Monday, November 29, 2010

Icicle Man [Scene IV]

The Icicle Man (Scene IV)

Lights come up on a workshop – icicles and large snowflakes hang from the ceiling; various scissors and shears hang from the walls. Two elves are seated next to each other at a work table.

Leanna: Why is it that every time he needs supporting elves, we never get called? We’ve sat here how many millennia making snowflakes? I think we could use a bit of a holiday.

Matthias: That’s not our course. He’s got a grand scheme of things, he knows what’s best. And why would you want to spend time with the humans? Nasty, the lot of them. Always feeling, and doing, and loving. Enough to make you sick. How Jack’s done it all these years….the sprite should be a saint.

Leanna: Don’t let him hear you say that, he’ll be unbearable for the next thousand years.

Matthias: But it’s true. Admit it. If you had his power and his talent, you’d have done more humans in than Death – and he’s a nasty one, he is. Makes me glad I’m not mortal.

Leanna: And why, of all the things to have, Matthias, would you even contemplate being mortal to begin with?

Jack enters quietly through the shop door, across from their bench.

Matthias: (Embarrassed) I think it would be fun.

Jack: What would be fun?

Leanna: Jokul! How nice to see you. What do you want? (Glances at Matthias)

Jack: I need to speak to him. And what’s fun, Matty?

Matthias: Nothing.

Jack: (Looks between Leanna and Matthias) Right. You, Matthias, still need to grow a spine and, Leanna dear, let your cousin have his own opinions. He has a brain, you know.

Leanna: Wouldn’t think it for what comes out of his mouth.

Matthias: All I said/

Leanna: Shut it, Matthias!

Jack: Silence! (Flatly) I really don’t have time for a family squabble, entertaining as they are, and really do have more pressing things to attend to. However, because I’m in a good mood, I’d like to hear your idea, Matty.

Matthias: Thank you, Jack. As I was saying/

Leanna: Don’t be stupid.

Jack: (Leans across the table into Leanna’s face) I have not had the most pleasant of days, Leanna, and simply to make myself feel better I may take your favorite pair of shears, freeze them, and find a stone to smash them on. And then where would Father Winter’s favorite snowflake maker be? Or, if you’d rather, I’ll freeze you to the bench. (Leans further in and gently touches his lips to hers) Or maybe I’ll freeze your lips together for a few thousand years and Matty can have some silence. (Stands up) Don’t tempt me.

Leanna: You’re a horrible fairy, Jokul Frosti.

Jack: You’re pushing me, Leanna. Back off.

Matthias: Right. I said I thought it would be fun to be mortal.

Leanna drops her head to the work table; Jack cocks his to the side, contemplating.

Jack: Really.

Leanna: He is a fool, Jokul. A flaming fool.

Jack: How many times must I tell you I hate that name, Leanna? Say it again and I’ll freeze your shears.

Matthias: Why doesn’t it work when I threaten her?

Leanna: Because you’re not ruthless enough to go through with what you threaten.

Matthias: And he is?

Jack: Most definitely. I do not suffer fools.

Matthias: How have you put up with Leanna for so long?

Jack: Practice.

Leanna: Funny, Jack. Very funny. Why are you here?

Jack: To see Father Winter.

Leanna: About?

Jack: Nothing that concerns you.

Leanna: What you do concerns us all, Jack. It’s probably something foolish. (Jack looks away) It is. It’s something foolish.

Jack: Why does it matter to you, Leanna? It’s not as though you can leave the workshop. Not as though you have any other purpose than to make middling snow flurries.

Matthias: He’s right.

Leanna: Shut up.

Jack: Now, if you are quite done/

Leanna: He’s not here.

Jack: He’s always here.

Leanna: He’s not/

Jack: Not here here, but around. He is always around.

Leanna: Jokul/

Jack: When did you become his mouthpiece? And do not call me that, Leanna, or I will/

Matthias: Shut up, both of you. (At Jack) He’s here and he’s expecting you. Mother is with him, too.

Jack: (At Leanna) I would hide your shears unless you want to fashion a new pair.

Father Winter: (From offstage) Play nice, Jack.

