets.  Following directions he let it make one cup to clean it and then opted to try the Deep Arabian Noir mixture that promised a slightly nutty after taste. The machine was nearly silent and fast. The nutty after taste was more nutmeg than pecan.

He went through the flyers in his mail. Mamma P was having an ‘elopement special’ to celebrate the marriage of Kate and David. There was a photograph of the happy couple eating a pizza with Niagara Falls in the background.

As he recycled the flyers one of them caught his eye for a rib special at Moe Jones Sports Bar. He liked it when these places were within walking distance. Especially when the special was something he really enjoyed.

Now that he was doing laundry more regularly he even had clean clothes to choose from. He hoped his Slap Shott tee wasn’t too obscure a super-hero figure for Moe Jones. True they have probably sold more of the tee than the actual short lived attempt at making a hockey player with super powers into a super hero. The graphic of the hockey masked Slap Shott soaring on his alien powered skates though the air while hitting a puck that was flying into the pained face of a fanged space creature was luridly captivating to Harris.

Moe Jones was fairly busy when he got there. But they did have a booth for two, now one, for him. One that faced the street and not the TV. He ordered a Sopporos. He liked the frosted glass that came with it. He ordered the spare rib special -a full rack of the Mex-spicey with Moe’s thick cut garlic seasoned fries and a Caesar Salad. A man-sized meal like that should put the pounds back pronto.

A young man came to his table. He was glancing at his iPad and then at Harris.

“Candaddy? Sir.”

“Pardon me?” Harris didn’t hear what the man had said.

“Candaddy eleven, to be precise, Sir? I’m Scout.”

“I’m not clear what you mean.” Intrigued Harris nodded to the empty seat across from him. The young man was quite tall. “I’m Harris. Maybe I’ll hear you better from there.”

“Yes, sir. I aim to please.” Scout sat. “You aren’t Candaddy are you? No, now that I get a better look, you are not him. Fuck. Sorry, but I get so sick of these fucking liars.”

“I still don’t understand.”

Harris’s meal arrived. It took up half the table.

“I”ll leave you to your meal, honey.” Scout stood.

“No, that’s fine. Have a beer?”

“Yeah, sure, thanks.” He sat back down. “Screw Candaddy.”

“You were supposed to meet someone here?” Harris started to slice his ribs. They were perfect and fell apart easily.

“We chatted a few times on Bear411.”

“Bear411? Is that like a dating site for gay men.”

“You new in town?”

“I don’t play for that team, as I’ve heard it said.”

“Oh. You sure got the bear look down pat, right down to the ultra-nerd tee-shirt. Slap Shott is an ideal nickname. That is if you’re a spanker.”

“Hardly.” Harris nudged his plate toward Scout. “Fries? More than I can eat.”

“Don’t mind if I do. Let me turn this off first.” He started to turn off his iPad.

“Let’s see the guy you thought I might be?” Harris was curious. He’d never looked at any dating site.

Scout angled it so he could see. There was a face pic with several smaller ones in a double row beside it.

“Just touch one of the thumb nails if you want to see him in his full glory.”

“I looked fifty-four to you?”

“No. But there was something in the face, the eyes really that made me think it could be. Guys lie about everything, age, what they want you know just to get … attention.”

“You mean pretend to be older than they are.” He pushed the iPad in his leather shoulder bag.

“Not often but it wouldn’t surprise me. There are grampa chasers you know. I’m more of a chubby chaser.” Scout looked at Harris’s belly and playfully raised his eyes brows a few times. “You qualify.”

“Thanks. I guess.”

The waiter came to take Harris’s nearly empty plate.

“Another beer?” he asked Scout. He had never had a conversation with a man who he knew to be gay.

“You thinking of switching teams. Or is this bi-curious.”

“Curious mainly.”

The waiter came back with two beers and hand-wipes for Harris to clean his hands.

“That makes two of us.” Scout tipped his bottle at Harris.

