Tag Archives: the dark side

Mindy McCready and Reeva Steenkamp

Monday, 18 February 2013; blog post part one.

Waking at three, I knew I wasn’t going back to sleep.  I lie beside my husband, wishing for him to stay in slumber, pondering today’s tasks, glad to be going back to work.  A nice break for last week’s anniversary celebrations was necessary, but as my husband spent much of yesterday afternoon faffing with stereo equipment  I did some editing.  Hard to keep a writer from the words.

By three thirty, I got out of bed, considering today’s post, about returning to the work, or the work slipping into my brain’s cracks that aren’t able to filter that lovely joy.  I’m always married, but on weekdays, once the PBJ is made, the husband kissed, his lanyard adjusted, it’s me, tea, and the computer.  Yet when I wake early, it’s just me and the BBC News, my homepage.  Shia unrest in Pakistan was the lead story, another bombing by militant Sunni Muslims, but Shia dead aren’t being buried after this latest atrocity, which hopefully will prod the authorities into tracking down those responsible for murder.

I don’t read any other news except the BBC, just to stay aware.  Last week it was Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp, which I read with heaviness in my heart for all involved.  This morning it was Shia unrest in Pakistan, and a dead American country music singer.  Mindy McCready shot herself on her Arkansas porch a month after the death of her boyfriend.

No way was I going back to sleep after reading that.  I went to Google News to learn more, simultaneously reminding myself it’s better to stay away.  Still, I rubbernecked; McCready had been suffering from drug addiction for ages, leaving two small sons, one not even a year old.  What truly appalled was the relationship she had with former baseball star Roger Clemens from before she was a singer, meeting him when she was fifteen or sixteen, her age is disputed.  They had a lengthy affair, so devastating to read how human beings can get so lost, even within their own lives.

Just as miserable as how Oscar Pistorius allegedly killed Reeva Steenkamp, details emerging that include a bloody cricket bat and her fractured skull.

This blog is about my writing.  It’s also about me; I didn’t mean to wake so early this morning, I don’t want to be so affected by these things that happen far away.  Lately women all over the world have been in the news for the trauma inflicted upon them, from India to Kansas City to Pretoria to one woman ending her life in Arkansas.  As a writer, my imagination is pretty active, but this overwhelms, and this is just what grabs headlines.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

By four-something I was lying on the sofa, a crocheted blanket over me, deep in prayer.  There are no viable explanations for these acts, except for me to appreciate my beloved, my sobriety, my sanity.  And to recall 1 Corinthians 13:1 – If I speak speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gone or a clanging cymbal.

I really love my life

Sundays in autumn are some of my favorite days, due to sport.  I’ve been watching American football since I was fifteen years old, a life-long San Francisco 49ers fan.  They haven’t always been the best team in the league, but I will root for them until I die.

Other teams wax and wane, although since 1987, I’ve been a de facto Green Bay Packers lover, due to my husband.  Some very lean years for the Pack when I first met my spouse, but lately fortunes have turned.

But football isn’t all I love about my life (although on Sundays from September-early February, it’s a major contributor); I adore my husband, who is sitting beside me, changing the channels between two footie games and one baseball, SF Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks.  Yesterday I took a road trip, keeping an eye on my young nephew.  I love him too, but even being away from my house for a day and night made me realize what a creature of habit I am, especially when my butt isn’t parked in my computer chair, but resting on the sofa, the TV just feet away, the laptop underneath my fingers.

And that’s not even bringing the chocolate covered raisins into it.

My writing is fairly drama-packed, and at times dark.  Bad things happen to my characters, although love usually trumps at the end.  But a lot of tears are spilled in the interim, because sometimes life is hard.  I’ve lived my share of bone-crushing tackles, but the last fourteen years have been pretty joyous.  And in those years, I’ve learned that even the soul-sucking events won’t kill me.  My heart’s been scattered across the length of a football field, but it’s a better muscle for the injury.  I bet football players would say the same; no pain, no gain.  It sounds trite, but from experience, it’s the solid truth.

Why I can sit here, appreciating my existence.  I write and publish, which are precious, stunning gifts.  I also am incredibly blessed with a terrific husband, a vastly improved 49ers team, a playoff-bound baseball team, chocolate covered raisins in the chocolate drawer (also where dip mixes are kept), kids who cook.  My son bakes a mean homemade pizza, eldest daughter whips up fantastic Alfredo pasta with red peppers, and youngest daughter is making carne asada tacos this very evening.  And, as I requested, she’ll clean up the kitchen afterwards.  My football team plays tonight, and other than to use the loo, I am not moving from this sofa until it is time for bed.

And if my team loses the Handshake Bowl, no biggie!  Many teams I dislike lost today, and life is the sum, not the parts.  Some pieces might feel crippling at times, but I have so many blessings.  And as long as the chocolate covered raisins hold out, how can I complain?

The dark side

This has nothing to do with Star Wars.  This has to do with how my novels with a political bent end up being darker than other ones.

But maybe it does have to do with science fiction; one of my favorite TV shows is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  Plenty of political shenanigans in that seven-year series, especially once the war between the Federation and the Dominion began.  During that show’s last four years, an array of good, bad, questionable, and memorable characters were spun into various tizzies by a cadre of writers that always make me reach for a higher bar.  Granted, not every show was gold, but many were fantastic, especially the six-episode arc starting season six.  I could wax all day on that; instead if you like sci-fi drama with a political edge, give Deep Space Nine a go.

As for my books, well, they’re angsty as all get-out, but for the most part, folks end up fairly settled.  But in For God and Country and The War On Emily Dickinson, characters’ hearts are wrenched with little satisfying bliss in between.  The WIP is the same; today some good news emerged, but bad slapped it down.  And not giving too much away, the main characters are going to suffer, just a few finding the sun.

I’m not a doom and gloom type, maybe it’s just my drama-fueled plots, a dark side emerging safely within fictional confines.  Better to take my inner demons out on those who can’t actually be harmed.  But in realizing this, I have to wonder what does it mean?  The next novel I want to write, for November’s NaNo, has a political edge, but at least for today, the ending will be upbeat.  Maybe that it’s a family saga-sort of story is why.  Politics often brings out unpleasant attributes; in the WIP, Premiere Hanley is a twisted SOB.  Deep Space Nine’s Gul Dukat is an awful guy too, and what about Darth Vadar?  Or Emperor Palpatine, now he’s a nasty dude.  I’ll chalk it up to satisfying some deep-seated desire to kick some legislative butt.