Monday, October 31, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - Church

Benjamin had no idea what to expect today. His father was driving his mother and him to church. His mother had tried to explain what it was about but he couldn’t comprehend. He had no point of reference with which to compare it.
He limited himself to enjoying the car ride. Watching the world go by at incredible speeds. It was an exhilarating experience each and every time he rode in a car. It was even more exhilarating to sit in the back seat. He wasn’t distracted by the talking going on in the front seat and the angle he had of the land passing by made him feel he was racing over the landscape at amazing speeds.
He wasn’t happy about the clothes his mother chose for him to wear. The thing around his neck threatened to choke him and he tugged and tugged at the noose trying to loosen it so he could get a full breath of air.

He was in awe of the ornate building in which they were seated. So much to see it overwhelmed his recently reacquired human senses. When the congregation began singing Benjamin wanted to add his howl to the mix, but realized no one else was howling like he would have and in his shyness he unknowingly averted an unwanted attention getter.
The pastor exhorted on Matthew 5:43, within the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Benjamin understood exactly what he was saying and wondered why within this large book the pastor chose only these words to speak about. He wondered who this Jesus person was and why the man was repeating his words and explaining what he meant.
Benjamin’s understanding was limited to the words as spoken and not their application in his life. As a wolf, he understood that sometimes vengeance was delayed but never forgotten. How could one not deal out retribution on someone who hurt a member of his family? He decided that, while the words were beautiful, they could not be applied to his enemies. They had killed his family without reason and did not deserve his love, only death. His anger was overwhelming and he was not able to enjoy the music that was sung afterward. He followed his parents to their car deep in thought. His mother spoke to him but he did not hear what she said and she didn’t appear to need a response from him. He remained in his deep meditation.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb – Cattlemen Encounter (cont)

[only about 200 more words but you get introduced to Maya Blackfeather, Benjamin's mother.]

“I don’t know what’s got into you, Benjamin,” Rebecca focus was split between keeping the truck on the dirt road and Benjamin’s attitude, “You’re not a wolf now. As a wolf I’m sure you could fight them, at least one at a time. But you barely have control of your human body. You still are doing things like a wolf. I heard you growling at them as they left. They would have wiped the floor with you, Benjamin.”
Benjamin sat bouncing as Rebecca drove through the many ruts in the road caused by flash flooding. He began to cool down and listen to her.
“They rule us in town. If we press charges against them the judges throw out the cases as unjustified. The white man has control everywhere except on the reservation.
”Don’t get me wrong. There are many Nez Perce that live among the white man, all over the world, but here locally is the only place I know that we have trouble and it is mostly that group of ruffians that drive the opinions of the townspeople and hassle us.”
She turned onto turned onto the paved road that was the main road to the housing area and pulled up to Benjamin’s house. She helped Benjamin carry the many bags they had accumulated while shopping into the house.
“Where have you been?” Maya Blackfeather was by no means happy with her arms crossed and a deep frown.
“We went to town to buy clothes for Benjamin. His old ones were too small for him.”
“You should have asked me before taking him among the white men. You could have gotten him into big trouble.”
“We’re fine, Maya, nothing happened,” Rebecca said, not mentioning the confrontation with the men.
Benjamin grabbed Rebecca by the shoulders and rubbed his cheek against hers. He could feel the goose bumps rise on her skin and the warm breath she exhaled into his ear. He backed off, picked up the packages and went upstairs to his room.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Ways to Use Exposition Correctly

[Since I didn't have a chance to work on my WIP today I'm back to writing fundamentals]
The basic purpose of exposition is to tell the reader something he must know to understand and believe in the character and story. Rarely should exposition exist in a pure state. You can combine it with narration, description, and dialogue.  But any passage who's fundamental purpose is to impart exposition to the reader should be deemed an expository passage. Long passages of expository writing and description are considered passe in modern fiction and yet it is impossible to write a story without some amount of exposition. Therefore one should endeavor to make the exposition a part of the narrative flow. The method used to impart exposition is completely dependent upon the chosen point of view. violating this rule creates a story bogged down with useless detail and explanation. The characters become unrealistic and the story becomes unbelievable. Note this example:
I sat in front of the fire well aware of the boy approaching from behind.
The boy was frightened, but continued to approach. He had dealt with outlaws before and knew how cruel they could be.
This is horrible. How is it possible for the narrator to know what the boy was feeling and how could he be privy to the boy's thoughts concerning  previous encounters with outlaws?
1. Let the character give the information to the viewpoint character through dialogue.
I sat in front of the fire well aware of the boy approaching from behind.
"Mister? I'm scared," the boy said as he continued to approach, "I've had dealings with outlaws before. I know you guys can be cruel."
2. let the viewpoint character narrate the expository information in such a way that it is apparent he received the information from another character. For example:
The boy told me he was scared. He had dealings with outlaws before. he said he knew how cruel we could be.
3. Information the viewpoint narrator wants to convey to the reader about someone who is not present can be presented through dialogue with another character:
"I tell you Frank, that kid was scared out of his wits. Seems he had dealings with outlaws before and new we could be cruel."
4.When two characters are privy to information that needs to be told to the reader it can be expressed in a disagreement or an argument. This is a simple concept where the information is generated in dialogue.
5.Information about the past can be expressed through the reminiscences of two or more characters.
6. convey information about the past through the unspoken thoughts of the narrator.
7. You should test your story for faulty exposition before your final draft by asking yourself  these questions:
a  Is the information absolutely essential so the reader may understand and believe in the character and story?
b. How would the viewpoint character know this information?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - In Town & Cattlemen Encounter

[Surprise! I got into a creative mode yesterday and couldn't escape, so in addition to my short story work I added to the novel. The first part in italics I already shared. The new stuff is at the bottom in normal text. Sorry it's not a lot but it rounds out the scene which ended quicker than expected and runs right into the beginning of the next which I think is kind of an interesting conflict brewing.]

Benjamin tried to keep up with Rebecca, but the multitude of people walking in the opposite direction kept bumping into him. Rebecca grasped his his hand and forced him behind her letting her spread the wave of pedestrian traffic which was much more accommodating to the beautiful young woman.

