All posts by masooch94

Writer In Motion | Final Thoughts!

And just like that, a month goes by. Wild to think.

I don’t know what to really say about this experience. It was just so Good and Refreshing after years of working towards academic goals.

(Which are still good! Academic goals are still valid and great and all! Stay in school, kids!)

But yeah. The last time that I wrote a thing for Me and actually Finished it was ……………… late 2018 (Tho it was a fic lol so it was still kinda for something other than myself). Then the master’s program hit, lmao.

boop boop shamelessly plugging my master’s thesis pls give dichotomyoffan.com some love i tried v hard on her thank u ❤

And the last time I worked directly off a picture prompt was ………….. 2016 maybe? I think I mentioned that in my first post for WIM. That was for a class tho……… but I did work on it more later.

Whatever. This story was for WIM, so. [shrug]

Both times, I felt like I produced something that was… primarily exploratory. While I’ve been writing stories for most of my life, I don’t have much content out there for the world to see, y’know what I mean? Call it perfectionism, insecurity, possessiveness, whatever.

But I want to start saying fuckit (pardon) and throwing my content out into the world more. Because it’s fun, and cathartic–a serotonin IV drip, if you will.

Regarding the process itself. It’s hard to keep a story at 1k, man. (That’s the one thing I messed up this time that I will probably mess up again. Sorry in advance @ my future CPs.) Especially if you get hit with additional inspo from a dream you had 5+ years ago about science girlfriends and amnesia. Re: the POV, in recent years, I’ve liked playing around with the narrator’s gender. Either hiding it until a certain point if it’s necessary to the plot, or just taking it out altogether. I like the idea of the reader putting themself in the position of the narrator, and I think this could be one way to do it. (It’s also interesting to see people’s reactions to it–assuming pronouns or noticing a lack of them. Can you tell I did a project about this for a class?)

Also, props to people who can write every day. Dedicatedly. Like, scheduled. Could not be me. Should probably be me. But could not be me.

On that note, I think, also, knowing that there was a mass of others who were in the same boat I was every week was comforting. We struggle and stress and procrastinate together. We all have a bit of parental protectiveness over our works, a bit of please be gentle this is my baby, yet tell each other to tear ’em apart because we want to make them better. Ah, dichotomy.

Sigh. Well. I dunno what else to really put here. Save for a big final thank you to @BErixson (see you at work lol) and @gonzo_rhetoric for bullying me (jk jk) into joining WIM and critiquing my writing and trusting me to critique theirs. And probs a lot of other things, too. They’re lovely. And amazing writers. Go read their works. (ง •̀_•́)ง

So… yeah! That’s that, for now. I’d love to do this again. Looking forward to the next #WIM round.

See y’all then. Or sooner if I get working on anything of note.

–CM

Writer In Motion | Week 3: I am an Adult™ who Can take criticism and only cry for 5 minutes

IT IS A JOKE, I PROMISE. I DIDN’T CRY. PINKY PROMISE I DID NOT.

I am also very late, and I apologize for that.

Suddenly I had Social Plans like every day this week and it’s been a While so I forgot what prioritization of time was.

Anyway, shoutout to @BErixon and @gonzo_rhetoric for their feedback on my story. I really appreciate their critiques and compliments, and their stories are amazing pls go read them.

Here’s my updated draft! With a possible title! And new transition markers! And a kinda new interwoven cyclical theme kinda thing that might be too much! And a shifted scene!


[basis]

3 o’clock hour. 9 hours remain.

It’s warm in here.

It’s not pleasant, and it’s not awful, but it has its moments either way.

It just kinda… is. And that’s fine. You’re not complaining. It’s just a passing thought you have. And’ve had every day. For… 

You fidget on the rickety twin bed, roll over to face the cracked wall. You’ve had urges to start scratching out tallies to mark the days. But that would be a bit much, you think. Make this feel too much like a prison.

But, isn’t it?

With a huff, you spring up, take the few steps across the tiny room of this concrete box of a shack, and jack the fan up a couple notches. It groans with the strain, but the flow of air brings some new life to the room, enough to reassure you some.

This isn’t your prison. It’s your… safehouse? haven? refuge? Those seem too heavy-handed. At least, to your knowledge. Anyway. You can breathe.

So you breathe. Glance around at what you do have. The necessities: bed, minifridge, small bathroom to the back, table and two chairs, little bookshelf stuffed with Things to Entertain Yourself, the radio where she plugs in her…

You blink, skitter around on your bare feet, and check the light coming from the russet window shutters.

Oh.

The shutters are loud, when opened. It’s almost annoying, but you suppose it’s better than silence. (Just as light openly filling the space is better than even yellow slits, like bars.

Not a prison, you remind.)

You’ve had urges to keep them open, but let’s face it. You’re paranoid. 

And you hate bugs.

Suffice it to say, the hill your shack is seated on, surrounded sporadically by lush dark greens and pale yellows, is heavily and without fail stocked with bugs.

Hoisting yourself up onto the sill, you crane your neck to peer over the hill’s crest, at the downtrodden path your only visitor takes to get here.

She’s always on time, so it’s only a few seconds—(alright, half a minute)—before the wispy tufts of her short hair come into view. She’s frowning at her phone, but soon drops it into the big tote bag on her shoulder and looks up. Noticing you in the window, she waves, smiling.

“Hey!”

There’s always a firecracker that goes off between your ribs when she shows up. Makes your limbs jittery and useless. You can’t tell if you hate it or not as you raise a hand in greeting. 

Something buzzes near you, then, far too close to the tip of your nose. You lurch back with a squawk, recognizing the spindly lines of a mosquito, and tumble off the sill, knocking loudly into the side of your bed.

“Ow…” you groan, rubbing the ass cheek you landed on.

There’s the sound of running footsteps, shifting grass, and the door bangs open. She pants, staring down at you, concern in her wide eyes.

