Evolution of a Story

Fremont St, NV; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

Fremont St, NV; Photo Credit: Doree Weller

It always fascinates me how stories evolve over time.  I got the idea for what would eventually be Lost Vegas around 2005, at the last writer’s conference I went to.  It was long before I started this blog, but I had an idea to start a blog and put up a “serial” story.  I’ve revisited the idea several times, but the fact is that I’m just too lazy to do it.  That requires discipline, and time… two things I lack.

In any case, some elements of the story stayed the same over time.  Rebecca hunts monsters, and Kevin is the computer geek who helps her.  Rebecca is small, with brown eyes and brown hair.  But that’s pretty much where the resemblance to the original story ends.

I had actually written around 20,000 words of a different version when I realized it wasn’t quite working for me and mostly scrapped it, starting over.  In total, I have about 10 different versions of this story.  When I finally started getting to know Rebecca and Kevin better, the story followed them.  Scrapping the story wasn’t actually as hard as I would have thought, since I was really focused on making it the best version I possibly could.  I never could have imagined when I started what this story would turn into.

Lost Vegas is the story that I’ve entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest.  I’ll know on March 18th if I’ve progressed to the next round of judging or not.  Keep your fingers crossed for me or send positive vibes into the universe.

On The Road With The TV Guy

by The TV Guy

UnknownI recently went to Vegas to see Further.  The room had the pungent aromas of sweat, tobacco and various strains of “medicine,” as it is now known in the west. The crowd has not changed much in the past half-century and the music has never been better. The band is a wondrous menagerie of old and new, reinterpreting many of the Grateful Dead standards. Bob Weir and Phil Lesh are the front men as they are the only two original members of The Dead in Furthur. There is one stand out in the band, who brings to life the portions of the songs that were once played by Jerry Garcia. Kadlecik fronted another band called Dark Star Orchestra that played Grateful Dead shows in their entirety, as close to the original as possible. Kadlecik is having the time of his life playing with men who he simply emulated for so many years. I met Kadlecik after a show in 2011 at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas; he just walked out into the casino after the show and talked to fans.

The first of two shows opened 10/1/2013 at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. The renditions of Truckin and New Minglewood Blues were great, but the showstopper was Kadlecik on guitar in China Cat Sunflower into I Know You Rider. This is likely the best “Rider” I have ever heard live and the flawless artistry on Bertha and Hell in a Bucket were dead on, and dare I say a bit livelier than the band’s front man Jerry Garcia, who died in August of 1995. I would be shot by the faithful for saying such a thing, but he is a master of his craft. Maybe it is the quality of the acoustics and technical expertise at the Palms and Hard Rock Theaters as I agree that a quality sound makes for a better show, but if he was off I think we would really hear it in a venue like these. He is not a replacement, but a masterful artist and technician of music he loves to play. The energy is different; it is not the Grateful Dead but a respectful homage to what was one of the hardest working bands in American music.

Maybe Next Year

DSCN3647I was supposed to go to Las Vegas to visit with friends in a few weeks.  I was really excited about it as I only get to see this particular friend once or twice a year, as she lives in Pennsylvania, and I’m now in Arizona.  But then… one of our cats got sick, and after a really expensive trip to the emergency vet’s office, I realized I had to make some hard choices.

I also had planned to go to Alaska this year.  My husband and I have been talking about that trip for a few years, and we never seem to get around to planning it.  “Maybe next year” is the refrain.

For some reason, last weekend, I had a bit of a breakdown, and I realized that I couldn’t tolerate the thought of going someplace urban.  I work in Phoenix, and I’m tired of buildings and blacktop.  I want to see open stretches of natural stuff, be it trees or icebergs.

That’s when I realized that I couldn’t give up going to Alaska this year.  I couldn’t spend one more year putting this off.  I live in a suburban, quasi-rural area, and I have a backyard that’s an oasis.  But I need to get away and go somewhere with fewer people.  I need to recharge, and I just can’t do that at home.

The last time we’d been on a vacation was… November 2005.  We went to the Bahamas, and I lost my voice the day I got there, had to cancel snorkeling and swimming with the dolphins because I had such bad bronchitis (and no medication) that I couldn’t breathe.  We’ve been away on mini-trips for a few days, but this will be the first week that we’ve gone away together in a long time.  I couldn’t cancel it.

So in two weeks, when we were supposed to be in Vegas, we’ll be home, doing projects here, going to see the B-52s in concert, and probably ordering in.

And in a few months, we’ll be going to Alaska.

I’m tired of “maybe next year.”

Vegas Vacation

Last week, I was in Las Vegas on vacation.  A couple of my friends go there every year on vacation, and since I moved to Arizona, I meet them there.  We drove up, and anytime I drive through the desert, I’m struck by the beauty of the desert.

While we were there, I did a little gambling, a little drinking, a LOT of eating, and a little walking.  We stayed at the Palm, and that hotel is way different than anything I’ve seen before.  The gambling area is small for a Vegas casino, with only maybe a dozen table games.  At the pool, I got my first inkling of what was different.  As I looked around, I noticed that the pool had 98.6% attractive people.  Shapely women posing in fashionable swimwear.  Scruffy men with expensive sunglasses drinking beer talking to other men and scanning the pool area.  Never in my life have I seen so many pretty people gathered together in person!

Suddenly, what everyone told me came into sharp focus.  People go to the Palm to see and be seen!  While I could have chosen to feel out of place, I instead decided to enjoy the show.  I was definitely the only person at the pool who dipped underwater.  Who wants to get their nicely styled hair wet?  That’s not why you go to the pool!

The highlight of my trip (other than seeing my friends) was Fremont Street.  We went out specifically to get a picture from the spraypaint guy.  Most of what he was doing this time around was an interpretation of the Vegas strip, and I didn’t want that.  He was nice enough to make a custom order painting for me.  His work is amazing!  Here’s a picture of my picture.

The drive home seemed much longer than the drive up.  My theory is that when you’re going somewhere, the excitement carries you through.  On the way home, you just want to get home.  While it was nice to sleep and not get woken up by meowing (my dogs are too well-behaved to make more than rustling noises at night), I did miss all of them.

You know what the good witch said… “There’s no place like home!”