the lost manuscripts

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The Lost Manuscripts: The Tooth Who Didn’t Want to be Cleaned

Published July 12, 2018 by admin

Eh, it’s summer, let’s have some fun. I haven’t done a lost manuscripts post in forever (you’re heartbroken, I know). Thankully I found a giant box of stuff to go through during The Culling last year, so I’ll have material for a long time. For those not in the loop, this is where I dig up stuff I wrote as a kid, transcribe it, and put my spin on it now. It’s every bit as terrible and horrific as you’d want. So, without delay, let’s take a look at the classic story of learning responsibility, a story longform enough that I actually bound it as a kid (with staples! So classy!) I present to you: The Tooth Who didn’t Want to Be Cleaned. (note, I’m also correcting most of my spelling/grammar errors, because I wouldn’t even do that to myself. The last page is really weirdly phrased, so I’ll leave that mostly as is).

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It’s important to note that NOWHERE else in the main book does this tooth have hair, so obviously she’s wearing a wig to escape a sordid past and this is actually a coded espionage title. Clearly, she wants to be a bond girl and her bad attitude can be fixed by love and understanding. Or something. I’ve slept through a lot of Bond films.

Obviously there’s also a reason I didn’t grow up to be an illustrator. Anywho, let’s begin. (No worries, I didn’t take pics of every illustration in this thing, because no one needs to go through that).

Once upon a time there lived a tooth named Julie. She didn’t like to get cleaned. Every time the flouride rinse, the toothbrush, and the floss would come, she would hide. 

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Obviously, my handwriting hasn’t improved much since I was 9. Also, I included this just because I have no clue how she’s even hiding. Is that a tongue? The mouth? Gums? Dental tools, guys, SHE’S RIGHT THERE! DO YOUR JOB BETTER! Maybe she figured out a way to be invisible. Sneaky Bond girl Julie. I also like how I had no idea what to do for flouride so it turned out looking lke a cup of punch or blood or something just being flung toward the general area of the mouth. Which is pretty much what I thought of mouthwash back then, so it checks out.

All the other teeth tried to get Julie to stop hiding, but it never worked. One day, Julie found a hole in her. “Oh great,” she said. “Now I have to go to the dentist!”

Julie’s like 90% more chill than I am when I have to go to the dentist, but Julie also only has to worry about herself and not the strange hellscape her entire mouth can be, unlike, uh, some people.

When the dentist tried to fix the hole, Julie hid. “Julie,” the dentist said, “please stop hiding or else you will rot and fall out!” Then Julie came out and let the dentist fix the hole.

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Ok, is the dentist fencing? Why is that drill SO HUGE? I’d had cavities by that point and wasn’t really freaked out, so WHERE did this come from? Was it too dangerous to get close? Was the dentist afraid Julie would kill her? I mean I’d be freaked if a sentient tooth took herself to the dentist, too, but the lady doesn’t seem to be that ruffled. Is she giving her a sci fi spy implant while she’s fixing the cavity!? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Now Julie has never hid again. As for all I know, now she has never had another hole in her again.

Well, that’s a relief, but I’m still left with questions. Was she a baby tooth? Did she fall out anyway, making her whole life futile and this title more of an existential thing? Did the dentist give her cool spy gadgets? What did she do with her invisibility power? What about the espionage? COME ON, JULIE, YOU HAD SO MUCH PROMISE. Sigh. Some things I guess are too powerful for us mere mortals to know.

So yeah, 9-year-old me’s take on dental care. Brush your damn teeth or else an anthropomorphic tooth will take it into their own hands to drag you to the dentist and become a spy. Or something.

I’ll let Julie sign off from here (Seriously, she’s a supervillain! She’s back with the wig again – WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOU, JULIE!?).

