Tag Archives: ellis underground

order of business!

Order of business, is that in an unexpected move, I’m heading to LA in mid-October for the Das Bunker 20th Anniversary party, because someone I love is ultra squee over the Covenant live show, but the overall lineup is bananas: VNV Nation, A23, Covenant, High Functioning Flesh, my beloved Author & Punisher, my friend iVardensphere (not sure he knows he’s my friend, but whatevs. Yay Scott!), end.user, the Legendary Pink Dots and about 5billion other bands you have also never heard of, including my Aesthetic Perfection, who are performing songs off of an early album as a joke, and it makes me laugh (you know that thing where your music project evolves but everyone is still stuck in 2006. Yeah, it’s like that. FUNNY).

I am a bit amused to see VNV Nation twice in a month, as they’re bringing their Compendium show here (3 hours of snappy Ronan action!), I don’t even listen to much VNV anymore, but am still excited about this as the first show I’d ever seen in what is now “My Thing”, was VNV/Icon of Coil back in 1806.

In additional, writingly-news:

A.Y. Chao  (who is probably the single-best resource for writing workshop information) recommended the Discovery Story Magic series for character development, and I’m almost finished – started with graphing/gridding Gingerbread to identify sticky-open plot places within the character’s journey. When the rewrite of GB is done (which, at the rate I’m going is probably going to take forever, bc reasons!) I’ll go through it for both The Mourning Wolves and Ellis, Underground. In a way I’ve got the bones of it all, as I tend to understand my characters on an emotional, if not practical, level — I don’t know their favourite cereal, but I for sure know how they feel if they find themselves standing on the stoop in the middle of the night with a snowstorm blowing around them.

So far, I’ve gone through DSM, and then I did a chapter breakdown which showed me some seriously glaring holes in my structure, so yay! also: boo. But, I am nothing if not resilient. If anyone asks, the answer is Yes, writing is precisely like running into a wall 300X a day. I’ve cut my first two chapters up, changed up my inciting incident, moved what was the II to chapter 2 (or I will, as soon as I stop procrastinating through this here blog post. :D), to make it maybe the first plot point – although, maybe it’s still too early for the first plot point, but I needed to up the haps and suggestion from People Smarter Than Me was more character development in the first 2-3 chaps (I tend to be a slow writer, as in I am not a whiz-bang plot a minute go-go-go writer, so feedback is often “pretty, but nothing happened”. I have learned not to take that feedback personally, but still. Man, this business is hard).

what else? OH! I  finished “I’ll Give You the Sun”, which was kind of amazeballs. I thought the characters were maybe a bit too awesome for their own good – the characters were well-developed and they sure had faults, they were just very fancy? like, in the way they’d built their outlook on the world, and the way they approached it was very Inside of a Novel, however! I cried. Pretty much. Not a full, on ugly Oprah Cry like I did for The Road, cuz that was a moment that is likely to never be repeated, however! IGYTS is lovely, and wonderful because even though the characters are pretty shiny and the framework is snappy, underneath the shiny they read like really complicated, honest, sad people and OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

anyway, here’s a snippet of the new first-draft-messy that I’m adding to GB:


But then Emeric smiled, and tapped his fingers to his face and Quince grabbed a tea towel and wiped some of the green goo away and for a second it was like all that time hadn’t passed at all.

But then Quince blinked, and maybe stuff got clear because a sadness slipped over his face and my own heart sunk.

Emeric just looked a little bit sheepish, and whole lot beautiful.

Quince said he was art, like straight out of the Louvre art, where everything was carved from marble and stone and people stood around and gawked and pointed, but mostly they just blushed because hot was hot no matter the medium. I had to take his word for it.

You can easily see the troubles already – two sentences starting with ‘but’, for a start. Really, sentences should never start with But, however! sometimes a girl’s gotta make a stylistic choice. That someone will, later, mark out in red pen.

