It wasn’t just the flubbed kiss with Peach; I had a miserable record with girls throughout my teenage years. I actually ran away from a girl at a high school dance, fearing mockery and embarrassment. A year later, I did manage to dance with a girl from Branksome School but flubbed the phone call afterwards with talk of love.
That was my thing, to harp on about love and existence and hope they might think of me as poetic. It didn’t work on anyone – not Lori McClennan, Karen Spafford nor Tanis Gravenor – because I was sophomoric and stupid.
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.)
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?
Effective montage moves the story with a series of poignant moments. One only has to think of the Rocky montage to appreciate the potential: Mr. Balboa going from drinking raw eggs to surmounting the steps of the Philadelphia Arts Museum in the final iconic shot.
Montage has become so commonplace that a more sophisticated approach is needed, perhaps with a gag and non-sequiturs or two; otherwise the audience gets bored.
Such is my current issue in Anori. Dee Sinclair spends a year aboard a ship, collecting animals from across the world with a group of biologists. The montage of eight locations – moving from Lisbon to the Galapagos – is there to emphasize the power of the expedition along with Dee’s isolation from others.
Army escorts appear, pirates attack, and Dee observes oddly from a distance throughout, not because she isn’t affected by the dramatics but more so that she doesn’t feel connected to any of it. But does it work? I don’t know.
This rethinking has come heavily into our consciousness these days – rethinking everything from personal pronouns to the meaning of work – all of it with good intention. As stupid as it might sound, work is just that, work (an activity involving effort) and they is a plural; there is just no getting around any of this…if words are to remain words.
This trend of reevaluating words through posts and tags is a wilderness in itself with no one to curate but a group think ethos and whoever gets the most likes of all.
My dreams are of no interest to anyone but me, and yet they do tap into my essential understanding that life is an odyssey replete with failure and regret. I’m not saying this is anything new – the Greeks figured it out thousands of years back – but it is the fuel.
And so when I dream of being humiliated by administrators or being rejected by someone I love or trying to take a shit in front of a crowd, I am reminding myself not only of my fears but, more importantly, gaining access to something more universal. I am alone and know that will never change.
I wanted a scene that demonstrated the military might of The Anori Project as Dee and the others collected animal specimens from around the world. And so I had a squad of soldiers save the scientists in Libya:
There were lights on the horizon, vehicles, and then a sudden pressure in her head, like she had descended thousands of feet, and then it reverberated out and was in the ground, dust rising up. She felt her knees buckle as she slumped against the wall. The militiamen moved quickly past her and inside the house.
Lt. Graham heaved Dee up by the bicep and pressed his boot onto Jamal’s neck.
“What is this?” Dee demanded.
“Fence has been breached,” Graham told Dee. “This one has a crew out there looking for something more.”
Jamal tilted his head, searching the street past the SUVs. “Where is this fence?”
“Magnets.” Graham opened the door of the middle SUV and pushed Dee and Robi in. “Payload secured.”
“Thanks much” or “Much thanks“? I go back and forth between what Tony would say. I am never happy with either and continue the fruitless search through “Many thanks”, “So Much Thanks”, “Thanks As Always” or even “Kind of you”, until I end up back where I started. “Thanks much”.
Tony says things to get attention and pretends that he doesn’t. He mutters and stutters, his face forward to be listened to and then acts as if he doesn’t want anyone to hear. It’s a question of not overdoing that about Tony. Too much it’s caricature; not enough it’s obtuse. I need the Goldilocks frequency for this phrase.
As crazed as it sounds, that my deep-down aim for The Cx Trilogy. I can feel like I am insane not because I am but because of the insanity to which I am subjected. And so it’s not a burden as a release knowing these things, getting them out of my head so that I can help us get on with it and make things as they should have been a long time ago.
Get one with what, you ask? Why, treating people like shit because they don’t have power. It’s that simple. And it’s something we should have figured out a while ago, the 9th century at least. (Fuck all those plague/dark age excuses.) Okay, maybe the 15th century. But the 21st?!? Come on! How many chances can we miss? Allowing Hitler on the scene and then Trump and all of the other fuckers in between? Huh? What? And now we think we are close to being on track for what? Acceptance? Understanding? For anything other than obliteration? That’s just dumb and weird.
Anyway, the book, yes, that, getting humanity back on track. It’s actually about leaving this planet on an generational journey to a distant planet to start anew. And it’s got everything in it: sex, exotic cats, epic action and deep fucking thoughts. And I aim to have it out for you by the end of the year. (If we make it.)
Characters must be drawn from life. I must experience them and the chaos they manifest, witness their actions and words and, more importantly, the fact that they think nothing of the consternation and astonishment they create. They live in their oblivion.
Their reality is not an esoteric choice, a façade, but a stark awareness that they could come around the corner at any time and might even have a gun. I aim to do the thinking for them, to make sense of them through that process. And it is through that they enhance what I know about myself.