“Are you okay?” 

You exhale a laugh. “Yeah, I am. Just a bruise on my ass… and pride.”

Her concern melts to a smirk. “Well, good. Then I can laugh at you.” She then holds out the tote bag for you to take.

Getting to your feet, you scoff, but take the bag anyway. “Just… please tell me that you brought more bug spray. I’m dying out here.” You rummage through the bag, feel a familiar aerosol can, and shout triumphantly.

You douse the window in the stuff and toss the can onto your bed. The minifridge shuts and you look up. She’s shed the heavy green coat she always wears, thrown on the back of a chair, and is leaning against the minimal counter space of the kitchenette, munching on one of the pastries she brought the other day.

“That there’s why you run out all the time.” She gestures with the pastry, spewing crumbs from her mouth. “Spraying it all over the window…” Shaking her head, she takes another bite. It sounds crispy, flaky, and makes you want one, too.

Maybe later.

“It’s preventative,” you shoot back. “Keeps those nasty things out—” You gesture out the window. “—and this nasty thing safe in here.” You gesture to yourself with a flourish.

She snorts and rolls her eyes, but her smile is sincere. (You feel a lingering sizzle from that firecracker, all the way down to your toes. You like when she laughs. Better yet, you like when you’re the one to make it happen.)

“So, anyway,” she says, brushing crumbs off her hands and crossing her arms, “what’re we doing today?”

You look around your shack. To the shelf, the table, the tote bag with her laptop. 

“I have a few ideas,” you offer, and the intrigued look on her face tells you she likes the sound of that.

4 o’clock hour. 8 hours remain.

“Boring day, today, huh?”

You stretch your arms and legs out, taking up all the space you can on the blanket you had stored under your bed. (She brought it one day near the beginning, calling it “ours” offhand, but neither of you ever mentioned it again.) 

With a loud exhale, you go limp, your right arm and leg landing over hers. She giggles; you grin.

“Nothing boring about a picnic and some cloud gazing, man.”

She shifts, and you feel her hand ruffle your hair. “Nah, I guess not. You could’ve been out here without me, though. It’s a nice day.”

You shake your head, making a show of blowing your bangs back into place. “No, I don’t think I could’ve.”

You can feel her wanting to ask. Really ask. How are you doing? Well, you can’t really know for sure, can you? Considering you have nothing to base it on. 

(She asked What do you remember? the first few weeks, but has since stopped.)

With what feels like a cloud passing, she goes, “Ah, right. Bugs.”

You laugh, too quickly even to your own ears. “Yeah, bugs.”

The two of you stare at the sky for a while. 

6 o’clock hour. 6 hours remain.

Some new tune trickles from the tinny speaker of her phone. (She unplugged it from the radio before and is setting up a movie on her laptop. Some anime thing about firefighters she swears you loved. You weren’t sold until she told you about the homoerotic subtext.)

“What’s this?” you ask, sitting up a bit.

She turns, and it hits you that the sun’s gone down. It’s that exact time when the whole world glows—her included, flyaways lit up white. Some squishy, sappy smile spreads on your face, and the soft beats and acoustic lines amplify and diffuse into the surrounding air. You maybe feel a little drunk, enough that you miss her speaking.

“Huh?”

She clicks her teeth, amused. “I said it’s a new Zico track. You like?”

You lower back down to the blanket to hide the warmth in your cheeks—(firecracker embers)—and spread your limbs out again. 

The chorus repeats. It’s melancholy, but nice.

You sigh. “Yeah, I like.”

8 o’clock hour. 4 hours remain.

“Okay, that was way too long for CPR.”

“Right? Listen. They know what they did. They know who their target audience was.”

You laugh, bodily, almost keeling over while trying to fold up the blanket. “Studio Trigger said gay rights, huh?”

Silence draws out, and it takes you a second to notice she’s frozen still, looking at you intensely. You think so, at least. The sun set a while ago, so it’s hard to see.

“You… remembered the animation studio’s name?” 

Oh. “Oh.” You finish folding the blanket, slower than before. “Did… did you not mention it? Maybe yesterday you—”

“No, I don’t think I did.”

“Hmm.” There’s a pause, and it’s heavy. You kick at a pebble by your foot, eyes fixed to the dirt. “Before you ask, I don’t remember anything else.”

A beat. “Yeah. Okay. That’s okay.”

You want to ask if she even wants you to or not. That was never clear, and you were—are—too scared to ask, so… you breathe. Inhale. Exhale. “Okay.”

10 o’clock hour. 2 hours remain.

“Want a pastry? There’s a few left from the ones I brought. I left the lemon ones since they’re your favorite.”

You hum, fiddling with the tea kettle with a bit more focus. 

She’s staring again. You can feel it at the back of your skull from where she’s sitting at the table.

“Are they?”

You don’t want to disappoint her even further tonight, but the deflating sigh is telling.

“Yeah, they are.”

You take them out to have with your tea.

Turns out she’s right.

12 o’clock hour.

The two of you are at the door. You, inside; she, outside. The air smells like the flowery tea you drank, along with the heady, humid damp that is the forest at night. She’s leaving, and it’s dark, and you never really know when she gets home because you have no communication to the outside world and you never thought to ask why and it’s too late now, isn’t it—?

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay? I get off work early, so I’ll try to come by early if I don’t get hung up with anything.” 

She’ll come on time like she always does, but—

“Okay. Thanks again for the bug spray.”

She smiles, something you read as fond. “Sure, anytime. Anything else you need? I can bring it tomorrow.”

I need answers. I need to know what I did. Who I am. My name. Your name. 

I need you to stay. 

“Nah, I think I’m good for now.” You shake your head at the floor. Partially at yourself. Coward. “If I think of anything, I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

She hums, teasing. “Write it down. You’ll forget.” 

