the project, but mostly the subcontent

so the narrative includes sex. yes, sex. we’ve all had it. get over yourself. its a love story. peole in love have sex. people in like have sex. people that dont even really like each other good, have sex. and theres no gratuitous, sex for sex sake sex involved.  its not erotica. 

people have already asked me if the story includes any real life experiences.  well, i live a real life, so i guess it does to some degree. but, you don’t have to kill someone to write a murder mystery. and you dont have to be an astronaut to write about outer-space. 

with that being said, enjoy the beauty and sensuality of this photograph and the total recall that probably comes with it. 

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the project, but mostly mad editing, son.

i’ve gotten through the initial editing process with my editor. God love her.  she trudged through my incessant wordy rants. she restructured my backwards ass sentences. if she were to read any of this blog, it would probably drive her to drink. again, i have no english degree. i dont know what the hell i’m doing. i’m just telling a story. so, kudos to her.  now the next round of editing should be a breeze. it’s just basically combing over the already cleaned up work. i hope.

as i stated before, the narrative is laced with caribbean and new york slang.  caribbean patois is absolutely backwards in comparison to american english. new york ebonics, if that term isn’t obsolete, makes no sense to the untrained ear.  they’re both forms of yoda speak. my editor is based out of florida if, im not mistaken. needless to say there were terms that she was unfamiliar with.  i reference “playing mas” in the project.  she was unfamiliar with that term and it caused me to doubt myself. i knew thats what it was called but i hesitated to keep it and i faltered with the definition when trying to explain it to her. i never realized how regional language and dialect could be.

 

 

 

 

 

the project, but mostly the editing. 

so the editing has begun. so far, so good. i like to read and i like to write. but, i have no english degree. have no real idea what im doing. its just words falling out of my head on to the screen. with that being said, im wordy as fuck. the editor, not even halfway through, has commented on my wordiness several times. why? why do i need so many words in a sentence? words on words on words. 

the project, but mostly the next one.

i think i’m supposed to be working on my next project. fuck that shit. this was such a long and arduous process and it isnt even over yet.

i know i have a prequel and a sequel in me. at least the seeds for them. but i don’t know if i can go through the whole kit and kaboodle again. it may be a one and done deal. or maybe i’m just tired. and hungry. and havent had coffee.

i’ll revisit this idea another time, after a nap, food and caffeine.

the project, but mostly the content. 

i dont know if constantly referring to the work as “the project” gives it a serious tone. there are serious parts of the narrative. however, the overall tone of the book in my opinion is: semi-ridiculous lighthearted mess. especially in the way the characters communicate with each other. i’d like to think the dialogue has some wit to it. the dialogue is sprinkled with ebonics (if that term isn’t obsolete) and Caribbean patois. NYC slang and west indian dialect. if that doesnt make for amusement, im not sure what will in this story. along with incidental awkward situations and a little maladjusted behavior, i dont know what more you could ask for in an urban love story. 

the project, but mostly the characters.

i like to think i conjured up the characters out of doublemint gum, coffee sips and pepperoni pizza – three of my favorite things.  i thought it would be difficult writing from a male point of view but i actually had a harder time writing for his love interest. also difficult was writing from a millennial’s perspective.  i rag on millennials a lot but the ones i’ve encountered are a special brand of people. they have the world literally at their fingertips, in their phones.   there’s nothing that they can’t google, youtube, or ask siri. so in that respect they’re hella resourceful.  but because they can find out anything as quickly as google returns it’s search results, they have an exaggerated sense of entitlement.  the world is not google or siri or echo.  the world makes you wait sometimes.  the world does you dirty sometimes.  only the living of life will teach you that. the characters in the project discover this early on. and in spite of living in a world of instant gratification, what they’ve experienced shapes the way they view the world and each other.

the project, but mostly the genre. 

so as i said before its an urban love story. urban in that it takes place in the hood. but its not a hood story per se. it doesnt have the heavy crime/violence/sex components. theres tiny crime, a lil roughing up and the sex is mostly assumed. but dont let that stop you from reading it. its good stuff. 

in terms of being a love story, theres love but its not romance. its not sweep you off your feet, barechested stable boy romance. theres romance involved but normal romance. what normal humans beings believe is romantic. 

its a story but its broken into scenes. not even chapters. i dont know how to construct a chapter. i dont know that this story requires that kind of structure. in each scene the characters interact and you get to see what had happened. in my mind its episodic. fast forward through the commercials, enjoy. 

the project, but mostly the process. 

