Tag Archives: ellis underground

and sometimes

you think “this scene isn’t dark enough”, so add in a memory that might be.

Girl doesn’t look like a sneakSnitch, all telltale promise and trickery. She met a Snitch once in the copper market, in Ferrule. Oil-black and celadon paint. Fingernails the same green as decay. His name was Jonah. Lured her through a faeryDoor, rat-tat magic word, knuckles to brass and the metal wore dents, bits of skin and dried blood.

Memory works the same way.

Behind the door there were spiral staircases made of stained glass, liquid cobalt drained through vents in the floor. Shards of incandescent rainbow hung from the ceiling and tasted like paperlantern drops, the best parts of red sticky, sour and strange on her tongue. There was a boy over a boy and it was poetry.

There was a song inside a song and it was Jonah’s voice, lullaby surrender, arms and arms and how many fingers
at the time she didn’t think they were weapons.

By the end of the night her lips were swollen and her elbows ached. Sweat-slick sugar rush sour as sour and blood at the corner of her mouth. Her tongue was an opening, her skin wore the same indentations as the door and

Jonah’s hands

it was the way he flexed them, stretched them as if they were bigger than he was.

A week later she left Ferrule and that wasn’t why.

it’s only 112 words or so

Eventually the hurricane lamps dim. There is wallpaper on the walls here, flocked and faded, carbon-streaked, fingerprinted. Soot powder dancing girls as soft as mandala sand flutter lacy fans
somewhere
a butterfly
fells a leaning tower.
Ellis drains the last of her bowl, pushes its petal-edge to the centre of the table and tugs her shirt sleeve back over the worn patch of skin.
The boy, her beloved careful secret keeper wore a similar mark. His name in uneven typewriter, tapped out onto faded cardstock the same grey as tombstones. Filed away, manila-folded and stored.
Box babies. Organized by the nurses of Digbeh Hill.

but I’m pretty happy with them.
all I lack is urgency, but maybe i can add that in later?

in which we add and subtract.

actually did work on the wip, and Ellis (revert back, old name is good new name. Isn’t that the way it works all the time?) lost some bits and gained some bits.

Lost this, which I like and want to put back in, somewhere:

She holds out her hands but the rain,
slips right through
puddles the same dark as suffocation on the balcony floor.
This is how night falls in the seventh tip.
Like drowning.

Basically all I’ve done is add what I’ve subtracted. This is not entirely the way to grow a novel but after some pretty awesomely awesome chats at Wiscon things were figured out enough that I’m marginally (ahem) confident we can keep on going.

Later, we’ll get to this, found on the Steamfashion LJ page, ages ago:

opera

dudes, I may have an umbrella fetish.

inspirations.

I’ve posted this before, somewhere, but for the sake of recording these things, I thought i might show off a couple of really awesome photos, well, one for now, of inspiration that sort of helped me build the world in a city of Lead and Feathers. In the city there are contingency officers, essentially the police force, but the kind that’s not always on the up and up, who are running a city based on a pretty strict moral code, except when it’s completely corrupt.

from deviant art, artist unknown.
from deviant art, artist unknown.

I love the idea of men in plague masks and parasols, gliding along like The Gentlemen of B:TVS.  When I decided not to have an underground (because when your police force wear plague masks, how weird does your under have to be to make above seem normal?) I thought I’d map out Umbrella like Venice. Originally underground had canals and the Contingency officers floated by on boats, punting along with long, long poles. But now they’re above ground and it’s wet and damp and mossy.

And I dig it.

see birds.

This morning the twitterverse sent me (via @petshopboys) to an article on “imperial phases” (the period in which a pop star is untouchable), which I read, enjoyed, nodded a long to, and felt nostalgic in (I adore the Pet Shop Boys for a variety of reasons – for their music/who they are/what they represent. Memories are crucial things). I kept reading Pitchfork and found an article on “drag” or “witch house/haunted house” – syrupy, slowed-down electro-pop,  which has the perfect atmosphere for Lead and Feathers. And who doesn’t love the term “witch house”? I’m listening to Balam Acab right now and although this ‘genre’ (if that’s what it is at all) has the ladies who sing in spooky ways (it’s got a shoegazer spin to me), I’m kind of in love with it.

navel gazing with a purpose.

a. purpose.

really. Because I said so.

I thought this would be interesting, so here it goes:

This is the end of Chapter 2, that might end up in Chapter 1 because there’s no real need to have tiny little 2 thousand word chapters. So. Here. I wrote this:

“…Ellis jumps and the window
in the window, some shape that is man and not man. Plague masks and the black-silver glint of Crow and everything starts to itch. Every scar, every mark. The offset cog embedded in her forearm
turns
and the hare’s mouth opens to teeth.
It is warning, a rabid drip of spit and crimson and Ellis blinks as the Contingency officer takes one careful step into the foodStore , hand raised in beckon
and call.

Ellis turns her head and the rework’s eyes shift from black to brass, copper and his whiskers twitch and she realizes even before the Contingency officer steps over the threshold, and even before metal glints and a gear turns and a hind leg thumps against the dingy grey tile in warning
that here, as in Ferrule, caught is the same as captured…”

Yeah, the sentence breaks are actually like that because I like to pretend I’m writing “House of Leaves” (that I actually have not read more than 7 pages of, yet. It’s in the TBR pile o’ doom.

