Picture Perfect Pause

The rough drafts of Picture Perfect were written as a part of NaNoWriMo over a three year span – 2015-16-17. So far I’ve edited & posted 2015 & 2016. I’m about to start in of the 2017 drafts & have been reading though the nearly 75,000 words I wrote to bring the seemingly endless story to a big finish. 

I’m making sure I have the sequence correct, that I haven’t missed any of the major scenes & to get an idea of what will be cut – trust me lots will get cut. At least one whole distracting subplot with get chopped. I also found that one big confrontation isn’t there! Oh my, but that can fall into place when I get to where I know it needs to be.

So I’m taking a brief pause to sort though this last set of scenes, notes & loose ends. Be assured a couple of those loose ends will not be tied up – but you will know what happened to the missing children – unless I get a better getter idea by the time I get to that revelation.

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Swami Hart and Beyond

One Christmas many years ago a friend gave me Antonio Hart’s (alto saxophonist) Don’t You Know I Care that he had picked up at a yard sale. It was just the cd – no jewel case. Pleasant & non-challenging jazz – solid playing, sweet arraignments & great starter for someone new to jazz. I created an mp3 version for a fun collections of jazz (& other) classics.

Some of these musicians I knew by reputation, others I searched out after seeing lp covers posted by an lp cover Tumblr one halloween 🙂 So here is Horace Silver (piano): Horace-Scope, Song For My Father – swinging, exploratory & emotional work that I enjoy more each time I hear it. Horace-Scope was the spooky cover & I added Father to hear more. It was Archie Shepp’s (saxophonist) The Magic of Ju-Ju cover that lead owing loading it. I add his The Way Ahead as well. This too is solid, swinging at times, challenging & occasionally dissonant but worth having. Shepp’s work with Abby Lincoln is worth searching out too.

The title of dummer Philly Joe Jones Sextet’s Blues For Dracula is reason enough to add this one. Propulsive & aggressive there is nothing scary here except the quality of playing. Not easy listening by any means & great for writing. The same is true for Jackie McLean’s  (saxophone) Demon’s Dance – it lives up to the cover & the title. Restless music for restless creative minds.

Also here is Steve Marcus’s  (saxophone) Tomorrow Never Knows – this is an excellent jazz exploration of 60’s psychedelic pop. One track has the sax riff that propels Gerry Rafferty’s Beaker Street. This is a lost classic lp that deserves a resurgence. Be warned this is not an instrumental walk-though of 60’s pop – the group peoples these pieces inot our bop & it is well worth the listen. Unlike Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass: Best Of – which are nostalgic & safe for family listening.

To lighten the mood of this collection & also Ron Goodwin’s soundtrack music for Miss Marple, Lancelot, Force 10 – the Marple is jolly fun, the other two are heroic action music. Finally is  Swami Jr. (Brazillian acoustic guitar player (7-string)) Mundos e Fundos – Jr is an amazing guitarist I found out via … well, I’m not sure how found him but the name made him worth checking out. I have a few lps by him each is romantic & satisfying He’s worth checking out.

more of the very rough draft from Isle St. Nuit

Mike hated airports. Too many people going to places he’d never go to. Too many announcements. he checked his ticket print out with the constantly flickering board of arrivals and departures to double check he was heading in the right way, to be sure they hadn’t changed the gate, the flight number gate. 

Twice he’d been startled by the appearance of large black men who were the shape and size of Xavier. His heart raced till he got a good look at the face. As if this would be how it would continue – him running into Xavier at the airport on his way to somewhere.

What would he do it if that had happened. Throw his arms around him. What if Xavier acted as if he’d never seen him, which was most likely what woud happen. Yet he hoped even that would happen. Just  for one more look.

They would glance, Xavier would nod to the washroom and Mike would follow eagerly. Put his bag down t to be taken away by the ever alert airport security. 

Mike would follow Xavier into the handicapped stall – one big enough for two men. Xavier would already be there. Unzipped. Hard. Mike would drop to his knees and ….

“Flight 560 for Halifax now boarding at gate 9. Flight 560 for Halifax now boarding at gate 9. All passengers needing assistance should report to the gate now. thank you. Le vol 560 pour Halifax embarque maintenant à la porte 9. Le vol 560 pour Halifax embarque maintenant à la porte 9. Tous les passagers ayant besoin d’aide doivent se présenter à la porte maintenant. Merci.” 

Mike hunched his shoulder, pulled his shoulder bag closer to him. Finished his coffee and walked through the door to gate 9. 

In the plane he kept his eyes on his magazine. He didn’t want to look out the window. Didn’t want to see the city disappear with so much of himself still there.

