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January 2014

Florsoy, the Wild Mare

I always tell people that Fate's Apology is my first attempt at writing a book. Technically it's true, insofar as I'm actually doing it. But it's not really my first. It's my fifth.
 
Florsoy, the Wild Mare coverI still remember the first time I decided I was going to be an author. I was seven years old. With several sheets of standard typing paper in hand, I was determined to write a book about my favorite subject: horses. Or at least a story about one horse. A horse named Florsoy. Yeah, I know—this invented name leaves a lot to be desired. I don't recall any others that were rejected, as I think I just stuck with the first thing that popped into my little head. To be fair, you don't know what names I'd originally chosen for some of my Fate's Apology characters either. Let's just say they weren't much better, and I think my naming ability has improved a great deal. Thank goodness!
 
So what was this horsey story about? I'm glad you asked, as I even wrote a logline on my title page. It's about "A beautyful horse which gets in all sorts of danger". Typos and bad grammar aside, I can't even come up yet with an acceptable logline for Fate's Apology, so yay little seven-year-old me for being ahead of the game on that one. And the story delivers too. On the second page, Florsoy is trapped on a mountain by a mountain lion. Wow, nothing like jumping right into it hoof-first!

 

 

Florsoy, the Wild Mare title pageAll told, I wrote 393 words of Florsoy, the Wild Mare, complete with illustrations. There was danger, a love interest, and a third 'sidekick' horse. Within two pages, the three were off on their merry little adventurous way when...I discovered I'd written myself into a predicament with no idea where to turn. This story-writing thing was a lot harder than I'd expected, and with my imagination as trapped in a corner as poor Florsoy and her friends were, I gave up. I tucked the papers away with my pile of horse drawings, never to be worked on again.

Fortunately, being a pack rat with my childhood belongings, I still have them. Every single numbered page. I'd obviously studied books and emulated them as closely as I could. The book cover and the title page (both shown here) have no writing on the back, and the first page of chapter one is designed to be on the right-hand side of the book. Page seven, the last page, is completely blank. Such a sad commentary on my self-dampened enthusiasm.
 
But while it may have been the end of Florsoy's adventures, it wasn't the end of my writing career. Only one year later, I tried again. This time it was a story about people, not horses. I didn't save that one, but what happened with it is a story unto itself. One that resonates to this day.
 
I'm going to publish Florsoy, the Wild Mare, such as it is, in my next blog. I think my inner seven-year-old will be thrilled. In the meantime I'm curious: do you remember the first story you ever wrote? Do you still have it? What was it about and was it any good? I'd love to hear your stories about your first-ever stories!

Ready to Rumble

It's that dizzying time of the year again. Look back, look ahead, look around, another year older and what have you done… Well, I'm happy to say I did pretty well, actually. Let's review my 2013 resolutions. I only made four, so it shouldn't take long.

1) Finish part two of Fate's Apology. I did! And it was right down to the finish line too, with a large chunk of it written just in the past month. I'm totally huzzah-ing over that.
 
2) Continuing to play my bass despite the obstacles. I am! And we had some terrific gigs this year. We went out of town to Shawinigan, Quebec and played at a two-day cultural festival, where we got to stay in quirky little trailers and hotel rooms just like real working musicians, and we also had a successful show at the Bistro Mousse-Café in Montreal, which proved that with the right songs and enough rehearsal, Hélène and I can rock a show as a duo.
 
3) Blog every other week and post one short snippet per month. Well, I managed fifteen out of a projected twenty-four blogs, and six out of a projected twelve short snippets. I find that life is often either too busy or too boring, and when I have time to spare I tend to spend it working on Fate's Apology, which right now is more important to me than blogging.
 
4) Lose ten pounds. HAHAHAHA! Well, I didn’t gain ten more, so my fight with fat ends in a stalemate.
 
So what's up for 2014? Like last year, I'm going with four resolutions.
 
1) Finish Fate's Apology and find beta readers. If necessary, this goal will trump all others that follow. I want to write "The End" so badly I can taste it.
 
2) Write new piano compositions. My piano has been neglected for far too long, and one way I've already made sure I'll have more time to get back to it is by taking a sabbatical from the choir. When schlepping into town every Wednesday and Saturday for rehearsals and performances became something to dread almost as much as going to work, it was time to re-evaluate how I was spending my musical free time. So, so long singing, hellooooo piano!
 
3) Review books I've read. I'm terrible at this, and knowing how much writers crave feedback about their work, I really need to stop shirking this responsibility. This might entail re-reading some stories so they're fresh in my mind again, but for sure it should start with anything I'm enjoying (or not) from here on out.
 
3) Get a web site up on my rascalbear.com domain. I've had the domain since May and only just recently tried to figure out what to do with it. I want it to be a place to celebrate the life of my beloved cat Rascalbear, as well as my new kitties, Doodle and Jitterbug. I also want it to have information about red-point Siamese cats, maybe a resource for adoption info, as well as a place for people to post their own pictures and stories about their red-points. That's a lot of stuff to think about and organize.
 
And that's it. Of course, I need to blog, stay in shape, and continue the band. This week already has band practice, write a blog or two to post in the future, and exercise written all over it. But it also has noodle-time on the piano, and some brainstorming for Rascalbear's Red-Point Siamese Roundup, and starting a review for the current book I'm reading. So hey, 2014, get your butt over here. I'm ready to rumble!