Stick a pin in it!

I was asked once what happens when you run out of ideas? When you reach the threshold of your imagination? To which I responded; who says there’s a limit or an end?

I think just beyond the edge, that liminal point is never within reach if you don’t want it to be. It’s like in a dream when you run toward something and it never gets closer. A person who paints isn’t just going to run out of things to paint, a singer will always have a tune, a poets words will never run out. Not unless they choose to. Creativity in my humble opinion is like a muscle. Work it out and it gets/stays strong, ignore it and leave it unused and it will atrophy.

Neither Anne nor Valery questioned her sudden departure for a sudden last-minute American coastline cruise out of Nova Scotia. She blamed the Baylor incident and him being on bail, they didn’t need to know about last nights crazy backyard attack yet. She promised to be back by Sunday. A promise she had to keep since her job was on the line. Calls done, she took the phone out to Cal and went back to her room and spread the file out. Six pictures and descriptions. She could change the image but not the object itself. The car still had to be a car but any type would do as long as it was blue.

“Okay brain, let’s get creative.” She stared at the pictures, The blue car, the large apple, the square clock, an olive, the number 7 and the hand that had to be hidden and subliminal. “Tricky.”

Three hours later she stopped for lunch then went back to her room and skipped dinner. She came out four hours later no further ahead then when she went in that morning. Nothing was working and nothing looked right. Her mind was unsettled, she was at the threshold of creativity and she needed a break.

Cal stood with his arm up on the floor to ceiling window frame looking out at the great view of the lake from so high up. He had a fantastic profile and, she could see his shapely back and shoulder muscles though his blue shirt.

“How’s work?” He didn’t turn around.

“Fine.” She cleared her throat and sat hard on the couch staring at the black screen of the tv.

“You’re as good a liar as you are sweet-tempered.”

“I’m not normally so bitchy.”

He turned and looked at her. “Oh?”

“Well for starters I’m not usually assaulted then again a few days later. I’ve never run someone over with my car nor do I drive so recklessly. I also never lie to my friends.” She crossed her arms. “Until I met you that is.”

“I’ll put a pin in the usually. He sighed and sat beside her. “It was a stroke of luck that Baylor was at that bar. It’s not one that cops frequent.”

“Duh. It’s why Val chose it.”

“I’ll put a pin in that one too.” He narrowed his eyes at her pouty face. “Good luck or bad Sasha it’s as close as we’ve ever gotten to catching the guy. Even if I screwed it up. Now we have concrete evidence of his true nature, he broke bail terms within twelve hours and.” He stopped when she sighed heavily. “I’m sorry you’re stuck here with me.”

“It’s not you specifically. I’m just, it’s just a bad couple of weeks for me to begin with you just have terrible timing, Baylor has the worst possible timing.”

“I’m running out of pins. Let’s go back to the first. Why did you say ‘not usually assaulted’?”

She shook her head. “I hate talking to you, you pick everything apart.”

“It’s my job.”

“Right blue boy. So then you would know if you looked up my record.”

“Let’s say I’ve been busy and now I’m stranded in a hotel away from my desk, fill me in.”

“Is it important?”

“Yes.” He didn’t say why. It had nothing to do with the case.

“A long time ago I was assaulted by three men. I ended up charged since I hurt one of them badly and they all claimed he wasn’t in on the phony assault and they didn’t intend to hurt me.”

“What sort of assault?”

“Attempted rape.”

He relaxed. Attempted was better than actual.

“But because there wasn’t any rape and I don’t bruise easily they got off with community service except Bobbet jr. He pressed charges and I got community service. I was underage.”

Cal cringed. “Okay that is horrible. Next pin, why a bar with no cops?”

“Same reason for the bad timing.” She glared at him. “It’s none of your business and since it’s not public record I’m not explaining.”

“I’m not your enemy Sasha. You don’t seem the criminal type so what happened?”

“My ass-hat ex fiancée was a cop, you’re all tight in your little coppy groups. Therefore, I avoid all the old hangouts. I assume they’re all still the same since you guys never drop a habit.”

“That was seething with contempt. Should I start lumping you in with all blondes everywhere?”

She rubbed her face. “Point taken. Sorry. Like I said I’m feeling a little unlike myself lately and frankly you make a good punching bag.”

“I bet I do. I seem to represent all that’s wrong in your microcosm of self-pity.” He got up and went to the mini bar and came back with six mini bottles.

Sasha’s creative-block is self-inflicted and circumstantial.

My advice about Liminal.
There is no limit, no threshold to imagination unless you set one. Create away.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Over used and oft abused.

What happened to that guy?

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Liminal

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Two-faced phony-baloney

Fakers, liars and the pretenders. The people that move through life insincere and artificial. I’m talking about the ones that smile and say nice things to your face but then plunge the proverbial knife ten inches into your back the moment you present it.

From the mild emotionally damaging gossip to the all-out sabotage life altering warfare, the back stabbers hide behind deception and cruelty and thrive there. The two faced person can become very dangerous very quickly if provoked. Developing into a nemesis, enemies or villains. Even if they aren’t already.

Artificial people are opportunists and as a writer I present them with opportunity, which is key. Small moves at first leading and building to their grand finale. Whether it’s a side story to build the protagonists character or the main plot doesn’t matter. Someone who presents two selves to the world likely has an agenda, they are clever, tricky and tend to be very good at it.

Good choices for two-faced people

A best friend
Their lover or spouse
The neighbour
A boss
The sweet kind co-worker
Any relative the closer the better 

The list above is not set in stone, anyone can be two faced when it suits them, however in the interest of excitement, the closer the faker is to the protagonist, the better the drama and emotional fall out. A person like this has motive, they must have a good one or it wont make sense. Here is a list of some reasons for being two-faced.

Why the deception?

Jealous
Covets
Revenge
Aspiration or ambition
Love
Hate

Of course any reason for selfish behavior works. Make sure the reason behind their drive to be deceitful is clear. Amber can’t just cause Sasha to lose her job for no reason out of the blue.(Unless shock is what you’re going for. But if I did this I would write it well or it will be frustrating.) There has to be some hint or clue to the reader that Amber is up to no good, directly or indirectly. Whether or not Sasha catches on before it’s too late will depend entirely on whether or not it is part of her downfall to rock bottom, or part of her rise to stand tall and stop Amber from succeeding in her self-gratifying plot.

Sasha walked down the hall half-excited and half-nervous. Scott asked her to help him with the children’s shoe advertisement after hours. He couldn’t very well make them sexy and he was stumped.
She knocked on his apartment door, the diner he promised wafted to greet her as he opened the door. Aside from his method of getting this account he has always been nice, kind and flirty. Perhaps she should have tried partnering with him in the first place and not forced him to go behind her back?
Smiling at each other he stepped aside sweeping his hand for her to enter.
“Come on in Sasha.” His approving leer validated her decision to go home and change into something more casual and revealing. Straight to work, Sasha poured over his ideas and made notes and suggestions while he prepared the meal.
“Go on and make a draft if you want.” He tasted a red sauce and she wondered if it was homemade or canned. While he set out dinner she finished three options, pleased with herself she saved the files and sat at the dining table. Small talk. Sasha hated it. Despite them being co-workers she knew virtually nothing about the  handsome Scott Dekker.

He filled the silence with subject matter he enjoyed. He asked no serious questions about her or let her start a new topic. When he could, he touched her hand and smiled suggestively.
|Frustrated and unimpressed by the bland cannellini that was store-bought she glanced at the door. He was treating this like a date and her guard flew up hard and fast. He eagerly looked over her ideas with too much enthusiasm. The wine he drank might have played a part. Sasha was driving so declined.
“These are great, I can’t thank you enough Sasha, my ass is on the line over this account.” It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him not to backstab her again but she let it go.
“I should get going.” She headed toward the exit. “Thanks for dinner.” A complement was too hard a lie to tell.
He moved, put his hand on the wall, blocking her escape.
“Stay.” He brushed her long blond hair back. “To talk or whatever.” He leaned in to kiss her and she let him. Why not? The words fluttered in her mind like her eyelashes as he pulled her closer.

It was nice, butterflies flew in her stomach, a mild excitement stirred then fizzled. Scott backed off and smiled a cocky, victorious smile. It was all wrong and the flicker of anger in his eyes at her frown confirmed it.
“I’m sorry Scott, I don’t…” She looked around. “I can’t.”
“I know you’re attracted to me so what’s the problem? Is it because we work together?”
“No, no it’s not that.”
“Then what?” He dragged the back of his index finger down her cheek. She licked her lips. “I just… can’t.” Why not? Her mind screamed at her. He was hot and willing and other than they worked together there was no logical reason for her not wanting to. The problem is there was a reason.
“Goodnight Scott.” She opened the door and left quickly.
Scott breathed out hard through his nose and slammed the wall with the palm of his hand. “Stupid shrew.” He spat the words at the closed door. “I’ll win, yes I will. I’ll get you Sasha, you stupid little uptight celibate bitch.”

Are all two faced people bad? No, but it’s more thrilling to read about a deep personal interaction. In this Sasha is aware of the problem, her secret, the reason she shuts all potential suitors down. In her misery she sits comfortable and safe from whatever it was that might repeat.  I want her aware that Scott is up to no good, but not specifically what. Not yet anyway.

My advice about two-faced artificial people.
Boy oh boy can they cause some chaos. Embrace their destructive capabilities and run with it, have fun and let their evil grow.

-Sheryl

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Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Artificial