Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 8:06 pm Post subject: More about me than you probably want to know
Greetings all. Name is James.
Aspiring writer of Sci-Fi and reader of Genre Fiction in many forms. I’m less into Gothic and the Occult than nearly anything else but I found myself pulled into Mill Ave very strongly because of the fantastically detailed story and the fact that each time I read more, I’m inspired all the more to work on my own writings.
I’m also a forum junky so even though this forum doesn’t get too much activity I feel compelled to post here.
Things to know about me: I am a Christian by faith, despite all my flaws, foolishness and sometimes outright rebellion against the god I believe in. I go to church out of my personal desire to interact with people of the same faith rather than out of an obligation to an organization. I guess this is why I take screen names like “Heretic” and such. I was raised Evangelical Baptist in Ontario Canada. I consider myself something of a conservative. However, having moved to Ultra Conservative Alberta Canada, I’m finding more and more “Ontario conservative” is almost more liberal than Alberta Liberals.
So I’m attending a nondenominational church, since I doubt some of the conservative churches would want me.
To understand what I’m getting at, you need to know that by most standards, I’m considered mildly exocentric at most. A little quirky really. I have my signature brown fedora-- and since winter doesn’t know when to quit around here-- my dark green wool Russian Army overcoat. I have a bit of a scruffy beard too. This combines to make me look like I just walked out of a 1920s Black and White Detective film. Nothing too outlandish.
Yet a large number of local rednecks feel the need to shout insults at me from the windows of their 4x4 trucks. Apparently anything new and different = Gay out here.
There are some Punks and Goths about, but its hard to discern the honest “People doing their own thing for the sake of expression,” from the urban core “drug, gang and prostitution crowd.” Sadly the city of Red Deer Alberta is in the grips of a turbulent time.
Simply put, the city is growing faster than any of its leaders are prepared to deal with. Money to be made from big Oil is causing a mad rush of people coming into Alberta seeking jobs that pay big. But they don’t count the cost of living. I can barley make ends meet living on my own and I had to fight claw and pray for help just to get to where I am. I got lucky, many don’t. The number of homeless is staggering. And the homeless are easy targets for the dealers and pushers and pimps.
I was damn lucky to get out of the downtown core with no physical scars. But the second half of the summer of 07 will hunt me for some time to come. Even though I saw the face of god in every person who gave me food when I was hungry, I saw the devil far more in the faces of those who tried to bring me harm. I almost died down there, and I have no desire to ever return.
But enough of such bad memories.
I’ve never beloved nor disbelieved in the Occult, but considering that I believe in the existence of an incorporeal higher power that can’t be proven to exist, it would be hypocritical of me to dismiss the occult as nothing more than trickery and fabricated mysticism. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” As such I’m open to the possibility that there are things going on in the world that I can’t see. I will admit to having felt things before. Nothing truly specific, call it instinct or possibly a spiritual warning of some kind, but I have felt trouble in the air before it happens. Like a weight in my heart telling me that something bad is about to happen. It’s been too often to be coincidence and I’ve learned to trust this feeling.
So I’m here to talk about Mill, the story and the place. I’m here to talk about the craft of writing and to be inspired. And I guess I’m also here to explore the unknown.
Joined: 06 Jul 2005 Posts: 110 Location: Anns' Arbor, MI
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:54 pm Post subject:
Hails James! and welcome to our little corner of the world! Our locals aren’t as talkative as I I’d like them to be…but I suppose I set up these forums to create a sense of community when people wanted to commingle.
Just to introduce myself, I’m the one who writes Vexations, although I also log in as Vex to, I generally converse in my author form with people and use Vex as a website “personality.”
Thou sound really cool. I love the descriptive outfit. “This combines to make me look like I just walked out of a 1920s Black and White Detective film. Nothing too outlandish.” Sounds like an ensemble that I can really appreciate and, to me at least, often a person’s choice of clothing reflects the sorts of things they want from other people. So, on the street, thou’d be on the list of people I’d greet.
The Occult nature of Vexations is largely a Maguffin, to speak of it in a rather technical nature; since a certain amount of my life I’ve been surrounded by people very interested in the concepts, and there are reams of paper on various aspects of it to draw from, it makes for some strong starting points for Dark Fantasy. I am actually just as keen to talk about it as I am about the nature of writing from mechanics and philosophy to the simple esoteric ecstasy of wending language.
