Saturday, June 29, 2013

Query letter for I'd Go Anywhere With You Wow, from start to submission in one month!

What a month. The desire to write a novel became a submitted manuscript in one month's time.
Will it sell? Out of my hands, for now. But this book was so deeply meaningful to me, to us, at this point in our lives. It was so funny, and wonderful to revisit pivotal (and sometimes long-gone) people in my life and draw upon experiences at the origin point of our love. Finishing this process, so decisively, has opened a new era, come what may.

So here's my query:

What's more exciting than to step out into the world of your own decisions, seeking the freedom of your spirit, with the person with whom you've just fallen in love?

Attempts at love and finding herself have left Gina Archer heart-broken. She works hard for her family, without a vision or inspiration, searching for love set aside.

Lewis King isn't seeking love, either. He wants his life to be a romance, to start a musical career in a mountain town three thousand miles away. He's only begun to understand and truly love himself, when out of friendship, he shares this with his new friend, Gina, who has anorexia and depression.

Their attraction pulls them together at dizzying speed, across a few humorous, romantically-detailed occasions. Six days after their first kiss, she agrees to join his vagabond path. The next day, as they make love, they agree to bind their lives.

As she uses his attentions to rebuild her self-concept, they surprise both families with a quick wedding announcement. Amid the discoveries of love, she's attacked by his unstable sister, with whom he lives. Her quick thinking saves them from a car accident as well.

The pair have an unconventional wedding, then decide to pursue their dream in the middle of their honeymoon and not return. They commemorate their arrival at their destination with a tattoo.

What will they do, however, when Gina becomes mysteriously ill? What will they do for their friend Von, who tries to avoid returning to his homeland? What dark secret will they discover on Lavender Mountain, where her secure life first began to fall apart?

Choosing your own way in life, at odds with tradition, is never easy. It can inspire love, and by happenstance, challenge it with instability. In this 74,000 word manuscript, working class young people overcome difficulties within the self, and two new best friends amorously, bravely face the world together, discovering the bonds of true love.
Join me, won't you? I hope you'll be drawn to the goodness of these hearts, and care about the trials and sweet moments as they heal their souls and find completeness, on the edge of lifelong dreams. I humbly promise, the freshness of discovering love and individuality will reward your patience, with the truth in their story.

With warm regard,

Cecil and Angela Disharoon
Encl.: synopsis, full manuscript

I'm converting my short story collection into a full novel, too: one story with sixteen stories told inside, by three characters. That's mostly last year's work. That one meant a lot to us, too. Life changed while the last story was being written, and I had to wrap my imagination around a very different way of thinking. The best novel I can tell from that is nearly done, as I revise Kat's Electric Thieves. Tenth Street Publishing in Australia was the first to show interest, but I'm going to keep trying, too.

But hey! We did it!

Friday, June 28, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You: Let's Do It ON the Road

Somewhere in Kansas, since she felt better, Lewis offered to find a park and pitch a tent for the night. It did sound fun, but even though they found a lake, they weren’t sure where to pay. It was already dark when they finally picked a spot on the open plain, and they struggled to get the tent up together. An hour later they had all the pegs nailed in and the middle properly supported, so they loaded a few things in, then picked up some wienies to roast at a general store. Afterwards he played harmonica while the cool wind picked up across the lake, while she tried her hand at toasting marshmallows.
When they finally settled down for the night, Gina was feeling playful. She climbed on top of her man in the dark, then leaned in for his neck. As she lightly dug her teeth in, as he had done a few times himself to her, he suddenly yelped.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, concerned. He just started laughing.

“Oh, my gosh,” he said between breaths. “Baby, this is so stupid. I started thinking that this is the perfect place to kill me with no one knowing, and that you were a vampire preparing to drink my blood.”
It was the hardest she had laughed since the intern uncovered her.
The wind got the better of their tent, which they tried one time to salvage, sleepily. By morning light, the entire thing had collapsed snugly on top of them. So much as for camping out.

“Heart Shaped Box” actually came on the radio as they crossed a bridge to a small town in Missouri. It was the first fun they had had in the past hour, as every road seemed to take them further away from the highway. When they turned down a muddy fire road, Lewis finally stopped, evaluating the map dizzily. He spied a bicyclist coming their way, and decided to try escaping futility by asking.
The mountain biker was an American Thai girl who had trained with the Girl Scouts overseas. “Of course, a lot of what
I learned over there doesn’t really apply over here,” she said, “but if you need a knot!”

“I’m Lewis, and this is Gina,” he said, shaking hands.

“Well, I write reviews for classical music, so more people call me ‘the Opera Smorg’ than anything else!” said the Smorg.

She encouraged them to check their fluids and tires while stopped. She gave them good directions and even recommended the best gas and garage as well as a place with delicious Pho, then another with barbecue complete with JB & B’s sauce. She happily explained she was on a sixty mile course for the day. “I’m usually more wary with people in cars from out of state, but you felt safe,” she explained.

“Oh, I have my kidnap victim quota for this trip already,” Lewis joked, hugging Gina.

“He even got me to marry him,” she said, playing along. The Smorg congratulated them.
Their Pho experience took care of the late lunch; it was a real surprise to find such cuisine in Missouri. They picked up a bit of the ‘cue for the road, and were licking it off their fingers in a tiny town in Arkansas when they stopped to call Von, who invited them to crash in Birmingham.

They availed themselves of Troy’s road treat while they stood on a corner in downtown at eight o’clock at night, unnoticed. They gave in to an urge to try a malt on their way out of town, as an entire busload of high school kids packed the place immediately afterwards. As they cruised the back roads, “Show Me the Way” and “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton came on the radio. With only the stars of Middle America and the endless trees and road as their companions, they held hands and told each other how much they loved one another. The highway picked up with interstate, leading them to a cozy hotel with a hilarious, furiously vibrating bed, which barely stayed in place as it rattled for seven minutes. It was their first real bed now in almost a month. They put it to good use.

Late the next night, an attempt to break the boredom had led Gina to some frisky behavior, which she thought made a great tease for their eventual stop. Her passenger side show got a vigorous honk from a passing truck, much to their delight. Lewis had been looking for a way out of the dejection that haunted their trip back, complete with road fatigue. Their flirtation led him to drop a suggestion, as he pulled off the interstate to wind his way into a rural neighborhood.
“What are we doing out here?” she asked her husband.

“Making love in the front yard,” he said, “if you are up to it?”

“Sweetie! Naughty!” she said, wagging a finger. “Dirty Boy, that’s what we have hotels for.”
“Oh, I know, but we really haven’t found anything else that grabbed us on the way, and I would love to do something to make our last time alone---for now---memorable. C’mon…when will I ask again?”

