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In the Dark of Night

28 Sep

In the safety of the night, masked in darkness, I reveal my innermost secrets.  I use no words.  In the arms of the night, masked in anonymity,  I am honest with myself.  Breathing the musky scent of the night, I am intoxicated and forget the day.  I am open.  I remember.  I know everything.  In the hold of the night, I explore the fragments of a frighten, exploited, coerced and ashamed girl.  Splintered moments become a vivid story in the blackness.  My eyes adjust to his void, I am a child and a woman in control.  Yet, I relinquish the need to be something I may not be. I will not conform to the identity that is me.  The deepest, most guilt ridden thoughts are free, in the night.  The night does not judge me.  The night accepts me, every layer, every version, as long as it is pure, as long as I am true, as long as it can lull me, watch me, unlock me.  I am. Vulnerable.  Awake.  Explorative.  Sensual.  Beautiful.  Now comes the Dawn.

Flash Fiction Friday: Add your own in the comments!

4 May

If you are reading this, return the favor: let us read you! Or don’t. We don’t want to be pushy. But if you are so inclined, we want to start up Flash Fiction Fridays and it’ll be so much more fun with more people playing along.

Flash fiction goes by many different names and has about as many definitions. For our purposes, though, it’s gonna be anything under 500 words. So, air any ideas, characters, or situations that you just can’t shake. Make shit up or tell us the truth, it’s all the same in fiction. After all, if fiction is “the lie that tells a truth”(via John Dufresne), it stands to reason that it is also the truth told as a lie.

Here’s mine:

The place is empty on a Friday, which works well for him. He retrieves the blanket from his bottom drawer and unfurls his yoga mat in the copy room (where it is warmest). It never gets completely dark – the exit signs glow even in the daylight and at night they light up whole sections of the office like an unholy waiting room, where you sit can for years before one of Satan’s bureaucratic minions calls you to the window. It is a lot like that in the daylight too. And even he is a lot like his daytime self. He is supine, not seated, but his mind cranks around things that are not real to him and he wonders what everyone does with their lives if they don’t do this.

I intend…

29 Mar

I intend.  I intend.  I intend.  I believe in my intuitive abilities.  I alone create my reality.  I am creator.  My reason for living is to evolve creatively and spiritually, and to bring light and understanding to this world, my world, this layer of reality that I am presently existing within.  These are concepts I’ve been exploring in efforts to become effective and complete.  All of these ideas will come.  I understand that they must come effortlessly, fluidly, naturally.  I am opening, like petals of a flower, organic and true.  I am listening.  I am watching.  I am still.

My dreams whisper a story, my story.  Like a sweet child’s breath, my ear tingles and I know the words.  Where is this place?  What shall I do?  Please guide me.

Thank you.

I recently read “The Bringers of the Dawn” a book by Barbara Marciniak.  It was written in the early 1990s.  Many of the concepts are far out.  But I found the book to be a beacon.  A route to self-discovery.  A spark.  A support.  And a welcome tool full of encouragement to think freely.  To own your actions.  To take back power.  To break free of one’s accepted concepts and unchallenged, core fundamentals.  And to suspend thought long enough…  To fly.  To float.  To fall.  To awaken.  To rise.  To recreate.

There are many moments, images, memories or projections that I remember.  That I have carried with me on my journey.  Sometimes it’s a smell, a feel, a flicker of light or a sense.  Some have been with me since I was a child.  Others have accumulated with my experiences.  Until now, I have guessed at their meaning.  The sun beaming through me.  My feet in the cool wet sand.  I am young.  And I’m holding someone’s hand.  I’m enveloped and it’s gone.  Sometimes there’s no visual, just the sense of that moment.  A smell of the salt in the ocean air.  The warmth and protection.  The love.