What kind of Sci-Fi?
I recently started working on my first numinal Cyberpunk work, with the expectation that after that I’d go for Steampunk and then maybe Biopunk (one of my younger siblings is studying Biomechanical Engineering at ASU and my soulmate is researching Neurology.) I tend to draw a great deal of my influences from what everyone else around me is doing.
Hense why Vexations starts and ends on the street that I “grew up” on during my college years and where I stayed when I didn’t have a fixed place to dwell.
We should largely be fairly accepting of any background. I know that Vexations comes across extremely Pagan (because Vex is – and I am) but even in the light of characters like Nathan, who behaves a lot like a whipping-boy, it’s not really my intent to insult anyone outright. Although, the main arc is about a particular “entity” which is essentially the enemy of hope—woo, a climax goal in the guise of a plot device.
I am getting long winded!
Have questions? I’m happy to answer. Just want to skip back and forth, I love doing that too.
My Science Fiction would probably be mostly categorized as “Space Opera.” Usually centered on a group of people caught up in a war or some other conflict. I’m a fan of space captains and epic battles that change history. I tend to draw parallels between Space Battles and Historical Naval battles and tactics. With the rules I’ve set up for the technology, I aim to make battles more about skill, cunning and luck than who has the biggest guns.
I have dabbled in other Genre fiction form time to time and I’ve got one or two odd stories locked away in the confines of my mind. Whenever I want a rest from trying to work out complex battle tactics, I write some Epic Fantasy. Although I must admit I feel the call to work on it more often now that I’ve read “Gardens of the Moon” The first book in Stevin Ericson’s “Malazan Book of the Fallen” series.
I’ve also worked off and on with a Cyberpunk style story about people on the fringes of a society where everyone in the world has unlimited access to the internet, which is becoming ever more indistinguishable from reality. Lurkers. People who exist in the system but aren’t quite a part of it. People who can see the gaps between the fantasies the world weaves around itself and the cold hard reality it is escaping from. One of the themes I guess would be a commentary on the general apathy of modern society.
As for Nathan, he earned himself a few respect points by heckling the street preachers. Few things set my teeth on edge more than someone taking what I believe and twisting it into a hate message. I’ve been sourly tempted to deck one or two of them on a few occasions. It wouldn’t be very Christian of me, but god is big on that whole forgiveness thing.
Joined: 06 Jul 2005 Posts: 110 Location: Anns' Arbor, MI
Posted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 10:20 pm Post subject:
I couldn’t write a story about Mill Ave without the street preachers! Although, I have to admit, those ones were not a fully kind portrayal. I combined a couple different groups into one, very loud and agitating behavior. Plus, it was important to add another angle and mythology to the story.
People are going to have opinions on the weird occurrences, the heat, and the massive drought in the story—and that would include them.
I didn’t ask. How did you find my little hole-in-the-wall demesne?
I am wholeheartedly terrible at self promotion these days (although I’m working on getting better.)
Ooh! Shakespeare quote! I like you already.
I'm one of Kyt's best friends, and try really hard to be his one person Inland Northwest publicity campaign. I'm in very conservative Northern Idaho. I've been to Edmonton, Calgary, and North, so I understand what you mean. They're more or less the same here, except we have a contingent of Emo children. I think that's more stylistic than anything real.
I've also been on Mill Avenue enough to know the places Kyt describes so well. I've also briefly been down and hungry, so I know what you mean about seeing the face of God in the people who fed me... though I think I twas too hungry to be thinking it was a god of any sort there.
I have an odd faith in humanity and a large dose of cynicism.
Love the outfit, by the way.
Welcome to the small (but hopefully spreading) group of fans!
I found Vexations through the Eleventy-One. You are ever so rarely online there, or the OS/P Chat Thread. At least you’re never online at a time that I can catch you. So instead, knowing that you are busy, I sought out your site and by extension the forum so that I may converse with you at your pace.
*Strikes Dramatic pose* Indeed! I am none other than…
I’ve yet to convince anyone I know to read Mill Ave. Vexations, but with some more harassment on my part I might be able to help expand your Canadian readership.
