Saturday, August 20, 2016

Ghost Writer

Ghost Writer

Tracy walked into the room where the book club was being held and she took a deep breath before doing so.  The punch bowl looked enticing, but she declined to get any punch because she thought that there might hot cocoa for the club members there also.  This was no ordinary book club.  It was a book club for ghost writers.
     The members picked out an unfinished manuscript from the slush file and tried to patch it up by making it publishable and marketable.  Many of the literary bodies of work needed a lot of work put into it.  That was understandable though because even the best of authors were going to run into writer’s block and end up shelving their unfinished work.
     At that meeting Tracy picked out a novel manuscript and made an extra print out of it after acquiring the electronic version.
     “Hey, great to see you here,” said Molly, who was the book club organizer.
      “Yeah, I thought I’d stop by, since the last time I was here, I couldn’t decide on which manuscript to work on,” said Tracy.
     “Well you’re welcome to start working on the one you just picked out.  We’ve got a lot of computer terminals that no one is using,” said Molly.
     “Sure, I can do that.  You seem to have most of the manuscripts on file in each computer terminal.”
     After about two hours, Tracy had some assessments about the story that she was going to help ghost write.  Molly came over to check on Tracy.
     “What seems to be the trouble with the one that you’re working on?  In fact I know that the author that the one belongs to, has just about given up on ever finishing that manuscript,” said Molly
     “This manuscript is entitled The Trouble Within.  It’s about the murder of an innocent young woman in a town called Cornertown.  Now the woman that everyone is pointing the finger to had a lot of run-ins with the young lady that got killed.  The young woman’s name was Stacey Malone.  She was somewhat of an heiress, so there were reasons why somebody would have wanted her killed, like to get a hold of her money,” Tracy said.
     “Tell me more,” Molly encouraged.
     “Marion, the one everybody is pointing the finder at, really had no reason to kill Stacey.  This is so because Marion (although she didn’t know it) had more money than Stacey ever had.  The thing was that Marion’s mother only gave her just enough money every month.  Nobody knew about Marion’s financial relationship with her mother, so everybody assumed that Marion didn’t have much in her change purse,” continued Tracy.
     “So, are you going to fix this Manuscript?” Molly asked.
     “I’ll take it home and see which parts I can fix.  I’ll attend next week’s meeting and I tell you how much more work (other than just what I’ve read so far) I’ve done to it,” said Tracy.
     Upon reading through it some more, Tracy found out that in the story, detectives Miller and Brown programmed a computer game application for the other police officers.  It was meant to help them understand more about the Stacey Malone case.  The computer program even included a character by the name of Marion Sanders.  On the first level, it basically had the alibis of the different townspeople the night that Stacey was killed.  The goal of that first level of computer questions was to match the alibi with the townsperson.
     Then the second level dealt with the different motives of the individual townspeople.  For example there was a character in the computer game and also in real life within the town by the name of Milliscent.  Milliscent was the understudy for Stacey Malone.  Stacey had been a theater major.  Finally the third level of the computer game, matched the beneficiaries to the amount they would have inherited as stated in Stacey living will.
     At the book club meeting that following week, Tracy had more to tell Molly about the Trouble Within manuscript.
     “You see Molly, Candy the author of this original manuscript wrote about this very intricate computer program that was meant to be played like a game by everybody in the precinct.  After the police officers earned their way through all three levels, they were informed about the alibis, motives and the money that some of the townspeople were due to inherit,” said Tracy.
     “Wow! That is a really interesting story so far.  What do you think that you’re going to add to it, to give it the ‘wow’ factor?” asked Molly.
     “I am going to add a part in the story where the police department commissions the drama troupe at the local theatre facilities to re-enact different scenarios of Stacey Malone’s murder.  I am also going to add a character by the name of Kimberly Dawson, who will be a docudrama producer for a television network.  She will be filming the different dramatic re-enactments,” said Tracy.
     “Now, did the author Candy write in who the actual murderer was?” Molly asked.