“I’ve lived in TO all my life but I’ve never been to Pride you know. It’s like a different world. One that I’m mostly indifferent too. I have no negative feelings.”

“Pride. Can’t remember the last time anyone really enjoyed it. Let’s cut the the chase, Harris. I think what you are really curious about is what its like to have a man suck your cock?”

“No.”

“Maybe you don’t know that yourself. I hooker friend of mine said that if more wives gave more blow jobs most marriages would last longer. Simple as that. Look I fully understand that too.”

Harris waved the waiter over for the bill. He paid and went to the can. Scout was waiting on the street outside.

“I hope I wasn’t too direct for you?”
“Not at all Scout.”

“I don’t live too far from here, if you’re interested.”

“In what?”

“A blow job you ninny.”

Harris wanted to say no but he was curious. Alex had been so focused on one thing it seemed. That one thing being his own cock.

“Okay.” Plus he didn’t feel caught in the compulsion he had when the curse would wash over him.

“I knew it. I live above the bookstore the next block over.” They walked along. “I don’t do this sort of thing often. In fact never.”

“Which thing? Take strangers home or get stood up by Candaddies.”

“Both. But you seem like a nice enough guy. Vanilla can be good sometimes.”

The narrow wooden stairs up to Scout’s place creaked with each step. The dim light barely illuminated the dust and piles of newspapers.

“You’d never sneak in here.” Harris joked.

“Here we are.”

Scout’s place was at the back. It was small. A dresser, a studio couch bed, an armchair, kitchen along the back wall.

“Washroom here.” He opened a door to a tiny room. The sink was almost over the toilet. “Shared shower across the hall.”

Harris sat on the edge of the couch. Scout got on his knees before him and started to undo Harris fly.

“Not like that.” He leaned forward to kiss Scout. Scout was gentle in response. Not full of the eagerness that Alex had.

“Someone likes to kiss.” Still on his knees he was leaning against Harris’s shin. Harris could feel Scout get hard. That got Harris hard.

While Scout toyed with Harris he undid his own pants. He stood up and let them fall to his knees.

“You want some of this first to really get you going?”

Harris reach out and felt the cock. It was longer than he thought Alex’s was but not as thick.

“Go on. You want to taste it don’t you.”

“No, I don’t. Really.” Harris leaned back from the looming cock.

“That’s cool Harris. We’ll take it nice and slow.” He pulled Harris to his feet while pushing his jeans down to his knees as well. They kissed again. Harris felt Scouts cock against his erection and belly.

“Feels like your ready for me though.” Scout dropped to knees and took Harris’s cock in his mouth.

Harris’s erection disappeared almost instantly. Scout worked on it with his tongue but Harris didn’t feel aroused, at all.

“What happened?” Scout stood and pulled up his own pants.

“I guess it wasn’t what I wanted.” Would he have felt any different if it had been Alex on his knees sucking on his cock?

“That’s my super power.” Scout gave a little laugh. “Convincing straight guys that they really are straight. Though usually they take a bit more convincing.”

“I hope I didn’t … you know … lead you on at all.”

“Not as much as I lead myself on. Look everyone brings a secret agenda to these things. I don’t know how many guys really want sex, as much as to feel someone wants them.”

“I suppose. Can I ask you something?” He wanted to know if this was the curse in action.

“I’m disease free if that’s what was cooling your jets. Tested last week. Got papers if you really want to see them.”

“Nothing like that.” It hadn’t even occurred to Harris that he was putting himself in danger. Another of the things he’d have to learn. “Was there really a Candaddy?”
“I showed you his profile.”

“I know that, but were to really supposed to be meeting him at Moe Jones or was that some elaborate pick up line.”

“At Moe Jones? Please. Fuck, you straight guys are a hil-larry-ious. I was really stood up. But I had been waiting for, like half-an-hour, before you showed up. You had the body type, but you are right I didn’t think you were him for a second. I knew at a glance you weren’t some fifty year old daddy top looking for a subservient bottom boy.”