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January

Thursday 23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre – featuring ‘Yes The Poet’ https://www.facebook.com/events/577900226377507/ 

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

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Research Rewrite Re:nanowrimo

One of the mixed blessings of the internet is being able to do instant research. Mixed because sometimes research leads to that rabbit hole of  one more fact. Mixed because sometimes it leads to ‘oh, shit, I really got that wrong & now have to fix it before I go on.’ I resist rabbit holes but ‘fix it’ I have to attended to asap. In particular when it affects the plot time line I’m working within.

Originally I had Mike, my hero in Isle, arriving in Montreal by train. I’ve taken the train to MO myself many times so know what the train station is like. It always helps to have an actual sense of where things happen. But I’ve never taken the train to MO from Halifax, where my hero is coming from. I do know that train services have changed a lot since I last took the train. Routes have been closed, stops have been dropped (is that the right word). So I checked VIA to see if there was still service & how often that service was.

To my dismay I find that though there is still service the trip takes over 20 hours. wtf? The Montreal section of the novel covers events from Thursday to the following Tuesday. There isn’t time for me to have Mike take the train there & back. I don’t want to add another two days – not that I would include his travel thunking etc. So I check flights. By air approximately 90 minutes. That keeps things within my time span. I go back and rework that opening (keeping what gets cut from the original for my word count).

This allowed me to expand his airport lounge encounter and continue it when he lands in Montreal. Events that add to his character though not to the actual plot. Gave me an extra 1000 words and introduced a greater sense of friction even earlier than I had planned. Getting one’s characters into trouble always moves things along.

 

 

“What are you looking at?”

Mike wasn’t looking at anything. He was trying to follow a tread of thought, a thought that had lead to his nickname – Muttman.

“Nothing.” Mike took a deep breath. He had zoned out in the airport waiting for his flight to be called.

“Then look at nothing the other way.”

The young man who had snapped at Mike put his arm around his girl friend’s shoulders and pulled her closer to him.

Was it the pleasant face of the young man that had started the thought process? The man had to be mid-20’s, maybe younger, fresh and attractive. With an attractive girl friend.

“Guys like that should at least wear a hoodie.” The young man said to his girlfriend bud enough for Mike to hear it. “You scare children much?”

“Shut the fuck up Phil.” the girlfriend said. “He can’t help the way he looks.”

The Muttman name had sprung up in fourth or fifth grade and stuck to him to university. He hadn’t been able to shake it till he graduated. Now he was called either Mike or Mr. Poole. But something besides this pretty couple had to have set offÍ the Muttman echo.

“Yeah well he can look that where somewheres else so we don’t have see him. Hey,” Phil said, “why don’t you move your ugly ass somewhere else.”

Mike looked the young man in the eyes. Stared. Said nothing. He knew that engaging wouldn’t get either of them anywhere. He wasn’t interested in teaching anyone manners or even enlightening them about his condition.

He’d stopped hiding his stain years ago. But it had been sometime since someone had been this vocal about it.

What had he been thinking about a few minutes ago? … He’d checked plane tickets and put them where he could get them easily along with his boarding pass. Then he had made sure he had a print out of address of Assoupir, the bed and breakfast he’d stay at in Montreal. He’d been reading in the paper about the biker turf war in Montreal – cafes and clubs being blown up and had wondered if his b’n’b was near any of that. But they had a dog to protect them, right.

Right! They had a dog there. He’d heard it bark in the background when he made his reservation last month. Dog to – what kind of dog – to Muttman – a short jump.

“Come on Sue.” the young man stood and pulled his girlfriend to her feet. “let’s get a coffee before the flight leaves.”

Muttman Muttman. He hated that name. Even his teachers would call him that. He had Mutt embroidered on his high-school jacket. It had been easier to give in, to pretend to be okay with the joke than to pick a fight with everyone who called him that.

Muttman was better than some of the other names he’d been called. Pizza face, vomit puss.

Boarding for his flight was called. Sometime de’d made sure he’d a have window seat on the left side so his face would remain partially hidden but for this flight he hadn’t even bother check which side he was on. The flight was that long. Patrick insisted he take first class, at his paper’s expense. One of perks of sleeping with a major player.

He got comfortable in his seat, closed his eyes and zoned out once again thinking of the last time he and Patrick had met up. The sounds if the other passengers became the sound of people getting seared at the movie theatre. He wasn’t crazy about flying so this was one way he had developed to make it more bearable.

“Nous arrivons à Dorval. We are landing at Dorval.” Mike was awakened by the steward.

