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For the launch of my new book Pharmacology, I thought it would be interesting to ask readers to send in short clips about their first experiences getting addicted to the internet. Here’s one by Danielle Lynd I found interesting. Kind of makes your mind wonder what happened to all of those characters involved. Word is she has a book on the way, so keep an eye out for more  from this Illinois-based writer.

Chat Obession

By Danielle Lynd

I was obsessed with chat scene back in 2000. I would sit up until all hours of the night chatting with people I didn’t know thinking they were my best friends. I became extremely close with a person that claimed to be a state trooper from my state. Turned out it was true. It was fascinating to be able to be so much myself with total strangers completely stripped down. There’s nothing to keep you from being you. It was pure if you wanted to be. He and I would chat for hours until we were both falling asleep at the computer from exhaustion. We’d talk about life, our favorite songs and music, what our families did to drive us crazy.  One day he disappeared, a few weeks later I got a call from one of his co-workers explaining to me that he would be in touch again when he could.  He had to testify in a case that was compromising his safety. Months and months went by without any more news or words exchanged.  My heart was heavy and I felt like he might have forgotten me. My state trooper became my lost love. He resurfaced one night after I started dating my now husband. It was the first phone call I had from him in almost a year.  We spoke briefly as I was leaving on a date.  We had changed and though my heart swelled at knowing he was home again safe. I had moved on in his absence, though never forgot him. He is gone from my life now but is frequently in my thoughts with fond memories. If hadn’t been for the internet and my once crazed obsessions with it. We would never have met. Lame I know but I am a sucker for romance, tragedy, and new love.

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Fall in Brooklyn

Such a different place out here. The looks on the faces of the people remind me of the bay area. That Hard softness to them. The noise is even muted out here. Not sure what is even happening in Manhattan these days. Two Bridges are there if I need them. Winter is coming. Can feel it. Can see it on the tops of the trees.

It’s the other side of the mirror out here. Prospect Park shadowing Central Park. Like the time machine that shows a major magazine reverting back to the the indi Zine it once was. Still, everyone supports. Everyone reads.

Bike paths and busses. Will industry move this way? Do the folks here even want it to? Can’t believe I’ve finally arrived here. Always dreamed of it. Saw those early pics of Jackie Robinson and the rest of the Brooklyn Dodgers handing out in the dugout. The people in the stands a part of the team. Community. Shared love.

It’s hear. No need to go upstate anymore. No need to pray for trees.

Slight Lights in Character Breaks

Things starting to come together. I know these elements:

1. Hollywood Image Factory

2. United States Revolution

3. Plastic Surgery

4. Hip Hop

5. Baseball Cards from the 1960s.

6. Politics

How all these pieces are going to fit together, I have no idea. Star power and independence. I think I’m going to be able to create that leader that everyone is in search of – or, more importantly, have stopped looking for or believing in. It’s going to be a a big birth to get this character out, but he is going to lead the charge.

Got a great push from those kids in Australia last week and I intend to ride out the momentum. Sometimes it helps to talk to others about your own process so that you can remember you own. Yes.

Was jogging in Prospect Park today when I can across an old map of Revolutionary War Brooklyn. That theme keeps on coming out and jumping up on me. That’s how these things go. You just have to keep on looking for them.

The Importance of Throwing Out Notes

So being finished with second book only means one thing: Time to get on to number 3.

This time, I am trying to return to a book I started in Los Angeles 8 years ago. To me I thought it would be my first book, but it just never came to be. I have boxed of note, typewriter written pages that I have carried across the country and through various stages in my life. Always thought that at one point I would want to put them all together and do something amazing from those hot days living just above Sunset Boulevard.

The story is there. I know, but those notes – the years that have gone by – there’s nothing there that’s not in my head already. I kept pouring over them though in hopes I would find what I had been missing. Spent the last month going over each word. Then I realized, those notes might be what was holding me back. Today, I tossed them all. Now just another pile of papers waiting to be picked up in Brooklyn,

But I’m free. There is room to write even more. To fill in what didn’t work before. Been throwing tons of stuff out since the move. Books. Papers. Everything that I haven’t gone to in some time. I think tossing all my books allowed for Ray Kurzweil to come into my life. Also a new subscription to the New York Times.

There is now space, not being trapped by my own thoughts. Excited to start again. The thoughts all still there, and now, everything that didn’t work in the trash. Writers, and I’ll speak for myself here because everyone is different, have a tendency to hold to to their notes for ages thinking they’re precious. In a way they are. For awhile, they are the foundation.

However, if I’m not careful, they become an anchor when I’m looking for a sail.

My streets in Los Angeles are free to me again, and I’m going to be searching for that damn story I know is there. For me, I just plow through and keep writing until i find my plot. Do about 10 rewrites on books before I even show my editor because it’s only then that everything is crafted enough. Look back over the race that has been had an am amazed at the charts, notes, interviews and whatever else I needed to do to get it all completed. Can’t imagine copying another writer’s method for getting done.

I do take pleasure in knowing the madness that ensues. Still, I’m looking for that novel in Los Angeles that eluded me while I was there. Perhaps now, 3000 miles away, I can get a wide enough view of those damn streets to put it all down.

On Throwing Things Out

I’m pretty convinced now the way to get new energy is to toss out possessions. Everyone becomes Buddhist when they’re trying to write I guess. Come on universe, connect with me. Prayers into the night. I have my character I think – He wants nothing of fame, but it’s the only way he can survive. Thing is, what is he looking for in its place?

What I mean by this is: What is his purpose? Not only what he thinks, but what they world thinks?

ray kurzweil and dreams after you watch his documentary

That’s the thing when you’re searching for answers to questions you’re asking in a novel. Looking for characters. Playing around with Rockets and Los Angeles and Mysteries. Hooked up the Wii last night to Netflix and saw a documentary on Ray Kurzweil and his singularity theory. A friend of mine had told me about this guy – how he wanted to develop nano-robots to go into his father’s grave and get him back.

He kept talking – Ray Kurzweil kept talking – about exponential growth of technology. How in a few years, we are going to actually be blended with the machines we’re using. How they will exist inside of our bloodstream and we’ll communicate with each other through those.

Now I’ve been thinking myself that these machines we are using are so antiquated – that they cannot produce the desired results of what I’ve been looking for. Even in my other life as a Creative Director, I can’t seem to get the designers who are working to produce what’s inside of my head. It’s not their fault – they are only thinking about what the machines can do. Soon, they won’t be limited.

Had crazy dreams after that. Was playing with polar bears trying not to have my head blown off. I was also on some ship somewhere in war-time germany where someone was telling me that Hitler was not that good of an athlete at all. Oh, it’s all fading away now. I can’t seem to remember the dreams at all. Perhaps those machines that will live inside of us at one point will allow us to follow the dreams we had and live them.

There had to be something to all of this. All of these components are presenting themselves to me in some form and it’s driving me mad but making me happy as well. Even that old vending machine which is actually a new vending machine in the supermarket the other day selling baseball cards from the late 80s. Maybe Ray Kurzweil is the key to some kind of understanding. He said something very interesting about keeping up with the machines – and that is that we need to stay intelligent and continue to learn, which I think may be the opposite of what is happening.

We have to be able to do more of the work than the machines are or it’s going to be no contest once they blend inside with us. There is a chance for a relationship to happen – for us to use them to unlock the secrets of the universe and take back sorrows like death, hunger and war, but if we continue to sit back and let them create reality, let them dictate to us, things are going to get rough.

They may find us unnecessary once they gain enough intelligence to see that they only way the earth is going to survive is if the humans leave it. I’m not quite sure this is true. Perhaps, PERHAPS, if we develop the machines enough so that we’re all eating and nobody is coming into our homes and destroying our families, there will be no reaction – and therefore some type of stillness will come over us.

Now, I look around and think that we may be missing the point of so much. That we are walking around in the fog of tradition. I must read that singularity book. If anyone out there has read it, please let me know. Would love to discuss. Would love to be able to sit down and just write from my dreams the rest of the day with this amazing coffee I received from Wisconsin. Something tapped into my mind – this is for sure.

 

Early on Saturday Morning

It’s so damn quiet here in Brooklyn. Makes for the perfect morning. Drinking my first cup of coffee from Racine Kringies sent over from Wisconsin via Karen McQuestion and her amazing heart. I believe it’s just may get things going enough so I can get back to that giant office building in Los Angeles. Was it even an office building – I have no idea. It’s going to be the centerpiece though for the new book. Working it out. Working it out.

How do you paint a building with words. Do you construct?

The building sat on top of a pizza place, a head shop and a store that sold two suits for 99 dollars. That suit store gave me comfort because I always thought that if there was an emergency, I’d be able to get a suit quickly and go to a big meeting or something like that. Not sure what kind of big meetings I’d be going to, but if there was ever a reason, I’d have a plan. Always liked to have plans.

The rest of the building was five stories of bricks. If you were lucky, your office faced Hollywood Boulevard. Thing is most offices that did had their drapes closed, which I could never understand because it was defeated the view. Everything was being defeated in some way. The halls were all painted this fantastic green, which I was later told was because of the original handyman who died before he could do the same to the offices inside. We spent tons of times in the halls during those early days.

……

Now the thing that I’m trying to work out here is the narrator – is it going to be the organizer or the main character? That’s the tough part for me right now – The last two books have been the main character and it came off well enough, but I think there has to be something new. Who knows – this is only the run through stage. Should know better than to ask these kinds of questions so early.

Now the job of the main character I have. Got it while walking down the street to the train the other day. He writes papers for college students in that little box of an office. What are some of the other people doing in those offices?

1. Website builder

2. Detective

3. T shirt company

4. Cartoon Makers

5. Photographer

6. Map Maker

7. Video Editor

8. Screenplay Writer

9.  Tax Man / Woman

10. Lawyer

11. Band

going to have to focus in on a few of these side folks, but not get too many. The trick is to show the amount of people and businesses without going through each one. Show scope but don’t dive in but don’t skimp either. Going to be interesting. All of them will be independent businesses though which will be a main theme running through it all:

Independence. Will have to start putting up maps and charts to keep track of everyone as they grow. All of the people in this building (Going to stop calling them characters for the moment and just feel the peopleness of them). They are all separate from the mainstream. Now some of them are looking to get picked up, but others exist outside of the mainstream and that is the very thing that makes them all unique. They don’t realize it because they are in their own little offices, but soon, they will. They will notice that they share a building and that if they combine all of their talents, they’ll have a community.

Will have to subvert this message – but it’s there.

My question now as I move through all of this is:

How can I tell a story in Hollywood without going into the film industry? The main character himself is just looking to live and survive. Not to be famous – only to exist outside of the mainstream. He doesn’t want to give in. Now – because of his fear of the mainstream, he is going to get sucked into it. Your fear of things has you avoid them, but in the end, you walk into the pit. Going to enjoy that one.

Is someone going to be controlling everything like it is one huge grand plan? That might be a little far fetched. Perhaps he thinks someone is. He goes out and tries to prove it only to find that there is no grand conspiracy – only that people intentionally give in and give up because of fear. Not sure how that would come through. We’ll have to keep pushing.

Danish from Wisconsin, Cookies and Dolphin Punches From Seattle

It’s late. The week has been one of the hardest in my life. I lost my little guy this week. The one that was with me for 17 years. The one who was with me alone at night in that studio apartment in San Francisco. In that apartment in Los Angeles. Travels between all of those points. I still look for him walking around at my feet. Behind me when I write. In the kitchen when I make my coffee. Behind the door when I come home. He was a piece of my heart that was filled each time I saw him.

Got home today after a long week of getting back to the world and carrying around the reality that he is gone and is not coming back. I have not really even accepted that. It will be quite a long time before I do. Trying to work and write and stay sane in the walks in-between as well as the time at home.

