The Man Behind the Curtain

Courtesy Google Images

The *real* man behind the curtain. At least today.
Courtesy Google Images

D: Who is behind the curtain?

A: You.

D: But – are you accusing me of being a hack who subs sawdust for brains?

A: You’re rather attached to that reference, aren’t you?

D: It comes in so well with you.

A: Cheers, D. And while that was part of the allusion, I was more referring to these shots and videos of Benedict Cumberbatch doing the motion capture work for Smaug.

D: That’s it?

A: Yep.

D: Really?

A: Just not feelin’ it today, D. It was either this, or rant about darling killing and how much I want to rip Part 2 to shreds right now because I can’t get the kids to Dublin in any fashion that resembles believable.

D: Believable? From you, A? Honestly, woman. I have four words for you:  Time-Traveling Pict Druid.

A: Yeah, and?

D: You blog with a figment of your imagination.

A: . . .

D: Believability ain’t got nuthin’ on you, to paraphrase my favorite hillbilly bounty hunter.

A: Really? Your favorite?

D: Considering that ‘A the Bounty Hunter’ is the only hillbilly bounty hunter I know, yeah, I think so.

A: Gee, D – that’s the nicest thing you could have said to me!

D: You have some very strange ideas on what ‘nice’ is, A.

A: Consider the source.

D: . . . Fair enough. Just do this old Druid a favor, please?

A: Maybe.

D: Have fun with this story. If you do – then like as not, so will everyone else.

A: I’m not even going to ask what you did with my Druid. You’re calmer, older, timey-wimey D, aren’t you?

D: Shhh. Don’t ruin the moment, A.

A: Cheers, D.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen: every once in a while, the Druid has something decent to say. I’ve done three iterations of this ‘dialogue’ – all with the reproach to keep it fun. It’s something I need to remember for the introduction to 1916 Dublin. An uprising timed to piss off the Brits in the midst of WWI isn’t really lighthearted fare, but over-thinking on my part is really going to kill the momentum for the story. So, that’s what I’m doing right now – I have at least three different versions of the six chapters in question . . . and this is why beta readers and sounding boards are so very important!

Anything to which you give the greater part of your heart can sometimes swallow your reason, too. What do you find most difficult to remember – even as it is necessary – when in the process of creating something ?

In Dublin's fair city (Day 9 Prompt)

Still AWOL today, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on my favorite city, from Day 9 of the Creative Writing Challenge. Enjoy!

A mark of distinction or distraction?

“. . . I had the idea before Eoghan reacted the way he did to your revelation – and between you and me, Maureen, we need to decide together if we’re going to announce that we’re time travelers. That kind of information could be dangerous to the wrong people.”

“Sean, they stopped burning witches over two hundred years ago.”

“Aye, right around the time they started putting people in insane asylums.”

Maureen rolled her eyes and grinned. “Go on, then.”

“Eoghan’s reaction confirmed it: Rockfleet is too small for someone like Dubh. Grace and her ilk don’t rule here; it’s not the port it once was. It’s a tiny village of fishermen and farmers, with the convent and the occasional French cyclist adding a bit of color. They all know each other – too well. He’d stick out. Christ, we’d stick out. Even here, we’re different; we’re strange.”

“And he’s even stranger. I don’t think he can hide the tattoos.”

Sean snorted and Maureen allowed the swaying cart to push her into his shoulder.

“Ah, but in Dublin…” she prompted.

“Aye, in Dublin, he’ll still stand out – you’re right about those tattoos – but not as much. He may have a better chance at reaching us there . . .”

D: Ah, that Maureen, she’s a canny one.

A: How’s that? It was Sean’s idea.

D: Both had the idea to go to Dublin, but they want to go for different reasons. Still makes me wonder . . . she might have been a firebrand on the battlefield.

A: D! Don’t make me change it.

D: Don’t worry, A. I’m just speculating on what might have been. She’s right about the tattoos, though. They were a bit of a distraction.

A: Well, not so much now.

D: A, when I stepped out of time, only military men and criminals had tattoos. It was a distraction. Of course, now everyone has them. Actually, reminds me a bit of home.

A: So would you have gotten Maureen a tat if you’d picked—

D: A! She’s a young woman! I know everyone now has tattoos, whether or not they’ve earned it, but I have my limits.

A: Um, D, your chauvinism is showing. I have tattoos.

D: . . . My point exactly. In my day, the tattoo was a part of your training, a mark of pride, learning, strength.

A: In your day . . . never mind. Each one of mine represents something too, D, and I wear them with pride. I can also hide them when I want to be a “ young lady.”

D: Ingenious. I tremble for mankind.

A: (Eye roll) Go back to your speculating, D. I have a story to write!

Monday, Monday

Is this the true face of D??

D: Oh no. No, A – who is that?

A: What do you mean, D? Can’t you tell?

D: You must be joking. A, please tell me you’re joking.

A: Does this mean you don’t like it?

D: If you mean to tell me that this is m—

A: (Giggling) Sorry, D. I couldn’t help myself. (more giggling . . . now it’s laughter. . . minutes pass . . . still more laughter).

D: Thank heavens. Hello? A? You can stop that now, A.

A: I’m sorry, D. I needed that. No, that is me. With a mustache. At my birthday party.

D: Before or after the sangria?

A: Before. . . just.

D: . . . I fear for you.

A: Thank you, D. Your concern is touching.

D: I see you’re not writing tonight (ahem) . . . do you have a reason for calling me out of the ether?

A: Goal setting.

D: You? Do you have goals?

A: Lots – and most of them are none of your business, Druid! I mean writing goals. I failed at most of them this week. Holiday weekends tend to do me in.