Benjamin tried to resist the embarrassment he felt at being lead a by a woman. Suddenly she made a left hand turn and pulled him into a clothing store.
“We’ve got to find some clothes for you for all occasions.”
Benjamin was overwhelmed with the vast array of textiles that assaulted his eyes. He couldn’t focus on anything and he had a strong urge to run. But Rebecca was still gripping his hand and her calm demeanor helped him to relax somewhat.
He focused his attention on just a single item a rough looking gray thing that smelled of sheep with a dark zig-zag pattern all over the item.
Rebecca asked, “Do you like that sports coat? It’s herringbone. Looks like wool,” she grabbed the coat and examined the label.
“Yep, wool. Want to try it on?”
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders, a gesture he had learned recently that expressed non-commitment in response to a request.
Rebecca held the coat up against his chest, the hanger uncomfortably in his face, “Not bad. I think it should fit. Try it on.”
She removed the hanger, which surprised Benjamin. He had thought the hanger was part of this clothing.
She handed the coat to him. The look of confusion on his face was enough for Rebecca to take back the coat, “Hold out one arm.”
They went through the process of dressing Benjamin with Rebecca’s assistance.
“That fits perfect and you look good in it. Sophisticated.”
“Can I help you?” the nasal voice came from a very thin older lady dressed in a smock the the name of the store embroidered on it.
“I think we are doing fine by ourselves, ma’am.
“Do you have money?” she asked rudely.
Rebecca sighed and pulled a credit card out of her purse and handed it to the clerk. The clerk walked back to the front of the store. Benjamin had stared at the woman wondering if she belonged to the tribe that killed his family.
Rebecca, grabbed his arm, “Don’t worry, Benjamin. We get treated this way often in town. It is our own fault. Or I should say some members of our tribe are at fault for stealing, drinking and causing trouble in town. You learn to accept it.”
The woman returned and handed the card back to Rebecca, not saying a word and left to assist a white woman who had entered the store.
They ran into a logistical problem when it came to pants, but eventually Rebecca got across the message that he needed to put them on in the little rooms with the curtains.
When they sat down for lunch at an outdoor Mexican cafe they had several large bags full of clothes.
“You do understand what I say, right?” Rebecca asked.
Benjamin nodded, then took a bite of his burrito. He enjoyed the many different flavors that human food had. He liked eating just for the sake of tasting, not just to fill his belly.
“Do you remember me from before your spirit walk?”
Benjamin shook his head.
“We… we were friends. Good friends. Maybe more than friends. Do you understand?”
Benjamin shook his head.
“We cared about each other a lot. I don’t really know how to say this. Things have turned out so wrong. So difficult for me to comprehend the changes. When you were gone we mourned your loss. We thought you were taken by a wild animal. Your father never gave up hope. He said you could take down any animal even with your bare hands. But the rest of us were realistic. If you were okay you would have returned like the rest. I didn’t know what to do. I thought we would be together. I never thought about anyone else, even after.”
Benjamin just stared at her watching tears streaking her face.
“And now you are back. I am so happy you are back. But, I don’t know how you feel. I don’t know what you are thinking. You are different in some ways… but I still love you.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything.”
Rebecca stood up and ran to the bathroom. Benjamin just watched her go and ate his burrito. He wondered why it was so hard to see. His eyes were filled with unshed tears.


He heard a loud voice behind him on the street, “Do you smell that? What is that God awful smell?”

He heard several men laughing. He turned to look. There were seven of them.
“Oh I see it now. It’s that Injun. I guess they don’t have water on the reservation.”
The man was staring into Benjamin’s eyes, “Do you have scissors? You need to cut that stinkin’ hair too.”
Benjamin sniffed the air. The men all laughed again.
The same man asked, “What’s the matter? Can’t you smell your own stink?”
Benjamin knew these men. Even though he couldn’t smell as well as he used to, he knew their scents. These were the ones.
He stood and faced them returning their angry stare.
“Oh ho, looks like we got an uppity Injun here. You going to start an uprising are you?”
The men all clenched their fists and moved in closer.
Rebecca interrupted the stand-off, “What is going on here?” She yelled, “You men have better things to do than fight with a boy! Go on! Leave us alone!”
The men backed down, opening their fists. The leader turned away and gestured with his hand like there was nothing there worth thinking about and they all walked away.
“What’s the matter with you? Rebecca asked Benjamin, “Do you have a death wish? They would have hurt you bad, maybe even killed you. They are bad men and they love to fight with the people of our tribe.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

6 Points in Developing a Theme

[No more WIP for a while as I am involved in writing a short story for a sci-fi franchise that has dibs on the material. I should finish it soon and we'll get back to the story at hand.]
1. Traditionally, stories portray a struggle between good and evil (although the definition is often in the mind of the protagonist and may not match the readers definition of good and evil).
2. All stories demonstrate that certain people have had experiences that make a statement about life, leaving the reader with a conclusion about the nature of existence that can be verified in real life. This is called the theme on the story.
After reading a story, the reader comes to some conclusion about life, that he may or may not have known before, as the author has shown it to be in the story. He can apply this discovery to life and test it for veracity. some conclusions about the nature of life may be very complex and will require the reader to use a great deal of intelligence and literary skill. For example the conclusion that crime does not pay is a somewhat valid but poor interpretation of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. But whether simpler or complex the conclusion that the reader reaches is what I am calling the theme of the story.
3. An author's interpretation of his statement of purpose results in the theme of the novel.
Sorry, information out of sequence,  I will discuss later the development of an idea for a story that will define statement of purpose. but the short version, when an author states his purpose in writing a story he is going to prove something about life. The only way he can do this is to prove that something is either good or evil. It is quite possible to put on the yoke of someone else's values, but the safest and most productive choice is for the author to utilize his own values of which he is most familiar and most likely to create a fully formed truth.
4. The theme of a story is derived from the struggle between good and evil.
This is not to say that an antagonist must be pure evil and the protagonist must be pure good. That would result in the most boring of characters in any type of story with the exception of the allegory where characters take on the stereotypical traits of personality types.
When the environment generates good the protagonist must, ordinarily, represent evil and vice versa. I'm not using good and evil as absolutes here, but working within the terms of the author's particular vision.
5. In a traditional story either good or evil triumphs, and the result of the struggle between the two is the theme.
6.This should be obvious but bears mentioning. Thematic significance of a story arises from an exaggerated impression of life.
An ordinary expression of life would not be significant to a reader and would actually make it doubtful the reader would finish reading the story.
[Next stop the bane of all authors: exposition]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - A Human

[Returning to my WIP. The beginning of this scene is the first snippet I wrote. My method of dealing with a new idea is to first deal with proof of concept and getting a feel for my ability to write the subject effectively and my enthusiasm for the concept. If either fail I put the idea on the back burner.]