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2nd Look: Dropping the Mask and Exposing the Spirit

Published September 15, 2017 by admin

What can I say – I’m back from vacation this week and the wireless has been cutting out on me. At any rate, I wanted to do a second look at this post, because I think it warrants it. It’s probably the only serious post I’ll ever do under the Lost Manuscripts tag (usually reserved for horribly illustrated stuff I did as a kid, hilarious school projects, and pages of my angst journals). I’m also getting back into Jung, and everything seems to point to that sort of undercurrent lately: Clarissa Pinkola Estes keeps showing up in my social media, The Unwritten series with the whole Leviathan symbolism, and I was given a copy of the reader’s edition of The Red Book last Christmas (still working through that beast). My fascination with this kind of thing is fairly personal and probably goes back to my teen years. It may even go back to this very project.

So, without further adieu, click here to read all about that time I did a gigantic 2 volume school project on my personal interpretation of the masks people wear in society. And my parents wondered why it was hard for me to date as a teen…

 

The Lost Manuscripts: Dropping the Mask and Exposing the Spirit

Published May 27, 2015 by admin

Typically The Lost Manuscripts is my tongue-in-cheek time where I share old childhood stories with terrible drawings, bits of the odd angst journal, something to that effect. This time, though, I’m actually going to be serious.

I know, right?

I mentioned in yesterday’s post the anthology project I had to do for my high school senior English project. Basically we had to include so many pieces of work that met so many different criteria that could fit under the same theme. Circumstances being what they were that year, I may have thrown myself into the project. I think I probably went a little overboard with my personal responses to every piece and I opted not to use footnotes (I was still getting used to the word processor we had at the time), but the whole thing ended up being two volumes. Heh. Yeah, overachiever much?

At any rate, what floors me now is what I chose for the theme. This was very much on my mind all that  year, more so in the latter part, but still…for a seventeen-year-old this was ambitious. I can’t remember what other kids did, but I remember realizing how either over-the-top I was in comparison or just how far off the path my mind tended to go.

My theme ended up being Dropping the Mask and Exposing the Spirit: a Personal Anthology

I wanted to take a look underneath all the roles people were playing, the roles people saw the world through, and the roles I was attempted to play to see what was actually underneath. Through literature. I’m pretty sure I was inspired by the John Milton quote : Eas’d the putting off these troublesome disguises which we wear.

I was either the most ambitious seventeen-year-old for miles or one of the most arrogant. Vote’s still out on that.

At any rate, digging for material and discovering my personal thoughts on it helped me continue through some difficult months. Obviously I’ve kept this monstrosity, and it still helps me from time to time. It reminds me of what my core beliefs are, what my inner interests are. That’s the thing: I truly, truly believed in digging down and finding the beauty under the surface of every aspect I was exploring. I still do.

Since most of this is copyrighted material and some of my personal responses are still fairly personal (and why use up possibly bloggy content all at once?),  I’m just going to post the story list that I ended up using, as well as the introduction I wrote. The section breakdowns are also mine, which takes us back to insightful and possibly arrogant teen thing.

 

 

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 At least I was a crafty, arrogant teen! It's a mask that opens up and exposes the spirit - get it!?

Delving In: Starting the Journey

Invitation by Shel Silverstein

Placing My Hand Into Yours: Acceptance of Ourselves and Others:

The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut (chapter involving Luke meeting/not recognizing Yoda and Han and Leia finally dropping their pretenses)

Demeter by Bernard Evslin

Many Waters by Madline L’Engle (chapter involving Yalith trying to determine what her feelings are for the twins, also goes into the shifting abilities of the Nephilim and Seraphim)

Around the Fire: Stories and History of Our Elders

May Sarton: Selected Letters 1916-1954

Sketches from a Life by George Kennan

New England Years: a Journal of Vermont Farm Life by Muriel Follett

A Home in the Woods: Pioneer Life in Indiana: Oliver Johnson’s Reminiscences of Early Marion County as Related by Howard Johnson

Pulling Back the Curtain: Seeing Creation With New Eyes

Stillness After Rain by Keach Hagey

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

Everyone Knows the Dragon is Only a Mythical Beast by Eric Wikramanayake

I Am Cat by Jane Yolen

Seeing is Believing: Truth in Fantasy

Once They All Believed in Dragons by Jack Prelutsky

A Pilgrim’s Search for Relics of the Once and Future King by Caroline Alexander

Seeing Past the Surface: Finding Inner Beauty in Overlooked Ideas and People

What is Success by Ralph Waldo Emmerson

A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’m Guilty but I didn’t Commit the Crime (peer-written poem by a friend of mine)

Allerleirauh or the Many-Furred Creature edited by Judy Sierra

Skin Deep: The Fat Dancer’s Tale by AC Crispin

Follow the River by James Alexander Thom (the gauntlet chapter)

Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Butterfly Woman chapter)

Granted, because a lot of these had to follow so many requirements (Indiana author, so many nonfiction, one from personal archives, and on and on), I did do a little stretching. Still, each had transformative elements and alluded to either a hidden nature or our ability to gloss over the real nature of things in favor of the surface. I recommend each and every piece, though, and I definitely read every single thing in its entirety on this list and loved it.

My Introduction to the whole shebang is as follows. Please be kind and remember I was still a kid…

Throughout history, masks have been an important contribution to our culture. They have shown up everywhere: ceremonies of religion and medicine, holidays and festivals like Halloween and Mardi Gras, theater, and even literature like The Phantom of the Opera and Masque of the Red Death. They are enjoyable and sacred to many different cultures.

However, there is another type of mask that we all put on daily. I am speaking of the emotional fronts all of us tend to put up in order to hide our true selves. Being a teenager, I am quite an expert. For whatever reason we choose to wear them, masks give us a certain sense of protection, but they can also impair us emotionally. We cannot see clearly through our eyeholes, so our sense of what is around us is distorted. Sometimes masks cause us to trust others less and become more secretive. Even we cannot see ourselves clearly anymore.

There are times that we need to look at who our spirit really is, appreciate it, and then drop the mask to show the world. This action wil improve self-esteem, as well as help us to see through the masks of the world around us. I have recently been able to drop my mask, and have decided to do it more blatantly through this anthology. I have become open to a world that I only saw bits and pieces of before and have learned things about myself that I previously had no idea of. All of the pieces in this book relate to different types of masks and disguises that one comes up against, and why these should be removed. I will also discuss how these pieces relate to me personally and talk about the things I have discovered about myself while reading the different works.

It is my hope that the reader will not only enjoy the different selections, but also contemplate how they relate to him or her, personally. I hope that they will take away not pain from any revelations, but a sense of comfort in what they have discovered in themselves and the world around them.

***

I’d usually poke immediate fun at looking back at old work, but honestly, I agree with most of this. Aside from a bit of teen arrogance and stilted style, it ain’t bad. I’m kinda amazed I had the balls to do something like this, given that I also had to read parts of this to the class as part of the assignment. I’m pretty certain that I chose the theme somewhere toward the middle of the year if I remember correctly. I had begun looking through work early on, but couldn’t decide on a theme, so I made a list of everything I liked up until I could figure something out. The subject had fascinated me long before I had my attitude change moment that year. There’s also obviously a huge amount of influence from Clarissa Pinkola Estes here, too. I mean really, bless my baby Jungian heart, dude! The fact that I even attempted this is awesome! Still, I can definitely see this as a personal ‘screw you, normals,’ to an extent, a moment of taking a stand to celebrate all the things I liked just for me for once in my life. That was huge – finally, finally I was saying what I really felt, and doing it just for me.

While I’ll admit to the playing conversations up or talking loud or being stupid to get certain people to look my way because, yeah, that always works and never backfires, people had this odd idea that the things I liked: drawing, Star Wars, and probably music and theatre now that I think of it, were ways for me to get people to like me. While I wouldn’t have minded being a little more popular or some actual attention from the opposite sex, I can honestly say that I really didn’t think ahead that much.  I hate to tell those people, but I was just that much of a geek and shy. My bad that I wasn’t that manipulative.

No wonder I was pushed to the point where this was what was on my mind. I vaguely remember getting to a point that I just wished that I could sit down with people and feel like I was talking to the actual person. It’s not like I went to school with a bunch of pod people aliens, but I think that on the whole, we’re conditioned to give certain answers to certain people and act a certain way throughout our day, maybe even to ourselves. That kind of thing has always been frustrating to me, and at that point I was tired of having those same assumptions that I was playing a role or had an ulterior motive leveled at me.

It was liberating, exploring the themes and starting to get below the surface of what I actually felt and wanted, as well. While I’ll never be a professional Jungian (there are teams for that, right?), it’s an area that continues to fascinate me and always will. I love archetypes and metaphor, and it’s intriguing and inspiring that I was willing to put that much effort into this sort of thing that early on. Yay, seventeen-year-old me. You were awesome.

The Lost Manuscripts: Jan the Snow Lady

Published December 22, 2014 by admin

Yeah, sorry. What can I say, I find all sorts of stuff when I’m digging through The Vaults. And since it’s not looking that I’ll have a white Christmas, I’ll just let me grade school past self wax poetic about snow.

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Jan the snow lady is cold and eats carrots. She is big and she likes me. And I like her.

***

One, it’s amazing how much more this looks like in my giant grade school handwriting…geesh. Although there are still days I’d be relieved to get out that kind of word count. Obviously this is one of my first forays into winter fantasy or I was very much influenced by a certain TV special that had recently aired. I also can assure you that there’s no way to make the quality of that illustration better and this is why I don’t do my own covers. I’m amused that apparently even as a kid I was all about changing my hair color back and forth. I’m not quite sure what Jan is wearing, or if the blue is like a winter stylized art choice.

I’m also not sure why there are portals or vortexes around us, but apparently if you feed Jan the snow lady enough carrots she turns into a faceless terror and summons the rest of her kind from the great snowy beyond. Maybe that’s what the Northern Lights are…Jan the great Snow Terror reaching out to her brethren across the Void, alerting them that we are fresh for the plucking and that we have carrots to appease their treacherous kind. Maybe I was even thinking of all the flying snowmen in the other animated snowman special…maybe they all fly from their Snow Dimension to claim the carrots and our very souls as they morph into faceless winter nightmares that would squash dreams of sugarplumbs under their icy feet…

Yeah, I’m sure that’s what I meant. Totally. It’s amazing how much hindsight makes these things so much better.

The Lost Manuscripts: Tom the Turkey

Published November 30, 2014 by admin

And you thought you’d escaped this! As I’ve been trying to get organized (ha) and attempting to clean (bwaha), I’ve unearthed some fabulous artifacts from my early writing life

So of course the only option for this is to use it to humiliate myself, obviously. For those who aren’t familiar, every once in a while when I’m cleaning (or bored), I resurrect a little written snippet from my early years to torture the masses with.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here’s a little gem that must be from elementary school. I’ll spare you and type up the text, because my handwriting has never been fabulous, even less so when I was learning to use it. It’s untitled, but it’s got my flair all over it

Plus, unlike the others….this one is illustrated. Run while you can, folks, I’ve got a whole folder of this stuff.

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I have a turkey. My turkey’s name is Tom. He is fat and he will be eaten, but he will run away.

The End.

I’d forgotten about this obvious stage of my writing career that bordered on nonfiction (except I’ve never had a live turkey in my possession that I’m aware of. Stranger things have happened, though).This is also obviously the start of my modern art career, because it took me the longest time to realize that that was a person standing beside the turkey. I’d forgotten how involved I got in my illustrations, just like I’d forgotten how I used to run all my words and letters together without any spaces. (Thank God this thing wasn’t longer – it took a decent amount of time to decode it).

Nevertheless, you can see the beginnings of my weird Lovecraft/creature streak here by the fact that I obviously own a monster turkey that has been zapped by radiation, judging from the feathers. And judging by the strange top hat and monochromatic dress, obviously I have facilitated the turkey overlord’s passage into this world.

