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Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

Let’s put two myths to bed right off.

  • Writers are loners. Sure we work alone because writing is a one-person job unless you are part of a writing team for TV, but “loners” does not describe us. At the Florida Writers Association (www.floridawriters.net)annual conference in Lake Mary, Florida last weekend most attendees did indeed come alone it seemed, but there was a reason, if we can trust my limited “survey.” Those I spoke with did so for the same reason I did. Okay, we don’t have any friends, but besides that, the purpose was to meet as many other writers as possible in a short time. The best way to do that was not to pair up with someone you knew. And it worked. I met so many kindred souls my head is spinning. I’ll touch on a few in a minute.
  • Conference or banquet food is old TV dinners from the days of Sid Caesar and Howdy Doody, scraped from the tin trays and plopped before you, probably cold. You people have obviously never attended a conference at the Marriott in Lake Mary. I heard a perfect description of the creative breakfasts, lunches, breaks and dinners served us: “I feel like I’m on a cruise ship.” That sums it up. Of course, we will all need to work off the extra pounds as we do after a cruise, too. If you need further convincing, how about this? During the conference there was only one standing ovation—it was for the chef.

This was my first time attending a major conference, so I paid for one day (the second) in case it was not beneficial. I came back for the final day and wished I had attended the first, too. (Note to self for next year.)

The first workshop attended was for those farther along and ready to publish and promote, but things picked up when I heard young fantasy writer M.B. Weston, author of Elysian Chronicles . Her presentation on plot and structure was spirited and aimed right at my sore spot, conflict avoidance. She has a hard time doing bad things to her protagonist, too, but had tricks to help. Thank you. Thank you.

The first workshop after lunch was Crafting Commercial Memoir and presented by Brandi Bowles, an agent with Morhaim Literary Agency (www.morhaimliterary.com) whose job it is to buy memoirs. You can’t get advice more straight from the mouth than that. We left there seeing we had to target our audience and basically begin promotion of our book before we even write it. It’s a commercial world out there, kids. Techniques for stringing individual stories together with a narrative thread are the most challenging for me. Ms Bowles gave us several ways to accomplish that goal. Now the work begins.

After a hearty lunch, my next workshop was with Margie Lawson, psychologist, writer, international presenter (http://margielawson.com/, who spoke on Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist. I have no doubt everyone in that workshop will soon be pouring over every work they have written to measure effectiveness against Margie Lawson’s criteria.

In the final workshop Sunday, James O. Born, author of five police thrillers, the latest “Escape Clause” (http://jamesoborn.com/titled his workshop Realism & What Drives Readers Crazy. He also writes science fiction under the pseudonym James O’Neal. Born, a DEA agent in “real life,” pulled one weapon after another from his duffle bag and kept us laughing while learning. Think: Carrot Top’s trunk with lethal weapons. No one got handcuffed (luckily) because he forgot the keys, but he turned my weapon against me when I asked advice on the police style (Surefire) defensive flashlight I carry.

This post has gone on long enough. I’ll be back to introduce you to some of the amazing writers I met and the visual treat we all had from the party next door, an Indian engagement party.

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Lacey (name changed) sat behind me in secretarial class my senior year, 1956. I knew the stories she whispered to me could not be true, yet they seemed so real a part of me believed. Lacey and I weren’t close friends, didn’t run around together, rarely saw each other outside of the two hour secretarial class, which left a lot of time for those who were one with the manual typewriter. Lacey and I were.

The first whisper was about how cool she thought Russ Tamblyn was. He was a rather short standout dancer in movie dance groups like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. His rather unruly hair had a red tint and his face was what we called cute back in the fifties.

Lacey’s fervor for Russ Tamblyn was so strong I began to look forward to her little fantasies. One day she became very excited and had to be hushed by the teacher. When the coast cleared she took a deep breath and told me Russ stayed at her house last night in a spare room. I don’t remember the circumstances of his implantation into her physical life from the screen, but it was so real to her. I could hardly wait for secretarial class the next day. Lacey was beside herself with her idol present in her own home and I began to feel how real it was. She never mentioned conversations or meals with him and the family, just seeing him, knowing he was sleeping beyond her bedroom wall.

One day Lacey burst into class extremely calm, but I could see she was boiling underneath. When the chance came, she leaned into my ear and whispered, “Russ and I did it last night.” This story needs a large piece of white space here because that’s what the time and room became for me. Everything was so real for Lacey—and for me. Your first time was a big event in your life and Lacey had experienced it with her idol!

I sat bolt upright and faced the front of the class. What was I thinking? Of course, this was all a fantasy in her head. Russ Tamblyn didn’t come to our little town. Lacey didn’t sleep with him.

“We met on the living room couch during the night like I knew we would. The look was in his eyes earlier,” Lacey said, “it was wonderful.” Then Lacey went into a sort of trance.

For several days after that Lacey first gave me that knowing smile and nod and said they met again. Sometimes she added they were almost caught by her mom.

* * *

It’s 2009. I haven’t seen or thought of Lacey in years, but I did today. Amber Tamblyn was featured in the Parade Magazine. I’ve followed her because she was Russ Tamblyn’s little girl, so I read a celebrity piece, which I rarely do. Amber is asked how it feels to be an only child. And there she discloses that she learned she is not an only child, that she has an older sister her father produced in the sixties. Suddenly for the first time in years I think of Lacey. I know Lacey’s tale was spun in 1956 and Amber’s sister was born in the sixties so there can be no connection. Yet I hear those breathless whispers and don’t know where fantasy ends and reality begins.

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