You huff out a chuckle. “Probably.” You hesitate, then, “Just add ‘em to the list of things I forgot, then, huh.”

You didn’t expect a laugh, knowing it came out too bitter, but you’re surprised when she pulls you in for a hug.

There’s a jolt inside you—maybe that firecracker relit—but you eventually wrap your arms around her in return. It’s tight, and soft, and warm. 

(You wish it felt familiar.)

It’s over too soon. She pulls away, steps back, mumbles another See you tomorrow, and then she’s off. 

Once she’s over the crest of the hill, hair tufts out of sight, you close the door, kick off your shoes. Fan on low, you don’t bother with washing up, but tumble right into bed, blanket pulled to your chin.

You take a deep, cleansing breath, like she taught you a while ago, in a time you can’t remember. It works for a moment, until it doesn’t. Your next breath is quick and automatic, and you kick the blanket off the most of you with a grunt. 

It’s warm in here.

24 hours remain.


Okay. So I’m liking this whole focus on the passage of time, but I don’t know if the way I have it phrased right now is too blatant or wordy or somethin.

Also gives me Majora’s Mask vibes with that last 24 hours remain bit. I’m also not sure if having that after the “It’s warm in here” repeated line takes away from the impact of that or if it just adds to its own new repetitive-feeling mundane motif of the narrator. HMMM.

Also I didn’t end up cutting 700 words fjdksl there might even be more but I’m too afraid to check and I Apologize.

As far as the title goes. basis was stuck in my head for about a week, and I’m throwing it out there to see if it sticks. I was also thinking unknown basis or basis unknown but I thought they were too… telling, I guess? blunt? [shrug] (I’ll try to come up with an explanation of why I picked basis for next week.)

So! Here it is. Fashionably late. Apologies again!

See y’all next week.

–CM

Writer In Motion | Week 2: [increasingly frantic] oH BOY

I’m bad with length. And titles.

Makes sense I’d be 700 words over with no title yet. Sounds on brand.

It has an ending, though! 😀 That’s new!

She’s. Real emo. But I love her so far.

Let’s get to it.


{TITLE TBD}

It’s warm in here.

It’s not pleasant, and it’s not awful, but it has its moments either way.

It just kinda… is. And that’s fine. You’re not complaining. It’s just a passing thought you have. And’ve had every day. For… 

You fidget on the rickety twin bed, roll over to face the cracked wall. You’ve had urges to start scratching out tallies to mark the days. But that would be a bit much, you think. Make this feel too much like a prison.

But, isn’t it?

With a huff, you spring up, take the few steps across the tiny room of this concrete box of a shack, and jack the fan up a couple notches. It groans with the strain, but the flow of air brings some new life to the room, enough to reassure you some.

This isn’t your prison. It’s your… safehouse? haven? refuge? Those seem too heavy-handed. At least, to your knowledge. Anyway. You can breathe.

So you breathe. Glance around at what you do have. The necessities: bed, minifridge, small bathroom to the back, table and two chairs, little bookshelf stuffed with Things to Entertain Yourself, the radio where she plugs in her…

You blink, skitter around on your bare feet, and check the light coming from the russet window shutters.

Oh.

The shutters are loud, when opened. It’s almost annoying, but you suppose it’s better than silence. (Just as light openly filling the space is better than even yellow slits, like bars.

Not a prison, you remind.)

You’ve had urges to keep them open, but let’s face it. You’re paranoid. 

And you hate bugs.

Suffice it to say, the hill your shack is seated on, surrounded sporadically by lush dark greens and pale yellows, is heavily and without fail stocked with bugs.

Hoisting yourself up onto the sill, you crane your neck to peer over the hill’s crest, at the downtrodden path your only visitor takes to get here.

She’s always on time, so it’s only a few seconds—(alright, half a minute)—before the wispy tufts of her short hair come into view. She’s frowning at her phone, but soon drops it into the big tote bag on her shoulder and looks up. Noticing you in the window, she waves, smiling.

“Hey!”

There’s always a firecracker that goes off between your ribs when she shows up. Makes your limbs jittery and useless. You can’t tell if you hate it or not as you raise a hand in greeting. 

Something buzzes near you, then, far too close to the tip of your nose. You lurch back with a squawk, recognizing the spindly lines of a mosquito, and tumble off the sill, knocking loudly into the side of your bed.

“Ow…” you groan, rubbing the ass cheek you landed on.

There’s the sound of running footsteps, shifting grass, and the door bangs open. She pants, staring down at you, concern in her wide eyes.

“Are you okay?” 

You exhale a laugh. “Yeah, I am. Just a bruise on my ass… and pride.”

Her concern melts to a smirk. “Well, good. Then I can laugh at you.” She then holds out the tote bag for you to take.

Getting to your feet, you scoff, but take the bag anyway. “Just… please tell me that you brought more bug spray. I’m dying out here.” You rummage through the bag, and when you feel a familiar aerosol can, you shout triumphantly.

Once you’ve doused the window in the stuff, you toss the can onto your bed and look up at the sound of the minifridge closing. She shed the heavy green coat she always wears, thrown on the back of a chair, and is leaning against the minimal counter space of the kitchenette, munching on one of the pastries she brought the other day.

“That there’s why you run out all the time.” She gestures with the pastry, spewing crumbs from her mouth. “Spraying it all over the window…” Shaking her head, she takes another bite. It sounds crispy, flaky, and makes you want one, too.

Maybe later.

“It’s preventative,” you shoot back. “Keeps those nasty things out—” You gesture out the window. “—and this nasty thing safe in here.” You gesture to yourself with a flourish.

She snorts, and you feel a lingering sizzle from that firecracker, all the way down to your toes.

“So, anyway,” she says, brushing crumbs off her hands and crossing her arms, “what’re we doing today?”