Jack: You’ve been telling me that for years/

Father Winter: And you still haven’t grasped the concept. Don’t apologize; you’ll just keep on doing what you’ve been doing for millennia. Ah, but chin up. If you had suddenly been nice, I’d have thought the humans had finally done the trick.

Jack: That is what I wish to speak to you about.

Father Winter, Matthias, Leanna: Humans?

Jack: Yes. Father, I met a human/

Father Winter: This one is alive still, I hope.

Jack: Yes. And, well, she made a wager with me. A challenge.

Father Winter: Go on.

Jack: She challenged me that I couldn’t be human.

Leanna, Matthias: She?

Jack: And I wish to prove her wrong. (Looking at the ceiling, where he thinks Father Winter’s voice is coming from)

Father Winter: And how do you wish to do this? I assume you have an idea, Jack.

Jack: (Nervous) I do. I do, Father. I – IwishtobecomehumanforatimesothatImightwin. (Silence) Father?

Father Winter: You…You wish/

Leanna: You disgrace! You – You sorry excuse for a pixie! You’re a/ (Screams behind lips that are frozen together)

Matthias: He did warn you.

Father Winter: Are you sure, Jokul? You will need everything a human does – a home, a living, money. You will need to do everything as a human would. You must leave nothing out.

Jack: Yes, I know, I/

Mother Summer: Jokul.

Jack: (Winces) Mother.

Mother Summer: Are you sure, dear? Being human is not easy. It is quite painful, truthfully.

Jack: I know. (Ignoring Leanna’s outraged, muffled protest) I mean, Mother, that I have witnessed it. I have seen birth, death, and much in between. I have witnessed joy and sadness. I wish to experience this. I wish to win this challenge.

Mother Summer: This human girl has insulted this with you.

Jack: I wish to show her she is wrong. I wish to win.

Mother Summer: Be wary of being too focused on your goal. Being human is more than simply emotion.

Jack: Yes, Mother.

Father Winter: Converse with Matthias while your Mother and I discuss what you have asked.

Jack: (Easing down next to Matthias) Well, at least it’s quieter now.

Matthias: Yes, it is. (Turns to Leanna) Stab me with those and I’ll cut off your hair in your sleep.

Jack: (Chuckling) You are almost as bad as I am, cousin.

Matthias: You don’t live with her. You don’t have to put up with it.

Jack: I think I would go mad. Absolutely mad.

Matthias: Well, yes/

Father Winter: Jokul.

Jack: Yes, Father?

Father Winter: Your Mother and I have decided to grant you your wish. You will be human until the first of the nymphs appears bearing your Mother’s early tidings. Then you and your human challenger will decide who has won.

Jack: Yes, Father.

Father Winter: And you will abide by whatever rules you have set for this challenge, including the correct consequences to the outcome.

Jack: Yes, Father.

Mother Summer: Remember, Jokul. You wished for this.

Jack: Y-Yes, Mother.

Mother Summer: There’s a good boy, Jokul. And as you’re bound to be in some pain in a few moments, you may want to wander back to where you’ve left Mari.

Matthias: Mari/

Jack: Mother – Oh. Ah – Ow. (Quickly exits through the shop door)

Mother Summer: Oh, my dear. You are in for a treat.

Matthias: Mother? Do I/

Mother Summer: She’ll be fine until Jokul is finished with this challenge. Then we’ll let them sort it in their own way.

Matthias: Yes, Mother.

Mother Summer: Be of assistance, Matthias. Leanna will need your help.

Matthias: Yes, Mother. (Turns to Leanna) If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask. (Gets up and walks out of the shop door)

Leanna screams behind her frozen lips, pounding the workbench in frustration as the lights fade to black.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

All That I Am

I'm a writer. If three scenes of something called Icicle Man and however many parts of Murphy and Me we're up to at the moment hadn't clued you in, you've been living under a rock for about a year and a half. Or maybe just the half. Either way, it's pretty damn evident that I like to write fiction, and I think (hopefully without sounding arrogant) that I write well.

But that's not all that I am.