Heh, that’s right, innocents. You can try to eat this turkey, but he will run away. He will run where no mortal shall seek save those who are loyal to him. He will run away and lurk until the time is right and the stars are aligned…then we shall see who shall eat the monstrous gobbler, Then we shall see the cranberry sauce flow crimson as the Truly Thankful scream for their blessings. We shall see who shall reserve the right to mention the Feathered One. He of the Giblet, that whom you commonly refer to as “Tom.”

Obviously, I’ve eaten way too much, if my new Sunday night hobby is to re-interpret my kindergarten scribblings as horror stories, but hey, new hobby?

Guest Post: Herika R. Raymer

Published November 8, 2012 by admin

Today Herika R. Raymer is back, and talking about all sorts of awesome things! Inspiration, genre writing, editing, and the fabulous cooperative Imagicopter – it’s all here! I’m in awe of all the things Herika is involved in (and does so very well at), and I can add from experience that if you are a writer or artist, you want to check out Imagicopter. It’s a great concept and has been a great experience for me so far.

So join me and let’s see what Herika has to say!

***

Greetings and Salutations! Thank you Selah for allowing me this opportunity, truly! Well, I will try to make this Guest Post as interesting as I can.

My name is Herika R Raymer and I write speculative fiction in addition to being an editor for a horror anthology. Writing speculative fiction, from what I understand, means that I write across genres – mostly science fiction, steampunk, horror, and fantasy. I am currently dabbling with microstories (stories under 200 words) and flash fiction (stories under 1000 words), and have found it a rewarding challenge. I can say that most of my stories are horror and fantasy, as that seems to be what I am most comfortable with. Though I find it amazing that most genres cross a lot more than initially anticipated. I have noticed a lot of science fiction is also horror, and that fantasy can be dramatic as well as horrific. I can say that steampunk is definitely my favorite. For me, it is difficult to write, however I do love reading it!

How do I think up a story, or what is my inspiration? Depends on what I am experiencing at the time. I could be reading, watching a movie, listening to music, driving, or just daydreaming and something will click. Unfortunately, I do not always have a pen and notebook handy – yes I write long-hand as well as electronically – and some stories do get lost. The weird thing is that often they recur in my head, so I sometimes get a second chance. It is wonderful when that happens, because sometimes the sequel is better than the original. Writing is difficult because, once the story is done, then comes the proofing and finding a possible venue. I have always found that submitting stories is akin to auditioning for a new job. I am always nervous, pensive, and anticipating the response. It is discouraging when I get rejections, but the elation I feel at an acceptance helps keep my spirits up. One thing I will say for getting rejections, it has lessened my fear of the word ‘no’, and has given me bravery to try new things even in my non-writing life.

To find a selection of anthologies my stories are in, please visit my website at herikarraymer.webs.com

I am also an Editor for a horror anthology known as ‘Cover of Darkness’, available from Sam’s Dot Publishing. Being an editor has helped my own writing, and I do recommend becoming a slush reader for a publishing company – if they will let you. It is grueling work, I will not lie. You will see great stories, good stories, okay stories, and downright stinkers. However, what you glean from the good and greats helps you in the end, I believe. I became an editor after I met with, submitted stories to, and talked with the managing editor of a publishing company at a convention. He first assigned me to be an Assistant Editor to three anthologies and the task was to read the slush, pick out the stories I would recommend to publish, and then provide my reasons as to why. The same went for anything I was not impressed by. Once again, my reasoning must have been satisfactory because I was eventually promoted to Editor of ‘Cover of Darkness’. I make it sound like it happened fast, but this took time, and I still have to prove myself. If I start slipping, then I am sure another will be found to replace me. I also offer critique when and where I can, and simply hope that the writer does not take offense. It is amazing how many ‘thank yous’ I have gotten for taking that extra step. Other editors warn me that I might burn out from doing that, since you cannot help everyone and some people do not want help – not to mention it is time-consuming. They may be right, but I treat each story as I hope to have my own treated. If it is rejected, I would really like to know why and what I might do to improve it. My thinking is that I cannot be the only writer who thinks that way. A list of the ‘Cover of Darkness’ anthologies I edit for is also on my site.