Jorwyn: Kytsune describes Mill Ave better than I could describe the two towns I grew up in. Granted neither of them were all that vibrant. One of these days I’ll have to write something to do with Toronto Ontario. Its every city in the world, and yet unlike any other city in the world. And if I get the chance, I’ll have to visit Mill.
I can relate to the Cynicism, but I have little faith in humanity alone. True, properly motivated, humanity can do great works. Problem is those same people can be motivated by evil to commit atrocities. As a whole, humanity is easily swayed by the wills of a handful of strong individuals. And there are so few good strong people. Canada is supposedly more tolerant, that may have been true once. But now it’s just apathetic. Everyone has the mentality of “I don’t care, just leave me to my life and I’ll leave you to yours.”
As for seeing god, I have to admit that I was probably closer to him at the time when most people would have given up all hope. Note: I say “Him” out of convenience.
People who either don’t know me or don’t know their bible would mistakenly compare me to “The prodigal son.” In my brutally honest opinion the person in the bible I can relate to most would be Jacob, named Israel, which means to struggle with god. I’m foolish, headstrong, impatient, know full well that god is trying to tell me something but still won’t listen. Does that make me a bad Christian? Maybe. But I’ve seen people who do everything their told to do at church, but never seem to have any sort of spark to them. They fall victim to the same apathy that is choking the world.
Maybe being in constant struggle with god isn’t the best, but I’d rather have the kind of passion to give a damn when it matters than to be obedient and cold. But I’m rambling, when I was down at the bottom, it was just me and him. I can be foolish, but not so foolish that I can’t sit alone in the stillness and say “Alright god, I’m ready to listen.”
As for the Shakespeare quote, in Sci-Fi circles it’s used often as a way to say, “Not everything can be explained.” I try to include that kind of philosophy in my personal Sci-Fi writings. No mater how advanced or what scientific discoveries we can harness, there will always be mysteries that could hint to the possibility of god or the supernatural. I apply it to my life more or less the same way. I don’t know everything and not everything has a logical answer.
I don't think everything needs a logical answer... Which is an odd statement coming from someone who tries to be logical and mostly ends up being overly analytical.
I have a faith in humanity that's odd, as I said. In groups, I have no faith in them. As a collective, we are abominable more often that not... but as individuals, some can shine. Each person has in him or herself something that could rise above the rest. We just have to find that part of ourselves. I truly believe that, and that's where the faith comes from. For every atrocity we commit, I can find good, too. We are not evil, we are merely extreme.
I agree that Mill is quite a bit more vibrant than anywhere I grew up (well, not counting the growing up I did right there on Mill.) .. but Kyt is capable of making any place seem vibrant, honestly.
I'd love to read your descriptions of Toronto. Maybe I'll have to write about what little I remember of Edmonton, some time... or a less lofty goal, about my own hometown. Perhaps I could even borrow Kyt's style for a moment. I'm sure the loan would be approved.
It's nice to see someone active here, and to meet someone new.
Joined: 06 Jul 2005 Posts: 110 Location: Anns' Arbor, MI
Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:14 pm Post subject:
Well, that’s even better! I love everyone from Elventyone… And I am so sorry that I’m so busy that I cannot hang out there most often. In fact, I post Vexations there [on Gaia] because I want to be able to keep everyone else from that wonderful space in-the-know. And, of course, because I want to know if they would like my attention on anything.
So much work to be done on all of this.
I suspect, if you’ve lived on the streets (which I have myself, and Jorwyn also has some experience with street rats) you may also like the element of Vexations which is about the Mill rats. If anything shows my interest in the more scruffy community it’s the last lines of the prologue.
After all, if anyone is going to save the world, I do expect it will be the street rats.
Not that being homeless is a fun thing, or even a good thing, but when a person makes a street their home they etch into it an indelible touch. One that the City of Tempe tries hard to rub out, not if I can help it; a great deal of the more important culture of Mill exists in the always-gathering ragtag-and-bobtail fête galante around the feet of the bronze statute: the drum circle.
I am cheerful to make more inroads into Canada! In fact, if thou’d like a couple copies to spread around (and at least one to keep as thou see fit) of a particular volume or tribute, I could send a few that way. The nice things about tributes, of course, is that little prior knowledge of the main arc is needed. One of my artists, Luis, lives on PEI and I visit him in the summer—oftentimes books go with me.
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