“I’m sure I’ll find out,” she teased, as he took her lack of protest as acquiescence. Lights out, they rolled up into a long driveway, and took out a blanket beneath the stars. Their newly-found passion still had all the appeal of a shiny new toy. Soon he was kissing her deeply on the blanket.

“I don’t mean to rush you,” she said, taking off her top, “but I’m pretty sure I should!”

“All ready here,” he said, unbuttoning his jeans on her, the ones she had adopted after they awakened in Nashville. He kissed her neck urgently, and ran his fingers down over her belly and waist. He flung off his sneakers, carried away with the gesture. Her breathing pressed every button necessary. There was little need to wait.
A large dog began baying, from somewhere deep in the darkness. He continued with her, as the dog’s alarm became louder. A second dog joined in, and soon, there went the neighborhood!
She cried out in pleasure beneath the night sky. The sound of the dog got closer.

“Was that light on?” he asked, looking at the faint glow by a sliding window door.

“If you have to ask,” she said, reaching for her underwear.

“Okay, that dog is definitely coming across the yard,” he said, leaping to his sock feet. Without dressing, she scooped up everything else. He helped her gather the blanket and a shoe. Like a shot, they sped back to the open door of the Corolla.

The keys were still in the ignition, which hit off quickly. The dog, sure enough, was beside the car, fit to be tied. Without turning on the lights, Lewis backed up the driveway and out onto the road.

Their chests heaved from the delirious double duty. What a strange visitation, for those people. Would they realize?
As he flicked on the lights, Gina’s eyes grew huge and she asked him, laughing:

“Baby? Did you just leave a shoe in their yard?”

“Uhm…I guess I did, if it’s not in the back floor board!” he said. “Man. Good thing that’s an old pair. He was slipping back into his pants, shirtless, while trying to drive to the interstate.

“You have spares, and your hiking boots, at least!”
“Looks like somebody’s dog,” he said, “just got a new chew toy!”

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You: Reminiscing at the Awful Waffle

Chapter Seventeen

Lewis and Gina awakened after a quick nap. He felt a little bad about not re-joining the party.

“Believe me,” said Gina, “no one expects you to…no hard feelings!”
They met his dear friend Chris at the Waffle House later for warm congratulations. He explained how he’d called out from work and gotten a replacement for his shift, then spent the next four hours trying to get to the wedding on time.
It wasn’t much time to get to know the bride, but Chris felt a genuineness about her. She was bright, too, and the three had many a good laugh. Their party felt very natural with Gina along.

“Remember my friend, Von Balasuriya?” asked Lewis. “He called to congratulate us. I don’t even know how he found out! Maybe my sister.”

“My friends LOVED that guy when he visited me,” said Chris. “He almost kept up with me, partying!”
“As you can see, the new member of the band is very cool,” he said, hugging Gina. “So the days of road trips needn’t end!”

“Great! You know Baby Aries is always up for a new journey.”

“I can guarantee,” Lewis replied, tongue-in-cheek, “next time I’m asleep on the passenger side, I won’t wake up from an Amaretto-induced nap yelling while you’re passing an eighteen wheeler in the rain!”

“Dang it!” said Chris, laughing. “I thought we were dead. It’s maybe the one time I thought of killing you myself!”

“Since I got to legal age, I’ve hardly drank anymore,” said Lewis. “I’ve had like, four beers! But we had some fun in those days. Oh!” he said, turning to Gina, “this was when he visited me at college and drove me home for the holidays. Poor guy. One of a few idiot things I’ve done.”

“You didn’t mean to,” Chris replied. “But if you do it again, I’ll open the door and let you out, no matter how fast we’re going! Ah, that was the year of the Christmas Adam party, complete with streakers and that amazing hunch punch you made that got Heather and Ed dancing in handcuffs.”

“Now this boy and I,” Lewis said with a pat, ”used to take home leftover fried chicken wings and go cruising til all hours. One call and they never gave me any hassle about spending the night. His Mom loves me. Mom and Dad never gave me any trouble over hanging out with Chris. We never hurt anybody. I don’t think they knew about the sign changing, though.”

The guys burst out laughing.

“Don’t get me wrong,” said Lewis. “He and I had so many thought provoking conversations, about being yourself, finding your own way. Maybe I was too hard on the society around me; I just found it frustrating that people couldn’t raise the level of discourse.

“But dining roo og made it all better,” said Painter. “Our manager Johnny sounded so perfectly confused when he found what I’d left of the ‘dining room’ and ‘to go’ sign!”

“Yeah, I’ve got to catch her up on all those exploits,” said Lewis. “But maybe it all started the night I stayed over and messed with your Mom’s message board on the fridge.”

“Feed Michael to the Cats!” Painter said with a guffaw. “Spade Weldon!”

“That’s Chris’ brother and his now-step dad, by the way,” said Lewis.

“Look, those two are getting married this spring, themselves!” said Chris. “They’re going to have it out at his new house on the golf course on highway twenty seven. The sixth hole is actually their backyard, basically!”

“I don’t know when we’re leaving to stay,” said Lewis, “but if we’re in town, you know we’ll be there!”


“I meant to ask,” said Lewis, in one of the lingering interruptions. “You like that Joni Mitchell I loaned you?”

“Oh, yeah!” said Chris. “You know me. Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, all that, forever! Anything from my Mom’s era. I listen to that album at night, before I go to sleep!”

“It’s ‘Green,’ just like my first R.E.M. album---you know the one with ‘World Leader Pretend’ and ‘Inside Out’?” said Lewis to Gina.

“It didn’t have ‘Losing My Religion,’ did it?” she queried. “My Mom loves that song. She used to sing along with that video every time it came on! She calls it ‘the Losing My Religion song.’ It’s too funny listening to her sing it, because she’s kind of tone deaf!”

“She probably grew up with that expression, too,” said Lewis. He wondered what significance it carried for a former minister’s wife. Then again, it had a nifty mandolin and a haunting use of d minor, set to a cool rhythm. Maybe that was the appeal!

“Nah, that one’s on the next record, ‘Out of Time.’”

“My brother had them all, I think!” said Gina. “His band used to play a cover of ‘Superman.’ They borrowed my dad and uncle’s equipment and jammed out in the garage!”

“Ooo, I know that one!” beamed Painter. “I am, I am, I am Supermaaan…”
Everyone sang along. “And I can do anyyy-thing!”

“The smash hit off ‘Green’ was ‘Stand’ actually,” said Lewis. Painter and Gina did an imitation of the facing directions dance from that video next.