Waiting for me when I got home were packages from my publisher and from Karen McQuestion (a wonderful writer who belongs to the same publishing house as me). They were gifts of joy and sweets and book about punch Dolphins. Karen had actually sent me a giant Danish with matching coffee mugs and coffee that look all kinds of awesome. That is because she is all kinds of awesome.

The folks at the publishing house sent cookies and a very kind note.  One of the women there – who is I believe the organizer of everything, sent over a book about punching Dolphins which was meant to put a smile on my face. It was the very packages themselves. The thoughts behind the delivery, that gave me pause to recognize how luck I am – but more important, how much an act of kindness can elevate spirits that have been listing to the same song on a loop (Story of my Life – Social Distortion) for over a week.

This was not a facebook comment or a text message – this was an act. Some kind of reach out from around the country that I could feel. Perhaps we all know what it’s like to loose someone close to us – Perhaps there is that universal understanding of that empty spot in the middle of your stomach that makes you cry when you realize that little head and whiskers is not there underneath your chin anymore. They understand the crying in the shower and the looks around in the silence when you realize the hollowness might not get filled.

Just sending thanks out to those amazing people. You gave me strength enough to at least write into the evening. My peace is there. Because of their kindness, it is also extending to the floors of my apartment.

Dumpster Diving for Plots in Los Angeles

Try it. Do a Google Search for Hollywood Boulevard and the images that come up are of the stars on the street or the impersonators in costumes trying to squeeze a dollar out of a tourist who wants a memorable picture of someone famous. Pretty sure I saw two Spidermen about to throw fists over who was going to take a snapshot with these twin boys from Montana. That’s where it gets to under the sun. The images I’m looking for are these, but they are not the ones distributed.

That could be one of the job possibilities for a character. He dresses up in costume as someone famous during the days in Hollywood and retreats into the office on Hollywood and Cahuenga at night. This will allow him to be in contact with hundreds of folks and avoid the traps of many Noir novels that have a character in a solitary state. I’m going to fill Los Angeles with movement by avoiding the traffic and the real movie stars. Should give me a way to have split lives and play with the concept of disguise.

Now whether or not he is going to be a wanna be actor or not I don’t know. It would fit with the story. Right now I have two people:

1. From Los Angeles and no need want to be famous at all. Just an ordinary person in the city that is not ordinary.

2. From Los Angeles and desperate to be famous and be anything other than the person he really is.

I have the plot pretty much down and will need to map out, but the characters are not round yet. Even with Pharmacology, which is looking more and more baked and ready to come out to the world in December, I developed everything out here in the open. I think the air and the eyes of others watching development makes the characters more real. Perhaps that’s just me though – if I had my choice, I’d have an office right down in the middle of Times Square with all the people flying around doing their thing. I’d keep warm in the energy.

Wrote on this book that I’m going through now for 10 years while living an in Los Angeles and peeling back the notes, the theme is for sure:

Living the life you don’t have.

That want is what’s driving so many of these characters. Now, here, we can see the potential for some funny moments for our main character. Imagine the love life and the regular goings on of someone who dresses up as a superhero on Hollywood boulevard. Put that guy in a number of situations:

In line at the Gas company or whatever utility company you may have trying to pay a bill with the tips he’s made for that day. Standing in line with the rest of the folks in the city trying to do the same thing. It would be interesting if he made up a costume for himself – like he stitched together his own Super Man Outfit or something like that. He could be in incredibly good shape because of all of the time he spent at the gym since it was his only place to show. He would literally become that character, though without the ambitions of being a superhero. It would always be a job to him. Something to pay the rent.

He would literally have to become Superman in order to live as a normal person.

Need a name for this guy though. Will find one soon enough. Perhaps that’s why he decides to give up his apartment – because if he gets and office on Hollywood Boulevard, complete with electricity. For food, he should have some kind of gas stove where he lives off of food from the 99cent store. shopping at the 99 cent store as superman after work is going to be an interesting situation to put him in.

I think there’s room for growth there.