You look around your shack. To the shelf, the table, the tote bag with her laptop. 

You count your options, hum, think, and grin.

===

“Boring day, today, huh?”

You stretch your arms and legs out, taking up all the space you can on the blanket you had stored under your bed. It’s soft, but durable enough to handle the dirt on the ground without much needed fussy cleaning.

With a loud exhale, you go limp, your right arm and leg landing over hers. She giggles.

“Nothing boring about a picnic and some cloud gazing, man.”

She shifts, and you feel her hand ruffle your hair. “Nah, I guess not. You could’ve been out here without me, though. It’s a nice day.”

You shake your head, making a show of blowing your bangs back into place. “No, I don’t think I could.”

You can feel her wanting to ask. Really ask. How are you doing? Well, you can’t really know for sure, can you? Considering you have nothing to base it on. 

(She asked What do you remember? the first few weeks, but has since stopped.)

With what feels like a cloud passing, she goes, “Ah, right. Bugs.”

You laugh, too quickly even to your own ears. “Yeah, bugs.”

The two of you stare at the sky for a while. 

===

“Want a pastry? There’s a few left from the ones I brought. I left the lemon ones since they’re your favorite.”

You hum, fiddling with the radio with a bit more focus.

She’s staring. You can feel it.

“Are they?”

You don’t want to disappoint her, but the deflating sigh is telling.

“Yeah, they are.”

Turns out she’s right.

===

Some new tune trickles from the tinny speaker of her phone. (She unplugged it from the radio before and is setting up a movie on her laptop. Some anime thing about firefighters she swears you loved. You weren’t sold until she told you about the homoerotic subtext.)

“What’s this?” you ask, sitting up a bit.

She turns, and it hits you that the sun’s gone down. It’s that exact time when the whole world glows—her included, flyaways lit up white. Some squishy, sappy smile spreads on your face, and the soft beats and acoustic lines amplify and diffuse into the surrounding air. You maybe feel a little drunk, enough that you miss her speaking.

“Huh?”

She clicks her teeth, amused. “I said it’s a new Zico track. You like?”

You lower back down to the blanket to hide the warmth in your cheeks from view—(firecracker embers)—and spread your limbs out again. 

The chorus repeats. It’s melancholy, but nice.

You sigh. “Yeah, I like.”

===

“Okay, that was way too long for CPR.”

“Right?! And the framing?! Listen. They know what they did. They know who their target audience was.”

You laugh, bodily, almost keeling over while trying to fold up the blanket. “Studio Trigger said gay rights, huh?”

Silence draws out, and it takes you a second to notice she’s frozen still, looking at you intensely. You think so, at least. The sun set a while ago, so it’s hard to see.

“You… remembered the animation studio’s name?” 

Oh. “Oh.” You finish folding the blanket, slower than before. “Did… did you not mention it? Maybe yesterday you—”

“No, I don’t think I did.”

“Hmm.” There’s a pause, and it’s heavy. You kick at a pebble by your foot, eyes fixed to the dirt. “Before you ask, I don’t remember anything else.”

A beat. “Yeah, I know.”

You want to ask if she even wants you to or not. That was never clear, and you were—are—too scared to ask, so… you breathe.

Inhale. Exhale. “Okay.”

===

The two of you are at the door. You, inside; she, outside. The air smells like the flowery tea she brought, along with the heady, humid damp that is the forest at night. She’s leaving, and it’s dark, and you never really know when she gets home because you have no communication to the outside world and you never thought to ask why and it’s too late now, isn’t it—?

“I’ll see you tomorrow, okay? I get off work early, so I’ll try to come by early if I don’t get hung up with anything.” 

She’ll come on time like she always does, but—

“Okay. Thanks again for the bug spray.”

She smiles, something you read as fond. “Sure, anytime. Anything else you need? I can bring it tomorrow.”

I need answers. I need to know what I did. Who I am. My name. Your name. 

I need you to stay. 

“Nah, I think I’m good for now.” You shake your head at the floor. Partially at yourself. Coward. “If I think of anything, I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

She hums, teasing. “Write it down. You’ll forget.” 

You huff out a chuckle. “Probably.” You hesitate, then, “Just add ‘em to the list of things I forgot, then, huh.”

You didn’t expect a laugh, knowing it came out too bitter, but you’re surprised when she pulls you in for a hug.

There’s a jolt inside you—maybe that firecracker relit—but you eventually wrap your arms around her in return. It’s tight, and soft, and warm. 

(You wish it felt familiar.)

It’s over too soon. She pulls away, steps back, mumbles another See you tomorrow, and then she’s off. 

Once she’s over the crest of the hill, hair tufts out of sight, you close the door, kick off your shoes. Fan on low, you don’t bother with washing up, but tumble right into bed, blanket pulled to your chin.

You take a deep, cleansing breath, like she taught you a while ago, in a time you can’t remember. It works for a moment, until it doesn’t. Your next breath is quick and automatic, and you kick the blanket off the most of you with a grunt. 

 

It’s warm in here.


I literally just wrote the last 4 sections tonight. I knew I wanted to have little scenes throughout their day, and I had more planned, but it’d end up being too much, I think.

Welp. I could probably definitely cut more from the first section. Tighten that up more. But it’s 11:30 and I’m tired.

Hope you enjoy my dumb kids being garbage at their feelings uwu

See y’all next week!

–CM

P.S. Brownie points if you know the movie they watched lol

P.P.S. Triple brownie points if you guess the song >:3c

Writer In Motion | Week 1: [exasperated] oh boy

I have this problem with first drafts. They don’t happen.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything, because I do have some stuff to show you, but I rarely write something all the way through before peeking back and editing, restructuring, revamping, rewording, blah blah.

So that bout of perfectionism, sprinkled with some potent procrastination, and here’s what we’ve got so far. Something unfinished and all over the place that will probably get torn apart and stripped down to something that actually fits under a 1k word limit.

