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Friday, May 30, 2008

Curse/Or Summarized

In one minute, this video perfectly encapsulates and summarizes everything you need to know about the world in which Curse/Or exists.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

WNW: Separated at Birth, part 2

Am I just crazy, or does Cookie Monster...



... look and act a hell of a lot like Brian Blessed?



No, seriously. They're both loud... boisterous... given to large, sweeping gestures... loved by all ages... extremely hairy, with large mouths... and tend to leave wreckage and/or destruction in their wake.



They're both also fucking hilarious when given the opportunity to trample all over a scene. Or in this case, guest host a British TV news programme.











Monday, May 26, 2008

Sic vis pacem, para bellum

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

John Stuart Mill
(1806 - 1873)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Quick Message to All My Dear Ones

Dear Lurkers,

Prologue: A speech or section used as an introduction, especially to a play or novel.

You haven't seen the last of Camel. Her story isn't over. In fact, it's only just begun, which is why the ending seems abrupt... because it's not an ending at all. It's to entice you to read more.

Love, kisses, and lollipops,

Palette

The Resonant Frequencies of Matter

I haven't slept since Wednesday.

Wired on caffeine, adrenaline, and writer's madness.

I'm either going to vibrate through the floor or see through time.


MY POST IS UP!

READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT

LOOK UPON MY WORKS, YE MIGHTY, AND DESPAIR

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAAHAHAHHH!!!!!!ONE


Okay, seriously. Read it, you slackers.

No, I don't care that it's only 6 am on the East Coast. I'm up, why aren't YOU?

Slacktards, the lot of you.

Curse/Or: Up In Smoke

Prologue: Up In Smoke

(Five Years Ago)


People say, time passes quick.

People say, just pay it no mind, it'll go by soon enough.

People say, tend to the moments and the years'll tend to themselves.

These people, they ain't never been in jail. Time passes like a fucking ice cube here, ain't got nothing to do but slowly melt all over the place. And the worst part is, you can't never get away from yourself. It's just you, and your thoughts, and whatever you can do to make those thoughts go away. That's the real hell of prison, if you're at all sorry about what you did: you got all these reminders that you're a bad person, and that you deserve all the shit you're forced to eat here.

It's one more day out of thirty years. Smile. Take a big bite out of that shit sandwich. Chew. Swallow. Sleep. Another day, another bite. You gotta find ways to kill your that part of your brain that measures time, or you'll go loco.

Some people spend time reading. Some go to school. Some exercise. Some sleep their lives away. And some kill themselves. Me, I smoke.

Got a system and everything. One cigarette, takes me 10 minutes to smoke it. Ten minutes where I don't do nothing but smoke. I experience that cigarette fully, completely, like I'm a fucking Japanese monk. I am the Zen Buddhist Goddess of Smoking. Completely in that moment, counting down every second but unaware of the passage of time. When I'm done, I've lost ten minutes in a haze of nicotine. Then I light another.

One cigarette, ten minutes. 6 smokes an hour. About 80 smokes a day; that's 4 packs. 28 packs a week; ten packs in a carton; about 73 cartons a year. 73 times 10 times 28 is... a lot of fucking cigarettes a year. And I've been here for nearly 15 years now.

Some people kill themselves quickly. I'm going the slow, painful route. Hacking cough, tightness in the chest, voice that sounds like I'm gargling concrete. I spend half an hour every morning coughing up bloody phlegm. I've got cancer, and it makes me glad.

I wish I had a tumor I could touch. I'd call it Tommy. I'd talk to it every day, and sing it lullabies at night. I'd tuck it in to bed at night.

But I know I have one, I've got a Tommy deep in my lungs. I feed it every day, and it's growing up so big and strong. One day, it'll be ready to go off on its own, and when it leaves I'll die. But I'll be happy, because I gave birth to something so wonderful. I made it, in my body.

I've hurt a lot of people for you, Tommy. I've killed seven cellmates for you, all of them sacrificed to cancer with secondhand smoke. Each time, you've gotten bigger and stronger. And because you're in me, I've gotten stronger.

When I give birth to you, baby, it'll be loud and bloody and violent. Just like that night twenty years ago, when you died.

When I killed you.

*** *** ***

Tonight's the night. I'm in labor, Tommy. I'm giving birth to you and the nicotine is singing in my head like angels on acid, acid that burns my veins and makes me sick to my stomach. I'm dying tonight, my dearest, my love, all so that you can be born.

One last drag on the cigarette, and exhale. I try to breathe in but you won't let me, you're filling my lungs with blood as you struggle to be born, my beautiful baby cancer boy.

The smoke goes everywhere. It stick to the walls, soaks into the mattress... and spreads out into the ventilation system.

Into general population.

Who've been breathing my smoke for fifteen years.

Oh, my baby boy. I understand now. My eyes are opened. I know your power, and know it's now mine.

The power of human sacrifice. I willingly took you into my body; I gave cancer to my cellmates; and now, everyone who breathed my air for the past 15 years has breathed you, too.

Crucifixion. The Sun Dance. Human Sacrifice. Life energy for magical power.