“Haha, the ‘Green’ I’m talking about is Joni Mitchell’s. You know ‘Wish I Had a River’?”

“Oh, yah!” she said sparkily. “The Indigo Girls did a cover of that!” She sang a little part of it, beautifully.

“Yah, thanks for that one,” said Painter. “Seriously, I was sleeping to it every night.”

“I liked sleeping to that one, too,” said Lewis, warmly. “I like that song ‘Carey’ too, but it’s mostly a dreamy kind of record. I just knew when I got back from Colorado, I wanted to hear all the great song writers, so I bought Carol King, Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Beatles…a lot of stuff I already liked, but I really tried to absorb them. And now, I play guitar…sorta!”

“I used to sing in the chorale,” said Chris. “I only do it as a goof now!”

“What, sing in the chorale?” said Gina, jokingly. “I did that in high school, too. We did this chorale version of ‘Great Balls O’Fire’ that was like, totally NOT what Jerry Lee Lewis intended!”

When she mentioned the school production of Grease, Painter flipped. It was without question his favorite movie of all time. Sometimes Lewis wondered if Chris wouldn’t be perfectly happy diving head first into the screen while “American Graffiti” played, straight into his own ’57 Chevy.

Gina gave Chris Painter a hug before he finally got on the road. They told each other goodbye three times, and took half an hour to break up the party. As always.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The value of attention and compliments

Compliments you've earned just may mean more to you than ones you did nothing for. (That's why they call it cheap flattery.) Oh, some people eat up compliments for things that have nothing to do with any effort of their own. We all prefer compliments to insults, generally, though between friends, a witty insult can be a bigger boost than a compliment from a more anonymous source. It's a compliment for some investment of time and effort that seems most earned. It may be flattering if someone likes our taste in clothes or cars or what we had for dinner---if we built significant parts of those clothes, cars, or dinner, it will mean more. I think that has to do with the connection of our private time and concentration, part of our integrity, being recognized by someone who appreciates what went into the effort.

Compliments for things we haven't really done can be a boost to the ego, but really, unless a person's absolutely deluded, those compliments won't matter as much as something about the genuine substance of the person's will and efforts. I've found out the hard way, compliments for something a person only pretended to do just empower them for the moment, but don't build anything lasting.

Attention's often given for purely self-serving reasons; that's part of human nature. Maybe we should have something of value we gain for the attention we give a person, depending on the substance of our self-worth and its makeup.

Some people do just want positive attention, which can come from any source whatsoever, and they know how to cue that attention from others, to prime the pump, if you will. But that has to do with a more narcissistic form of self-love.

Compliments and attention given to liars will seem more hollow to the liar, because they think everyone else is lying, too. A liar may feel good about a compliment, but if they know what you are praising them for is lies---what does that really mean? You will be disposed of as soon as you run out of praises and flattery. The value of ongoing friendships and relationships is another great reason to be truthful: for what you value in yourself, and for what you value in others. A liar really only has his or her self to love, and that's really a pretty shoddy and not overly-nourishing kind of love, because it doesn't build upon one's integrity. It doesn't give them energy that they can share readily with others, though sometimes any person will take the good feeling they get from others and spend it on whomever they wish, any way they like, whether it's through dissipation or in a more holistic circuit. You may be investing love and energy into someone just so they can go party it away with strange faces with no similar investment in the person. That's what I mean by dissipation. When you nourish a person who gives to other people so they might grow and give to others, I consider that a more holistic cause. It becomes more of a circuit when it somehow comes back to you. This is why everyone's worth something, but some people SEEM worthless or a waste of time. The judgement of those things will tie directly into your own self-worth, and your resources. Most people have a mixture of genuine efforts and lies, but you will note, upon comparison, the effect of this discernment.

When the attention of a given person is important to you---when their compliments mean something to you that is not forgettable, that you can thread through your memories and meanings that you rely upon for your inner life---that's part of a higher form of love. Attention from a person you love, or that you want to love you, will always be more special to you, because it's less transient. It's not just a passing bit of energy, but a part of your continuity, part of your ongoing self-concept that underlies your day-to-day life. A compliment from someone with whom you feel a lasting connection will always go into a store house of energy, if you will but tap into it, rather than frustrate over the futility of something you perceive as less successful, in the short term, or the futility of failing to see anything accumulate in your efforts. That way lies self-pity!

You may draw energy from the awareness that you have a talent that draws compliments sometimes, and may remember specific ones out of gratitude for that person's attention. Gratitude for the energies given to you leads to a lot more happiness and lifts you out of a lot of the conflicts that people have, just for the sake of getting energy or purpose.

The attention and compliments of a person you value---a person you cherish as part of your very own identity and existence---will always mean the most. It's gratitude that converts any of these attempts to award you personal value into useful energy that will empower you, energy that can actually be shared with others, too.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You : What is it, to love?

From chapter eighteen

They were sleeping under the overpass along highway seventy when a tap came at the front window. A friendly highway patrolman was checking out the vehicle. He also made sure its inhabitants hadn’t gotten stranded or frozen to death. They actually didn’t mind the intrusion, since they understood its intentions. “It’s good to know the Kansas Highway Patrol won’t let people freeze to death,” Lewis chuckled to the officer. They decided to pick up with the daylight and move on.

“Do you think,” he mused, after half an hour of silence, “that if you really loved someone, or think you loved someone, that in a way, you always do?”

“Well, it’s not like being ‘in love’ with that person always,” said Gina, “since they have to love you back. But that’s a thing about love, itself. When your heart is full of love, and you don’t cloud your thinking with negativity, you can love your memories. Maybe you always love the spirit of the person, if that’s what you mean.”
“Yes,” he replied, “like some kind of …connection? Maybe just, some kind of emotion, endures. It just might not be the one you focus on as much, if the person’s gone from your life.”

“I never loved anyone, romantically, as I do you,” she said.

“I never loved anyone else as much as I love you,” he said. “it’s like, the way I loved anyone up until you came into my life…if you took all those loves combined, that’s more like how I feel about you. Maybe, every way I ever loved anyone, all those ways, I love you, too.”

“I never fell in love with anyone before you,” she said. “I tried. I wanted it to happen. I opened myself to let it happen. But I never loved anyone, besides my family and friends, the way I love them, as I love you.”

“I used to tell girls I loved them,” he said, brightening his lights. “I thought I really did. I always had so much further to go, as a person. I’m sure, in ways I don’t even guess, I still do! I at least meant to love them. I loved falling in love. I loved trying to put another person’s happiness first. I will still be trying to do that one. You made it so easy, honey.”

“As do you. Maybe you loved your love of them?”