The Challenge, my dear friends, is that Ellis is on the floor of the foodStore, the police are a’comin’, there’s a randomly dead boy and a clockwork hare.

And, in the FINE tradition of Alice in Wonderland, my beloved scamp of a girl, Ellis, needs to either follow the hare (if we’re being literal) or just somehow Go Down The Rabbithole, and for the love of muffins, she won’t do it. So.

I can’t remove “Rabid drip of spit and crimson” because I’m totally all about drips of spit and crimson. (Better question: who isn’t?!) But I need something to happen. I tried writing it with one of the Crow/Contingency Officers (police) speaking, but that didn’t work – I don’t want them to actually make it fully inside and frankly? Ellis is smarter than to just hang out while the cops come on in.

So what, transition? Does it suck, is that the ending and I need something prior to “..same as captured” (I thought I did, and tried it and it didn’t work. So go freakin’ figure.

so then I came up with this, which is a start (I have no skills writing ACTION. I am a Tea Party writer, so it’s kind of apropos that I am doing this Alice thing, eh?)

“…It is warning, a rabid drip of spit and crimson and Ellis blinks as the Contingency officer takes one careful step into the foodStore , hand raised in beckon
and call

but the hare –
prey knows predator and alarms are not always the yellow of Seek, not always the screeching end of metal to metal or sirens on ragged rocks so very far from shore.
Alarms are sometimes this, repeated…”

which is okay, and frankly I’m all about making it better (I have been stuck on this for eight? months. Fo’ shizzle) later, I’d just like to get it down, badly, in a way I like before I move on. Like. Badly. Yeah, I get that I’m an oxymoron.

Anyhoodles. Let’s try this again, shall we?

“..It is warning, a rabid drip of spit and crimson and Ellis blinks as the Contingency officer takes one careful step into the foodStore , hand raised in beckon
and call
but the hare –
prey knows predator and alarms are not always the yellow of Seek, not always the screeching end of metal to metal or sirens on ragged rocks so very far from shore.
Alarms are sometimes this, repeated.
Urgent staccato and Ellis freezes as the rework’s eyes shift from black to brass, copper and his whiskers twitch and she realizes even before the Contingency officer steps over the threshold and even before metal glints and a gear turns and a hind leg again thumps against the dingy grey tile in warning
that the cog in her arm has shifted a second time and skin bulges, raised, the letterpress of the daily news, taped to trees and seeping black in the rains, and now
is now and she reaches back, hand around her bag as the hare bounds into the dark and Ellis stumbles up, trips to rising and her hand flies back and the bag
is airbourne, straps all tangle-wrapped around her wrist and she
and gravity works and the ceiling is a flash of water-stained familiar, tenement waste and her left foot leaves the ground and she tumbles…”

notice how that got a lot longer? Better, but she’s still not into that mysterious black spot of o, hello Wonderland. So, we must try again.

so I think we’re here, now:

“…but gravity works and the ceiling is a flash of water-stained familiar, tenement waste and as her left foot leaves the ground she tumbles
in a flash of rework brass and Seek, the slam of head to floor and fireworks just before
it all
bleeds
to black…”

Which I don’t actually like, really. So It might be impossible for me to go forward, as the last half-year+ has shown. Or maybe Ellis doesn’t go underground at all? Or maybe I take out the Alice thing, and just make the whole thing topside?

Good gravy I’m going to make some tea. Or go to sleep. Or something.

hello there.

one or two or nine of my favourite things (any reason why favourite things can’t take up more than one space?) in coming home is the complete silence-not-silence. The rumble-gurgle of the fridge, the sleepy cheaps of a 42gram wonderbirdie. The quite of sunbeams and people walking overhead.

I am as fond of loud, cacaponous explosions of joy and synthesizers as i am of this.

Just this.

In grand tradition i forgot one of my xmas gifties at mamas and papas, i suspect, on the night stand. Alas. It will meet up with me later, when the moon is full and the dogs are howling. It’s a ring, and it’s all big and modern and crazy and awesome.

there were flowers for fascinators purchased, all dusty victorian travel-back-in-time because they’re autumn, all fall leaves and forget-me-knots, and I adore them.

so let's kick the last nail in.
because it's opening night.

and I’m excited to make them and build and see what secrets they tell to strangers in run-down drinking bars at 3am.

Hrm, this is what happens when you’re romantigoth at heart.

I spent a lot of time thinking about Ellis, Underground. I think Ellis needs a wandering-adventure-companion, and I decided I’d like that to be Theo, previously from “Failing the Rorschach Test” and other stories. Theo-not-Theo. Same vein anyway, some rivethead/cybergoth mashup with a penchant for kevlar.  I figure it’s rough out there in Umbrella, better take back up.

we go about things the wrong way

Morrissey wanted to know ‘How Soon is Now’.

Sometimes it takes a while to get going. Sometimes it’s like there’s no more time left to just get going.

Sometimes it’s like this:

Screen shot 2009-11-25 at 9.48.56 PM
and i need to be loved

That’s it, then, hey. Oh, difficult office days and too many hours of QaF make me maudlin. In a good way. But maudlin all the same.

Anyway somewhere in that there are about twenty words that weren’t there before. It’s not much, but it’s something.