The heat of the afternoon was blowing in on a gentle breeze that barely ruffled his mottled, glossy, and thinning coat. The temperature was warm for an early spring day. He stood on an escarpment of dark gray cracked granite jutting from the peak of the bare knoll on the edge of the forest. The color of his fur blended well with the granite making him invisible to prey and foe alike. The huge beast lifted his snout to sample the wafting air. A cornucopia of information flooded his brain creating a landscape of smells. The accuracy of his sense of smell was better than his eyesight which was limited to what was in front of him, which in this case was for the most part forest.

Everything smelled as the wolf expected, There were a few insignificant details that he noted for later like the rabbit’s nest that was closest to his spot was empty, but he could smell succulent young rabbits wandering with their mother in the valley below, no doubt, looking for new shoots that appear after a rain as long as the one that passed through two days earlier.
He made a quick visual scan of the distant craggy snow-covered mountains and then turned and trotted down the knoll. It was time to refresh the no trespassing signs once again.
As he followed his own scent around his perimeter, his jaw hanging open and tongue lolling to cool his svelte body, he pondered once more how he would avenge his family. Thoughts that came unbidden over took his mind once more. He was not a lone wolf, he was an avenger wolf. He would find a way. They would pay for what they did. Each one, whose scent was memorized in his mind, would pay with their life.
He stopped dead in his tracks, an unknown scent ahead. He always moved toward the blowing wind both to mask his own scent and alert him to the presence of others and this unusual scent put him on full alert. He eased himself into a gap between two boulders where the tall brown grasses acted as a shield and lowered his body into his hunting position. This provided for concealment and wound his body like a spring so he could lunge whenever necessary either at prey or intruder or off and away should the danger be too great for him, a rare occurrence. The scent was human, but not one of the cattlemen. Still his heart rate increased as the woman passed by his hiding spot. That a human would be so deep within the woods intrigued him. That she didn’t smell wrong confused him.
He leaped out from hiding bounding well beyond the faint trail and moved down toward the river where he could parallel her from a concealing distance. She appeared to be oblivious to her surroundings and made a considerable racket as she moved down the game trail. He followed her to the clearing that his pack had used as a resting spot during the spring and summer months once they ceased their nomadic winter foraging.
This place held significance for the wolf beyond its utilitarian facet. It was where he had first spotted his eventual mate as she and her pack scampered through his claimed territory. He had always been tolerant of roving packs, allowing them to hunt in his area so long as they continued on in a timely manner. He had been laying atop a large rock allowing it to cool his body after a long chase.
When he saw the female he felt something inside that felt good and right. Without a thought he sat up, lifted his head to the heavens and let out the most melodic, mournful, and lonely howl a wolf had ever uttered.
The female stopped immediately and looked at him expectantly. The loner stopped and approached the female. They introduced themselves to each other and th female returned to the pack which moved to a pine tree with a low over hanging branch and settled down to rest. The female kept looking over at the lone wolf on the rock.
The woman stopped at that very same rock. She studied the ground with a professional air. She climbed the steep ground up to the top of the rock and again stopped and studied the ground. She lifted her head and looked around at the surroundings. She had a wolf’s eye he thought. Best to stay at a good distance.
The woman climbed down from the rock and began to gather stones using her skirt as a basket. Once she appeared satisfied she sat down among a group of smaller rocks large enough to conceal her completely from above, but left her exposed to the lower land. After arranging the stones in a circle she arose and headed to the river. The wolf had to scramble to stay out of her way. She filed several gourds she had hanging from her ample waist and on the way back up toward her camp she picked up fallen branches and pine straw until her arms were overloaded with wood. She set the wood aside and placed pine straw and kindling in the stone circle. After which she sat cross legged and closed her eyes and began humming. Soon the humming became a howl. A howl to draw a pack together. It struck the lone wolf in the heart and he wanted to approach. His wolf sense convinced him that she was a danger no matter what his body was feeling.
They both sat motionless for several hours. But as the sun went down the woman stopped howling and lit the fire she had built in front of her. She took dried herbs and sprinkled the fire creating a dance of colors.
The wolf found it difficult to not look at the fire, but he know if he looked at the fire his eyes would shine in the dark revealing him in his hiding place.

Monday, October 24, 2011

7 Basic Story Building Concepts

[Some of this is review, but pertinent to the concepts expressed in this lesson]

1. A complication is something unpleasant that happens to a protagonist which gives rise to a chief motivating force of the character.
The complication motivates the protagonist to alter the status quo but the chief motivating force should not only drive the protagonist away from the complication but create a tangible objective. Creating this tangible objective we have created the means for sustaining the conflict inherent in the complication, but also a driving force that can be sustained even after the complication has been overcome or relegated to the background. It changes the personality of the protagonist in that he will act differently to situations than he would have if the complication had not occurred.

2. The major complication can be put into a question for the reader. Will the chief motivating force of the protagonist succeed or fail to reach its tangible objective?
This is a necessary storytelling device and drives the reader to to keep reading.

3.Will the chief motivating force succeed or fail to reach its tangible objective?
This is of primary importance for the writer to answer for himself before embarking on the writing phase of storytelling. It shapes the entirety of the story. I know many writers, like myself, loath outlines (I prefer to build a loose framework to allow freedom of movement for my characters). But, writing down the answer to this question help to cement the direction your story will follow in your head and can subconsciously affect your writing to encourage the stated outcome. The answer to this question also drive the writer to reveal something new about the character that may otherwise have been left hidden.

4 Another basic. In stories with plot each event that causes a minor complication must result in conflict for the protagonist by hindering or preventing his chief motivating force from reaching its tangible objective.
Very basic, but for new storytellers, if a minor complication does not result in conflict for the protagonist it is not germane to the story and should be reworked or eliminated. you may be thinking that minor complications to the antagonist may be needed to drive suspense. In a tight story line any complications for the antagonist (providing the antagonist is not the environment) should be the direct or indirect result of the protagonist following his chief motivating force.

5. Stories with story line begin with the cause (character traits) to produce events which result in effects (minor complications).
Here lies the major difference between the two types of stories. Stories with plots begin with events external to the protagonist and create the causal chain that drive the story. A story with story line the character's personality gives rise to the conflict and creates the causal  chain that drives the story.
You may be thinking that there is no reason not to allow both to occur in a single story. I totally agree, but I am describing traditional story telling here. As in painting one should know the rules before breaking them.