“Maybe that is what was. A kind of love of self, an affection for one’s own emotions, for that opening, for that ability to center one’s thoughts on a person.”

“That could also qualify as infatuation.”

“I just know that love is about what you give of yourself, as well as what you feel for a person.”

“Were you thinking about Cheryl?”

“You can see right through me! I was broadening it to mean anyone, but yes, she crossed my mind. I guess, in the end, even if she turned away from me---even if it never meant to her what I thought it meant to me---my thoughts of her are still affectionate. But she hasn’t reached back to me in a very long time. I had to learn to love myself, that part of me that always tried to reach out to another person. I had to keep it for myself, like a witness, like enjoying my own company in a way I never had.”

“Well, when you let someone into that deep inner peace, you’re trying to love them as you do yourself.”

“I don’t know how often I really had that inner peace before. Maybe from music and when reading, and if I ever sat down to write. But I never did much with it before. I never used it to make things I could share with others---unless you count homework or something.”

“If all you love is yourself, and you don’t understand how anyone else really feels---if you can’t grasp their pain---then maybe you don’t love yourself, the part of you that loves, like you should. And you can never really be good for anyone else. Maybe you even sell your own love short, if you won’t let yourself open up that way. When we see ourselves through another’s love” said Gina, “we become aware of ourselves. What we gain from seeing our love affect another person’s life, I think, is another special dimension of being alive. It’s where we grow.”
“Yeah,” he responded. “We are still doing something that increases love, that spreads a new experience. It’s not exactly selfish, but it does something for ourselves that we could never know, without giving that love away.”

“That’s where trust comes in,” said Gina. “That’s where we give something of ourselves away, something that at the time we can’t really do without, but we give it, because we care that the other person has it.”

“But we give it anyway,” he said, “not because we know it will come back, but because it is our nature. If we give it to someone who doesn’t love us the same way back, or even at all, we will miss it terribly. But we can’t regret it. We’re trying to make the world a better place, and life, less lonely.”

“If it makes us appreciate our lives more deeply, in the long run,” she said, “we can’t feel bad about it, like if we had spread hatred, or felt indifference. Though if we are giving away our love in the wrong direction, no matter how sincerely…we may need a kind of indifference.”

“I’m glad I can tell you this,” he said. “It might seem wrong to feel anything, for anyone else. But it’s more a part of the way I think of her---or anyone---and it’s part of why my actions to you can be loving.”

“Sometimes anger or hatred towards another person has a way of following us home,” she agreed, “and it’s always a part of the inner life we choose to build. We make the world of our mind.”

“I think it really helps you accept the present, to see it creatively,” he said. “It makes your mind a place of nurture and insight. It strengthens you to think for yourself, rather than just trying to fit in without ever knowing what you are about. It makes personal bonds, deeper. It’s easier to get swept up in the indifference others feel, or even how clueless they may be in their concern for their own life, or their own ability to love.”

“It gives you something personal that you can’t buy,” she said. “And those are the things I live for, more than anything else.”
“I live to experience life, to have a unique presence in the passing days, and to see what others dream about, and to have a dream I can share with people I sometimes don’t even know.”
“Those are wonderful things,” she said. “And I live to love you. And maybe, to love more one day.”
“It doesn’t seem like there could be more love than what we feel now,” he said. “But if there is, we will find it. We will find it in the way we share it. I wonder how much of this feeling we already share with others, and how personally we may love anyone else, someday.

It’s our little piece of Eternity, that makes pain and suffering and death okay…that makes them not too much to bear, to replace fear with perception. The world is troubled, but all we have has come to be, from love, nurturing, and processes. No matter how miserable we feel, we were given some kind of love to bring us this far.”
He took her hand. “And how ever far we go? I live to love you, too.”

Friday, June 21, 2013

The risk of self-expression: why is it so hard for some, so necessary for culture itself?

Our bright friend Shadi just asked me, personally: why is so difficult for some people to express their true feelings? Did I have any opinions on the matter? She loves to induce these universal themes into rare occasions we can correspond in depth.

Mmm, I have a lot of thoughts on the difficulty of true expression. For one, I think some do not turn to truth in their attempted relations with people. For another, I find the absorption with emotional states is considered impractical by some, and will admit that a troubled state can leave a person more vulnerable than is comfortable in interacting with most people. I think people fear being left at the mercy of another, who may damage them deeply if they cannot be trusted with your absolute, deep investment. Ridicule, a sense of betrayal upon being misunderstood, and previous conditioning absorbed at a passive level all contribute to a person's reticence at being vulnerable. Make no mistake, tremendous hurt is possible, particularly if it's from a person who has involved your deep infatuation with a radical departure from the way of life you've known. A selfish person who has faked his or her way into those deep imaginative and emotional recesses might, with a lack of empathy, leave you with a kind of mental sickness. So there are hazards, even for those with some sincere touch with nobler, selfless feelings. It may be difficult to part with a strong urge to keep giving to someone who could care less what personal price you pay for what you freely give.

Those caveats considered, the riches of sharing of one's inner being, the value of connection, create a reservoir of self-worth and increased happiness. Sometimes, it's tenuous: we flawed human beings love other flawed human beings. We can wound without thinking. The value of selfless love, and its rewards, only come with experience. To one unwilling to perceive, it's as incomprehensible as the math of advanced technologies. Yet even such a one may see the wonder. The power of embracing and imitating one's inspirations is one we aspire to share, knowing some may not be so deeply effected. But what about the power of such things, to alter a desperate day, to sustain a wounded heart---or to encourage another to reach within, and change their very way of life, with the shape of something designed by one's very inner life?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You: So Very, Achingly Much

Chapter Eleven

Embarrassed, worried, angry, sentimental, and filled with pathos, Lewis King arrived at Gina Archer’s door. Tersely, unable to keep locking eyes with his lovely girl, he asked would she please come for a walk with him. He was not sure what he should say. Should they break up? Delay? Could they hash it all out? Elope? He honestly felt too restless to know. What was he afraid of, exactly?

At least, it was clear what he was mad about. Being mad became the gateway to all he feared, and if he followed that, this was the path to all SHE feared. But she found she wasn’t so afraid. She just didn’t want him to hurt anymore.
What he wanted to fuss about was losing control over his life. She knew that had been his only goal before she came along. She listened very patiently. It was hardly her fault her mother had interfered. It was hardly her mom’s fault that things had tipped him over from the confident place from which he had dealt with everything so certainly. But she listened patiently. That was, after all, what he had done for her.

“I know what I said I wanted out of life, and I was dead serious about it.” It didn’t occur to him, he was simply over-dosing on over-serious. What happened to his carefree demeanor? Did he feel so trapped by the very decisions he’d made freely? She really didn’t understand.