You don't want me to die, do you, baby? You want mama to live. You want her to spread your message across the world. I'll bear you on my back. Mama will be your camel, and you can be my hump. My burden and my source of power.

I accept.

*** *** ***

It's the damnedest thing.

The night I became the Camel, the cancer left my body. I breathe easier now than I did before I was in jail. Still have the cough, though, and the gravel voice. That's my mark of power, my witch's teat. Least I don't hack up blood every morning.

Know what else is weird? So many people want cigarettes now. Smoking's always been big in prison, but I swear the entire goddamn place is hooked now. And they all want mine.

Cigarettes are money in prison. I control their distribution now. The people who used to... they all died. On the same night. Lungs filled with bloody phlegm.

Everyone in this prison is addicted.

Everyone's my bitch.

Funny, ain't it?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Curse/Or

Wow, where'd the week go? It was just the other day that I started to develop this novel I've had in my head since January or so.

Coulda, shoulda, woulda; I'll spare you the excuses. Stuff happened, and I did it, but I've also gotten some good direction on my storyline, and it's only fitting that I share it with you now.


The name of my story is Curse/Or. There are about three levels of meaning to that name: It's supposed to be a play on the word "cursor"; it's a reference to Boolean logic; and it suggests a kind of black magic as someone performs a curse on another. And that's kind of the nutshell synopsis of what's in my story -- magic, computer programming, and symbolism both literary and semantic.

It's a story about how the conceits of old magic can fit into today's technological culture. It's a story about the World Wide Web, and the identity of the Spider that sits at its center. It's a story that fuses the technical with the spiritual, and how that changes the paradigm of both.

It's the story of three people -- Yarrow, Camel, and Fulcrum -- who, like the magi of old, hide their true names behind pseudonyms, lest others attain power over them. But in today's world, true names are Social Security Numbers, power is identity theft and pseudonyms are internet handles.

It's a story that, at its heart, tries to address the growing mythology of the internet by finding parallels to older, darker folklore. If computer programmers are akin to wizards, regularly summoning and binding daemons to hex(code) their enemies' processes, then what nefarious purpose does spam serve?

Is LOLcat the Enochian of the internet?

And what happens when one of these adepts of the virtual realm achieves "realultimatepower"? Does he become a Merlin and try to usher in a golden age? Does he hoard mystic knowledge and power, like John Dee? Or does he fall prey to darker appetites, like Aleister Crowley or Anton La Vey?

It's sort of like what happens when you cross William Gibson, Tim Powers and Ken Hite. And hopefully, it will be more comprehensible than Hermann Hesse.

Welcome to Curse/Or. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Oh yeah, one more thing

Can anyone recommend a good resource on, for lack of a better term, "How to write believable characters who've been in prison"?

Update

Jeff and C.A. Bridges have both volunteered to be Walls. I'm going to go with both because it increases the likelihood of one of them being online when I need them, and dispersing the workload between two people will help prevent burnout. (I can be awfully hard on Walls.)

Mr Bridges, please send me your email addy or IM coordinates at your earliest convenience.


As for the rest of you, anyone who wants to be a Timmy can be such. All you have to do is read my work, notice any inconsistencies, and tell me about them. Bonus points will be awarded to a Timmy who proposes a solution that doesn't involve a retcon.

I do not yet have a dedicated Timmy on staff. Nitpickers, this is the place for you. Troy Hickman, I'm looking at you specifically, Mr. "I'm a slave to continuity".


Anyone can be a Nag, and is indeed invited to do so. I'm gonna need it. JD and GL, since you didn't express a preference I'm going to place you in this category. Message me if you'd prefer to be a Timmy instead.

Help me write a novel

As many of you are no doubt aware, I have several story ideas bouncing around inside my head. However, I need your help in getting them out and onto paper. Or at least electrons.

What I plan to do in the next few days (hopefully) is start work on what I call a "living novel": I will write a story here, on my blog, starting from Chapter 1. What makes this interesting, however, is that there's every possibility I'll need to go back and change, rearrange, or retcon previous work to make later parts fit.

The ideal conclusion to all this is that at the end I have a written novel which I can then solicit to a publisher in a "cleaned up" format. In return, you folks have gotten to read it for free, and perhaps enjoyed watching me run around like a crazy woman as I try to paint myself out of corners or whatever.

Before this can happen, though, there are three positions that need filling: a Wall, a Timmy, and a Nag.


1) The Wall

Being a Wall is pretty easy: I'll ask you, "Hey, what do you think of X idea," and you tell me. You essentially exist for me to bounce ideas off of and get immediate, gratifying feedback from. You don't have to be an idea person yourself to fill this role, though creativity and insight are always a plus. What is essential, however, is that you're a good listener, and capable of asking intelligent questions based upon what I've said.

An offbeat sense of perspective also helps. Someone who constantly gushes "That's a great idea!" is fine for my ego but doesn't really help with bouncing ideas back to me. Someone who goes, "Hmm. What if you replaced all the spaceships in this story with monkeys?" might just trigger some weird cascade of creativity that solves a problem for me, even if it's unrelated to the current matter.