D: Okay, I’m listening, what are your writing goals?

A: Well, last week, I wanted to complete Part 2 by my actual birthday (which is really this week). That’s not going to happen because I realized my entire mechanism for getting Sean and Maureen to Dublin from the west coast was flat-out wrong, and had to re-write two chapters to make it right.

D: I could have told you that.

A: No, you couldn’t; you weren’t even there, D. If you had been—

D: Okay, okay, I get it. So no Part 2 – did you do any writing this weekend?

A: I did; I wrote two small fiction pieces based on prompts and a short story about Sean and Maureen, that are on the Community Storyboard, fixed the two chapters and drafted two other short stories. It’s been very productive, just not in the direction I intended. This week I’m making focus my keyword, and perhaps moderation, too. I want to finish two more chapters, which will put Sean and Maureen in the heart of the conflict in Dublin.

D: And?

A: That not enough for you, D?

D: . . .

A: Fine. I have to update this blog with some added features to keep things organized and maybe write some more things that aren’t part of the Out of Time universe. Writing for the Community Storyboard was fun. I haven’t done that in a very long time.

D:  Congrats, A. Expanding your universe and reasonable goals that might not make you crazy . . . er.

A: Cheers, D!

D: Are we going to do our accolades tonight, A? Or are you still recovering from sangria?

A: Cheeky. Nope, I wanted to congratulate  Charles Yallowitz for the publication of his book of poetry, the Bestiary of Blatherhorn Vale.  Fantastical creatures, beautiful poetry and incredible cover art – this book has it all. Check it out.

D: Since poetry is more my venue than yours, A, allow me to share the Community Storyboard’s poetry prompt: creature creation.

A: Are you sure that’s not my territory? I could call you the creature or monster of my mind.

D: Nice, A.

A: I do what I can. And that is all for today. I’m going to say goodbye to my long weekend with an hour of British spies. Good night!

“. . . When Eoghan confronted us – when he said his name – I knew where we were, Sean. It was a deep, complete knowing. I know this time, I know this war–”

Sean snorted. “Yes, you do.”

“Politics aside, Sean McAndrew, I knew what we had to do.”

“What’s that?” Curiosity overruled his frustration.

“Save him.”

“What? Maureen, you’re mad–”

“Hear me out, Sean. If I’m right, that boy out there goes to Dublin soon and gets himself killed fighting in the uprising on Easter Monday. He had a family here, probably a sweetheart. The Ballard farm doesn’t exist in our time . . . they—“

“Maureen, that happens. Say we convince him to stay. What is to stop him from joining the movements in Galway? He could just as easily die there, too. Besides, no one knows why he went to Dublin. I don’t think we should interfere . . .”

Inspire me

D: A, what exactly are you doing?
A: Thinking of words I enjoy . . . like pfeffernusse and penguin.
D: You are a woman of odd affections, A. Penguin?
A: I like how it sounds.
D: . . .
A: I’m editing this week; I need to do something inspiring – something that doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.
D: I think that’s cut your heart, A.
A: I’m not quoting movies, D, I’m stating fact. Although Alan Rickman is probably the best part of that movie, I’m not bastardizing his quote.
D: So you need motivation, is that it? Am I not enough for you anymore, A?
A: D, it took me 13 years just to get this far – do you really need to ask that? I think I should give myself a writing challenge – write riffs on words that inspire.
D: That’s a little bit like a tongue twister, A.
A: Even better! It’s weird. I like it. . . Come on, Druid, inspire me!
D: . . .
A: I’ve got it! I could do a riff on one who is perturbed, or disgruntled, given that look. Maybe even supercilious or domineering.
D: . . . I think you should do one on addlepated.
A: Oooh! I like it!
D: I give up.

. . . Grania barked a laugh, “That is quite the plan. Were the man not so hell-bent on destroying our way of life, Bingham might have been someone I’d want to know. As it is, he can rot in Dublin before I’ll allow myself to be drawn into his schemes.”

“But–”

“I spent nearly two years in a Limerick cell, lad – I’d not be so stupid as to put myself in that position again, nor risk those that follow me. Without guaranteed protections from Her Majesty herself, I will not follow that madman into a trap. It’s unthinkable. I’m a pirate, not a champion. Maureen knew that, and so do you.”

Sean knew this is what she would say, even without knowing Grania had been a prisoner once before. She was right, it would be a reckless and thoughtless gamble to risk the lives of these men in something so foolhardy, and yet. . .

“I do understand that, my lady, and I mean no disrespect,” he began, fighting the numb weightlessness that grabbed at his belly and threatened to snake down his legs. He grabbed the edge of the table and sighed deeply.

“You are a pirate you say, and yet you fight for your native way of life. You are a pirate who commands the respect not only of her followers, but also of her clan and many of her neighbors. You are a pirate who strikes such fear into the hearts of men like Bingham that, in their fear they hatch a plot – worthy of a monster, aye – to snare you.”

Sean shook his head and pushed away from the table. He commanded the room’s attention.

 “You are not a pirate, my lady Grania, you are an inspiration; you are that which embodies the spirit of this land, of a people proud, oppressed and rebellious, now and in the centuries to come. Not only that, you are that young woman’s kinswoman, whether by blood or the tenacity and spirit that marks you both – and you know it, I know you do,” Sean gave Grania a piercing look; she did not deny his accusation and he nodded. “I know, because I am her only companion and now it falls to me to be her protector too – she, who always shielded me, needs me.

“It would be unthinkable for me to not ask your help, and furthermore, unthinkable for me not to follow her captors, regardless of your answer. You owe me nothing, and your refusal will not be looked upon as poor hospitality, but I will ask you none-the-less. Help me get Maureen back. . .”