“I know I picked you, too. But I only picked you. But how are we going to live this life?”

“I’m not making my decisions based on my family. I only want to do whatever we want together.”

“Are you really ready for that?” he asked. He was feeling guilt over the direction that had not worried him for himself, but which troubled him over her well-being. “And why did I take things this far? I love you. But I just wanted to make you happy! What am I trying to do here with you?”

Maybe he was having second thoughts? She had never meant for him to feel trapped. She had only responded to the affection he gave to her. Not one promise he offered did she drag out of him. She had never tried to maneuver him into any of the beautiful things he had said.

“I could leave on the next bus if I wanted to!” he said fiercely.

“If that’s what you need to do. Fine.” She looked up at him sadly, as the first drizzle began to wet their faces. “I won’t stand in your way.”

What she simply couldn’t know was how much his family had tried to control his life, without any idea what he wanted, without much option or information about what was really out there. It was, after all, what his grandfather had done…what his in-laws had done. What someone had always tried to do, back to the days of slavery, and some dark where before. Control someone. It was the dark shadow stretching down to his every step to walk free, of what anyone else expected, of what society said, of what was cool, what made you rich, what authority did in its struggle with spirit.
He wanted to fight it with all of his being.

He raised his hand, as if to bring it down and hit her across the face. She stood her ground and looked him in the eye.

“Whatever you think you need to do.”

Lewis looked into her eyes again, those hazelnut pots of honey and compassion, as the words of her beautiful voice offered him the key to his freedom. If he had done all he was meant to do for her, nothing was stopping him.
He brought the hand down to her face…slowly. He took her chin in his hand, lovingly.

In her face, he saw someone who believed in life and freedom, too. In fact, he had shown her the way to free her own soul, without ever understanding how close to a living death she had come.

In her face, her pretty face, with those sensitive eyebrows, he saw someone willing to give him anything in her power to make him happy. It was a reflection of what she had seen in him.

In her face, he saw someone, if he left her behind, from whom he would never be free, because she was meant to find freedom by his side.

And he loved her. So very, very, achingly much.
It was her very willingness, her utter truthfulness, that she would set him free, that reminded him of the rather open-ended thing he’d said, about taking their love, day by day.
He could be free with her. In fact, without her to share freedom, he might never be the same, now that he knew she was in this world.

In his kiss, he told her she had changed him forever. In his kiss, he accepted this.
Now the rain began to insistently find its way from the sky, washing every blade of grass in refreshment. Here at the island beside the intersection, holding the yield sign, not far from the park in her village, he took her carefully to the ground with him. He held her tight, barely stopping to breath, taking kiss after kiss from her sexy lips. He let an animal compulsion free, and found his way partly out of his clothes, and freed her the same way. On the ground, they united, beneath the cool wetness all around them. On the ground, by the side of the road, with no one around, they made love. All worries, all reservations fell away. The yield sign shook in a gentle wind, as she gave of herself to him.

Fortunately, the moment ended before they were both soaked to the bone. He scooped her up as soon as she was ready, and began to dart back to her house for cover. She laughed and obligingly helped him kick the latch up on the gate so they could proceed to the porch. Smiling, he set her down at the door, where her father kindly let the two of them in.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You: Love Hits the Skids

Chris was happy to keep the good times rolling, even if this visit wasn’t the same as the toy football games he’d played with Tim Bean and Lewis while Becky or Michele or some other near-paramour tagged along. The only ruckus on aisle nine today was the obnoxious, if cute, French kissing that ensnarled Gina and Lewis, who virtually made love with their mouths as if there was nothing else in the world. It’s not that they did this for show, or to be intentionally off-putting.

There was simply no one else there in the center of the universe.

The next day, the rest of the world seemed to spin around that center, as they hit a patch of ice on the steepest curve of Riverside Drive.

Gina was at the wheel of her Topaz, with Lewis next to her on the passenger side. The deep cold of the morning had captured the precipitation before dawn, right where it lay, in sheets. She was doing the speed limit, driving normally, when suddenly the back end of the car began to fishtail around the curve. Her mind instantly registered what was happening. Skidding on the ice.

Early in the frosted shadows, no one else was coming in the other lane. Rather than brake, Gina began to steer her wheel into the motion. Lewis lightly squeezed her thigh as the entire car turned on the road. “You’ve got this, baby,” he said, calmly. He had no fear. His life and hers was in Gina’s hands. He knew she could be trusted.
The car spun around a complete three hundred sixty degrees along the curve at full speed. As the Topaz lost a bit of its velocity to centrifugal force, Gina held steady while momentum slung the car around another half turn through an empty intersection. One hundred and eighty degrees later, they pointed back the way they came, their speed now imparted over the full spin and a half. The car rested.

The frozen morning had kept more than a few travelers inside, bundled up.

They drove into the next gravel parking lot they saw. Invigorated by their razor’s glance with death, they leaned in for a passionate kiss.

“Feel okay?” Lewis asked.

“Feel great! You?”

“Oh. Yeah! If we would have had to go out, at least we were together!”

“I knew we were in danger,” she said, “but somehow I wasn’t worried at all.”

“Yes. Good thinking, honey. You handled it like a pro.” He smiled widely. “As you can see, I’m not the only one who can handle a precious life with care. The whole time we went through it, I just knew I trusted you.”
What could’ve been a bad accident just turned into one more instance to show how well they could flow together---and how fortunate Lewis was to have found such a cool, level-headed woman.

