Isn’t That The Way Love Goes? / Almost Lover

Writing, it’s this thing I do–this thing I will be doing a lot more of in the next coming weeks. However, I wanted to share a tidbit of something that I wrote a little bit ago in response to one of Nika’s writing prompts. (If you have never checked out her in Word Play, you should hop to that… like now).

The assignment, as it were, was to write a dialogue heavy scene and out of the given prompts I chose, “Why you just don’t GET it.”I’m not sure if the actual words were meant to go in there, I worked off of the feeling/impression that sentence gave me and came up with the scene you can read below.

And then last night I recorded a song to go along with it. I’ve mentioned before that I like to put soundtracks to everything… and I would like to start trying to marry my singing to my writing more… so here we go:

Of Thanks and Thursdays

This seemed like an appropriate day as any to try to start up a more regular schedule again. After all, one of the things I am very thankful for today would definitely being getting back to a 40-hour work week. While I know everyone was understanding, I missed being able to write here regularly.

50 hours at work, plus videos on my personal channel on top of my Geek & Sundry vlogs, working on Terra Mirum… it gets a tad exhausting. So while I think taking a bit a break from writing here was probably the best thing for me at the time, I’m really excited that I’m going to be able to get back to a more regular schedule.

If you’re in the United States, today you’ll possibly be celebrating Thanksgiving with your family or loved ones.

Either way, it’s fairly likely you’re getting those warm fuzzy feelings you get around the holidays when we remember those things we’re grateful for.

Yes, it’s going to be one of those cliche kinds of Thanksgiving posts.

But you know what? Thursdays are for Happy Thoughts and this is definitely what I’m vibing on today.

Almost a year ago today, we were taking pictures for family Christmas letters. All five of us.
I could spend this post talking about how we miss my brother, and how the holiday feels different without him and while it probably would be a little cathartic at first, I’m not sure how beneficial it would be in the long run.
Of course we miss him.
But I think more important than that is how as a family we’ve been repairing ourselves. It’s been a slow and difficult process–and I don’t think it will be over any time soon.
I know I say this a lot, but if anyone tells you how you’re “supposed” to mourn, shut that down immediately.
The point being that the house I came home to last night was not the one I woke up to this morning.
When I arrived, my father was in my brother’s room on his laptop, like he has been since the funeral, quiet and keeping to himself. We’ve all been sort of keeping to ourselves, I suppose.
But this morning I woke up to my mother starting the turkey and my father prepping grandma’s famous roll recipe (Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where I say, “Sorry intestines” and just grin and bear the inevitable gluten and dairy induced pain). They were joking around with a movie playing in the background.
Since then we made a modest breakfast, chatted, played with the dog…
For the first time in this house, we felt like a family again. And I actually knew that eventually we’d be okay. It wouldn’t be the same, but we’d be okay.
I’m eternally grateful for that.
It’s been a hard year for all of us and we’ve got a lot to conquer ahead of us. But I think we’ll get there.
This was a year of a lot of hard work paying off. I’ve met some amazing people who I’m looking forward to getting to know better and while the past 7 months have been stressful, I’ve had the privilege of working on a game franchise I’m exceptionally proud of.
And of course, and certainly not least, on top of my family and my friends who I’m very blessed to have, I have you. People I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting in person, who I still get to converse with. People who have extended their compassion to me even though we were hardly better than strangers.
In some ways, I’m the most grateful for you. You’re constant proof that the world is full of good people. That even when it seems dark and bleak, there’s hope.
So thank you.
I hope today is full of love for you.

First – A Dragon Age Story

So… by now you probably know I have a Dragon Age obsession. I don’t know what it is. I honestly couldn’t tell you–I just like it. And I feel absolutely no urge to excavate any further.

At one point they had a writing contest, which I wrote something for and didn’t even make the top 20–honestly I probably made a semi fatal mistake by blurring the lines of what’s ‘canon’, or there were simply 20 stories told better than I told mine. Whatever the case may be.

But failing that I realized I now have essentially what is fan fiction and literally nothing I can do with it–not in the traditional sense, anyway.

So I decided to share it with you:

Continue reading First – A Dragon Age Story

Bottled

I’m an expert bottler.

You know the sci-fi channel movie of Alice in Wonderland? Where they’re taking human emotions and distilling them into ‘teas’?

It’s like that.

Only my bottles would look something a great deal more like, “Stress”, “Heartache” and “Depression”.

I grew up in a culture that believed in sweeping problems under a rug and not talking about them. There are matters to this day that my family–my extended family–will not talk about or pretend doesn’t exist.

Of course back then I was young enough to go along with it without knowing what exactly was happening. And despite some truly horrible things/experiences–I was an exceptionally happy child. I was perhaps a bit lonely at times–but I had my family and my imagination and while neither were perfect, I was relatively content with both.

And then puberty hit.

Both of my siblings suffered from bi-polar, manic depression which struck, as it tends to, around high school.

So when I also rolled around to that age, all eyes were on me. Waiting. And then proceeded a 4-year long lesson in tough love. And I learned about emotional manipulation, I learned about what people will say or do to get what they want, I learned what it meant to have someone you love not respect you and vice versa. I learned there was a great difference between my beliefs, my friends beliefs and definitely my parents beliefs. I felt different and alone. When I brought up this concern to a church official–oh back when I still went to church every Sunday with my parents–I was quietly accused of “trying to not fit in”. And so I grew depressed and sunk inward.

And my parents started asking questions. But not the questions I had answers for. They started asking if I was tired all the time, they started prodding about all the usual symptoms, it was never a “Did something happen at school?” or “Is something going on you need to talk about?”. And at some point during my routine denial, I decided something incredibly stupid. Instead of sitting down with them, having a heart-to-heart about what was troubling me–the many things that they were–I bottled it.

My parents were (rightly so) concerned that I had depression like my other siblings–they wanted to make sure I got the help I needed, if that was the case since I had always been such a happy person. My mother especially would have always been open to hear me talk, so to this day I’m a little bewildered why I chose to clam up. Maybe I just didn’t want to add weight to her shoulders.

My mother’s a damn rock. I don’t think we’d have much of anything if she wasn’t the foundation. But she also doesn’t get a lot of time for her as a result and I guess… I don’t know.

The point is, bottling is stupid. Pretending to be okay when you aren’t, is stupid and extremely damaging. My brother bottled–he didn’t want to talk to a therapist, he didn’t want to get help and he’s gone because of that.

So I’m attempting to get a little better. I’m attempting to reach out and open up and be a bit more honest about when I’m having trouble. And as a result I occasionally post something vague on my social media. Usually facebook.

So really I think the weird tie-up of this odd ramble is to simply say, before you make fun of someone for that trend of behavior–give it a little thought first. You’ll know them better than I do, so I’ll leave the final judgement of how to respond up to you–but from my own experience… it’s an attempt to reach out… without really knowing how to go about it. Or it’s something I actually can’t talk about–but need to vent out the emotion so it doesn’t linger and percolate.

Yes, there are people who may just be looking for attention. But I think most of the time someone just needs to talk and isn’t sure how to start the conversation.

Reality Not Withstanding

So this piece was originally submitted to the Great American Short Screen Play Contest on June 17th, 2012. It was very well received and I even won second place but had to decline the scholarship since it still was not enough to pay for classes (especially since I would have had to cut my hours down at work extremely in order to take them).
Still, I had a lot of fun writing it, it was a great experiment and experience and one day it will likely find itself in a full length script. Enjoy!

Reality Not Withstanding
by Kiri Callaghan

EXT. A PARK – EVENING
FADE IN ON A COUPLE WALKING BESIDE THE LAKE, WE JOIN THEM IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR CONVERSATION.

MARK, a charming young public defense attorney, is walking side by side with a young tangerine orange-haired woman (ELLE). They are both dressed to the nines.

MARK
…It’s certainly nothing like television. You almost never end up defending someone who’s actually innocent. I’m not saying I don’t agree everyone deserves the right to representation… I just wish it wasn’t me that had to provide it half the time.
ELLE
So why do you do it?

MARK
Paycheck is a paycheck.

ELLE
I bet that’s what hookers tell themselves.

MARK laughs.

ELLE nudges his arm with her own.

ELLE
Thank you, again, for dinner.

MARK
Was it too much?

ELLE
Are you kidding? I cleaned my plate. It was like making up for all those months in college when all I had was cup o’ noodles.

MARK
(laughing)
No, I mean, was the restaurant too much? I’m never sure if a place is too fancy for a first date.

ELLE crosses her arms subconsciously as the night chill starts to set in.

ELLE
Nah, it was nice. I liked it. I don’t get to be fancy too often. Gave me an excuse to try out my new dress.

MARK
You mean HAILEY COMET: SPACE DETECTIVE doesn’t have a cocktail hour?

ELLE
Surprisingly, no. Well, not officially, anyway. For a few of my co-stars, I think it’s the last five minutes before we’re needed on set.
MARK laughs and removes his coat, draping it over her shoulders.

ELLE
You’re not what I expected, though.

MARK
What were you expecting?

ELLE
I don’t know… A weirdo?

MARK
A weirdo?

ELLE
I don’t know a lot of grown men who’d recognize me out of costume!

MARK
You have very distinctive hair.

ELLE
It’s not natural.

MARK
(feigning shock)
You’re kidding.
(Beat)
Plus, my daughter’s crazy about your show, so your face is sort of all over her room.

ELLE stops walking abruptly.

MARK
Just her room. I promise I’m not a creepy stalker.

ELLE
You have a kid.

MARK
I do have a kid.
(beat)
Is that a problem?

ELLE
…Yeah. It’s a problem.

MARK
You don’t like kids?

ELLE
I love kids.

MARK
Then where’s the problem?

ELLE
Because I’m going to have to meet her eventually.

MARK
That’s a problem?

ELLE
Yeah, that’s big fucking problem.

MARK
She’s going to love you–she already loves you.

ELLE
No, she already loves Hailey.

MARK
What?

ELLE
What’s her name?

MARK
Amanda.

ELLE
And how old is Amanda?

MARK
She just turned five.

ELLE nods and looks out toward the lake.

ELLE
Did you ever have a hero when you were a kid? Someone you idolized?

MARK
Spider-man, I guess.

ELLE
When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with The Little Mermaid. I knew the songs by heart before I knew what even half the words meant. My mom made me an Ariel costume for Halloween and I wore that stupid red wig until it was ratty. My room was covered in shells and fish and every damn piece of merchandise you could think of. So when my seventh birthday rolled around and my mother announced we were going to Disneyland, I was… ecstatic.

MARK
(unsure)
Yeah, of course…

ELLE
And we went and it was wonderful and I got to meet Ariel and I felt like my little heart was going to burst. I’d never been so happy.

(beat)

But then later I saw Ariel after a parade and I snuck away from my parents to follow her back into the cast area. Do you have any idea what happens backstage at Disneyland?
MARK
No.
ELLE
Things a seven-year-old should never see.

MARK
…are you saying you’ll do unspeakable things in front of my daughter?

ELLE
Not intentionally.

MARK
What?

ELLE
No, I mean–I lost my hero that day. Ariel wasn’t Ariel–she was just some horny college kid trying to make ends meet between semesters. It was like realizing Santa wasn’t real all over again.

ELLE turns back to face MARK.

ELLE
Mark, I’m not an intergalactic pop star.

MARK
I know that.

ELLE
Amanda doesn’t. …And I can’t be the one who breaks that to her. She deserves that suspension of disbelief. And she finds out you’re dating her hero…

MARK
…then I’m banging the mermaid.

ELLE
Yeah…

MARK
We really can’t do this, can we?

ELLE
We really can’t.

MARK
But… Can’t we just see if this even had a chance before we write it off?

ELLE
And do what? Sneak around hoping she’s going to grow out of me? She’s five, my viewer base ranges four to fourteen.

MARK
Yeah, but…

ELLE
And I’m pretty sure you don’t want to lie to your own kid.

MARK sighs, feeling defeated.

MARK
No… I really don’t. Wow. This… Really sucks.

ELLE
I’m sorry.

MARK
No, you’re right. My daughter comes first.

ELLE
You’re a good dad.

MARK
I don’t know if I’d say that. I am still imagining doing unspeakable things to her hero. Reality not withstanding.

ELLE smiles and removes his coat from her shoulders. She holds it out to him.

MARK
So what now?

ELLE
Now you head back to your car and I call my friend to come pick me up and we go back to our lives pretending tonight never happened.

MARK
…No, I don’t like that. What are my other options?

ELLE pointedly looks at the coat in her hand which MARK finally takes.

ELLE
Good night, Mark. It would have been great to meet you.

ELLE starts off down one path towards what looks like the main street.

MARK
(calling after her) I would have had a great time tonight.

ELLE turns around and smiles softly.

ELLE
Best date I never had.

CAMERA ZOOMS UNTIL BOTH OF THEM ARE AT THE EDGE OF EITHER SIDE OF THE FRAME, HIGHLIGHTING THE EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN THEM.

ELLE and MARK share a look before ELLE breaks the tension and walks out of frame.

MARK lingers and then turns back to walk the way they came, shoulders hunched, hands shoved in his suit jacket pockets, coat tucked under one arm.

FADE OUT