What else?

in an effort to be the hippest writer in hiplandia (actually, I can’t even say that’s true b/c I had no idea magically hipster pencils existed until I went to the stationery store), when I was looking for a plain, blank journal (no lines, people! lines restrict! I dunno, I’m on a blank-page kick), and found a midori journal, and of course leave it to our minimalist friends to make a super simple but beautiful journal –I mean, it’s the plainest notebook in plainlandia, but soooo pretty) — I also found Blackwing pencils (and bought one, but I think it is too soft and next time will try the pearl AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST TYPED THAT SENTENCE, BRB, I’m going to go drink my cold brew coffee in front of my edison bulb lamp while I google places to eat in Portland), because for some reason I’m into pencils, instead of pens. I suspect it’s because they come with erasers and I’m tired of crossing out the bad ideas i have. Erasers make them go away.


even though the lines are gone, you can still feel their ghosts.






the first/last time we ever met.

i noted on twitter that this book was weird even for me. And lo’ it is:

“Come,” he says as the spill of yellow intensifies. He holds out his hand and she knows better. Knew better. Knew better than to come back when she’d been tagged by the Seek, to steal from the foodStore, to listen to the Queen of some hidden Hive and all she knows is that together, separate, they’re all dangerous. But the Queen’s voice is syrup and she reaches and his hand is warm and soft and feels like morning, like sunshine.

His teeth are sharp and his eyes shimmer blue to black and back again.

“Not today,” and she’s not even sure what he means but there’s a tug and a puff of goldenrod, all powder like a flashbomb favour, blinds her and the air is all tacky-syrup pollen and flowers as he pulls her through the store into some black corner, his other arm out and a door she didn’t know was there and a step



into pebbled ground and asphalt, tar-black and she stutters out some plea, but not. Some sound of strangeness.

As her eyes adjust to the new inky dark and she looks around.

And the alley is unfamiliar.

And the Queen is gone.

it’s very first drafty, so doesn’t have to make a lot of sense. But holy biscuits and gravy I’m all: o.O

also, this cover version of “In the Air Tonight” by Dead When I Found Her is lovely.

i made thinkings

as a short story, The Mourning Wolves is a meagre couple thousand words. It doesn’t really do much except introduce three characters in three different spaces worried about three different, but also the same things.  I moved pieces around and turned the first three scenes into three chapters, ASH,  PAJA, SALAMANDER.

Ash, so far, is the protag, Paja is someone else. Antag, protag both.  Salamander is my bad boy, or he might be a bad girl or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe that’s Ash, too. Ash tells me gender doesn’t matter, but writing agender, or gender-fluid is a huge undertaking, or feels that way. I’m such an average, middle class cis-gendered, middle-aged white lady.  When I think about writing what I know, which is an old acorn and not necessarily true, or even good advice (except when it is), I want to write not about what I know, but about who I know, my trans* friends, the folks I know, or will know who don’t consider themselves binary, my gay and lesbian friends and my straight cis-friends. My bi-friends.  But good gods I don’t want to screw it up, either.  I want the world I’m writing about to reflect the one I live in, which is the same one I lived in when I was small. Except in many ways this one is so, so much better, which doesn’t always say much.

in the untitled Gingerbread project, my MCs are ace (asexual) and bi, and they are in a relationship with each other, and it is heteroromantic, and it is not sexual, and it’s poly,  too, and I’m not sure I got it right, but I’m trying. I read a lot, through asexuality.org and utilized my friend google, and I’m not sure if there’s enough identification within the book, because i want it to be clear. So that’s a note-to-self. I want the reader to know who Haven and Quince are, both to themselves and to each other. Gingerbread is a relationship book; if I did what I set out to do, it’s about Haven and Quince and their little brother growing up, it’s about Haven finding a father, it’s about sacrifice and letting go.

I’m not sure it’s there yet, but the mss is with some very smart people and they will tell me.

I think The Mourning Wolves is my loner book, although so is Ellis, maybe.  Maybe also is Three-Tenths, Nine-Tenths, the languishing werewolf/baba-yaga book (oh, great, now i have TWO werewolf books. I’m using up all my themes in theme parks, here) that i think about finishing, sometimes.