     “She didn’t get that far, I but I’m going to make it to be the understudy’s boyfriend.  His motive is that Millescent, his girlfriend (and Stacey’s understudy) pressured him into doing it, by telling him that she would marry him if he did so,” said Tracy.
     “Who is the protagonist in this novel manuscript?” Molly wanted to know.
     “Well, the person I’m rooting for (and the underdog of the story) is Marion Sanders.  You see there’s this section in the story where people from Cornertown produce a diary that everyone writes in, well, everyone except Marion.  It’s like high school all over again, only this time Marion is the one being bullied.  In fact that is the reason that the docudrama producer is there for, to record the writing of what has been dubbed (in the story) as the ‘Daily Diary’.  However, even Kimberly is rooting for Marion because they accidentally meet and Marion’s rattled nerves (because of the town’s whisperings about her) were apparent, even to outsiders like Kimberly herself and her cameraman Ken,” said Tracy.
     After talking some more about the unfinished novel, Molly and Tracy began to question of as to what else could be added to the Intruder Within story in order to make it more fascinating.  They agreed that Marion could be helping an entire race of people (like aliens from outer space) to get back on their feet and that she could make money on the side selling nail polish for a cosmetics conglomerate.  Along those lines of the participation of an alien race, Tracy felt that instead of just all of Earth watching to see who the murderer is, the whole universe in existence could have a stake in it.
     The two ladies, Tracy and Molly also felt that the character of Marion Sanders should be a blogger too.  Tracy had some blogging material that she was going to add in.  The icon of the Disco Ball came to mind for Molly and she asked Tracy if it could be integrated in the blogging material.
     “Why yes, her blogs could be titled ‘Disco Ball Blogs’ and they could offset the popularity of the ‘Daily Diary’ entries (since Marion was being excluded from writing in that ‘Daily Diary’),” said Tracy.
     “Well, I’m sure happy with the way that you’re ghost writing is going.  Since it’s getting late, I’ll say good-bye now …and I’ll see you next week!” exclaimed Molly.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wall of Wisdom

Wall of Wisdom by Cynthia J. Cordell
Casey and Jonathan had been married a short time and they were still working out the kinks in their marriage.  Casey was an artist waiting to be discovered.  Jonathan was a song writer trying to give Casey some ideas on what she could create artistically.  Then Casey came up with something all on her own!
     Casey had an idea to write a short story on parchment paper and decoupage it on a Wall of Wisdom that could be put up in the community center.  She thought why not dip your hands in blue and red ink or paint and press them on paper and decoupage it on the Wall of Wisdom.  Or, if you have a song in your heart, you could write the lyrics down on paper, decorate it with sprites and whirly whimsical artwork and then decoupage it on that same Wall of Wisdom.
     After Casey spread the word about her fabulous idea of the Wall of Wisdom, all sorts of digital pictures poured in on as to what type of material the public wanted to decoupage on that wall.  One New York designer submitted sketches of evening dresses.  Photographs of cupcakes and muffins printed on a color printer screamed to be a part of the decoupage revolution that would be happening on the Wall of Wisdom.
     Dog lovers sent in photographs and drawings of their canine friends hoping that they could be printed on thinner paper that would be fit for decoupaging on the Wall of Wisdom.  Recipes of comfort food was a favorite of Casey’s because the authentic ones had roots from countries around the world.
     Then Casey had a squabble with Jonathan over spending too much money. The next morning, Jonathan dressed casually wondering were Casey had gone off to.  He was hoping to apologize to her for arguing with her over their finances.  He didn’t know that looking for her that morning would lead to a chivalrous quest of some sorts. 
     First he went to the flower shop and bought Casey a bouquet of flowers.  Next he went into the coffee shop next door.  Though Casey wasn’t there, he thought he’d wait a bit in case she should show up unexpectedly.  He bought himself a large container of coffee and watched the door and the people that walked through it.  Alas, there was no Casey.
