The weather's forecast was a little askew. Only the northern moutains above 4800 feet in our area donned white winter caps. Hard rain has been mixing it up with mid 40 temperatures and sunshine down here in the valley and lower elevations.
But the walk in was fun as cars splashed along the roads. Everyone passed seemed in jolly, social moods. Dogs were the most social and friendly, quite willing to sniff me out for identity.
Over on the writing side of the head, I inadvertently began a short story in my head yesterday as I walked and worked on the lawn. Non-science fiction/fantasy, the story of a missing Oregon woman who worked as a Starbucks barrista inspired the tale of watchers. Here is the what's known about the Oregon woman: Whitney Heichel was 21 and found dead. Her twenty-four year old neighbor, Jonathan Holt, was arrested and charged with aggravated murder. Whiney is survived by a husband.
Of course, it being about a coffee shop and the people who work in it triggered the story. I often have friendships with them, at least at the bantering level. I typically know where they're from and something of their plans, dreams, families and education. In the short story, called the watchers in my head but destined for another title if I write it, the watchers take their friendship with barristas into unexplored territory as the watchers try to protect their barristas and make assumptions. Assumptions usually cause problems. Just watch any American sitcom.
I don't know what to do with the story. Pursue writing it? Yes, I probably will. I'm a fool for a story in my head.
Deeper in the writing head, the debate about the short story just finished has been resolved. Walking and thinking, I simply began re-arranging pieces. I think this might be called revising. Doing so broke up icebergs of exposition, improving pace and tension. They story's length didn't much change, and I was able to keep The Writer's beloved details intact.
I'm amused about how this story evolved. It started with an RV design in my head and migrated into space and to an Earth without people. Trying to figure out why my hero was there opened up the plot, character, politics and technology. Oddly, though, the RV turned spaceship had little role in the story, cast mostly in a role of background and setting.
Yet I continue toying with the space ship. I don't want to call it a starship; that's a specific class. This is a lower class, not as large as a starship although it's faster than light and warp flight capable. In fact, this ship has a core crew of three, augmented by three log techs, androids and bots. Nine are onboard, although it comfortably supports eighteen.
Part of the ship and setting involves crew members having suites, with private work spaces, hygienes and sleeping quarters, essentially an apartment. But why? I wondered. They work for corporate masters who love themselves big profits. Suites on ships cost money, mostly associated with the burdens of materials and labor. Both are fairly cheap. With the future's new energy sources and collection systems used in space, moving those suites doesn't cost much.
At the bottom of my thinking, it was a paradigm shift. An early corporate military leader who'd come up through the ranks employed the maxim, "Take care of your people and they'll take care of you." She insisted on suites for her forces. As her armies swept solar systems and galaxies, becoming a dominant force, others emulated her winning ways, as always the way in sports, business and war. Unions endorsed the move, too, pointing to her success for why their workers should also have separate quarters. Business came to embrace it: building all those suites, though cheap, became a major revenue source. After that, planets and corporations involved in the business protected it.
And that's why the ship has suites.
There was a lot more thinking to designing the ship as I walked, exercised, and completed yardwork. Another thing that amused me about the story was how little "The Ghosts of Ashland" have to do with Ashland.
The Beanery people are startled by my change of drink, from my double shot skinny Mexican Mocha to black, sugarless coffee. I keep telling them, it was just time for a change. They're surprised, though, that I drink my coffee black and without sugar, when I drink that Mexican Mocha as my usual. Different drinks, in my head. Not related at all.
Yardwork accomplished yesterday reminded me of writing, editing and revising once again. Once the roots are established and the bushes, trees, grass and story is flourishing, it's all about shaping and pruning. To sum it up, then, polishing a short story or novel is like pruning a bush or tree or cutting the grass.
Ah, the writing mind. It's a little insane.
Now it's time to write like crazy.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com