I tweeted how I was able to spew out 300 words in one sitting and nothing had happened yet, and now I’m at 1k words and, like, 2 things have happened.

Which is fine, I think. Most of the things I’ve written over the years have been more… characters’ thought processes than anything else. So we are par for the course, friends, lmao.

But anyway. Here’s what I have as of now.


{TITLE TBD}

It’s warm in here.

It’s not pleasant, and it’s not awful, but it has its moments either way.

It just kinda… is. And that’s fine. You’re not complaining. It’s just a passing thought you have. And have had every day. For… 

You fidget on the rickety twin bed, roll over to face the cracked wall. You’ve had urges to start scratching out tallies to mark the days. But that would make this feel too much like a prison.

But… isn’t it?

You sit up and give your head a few shakes. Nah nah nah, you don’t wanna think like that. You’re out here for a good reason. Probably several good reasons. 

If only it wasn’t as monotonously warm.

With a huff, you spring up, take the few steps across the tiny room of this tiny concrete box of a shack, and jack the fan up a couple notches. It groans with the strain, but the new flow of air brings some new life to the room, enough to reassure you some.

This isn’t your prison. It’s your… safehouse? haven? refuge? Those seem too heavy-handed. At least, to your knowledge. Anyway. You can breathe.

So you breathe. Glance around at what you do have. The necessities–bed, minifridge, small bathroom to the back–and the not-so-much–table and two chairs, little bookshelf stuffed with Things to Entertain Yourself, the radio where she plugs in her…

You blink, skitter around on your bare feet, and check the light coming from the russet red window shutters.

Oh.

The shutters are loud, when opened. It’s almost annoying, but you suppose it’s better than silence. (Just as light openly filling the space is better than even yellow slits, like bars.)

Not a prison, not a prison, not a prison.

You’ve had urges to keep them open, but let’s face it. You’re paranoid. 

And you hate bugs.

Suffice it to say, the hill your box is seated on, sporadically surrounded by lush dark greens and pale yellows, is heavily and without fail stocked with bugs.

Hoisting yourself up onto the sill, you crane your neck to peer over the hill’s crest, at the downtrodden path your only visitor takes to get here.

She’s always on time, so it’s only a few seconds–(alright, half a minute)–before the wispy tufts of her short hair come into view. She’s frowning at her phone, but soon drops it into the big tote bag on her shoulder and looks up. Noticing you in the window, she waves, smiling.

“Hey!”

There’s always a firecracker that goes off between your ribs when she shows up. Makes your limbs jittery and useless. You can’t tell if you hate it or not.

“Hey,” you call back, and raise a hand in greeting. 

Something buzzes near you, then, and you want to ignore it, but it immediately buzzes again, close to the tip of your nose. You lurch back with a squawk, recognizing the sharp spindly lines of a mosquito, and tumble off the sill, knocking loudly into the side of your bed.

“Ow…” you groan, rubbing the ass cheek you landed on.

There’s the sound of running footsteps, shifting grass, and the door bangs open. She pants, staring down at you, concern in her wide eyes.

“Are you okay?” 

You exhale a laugh. “Yeah, I am. Just a bruise on my ass… and pride.”

Her concern melts to a smirk. “Well, good. Then I can laugh at you. That was hilarious.” She then holds out the tote bag for you to take.

Getting to your feet, you scoff, but take the bag anyway, peering inside. “Just… please tell me that you brought more bug spray. I’m dying out here.” You rummage through the bag, and when your fingers wrap around a familiar aerosol can, you give a triumphant, Ah ha!

The next solid thirty seconds are spent on you dousing the whole window area in bug spray, along with your arms and legs. You don’t care too much that it’ll get anywhere else with you spraying it in your box. You don’t hate the smell of it, but you hate bugs more.

Done, you toss the can onto your bed and look up at the sound of the mini fridge closing. She shed the heavy green coat she always wears, thrown on the back of a chair, and is leaning back against the minimal counter space of the kitchenette, munching on one of the pastries she brought the other day.

“That there’s why you run out all the time.” She gestures with the pastry, spewing crumbs from her mouth. “Spraying it all over the window…” Shaking her head, she takes another bite. It sounds crispy, flaky, and makes you want one, too.

You shake your head to yourself a little. Maybe later.

“It’s preventative,” you shoot back. Keeps those nasty things out–” You gesture out the window. “–and this nasty thing safe in here.” You gesture to yourself with a flourish.

She snorts, rolling her eyes, and you feel a lingering sizzle from that firecracker from earlier, all the way down to your toes.

“So, anyway,” she says, brushing crumbs off her hands and crossing her arms, “what’re we doing today?”

You look around your box. To the shelf, the table, the tote bag with her laptop. 

You count your options, hum, think, and grin.

“Boring day, today, huh?”

You stretch your arms and legs out in all directions, taking up all the space you can on the blanket you had stored under your bed. It’s soft, but durable enough to handle the dirt on the ground without much needed fussy cleaning.

With a loud exhale, you go limp, your right arm and leg landing over hers. She giggles.

“Nothing boring about a picnic and some cloud gazing, man.”

She shifts, and you feel her hand ruffle your hair. “Nah, I guess not. You could’ve been out here without me, though. It’s a nice day.”

You shake your head, making a show of blowing your bangs back into place. After a moment, “No, I don’t think I could.”

You can feel her wanting to ask. Really ask. How are you doing? Well, you can’t really know for sure, can you? Considering you have nothing to base it on. 

With what feels like a cloud passing, she goes, “Ah, right. Bugs.”

You laugh, too quickly even to your own ears. “Yeah, bugs.”

The two of you stare at the clouds for a while.