“Thanks.” Mike stretched his legs as best he could in the cramped seat. “Must have been a smooth flight.” he said to the woman in the seat beside him.

“Oui, tres calm.” she replied.

He quickly made his way though the airport to the baggage carousel area. He sent Patrick a text message while he waited for his suitcase to come down the chute. “Am here. Can’t wait to c u.”

“Hi!” the girlfriend of the the rude man at the Halifax airport approached him. “I just want to apologize for Phil. He can be such an a-hole sometimes.”

“Yes. Thank you.”

“I mean he’s not always like that. Just when he’s nervous. You know.”

“Right.” he spotted his bag sliding onto the carousel. “Excuse me.” He leaned forward and grabbed it by the handle. It was always a little heavier than he remembered. “Oof.” he gasped as he swung around to put on the floor. “I wish I could pack lighter.”

He bumped the girlfriend as he turned. “Sorry.”

He stepped back to make room for her to get what luggage she might have.

“Watch it.” The boyfriend was suddenly beside him. “Or are you blind too?”

Mike stepped away from the carousel pulling his suitcase with him.

“He bothering you Sue.”

“No Phil. Look there’s our back packs. Grab’em before they go around again.”

“You get’em. I’m going to deal with this ugly fuck.”

Two of the other passengers glared at the boyfriend and stepped away.

“You can’t go around annoying any pretty girl you feel like you perv.” Phil reached to push Mike. “Just because she’s feels sorry for you doesn’t give you the right … ”

As the man’s open palm came into contact with Mike’s shoulder Mike head butted him in the jaw.

“Keep your hands off me.” Mike muttered.

The man stepped back clutching his nose. “You broke my nose. You saw that,” he turned to one of the other passengers. “I didn’t do nothing and he just assaulted me.”

“Come on Phil,” the girlfriend was pulling him by the arm. “Don’t make it worse.”

“Yeah.” Phil let her lead him away. “He’s not worth it.”

Mike wheeled his suitcase into the first washroom he came to. He could remember all the  times he’d had to stand up for himself because some boob though his splotch also meant he was some sort of mental or physical defective they could push around. It never got easier.

After the a much needed leak he wished his hands and rubbed some cold water on his face. So much for a quiet get away.

His phone flashed that he had a message from Patrick. “Can’t wait. I get in around 4.”

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Stumbling Around and #NaNoWriMo sample.04

perfect nano sample

(This sample from day 5 falls just past the 10000 word mark. Linda is Daniel’s sister.)

He was telling Sanjay about the ‘offer’, as he called it with air quotation marks, from Quintex, when his phone rang. He unplugged it from the charger to answer.

“Linda.” Photo call display told him who was calling.

“Daniel, we have to talk.”

“You mean you talk and I listen.” He replied holding the receiver away from his ear.

“I’m not in the mood for your wise cracks this early in the day.” Her voice seemed to echo off the kitchen ceiling. “I’ll expect you at the FairVista store by ten.”

He brought the phone to talking distance. “Not unless I teleport. I’ll be there when I get there. Eleven at the earliest.”

“Get your houseboy to drop you off.”

Dan rolled his eyes to Sanjay’s frown. “She’ll never forgive you, will she.”

“I can hear you.” his sister said.

“Well, so can Sanjay. Trying using your inside voice. Oh, I forgot you don’t have one.”

Linda had never learned to modulate, as his mother called not shouting. Even quiet conversations ramped up to her shouting. He often wondered if she has some sort of hearing problem but the one time he had suggested she get her hearing checked she went even more ballistic than usual.

“I’ll be expecting you.”

The line went dead.

“Fuck, you’d think she’d learn to say hello and goodbye.” Dan shook his head.

“Family is like that. I don’t think my mother ever asked me how I was doing before she detailed how my sisters were doing.”

“I’d better get going if I expect to be at the big shop by eleven.” Even if he caught the right transit connections, travel time was nearly forty minutes. A trip he would make no more than twice a week. Despite her brusqueness his sister did run the business well. She enjoyed the interaction with customers much more than he did.

“Not going to bike out there?” Sanjay asked.

“No thanks. The war on cyclists is as bad the city’s supposed war on cars.”

The door bell rang.

“Who could it be at this time of the morning?” Sanjay asked as he went to answer it.

“Is my brother decent?”

“Good morning to you too, Linda.” Sanjay said as she brushed past him.

“I was outside already Daniel. I knew you’d dawdle.”

She took a mug out of the sink, rinsed it and poured herself a cup of coffee.