I need a name for a diner.

I just started watching Dominion. Hot dudes that happen to be angels. It’s like I signed the cheque on this thing.

the weirdest thing, like clockwork

it’s the change in the weather, when the trees lose their green, fade to the sick sun yellow, a weird reminder of what is lost, leaves the colour of sunshine, pale like morning. I suddenly only want to work on a story that I’ve called Mourning/Wolves for something like forever. Or Mourning, Howling, Calling, sometimes. Or the Wolves or this song, anyway, that I know I mention every time the wind changes and I think about this story:

Breathe deep

Takes me
We hold fast
Won’t last
And night falls
It’s just
It’s just as well

And if we danced all night
Fell so deep
If we could live to tell
What our eyes have seen
We are wolves here
And so I held you tight
Dared to confess
So you could feel my body
Steal each breath
We are wolves here

and also:

Sleep, dear
The world has gone quiet
I know you’ll wake up again when you feel the sun
So please breathe
I know you’re pretending
There’s blood at the discotheque
So sick what we’ve become
Come on let go

And kill the lights
‘Cause they’re blinding me
I’ve been watching all the stars go by
Devil takes my hand
And now they’ve seen our blackest hearts
Now they’ve seen the hole inside
Come on take my hand

I know
You’re broken on the inside
The city is flowing through you, that’s what you’ve become
So please breathe
There’s nothing worth saving
There’s love at the discotheque
So sick what we have done
Come on let go

because this story is both of those things.  And because it was cold and because it was wet, my brain went to this place in the story, to Junior and Salamander and Paja and maybe now a girl named Sunday Mourning, and maybe it’s not a short story and that’s why I’ve never been able to finish it. Maybe it’s a novel, and maybe it’s called The Mourning Wolves and maybe it’s about a girl coming to terms with who/what she is and maybe it’s about a girl fighting to save her makeshift family and maybe it’s about a girl who doesn’t want to live forever, or close to it at least because forever doesn’t always mean For Ever sometimes it means just a really long time.

I’m reading a book right now, about a boy, written by a boy. Or about a guy written by a man or whatever it is, and I can’t think of the last time I read a book written by a male author (except a couple of David Levithan books, one was great, the other didn’t resonate…) that felt so male. I dunno. It’s weird and I’m not sure I like it. It’s a book of much applause and ppl liked it but I, apparently, just like books by women more. Except The Road. So go figure. Anyway. Mourning Wolves.

I want the structure to be weird. I’m mulling over POV and what that will look like, and how maybe I want it to read like a fable or a tale, not in the way of Ellis, Underground (which I still must finish), but in the way of darker, sharpened things.  I want to keep the beginning of the book similar to the short story, and I want the diner to be important, because there’s a diner in it, and I want to keep this sense of sadness, but maybe that’s because it’s just fall, and –

she was fall leaves and winter solstice, and he loved her deep.


on semi-colons and full. stop.

canopies. I hadn’t thought of them before. I think they were a piece, missing. The word I haven’t used that I can remember and i think instead of lattice-work ceilings. Instead of awnings. But they should do something else, too. I just don’t know what.

The ribs I had, and in my head they were the waterways, but each would separate a part of Ferrulle and if there were 7, and the pieces, if each were large enough to hold a place part of the whole that could have a different weather pattern (oh, there’s no science in this one, kids), then perhaps the ribs being the arteries and veins aren’t quite right. They are, visually, but each artery/vein would be far far from each other. Main waterways, perhaps, with tributaries and streams elsewhere. That elsewhere, connecting to each other in simpler ways, wide enough only for narrow boats and crossed by bridges.

It’s possible I need this drawn out. It’s possible it’s still bigger than I am.

This is the best part of being critiqued. It makes you think things you didn’t, before.

this is why my heart breaks…

Dec 9. Which means this is day 30 of 30 Days of William Control. Yesterday, while sitting in the bleachers watching derby (Kill Jills VS Gas City, my Jills did not fare so well. Injuries and toss-abouts galore), I started thinking about getting a “this is where pessimism comes to die” tattoo. Which is how you -know- there’s been nothing going into my ears this month but our Darling Wil*.