     After finishing his coffee, he went to the community center down the street and sat inside listening to the quartet of violin players.  They were playing Vivaldi and some other operatic arias.  He nodded hello to some of the other audience members.  He was hoping that Casey would be there soon, because the community center was one of her favorite hangouts.  On Saturday nights, she could be seen there playing bingo with the senior citizens.  Jonathan gave it another twenty minutes and then he went and tried the library.  With the bouquet still in his hand, he left the community center.
     The library was a short drive from the community center.  He quietly asked Sheila the librarian at the desk if she had seen Casey.
     “Why no I haven’t seen her this morning, Jonathan, did you try the coffee shop?” inquired Sheila.
     “Yes, I was just over there and the girl at the counter said that Casey hadn’t been there all morning.  I sat there waiting for her to come in, hoping there would be a chance…”
     While Jonathan was at the library, he thumbed through a book on Greek Mythology.  The book reminded him of his childhood when he read about Zeus, Hera and all the other major Greek Gods.
     Twenty minutes away, Jonathan found himself at the beach.  Still clutching the bouquet of flowers, he strolled down the boulevard and felt there was still a chance that he might bump into Casey at one of her favorite hangouts.  He walked for another twenty minutes but after carefully looking around the popular beach and its surroundings, he went back into his car and drove around the beach parking lot to see if could spot Casey’s car. Then he headed for another favorite hangout of hers. With such a sigh of relief, he saw her at the park on a bench feeding the ducks which were all in a row.
     “There you are,” he said as he handed her the bouquet of flowers.
     “Jonathan, I hope you don’t mind that I left the house early to clear my mind, but I came here to think about the one thing that could help us financially …and that’s the Wall of Wisdom project.  All the fame and fortune that will with its construction won’t be worth experiencing, if you aren’t going to be there by my side.”
     Eventually they made their way home during a very silent car ride.  They stopped to finalize the erection of Casey’s Wall of Wisdom in the Community Center showroom.  She had a memory stick in her purse filled with digital pictures of what she had been receiving from the public regarding her idea of the Wall of Wisdom.  She showed the curator the images of what different people had emailed her and the curator was impressed.
     Everyone involved with the project agreed that the wall could be built in no time and they finalized the paperwork.  The Community Center had officially commissioned Casey to create her Wall of Wisdom for them.  Casey had high hopes that if people around the world became aware of what she was about to do in her small town, they might commission her to create something similar for them.
     A month went by and people were still sending photographs of materials that they wanted to be included in the decoupage project of the Wall of Wisdom.  Then another over-the-limit-in-spending mishap happened on her part and she and Jonathan had another squabble.  In her defense, she was working very hard on the Wall of Wisdom project.
     The following morning, she left the house early to think things through again.  Jonathan woke up and started to look for her in all the usual places.  He stopped by the local market to see if she had grabbed some coffee from them.
     “Stan, have you seen Casey this morning?  I thought she might have grabbed a donut and some coffee from here,” Jonathan said.
     “Sorry, I’ve been here since early morning and haven’t seen her,” said Stan. 
     Jonathan left the market and went to the museum.  Casey had told him earlier that week that she had gone by there a few times to see if they would be interested in some of her artwork, mainly her charcoal sketches.  He went inside and didn’t see her immediately so he was starting to feel discouraged.
     Then he thought about going to the last place he found her after their last quarrel.  Jonathan went to the park and yes, he found her there again.
     “Good morning sunshine.  Look, I know that the Wall of Wisdom is going to bring in an impressive cash flow for you and I’m proud of you for that, but you have to believe me when I tell you that you just cannot go past your spending limit.  Whenever, you cross that limit line, you set yourself up for a financial fall.  Take it from me, I’m a musician and gigs are few and far between, therefore I’ve learned how to budget,” he told her.
     “I know what you’re saying and I hear you.  It’s just I’m over-compensating now that I do have money coming in.  By the way, a lot more people have sent in images and photographs for the Wall of Wisdom,” Casey said excitedly.
     Five months later, Casey carefully brushed onto the fully erected Wall of Wisdom a lot of transparent rubber cement. It held together a beautiful combination of images that were worthy of a second, scrutinized look from all of the reputable art critics.