To move forward often means we leave things behind. Some of those things are the result of the hormone rush of becoming a young adult human being. The numbers show that more than 85% of young teenagers go off the rails in one way or another (it’s probably higher, but . . .). So I’m not alone in some of the things I did when I was young and wild. Did I smoke? Yep. Just smokes? Nope (whether that’s true or not is a privacy issue – blat!).
And the result of that one stupid decision to front up to my peers with the tail of smoke to show how grown up I was?
Decades of addiction to the poisonous gases that emit from those shiny white sticks – that I willingly sucked into my lungs to burn and scar the delicate cilia with the job of clearing my air intake of impurities. Burned them off, scarred and damaged and destroyed – millions of them, just so I could ‘face up’ and have the right ‘look’ for the in-crowd.
I know now the result of peer pressure, the need to do the things that enable the ‘fit’ with the clique, the absolute desolation of being on the outer.
Because that’s where I always ended up – there was always something that excluded the person from this group or that group.
One thing I remember so well (we always remember the things with the powerful emotional blast, don’t we?).
I met up with three friends and we decided to do something speccy (that’s ultra special, if you didn’t use it as a teenager, or you don’t know Aussie rules football). So we snuck into the pine forest and broke into the workers hut to steal (you guessed it) cigarettes.
But we didn’t smoke them right off. The ‘boss’ of the group decided it would be safer and better if we separated and met up again in a particular location. Of course, she took the smokes we stole.
And I turned up at the designated spot. And waited. And waited. And waited. Until it got dark (persistence is something that has stayed with me). When the time came to decide to move, I also decided to walk past the group’s boss house. Sure enough, they were all there, smoking on the front porch. They laughed and pointed, made words that cut and burned as bad as a lit cigarette on my skin – which is something they did as part of the initiation when I first met them.
End. The lesson was learned. That was the push that sent me on my way to being more solitary. But the smokes – that was a hook that kept its barb in my skin and psyche for decades; until very recently, in fact. I still dream about them (smokes, not the group). But I remember the group and the lesson and the cruelty that comes from clique of exclusion. Being wild is one thing, but cruelty simply for the sake of it is a sign of something much deeper, much worse, and I won’t be part of that.
And that’s the end of my warm-up exercise.
Today begins the serious business of first stage edit process for A Dragon Dream. I’m doing it differently this time: each scene is analysed for the following-
POV – where are they; location (thru POV); movement and action through sensory words; who is where; journey from begin to end – what changes? consequences/decisions/actions/not; what does the reader learn? Are the jigsaw pieces falling into the right places (the pieces in the right place to produce the bang and wrap)? What are the challenges to MC traits?
And after that, I’ll go back and check for dialogue and . . . . . . . another journey begins.