I'd Go Anywhere With You : There Must Be Some Misunderstanding

The news was about to break around the Archer household, too. The change in Gina seemed positive enough; she made no secret of her excitement over Lewis. Mom and Pop had maybe one chance to discuss it before they had their hard-working daughter to themselves a while. They hadn’t put the change in context very much as yet, but she did seem like a new person. She had always shown a certain determination all her own, with her individual exercise program, and never much taste for opening up about whatever had troubled her in recent times. Her privacy was rightly her own, they reasoned. Concern, however, was about to creep in, in a major way.
Darcy Archer asked her daughter to sit down a minute. Point blank, she asked what was on her mind:
“So are you and Lewis talking about getting married?”
The question seemed completely out of the blue. The relationship itself seemed every bit as sudden, admittedly. The mysterious intuition of Darcy Archer had served her before. Twice she had dreamed about relatives having babies; one of those times, the cousin had laughed it off, only to receive quite a shock at the doctor’s office two weeks later. The time afterwards, Darcy had correctly guessed the baby’s gender, despite sonogram predictions to the contrary. This wasn’t a dream-driven prediction. It was a gut feeling.
“We are, Mama.” There was no point in lying. Gina was subtly impressed, just the same. She had no real idea from where the guess came.
“I see. Well, have you set a date?”
“We’ve just started talking about it. I do know we both want Daddy to do the ceremony, just like I always wanted.”
“Well. You love him?”
“I really do. He’s like no other man I ever met. He’s the most romantic thing on two legs, like the very spirit of the guys from the novels---at the end of the book, anyway. He listens to me. He’s caring and attentive. He’s funny. He’s smart. He’s handsome. I feel like he understands me.”
“You feel like he loves you? And he’ll stay by you?”
“He’s got this amazing heart, Mama. I know it’s so sudden, but---I know he will.”
“Alright. Are you thinking about living with him?”
“We were saving up money to go to Colorado, so we didn’t really have any plans worked out yet. We were playing it by ear. I plan to stay here for now.”
“If you need us, you know we’ll always be here, honey.”
“I know, Mama.”
“If you’re looking for a date, you could always pick Hope’s birthday!”
“That’s a really nice idea!”
“It would be a wonderful way to commemorate the day. Something new.”
Her deceased daughter’s birthday, she reasoned, would also give the two of them a few more weeks to get to know each other, and solidify their plans. Most of all, though, it would be a romantic way to acknowledge the day. She still missed her Hope very much. Everything had changed for them when they lost her. It would be nice to signify a new beginning.
The phone rang somewhat later, and Lewis spoke excitedly and sweetly as always on the other end. He had talked with his sister, who groused about the month’s bills, and promised to put in an application with Stefan’s to help pitch in his share. Gina said she’d be happy to give him a reference.
“I have to talk to you about setting a wedding date,” Lewis said. It was rather old-fashioned, but on some level, he realized they could have a child at any time now from their sexual activity. Besides that, they had already agreed to travel together. “We were already planning to leave town, and I wanted to do something to reassure your family that I wasn’t going to just kidnap you, sorta, and dump you somewhere in another state. I knew you wanted your Dad to do the ceremony, too, so might as well do it before we move away, right?”
“Sounds good to me, sweetheart.”
“Besides---we’ve already decided to it. Why wait, I guess?”
It occurred to him a simple engagement would probably satisfy the family, but who knew when they’d be back this way? For that matter, his own parents still had no idea. It was getting time to deal.
“Oh, I agree! It will be such a romantic thing. I never really had big wedding plans…just for my brother to give me away and Dad to do the ceremony. You know, my Mom guessed we were talking about this?”
“You’re kidding? When?”
“This evening. I have no idea why. Hadn’t told them anything.”
“That’s wild! She cool with it?”
“I think so! It wouldn’t matter, anyway. My mind is set on you.” She paused.
“So what Mom suggested was, why don’t we do the ceremony on my sister Hope’s birthday? The one who died when I was little?”
“Why wait that long?”
“Well, it’s not a terrible idea.”
His voice sounded worried. “But we were going to get moving soon. I already intended to be gone by now, as it is. Besides, I am running into a bit of hassle about the bills here.” His voice escalated. “Look, Gina, I know you’ve been a family girl all your life. You never did anything without them. But this is OUR life. If you are going to let other people make the decisions for us, I need to know it’s like that for you, now.”
She had never heard him this irritated. “But it’s only about three more months, honey…”
“Three months! Fine. But what are we going to do in the meanwhile? This whole thing has been our decisions up til now. It’s our life! I don’t plan on sharing control of our life with other people. Not your Mom…not mine…not anyone else!”
Gina’s Mom was standing nearby. She could hear the irritation in his voice, and see the concern on Gina’s face. Suddenly she felt very angry, herself. Who did this guy think he was, shouting at her daughter?
“I’m serious, sweetie! I started down this road so I would be responsible for my own life. If you aren’t ready to make decisions with me on your own, baby, maybe this is too big a decision for you, and you should just---!”
The phone was dead. Lewis was livid.
On the other end, Gina howled. Her mother had hung up on her boyfriend! “Why did you do that?!? He was upset…!”
“He needs to get a grip!” snapped Darcy. “I don’t know why he thinks he can get away with treating you like that, but if you start---“
“Mama, no! He never yells at me. I could have gotten him to ---“
“If he gets in the habit of yelling at you now,” yelled Darcy to her daughter, “he’s going to treat you bad the rest of the time you’re together! You can’t let a man do you that way!”
“He was just upset because he thought I was going to let you take control of the wedding, and he’s…” Gina stopped. She felt very much like crying.
The phone rang. Darcy grabbed it for herself, to keep it away from her daughter. “I’m not having him call back and be mean to you. He needs to cool down!”
He’s not the only one, Gina thought. She felt desperate as the phone rang unheeded. No one had ever come between her and her man before!
“You know what?” snapped Gina. “Fine! I’m driving up there myself. We need to talk.”
“It’s thirty miles, hon!” said her hot-tempered mother. “And you’re upset yourself. You don’t need to get behind the wheel of a car!”
“Suit yourself, Mama,” she said, taking the keys and heading for the door. “I’ll walk the whole way, then. Starting now.”
Gina had always been the most obedient of her children, by far. In fact, Darcy couldn’t remember a time she had ever shouted at her---once, maybe when she was eleven? It was scaring her, to see her daughter acting so impetuously. What hold did this boy have over her baby?
“Is the sex that good?” she growled at Gina.
“Yes Mama,” said Gina, turning from the open door, “it’s THAT good!!! She slammed the door crying.
By now, cool as a cucumber, her father Benjamin came strolling in, his face betraying only a bit of the concern he felt. He fully expected the problem to be Dixie, as was more typical in the past, despite the fact…
“Was that Gina I heard shouting?” he asked sheepishly.
“You need to talk to your daughter,” she snarled. “She’s lost her mind over that guy.”
“I hope she’s not driving anywhere,” he remarked as he walked to the door.
“She threatened to walk all the way to her boyfriend’s house, thirty miles away,” said Darcy, fuming with her arms crossed. “And I fully expect her to really do it. I could hear it in her voice. She never, ever acts like this.”
“Well, good Lord,” he says, calmly. “Let me.”
He brought his daughter in from the porch, and asked her to tell him what was wrong.
How was she feeling? He put his arm around her shoulders as she sniffed. His demeanor reminded her very much of Lewis. They were alike in many important ways, the way they talked to people, cared, listened. She noted to herself she had cried much too much of late, as if letting out feelings corked up for months, if not longer. For one last time, she sat down, her tiny frame no burden at all, in her father’s lap, and held his neck while she released her misery, then quieted down as quickly as possible. He realized just how small she had become. It was one thing to see it gradually, but another all together to feel her sitting on his knees. Maybe if she had opened up before? It was hard sometimes, respecting the boundaries of their young daughters, letting them have their own lives. He felt a natural urge to protect them from the world, but knew the time for such things was passing away. He understood his tempestuous wife was feeling much the same. Their tiff---such a stunning rarity, he had to laugh---was easy to forgive, from a witness point of view of someone who loved them both.
Gina finally got to call Lewis back. At first, he didn’t want to answer now. He was livid. But he felt a softness towards his beautiful fiancĂ©e. It wasn’t right to punish her, when they did truly need to talk. He still felt the same about outside influences taking over their life together, when he had just made the step to live his own life. Delaying that made the pressures and doubts creep up from below, where they had failed to make any real invasion of his conscious mind, until now.
He found out quickly that Gina’s mother had been the one to disconnect the call, although this did not predispose him to see her point of view at first. Gina begged him to understand she hadn’t hung up on him, and this smoothed out the churning feelings with which he wrestled in his solitude. Still perturbed, but ready to talk, he agreed to come down, with his sister’s permission to borrow her car, and see her tonight, so they could be face-to-face. “I need you,” Gina said sadly. “Please.”
He couldn’t deny her. He told her he loved her and let her go. He felt himself grappling for control of his own destiny, wondering how the placidity he had achieved with only himself to answer for could ever return, with his love and life given equally now over to someone who lived at the center of her family’s embrace. What had he asked her to do? Why was this necessary?
For that matter, he felt bad about letting things get to him. But now, a world of worries he had ignored began to mount. They struggled with his buoyant ardor, as the seeming insanity of what he and Gina had begun to pummel his emotions. He had instinctively defended their love and its sweeping impulses with poetic inspiration and an unsinkable feeling. Suddenly, it was time to bail out the ship.