6. To make a minor complication more interesting and exciting to the reader the writer must exaggerate it. This is the corollary to statement that you should write about the most important day of your protagonist's life. Writing true to life is not exciting enough to hold a readers interest, after all a reader seeks stories as an escape from the true to life problems.

7. More exaggeration. The protagonist must stand to lose or gain something of value if the complication is solved or unsolved. To make certain something of value is at stake, the author must make the complication deep enough by exaggeration
I'll leave the reasoning for this as an exercise for the class.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

6 Steps in Developing a Story

1. Begin a story with an event outside the character of the protagonist that starts a chain reaction of causally related events.
  This is basic to story telling; However, occasionally a new writer will meander through world building (a no-no) during the beginning of their story and lose the impact of the start of the plot or story line.

2. Creating causally related events in a story one creates a single (sometimes more than one) major complication and minor complications within the framework of the major complication, including an ante-climax complication that resolves the major complication.
I know, blah blah blah. In other words,  every story has a main arc involving the protagonist in which a major complication is dealt with and over come at the end of the story. There are also minor problems in sub-arcs that may involve the protagonist or could involve other characters which are resolved before or simultaneously with the major complication.

3. Okay real basic. A complication in traditional stories is something unpleasant that happens to a character which, if the character had the freedom of choice, he would have chosen not to happen.
   This provides the reader with an unknown that will engage the reader through the whole of the story, so we are talking both major and intriguing. Will the chief motivating force (the drive in the protagonist created by the complication) succeed or fail to reach its tangible objective? In most stories  the answer is yes. In the tragedy the answer is usually no, although there is a variant of tragedy where the chief motivating force drives the protagonist to resolve the major complication and yet is unaware of his success and in despair does something tragically irreversible.

4. The major difference between a story with plot and a story with story line.
   In a story with plot the emphasis is on the events and the protagonist emerges from the story with his character relatively unchanged from what it was in the beginning. This is sometimes referred as circular storytelling. How can a plot which can be described as a linear progression be circular? It actually isn't. Tthe plot is linear while the internal workings of the character is circular. He may go though many trials and tribulations that change him dramatically but with the resolution of the major conflict the protagonist returns to his former personality and situation with only more life experience to show for all his troubles.
In a story with a story line the emphasis is on character, and the protagonist always emerges from the story with his character different from the way it was in the beginning of the story because of character development or character disintegration (more on that in a later post). This may seem contrary to logic on first blush but once you dig deeper into the mechanics of each it becomes clear.
A story with plot is always external to the protagonist. He is contending with things happening outside of him and his basic personality shapes how he deals with each complication altering the state of the story but not the personality of the protagonist.
A story with story line deals with the internal struggle of the protagonist and how he must change himself to deal effectively with each complication.

5. Lets look at readers for a moment. In every story there comes a point of recognition in the reader at which he knows whether the chief motivating force is going to succeed or fail to reach its tangible objective.
In a plot driven story the point of recognition should always be delayed until near the end of the story. The climax may end the story or a very brief  post climax tying up the loose ends of subplots.
In a story line driven novel the point of recognition may be reached at nearly any point in the story. The protagonist may be blind to the truth and reality of the situation and the chief motivating force will continue to struggle to reach its tangible objective.

6. More Mumbo Jumbo, read carefully. As a result of the irreversible causally related events that have preceded it, an event must occur that causes an ante-climax complication (or more than one). This in turn forces the protagonist to make a decision that resolves the major complication, or that decision is forced upon him by another character or characters.
This is complex in the reading but simple in writing a story. I'll have to give an example. In The Grapes of Wrath the ante-climax complication that resolves the first major complication occurs soon after the Joad family arrives in California. They come to the conclusion that they have been tricked by the hand bills about California and have simply traded one bad environment for another one. They are then faced with with the second major complication of trying to survive in the new environment and keep the family together. This is a complication affecting each of them individually and as individuals meet up with new irreversible causally related events culminating in ante-climax complications that finally resolve the major complication and divides the family into individuals taking separate courses.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ten ways of setting the stage for the main conflict in a story

   1. A change within the environment that affects the protagonist
       This is one of the principles used in To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout comes into conflict with her environment when it changes from one of carefree childhood to one of social responsibility as she grows up.

  2. Uprooting a protagonist from one environment and placing him in a strange environment
      Lord of the Flies is an excellent example of this where the plural protagonists are placed on an island as the result of a plane crash.

  3.Placing a protagonist in an environment that is in conflict with the environment of others
     One of the principles used in The Grapes of Wrath. Upon their arrival in California the Joad family finds themselves in an environment (the migrant workers) that is in conflict with the environment of others (the fruit growers).

  4. Placing a protagonist in an environment he wants or needs to change
      This is the principle used in Silone's novel Fontamara. The protagonist, Berardo, is in perpetual conflict with the poverty-stricken land, but even age-old conditions are altered for the worse when the rise of fascism brings Bernardo into open conflict with this new environment.

  5. Giving a protagonist an environment to conquer
A classic example is Balzac's novel Old Goriot, in which Rastignac tries to conquer the environment of upper-world Parisian life.

  6. Placing a protagonist in an environment from which he wants to escape
   In the opening of The Grapes of Wrath the Joad family wants to escape from their impoverished environment in the dust bowl of Oklahoma.

  7. Placing a protagonist in an environment in which he is not wanted
    In Tom Jones Tom comes into conflict with an environment in which he is not wanted because of his supposed bastard birth.

  8. Placing a protagonist in an environment for which he is unsuited by character
  In The Winter of Our Discontent Ethan Allen Hawely is unsuited by character for the environment of corrupt commercialism.

  9. A change in the status quo of the protagonist within the environment
In To Kill a Mockingbird Atticus Finch is in harmony with his environment until he makes a decision to defend Tom Robinson. This decision changes Atticus's status quo by bringing him in conflict with the racial bigotry that exists in the environment.

