Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Home is where the heart is?

I've been thinking about Home a lot. My personal living arrangements are in flux for one thing. My characters have no idea where they live for another.

Is where you live home? Not for Alex. The son of a diplomat he's grown up all over the world. As an adult, he has a home base but lives out of suitcases and backpacks as he travels the world chasing one extreme adventure after another.

Nea was booted out of her mother's home when she was young. Her father took her in, but as a weather demon, had no fixed address. They went wherever his mood took them. As an adult, her vagabond existence never changed.

I couldn't set the story all over the place. For various plot and health reasons, Alex needs to be grounded in one spot. It's driving him crazy. I was nice enough to put him into a converted version of the old Toronto Power Generating Station at the top of Niagara Falls.

The inside is even more spectacular. Whenever I get stuck, I can drive over there and look at Alex's view. The building is perched right on the edge of the Niagara River, close enough to drop a kayak into the water. The roar of the Falls fills him with despair.

Nea grew up for a few short years inside a fairy forest. As soon as I saw this picture, I knew she longed to return here among the moss. Secretly and so deep down inside her consciousness that even she doesn't know she longs. The scene of a traumatic life defining moment, it holds great power over her. But it's not home. She has no place she considers Home.

Neither does Alex.

And neither one of them seem to be attached to any one place over another - despite her secret longing and his determination to return to Belize. They are children of the earth. The whole world is their home. With neither one of them knowing where - or who - their heart is, they are destined to wander.

Eventually they will make a home together. Likely some time in the future after the story is told. And that home will probably be wherever their suitcases and backpacks fit. Neither one of them would be happy settled in one spot. There home base will be determined by convenience not comfort, nor familial ties. Bits and pieces of their hearts are scattered throughout the world. Together they will gather them up and reform their own definitions of heart and home.

I took the photo of Alex's home, Nea's is courtesy of Bryan J Weitzel at

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

And the winner is....

...Curculio Elephas

A gift from Nea's demon father when she was a child. She thought the little grub was Clio.
She had to feed Clio. And all of Clio's 45 brothers and sisters. They destroyed an already weakened stand of Spanish Chestnut trees. Nea got in BIG TROUBLE for this. Trouble from which she has never bothered to extricate herself. The entemology may be a little skewed for the botany but it's fiction. I get a little artistic licence, right?

You get two points if you know where the name Clio came from. Another two points for guessing which insect is the curculio elephas.

That's right. It was the Chestnut Weevil (sorry guys, the nose convinced me)

Saturday, January 13, 2007


I'm trying to decide which insect Nea would have as a pet. I haven't figured out all the reasons she has one but I saw it on her shoulder, looking somewhat like a brooch pin. It's her reminder of a life-changing incident that set her on the demonic path. But I don't want it to be an insect that comes with a public preconception. I don't want it to be ugly or icky. I've narrowed it down to the Japanese Beetle

which is partly responsible for the decimation of the American Chestnut, looks good as a brooch and doesn't send me screaming into the night. I like the way the carapace shimmers and I think I could do a lot with it.

Then there's this guy - the Chestnut Weevil. I like his proboscis(nose). It's almost cute. He'll blend in with her clothes, hair and other surroundings

There are pros and cons for both. Which one has a higher ick factor for you? I'm not sure that's what I'm going for but I'm going to give this some consideration. Everything has to serve more than one purpose in a scene, chapter, story. Does he have a name? Yikes, he'll have to arc too.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Perceptions revisited

I know I talked about this before but I've been struggling with all the tell notes I have for this story with no idea how to show this stuff. Until I made the connection between an interesting thing that happened yesterday.

I applied for a car loan. I'm now making more than double what I brought home for most of my working life. So when I told the guy doing the application what my salary was, I glowed with pride. He questioned the figure repeatedly. I glowed more. Isn't it amazng that I make that much money? Apparently, it's not that much. He makes more than that in a day. Nice life. I suppose his reaction should have diminished my pride and self-worth but it didn't. I still appreciate how far I've come financially, even if it's not up to his standards. It's up to mine.

And that's when it occurred to me that my hero cannot possibly comprehend my demon's issues. He grew up in a family that accepts and loves him for who he is, warts and all. He's laid-back, easy-going and well-liked. Hate, self-loathing and abject terror are completely outside his frame of reference. Just as the opposite is outside of hers. Beacuse they view life from opposite sides of the coin, at some point one of them is going to have to experience what the other one does. For them to come together as a couple,they're both going to learn how the other half lives.

I have a nifty little graph in my head that illustrates that. It looks a lot like the acceptance stamp on my car loan. Not really but I had no idea how else to tie the two back together. Frame of reference, people.