This is where we feel love, find life, kill time.

This is where our pessimism comes to die.

Here you can trade your flesh for currency.

Which is fairly darklovey and romantic, until the flesh as currency part, but I suppose that’s subjective, too.

There is also this:

He reminds me of ELLIS UNDERGROUND, and of other, royal things and Umbrellas, and makes me want to start needlefelting again. Perhaps not just him, but there’s been a niggle, lately, of wanting to start sculpting, and there’s a list as long as my foot (I have a very long foot) of things that I want to make/build. I think this? Is a Very. Good. Sign.

*unless I’m writing, because we know I only write to Johnny Hollow.

they say jealousy is as deep as the grave

{listening: johnny hollow, die for love}

in truth, my whole book, the whole of Ellis, Underground, is written to Johnny Hollow or nothing at all.

Images of soot powder dancing girls as soft as mandala sand flutter lacy fans

and somewhere

a butterfly

fells a leaning tower.

I found that in chapter 4. I have no idea what it means except I know exactly what it means. That doesn’t mean it belongs. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t go somewhere else. On the OWW, I’m told not to try so hard. They mean it in the nicest way (it’s a story I’ve heard before) and I want to tell them: there is no other way I know how to form words. That I could write a thousand things about a butterfly wing but am unable to say this: He went to the store to buy milk.

Instead, if I were to say such a thing about going for milk, I would say:

“Outside, rain. Fat, heavy drops and the holes in his socks let the cold in, skin to leather and damp, rubbed straight through to blisters and he limps in response. Ahead, neon-shimmer, blue to yellow, a letter missing and the slurpee machine has never been fixed and it has always been broken and he buys soda instead, sick-sweet and cold and it makes his teeth hurt and his tongue fuzzy and sometimes leaves him with a peculiar pain right between the eyes. But today it’s milk. Ordered, demanded, a phone call in the middle of the afternoon that was all accusing. All, you must go and you have failed and yes, just get the 2%”

That took me 1.5 minutes to write. It’s how many brain works. In ribbons. In bows. The other way takes me hours. A million sundays to pull all the meat off the bone and only keep the good stuff. I think it’s all good stuff.

I drank cupcake wine, and played Amnesia: Dark Descent and listened to Johnny Hollow and wrote 1, 428 words which is the most I’ve written at one time since as far back as I can remember. Part of today was made up of lemons. This is how we make lemonade.

failing so beautifully.

listening: William Control “London Town”

Set myself up back in the office. It’s actually my favourite part of the house but I don’t spend much time here. I’ve come to realize after this long apart, my Ellis and I are having trouble finding each other again so we do what we do when we must: we begin Again. Begin does not, however, mean start over. It mostly just means retrace. So that’s what’s happening. I’m retracing with Ellis and William and Johnny and some rather horrible weather.

notes. glittering + pale.

from Ellis, Underground

“With a turn of his head and through the shift of hair and clothing, she sees the tattoos staining his collarbone and disappearing over his shoulder. Bee-lined and there’s her question answered. He’s here and now she knows he only came for the candy.
“Used to keep these maple bits for me under the counter but the train was late, couple of Sundays.”
She doesn’t speak and this stranger.

He’s telling her about the boy. He can’t mean a train, there’s never been a train, only the boats over artery, over vein. He’s not a gardener but honey bees –

pollinate and that makes them three times as dangerous. The ring, the skirt. Glass-blue eyes and the way he looks at her and then she figures it out, some ding-ding-ding and lightbulb, it’d shatter from the shock of it.

He’s a Queen. Standing in a bombed out foodStore, telling her stories of a dead boy whose name she never knew.

That she’s too scared to ask.

“I saw the truck on Wednesday.” She lies. Says it to pretend she knows something he doesn’t. Thin and flimsy and he turns and smiles.

“The value of your information wouldn’t buy me a raindrop.”