Untitled Writing Project – Excerpt

I typically don’t edit while writing. I apologize for any errors.

My father first showed me a military base when I was ten. My brother and I were able to go see them because he had special clearance. It’s this whole little city under this giant one. That was when I first fell in love with the idea of the military. All of these people were fighting for the greater good. It was a lie, but I was ten. I didn’t really think beyond what I saw. I didn’t think that these people were just mice in a maze designed by someone else. My parents hadn’t explained the recruitment process to me yet. I don’t think my mother ever thought she would need to. She just assumed she would be the last.

The tunnels became the easiest way for the military to travel under D.C. Civilians were no longer allowed to use the subways in any of the cities. They were all turned into military bases. D.C. and New York were our strongholds. Los Angeles, along with most of California, was destroyed in The Fall. My grandmother used to tell us stories about this great city with everything you could ask for. She swam the oceans and hiked then beautiful deserts when she was a kid. The Fall happened when she was ten. Most of the state is a burial ground. My great-grandparents died in The Fall. Living to see your child grow old was not something my family had experience with.

We were protected underground and it was fun being the mold people. You got used to the oxygen that was pumped in via tanks. The air quality isn’t exactly ideal above ground either. The trains were gone, but the tracks still remained. We travelled along them. It was the easiest way for us to remember our way.

We pass three first year recruits watching the feed. They watch as a reporter stands in front of DC’s hanging field. Three men stand on the base of a truck. A noose hangs around each of their necks. The truck pulls away. The three men dangle.

I turn to Diaz. She is visibly angry.

“Hey,” she yells. “Turn that off and get back to work.”

The men notice her stripes and immediately return to cleaning the area.

Three hangings for the month is actually pretty low. Execution days are not easy on anyone. They suck for Callie. I hold back until Stevens and the other recruits have passed. I lightly brush her shoulder and keep walking.

© Yvonne McDowell

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What I’m Reading: Saga

Saga is what happens when Zoe and Wash from Firefly have a baby and have an entire series devoted to their domestic adventures. It is hard classify to Saga into any particular genre. It is based in a universe where a neverending war has two worlds, a planet and a moon, as mortal enemies. The reason behind the war is never really explained. The war is merely the backdrop of a Romeo & Juliet love story being narrated by the couple’s adult daughter.

Alana and Marko are opposing low level soldiers. Alana is tasked with guarding Marko and eventually falls marries him. The series opens with the birth of their daughter. They are a couple on the run, but still desire to put down roots and raise a family. They have bounty hunters, nosy reporters, and a very unusual prince on their tails. Still, the family dynamic remains the focus of the story.

While I think my Firefly comparison is pretty on point, creator Brian K. Vaughn has gone on record as saying that his work was inspired by Star Wars. He did not want to tell the tale of the noble people fighting the empire, but the everyday people who still have to live their lives despite a never-ending war happening around them.

Vaughn’s storytelling is just as appealing as it was in Y: The Last Man. He has a way of crafting original stories that will appeal to fan boys just as much as the casual comic reader. That said, the true success of the books lies in the artwork of Fiona Staples. The characters are all relatable despite being “alien.”

I am particularly impressed by the choice to have our earthly idea of race play a part in the story. While it would have been very easy and expected to have the characters occupy a homogenous race or color, Staples and Vaughn chose to feature two female leads who are women of color. That should not be the most interesting thing in a universe occupied by a giant robot prince and rocket trees. It is not, but it still provides an interesting discussion about the roles women of color play in the comic book genre.

I devoured the entire series in a weekend and I look forward to the further adventures of Alana and Marko.

Volume 1 Cover Art

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Writing Sample

I wrote a thing. It is not fleshed out and it is part of something much longer, but I wrote it and here it is. I hope the six or so people who are reading this enjoy. I haven’t had time to edit. I apologize for any mistakes.

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The water splashes on my face with a sting. Fresh water is a luxury military recruits had to give up long ago. We can drink it, but not bathe with it. We get the recycled water. It’s a nice way of saying piss. It’s been treated and filtered, but it is still piss. The country gave up trying to find new sources of fresh water thirty years ago. They realized that they could recycle water and make it almost like new. Almost because anyone forced to use it has to use soap filled with lavender just to get the slight sent of piss out of her hair. I feel just as dirty after the shower as I did before it.

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Good Grief

I promise that this blog won’t be 100% downer all of the time. I do, however, want to introduce myself and why I chose to start it. My name is Yvonne. I’m 32 and I have been accused of having no direction. I have two advanced degrees, but I am not particularly passionate about either field. I really like watching movies and I really like discussing legal issues, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working in a film office or as an attorney. I discovered these things while I was close to finishing my Masters and JD.

My mother was my very best friend. She was had me when she was only 18. She died in April. I’ll just say that Lupus sucks and leave it at that. Her death did not really help with the whole lack of direction problem. It only caused me to sleep for twelve hours at a time and only leave my house for my soul-sucking job. It was all just as sad as you think it is. I also have severe anxiety disorder. The occasional panic attack would pop up just to spice things up.

My grandmother, a woman who makes a block of granite seem like silly putty, had an idea after helping me deal with one such panic attack. She said, “Write a book.” That was all. There was no indication of what this mythical book should be about or how a screenwriter was just going to sit down and start writing book. It was one sentence that was not thought out in any way. Writing a book is a massive effort that takes a tremendous amount of skill and dedication. I can’t even manage to finish writing the Smallville fanfiction I started in 2002.

It was the best advice I was ever given. I am writing a book. I am also starting a blog while I am writing this book. I always look for new and exciting ways to procrastinate.

I am interested in a lot of things and this blog will cover all of them. Scratch that. I’m fairly interested in porn, but this blog will definitely not cover that. I am a southern, black, fat, over educated, underemployed, single, perpetually anxious, thirty-something woman currently learning how to cope with the lowest point in her life. These things all inform who am I, but they don’t define me. That’s me. I am fairly average. Come join me on my random musings and tales of my misadventures.

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