I dream things that happen in my life before they happen.  I call that Deja Vu.  And when I get these feelings or Deja Vu, I have come to accept it as a sign that I’m taking the right path.  I’m going in the right direction.  This has been a comfort.  The only real way to check myself.  But then I read “Bringers” and at a crucial moment in the book, all of these seemingly random events collided and strung together like DNA connecting into a helix.  The gravity of a thought catapulted me through time, collapsing sheets of dimensions into one.  Could it be that this book was written for me?  Dawn?  Taking all of these multitudes of people, passing the book from person to person, until it finally reached me?  Until the moment in time when I might be receptive to the concept?  Using all of the words that I use, that speak directly to my sense of self?  Willing it.  Remembering that I am a renegade.  I am here to to break the system.  To bring the dawn.  To ground the message.  A tidal wave of light that will bring enlightenment, finally, and destruction of old ideologies.  We have all been working on this. I am not that ego-centric.  But my role is in the last chapter.  And now I am the main character.  And those memories and unplaceable experiences that have floated just out of reach of my comprehension have meaning.  Grave meaning.  Being born with all of the knowledge.  Only needing the understanding that I must trust myself.  My four year-old voice “No regrets.”  My six year-old voice, “Mom, the magic is gone.”  Born a healer.  A self-proclaimed old soul.  “This will be my last life, ” thinks the two year-old.  This is why Peter killed himself.  This is why Grandpa Jack died.  All soldiers.  Bringing.

My son was to be named Orion.  I was to be named Dawn.  This is our disguise.  Hurdles.  Thwarted.  Almost lost.  And one book.  Many voices channelled by one.  This is my journey.  This is why I am here.  I am a renegade.  I am Dawn.

—Real thoughts by Leigh Stimolo ©2012 and the beginning of my next creative work.  Novel or screenplay?  Still to be decided.

The Playlist Plot

14 Mar

It started as a game over dirty martinis. I’d pick a song, then Charles would pick one, but with two writers playing it lasted all of one round before we had characters and a story playing out before us, one song choice at a time.

I started with “Bang, Bang” by Nancy Sinatra and Charles answered with “Rock On” by David Essex. So: Nancy  killed someone and she and her boyfriend David took to the road. Sure, the lyrics can literally tell the story but it was the music even more than the words that drew us on.

When words are your medium, I think it’s inevitable that you feel the enormity of possibilities offered in other intense, emotional, but inarticulate art forms like music, visual art – even film, as much a visual as it is words in a script. In writing you are tied to the linear lines of the sentences used to draw characters, plots and scenes. But the music, the image – so much can be communicated in that fraction of a second it takes the brain to interpret light or sound and so much more directly and open to interpretation of the viewer, listener.

Of course there is a voice when it comes to music or images – someone decided which notes in what key, someone decided which object and the depth of light and shadow – but the voice is so much more overt in writing where there’s a narrator (even a disembodied, omniscient one) telling you what and how things are happening. No matter how subtly you write, the voice is the mediator between reader and story. And I could write reams, grinding the narrative to a halt, and still miss some of the wordless connections that are communicated in just one frame of film, the blink of an eye.

But the fact is, the viewer, listener, reader supplies their own narrative over the image, sound or prose in front of them. For the writer, the challenge is to tell the story so as to leave enough room for the reader’s own parallel story as they process the words in front of them. As the playlist grew, it was exciting to see how we layered our stories, our characters’ stories, over the lyrics and music.

In the end, we’d decided to work out a screenplay which should prove to be an interesting exercise in collaboration. I’ve read some of Charles’ work and am excited to get a window into his process.  Until then, here’s our raw material. It makes for good, atmospheric listening and trust me, it is gonna be a great story.

“Bang, Bang” by Nancy Sinatra
“Rock On” by David Essex
“Dancing in the Moonlight” by The Smashing Pumpkins
“Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen
“Never Let Me Down Again” by The Smashing Pumpkins
“You Said Something” by PJ Harvey
“Milton Road” by Mice Parade
“I Wanna Be Adored” by The Stone Roses
“I’m Your Man” by Leonard Cohen
“Hamlet (Bang Bang Bang)” by The Birthday Party (Nick Cave!)
“Love Is Blind” by Alicia Keys
“My Sword Hand’s Anger” by Apostle of Hustle
“In Spite of Me” by Morphine
“Becoming” (the piano version) by Nine Inch Nails
“Strange” by Patsy Cline
“You Were Always on My Mind” by Elvis Presley
“Club Foot” by Kassabian
“Long Snake Moan” by PJ Harvey
Three different songs, all by the Black Keys, for three different endings (for now you’ll just have to guess which one we went with):
“The Go-Getter”
“The Sinister Kid”
“Ten Cent Pistol”

Transformation. He’s a She.

9 Jan

Recently, I had a deadline to write two short films and direct/produce one of them.  So I wanted to pick something, short and transformative.  I started writing a voice over (VO) of my own personal experience from when I was a kid, part of my story.   After recording the VO a few times, playing with some vocal effects and subsequently shooting myself as the main character, I grappled with a few different ideas to give it some life.  I created both a deep man’s voice filter and a high-pitched voice box filter.  One version of the piece was to make it about a  woman who’s in a wheelchair and lost her voice box.  Her small nephew comes to visit her and she gives him some words of wisdom through a story of her childhood fantasy of being Jesus Christ.  Great idea.  So many things I could juxtapose poetically revealing other layers of the character.  But I had less than a week to shoot, no time, no actors (especially no child actors, specifically six-year old girls), no one to shoot it, edit it or score it… except for myself.  Oh yeah, and no wheelchair.  I could fake one of those mechanical larynx things with part of a microphone I own… but argh!

Then there was the idea of making an on-camera transformation.  Where the VO was just this girl getting ready in the morning and putting on makeup.  By the end, she’s transgender.  I knew I wanted to be able to direct that character.  I definitely didn’t want to shoot it and be the lead.  So I went to my office mate and writing buddy, Haley.  And she willingly obliged.  I bought props at Target.  Loaded my extremely heavy equipment and headed to Bay Village.  When I got there, I was a bit unsure of how this would play out.  If you asked Haley, I’m sure she’d attest to me being frazzled.  I didn’t bring enough quarters for the meter.  The meter ran out anyway at 5pm.  Yada yada.  But, with some diet coke and a few smokes later for Haley.  I found my rhythm.  I just cleared my head of doubt and trusted myself.  Some ideas I had, flashback cutaways from childhood and adding one of those glue-on hair mustaches at the end, weren’t coming together.   The mustache wasn’t right.  It wasn’t believable enough. But, as the day flew by those ideas quickly resolved and I was editing already on set.  Haley took awesome direction and really jumped in 100%.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  So I wanted to share some pictures because Haley, who played Josephine (Joe) in Transformation, really looks cool.  Check her out.

Joe gets ready in the morning.

Josephine makes a beard.

So what have I learned?  Sometimes, you’ve gotta just push through.  And that I’m thankful for having adventurous and supportive friends.

deja vu all over again

22 Sep

a few weeks ago, it hit me. that feeling, quick as a bird, that i have lived this before. it was intensely sensory as these things always are – this time touched off by the vivid blue of a dress a roommate had left to dry on the showercurtain rod. in that second i could take in all those things that are normally compressed from moment to moment: the claustrophobic feeling of the narrow shower compartment, the steamy heat of the water, the thick velvety feel of suds in my hands, and the colors – transparent black of the showercurtain, bars of blue and white tile and the dull chrome of the fixtures.

the thing that finally snapped me out of it was the recognition of it. is that how it is for you? for me, once i recognize the feeling as deja vu i am thrust back in to the present and filled with regret that the moment can be lost so easily. (imagine if you could keep running with it. if it were a story I was writing – and it might well be – the protag would only have to find a thread of previously lived experience and then just stay in that groove. yep, i’m gonna have to write that one. stay tuned.)

so the question: what is it? the truth is that no one knows. the scientific line is that it is an ‘anomaly of memory.’ perhaps your brain is storing information as a memory instantaneously alongside your experience of it. perhaps it is what happens when another, similar memory is suggested but cannot itself be recalled. another variant, from the matrix (1999), has a repeating black cat as a sign of a glitch in the system.

for a phenomena characterized by the uncanny experience of the expansiveness of time, by the way time seems to be multiple threads twining around us, it’s interesting that these explanations all put deja vu down as something confined to the present moment – your mind confuses memories as you are recalling them in the here and now; the system hicups and in that instant reveals itself to be a system.

well, what if deja vu means something closer to the feeling it brings about? because it does feel more important than the conventional explanations allow. so many interpretive avenues open up if you take deja vu as evidence of experience. depending on your perspective, it could be an encouragement to continue on the right path or a horrible warning to stop before you repeat previous mistakes.

how about you, readers? anybody have a novel take on deja vu? for my part, i decided to take my experience as a positive sign post (’cause really, what else are you gonna do way too early on a monday morning?), one that i’m hoping will give me some mileage as a short story…