I am also a sister, a daughter, an aunt, an international, a woman (or young lady, or, hell, some days I'm still a kid at heart), a coffee lover, a tea snob, a traveler, a blogger, and a member of the world at large. I was also a soccer player, too, and still am an avid follower of sports. I'm into theater, too. I like musicals. There's more to me than just being a writer.

I bet there's more to you, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's your blog, and I'm not going to tell you what to put on it or in it or whatnot, because I wouldn't want someone to try and do that to me. I'd probably snark at them. We all start blogs for different reasons. And I have nothing against book reviews and blogs that help you become a better writer. I think that's great. My writing's not perfect (probably nowhere near, truthfully) and sometimes it's really helpful to have a place that you look to for answers, other than the ones you might pull off the internet or out of textbook. It's nice. It's like leaving a question in the comment box and then checking back later to find that someone actually answered you instead of letting you wallow in your own confusion.

The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is that, well, most of you - and I'm going to stick to being as general as I can because I know what it's like to be singled out unawares - are teenagers. And, if I remember back to a time not too long ago, I was one, too. There were some pretty interesting things happening in my life at the time. I was in high school, going through classes and generally thinking that I hated AP, ACE, and anything that had to do with the prospect of graduating by a certain number. I was also trying to query my first manuscript, the thing I've been working on (and am closer to finishing, but haven't gotten there yet, damn it) for six years.

Namely, there was a whole 'nother level of me ready and waiting to have a spin at the wheel. Granted, I didn't start blogging seriously (though, if you can call some of my posts serious, I'll send you some truffles) until the tail end of my first year of college. Mostly because it was something fun and mostly because, well, I see the world a little differently. Not just because I'm a different person than you, but because, well, I have this theory that if you stripped away the superficial stuff, you'd find that a lot of the real world problems are my problems, too. Just worded differently, if you will. With a different set of consequences.

That and I needed an outlet to generally rant about life when it got to be a little too much, and I don't surgarcoat things. Someone once upon a time called that refreshing.

I think what I'm trying to say is that no matter how interesting the book you're reviewing is, the person behind the blog is probably far more interesting than any made up character could be. Mostly because someone has to make them up. It takes a certain amount of courage (stupidity, too, in some cases) to blog about yourself to the general internet, and it looks really scary. It's like life, though. People are nice, and people would also just as soon add insult to injury, if they could.

We've seen one side of what you are, maybe let us see another side. A different side. The side that says, bring it on, world. I'm ready. Even, well, when you're not ready. But that's half the fun, really. And that's how you grow in more ways than one.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Icicle Man [Scene III]

The Icicle Man (Scene III)

Mari is wandering through the great hall of Jack’s ice palace, all glittery and shiny with ice and snow, though she does not shiver. There is a curious statue in the corner of and a marble fountain covered in ice of a man and a woman surrounded by elves and nymphs.

Mari: That’s funny. And creepy. Much like him, just chucking me in the hall and telling me he’d be back after he saw someone he hadn’t seen in a long time. It almost sounded like he missed her, or whoever it was. Could be a her. Could be a him. Elves aren’t picky, are they? (Pauses, eyeing the statue in the corner: a woman on her knees, head bowed) Or maybe they can’t love. Because they can’t feel. But why keep a woman frozen, unless…No. This – This must be the woman who was rude to him. And I thought he’d only told that to frighten me. But – But he… (Looks around for Jack. He is sitting on the rim of the fountain, hidden from her current view) I need to go. Before I do something stupid, preferably, like offend him by accident and he decides I’ll make a nice centerpiece for his table.

Jack: Just how big do you think my table is, dear?

Mari: (Muttering) Of course he’s here. (Louder) Bigger than mine, at least.

Jack: Anything’s bigger than that pine chip in your cottage. (He comes out from behind the fountain) Oh. You found the statue.

Mari: Yeah. Who is it?

Jack: Oh, no one that you know.

Mari: I guess. I didn’t see her face.

Jack: Some things are better left unseen, dear. Trust me.

Mari: You ask me to do that a lot, you know. Trust you.

Jack: (Innocently) I’m a sprite. What’s not to trust?

Mari: (Motioning around her) Everything.

Jack: Well. I see. Have a seat on the fountain, dear, and I’ll be right back. (Strides off stage, muttering and twitching)

Mari sits on the fountain and cranes her neck to see the faces of the man and woman.

Mari: He looks familiar, now that I think about it. Like I’ve seen him before, in picture books. A man in long robes with a sweet face, cheeks red and nose always cold. And he’s sometimes with a woman. She has a crown of flowers in her hair, dressed in green and brown. Earth tones. Like summer. (She stands on the fountain basin to get a closer look) Oh. That’s Mother Earth, Mother Summer to some, and Father Winter. The elves are his to help him create the snow and ice, and the nymphs are there to help Mother Earth when spring and summer come. This is Vixen, Mother Earth’s chief herald and helper, so where’s….Where is Father Winter’s?

Jack returns with a box he places gently on the fountain basin ledge.

Jack: Amusing yourself, darling?

Mari: Why aren’t you on here?

Jack: I’m arrogant, dear, not egotistical.

Mari: (Lowering herself to sit on the bench, mindful of the box) You built this?

Jack: We pay homage to those who created us.

Mari: He’s your father?

Jack: (Snappy) I never said that. I said we pay homage to those who created us.

Mari: So you’re not related?

Jack: We do not operate as mortals. We do not have the same rules.

Mari: Obviously. We have some and you don’t.

Jack: (Annoyed) Listen with your ears, Mari. We do not have the same rules does not mean we are lawless creatures.

Mari: (Slowly) Really? Then what about her? What rule did she break? (Pointing to the statue in the corner)

Jack: (Flinging the box away as he stands) When someone offers you the chance to not freeze to death through simple kindness, you take it! You do not scorn him because he comes to you in the guise of an old man, bent and broken. Her heart was always as cold as the ice I lovingly shape.

Mari: How do you know?

Jack: Like calls to like.

Mari: What am I doing here, then? I don’t have a heart of ice and snow.

Jack: (Patiently) You, dear, are one of the piper’s children.

Mari: (Frustrated) You keep saying that and I don’t know what it means. I know my mother. I wasn’t taken as a child.

Jack: And your mother?

Mari: No! No, you’re grasping. There is nothing in me that should call to you.

Jack: Why, Mari?

Mari: Because I don’t freeze people for the hell of it! I don’t trick them into coming to palaces of ice out of misplaced manners. And I’m not a damned piper’s child!

Jack: (Flatly) Piper’s child.

Mari: Screw you, Jack Frost. I want to go home. I should have been back by now and my mother/

Jack: Knows where you are.

Mari: What?

Jack: Your mother knows where you are.

Mari: And she just let you walk back out without a fight?

Jack: She, unlike you, knows more than well what I am capable of. (Leans in close) And what I can do if truly provoked. Frost so thick you’ll be either stuck inside or out. And those poor pigs, with the ground so frozen to bury them if they die. Don’t think I won’t. Push me, Mari, and it might not be you I snap at.

Mari: (Backs up and turns away) Why me? (Turns) Why me, Jack? And don’t say/

Jack: (Flatly) You are one of the piper’s children. (Mari screams in frustration) And I am the icicle man. Like calls to like.

Mari: I’m human! You, you are the one that brings the frost and kills those too weak to weather the coming winter! (Stalking closer to him) You don’t feel. You don’t feel anywhere near what a human does and you probably couldn’t if you tried.

Jack: What did you say?

Mari: (Drawing herself up) You couldn’t be human if you tried.

Jack: Is that a challenge, dear?

Mari: Yes.

Jack: What do I get if I win?

Mari: (Shrug) I’ll believe I’m a piper’s child and take whatever place I’m supposed to. If I win, my mother and I don’t see you ever again.

Jack: Truly ever, dear?

Mari: Ever, Jack.

Jack: Just to play human?

Mari: Be human, Jack. With everything that includes. Every last stupid emotion and human meaning.

Jack: (Grinning fiercely) Lovely, dear. I’ll take that little challenge of yours.

Mari: Fine. (Holds out her hand)

Jack cackles, leaning forward to kiss Mari’s neck. She screams; the lights plunge to darkness)

"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz