Long Time No Blog

I am writing this somewhat on-the-fly as I sit with my computer in front of me debating on what exactly to do with either of my sites. One thing is clear: content must be created. So I am blogging right now.

I should be putting something up here every few days at least. Some fiction, some blogs… it really shouldn’t matter that much so long as it is from me and it furthers my voice on the internet.

My realization in these last few weeks has largely swirled around my not doing much of anything beyond the act of writing itself. Although that is the most important component of a writing career, lots of other factors influence whether or not I will be successful beyond just writing.

I need to change that. In the next few weeks I will be slowly working on more ways to keep myself on track and to post more things up here. I will also be working on changing my sites a little, like that header image that I spent a mere 10 minutes making and I am not quite happy with. (If you are reading this on say, Tumblr, you’ll have to click over to my site to see what I am talking about.)

We’ll see how I fare on this go around. Gotta keep pushing forward.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

Of Earth and Ice – Episode 7

Of Earth and Ice

a sci-fi web-serial

by Jeremy C Kester

7: Resolve

The water stung as it washed over Evie’s wounds.  She winced, but she tried letting the feeling soothe her.  After some time the stinging subsided and gave way to a dull throbbing.

Gerald dipped the sponge into the basin of water and drew it out shaking off the excess back into the tub each time before trying to soothe her lover’s wounds.  She had to sneak the water in from her own stores, and although she had plenty to spare, if she was caught it would not mean well for her.

Evie was naked sitting on the cold, wet floor.  Her wounds weren’t too deep, but the bruises on her back and head were terrible.  The one on her head accompanied a large, uncomfortable welt.

“Why didn’t you notify me?” Gerald asked. “I’d’ve dropped everything to help you.”

Those were the first words either had said since Gerald had arrived at her quarters. When she first saw the injuries, she cried and held Evie. Evie remained stoic, still unsure of how to respond to the attack.

“It’s getting too dangerous, Gerry,” Evie said meekly.  “I can’t have you thinking you can keep saving me.  I can fight this myself.”

“How?  Why are you trying to fight this?” Evie quietly sobbed as the words left her lover’s lips.  She felt rudderless where only a day before she felt headstrong and certain of her path. Only one certainty remained steady in Evie’s mind: she needed to relearn how to fight.

Gerald continued, “I want you to stay alive.  I can’t let you fight this if it means that I am going to lose you.”

Evie didn’t reply. She sat quietly trying to push back the emotions that were swelling inside her.

Gerald continued bathing Evie and her wounds before bandaging them with some of the leftover gauze from Evie’s prior wounds.  Her fingers then ran gently along the scars carved into Evie’s back.  Though terrifying in appearance, Gerald found the scars oddly intriguing.  They spoke of Evie’s perseverance, of her strength.  It was something that though Gerald had always been noted as having by her peers, she felt that she knew nothing about.

Embarrassed by the feeling, she quietly draped a towel over Evie giving her a kiss on the shoulder before covering it up.  She didn’t want Evie to recognize that there was anything wrong. Evie however felt that it was all very wrong.

Evie’s mind continued to race from thought to thought, from pain to fear. Nothing in the world made any sense to her in the moment. She knew always that there was bad blood between the castes that her appointment had brought on, but now she felt threatened by it. But the threats only emboldened her resolve.

The matter only left Gerald in the mists of her fears. Evie loved her so very much. They had enjoyed years of comfortably lying together without notice. It felt so very wrong now, as if it were a limb crushed by a force and no longer able to function properly. Evie wanted to cut it off, but more than being beaten alive, it frightened her.

“I don’t want you to fight for me anymore, Gerry,” Evie said. She gripped the edges of the towel with her remaining fingers and pulled it tighter around her.

Gerald stood abruptly and stepped back. “What are you talking about?  Why not?” She knew why her lover said it, she knew it was right, but the words still struck her the same.

“This is not your fight now. I have to prove myself. I can’t let you risk your position, your life, for me.”

“That’s my choice.”

Evie stood up, pulling herself away from Gerald.  “No, it’s my choice. You have to give me this. I cannot possibly do this with you. I cannot have you in my head.”

“What do you mean by that?”

Evie took a deep breath trying to muster the strength to say the words that she was trying to eject from her. They were words that she didn’t want to say. “I don’t want to be thinking about you when I am trying to do this. You distract me.”

“I love you, Evie,” Gerald retorted angrily. “How is that a distraction?! I want to help you!”

Evie shook her head. A single tear

Gerald stepped back. Though her face remained steady, unwielding, her eyes began to glisten showing what the words meant to her. She said nothing more.

Feeling ashamed as she realized the meaning of what she said, Evie turned away. “I think you should go,” she found herself saying aloud.

Silence was all that followed. Gerald quietly made her way out of Evie’s quarters.

After a few moments Evie turned to witness the now empty living space before her. Regret immediately took hold.

She knew that it was the right thing to do for right now, but it felt so wrong.

Evie wept.

 

Previous Episode: 6 – The Run

Next Episode due August 18, 2015

The Man and the Mountain

“The Man and the Mountain”

a parable by Jeremy C Kester

There once was a proud mountain that stood tall in the middle of a large field. It’s visage could be seen from the lands all around it. It gazed humbly at the world surrounding it taking in the beauty before it. Seeking the summit of mountain, people would venture to it to climb it and bask in the marvelous views that it beheld.

