Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The first “adult” story I remember picking up and reading on my own was “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.  I was, perhaps 7 or 8 when I discovered a collection of thin books in bright hues on the bookshelf at the base of the stairs up to my parents’ room.  It was at the little window there that I used to read, by early morning light, the stories that would become my oldest and most cherished friends.  Each book was a classic work of fiction designed for children.  Pictures opened worlds on every other page.  How a collection of Poe stories, including “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Raven” came to be in a child’s book, I will never know.  Rats have terrified me beyond rational reason and ravens have become wise seers in my mind ever since.

But I digress.  I remember devouring every single one of those books in the mornings before the rest of the house stirred.  I didn’t like being downstairs alone, so I would read until I knew an older sibling or a parent was awake.  Huckleberry Finn, Romeo and Juliet, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, and, of course, Poe – the master of darkness – entertained my mornings.  Something about “The Telltale Heart” made my own heart beat faster.  The narrator’s descent into madness was evident to me even as a child and yet, there was something chilling about the old man’s eye and his heart’s incessant beating even after death that made me grieve for the narrator.  The same first-person view that would later draw me into many of H. P. Lovecraft’s most unsettling stories hooked me from the beginning.  I think the viewpoint is what really hooked me from the first sentence.  “True! nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?”

As I grew older and, primarily through books and other entertainment, came to realize that mental stability is a highly questionable thing, I found myself latching on to “The Telltale Heart” more and more.  The idea of a mind unhinging both fascinates and terrifies me.

Though it was such a short story (the children’s version was barely pared down; the only true differences I’ve found from the original are a couple of word choices), it’s clung to me all these years.  I’ve since read everything Poe wrote.  Some of his poems oddly comforted me during my teen years.  “A Dream within a Dream” accompanied me to bed many nights.  “Kingdom by the Sea” gave me a reason to cry.  “The Raven”…well, it’s “The Raven.”  It’s beautiful and haunting.   But the one story that I’ve read countless dozens of times and still, though I practically know it verbatim, makes me hunch over my book, eyes wide, heart racing, deaf to the world, is “The Telltale Heart.”

If, somehow, you have made it this far in life without having read Poe, I highly recommend you read it as soon as you can.  Every decent library ought to have at least one copy of his complete works.  Or you can just go here.

What story first truly captured you: heart, mind, and soul?  Tell us in the comments.

This post was inspired by the Creative Task of the Week in the Future of Storytelling MOOC. 

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While reading the latest Writer Unboxed blog post about music, I got to thinking about my own distractions.  I recently moved in with three other people, my two best friends and their 6 year old daughter.  We do everything together.  When we’re not working, we’re on our back porch talking and eating and drinking or we’re in one of the bedrooms playing video games or watching movies.  You’d think this would be a very bad environment for writing and yet I’ve written more in the last three months than I did in the prior six months and, if I do say so myself, it’s better writing.  Maybe not grammatically, but editing is for later.  At the moment, I’m sitting on my roommates’ bed watching them slaughter zombies and I just wrote almost 2000 words in my WIP in about an hour.  Yes, I should be able to do more and I have done more in the past, but I’m enjoying it more now.  Writing does not need to be the activity of a socially-inept hermit.  For some people, silence is necessary and socialization is death to the written word.  I understand that. 

However, I’m finally realizing that I need noise and people.  Especially noise.  My characters are in a post-apocalyptic world; they’re not exactly plugging in their iPods.  Even if they were, they would never be listening to Top 40.  My playlist is a Pandora station based on Within Temptation.  It plays everything from Evanescence to Blackmore’s Night to Loreena McKennitt to Skillet to Linkin Park.  That is my perfect mix.  The songs help me get the right emotions for my characters.  Normally, I’m happy and optimistic, which works well at times for one of my MCs, but most of the time, I need dark, sad, and/or angry songs to put my mind in the right place.  Some of the music is actually quite wonderful and inspirational, but somehow it still works for me. 

For myself, I now understand that I will never have a quiet life.  I don’t think I want that anyway.  Maybe I’ll demand quiet time when I finally get to the editing stage of my WIP, but for the first draft, music and other distractions are an absolute necessity.  Surrounding myself with noises forces me to focus on just one of the many voices in my head at any given moment. 

And that may be the best form of silence in the world.

Wow. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted. Months and months and months! I started a new job in April and it kind of knocked me out for a while, but I’ve decided to make writing a priority again. That being said, I’m only going to post one or two times a week now so that I don’t go nuts. Hopefully, I’ll be posting a story tonight or tomorrow morning, continuing the story of Lenora, Willow, Lucas, and the other Fae.

See you in the Verse!

Melissa

F is for Forgot :(

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

Yesterday was one of those days.  Woke up at 4:30 for Hebrew class.  Trained my replacement at the bookstore.  Got home and crashed into zombie land and fell to sleep before 10. 

In the midst of the zombie-ing out, I completely forgot to write a post.  😦  Also, I had no inspiration for the letter F. 

I’ll be posting G either tonight, or possibly tomorrow afternoon.  Next week, I’ll get back to business.