I'd Go Anywhere With You: Meet the Skeptics

Chapter Ten

His friends had to admit: they had always thought he was crazy.

Wylie had seen him dive out of a moving car, rolling backwards and whacking his skull. He’d seen him drink waaay too much, in one of their first opportunities to do so, at his parent’s house for New Years. That night had ended up with him swallowing Wylie and Ed’s drinks, too, proving not much in the end, but leading to him wondering down the hall in leopard print skivvies, vomiting in a line. He’d watched and joined Lewis in annoying band chaperones with vaguely obscene dances and suspicious chants, every Friday night of football season.

He’d laughed so many times at Lewis’s antics, his recycled punch lines and clowning that served no greater point than to stave off high school boredom. They never really talked much of anything serious, other than to grouse about the common level of stupidity. He had a lot more in common with Ed, actually. They shared a degree of pessimism as well as a taste for classic rock. Lewis had been the third Musketeer most of the past six years, but he had begun to grow off in his own direction.

Still, it fit the profile, this sudden engagement with a girl they’d never met. Lewis was still crazy as a bug in a laser show.

Ed had known Lewis a lot longer; he had been the only friend to visit him each year out in the country, where his excited manner and careless bad language embarrassed him in front of his grandmother, cousin and aunt, each summer. They used to raid each other’s comic book boxes, gouging a hundred great, beat-up titles at a time. They had gone to his father’s house, and later his mother’s, too, and went to their first rock concert together, and quite a few since. They had gone out looking for girls countless times that just ended up with them talking and talking and joking and goofing off together instead. Girls liked Ed, but he was much more shy than his irrepressible and sometimes awkward but funny friend.

The big news, as it sank in, made him a little uncomfortable. He had moved in with his own girlfriend, Debbie, and
Wylie, not very long before, and no official engagement had been set. He wondered how she would take the news. At least, she kind of despised Lewis, thanks to a drunken argument with Philip, Wylie’s step brother, the first night they all hung out. Actually, Philip was the only drunk one, but Lewis could’ve let it go. Just as well. Ed didn’t quite forgive Lewis for that time with the Debbie’s cash register codes. His other friend Angel was more to blame, though. He’d found Debbie’s codes, left behind on the floor on her second day, and Angel had chosen to give the codes to Lewis. “She’s the daughter of a professor,” Angel explained in confidence, “and I love Ed, he’s my boy, but I really think you are more her type.” His romantic thunder recovered soon enough. All Lewis did was mysteriously drop off her codes when he went through her line and tell her to have a nice day…but.

Lewis mentioned his plans to go back to Colorado, where the three of them had such a wild time the summer before. He told them he’d taken his inspiration from his trip. The mountains they hiked, the people they met: he’d found a taste of freedom and adventure there, that never had left his mind. Ed remembered another bitter fact, how, the night they’d spent in Aurora with his aunt, Lewis had went off with his cousin to do things he’d found disagreeable. He’d played along with her new bad habits and stayed out with her all night. Lewis told them about the half dozen girls they partied with. He and Ed’s cousin had sat out on the back porch when they got home, instead of unlocking the door, and dozed off. They had stayed with his mother, who now managed a high rise with her husband Derrick. As a favor, he passed along her number, while Lewis traveled through Denver.

“Well, man, I guess you know what you’re doing,” said Ed.

“I think you’ve lost your mind,” said Wylie, laughing, “but it’s your life!”

“I know it sounds bananas, but she’s just this great girl,” replied Lewis from the couch. “I guess she’s like a soul mate. And here I was planning to leave, when this girl comes into my life. Days later I ask her to come with me. One thing leads to another. I just trust her. That’s all I know.”

They weren’t willing to go the extra mile to ask if she was crazy, too. They had looked out for one another in mind-altered circumstances, but this was a different class. He had this intensity that had always made them a bit uncomfortable, which they weren’t entirely sure was egomania. They were both quieter people with more reserve, except, sometimes, while partying. Somehow, his story about the girl they remembered somewhat from high school at least convinced them of him being convinced. He had taken her on without hesitation, the way only a crazy guy could. They weren’t his parents.

Yet…on some level they wouldn’t discuss for some time, they could understand the desire to have someone bonded so closely. Just the same, they were both issues from broken homes. Their skepticism harkened back to experience. There was little they could do to keep Lewis from crashing and burning, though. Who knew? Maybe it would work.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You : Washing with the Beatles

The Beatles were the subject over laundry a couple of days later. Lewis had connected with them at age fourteen, when he discovered counter-culture. “The Beatles were so cool, it didn’t matter if uncool people were into them, which is saying a lot,” he said. “I don’t know if Elton John was ever really cool, but he was kind of coming back as an adult contemporary artist with a pop hit when I was a big fan. They were probably his most massive influence, too, along with a lot of black records, like it was for the Beatles, and the Band really shaped his ideas, too, early on.”
“I had outpatient surgery to remove a cyst from my eyelid when I was thirteen. The two days I was home from school, I heard his songs on the Oldies Lunch Set on K-98. After ‘Rocket Man,’ ‘Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road,’ and ‘Tiny Dancer,’ I was hooked! I couldn’t believe one man sang all this great stuff. There was more, too.”