One day, a man stepped up close to the mountain and pondered disdainfully at the sight before him. As men, women, and children climbed, he stood his vigil and glared angrily. Finally he asked the mountain: “Why does mankind wish to waste their time to climb your sides, Mountain?”

“By taking the effort to climb my sides, one can stand as tall as I and behold the marvelous beauty of the world,” the mountain said.

The man thought for a moment. His face grew curious. “I wish to stand as tall as you then, Mountain,” he told the mountain.

“Then you must climb my sides,” the mountain replied.

“I will not,” the man spat. “You shall raise me up so that I may stand as tall as you!” he demanded.

“Then you shall never stand as tall as a mountain as I cannot on my own raise you to my heights. It is only by the pull of your hands and the pushing of your feet that you may gain my summit.”

Bitter at the mountain’s reply, the man began to chisel away at the side of the mountain. Each chip lowered the mountain. Seeing this, the mountain asked, “what are you doing?”

“I will stand as tall as you. Even if I must bring you down!”

The man continued to chisel and over time the mountain became nothing more than a small ant hill in the middle of a large field. No one came to see it any longer. No one could marvel at the beauty that climbing it beheld.

“Now I stand as tall as you, Mountain!” the man jeered. “Indeed I am taller than a mountain!”

“No,” replied the once proud mountain. “For I am no longer a mountain. You have lowered me until I am but a meager ant hill. And you are no taller than you were before.”

 

Creative Commons License
The Man and the Mountain by Jeremy C Kester is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Image (Sketch titled “The Man and the Mountain” by Jeremy C Kester) copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

DONE!

That’s right! I am done!

Well, I am done the 1st draft of another project at least.

After trying desperately to get this particular project off of the ground for over 2 years, I finally put the last words to paper for the 1st draft of “The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle.” (YA fantasy-supernatural adventure)

Admittedly, I suspect that there is still a ton of work yet to be done as it enters now into the editing phases. 1st drafts are a mess; they are supposed to be a mess. Right now though I am going to hand the manuscript off to the few “Alpha” readers I have while I move onto editing a manuscript for a friend as well as editing a few pieces of my own that have been waiting for my attention (Gravity book 3 for example).

It’ll be a few weeks at least before I decide to go back to Agnes. I will not even begin the planning for book 2 until I am ready to click the publish button. In fact, I am going to try not to add anything else to my plate and move through one project at a time, one phase at a time until I purge my project list of the 8 projects other than Agnes.

With some perseverance from yours truly, I hope to get some of these projects out into the world before 2016. Wish me luck!

Ending a Project…

Inevitably this happens to me:

I am nearing completion of a project and I run out of gas. I cannot cross the finish line.

At least that is what I keep telling myself.

In truth, the car has plenty of gas left, I just took my foot off of the accelerator and applied it firmly to the brake.

What in hell am I thinking?

I am afraid to finish. No matter how much I enjoyed a project, believe it might be good, or want it to be done to move onto something else, something triggers within my brain that says “it is in fact shit and you need to just stop.” So I do. Then I glare at myself in the mirror with vitriol and self-loathing while I question yet again “why I am working on this?” “Why do I want to be a writer?”

Oh yeah, because I just AM a writer. It’s not necessarily something I choose to do. (See former post here.)

I would like to say that this is something like “new project high” where I run off to get yet another project started. There is that problem too as I do have that addiction, but this is something far more sinister. I believe self-doubt is the best description. I just doubt that what I have done was worth it.

My latest project that I am just so close to finishing has really gotten me down. It’s not even that the story is over. Quite the opposite is true, I still have 4 books at roughly 100K apiece to go. That was the plan for this saga all along. Nope. Instead, this is my looking back at what I’ve written and saying “this is fucking shit!” and then trying to bail before I continue on.

And yet it’s allowed to be shit. I know it can be. But it can also be great.

Hell, on my notebook I have a phrase printed to remind me of this: “It’ll never be good enough, so let it be good enough.” (This is not a quote rather something I began telling myself. If someone can be attributed to saying this before me, good for them.) What it means is that I need to ignore my self doubt and just let my writing be what it is.

Even so, 1st drafts are SUPPOSED TO BE SHIT! That is what proofreading and editing is for. Dig through and spruce it up. Dump the trite; keep the good stuff. String up the subplots missed, etc, etc, etc.

Like everyone else it seems, I just want it to be perfect right away. Even as I know that often I just need filler in the meantime, the edits sometimes bring up even better story elements than I can think of on the first go around. Think of it as that joke or quip you failed to think of during that conversation. You think “ARGH that would’ve killed!” Editing allows those scenarios to still make it into the story.

Another thing I have to tell myself is this:

Particularly when I am writing things like science fiction or fantasy, stories just are naturally a little hokey. As a fan of those genres, I know that there is a large part of enjoying the story is suspending disbelief. You dive into these head first and ignore the ridiculousness of it all. It’s escapism, dummy!

No matter how much of this I know I continue to sabotage myself when it gets to a certain point. I mean, why should I write when there social networks to glare at while destroying the accurate perception of what life is really like!

One of these days I might conquer this. Today won’t be one of them. I will fight this feeling to give up until I finish this damn draft. Then it will be the editing that I’ll try to slack on. Another day; another battle. One thing at a time though. You cannot eat an elephant all at once.

This guy who writes stuff for you to read…