Exorcising Peach: Writing Process

I was 14 years old and in love with Peach Harper, a divinely beautiful blonde with blue eyes and golden skin. I obsessed over how to express my undying love for her and managed to convince her to come to a tiny log cabin I had built. (This is all true.)

Ahmic Lake cabin built by McPhedran in 1979.

I had lied to get her out there, telling her that I secretly wanted to be her, a painfully stupid ruse. I wanted to kiss her, and that was it. And maybe touch her golden skin and float off into Nirvana, if possible. Anyway, she was actually the one who asked me if I wanted to kiss her. I closed my eyes and leaned into her and kissed her…somewhere on the chin.

My mother chose that moment to arrive in her green tattered bathrobe and escort Peach away. I blubbered and gestured stupidly, realizing the glittering moment had passed. I had completely panicked and missed those velvety lips.

Everything went downhill from there. Peach met another boy who she brought to my party and went off into the woods to make out. I offered my hand to her when she came back and pushed her down the hill. I was furious at her betrayal – even if the truth was that she had wanted to kiss me and I had fucked all of that up.

I invested everything in Peach, had written letter after letter over an entire year and even bought her a Hotel California T-shirt on her birthday. And when the moment came, I was an abject failure. I cannot let that die. This might explain my habit to hide in my words and obfuscate my life. I am afraid to expose myself for the loser that I am. Oh, Peach, where are you now?

Pissed Off at Julie the Blogger

I watched Julie & Julia last night – the film portrayal of the sassy New York gal who blogs on cooking Julia’s Child’s recipes – which made me depressed and irritated.

The premise of the blog is trite and gimmicky, and became so monstrously successful that it attracted hundreds of thousands of followers (NYT included), led to a book deal and then a the film which grossed $140 million. And that does irritate the hell out of me.

Lemur eating at The Bronx Zoo

I’ve blogged for eight years now (1,390 posts to date) and have achieved neither traction (120 views per day) nor phone calls from any media outlet.

It is true that I can meander and have only recently found my Julia (the writing process), but I have always been true and raw and given everything I can think of, including first-person accounts of Hurricane Sandy, the Covid Pandemic and my sad lost childhood.

Steve and Gary drinking stubbies at Ahmic Lake

It’s not that I want attention (not like Amy Adams anyway), but more that I thought there would be something more at this point, something that might give all of these posts some meaning beyond filling the void.

Developing Character: Writing Process

Writing builds character. Or is it the other way around? The sad thing is that too many characters are caricatures that fulfil an odd addiction of an audience to do as predicted, to make everyone satisfied in knowing what is done next.

Author’s father burning brush on Ahmic Lake

The core of real character is outside the details and patterns we project. Characters are inconsistent. They must be. They must be what is not expected. (And then not.) That is how we behave, what we need to understand our traumatized self.

Author with construction hat and gas tank at Ahmic Lake

As predictable as we might think people are, we aren’t. And if we are, that is death. A character needs to be nebulous. It is in that that a story spirals light.

Writing Process: Not Knowing Myself

This blog has been effective at turning over the rocks from my childhood, dreams and half-realized works. The Young Chronicles in particular has been telling as it reveals my lack of identity; I distinctly remember having clarity when I was eight years old and then none on my hitchhiking trip eleven years later.

Pretending to be confident and cool somewhere in Saskatchewan

I was always on edge, unsure of where I was, scared to camp alone, scared on the side of the road, scared of riding in stranger’s cars. I wanted to be somewhere else and, when I got there, somewhere else again.

I found vague clarity a few years later in between tree-planting seasons, camping with my cat Popo in the Gulf Islands, reading dawn to dusk, but still scared of sounds in the night and the dark waters, of being alone, but nevertheless running away from others.

My little log cabin on Ahmic Lake. Scared even there.

That’s as close to a sense of self as I have ever come.

Sister, Sister, Wherever You Have Gone

I remember when we bounced in the big chair to The Partridge Family and K-Tel’s Fantastic 22. tumblr_mjarkw5lm31r5yoejo1_r1_1280And I remember when we threw the little metal Santa Claus too high and it smashed through the window and we all ran. IMAG2188There were the trips to the cottage, the puzzles, the rain, the boat trips across the lake.

20140729_161648I remember your pained expressions too, you not wanting to be there, anywhere but with your dumb siblings, away with the crowd, all the excitement and things like that. weenAnd I remember not liking you so much for any of that. But it’s just kid’s stuff now, right? We move on, yes? 20140524_151436I mean, if you hold things too tight, they drive right into you and there’s nothing left, just petty agendas, seeing¬†everything in the world, except where you came from.¬†Dorothy's Red ShoesAnd that just goes on until you get to the end and then you wonder what happened.