10. A change in the status quo of an environment
This principle is demonstrated in Gone with the Wind where the status quo of the South is altered by the Civil War.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - In Town

[Today's scene is only halfway done. I need some help here, please. I need direction for the second half of the scene. Benjamin still can't talk. He is enamored with Rebecca. They are dealing with prejudice from the white people in town. Please, give it some thought and send me comments as to where you think this scene should go.]
Benjamin tried to keep up with Rebecca, but the multitude of people walking in the opposite direction kept bumping into him. Rebecca grasped his his hand and forced him behind her letting her spread the wave of pedestrian traffic which was much more accommodating to the beautiful young woman.
 Benjamin tried to resist the embarrassment he felt at being lead a by a woman. Suddenly she made a left hand turn and pulled him into a clothing store.
“We’ve got to find some clothes for you for all occasions.”
Benjamin was overwhelmed with the vast array of textiles that assaulted his eyes. He couldn’t focus on anything and he had a strong urge to run. But Rebecca was still gripping his hand and her calm demeanor helped him to relax somewhat.
He focused his attention on just a single item a rough looking gray thing that smelled of sheep with a dark zig-zag pattern all over the item.
Rebecca asked, “Do you like that sports coat? It’s herringbone. Looks like wool,” she grabbed the coat and examined the label.
“Yep, wool. Want to try it on?”
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders, a gesture he had learned recently that expressed non-commitment in response to a request.
Rebecca held the coat up against his chest, the hanger uncomfortably in his face, “Not bad. I think it should fit. Try it on.”
She removed the hanger, which surprised Benjamin. He had thought the hanger was part of this clothing.
She handed the coat to him. The look of confusion on his face was enough for Rebecca to take back the coat, “Hold out one arm.”
They went through the process of dressing Benjamin with Rebecca’s assistance.
“That fits perfect and you look good in it. Sophisticated.”
“Can I help you?” the nasal voice came from a very thin older lady dressed in a smock the the name of the store embroidered on it.
“I think we are doing fine by ourselves, ma’am.
“Do you have money?” she asked rudely.
Rebecca sighed and pulled a credit card out of her purse and handed it to the clerk. The clerk walked back to the front of the store. Benjamin had stared at the woman wondering if she belonged to the tribe that killed his family.
Rebecca, grabbed his arm, “Don’t worry, Benjamin. We get treated this way often in town. It is our own fault. Or I should say some members of our tribe are at fault for stealing, drinking and causing trouble in town. You learn to accept it.”
The woman returned and handed the card back to Rebecca, not saying a word and left to assist a white woman who had entered the store.
They ran into a logistical problem when it came to pants, but eventually Rebecca got across the message that he needed to put them on in the little rooms with the curtains.
When they sat down for lunch at an outdoor Mexican cafe they had several large bags full of clothes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - Protecting Their Own

The next day brought a warming trend as spring was fast approaching. Although they had their fill the day before, the pack had all headed out in different directions hunting for small game and in the process they would renew their packs hunting boundaries. Father was approached by his playful yearling who bowed down to his dad, butt high in the air and his tail wagging. His father jumped on top of him pinning him to the ground his open mouth around his neck. With a light bark he jumped away and they both start circling while they wagged their tails.
This large wolf differ ed from the average pack leader in that he rewarded his son's improved attacks by laying on his back baring his stomach and neck to his boy. Normally, a father would never allow a son to win a battle even in fun, he needed to maintain absolute authority over his family. But this pack was odd just as the leader was odd. The son leaped on top of his dad and they rolled and rolled across the meadow. When they both finally got to their feet, the son began to howl a victory howl and his father chimed in giving the howl an ominous sounding harmony. As they finished their duet the father reached out and stepped on the son's head and sprinted off to his mate and rubbed cheek to cheek with her before sitting next to her.
The clearing they relaxed in was yellow with mustard blossoms and small white and a little larger orange butterflies followed their individual Brownian motions to suck life sustaining nectar from the miniature buds. A few flies had found their way to the wolves seeking the liquid from their eyes or landing on their withers and ears. The wolves would either shake the one portion of skin on which a fly rested or twist their heads to shake the flies from their faces. The father rested his head on his crossed forelegs and let out a large sigh. He was considering taking a nap.
Loud barking broke the silence of the calm afternoon. Father recognized his daughter’s bark and determined the direction and he was off the others that were hanging around raced along side him creating a loose cavalry line headed in the direction of his daughter. As he cleared the trees his worst fear was realized. A neighboring pack had her surrounded and he could see her flank covered in blood.
While they were focused on her they were also aware of their surroundings and as soon as half a dozen of the park cleared the tree line several of the other pack started barking. They left their quarry and spread out to meet the oncoming pack. The daughter, once freed, ran with a three legged hop to safety behind the line of her own pack where she sat down and began licking her wound.
Meanwhile the pack began to bark and howl, both warning the strange pack that they were in claimed land and calling the entire pack to the stand-off. Soon the alien pack was outnumbered and there were signs from them that they uncomfortable in that position. They began milling about as the father’s pack inched closer barred teeth and growls.
Suddenly, his two-year-old daughter took advantage of their indecision and lunged at one of the wolves facing away from her. Biting down hard on its hind leg they all heard the snap of the bone. The unwanted pack took off as fast as they could run away from his formidable pack.
The father examined the young daughter’s leg and could see it would heal. That other pack was left with a permanent reminder not to cross their boundary again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb - The Cattlemen

[This scene is only half finished, but I think you can figure out where it is going]

 The pack was assembled and heading out to a busy meadow where it was normally easy to catch a dear and the occasional elk. The day was unusually warm and gnats were swarming around them causing the less patient of them to snap their teeth at the harmless and elusive insects. The father just let the gnats fly around his head. He could see quite well in spite of the dodging pests.
When they reached the edge of the meadow the first thing that was visible was black floating blobs of millions of gnats taking advantage of the warm fall day. But it was the lingering smell that got the attention of the pack. They could smell the fear coming from a doe near the middle of the glen. The pack silently spread out to surround the animal who was in apparent distress.
As they encompassed the deer the reason for the fear was evident. The deer was struggling to get loose from a snare that had entrapped both of its forelegs.
Rarely did the pack get such an ideal opportunity. A healthy animal trapped with no way to defend its self. Father stayed back, and hunkered down in the tall grasses and allowed his children to make the kill.
A loud crack sounded from above and one of his sons fell to the ground and didn’t make another move. The father looked up at a helicopter with men hanging out of either side aiming rifles at his pack. The father barked commands to run but his pack was in such confusion they failed to heed his warning. The father barked once again and heard a bullet pass within inches of his head. He began crawling low as fast as he could through the high grass toward the safety of the trees. Once he made it to safety he turned around at view the scene. It was a carnage. His mate and one daughter were wounded and trying to escape hopping and dragging wounded legs. The rest of his family was immobile. Two more shots rang out and his mate and daughter both fell to the ground.
As he helplessly watched the helicopter landed and several men with cowboy hats left the helicopter and took knives to his family removing their ears in quick swipes of their blades. It seemed like seconds and they returned to the machine and it took off and flew out of sight.
The deer was still struggling, but the father ignored it and approached each of his family members and stopped to smell them. Everyone was dead. The smell of blood was overwhelming. The father had never smelled so much wolf blood. He raised his snout to the heavens and began howling the most mournful sound ever heard in that area in all of time. It was just past noon when he began. It was well past midnight when he fell next to his dead mate out of sheer exhaustion and fell into a deep sleep. 
 When he awoke he was met with the same macabre scene only now buzzards were hopping among them and coyotes surrounded the group waiting for the live wolf to move on before they began their feast.