“Thanks.” They walked down to the street together.

“No prob Harris. It was sort of fun anyway. Especially when I realized your nervousness was real and not an act. Now go back to your life and make that bitch of yours suck that beautiful dick of yours.”

Scout turned on his heel and headed off in the opposite direction.

Another productive week. Got the first 30 pages of The Lazarus Kiss, my NaNo novel, edited and in good enough shape to submit to Bloody Words for an evaluation. Mailed that out along with an agent meet-up request. BW isn’t until June but deadline for evaluation is April 1. The process of doing this represents my commitment to the work itself. Now I have to do the rest of the edits to have another draft ready just in case the agent asks to see it.

dive into it

dive into it

I did an agent meet-up at BW some years ago. When I sat down the first thing that agent said was that she was cutting back on her author list – not very encouraging – but my pitch was good enough that she wanted to see more. That more was returned because she found what sex there was was too explicit. Such is life.

I have to work on my pitch for Lazarus. It hits so many genres its hard to decide which one to go with except I’ll tailor the pitch to high-light what crime happens in it – there is a serial killer so I guess it counts as a crime novel but crime is the setting, in a way. It’s more about heteronormative guys having their sexual identity called into question by a family curse. But that sure isn’t a good pitch line. I’ll have something solid by June.

I have a  pdf file of those 30 pages if anyone wants to see it.

zapped

zapped

I’ve been thinking about Dane’s workshop last week. We talked around why we write but didn’t get to why we perform – maybe perform is the wrong word, as one of the poets said ‘performance’ sounds like acting out, in which one over-emotes the work (something that never happens at slams.)

I, for one, like to feel that the writer on stage is invested in their work. Too flat and I’m not there for long. I can always tell when someone is reading simply because they have to get out there for their writing career – as opposed to some who reads because they love to read.

Got out to the recent The Beautiful & The Damned – missed the last two – can’t go wrong with Zelda’s meatloaf – DM Moore hosted & had fun batch of Marie-Antoinette trivia – spoken features were excellent too. I did miss the first few open-stagers as there were some chatter-boxes in the house who resented being told to keep it down – they left in a irritated huff at not being to talk louder than the performers they hadn’t come to hear.

First feature was Brandon Pitts who did an energetic set of pieces from his recent book ‘Pressure To Sing.’ His work is strongly rhythmic & rhymed without feeling forced or show-offish. He brought ‘late nights in Sodom and Gomorra’ to life on Zelda’s stage.

Nina Arsenault, the second feature, did a riveting set of poems from ‘Landscape with Yukon and Unnatural Beauty’ that were about her performances in the Yukon and Dawson City ‘Vegas in a blizzard.’ She presented the work in a non-melodramatic sense of self with observations that transcend being trans and took us to a tender human experiences. One piece started off telling us that even at 50 below the Yukon river doesn’t freeze, that water continues to flow constantly much like the flow of creativity that keeps a performer going regardless of the fears on the surface – powerful stuff. I hope these pieces see publication soon.

These were two writers/readers invested in work they loved who also loved to perform.

crows over cornfield

crows over cornfield

May 10, Thursday – hosting: The Beautiful & The Damned with guests: Spencer Butt, Gemma Files, Carlin Belouf

June 12, Tuesday – feature: The Art Bar

August 19, Sunday – feature: Plasticine Poetry

writing sample

writing sample

here’s ones of the pieces I read when I hit the open stage:

Delicious

“My dad got these for my birthday while he was in Paris.” Jack pulled his jeans up to show us his runners and socks.

“You got those sneakers at K-Mart.”

“Not the sneaks, the socks.” He hiked his pant legs up a bit further. “What ya think?”

The socks were colorless with a grey line around the tops and bagged around his ankle.

“Made of silk.” Jack started to pull them up.

“Oh.” Dave wasn’t impressed.

“Can I feel them?” I asked, more interested in what was above the sock. Hair. I didn’t realize that since last summer Jack had developed hair on his legs. Lots of it.