“I don’t suppose you don’t have real cream in here do you?” She pulled the fridge open. “I guess this’ll do. Not two percent I hope.” She took two swallows. “Not half-bad. You ready yet. I don’t have all day.”

Daniel put his loafers on, checked his shoulder bag to make sure he had the missing children photos he’d printed off the TV. As expected the quality wasn’t great but would do for now. He followed her out to the car.

“New?” He ran his hand along the hood.

“Don’t give me that look.” she opened her door. “Yearly lease means I can upgrade every year. Why own anyway? You should try it.”

He got in. “Bike styles don’t change that rapidly.”

“Tell me about it.”

She turned at the end of the street and headed to the Expressway.

“What is going on Linda?”

“Those pricks at FairVista say we aren’t making a large enough profit for them. Look, you know we are breaking even at least. It takes a few years for a business to really get established. I’ve explained all that to them. Even their accountants say we have a sound business plan but to them sound means faster profits.”

“Uh huh. Tell me something you haven’t told me before. I warned you that the profit clause might bite us in the ass one day.”

“Who expected it to bite us so soon. That’s what I’m saying. But I have an opportunity that may increase profits for a minimal outlay.”

“Linda we’ve spent enough getting the new shop set up. I’ve already split off best selling stuff to you. Or is this another attempt to pressure me into setting up shop with you?”

“No, nothing like that little brother. The people from Cuppa’s have approached me.”

“What? You want to start a coffee shop somewhere?”

“In the store. It’ll be like Starbucks and Indigo. Timmie’s and Shoppers.”

“How much of an outlay?”

“For the two locations a couple of hundred grand.” she said quickly.

“Two locations?”

“FairVista and Queen.”

“What about the Classic.”

“That lease is coming up soon. Daddy always said follow the money. Cuppa’s is the money.”

“Classic is doing fine. Better than ever in fact with the new condo complex.”

“Why do you always fight me Daniel?”

“I didn’t fight you on the new shop did I?”

“I’d call refusing  to move all the business to it putting up a fight.”

“If I remember correctly you thought having two locations would reflect what a success the business was. The big expansion. Right. Once FairVista was established then there’d be franchise opportunities to sell.”

“Daddy said you have to dream big to get big. Besides Peggy (their mother) thinks it’s a great idea. She’s already signed the agreement.”

She pulled into the mall lot and parked behind the shop.

“Mom would sign anything you asked.” Dan wanted to get angry but he admired the way his sister often went ahead and did the ground work. “But …”

“I know you have the final say. If Daddy knew …” she trailed off.

His father had died before Daniel had come out to his family. He’d kept that part of his life a secret from them. They didn’t know until he showed up at the funeral with Trevor, his lover at the time.

His Dad’s will split the business three-ways with Dan getting sixty per cent, his sister thirty-five and, as long as she lived, his mother held the five per cent. Daniel held the controlling interest so that the business would retain the family name. There was an in trust bequest for Daniel’s first born.

Linda had fumed and was sure his Dad would never have split the business in such a way if he’d known Daniel was gay. After all she was married and already children why should he get the bigger share.

“Sorry.” She touched his shoulder. “I didn’t mean to go off on you like that.”

“Done is done. Sis.”

She glared at him. She hated to be called ‘sis.’

redscarf the stoney end?

as I post this today I expect to be hitting the 40,000 word mark 🙂 by day’s end.

One of the major domestic relationships is introduced – his sister Linda – as you might tell I’m thinking out loud as I world build their business set-up, their relationship as well. Another character not to be trusted. [business names open to change].

On Thursday – day 13 – I hit my first real stumbling block – partially because Thursday is one of the days when I don’t have the same focused time for writing but mainly because I was a bit lost. I started one scene two times and pushed as hard as I could but got no sense of flow – I call these false starts – I’m keeping them, for now, to perhaps pillage when I edit & also they do count as part of the NaNo word count.

chair

my back is cold

The issue I stumbled over was Dan’s relationship with the RCMP. I ended up doing some research into the RCMP, how they function in each province. They do have a digital forensics division. It occurred to me to make Dan a former member of that division. Why did he leave? Sexual harassment of course. As if that hasn’t been in the news.

This creates for him a huge new backstory that can continue – he was accused of the harassment by a male coworker – etc etc. He’d cleared of the charges but his reputation has been sullied and he opts to leave the force. This plot addition is the result of letting things flow.

blackshoe

one black sneaker

It also means in rewrite I can weave this back story to fill in his character in even more. I know this is one of those stock crime fiction tropes – the dismissed officer seeking redemption – if it works why not use it with my own little spin.

mirror how the world looks after writing 2500 words in three hours

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