The wolf took his time sniffing the ground around the whole area until he had picked out each individual human scent. His mourning would begin this morning, but his vengeance would soon follow and he wanted to know exactly who the culprits were.
He trotted away leaving his family’s bodies to follow nature’s course. There were no rituals to perform or burials to attend. The scavengers would dispose of them just as they did the remainder of a pack’s kill.
He returned to their normal rendezvous point and climbed atop the huge boulder that dominated the area and laid down and closed his eyes.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb

[Many of you noticed that I didn't update the blog yesterday. Sunday being the Sabbath, I don't do any work. I will update the blog on every other day]

The shaman lead him down the hillside and around a scruff of rocks. There was nothing but wilderness ahead. She walked with authority, she had been this way many times before, though Benjamin could see few tracks.He followed her deep into the woods.
They traveled for several hours. He became aware of people shadowing them and was on alert, but he had learned to trust the shaman and he saw no discomfort in her posture or movements.
The shaman stopped and addressed Benjamin.
“Today you will meet our people. You may remember them, then again you may not. In either case do not be afraid. They are your tribe, your pack, no matter how they smell to you, we are all one. Remember that.”
Benjamin nodded, but his brows showed distrust, not for the shaman, but he knew that the shaman would no longer be in control. The father, or chief would be the one making the decisions from now on.
The territory they were traversing was familiar to him. He had often hunted in the area during the winter months when small animals would move away from the deep snow and travel in the thick woodlands. The northern edge of the woods was the limit to their territory. Beyond belonged to the humans, though they didn’t mark their territory, their smell was easy to discern.
The shaman reached the edge of the woods and continued on. Benjamin was hesitant, but followed after a few false steps. She approached several men who were sitting in front of a trailer.
The shaman said, “My task was successful, as I predicted.”
A large leather skinned man in well used jeans and a plaid shirt wearing a felt hat with a thin leather band that held a single eagle’s feather looked at the shaman and then at Benjamin.
“This is the boy?” He asked.
“It has been several years remember and he has been working hard to stay alive.”
“I’ll bet he has,” the man then spoke to Benjamin, “How did you survive alone for so long? And why did you not return once your vision quest was done?”
Benjamin shook his head.
The shaman intervened, “I’m sorry to say the boy has lost his ability to speak. He spent a long time without speech, it is no wonder.”
“We sent the best trackers out for you, boy. You outsmarted them all. I wish you could tell me why and how you did it.”
“I can tell you that,” interjected the shaman, “Weyekin himself came to the boy and entered into him.”
“Oh, come on old woman! That is a pack of horse shit. There is no Weyekin and you know it. It’s just fancy fairy tales for children.
“And yet you, yourself, had your own vision quest. And you send all the boys, like Benjamin, on their own quests.”
“It is tradition. Besides a boy learns a lot fending for himself in the woods, learning to depend on what Mother Earth shows him and what she prepares for him. I was never visited by a Guardian because they don’t exist.”
One of the other men, much older than the rest spoke up, “That is not true, John. When you returned from your vision quest you were no different than the other boys. Your eyes were open wide and you wouldn’t stop talking about an eagle that spoke to you.”
“Well, I was hungry. I either ate the wrong mushroom or lack of food and sleep caused me to hallucinate.”
The old man looked to the heavens and laughed heartily.
“Old Eagle Eye doesn’t trust his own eagle eyes anymore.”
The other men burst out laughing at that, even the shaman joined in on the laugh.
John just gave everyone an evil look, and changed the subject.
“Okay, Beverly, lets hear your story.”
She recounted the story for the men who were appreciative for the most part of her explanation of his miraculous disappearance and timely return.
While she was telling his story, Benjamin looked around the small group of trailers. He noticed small dirty children peeking through screen doors at him. Every time he looked at them they would look down not making eye contact.
He looked through another screen door and saw a tall slim woman who stared right at him even as he stared back. He felt his heart beat faster and stronger as they locked eyes. He looked away and his heart returned to normal, he looked once again and the doorway was empty, but he couldn’t get the woman or her eyes out of his mind.
John interrupted his thoughts, “Benjamin, Your parents will be glad to hear of your return. They feared the worst when you failed to return.”
He hadn’t thought of that before. He had parents of course. He tried to conjure a memory of them but nothing materialized. How could he forget his own parents?
“Well, we have a returning vision traveler, that means a feast tonight. Although you will have to describe his quest for him, since he has forgotten how to speak.” 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb

The order of these snippets are not necessarily linear since I haven't been writing sequentially.
[I'm not certain of the continuity of this snippet as I sort of mashed two versions of this scene into one]
(H)e approached her camp with great stealth avoiding looking at the light, knowing that his eyes would betray him by reflecting the firelight in the darkness. The fire was very small and smokeless and the woman tending it was now making a quiet howling sound. The wolf recognized the howl which confused him. His ears were erect as he closed his eyes and scanned the sound. The woman was howling an assemble call, meant to retrieve all pack members to a rendezvous point.
The lone wolf was more than intrigued, he felt compelled to approach the woman in spite of the danger. He lowered himself into a stealth hunting crawl keeping lower than the grasses and rocks until he was hidden behind the last rock that was large enough to hide him. He was down wind, of course, his natural instincts made certain of that. He laid still and listened to the woman's howl.
She stopped the howling as if startled. Smelling the air, he could tell the woman had moved between him and the fire. She spoke words in that same whisper. Human words that shocked the wolf. They almost made sense to him. As if he would know what she was saying if she just spoke a little louder. She was facing away from him so he ventured a quick look. She sat looking into the fire a multicolored blanket wrapped around her. She was very large and the fire created an aura around her as if she was a specter, a figure from an old dream nearly remembered.
The woman spoke again, "Don't be afraid.
"I'm not here to hurt you. I'm here to rescue you."
The wolf listened to her deep soothing tones. The words meant nothing he could discern, but her demeanor was disarming.
"Come to me," She looked to the dark sky and howled again.
The wolf let out a small whine and licked his nose. He was in a quandary. He had no reason to trust any human but this woman's soft words and howling reached into his vengeance hardened heart and softened it. He resisted. His family had been killed by those such as this woman, there was no reason to be here, except to exact revenge. He should attack her and let her feel the pain that his family had endured.
He took a step exposing himself to the light. The woman didn't move. He took another step closing the distance between them.
The woman ceased the howling, lowered her head, and said one word, "Benjamin."
The wolf lost all thoughts and moved beside the woman and stared into the fire. The woman moved and tossed something into the fire causing it to momentarily turn a bright green.
The wolf laid down beside her, fell asleep, and started to dream.
He was following a winter trail. He was well fed, but had an urge to seek out a mouse or vole for a snack. He came across an Native American boy sitting cross-legged on a bolder, his eyes were staring straight out into nothingness. He had been so intent on tracing the scent of a vole he didn't smell the boy. That was odd for him. He normally kept track of all things near and far. He sniffed the air and could not detect this boy. It was as if he wasn't there. Did his eyes deceive him? He approached with less caution than would be normal, his curiosity was greater than his sense of danger.
He looked up at the boy from just below the boulder. He had made no movement at his approach. The boy's stare seemed somehow wolf-like in its immobility. The wolf placed its paws high on the boulder and sniffed. He was even more confused. The boy smelled like a strong healthy wolf. This was not possible. The wolf was at a loss as to what to do about this odd creature.
He barked, exactly why he didn't know, perhaps to pull the boy out of his trance. Then the oddest thing of all happened. The wolf was looking out across the valley, no longer seeing the boy but seeing in the opposite direction. He looked down and saw a wolf, paws on the boulder sniffing the air. He blinked, his dry eyes couldn't see clearly. It took several attempts to wet his eyes enough to see the wolf clearly. The wolf looked familiar but he wasn't sure how he knew him. He fell backwards and was looking up at the boulder again. The boy was gone. He circled the hill and came at the boulder from above. There were human prints leading to the rock but no one was there and no prints leaving the rock. The wolf decided it must have been a hallucination from the many days without food. This couldn't be happening for real. A vision quest was to find your protective animal not to become one
He startled awake. The sun had risen and spread light throughout the valley. The woman from the night before was nowhere to be found. The fire was a pile of cold ashes in front of him.
"Weyekin," said the woman as she approached the boy.
The boy looked up at her with eyebrows low.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dwell With the Lamb

 today I begin posting excerpts from my current work in progress. Hopefully it will be as entertaining as my previous posts and allow an extra 1,000 words a day on my #WIP


[A word of warning to the faint of heart: This opening scene to my novel contains explicit descriptions of a pack of wolves hunting and capturing food]
The pack had worked like clockwork and the young mule deer, lungs burned and heart hammered in its chest, was bouncing and running as fast as it could from the howling killers. It made a move to the left hooves clacked on granite. Just then a wolf leaped into sight in front of the deer, barking and growling. The deer turned back and headed downhill and followed the icy rill in the fistulous tunnel of trees down the gully. The pack of wolves on its heels showed no sign of letting up. The density of the trees increased and the way narrowed. The deer bumped against the fluttery aspen on either side and splashed in the rivulet.
It came upon a blockage in its path. A huge wolf stood in the runnel his teeth bared and he emitted a deep menacing predatory growl. The deer spied an opening to the right and jumped into it. The wolf lunged and clipped the deer's flank with his snapping teeth and caused blood to pour down its ground pounding leg. While the other wolves continued their pursuit the large wolf pack leader with dark mottled fur trotted behind them. The chase was over as far as he was concerned. His position was purposeful. There was now no escape for the mule deer. It was headed down a sharp drop that lead into a box canyon with no outlet. When he reached the clearing with shear vertical walls on all sides the deer was circling in search of an escape on the sandy beach of the ancient dry lake mewling, desperate for aid.
Nine wolves surrounded the deer and moved forward pinching the deer into a vice of 700 pounds of killing machine, all muscle and razor sharp, bone breaking, teeth. The wolf pack barked harsh sharp barks and howls at the cornered animal. The father wolf leaped and sunk his jaws into the neck of the deer, killing the young ungulate with one swift whip of his neck.
While the lesser wolves howled the end of the hunt their breath turning to mist blowing in the crisp air calling in the remaining posted hunters, the immense male grabbed and ripped open the belly of their catch and took a huge bite of the liver. Meanwhile mother reached in and tugged the heart lose and began devouring it. The father, who normally takes the choicest organ, allowed his mate this boon. Five wolves, who had been posted at possible turn-outs, wandered in with mouths hanging open panting along with the others present.
The oldest son moved in to grab his share and endured the warning growls of his mother with learned patience. He knew she was possessive of the heart of the kill and gave her a wide berth so as to avoid the possible nip that a careless wolf might receive should he come too close to her while she ate the heart.
It was a great kill. Everyone got their fill and there was leftovers for the carrion eaters to munch on. The pack trotted back towards their resting spot fully sated and happy.
The large father kept a vigilant eye and nose. He knew the others when contented would be careless. Though it was everyone's job to stay vigilant while they were on the move, the pack was spread out over two miles heading in the same general direction, it was ultimately his responsibility make sure everyone was safe.
The sun had fallen behind the hills and the temperature had fallen a good ten degrees by the time they made it back to their home site. The pack was alert now and inspecting every inch of their clearing despite the sub-freezing temperature. They then, in turn, sought a low hanging branch under which to nap, curling up with their snouts between their back legs and their tail covering their exposed nose. In the late winter their home site was a clearing surrounded with evergreens with low hanging branches giving them respite from the wind and snow. A large boulder on the upper edge of the clearing was the only distinguishing feature.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Reasons not to Date a Vampire