I have more direct experiences with my geekzine ‘Imagyro’, available for free download at http://www.wix.com/imagyro/home. I usually have to put together most of the articles, but thankfully I do have some regular contributors. However, assembling the magazine still takes energy and I have to say that my experience with ‘Cover of Darkness’ has definitely helped.

What is ‘Imagyro’? It is the geekzine for the voluntary cooperative known as Imagicopter, comprised of authors, artists, and hopefully soon musicians. ‘Imagyro’ features interviews with the participants of Imagicopter as well as articles on conventions, book signings, and other possible venues like fairs as well as book and movie reviews. On the whole, Imagicopter’s goal is to raise awareness of local talent by offering lesser known talent a means to get their product in front of a larger crowd by use of networking and helping to promote one another. It is voluntary, free, and participants are free to leave whenever they choose. Unfortunately, it is not a publishing or promotional agency, so it does not guarantee sales or even an increase in presence. However, it does try. You can read more about it at the Imagicopter site just look it up on Google and go to the Wix site!

I have been with Imagicopter since its beginning, and have been amazed and delighted at its growth. I sincerely hope it will continue to grow and continue to help its participants. We are still in the ‘under five year’ stage, so we are still learning. Only, I do not think there will not be a time when we are not learning. Find us on Wix and on Facebook, ask questions, we would be happy to answer!

I hope you found this guest post informative, and thanks again to Selah Janel!

The Lost Manuscripts: Halloween Edition

Published October 31, 2012 by admin

HA! You thought you were safe…well I’ve saved this horrifying tale for the scariest day of the year!

This may be one of the most beautiful things my young self ever wrote, so take heed, grab someone for safety and moral support, and dare to read my chilling tale.

This little gem came from an assignment where we probably had to write something spooky about trick or treating or something that happened on Halloween. At that point in life I’d already gotten talked to by my parents about taking assignments too literally (I believe the week before we were asked to write our epitaphs or something and I vaguely remember writing something very serious that put my mom into tears, so this was probably overcompensation so I wouldn’t have to relive that moment ever again). This looks to be around ten years of age if I’m counting right.

Untitled Terrifying Halloween Tale

by young SJ

Hello, my name is Selah. This is a story about the spookiest Halloween ever. It all started when I was trick-or-treating with my friends, they tried to scare me half to death. They told me horrible ghost stories. They made frightening noises. They kept saying there was a monster around the corner. I was not scared. I had never believed in ghosts and monsters since I was little.

The night was dark and spooky. Shadows greeted us around every corner. The darkness was like a big, spooky shadow itself. The wind was howling and screaming into the night. My parents had told me not to stay out to late, but I forgot all about them!

All of a sudden, I had an idea. I ran into the darkness. I covered myself with mud and tree branches. Then I jumped out and yelled “Booga, booga, booga!” My friends ran screaming into the night. I laughed myself silly. My friends were sissies! But, I knew I should apologize.

Suddenly, I heard a screaming noise. I shook with fear when I saw a real, live ghost! A blood curdling scream came from my mouth. I turned and ran back home. I was right on time too. Now you know why this was the spookiest Halloween ever!!!!!!

***

See, I told you it was terrifying! You can tell it’s a school assignment because I didn’t change my name’s spelling (I had this idea at that age that if I changed just one letter no one would ever know I was inserting myself into my stories!) You can also tell that this is an assignment because I made the point to say that I apologized – this would go back to my mother checking my work and I didn’t want to get in trouble again, although I also added in a bit of street cred because there was no way I was allowed to trick or treat by myself (this was back in the day when you could be out all night and wander through the neighborhoods like pack animals). The booga booga booga was probably a phrase fixation of mine at the time.

So now I need to turn this into a legit horror story and somehow find a way to make the booga booga booga believable…hrm…I do like a challenge.

Anyway, Happy Halloween Everyone!