2) The Timmy

#12. One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation. -- Rules for Being an Evil Overlord

That's pretty much it. A Timmy is someone who is capable of going "Wait a minute... this doesn't make sense," either in regards to plot, characterization, or continuity. A good memory, attention to detail, and sense of continuity are key.


3) The Nag

To be perfectly honest, I am a slacktard. I need someone who is willing to keep at me to finish what I've started. I don't care which method you use -- Cheerleader, Jewish Mother, Drill Sergeant, or something I've never heard of before -- but I need someone who can help keep me on track and fired up about the process. An ideal nag will be able to motivate me in a variety of methods, depending on my current mental and emotional state.


If you're interested in filling any of these positions, please let me know. The most important qualification for any position, of course, is that you be available.

And yes, I intend to fully acknowledge the contributions of all who help me in this. You will, at the very least, be publicly thanked in the credits & dedication section.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Beard

Despite what you think, I'm not a woman. Not really. I like to think of myself as one, but I'm not. I'm... something else. It's hard to explain, but I'll try.

I have a beard. I have to shave every day. And every day, I look in that mirror, and what I see isn't myself. It's some... thing... that's supposed to be me, but isn't. No, the true me is behind my eyes, like the flesh in front of me is some kind of meat-mecha that the real me is piloting.

Every day I do this. Every day I engage in a ritual that doesn't belong to me, because having hair on my face makes me feel like a man and I'd rather die than feel that way.

I have hair all over my body. My chest, my legs, even my back, goddammit. Every day I shave it, and every night it grows back. And it's dark hair. The kind that refuses to be concealed, even when I shave so close that I make myself bleed and then cover the follicles with makeup. I have to pancake the concealer on, and even then you can see it if you're close enough. And then, naturally, I start to sweat it off. By the end of the day you can see stubble poking through.

People stare at me when I go out in public. I try not to let it bother me, I tell myself that what I'm doing isn't illegal, that I have every right to be myself as long as I'm not hurting anyone, but I can only take the furtive looks and whispered comments for so long before it starts to affect my temper. Some days, I just want to run and hide under a large rock. Other days, usually during my cycle, I'm likely to get violently angry.

This one man... oh my god, I get sick just thinking about it. But he was looking at me. You know how it goes: first he looked at my boobs, then at my legs, and then at my hands. By the time he got to my face, I know what he was thinking. He had this horrified expression and his mouth was hanging open in disgust or dismay or something, I don't know, and he was about to say something but I bit his head off before he could speak.

The sickening part is how satisfied I felt about that all the rest of the day. I had tasted blood, and I wanted more. It wasn't until later that night that I'd realized what I'd done. That I'd reacted in a typically masculine way. I called in sick the next day, because I couldn't face myself in the mirror to shave.

The day after that, I went shopping for silver bracelets. I needed to punish myself, because the courts can't. I wore them every day that week, as penance. Now, whenever I start to feel too aggressive, I put them on. I used to just take Aconite herbal supplements, but ever since Andre Noble overdosed on it, it's been nearly impossible to get without a prescription. The bracelets leave a nasty rash, but I can take them off if it gets to be too much for me.

It's a good thing I have allergies. I just tell people it's contact dermatitis.

I'm completely, utterly miserable most of the time. I've tried killing myself, but at the last minute my animal nature takes over and it always wants to live. All I end up doing is finding new and creative ways to hurt myself badly.

But I have a new plan. I'm going to get a supply catalog for photographers, purchase some developer, and put it in an autoinjector. That way, when I feel the change coming, maybe the silver nitrate will kill me before I transform again.

Because I'd rather die as a woman than live one more day as a goddamn werewolf.

----------------
Now playing: Metallica - Of Wolf and Man
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 5, 2008

Easing back in

As you may have noticed, I've started writing again. The craziness of the past few weeks is behind me (I hope), so now I can devote less time to screaming in impotent rage and more time to being creative and productive.

(I've always found it irritating that one can be creative without being productive.)

Anyway, when I come off of a "break" such as this I find that the biggest hurdle to overcome is inertia, and the easiest way to overcome this is to write a series of little posts. The object, you see, is to get me back into the habit of writing again, because it's annoyingly easy for my brain to wander off and do other other things when it should be making pretty words. Hopefully a few creampuff posts like this one will serve to ease me back into my routine, so that I can get to the good stuff -- stories, wacky theories, crazed rantings and RPG theory -- pretty quickly.

Thanks for your patience in sticking with me. I hope to unveil a new creative project, one which all readers of the blog will be able to view and enjoy, sometime next week.

Love, Kisses and Discord,

Palette

Erin Palette, Princess of Profanity

Hot on the heels of my soon-to-be-groundbreaking series "How To Curse Properly,"I am proud to inform everyone that I have won a contest where I had to find the originating source for no less than 45 examples of fictional profanity.

I correctly identified 41 of them.

I henceforth dub myself "Princess Profanity of the Blogosphere". You may all bow before me.

While you're at the site, be sure to visit the webcomic that originated the contest. Called "Save Hiatus" and drawn by fellow QMx artisan Adam Levermore-Rich, it details the hijinks that ensue when a much-beloved TV show is murdered by a pig-ignorant network.


What? Art imitates life? I have no idea what you're talking about.

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