i took so effing long to get this thing out. in 2009 i got the bright idea that i would write a book. the concept knocked about in my head for a couple months. i told hubs and he bought me a new laptop and ink for the printer. i maybe cranked out about 8k words. couldnt tell me nothing. then i stopped. no good reason. i revisited  the project several times up until 2015. i decided 2015 was the year i would do it. go hard or go home. i was working a lame job that allowed me time and space to write and i took advantage of it. on new years eve i completed my first draft. whuuuuut? it was party time. again, i could not be told anything. left the project for a couple months. came back with fresh eyes and upon reading the first couple of chapters, immediately became depressed. this is trash. who wrote this? trudged through the first set of revisions heavy hearted and doubtful. i’d been force feeding snippets to a handful of friends. thank God for them, they were insightful and objective and that proved helpful. after the first round of revisions, i stepped away again. fuck this shit. hubs would ask me about the project and i would immediately cop an attitude. finally handed the full manuscript to my beta reader. i’ve read on the innanets that the beta reader should be some jerk that doesnt give two shits about you. why would i do that? my beta reader is an avid reader of the genre and other genres as well. she’s the readingest person i know. in addition to that, she is familiar with my train of thought and how i communicate. so her input, suggestions and questions spoke to me and also to the project. so shout to her, the project’s godmother. after her read through, i went back in again and revised. once again, i stepped away. i couldnt keep on with these people, places and scenarios. i grew tired of them as i do with everything and everybody. i threatened to backspace the whole god damn thing away.  but like an irrationally gullible and optimistic babymother, i returned to the project once again. i vowed this would be the last time. after that round of revisions, i painstakingly set out to find an editor. i almost went the route of just asking a smarty pants friend to do the edits. but i decided to not take the shortcut through the back alley of the bodega. i didnt want to regret not believing in myself enough or believing in the project enough to have it professionally looked at. i released the manuscript and a particularly large amount of money to do what i’d done three times already to the editor. its as if my baby is at the daycare or babysitter’s. while im happy for the time away from the lil monster, i cant wait to have it in my hands again. im sure i’ll feel differently once the editor slips me the first set of edits.  

the project, but mostly the setting. 

so i keep calling it a project because referring to it as a book is too much for me. a book is like, a thing. its kinda heavy. its a big deal. bad enough im identifying as an author. thats me putting my romans 4:17 to work. because otherwise i would feel no sense of obligation to live up to the the title.

the project is an urban love story of sorts. two people meet, fool up, get in their own way and decide whether or not they want to love each other. familiar route for many. and then of course, there’s the baggage. good stuff.

the story is set in my hometown of far rockaway, new york.  far rockaway is a weird place for several reasons. i’ll just say because its a retired summer resort beach town turned ghetto sand box. its a neighborhood anchored by housing projects and nursing homes. it also hosts the obligatory stock of dollar/discount stores, fast food restaurants and liquor stores that most underserved, densely populated urban areas can count on.

one caveat that comes to mind when i think about far rockaway is the fact that its the last stop on every mode of transportation that services the area. or maybe its the first stop if you want to be optimistic. but if you’re from the area, the concept of the long ride home or paranoia of missing the last scheduled bus/train are staples of your commute worries. if you’re from the area, you’re not that optimistic about commuting.

i had a great time growing up there. great friends, experiences and memories. yes, crime, violence and drugs but that was mostly background music. i moved away and returned there hoping that i would experience the rebirth of the neighborhood. i didnt. i lived there until recently before giving up and moving to the suburbs.

the recently rediscovered area has been going steady with the infamous twins: revitilization & gentrification. their prom night antics will most likely result in the birth of a starbucks.
an imagined new and improved far rockaway, the one that i hoped to experience, is the backdrop to my project.   my characters, urban semi-professional millennials of color, exist in a blend of authentic far rock and unicorn rainbow far rock. trendy shops, night life, young entreprenuership, promotion of the cultural arts – components of the neighborhood that i never got to experience.

i’ve had people physically take a step back when i tell them where i’m from. people who up until that point most likely regarded me as a quiet square who minded her business, which is true. my defense was that its a hood like any other hood. the response on several occasions was a slow head shake followed by a “naaahh”. while the neighborhood is far from perfect, it is burdened with dangerous and ugly assumptions about a particular demographic. but what else is new about the ghetto?

with the exception of hannah weyer’s on the come up, i havent come across another book set in far rockaway.  woody allen’s film, radio days, featured far rockaway and rockaway beach but it was about the jewish experience in the 30’s. and woody is a creep. so here i am with my project, hoping to pay just a little homage to the place that raised me.

far rock, stand up.

the project. 

you know when you have a terrible cold with chest congestion? like, when your chest is LOCKED with phlegm? and only time and hardcore decongestant will unlock the mucus? and you cough and cough and cough and your chest rattles? and the phlegm knocks around in there like one of those handheld pinball party favor games? and finally, God finally, it becomes loose enough for you to give it your best hack?  and with all your might and being you go for it. and you physically feel the phlegm break up inside? and it makes its way up from your chest, shoots up your throat and out your mouth? and it’s an other-worldly shade of mustard green? and you look at it floating in the toilet like, ohhh you motherfucker. i prayed for the day i would see your realization outside of myself. and you’re finally able to inhale deeply sans the mucus headlock that disrespected your bronchial tubes? 

that’s what i did, i coughed up a book. 

scenes from a chocolate solstice, 2017.