The ramblings and musings of author and musician Geoffrey Young Haney.
Much more coherent and loveable fare from his wife, Michelle.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Forgetting The Fall / In Dreams

So on Tuesday, Michelle was at work and was filling in on recess duty. She slipped on some ice and fell flat on her stomach. Her knee was all bruised up nicely and of course, we were concerned about Carter. So we went to the Doc's later that afternoon and Carter had a clean bill of health. Yet for the rest of the day and night and into yesterday, he wasn't moving around much. Ever since we've felt the first movements back on Christmas Day, he has barely stopped! So Michelle and I were still unsettled. We went in again yesterday to hear the heartbeat again. It was fine - a little more fluctiating than our other visits, but no big deal. Still, Michelle wanted an ultrasound. She's going to go have that today around 5pm.

Last night I talked to the belly and told Carter to wake up. He did move around a bit - much more than he had been in the last two days - and so our hearts were much more at ease. Still, we wanna take a look inside. :D So send your prayers Michelle's way. I can't make it to the appointment with her today (first one I've missed), so I hope our thoughts and prayers can go with her in my place. We're sure everything is completely fine and our doctors have been great. This is simply a piece-of-mind procedure. From everything we've heard, it would take a lot more to hurt our little man than a fall on a playground. He's pretty protected in there!

* * *

In other news, I had a crazy dream last night. I've always been fascinated by dreams (as many people are), and I've been having really vivid one's lately. My new WIP actually, (which I finally started drafting last night), The Education of Pennington Groves, came from a dream I had a couple of weeks ago! Anyways, I barely remember the dream from last night, I just had an odd realization when I woke up. Many of my dreams contain the same things. Like, I've created a separate world in my head that I continually go back to. My friends in my dreams are sometimes people I don't even know, but they're always the same group of friends. The places I go, the way things look, the city I live in, all fictitious. Yet it remains the same. I will even TALK about experiences that took place in OTHER dreams while dreaming. A few nights ago I had a dream that I crashed my van into a tree (don't worry, I was fine). In last night's dream I was riding a bike around. Why? Because I told everyone I totalled my van. That's just one small instance, but I found all the similarities rather strange. It's like there's some set to the Geoff's Dreams TV show that I go back and work on every night. It's kinda cool, but also kind of disturbing.

Like... what if I'm ACTUALLY dreaming right now... that this other "dream" world is actually my reality...

Nope, I can't buy that. I of course would've made up Michelle (she's perfect for me in every way) but no way would I have dreamt up working at UniSource. That would be just a very cruel thing to do myself. Dreams are an escape? Why would I ESCAPE to UniSource????

:D

So what about you? Have you created an alternate reality in your head? Is there an odd congruence in your dreams? Do you remember your dreams at all?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dare To Look Inside - TSOTM Final Rewrite, Chapter 1

Okay, so here it is! You may have read it before, but this truly is the FINAL edit of the book. Tweaking really here and there, mainly, but what you read below is what will be. I close the book on chapter 1 and will continue on, finishing up a chapter at a time until completion. Then this book will go through it's final round of agent submissions. Scary stuff. If The Sons of The Moon doesn't yield any interest, than for now I will set aside writing book 2 to focus on my new stand-alone novel, The Education of Pennington Groves and see where that takes me. Rest assured, if you have read The World Within My Walls in any one of it's many draft stages and loved the story, it will be completed down the road!

I don't want to fool anyone. I love these World Within My Walls stories and I work hard at them. But my ultimate goal is to be a write of MANY tales, not just one. So if The Sons of The Moon can't make a dent or garner any attention right now, it will be time to set it aside and begin again. I can't sit here pretending to be one of those "I do it only for the writing" guys. People like that have careers. They are doctors and lawyers and stay-at-home moms and they pluck away at their book in my spare time. My writing is my second job. My goal is publication and a career as a fiction writer. Very few authors sell there first book outright, especially if they are part of a series (though trilogies and the like have always been very popular). I have notes and outlines on two stand-alone novels and a two-part series. So there are other ideas to work on.


Anyways, enough about all that noise. That's me thinking out loud! You're here to read the book, so please enjoy chapter 1!

Many endless thank yous to Katey Masterton and Matt Hall for their hard work as my top two critique readers. Your comments, suggestions, edits, and concerns have been invaluable to me as I put the final touches on book 1.


The World Within My Walls vol. 1: The Sons of The Moon
written by G.Y. Haney

characters and stories by G.Y. Haney & Matthew A. Rodriguez


CHAPTER 1
THE HOUSE ON WINCHESTER STREET

2005
By all the popular statistical comparisons of the world, Baron McNeil, for his age, would have been considered a rather small boy. Baron, however, didn't know that. His father's work in architectural design (and a “hands-on” ethic to that work) kept Baron and his family constantly on the move, from city to city and job site to job site. As a result, Baron had seen boys of all ages, sizes, and shapes grow up around him; had seen children of all American cultures, colors, and backgrounds. And he had never been in one place long enough to care about the differences, nor evaluate his own stature to theirs. To Baron, his peers were all alike, blurred and lumped together into cliques and classes until all the gossip-prone girls twittered and giggled in their impossibly impenetrable clusters and all the resourceful, bookworm boys were bespectacled streaks of paint on the canvases of classroom front rows, their arms raised impatiently into the air. Everyone equally unclear. Everyone consistently misunderstood. Everyone dumbed down to his or her most easily categorizable traits.

Now Baron had never worn glasses and had a personal penchant for back row living. But he was resourceful, and he certainly was a bookworm. An imagination like Baron's left no room in his head for height comparisons, and also happened to push aside most of the loneliness that tried to creep in after each inevitable uprooting, each new school, and each new friend he failed to make.

So it was that found Baron standing on an unfamiliar sidewalk staring up at yet another new and temporary residence. The Victorian style home stretched across the freshly cut yard like a dollhouse built for people, its aged red brick vibrant in the mid-June sun; its quaint white shutters accenting the scene. Baron sighed a tired breath and lifted his suitcase, a stately piece of brown leather luggage he had adopted just a few autumns ago from his father as a hand-me-down. He probably would still be sporting his old green and black Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one had it not been for the fact that that very same autumn an older boy at school had made fun of him for bringing the matching green lunch box to class. From that point on, Baron had decided to keep his love of all things Turtles a secret. He had enough trouble staying off most bully radars as it was. He didn't need some cartoon reptiles making things more difficult on him.

In his thirteen short years, moving day had become a routine. Baron had occupied ten different homes in ten different neighborhoods and had attended seven different schools with their fair share of indistinguishable bullies. He had said his good-byes to dispensable friends. This time, however, moving day didn't seem to bother him so much, because now he had Xander.

Xander was a cat, a sleek creature with long ivory fur that billowed more greatly around his neck than it did around the rest of him, like the mane of a miniature white lion. He had been a gift from his father last Christmas, the perfect companion for a boy who would likely see another ten moving days. Xander, too, eyeballed his new surroundings then loyally followed Baron up to the home. Climbing wide the steps that led to the wooden wrap-around porch was easier said than done for a cat, and Xander struggled to keep up with his master, who was aimlessly surveying the slender stained-glass windows that bordered the large, oak front door.

Baron placed a hand on the doorknob and hesitated. Something about this house seemed to call to him from the inner workings of pipe, wood, and insulation; some wonderful sense of energy Baron had yet to find in any other home. He could sense it all around him. He could feel it rush through his hand on the cold copper knob and quiver all the way to his spine.

His thoughts came to him unhindered. Could I really find something new here; something different than the same old places I've been before?

Perhaps this was the same sensation all old houses emitted. Baron wouldn't know. He was used to suburban living Рcloned rows of two-storied single-family cubes, no more unique or interesting than a cardboard box or unpainted paper-mach̩. Here in historic Boston, the homes that lined Winchester Street were ripe with shape and character, bearing little resemblance to each other save traditional architectural styles of a shared construction period. The homes here were strangely haunting, containing an elusive yet time-honored quality that could never be mass produced and poured into subdivisions: personality.

Xander finally caught up to Baron and peered up at him, waiting for a cue to enter. Sensing the cat's eager and impatient eyes, Baron looked down at his cat.

“You're right, Xander, we gotta go in sometime.”

The cat meowed his eagerness and Baron twisted the knob, pushing all his weight into the massive door and opening it with a creak that reverberated through the old home. The paired entered, with Xander slinking between Baron's legs to dart in first, a true mark of the impatience most cats tend to embody when they want to get into something. Baron quietly shut the door behind them.

Baron stood in a large living room, the coarse Berber of a welcome rug crunched under his shoes. In front of him, a great wooden staircase stretched, curving downward from the second story and widening as it met the hardwood floor. Against the wall to his right was the biggest fireplace Baron had ever seen in his life. Its hearth yawned at Baron with grandeur rarely seen in modern fireplaces, and the edges of its mouth were lined with deeply stained oak. Etched into that oak were beautiful carvings of a maritime scene; two great ships battling it out with cannons blazing.
Pirates, Baron thought. It's gotta be pirates! And he took an inquisitive step towards the fireplace.

Looking down, Baron noticed that the carvings continued along the trim running across the floor, but these depictions were far less elaborate than those on the fireplace. They looked rushed, chiseled by an artist on a deadline and flooded with distraction. It wasn't that they were bad by any means, it's just that they weren't as good; similar and obviously created by the same hand, but just not done as well. Baron got to the floor and began to follow the pictures around the room. He saw men and horses and men who were half horses, who bore a striking resemblance to the centaurs he had once seen illustrated in a book about Greek mythology. He also saw people who were carved purposefully shorter than all the others, men with grand wings sprouting from their backs, and even dogs that walked upright like humans.

Baron's expedition along the floor took him around the front wall of the home, past the large bay windows that transfered yellow sunlight to the nearly empty living room, past the door Baron had come in, and finally to the wall opposite the fireplace. He stroked Xander's head, for the cat had made the same round and had examined the pictures with equal curiosity. Baron then stood and brushed himself off, finding he was now only a few feet from the entrance to a different room. He glided to it in a near trance and began his inspection.

The new room, which looked like a study, was hidden three-quarters by the large wooden sliding door that separated it from the first massive room. It wasn't so much this new and possibly exciting room that caught his fascination, but instead the door to the room itself. It was at least three inches thick and was one of those old, large sliding doors that disappeared into the wall when slid open. As Baron pulled it completely closed, he found it to be heavier than any other door he had ever encountered. Upon closure, the entire door became fully visible, and Baron saw a most ornate carving depicted on it. In the center were two large crescent moons set in a stunning forest scene. Stars of all sizes exploded around the upper half of the etching, and along the edges ran a painstakingly crafted border that looked like petrified vine. Some of these vines seemed to creep across the picture, giving the door the feel of a colonial redbrick house too long abandoned. The first moon formed nearly a perfect “C” while the other curved the opposite way. The two were almost interlocked; as if they were meant to form one off-set, fragmented moon but instead became more of an oddly shaped “S”. The detail of the entire carving was immaculate, but Baron couldn't take his eyes off the letters stretched across the top of the door. He involuntarily read the words aloud.

“The Sons of The Moon,” he whispered whimsically. He wondered greatly what it meant, if anything. After a moment, Baron, with a muffled grunt, slid open the hefty door to reveal the study.

The age of the house seemed to pour from this room; the air was as heavy with dust as it was with memories. This room was important. Something wondrous happened here years and years ago. Baron could smell its lushness, could taste it on his lips.. With a deep inhale of anticipation, Baron stepped in. The room had no carpet, only the wooden floorboards that thudded like a kick drum even under Baron's cautious footsteps. Xander, on the other hand, made his way into the room quickly, longing to investigate the pages of forgotten lore that sat on the bookshelves. Xander loved a good book, and it seemed that every square inch of this octagonal study – save the large bay window that occupied the entire wall directly across from the door – was lined with them.

Baron walked towards the desk in the center of the room, a large chocolate-colored workspace with bright golden hardware. Even though the wood was smothered evenly with a thin layer of gray dust, the gold was not subdued, and it glistened in the late afternoon sunlight that cut through the window.

From behind him a voice broke the thick silence of the room.

“Doing a little exploring, are we?”

Baron turned on his heels, slightly startled by the sound but playing it cool. His mother stood in the doorway of the study. There was an ever-present smile of tenderness on her lips. She knew full well (as all good mothers do) the extent of a young boy's imagination. Xander ceased pawing at a book he had climbed up to and also turned his attention to Mother.

“Did they even clean this place before they gave it to us?” Baron asked as he wiped his finger through the dust on the desk.

“No,” said his mother plainly. “It has been empty for nearly thirty years! Nobody has really given it a second thought. I don't even know why Aunt Lilly owned it; she never lived here. It must have been special to her though because she made sure to say it was the most important thing in her estate when she left it for Dad.”

“I find that hard to believe,” scoffed Baron. “For being so important she certainly let the whole place go!”

“Well, we'll clean it right up, and in a few months it'll be more than ready to sell. ”

“I'm not gonna lie, Ma,” Baron confessed as he turned from his mother to once again survey the study. “I love this place! Do you think we could stay?” Xander nodded in concordance.

“You know we can't, Baron,” replied his mother as she fully stepped into the room and placed a gentle hand on her son's head, ruffling his wild black hair. “It's far too big for our needs, and we could really use the money a beautiful old home like this will garner, especially since Dad is in between work right now.”

“I know,” sighed Baron, exasperated.

“We'll be okay.” His mother was sternly, but a warm comfort shone in her eyes. “We've always planned for lulls in the business and have saved for times like these.”

“Times like these have never lasted this long,” Baron said meaningfully, gazing back to look at his mother. “I pay attention to the news, you know.”

“You're too bright for you own good, Baron,” she chuckled. “Like I said, we'll be okay. We always are.”

“True enough,” Baron uttered dismissively as he turned his eyes to the floor, not wanting to dwell on adult subject matter any longer. His mother knew what that gesture meant and wrapped an arm around his shoulder, pulling him to her side. She smiled down at him the type smile only a mother can conjure, one that did more to calm a son than any words ever could, and she let the topic rest.

“It's for the best then,” Baron said with a weak smile. “I'm sure as soon as I got used to the place, we'd have to leave it behind anyway! With Dad's job, we never stay in the same spot very long. He'd be sure to up and move us again in no time.”

“We go where the work goes,” his mother shrugged. “We're a family. It's what families do.”

“Mom, I don't know too many families who keep more things in boxes in the garage than they do in the living room!”

“Speaking of the garage,” his mother spoke, avoiding his small comment with a playful scowl, “would you run out there and see if your father and the movers have unloaded the box I marked 'small kitchen appliances'? I'd like to make a cake for dessert tonight, you know, to celebrate the move, and I need my mixer.”

Baron nodded in compliance and left the study. He meant what he had said; he really did like the house! There was something intriguing about it, something so much more mysterious than the cookie-cutter homes he had grown up in. It seemed that life flowed through it, that if he were to merely scratch one of the walls it would bleed for days. There was a heart to this home, and if he were quiet enough, Baron swore he could hear it beating.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

On An Island or The "Buts" of Life

An author by the name of Jon Gibbs (An Englishman in New Jersey) guest blogged today on agent/author Nathan Bransford's very popular blog and posed a rather interesting question to all us writers out there:

Is your "but" too big?

No, this is not some kind of fat joke. It is a warning to us to look at our "buts" - all those hundreds of little excuses we throw up in front of ourselves as to why we're not working towards making our dreams come true.

Writers too, have built-in ‘buts’ as it were:
“I’d love to write, but I just don’t have the time.”
“I’d love to write, but I don’t know anything about grammar.”
“I’d love to write, but there’s no writing group where I live.”

If you ask me, none of those ‘buts’ matter. They’re all just a way of avoiding the real problem, the biggest ‘but’ of them all:

“But I might fail.”


The fear of failure can stop a person from even trying.
I have been feeling that final "but" quite a lot these days. I shared as much with Jon and the readers with a comment I left. I would like to share it here with you:

Absolutely needed to hear this one today. Thank you so much for the post, Jon.

I think my major "but" has surfaced on other comments, but it'd have to be simply "but who cares?". I'm into my second year of really taking a stab at getting published and when one first ventures on this journey, it's pretty easy to feel the love. People LOVE hearing that someone is going to try to "make it" out in the world. But after my first submissions to agents came back with form rejections (of course, a pretty standard thing to expect on one's first go at it), the well-wishers tended to slink into the shadows. Even people I've worked on my stories with have seen less interested in my eventual success. As we dive into further and further revisions and critiques as writers, as we dive into possibly even new stories and put old ones to bed, all our hard, unexciting work can easily be viewed as not that much work at all.

We say we want to write that one (or 100) story that's boiling up in us and people are ready to jump on the bandwagon. But when months or years go by without payoff or visible result, it can and often does seem to be viewed as "failure". And its hard to shake the feeling of even being perceived as a failure! It stifles creativity and keeps us further from achieving our dreams.

So that's my biggest "but". "But who cares?" I need to remember that I care - because I really, truly do - and if I'm going to continue putting the amount of hours into making this dream a reality, then there is no room in my schedule the "buts".

I've been feeling like an island these past couple months. Every since moving out to Grandville I guess. I thought moving back to Zeeland would be rough, but there I had friends and family close at hand. In Gville it's pretty much me and my lady, stranded in suburbia, stuck between our small town home and the bigger city we left behind last winter. But I think my loneliness goes deeper than mere location. There's a seclusion I've been pouring myself into ever since I began to tackle this writing thing. It's a necessary evil; writing stories - truly crafting tales of professional merit with the intent to publish them - takes a lot of time. Time alone.

But lately I've been feeling the stress of this island living, and the "buts" are creeping in. "But is it all worth it?" "But what if I can't find an agent?" "But what if this isn't the story I should be focusing on?"

"But what if I fail?"

Being blessed with a child on the way also brings on that added pressure to succeed. And as people become less interested in what I do with my writing, the encouragement is harder and harder to find. It's human nature, of course, to be entertained. And nothing could be more boring than sending out query letters or doing final edits. Believe me, I know! But it's hard to shake the demon on my back that's telling me that no one cares anymore; telling me to hang it all up.

Michelle was really there for me yesterday. It was a rough day, one of those days when no silver lining could be found. She encouraged me to keep going, and called me out on my pessimism. And that's not always an easy thing to say or to hear. But this morning I awoke with new determination, inspiration, and hope.

So maybe I am out on this island. Maybe I am just one waterless day away from total madness. But at least I've got company, and she'll hold my hand no matter what kind of raving lunatic I become! Now that's love.


Let's sail away
Find our own country
We'll build a house and beds out of palm trees
Let's get away
Let's push our lives aside

I'll sport a smile
Take in some color
Under the stars
I'll be your lover
With no distractions I'm gonna treat you right

Well it seems like things are only getting better
Well it seems like we can never catch a break

Just a keep a hold on me don't let go
If you float away, if you float away
Waiting too long for a ship to come
Don't you float away, don't you float away

Let's go to bed
Let's stop debating
Look at the time
We're always waiting
But we're in love
And that should be just fine

And if you like (and if you like)
and if you like some other time
I would like to introduce you to the finer things
If we survive (if we survive)
If we survive, get out alive
I'd like to say how beautiful I think you really are

Just a keep a hold on me don't let go
If you float away, if you float away
Waiting too long for a ship to come
Don't you float away, don't you float away

Island by The Starting Line

The Ultrasound

Jan. 11, 2010

What a crazy experience it was to see inside my wife's belly! Our first looks at our new baby boy, of course, came with a lot of questions. Michelle's were particular good at times.

(having already seen the picture on your left...) Michelle: "So, are you sure it's a boy?"

(and then later on...)
Michelle: "And you're sure there's only one in there, right?"

I think Mic was secretly wanting to have twin girls, for she is never one to be shown up, and her best friend Amanda had twin girls a couple of years ago. Of course, we're thrilled with Carter (especially me, first born son and all that...) but I know Michelle, and the cute-and-cuddly factor of both her and Amanda having adorable little girls would be right up her dorky alley. They probably would've dressed all FOUR of them alike just for kicks.

But as you can plainly see, we've got a boy! Carter is growing at the exact rate he should and his heart beat is right on target. There's not much more you can ask for at this stage in the game. I know Michelle is getting to know him very well, as he kicks and pokes and topples around. Last night we were watching an episode of Dexter and Michelle exclaims, "Holy crap!", grabs my hand, and places it on her belly. Carter is kicking like mad! He is a mover and shaker, but usually when I go to feel it, he calms down (kicks are reserved for Mommy, apparently...). But nope, he was still swinging away. My guess is it could've been the show. He was either telling us to stop watching something so intense in his presence... or he was telling us to turn it up.

If he's any son of mine, it was the latter.











Friday, January 15, 2010

Becoming a Mom ...

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a mom. I never felt compelled to be an astronaut, lawyer, doctor, etc. I spent my childhood growing up on a dairy farm. I did everything from climbing trees, jumping in piles of hay, feeding calves, riding my horse, and catching crawdad’s in the creek. Outside of that, I played with Barbie’s, dress up and house. However, thanks to my brothers and cousins I was exposed to a variety of “boy stuff” such as, He-Man, Lego’s, and several video games (my favorites being Mario Kart, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter and Tetris). Also in my childhood, my cousin Emily and I also discovered the wonderful technology of a video camera. I can’t even begin to describe how many videos we’ve made throughout our lives. Anything from stop animation, music videos, the classic E&M Show, and several puppet shows.

You’d think that with all of the things I was exposed to, I’d end up as a vet or in the entertainment business. At minimum, I would have some sort of drive to have some type of career in general. Uh, not really.... no. I have many interests however. I took 4 years of dance, drama, and choir in High School and I would give anything to be on the stage all day long. It’s where I belong and where my heart soars. Nevertheless, with my dream “occupation” of being a stay at home mom, there’s really no career that I could justify going into when the desire to have children is stronger than making money. Perhaps it’s because that’s how I was raised. My Mom was always there when I got home, available when I needed her, and constantly doing something amazingly creative in her sewing room. I’m not nearly as crafty as her, but my Mom was and still is extraordinary. Even to this day the “T-Rex” doesn’t give herself enough credit for how awesome she really is.

I guess I just love the idea of being the “stay at home” mom so that I could focus on the creative things I enjoy doing such as painting, scrapbooking, dancing etc. More importantly, I want to be home so that I could be an amazing wife and mother. Of course mom’s who work can still be amazing wives and mothers, but I’ll share a little secret with you. I hate working for “the man.” It makes me feel so worthless, and that I could be doing so many other wonderful things with my time. This world focuses too much on money as it is, and I never wanted to be a part of that. I also want to have the home where everyone feels welcome, loved and safe. I want others to know that if they're going through a difficult time, they know our door is always open as a place to call "home." All in all, it might sound lame, but that is my fairy tale.

Living in reality has been extremely harsh since discovering we were pregnant on September 20, 2009. I’ve come to realize that my “fairy tale” will be put on hold for a long time, which has been a bit hard for me to swallow. Living in MI has been difficult for everyone with the economy being what it is, and knowing that I will have to continue to work in order to survive flat out stinks. It’s not that I don’t love my job and would love to continue part time, but it’s the HAVING to work no matter what without any other option. I suppose “that’s life” but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

However, this is the happiest I've ever been in my life. Regardless of unexpected circumstances, such as the economy, my joy outweighs the negatives. I have a wonderfully kind and supportive husband that works so hard for our little family. Without him, none of my dreams would have come true.