Apr. 2nd, 2017

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Personally? I like that nobody reads my LJ anymore. It means I no longer have to worry about anything I write here making any sense whatsoever. My thoughts are the patter of rain. Intelligible only to me.

I have to figure out a way that my imagination is not enslaved by all those ridiculous articles I’m compelled to write for feelthy lucre about transvaginal mesh mass torts and similar faux arbitrage lunacy.

I also have to stop logging on to FB so much as I'm trying to write. A little more difficult that it should be because Jim made me an administrator of the Sooper Sekrit group, and much as I may grumble from time to time, I actually think the Sooper Sekrit group is on to something. So I want to take my administrative role seriously.

###


Coda 1: Ybel and Danny stoned on acid. Danny leaps from the window. Ybel jumps.

###

Coda 2: Ybel jumps to some point in her life she’s never jumped to before. Significant in some way. (Significance may need to be dumped into Draft 2 through foreshadowing.) Before the scene at the Russian Tea Room.

The scene at the Russian Tea Room

Ybel grows up; the memories of past lives grow dimmer until she comes to believe they’re some kind of complex delusion. She goes into therapy about the delusions. Her therapist is called DeTomasso; the two have an odd conversation in which it seems to Ybel that DeTomasso seems to know about the delusions.

She is wary about three things: the Buttercup Bakery, people called Danny and Anna, the song Que Sera Sera.

Reader loses him/herself in what appears to be a conventional novel about Millennial angst. (Reader is supposed to forget he/she read Coda 1!)

Until, by an unexpected sequence of events, Ybel takes a job at the Buttercup Bakery and a coworker named Anna jumps out a window at the same time that Pink Martini’s cover of Que Sera Sera comes on the radio.

Ybel jumps.

End of Chapter One.

###

Coda 3: This is the backstory::

A body in motion stays in motion. Until it hits the ground.

So much was true in every iteration. In every when.

But the other details?

Those fluctuated so much that sometimes Ybel found herself hoping – no, believing – that this time things would be different.

But they never are.


(This is a slightly rewritten version of the opening lines of the novel -- which the reader is now reading for the second time.)

###

In most iterations, the commercial establishment on the ground floor of the building where Ybel lived was the Independent Driving School. Sometimes, though, it was a combination adult book store/peep show venue. Twice it had billed itself as a tax preparation service.

Sometimes it was Danny who jumped; sometimes it was Anna. Most of the time, Danny was an elfin young man, short and slim, with swoonishly long eyelashes; Anna was solid and blockish, dyed her hair blonde, liked edgy makeup and earrings recycled from industrial machinery.

But sometimes the phenotypes reversed themselves.

###

In every iteration, Ybel met Danny and Anna at the Buttercup Bakery, which was always famous for its carrot cake.

Sometimes, the Buttercup was a jazz club. Twice, it had been a nationwide franchise with the slogan, “Enjoy Your Vegetables!”

In one and only one iteration, the Buttercup had been a shack on the shores of an immense blue Pacific Ocean. There’d been an earthquake – the Big One survivalists and geologists were always nattering about – and it had taken out all of San Francisco. That was the one and only time Ybel had gone back and found things… different. The beginning point was still the Russian Tearoom on W. 57th Street, right down the street from Carnegie Hall, but the weather even in New York was muggier and George Miles had been wearing seersucker. That scared her; she spent the subsequent 12 years in a kind of psychic karate crouch, more easily spooked than ever.

In that iteration, the Buttercup sold tropical rum drinks with paper umbrellas. And carrot cake.

Most of the time, the Buttercup Bakery was an upscale eatery in the rapidly gentrifying Rockridge district in North Oakland. But a handful of times, the district had not been gentrified, was still the rough neighborhood that had grown up around the traprock quarry where basalt was mined, crushed, and shipped to form cement foundations upon which the shimmering cities of San Francisco and Santa Rosa towered, and the Buttercup was a diner where working men came for coffee and doughnuts.

So far as Ybel knew, the Buttercup, in all these iterations, only sold a single piece of carrot cake. To one of the quarrymen. Still half-drunk from the night before.

“What the fuck is this?” said the quarryman, stabbing at the vegetable strands in the brown cake with his fork.


Segue into the usual events – Danny insists on accompanying Ybel home from work. He leaps out the window. This time, though, a police detective shows up right away. His name is DeTomasso. Before she can summon Que Sera Sera, he shoves an oversized hypodermic syringe into her arm.

End of Chapter 2.

###

After that, the plotting gets hazy.

DeTomasso, of course, is a government agent of some sort who has identified a group of people who have the ability to travel in time – though in a limited capacity. They can only ever travel back into the past. And they do this by leveraging a particular sense – for most jumpers, it’s a smell, but for Ybel, it’s a particular sequence of musical notes – that evokes memory so strongly that the memory literally carries them back into the brain of a younger version of themselves – but with all the memories of the other lives they’ve lived. And every iteration involves different scenarios though certain basic elements remain the same.

So obviously we need some kind of boot camp where Ybel learns to harness her abilities.

We need to figure out what the significance is of the elements that remain the same from iteration to iteration.

We need a logical way for jumpers to identify one another.

And we need a Big Bad that casts a very long shadow.

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