Okay we’re back. You’re lucky, you get the clean, non-highlighted version. Sigh, the whole bit with the bug spray is highlighted bc what is that I could definitely squish that down to like a sentence and is it even necessary–

But aside from chunks of this that I’d like to nix and the fact there’s nO ENDING YET (I have 2 ideas that I’m debating between), I’m liking parts of it. I’ve been intrigued by second person POV, too (tho I might swap to first person if I find I hate it), which I blame on my time working on a choice-based, POV shifting e-lit piece. I also like playing around with ambiguity regarding my characters. I feel like it gives the reader (I really almost just wrote player) a bit of power, almost? Like a game.

I think I wanna write games… huh…

Fair, since I started writing a visual novel with some friends a while back. Really wanna keep that going someday. I miss those dumbass kids. (The characters, not my friends, though I miss those kids, too.)

Anyway. I also have a chunk I cut from the middle–just after the visitor goes “That there’s why you run out all the time.”–that I felt was making the scene too Doom and Gloom too quickly, plus it had a backstory plot I was thinking of cutting (main character’s memory loss). For shits and giggles, here it is:

When you don’t reply, she tilts her head, and her eyes turn knowing. “I left the lemon one. You like those.”

You hesitate, for just the briefest of moments, but cross the room anyway, grabbing yourself one of the other pastries.

Turns out you do like lemon. The realization stills you, and you have to jerkily make yourself nod when she asks if it’s good.

(You don’t talk about it as much as you should–the fact that you don’t remember much from before you were here. You’ll ask her about something later, like you always do. And she’ll be vague but understanding in that sad way of hers, like she always is. It frustrates you sometimes, makes you pause when she says something about you that you don’t know.)

The two of you eat in silence, side by side against the counter. You could use the chairs, but, eh.

I kept it because I like it. But idk. The parenthetical felt a lot, expositionally. (Is that a word? I’m making it a word.) And, do I wanna go with a “main character knows as much as the reader knows aka nothing” or a “main character is unreliable and keeping info from the reader” route regarding the reason they’re out in the middle of nowhere in a box?

Sigh.

The legend of zelda gaming sleep GIF on GIFER - by Cordin
a depiction of my character and also me. ty, Gifer.

Welp.

At the very least, we got somethin’ down.

Have a lovely afternoon, friends.

–CM

(p.s. – pls be prepared for more zelda gifs bc link the the most relatable dude)

Writer In Motion | Week 0: This is Familiar

So when I woke up this morning, I didn’t expect to join a month+ long writing project, but here we are. I think I looked at the site for Writer In Motion for about 3 seconds before I decided, “yeah, this seems relatively manageable during these Stressful Trying Times; I’m in.” (Nyoom over there or to WIM’s Twitter to check out the details for the project.)

Please, @ the world, let this be the moment where I get out of the writer’s funk I’ve been in since May. (Note: not block. funk. i have story ideas. many daydreams’ and notebook app pages’ worth. actual writing tho? idk her.)

So anyway. The prompt dropped yesterday, August 1st, so I’m a day behind in terms of brainstorming for this lovely image:

brown concrete house on green grass field near mountain during daytime
Photo by Rahul Pandit on Unsplash.

And golly gee did I grin when I saw it.

Note: below is a lot of rambling about lighting and themes of isolation and visual/physical storytelling elements of video games. Feel free to skip down to the “tl;dr”–don’t worry I won’t be mad.

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’ve written via picture prompts in recent years and some of my favorite little original stories (1) (2) have come out of them that has me giddy.

Or it’s the vibe of the picture itself. That golden hour light and isolated feel (#mood).

Or it just reminds me of the recent vids of some YouTubers I watch: Julien Solomita and Unus Annus (if you’re reading this after 11/15/20 and the link is broken or leads to nowhere, oops you’re too late, sorry friend). In both of those vids, the YouTubers went out in the middle of the desert to film, but created their own little… “pockets” (that keeps coming to mind) of familiar and safe space to… do what they gotta do. Whether it’s looking at stars, extreme horseshoe, or cooking pad thai.

I mean, Julien’s AirBnB looks just like the one in the prompt pic above.

Kinda.

Idk they’re both boxes.

… I could probably elaborate on that as a theme. Were someone to be staying in that concrete box of a shack on the top of a hill/mountain in the forest… is it for deliberate isolation purposes, comfort, safety for that person, safety for others? How does that person feel about their predicament? Is it even a predicament? … Is there even a person there?

Nah, I’m making a person be there, probably. But I like the idea of someone being like… in hiding there. And the reader isn’t explicitly told why and just has to infer.

In that way, it feels like what’s playing out in this setting is the epilogue of something big that happened, and the reader has to piece it together from the lingering effects of that big thing.

That’s also a really cool vibe to portray. You kinda see it in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in the sense that “a big thing happened 100 years ago and you’ve been asleep all that time so here, go forth in the aftermath of what happened. here’s what was left behind.”

Only the game tells you what the big thing was but there were sometimes random parts of the open-world map where there were just random ruins of a stable or village or fort and it just leaves you to wonder what happened exactly here even though you know about the Calamity but like what specifically here–

Am I rambling? I feel like I’m–

Oh my god wait it reminds me of Firewatch, too. I MEAN. LOOK AT THIS.

[9/6 edit: i bought the game, she was on sale for like $5 ayyyy]

THAT LIGHTING. THE ISOLATION. THE SINGLE MEANS OF COMMUNICATION.

The prompt pic could literally be a screencap from the game, wow.

Okay. I think that’s about enough for an initial post.

So tl;dr someone is living in that shack in isolation because of a Big Thing that happened in the past and this is the aftermath. And golden hour will probably be a pivotal time or element. Because I’m a sucker for good lighting and proceeding sunsets are pretty.

OKAY, NOW I’M DONE.

See y’all next week with a draft!

–CM

x. i think i read it wrong

Hello friends it has been A Week, let me tell you. Hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving that was devoid of familial discourse and full of rad food, instead.

I’m gonna apologize in advance for this blog post; she’s not cute. I’ve been slacking on my work for this class, but! We’re in the home stretch! So I’m gonna give it my all starting… Now!

Alright, so this week I read “Separation” by Annie Abrahams.

Screenshot 2018-11-27 at 12.17.44

Looking first at that main screen, I was intrigued to find that the piece was first created during the author’s stay in a hospital. The background surrounding its creation, and its purpose, to “separate” the reader from the computer through those random exercises that would appear throughout the piece were very interesting elements and vastly different from past works we’ve read for class.

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 22.01.58

Well, other works have had readers do physical tasks, so that’s not new. But having to get up and exercise? That’s new. (Not gonna lie, it was a little eerie, particularly That Face coupled with the phrase “Show the pain.” Yikies.)

… Confession time. I read the piece wrong. I didn’t get up and exercise, I read the whole piece lying down (laying down?? whatever;;; colloquialisms). I did do the first one, though. That creepy one with the open mouth. Gladly, no one was in the room with me, so I didn’t have to explain myself kldjfskljdk.

Also???? L O L when I started clicking more quickly and it gave me this:

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 22.01.13

Felt like I was being reprimanded. Patience is a virtue, I suppose. I was kinda confused about it, actually, until I actually read through that first page and saw this:

“All computer workers tend to forget their body, and so risk to be a victim of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) one day. The visitors of ‘separation’ are constraint to click slowly (, as someone recovering from rsi) to see appearing one word at a time of the text. Every now and than a exercise is proposed and all interaction with the computer is postponed. (A recovering rsi patient needs to do this kind of exercises.)”

In which case, I was like “oh. fair enough.”

Overall, a very interesting piece. The text had me Feeling Some Emotions with the depth of the language, and the meaning and perspective behind it only expanded my view of it.

Okie dokie, so regarding My Piece.

……

Clear update, huh?

Well, I’ve been editing the story itself, marking the “panels” with numbers to keep track of them while marking the different storylines in different colors (i.e., light blue for Baby Owl, a pinkish-red for Mama Owl; hopefully to correspond with the colors I’ll make the actual panels in Twine). I’ve also been planning how far I want the branching storylines to go. I was thinking of hiding a bio somewhere in there, too, but I don’t wanna spoil anything, I guess.

Anyway. That’s the progress I’ve made. It isn’t much, but I’m planning to really dive into working on it for the rest of the semester. That, along with my writing theory final project… and my novel for YA Lit…

It’s Fine :’)))))))

Okay. I’m gonna go. Looking forward to class tonight!

Have a lovely day/night/whatever!

–Masooch

ix. i got fired (virtually)

Not in real life, no worries.

I’m gonna jump right into it this week because it has been A Long Weekend and I am Tired. Please forgive my less enthusiastic rambling.

So Book & Volume. It took me a bit to download considering 1) I had to use my Big PC, 2) the app download link on the ELC didn’t work, and 3) I had to find one on my own. When I got it working, though, I was immediately endeared. I read the description beforehand and was a little skeptical when I saw that my task in this text game would be a mundane one.

Wowie was I off.

The futuristic, otherworldly absurdity that was the environment, however, completely made up for the monotony of the task you are given: reset(?) these 5 computer servers(??). I love when there’s that level of nonsense in a story’s world that’s taken as the norm, so the “main character” doesn’t question it, even if the reader/player absolutely does. To fully immerse themselves then, readers/players have to accept that nonsense.

It’s always a great time, doing that.

Now, I was a little lost at first because I’m not Completely used to the freedom of these kinds of text games. There’s so much you can do with little Easter Eggs to find (anyone else get approached by Carrie Fisher?) and places to go. It actually took me a few in-game hours to realize that I could travel out of the confines of the described block outside. Once I realized I could “go north,” though, I was set. That’s the charm of text games, I think. You gotta try all your options, and you don’t have visuals to guide you, so you gotta use your imagination to come up with those options to begin with.

There were little visual hints outside of the descriptions in-text, too. The bar at the top that notes your location, the time, and the direction options you can take in the top left corner.

Click to view slideshow.

As you can see in one of the screenshots I took in the game, I didn’t win my first playthrough. I think, when I got fired, I sat there and laughed. I had no idea I was on a time limit, but I couldn’t be mad. I’d messed around too much, so it was my fault.

Honestly, I didn’t play it again. I thought it was a poetic ending that would make for a good blog post. I do want to play it again, though. Absolutely.

When I have time.

I really want to explore the town more, and I hope to do so within that time limit I apparently have. I wonder if it was mentioned to get the task done by 2 AM, or if we’re just supposed to Get It.

Again, though, I can’t be mad. It was a rad game. I’ll be back to find out what happens when you reset(?) those servers(???? ?).

Anyway, in class we talked again about our own pieces. I’m sorry to say, but I haven’t made progress. I’m glad we’re being put in smaller groups to discuss our projects. It feels less pressured, more friendly.

I keep talking about how I want to put my YA Lit book into a digital form and go from there, so I will make that my task this week. Get the main plot down on Twine and start Getting My Life Together to figure out what Extra Fun Things I wanna add in. I talked about pictures but I can’t (read: I’m too lazy to) draw and, as I believe I’ve said, I think I’ll do better with words than with drawings. Maybe in the future I can add pictures. But as of now, I’m inspired by the format With Those We Love Alive as well as the absurdist language and situations found in both WTWLA and Book & Volume. 

Both start off with a somewhat mundane task to follow. Find the servers. Go about daily life. Sleep. Wander the city because in the future apparently we don’t have GPS.

Anyway.

I apologize for my lack of proper updated content regarding my project, and I hope to work on it tomorrow as well as in the upcoming weeks. I mean like, I don’t have a choice fjdklsjfklds but! Not the point! I’m hyped to work on this project, even if I have a breakdown or 3 in the process of the progression to finals week.

Welp. I’ll leave it here.

Have a lovely night/day/morning, friends!

–Masooch

viii. masooch needs…

…a lot of things, like a publishing deal and constant validation, but mostly to get this blog post up.

Hey friends, long time no see.

Before I get into the e-lit piece I read/played through this week, Icarus Needs, I wanted to talk a bit about some updated plans I have for my final piece.

I know I kept talking about adding additional media like pictures and videos and whatnot as the story (or stories) progress(es), but I’m not sure if I’ll have the time. I think I want to try to pull of something like With Those We Love Alive, which I talked about in this post. I’ve been looking at Twine lately, which was used for WTWLA and I think maybe I’ll use that. I was playing around with it and there’s so much you can do with it. Also, I’m better with words than pictures, and I feel like I can put out something pretty cool with descriptions alone. Maybe a few pictures? Simple ones? I dunno. I’m afraid of it seeming childish in that way. I’m not sure how effective this whole “growth from simple to complex” idea I had will work out, especially with the time crunch. Anyway, I’ll ponder. I’ll try working out some kinda map for the branching storylines and at the very least start writing out the panels for the main plot.

IT’LL BE FINE, RIGHT?

Aiight, so Icarus Needs.

Screenshot 2018-11-13 at 09.24.24

I remember playing little games like these when I was in middle school. Miniclip.com was my site, alright? Particularly the puzzle games, most of which had stories to them. One that really sticks in my mind is Gateway (I & II). I don’t wanna say much about it, but from what I remember, the story in the second one gets really heavy, so consider that a warning. It’s an incredible game. Go play it if you love puzzle games and deep stories and eeriness.

But anyway. Back to Icarus Needs.

First of all, I love the design. The simple panels give it a fun, deceptively straightforward vibe, but you find out quick that it’s a bit more complex than you think, both story-wise and design. It maintains the simplicity, but… expands… on it…? That doesn’t make sense. Whatever. I’m a fan of games that bridge whimsy with emotional depth, even if the latter part is only hinted at. It gives you the sense of a bigger world outside of what you see in the game.

Fun fact: It makes me mad when games are written off as silly and insignificant. Like… Gateway II touches on [SPOILER] the trauma of losing a family member and the hold they could still have on you even in death. Also, how it’s not always healthy. [/SPOILER] At least, that’s what I remember. I gotta play it again. It’s just so good. But like. How dare you write off a whole story based on the medium it’s presented in? Big UGH.

In Icarus Needs, there’s kind of this narrator who speaks outside the panels in an almost innocently authoritative way, if that makes sense. Like it preaches to main character Icarus (I dig that name, by the way) these… dreamlike phrases that you think would require deep answers or something. Or like. Cliches. Like the “out on a limb” line when Icarus is in the tree.

But then, in reply, Icarus is kinda blunt, or subverts the line/question/cliche. I hope that makes sense…

Here are some of the panels that stood out to me regarding that:

Click to view slideshow.

His responses are so realistic while the narrator is more… idealistic ? Is that the word? Maybe not. Either way, Icarus’ responses are refreshing in the dreamlike setting.

And speaking of dreams. You’re told that this is a dream from the beginning, but you almost ignore it at first? At least, I did.

Screenshot 2018-11-13 at 09.24.54

Also it’s difficult to automatically trust an outside, omniscient voice just after you wake up in a strange room and have to save your girlfriend with giant phones, mud balls, nets to catch a rat, and apples (exactly 5). So yeah. I wasn’t trusting it or its cliche banter anytime soon.

Regarding the end…

Screenshot 2018-11-13 at 09.30.15

I was waiting for a different catch other than “and then he woke up.” I’m not mad about it, I mean. On the one hand, it’s expected. On the other, I wanted something more. And perhaps there is something more, what with the little squirrel king in the corner. It’d be so rad to have a sequel to this in a similar style. The puzzles were really cool and the story was just perfectly whimsical.

Looking forward to experiencing this again in class!

See y’all then.

–Masooch

vii. I am Late and This is a Storyboard(?)

Hello! Happy Election Day! I am very late with this “storyboard” of sorts and I apologize. It’s been A Rough Few Days, haha.

Here’s the gist of what I have so far.

45563367_267998697097487_4230651307498668032_n

I know I’d definitely like to hint at stories/story ideas that I’ve come up with in the past. And it’d be really cool to “break the fourth wall” and put bits about myself in there, as well. Ha, maybe that could kinda be like the “credits” of the whole piece in a way, while still being a part of the story.

On Dark, Dark Nights is a children’s book I wrote earlier in the semester, and I feel like it would be a good, simple starting point for the story to branch off of.

It’d be really cool to compose my own little tunes for it. Not sure I’ll have the time, but I’m pretty adept at Musescore, so I could probably whip something and it wouldn’t take too long.

Well, until the perfectionism sets in and I’m up at 4 am editing a melody for panel 236.

Haaaaaaa. Can’t wAIT.

Regarding the drawings, I feel like whatever character is “You”/the main character would be whose eyes the reader sees through at the time. Hence the change in color schemes and such. I have an alright tablet at home so… hopefully for the plots closest to the central plot (Baby Owl’s storyline) I’ll be able to do simpler drawings. It’d be cool to get more complex the further from that storyline the reader goes, until you see the actual pictures taken for the “author” storyline (aka mine).

This.

Sounds complex.

And a mess.

Welp, I’m nothing if not ambitious. Let’s see how it goes.

It’s a good thing I have the main plot done already, haaaaaaa.

(Apologies for not giving examples of what the art would look like… I’ll see if I can draw some stuff in the upcoming weeks.)

OKIE DOKIE. REMEMBER TO GO VOTE, FRIENDS.

–Masooch