“Uh, sure.”

I pushed his pant leg up to just over the calf, then ran my finger under the edge of the sock. I don’t remember what it felt like. Silky smooth I suppose but I do remember that hair on his shins.

“Wow.” I held his calf like an apple in the palm of my hand, pulled the sock up. It became transparent with Jack’s black hair underneath.

“Like nylons.” Dave snickered.

I suddenly had this image of Jack in silk stockings pulled up to his white bum. The hairs on his legs matted underneath, pushing through to escape. I felt something so unnameable, so wrong but at the same time so delicious.

@TorPoet

@TorPoet

Another productive week even though I didn’t have opportunity to do much NaNo editing. Wednesday night I got out to the Toronto Erotica Writers (ToEro) meet-up at Tequila Bookworm. Good turn out despite the crappy weather that night. Enjoyed chit-chat with Peter and Francis. Ice breaker game was a version of ‘the two truths one lie’ game – this time we were to write a short hot scene that told two truths and one lie about us. As much as the game was fun by the time we got through it was nearly 10 and the open stage hadn’t started. With an hour of public transit to get home I left before the open stage started. I may be a stick-in-the-mud fuddy-duddy, but even by poetry time a hour late isn’t acceptable. If ToEro wants to build a consistent following it’ll help to stick closer to advertised times. So the hot pieces I’d prepared for that will have to wait for another time.

Thursday night DM Moore and I were interviewed on Roynation  about BuDa. DM dealt with most of the questions mind you, even ones that were directed at me. lol. It was a great opportunity to get the word about BuDa out there.

Saturday I went to Dane Swan’s workshop. The discussion of our personal writing philosophy was interesting – though I don’t think any of us fessed up to writing to be entertaining – it’s as if finding the poetic voice isn’t a serious, complex intellectual struggle then the voice isn’t authentic -

There were eight of us plus Dane – a good mix of men and women. The time we spent looking at editing was excellent – Dane used 3-stage examples of his work – pieces from his chapbook that he & his editor looked at & wrote comments on, then the final version as it appeared in his book “Bending The Continuum.” I would have loved to have seen drafts of these pieces before they even hit the chapbook stage.

The workshop ended with Dane’s performance tips – he gave us a print out of how to ‘score’ a piece for loudness, speed etc. Everyone agreed on the importance of good footwear.

The Regal Beagle back room was a great space for the workshop. Good lighting, no sound-bleed from the main area of the pub, attentive server & the food was solid pub fare.

I finally got to present a piece using my Kindle. I had uploaded a couple of pieces in pdf form, really upped the font size as Kindle shrinks pdf to fit the screen so that 14 become 4 point.

Up coming for me, besides my usual poetry events:

May 10, Thursday – hosting: The Beautiful & The Damned

with guests: Spencer Butt, Sandra Katuzuri, Carlin Belouf

June 12, Tuesday – feature: The Art Bar

August 19, Sunday – feature: Plasticine Poetry

here’s the piece I read at the workshop:

Saint Paul

I lie about lust because

the more I lie the harder I get

the harder I get the longer I last

if you believe this

I can last all night

or at least till I realize the truth

the short step between

sexual control and the hills of love

is one I’m not ready to take

I can’t get enough of one

and have too much of the other

I’m not sure which holds the truth

the unsure shall inherit

the reality show cameras

they will dominate the airwaves

making my calm life

seem the result of being

unemotionally invested in my past

there was no hill we hadn’t climbed

to escape the consequences

of our human tendency

to worship fallen angels

whose magic was in lies

untold about our endless love

troubled by what was carried

what was dropped what was hoarded

arguing over who was hardest

who lasted longest before the fall

and of course who fell the furthest

the lies I told

would never catch up to me

because I was so uninvested

in anyone believing me

I only told them

to be interesting

as the cameras rolled

reality over the hills

to drop it down the well

where even angels

refuse to fill their cups

cups that never held water

let alone the truth

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers