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Alison Alexandra

Alison Alexandra Rubs Shoulders With The Golden Globes

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I have had a fascination with the musical instrument, the Theremin, for decades. A Theremin (named after its inventor) is an electronic musical instrument, invented in the 1920s-1930s, that is played not by touch, but by the movement of hands next to metal rods. It produces eerie sounds, something like a soprano at the top of her pitch.

For Christmas, someone I know got a Theremin as a present.  As sometimes happens in my current manuscript about Alison Alexandra, an event in my real life (regardless of how distantly related) will creep into Alison Alexandra’s life. She’s a gal open to many suggestions.

Now, had the present been a guitar or a clarinet, they would have held no interest for me. Although fine instruments both, they would have held no interest for Alison Alexandra, either. They are not exactly common, but neither are they exciting enough. Alison Alexandra has a bit of an edge to her.

But, because I already have some history with Theremins, and Alison Alexandra was embarking on a new chapter, it seemed to be a happy and musical experience.

So, I have done a more-than-usual research blitz on the instrument. Learning things I did not know. Listening to the surprising number of excerpts on the internet. But, as is often the case, also finding a number of contemporary references.

The Theremin was an instrument that fascinated a deceased author colleague of mine.

The son of a friend has actually made a Theremin.

The Theremin is used in the soundtrack of the British Television Mystery Series, Midsomer Murders.

And, most recently, a Theremin is used in the soundtrack of the movie The First Man. This movie has just won the Golden Globe for best Original Score.

Now, I’m not sure if Alison Alexandra is actually going to attempt to play the instrument,  but it certainly is going to hit some high notes in her life.

[Where to learn lots about the Theremin] https://www.carolinaeyck.com/theremin/

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It Was NOT The Person From Porlock On The Phone

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My elevator pitch for my current work, There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Rocks Were Not So Smooth is “In Xanadu, did Alison Alexandra / a stately pleasure dome decree”. Stolen whole cloth from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his Kubla Khan.

So, I was startled awake this morning by a ringing phone. Just rang once. I have been attempting to write a dialogue between three characters in a pub concerning a dish of poutine. Although I did not exactly leap from my supine position to write the following, it was damn close.

I look upon the incident as a gift from the Backward Gods of writing.

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Excerpt from: There Was A Time, Oh Pilgrim, When The Rocks Were Not So Smooth

“I’ve not had that,” says Bridget. “What is it?”

“A heart stopper.” says Amanda.

“Pretty well,” agrees Alison Alexandra.

“They start with a big effing pile of French fries.”

“Excuse her French,” says Alison Alexandra.

“And then they pile on cheese curds and smother that with gravy.”

“Smother,” agrees Alison Alexandra.

“Then they check your pulse and let you go at it.”

“They don’t really do that,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Maybe not,” says Amanda. “But I bet they have a defibrillator handy.”

“Probably,” says Alison Alexandra.

“Well,” Bridget smiles. “It sounds as if a pitcher of draft will go real good with that.”

 

(image)https: //cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/6uyEgzZ9ByVTIyKBCsu3gSNZaKM=/4×0:996×558/1600×900/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/39119842/wendys-poutine.0.0.jpg

 

Truth And Drink With Alison Alexandra

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The woman straightens with enough speed to lose a few drops of her conversational whiskey. She looks at Alison Alexandra in surprise and appreciation. A translucent mask is peeled from her face. She is animated. Her eyes are expectant.

“You are new here.”

“You’re the observer.” Alison Alexandra smiles.

“But I never say what I really see.” The woman finally takes a real drink. “None of us do.”

“But you come up to me – with your observations.”

“In truth -”

The woman stops. She realises how rarely she tells the truth. She is startled that she is about to do so. She is apprehensive.

“In truth, it is on a dare.”

“Someone has dared you to ask me?”

“Actually, a number of people have put money in a pot to see if this will happen.”

“To approach me?”

“Yes.”

“How much am I worth?”

The woman raises her glass and laughs. “A bottle of Scotch.”

“Good Scotch?”

“Not really.” The woman is apologetic, yet she laughs. “It’s not that calibre of party.”

DE

(image)https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/92/c8/a9/92c8a9d4112b23627fd7c39a07440c35.jpg

Alison Alexandra and Harrison Ford Cast Off Lines To Get To Sea

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Alison Alexandra, the main character in my current Work in Progress, is about to set out on a sea cruise. She wishes nothing as boring as a Cruise Ship, so she is going on a freighter that has room for twelve passengers. She gets accommodations as comfortable as the ship’s officers, plus decent food and some entertainments. The drawback – which she does not consider a drawback – is that she goes where the freighter goes as it drops off and picks up cargo. Not necessarily fancy ports of call.

Alison Alexandra has just spent my week of writing watching the business on the dock as the freighter gets ready to cast off. For this scene I have stolen (and greatly altered) an incident that happened to me. I hear that’s what authors do, but it seems a rare situation for me.

I previously described what happened to me those many years ago, and do so again. Alison Alexandra is actually watching a crewman named Ellerton do what I did, when I stopped a submarine from running amok.

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Harrison Ford And Me

In 2001/02 the movie, WIDOWMAKER K-19, was made, much of it filmed in Halifax harbour and out on the nearby ocean. It deals with submarines and an in-ship disaster, staring Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson.

I was not aware of this when I visited Halifax. I went down to the waterfront and went along the boardwalk. It was very foggy on the water (which it can be without having much on land). I was exceedingly surprised to see, looming out of the fog, a submarine next to the wharf. There are submarines in Halifax, but they are berthed at the naval dockyard a couple of kilometers from where I was walking.

It took a couple of minutes to realize that it was not a naval submarine (no markings). What was happening was that the submarine was being turned by a couple of tugboats. I read later that each side of the same submarine was altered differently so, in close ups and aerial footage, it could appear to be two different submarines.

However, there quickly appeared to be a problem. From the shouts and gesticulations of a man on the wharf, I found out that one of the mooring lines had not been cast from the wharf. The submarine was being pulled away from the dock, but it was still attached. It was a gigantic and thick mooring line, and I do not know what damage would have been done to either ship or dock.

The man was yelling to another man on the deck of the sub, who had a bullhorn and in turn was bellowing to the crew of the tug boat. However, nothing was heard over the roar of the engines (tugboats have powerful engines). The man on the wharf was trying to lift the mooring line from its post before it got too taut to move. I ran over and helped him, and we managed to get it from the post just as it started to be pulled into the water.

Of course I watched the movie credits closely, but I was not mentioned.

No famous movie actors were involved in this incident.

DE

(image)https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3f/Mooring.jpg/200px-Mooring.jpg

Alison Alexandra Knocks Hell Out Of Her High School Reunion

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So, Alison Alexandra is invited to go to her 20th high school reunion. Because of a few years as a fashion model, she is deemed the “most famous” of her class.

The author wonders who she is going to meet. And what is going to happen. Alison Alexandra demands more than ordinary. Through sundry meetings and back story (told in the present), these folk end up at her table.

Big Stakes Gamble – at the time of her high school tenure, he was a Motor Mechanics teacher. He is retired and now runs the only B&B in town. Alison Alexandra takes accommodation in his establishment. They decide to go to the reunion together. When they arrive, there is a name tag for her, but not for him. Alison Alexandra makes him wear her name tag. There are comedic results. {Also, in all this, the author found out name tag is two words}.

Betty Dragger – a fellow graduate of Alison Alexandra’s who was once married, but has pointedly reverted to her birth name. She carries her own bottle of olives to adorn her drinks of gin.

Ed Keen – he attended the high school only one year. But that happened to be the year his father was imported into the town to shut down the major employer. He has even fewer pleasant memories than does Alison Alexandra, who was (to quote her) “Bored shitless.”

Lee (short for Louise) Keen – wife of Ed, who has never been in the town before. She can ask questions and fill back story. She has no trouble holding her own with four people who share something she hasn’t.

The author did not know who was going to be sitting at this table.

Ya know – he had a hell of a good time.

DE

A Year Goes Past And The Writing Continues

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(image)http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-O43_czTkQ_I/VCFhPJYIfII/AAAAAAAAKHM/yq9FuImgLDI/s1600/SPOFEC-RR-Ghost-Tune-160.jpg

A year ago I started (returned to, actually), writing something every day.

“Every day” is not exact, and perhaps not even wise. I have settled into six days a week, with a day (Thursday) off. When advised to write every day, a writer should know that they should write regularly, at least four or five days every week. And try for a decent amount of time per day, at least one to two hours. Find a rhythm that works and stick to it unto death.

I began last year with the intent of finishing my novel, a thriller called The Bonner Prediction. That I have done, and edited twice. One more edit remains. That should be completed in a couple of months.

However, in the intervening year, I returned to a story I had started in the previous year. It’s genesis was less as a short story, and more of a character sketch. By that I mean my main interest was to write solely about this particular character which, other than for my novel about Franz Kafka, I don’t believe has happened to me. Setting was also well-established. Other than that, I follow the character, Alison Alexandra.

Alison Alexandra is taking me on a wild, unplanned and exciting ride. It is some of the most purely enjoyable writing I have done. Fifty or so pages so far. Obviously not a short story, but I don’t know to what extent it will go. Alison Alexandra is chock -a-block full o’ surprizes. Today she is taking a ride in a Rolls Royce “Ghost”. Oh – what will happen?

So – let me tell ya – write every day. 

I wrote the following a year ago.

Perhaps my creative stream is bubbling away

I did not plan a New Year resolution. What I had planned was to write something on my current novel the first day of the new year.

This is also not planned, but – so far – I have written every day of the year except two – one a travel day, and one a deliberate ‘take-a-day-off-day’. I am two or three chapters from the end of thisThriller. I have not written fiction so steadily for months. I hope it keeps on.

This is the part which I do nor know is related to my writing situation.

I have never dreamt about any of my writing – never. I know many artists dream about their work, get ideas about their work in dreams and such, but not me. So, I did not have a dream about my writing. However, I recently awoke from a dream where I was talking to my publisher. She said I should do another book of short stories about the Elephant. Is that close?

And, finally, the incident below. On Twitter, I came across an announcement of a restaurant/bakery in Calgary. The Corbeaux. This means The Ravens. They have a store sign which has noted similarities to one which I have described in a manuscript. And you can see their sign in this photo.

https://fbexternal-a.akamaihd.net/safe_image.php?d=AQCKukhRj63heHlL&w=470&h=246&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftoquesandtruffles.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F12%2Fimg_8531.jpg%3Fw%3D1200&cfs=1&upscale=1

And then you can read what appears in my unpublished second Satan novel, where ravens play an important part.

Perhaps my creative stream is bubbling away.

From Places Of Evil

Mr. S. does rehearse what he plans to say to Breeze, both while he waits for the taxi, and then in the twenty minute ride to her restaurant. He is surprised Dorkas and Caleb made as such little protest. He suspects they agree with his concerns about the twins, even if not enthusiastic with his solution.

Mr. S. has the taxi stop a couple of blocks from the restaurant. Breeze has installed a new sign, and she wants his opinion of how effective it will be attracting customers. Although he helped – at her insistence – to choose the design, he has yet to see the finished object.

He walks along the street, pretending to be someone looking in shop windows for a gift. He actually wants to purchase Breeze a celebratory present, but that is for later. He tricks himself enough, that when he finally does look up at the sign, it is with a degree of surprise.

Breeze has not purchased a painted sign, as he had supposed. The design is similar to the ones they discussed, but she has not chosen an image imposed upon a wooden background. Instead, there are carved and painted shapes jutting from the front of the building, parallel to the wall.

A thick piece of wood, chiseled into the shape of a tree top, is attached over the lintel. Two branches sprout from the trunk of the tree, which tapers to an uneven and jagged tip. At the very top, a life-sized carved raven sits, its head tilted up. On each of the protruding branches sits another raven, their bills open as they look at each other.

Nailed to the bottom of the tree, a metal chain hangs to the door, holding a wooden sign printed in Old German script. It announces the name of the restaurant: The Hungry Ravens.

“As black as black can be.”

Mr. S. hums as he walks across the narrow street. He has reservations about her sense of humour, with this reference to the ravens. Their unfathomable connection to the work of the Organization, and their role of `familiar’ to Satan’s intentions, are beyond – in his opinion – the wryest of humours.

As he steps toward the front door, he notices a more subtle change. Breeze has sand-blasted the brickwork facing the street. The dark red hue enhances the outline of the tree and its occupants. They look as if they are silhouetted against a sunset.

DE

Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka) Begins To Live

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Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka) began her paged existence over a year ago. And then she rested for a year. And then she returned, if not exactly demanding, then more than pleased to have a new name.

She has acquired a whisky-drinking new friend and an accelerated interest in sailors. She meanders into the past, not at a whim but certainly at her pleasure. She has two military grade binoculars and looks out to sea with her new, whiskey-drinking friend. They both admire the sailors they see.

Alison Alexandra is about to embark on a relationship with The Mission To Seafarers. I say  she is about to embark, but she really has been doing so for years. She just decided to let the author know. She might even fly the flag of The Mission To Seafarers over her house upon the cliff looking out to the harbour and the sea, even though it might not actually be legal.

Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka) is having her progress described through tweets as the days and – one suspects – weeks pass. She finds this a tad rude but – it must be admitted – allows her author a broad degree of leeway.

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Dale Estey @DaleEstey Dec 1

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) does not know if she wants a second chapter, or a new short story.#writing #character

  Dale Estey @DaleEstey Dec 2

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) ponders the beginning of a new day … over the centuries.#writing #character #storytelling


Dale Estey @DaleEstey Dec 4

Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka) has an unbidden naughty story to tell. Should she? #write #storytelling #sex


Dale Estey @DaleEstey Dec 4

Alison Alexandra (one time known as Hermione Kafka) decides to utter her unbidden naughty story. Why not? #write #storytelling #sex

Dale Estey @DaleEstey 1 day1 day ago

Alison Alexandra (known once as Hermione Kafka) is not the focus of her naughty tale, though its source.#write #storytelling #sex #character

Alison Alexandra (known once as Hermione Kafka) is innocent in her naughty way. There is but one truth. #write #story #truth #character


Dale Estey @DaleEstey 3 mins3 minutes ago

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) is propositioned at a party. She ponders source and reply. #character #storytelling #writing

Alison Alexandra (once known as Hermione Kafka) enters a strange conversation with a stranger. Leading … where? #character #story #writing

DE

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