“The Beatles was what got me invested in song writing,” he admitted, with a huge load of clothes in a bag that he took into the apartment complex washateria not far from where he lived. He had gotten into the habit of coming here while Ed, Wylie and Chris lived here as roommates. Today this trip would put them close to the hospital where her grandmother Custer was recuperating, so they started laundry as part of a two-in-one trip.

“I had tried playing along with some Top 40 songs, and knew a little piano, but between Elton and the Beatles, I got into lyrics and melodies. Well, actually Bernie Taupin wrote most of Elton’s lyrics.”
Gina started slotting quarters as Lewis continued enthusiastically.

“They had such a variety of song styles, although their straight-forward rock style that broke them in America is still classic. It’s what they did with harmonies, for one. And rock was really hungry for something fresh, with Buddy Holly gone, Elvis kinda neutralized by Colonel Tom and the army…”

He began stuffing the clothes in without any care, mashing the big pile down.

“Even something like ‘Octopus’s Garden’ which was written as a Ringo Starr one-off had this special magic, you know,” he continued, blithely rhapsodizing about Beatles. She knew they would wash better if they were separated piece at a time.

“It’s all these touches they brought as an ensemble, too. I wish I had a guitarist like George Harrison to work with! I mean, that’s what makes ‘Garden’ such a cool if goofy hit.”

She smiled and looked at her cool if goofy fiancé.

“Oh, Darlin’” she began, as if to sing to him, “would you stop for a minute and pay attention? I just realized something. You just got on my nerves for the first time!”

“I’m sorry, wha--?”

“Carelessly shoving everything into the washing machine in one huge pile,” she said.

“Oh! Well, I couldn’t really see any…”

“It just washes better if you put things in one at a time. Like, if you have socks balled up in a shirt, or something. Ha!” She felt relieved. She put her hands on his chest. “If you want to talk to me about the Beatles, would you mind if I took over? Because I don’t mind, it’s just…”

“Hahah! Okay. Sure…I’ll watch for that in the future,” he said, standing aside. “You know, I don’t expect you to get that, just because you’re the woman, you know.”

“Oh, I know,” she said brightly. “I was just watching you do that, with your mind somewhere else, and it just irritated me!”

“Well, every disagreement should end so simply,” he said, smiling.

“I’m sorry, heh heh! It’s no biggie.”

“Oh, yeah, sorry I got on your nerves, Gina Belle. But yeah, it was Lennon and McCartney’s basic facility with these masterful little songs, about all facets of love and some kind of surreal take-offs on lyrics, that were the basis for the band’s success. All good players…great singing…but it’s the song itself that makes the difference. And you see how their writing evolved, and how they more and more started writing by themselves…”

He didn’t stop enthusing over rock history. He also didn’t bother to touch another article of clothing the rest of the time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I'd Go Anywhere With You: How a comic book geek congratulates another comic book geek on his wedding

Two days later, the phone rang. It was his dear college friend Von, wishing him a happy wedding.

“Hey, what’s up?” Von started. You could never have guessed English was his second language. A steady diet of American and British programs, and liberal use around his home in Sri Lanka, had prepared him well for his American trip. After his initial shyness led him to be dubbed “The Brown Recluse,” he never missed a chance to come to the drawing room or the bars and diners on the Strip and socialize.

“So Peter Parker’s found his Mary Jane?”
“She’s in my web, Von.”

“Well, don’t let her slip away,” he quipped. “No bridge diving without a bungee! Although I can understand a girl diving off the George Washington Bridge to get away from your diatribes.”

“Aw, get stuffed, Von. She’s such a sweet, down-to-Earth chick. I can’t wait for you to meet her. We met last month.”

“Wait, are you doing this for a green card or something?” joked Von.

“Yes, and I rushed the date before she notices they’re counterfeit dollars,” Lewis retorted.

“So Booster Gold needed to marry before he got deported back into the time stream,” rhapsodized Von, “and Blue Beetle bribed Queen Bee to tie the knot with him, with Batman officiating?”

“And the whole thing takes place on the island of Kooey Kooey Kooey,” continued Lewis, “so they can have a casino wedding. Until they ask for any objections, now or forever hold your peace, and Major Disaster shows up with a ring and a desperate plea!”

“Last month. Wow! She must be really into you!”

“We were about to flee the country---I mean, travel across the country---and we decided to let her Dad officiate. If she comes to her senses the next day, I figured you would fly around the Earth at super-speed and save us an annulment!”

“If you get near my neck of the woods, you should stop by Mallet,” Von offered. “I’m moving out next month with a couple of friends, but you two will be welcome there, too!”

They continued bantering, with promises Von would spare Gina surprise attacks at the front door until they got to be friends. Ten minutes after they said “let me let you go,” they finally hung up, as Lewis heard the apartment door open and his roommate slowly trudging up the steps.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Caricatures and portraits: Integr8d Soul at your party!

While we usually do naturalistic comic book art and portraits, we were more than happy to break out caricature and cartoons for Jovita's Graduation Party! It was great, kicking off summertime in a great atmosphere, dazzling the cheerful crowd with our humble talents. We loved sending people home with our unique cartoon keepsakes. or

is the hook up, if you want to invite us!

Our fees are very reasonable---and flat! We sing and play, as well, if you want live musicians. has just SOME of the songs we play, and we can add more with a little notice.

We had too much fun. The guests sometimes made us laugh, as much as we made THEM laugh!

On the spot, we were taking pieces of dialogue from our conversation to spice up the drawings with word balloons.

We did a few realistic portraits, as well. We offered "silly or serious?" Naturally, lots of people just said "whatever!" Everyone was fun to talk with, and people kept coming out for cartoons late into the night. We were invited to draw for three hours, but who could resist staying another hour, until the end?

We shot out about thirty drawings, kids, adults, and pairs.
We were invited in to have a wonderful dinner courtesy of Valentine's in Chula Vista, and cake. We were asked to come in and join the dancing, too!

If only we'd gotten a picture of the one where we were asked to make the father Darth Vader, posed with his daughter. We worked from a photo to get the absent daughter into the drawing. Why he wanted to add a platypus, I don't know! "I am your father," indeed.

Patricia was kind enough not only to ask us to come, but even bought our supplies, as well as two yummy meals a piece. WE can only hope next time she's got a party, we'll be there with Sharpies and grins.