I had a terrible crush on Lydia, as you may have  ascertained  from my comments about her in earlier posts. She was kind of out of my league, and by 'kind of' I mean sandlot verses Major League Baseball. Delia, on the other hand, was  accessible, sweet, and plump like a  nectarine that leaps into your hand as you reach out to pluck it from its limb.  Okay, a little flowery, but you get the picture.
I don't know how many boyfriends she had before me, and I didn't want to know (*shivers*) but it was apparent from the beginning she knew the rules much better than I did. I spite of two tumultuous marriages I knew nothing about dealing with ordinary women. My understanding of preternatural women would rattle around in a shot glass.
Any self respecting man would assume control in spite of his ignorance and learn as he went along. So, I assumed the roll of puppy dog and followed her around and barked at her command.
It wasn’t all that bad. She would get take-out for me at any number of eateries any time of night and return much quicker than I could myself. On the negative side, not long after introducing her to some of my acquaintances they would no longer come around. I never found her off putting, but apparently they did. My good friends remained, so I wasn’t too concerned.
During Jazz Fest there were several bands I wanted to introduce to Delia, but they were playing in the late afternoon and she always had an excuse why she was unavailable. I even began suspecting there was another man.
Then came the final straw. I am a bit of a gourmet cook, having worked in several restaurants. I wanted to do something nice for Delia since she was so accommodating when I would order takeout.
I believe that it is generally known that pork when undercooked can cause food poisoning from several types of bacteria that thrive on uncooked pork. To counter this problem one cooks the meat to a temperature that will not allow the bacteria to live. This includes, especially the inner core of the meat which generally causes some crispiness on the surface.
I had set a nice table with a white silk table cloth, my best china and silverware, and, as a finishing touch, a tall thin delicate green vase sporting a single red rose.
When she entered my apartment she was not in a good mood, she had dark circles under her eyes (color of any kind on her face was reason for concern). I sat her down on the lounge chair and began rubbing her stiff shoulders while whispering calming words into her ear. She she sat up in a rush, causing me to bite my tongue as her shoulder banged my chin, and with the most vitriolic tone I had ever heard from her mouth she asked what was causing that God awful stench in the house?
I, still recovering from an aching swollen tongue, in ignorance replied, “Dinner.”
“You know quite well, my dear, that if I eat anything at all it is always extremely rare beef! Not burnt roadkill as that odor indicates!”
I would say that at this point she stormed out of the door, but that would not be true. What happened from my point of view, is she stood and shot daggers from her eyes (this may be a cliche, but in this case the physical pain those eyes caused made me believe she had truly caused daggers to fly into me). What happen next I don’t expect you to believe, I hardly believe it myself and I was there. One second she was standing there looking as if she was plotting my death and the next second the front door slammed shut nearly breaking the door frame and simultaneously Delia vanished. I don’t mean she faded out like an apparition. I mean one instant she was there and the next instant, perfectly timed with the door slam, she no longer was there. The only hints I had to verify that she had been there was the musty smell of moth balls and the swollen tip of my tongue.
I never saw her again. Although I saw Lydia often at the Dungeon her BFF was not around. I felt a hole in my life I had only experienced once before in my life. Lydia and I would occasionally wander the Quarter and laugh, but we were just friends, and I think we both were bothered by Delia’s absence.
I wonder what could have been, had I not made that mistake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Genius Comes Clean Regarding Vampires

Okay. I’ll admit it. I’ve been holding out on you all.
Anne Rice often used the word preternatural to describe vampires rather than supernatural. Which is to say in her opinion vampires were other than natural rather than better than natural. A rose by any other name…
The truth of the matter is that though they appear human in every aspect except one (no don’t raise your hand. Everyone knows the physiological difference), they are capable of feats ordinary humans are not.
I already alluded to their ability to hear much better than humans and I hinted that they could insert thoughts into human minds.
Many of you, at this point, will assume I got dropped on my head as a child or have a mental disease. Neither are true, other than a depression I’m working through.
The defense wishes to enter into evidence a photograph we would like to mark as Defense exhibit A.
Defense Exhibit A
As you can plainly see if you compare previously posted photos with this one, this is a picture of the upstairs dance floor of the Dungeon (address:738 Toulouse St, New Orleans, LA).
Defense Exhibit B
Defense Exhibit B is the bridge that approaches the front door of the Dungeon. This is the only photograph I have of the entrance to the dungeon
In Defense Exhibit A, if you look closely you will see a humanoid figure moving much faster than everyone else in the bar and faster than the camera can pick up.
In Defense Exhibit B, you can see a woman standing on the left side of the photo. Behind her is a blur trail in excess of 10 feet. I would also like you to notice that the man standing near her is not as corporeal as you or I (that is a story for a different day).
Whether you call it supernatural or preternatural both photographs show evidence of persons behaving in a manner that you or I am incapable of.
I am certainly glad that these persons are not prone to practical joking or there would be many more heart attacks and mental breakdowns in the town than there are.
I would typically be sitting at the bar sipping on my Coke (surprised? I drank a little when I first got to the city, but soon began toddling tea) and detect an unusual draft. Actually any draft was unusual since there were no windows in the entire structure. I would turn my head and Lydia would be standing there in one of her well outdated dresses (did I mention she smelled distinctly like moth balls?). You know it never occurred to me until just now that I never asked nor heard mentioned anyone’s last name.
I probably should mention that Lydia and Delia were BFFs and when I say F I mean F. They met at a Mardi Gras ball some years back (I didn’t ask) and hit it off immediately. Again, I didn’t know their vampiric status of the time and didn’t ask, being of the opinion what I don’t know I can’t have nightmares about. Lydia was the slighter of the two and tended to get around the dance floor (how shall I put it?) more economically that Delia did. She also enjoyed dancing to the modern death metal that was the mainstay of the bar.
I wish I had a picture of her to show you. She was a very good looking and charismatic woman with blue flecked brown eyes you could fall into and never find your way out. I would always buy her her favorite drink (no not a Bloody Mary!) a sazarak. We would rarely speak, but she would always give me a smile which would make my night every time. I never asked her out but she would invite me when she and Delia would hit the town. There was always a great time to be had. They both had a great sense of humor. We would laugh for hours.
French Quarter bars, pubs and eateries all had the same closing time, when ever the crowd thinned out enough you could talk across the room. This always happened before sunrise. We would say our good-byes and head for home. While they had spent much time in my apartment I was never invited to theirs. I figured it wasn’t cool to have guys over at their apartment. Some places were like that.
A shame those good times had to end.