Plot Bunnies With Cattle Prods

Everyone gets ideas, it’s a fact.

Everyone gets persistent ideas as well.

You know the ones, the ones with cattle prods. With Taser in hand.

Sometimes the cattle prods are red-hot at the ends, as they want to brand you with themselves.

But it’s an idea that you can’t let go of, even as it pokes and prods at you, wanting your attention, wanting you to do something about it, wanting you to –hey, why haven’t you dropped everything yet? What’s up with that? This idea is so much more interesting than what you’re doing now, or what you need to do later, that it’s amazing you haven’t imploded from the need to move onto this amazing idea yet.

What is wrong with you?

The idea will poke and prod until you do something about it, it will continuously remind you that you have a duty to it every time you stop for a moment, let your mind wander…

Why haven’t you done anything about this idea yet?

Are you stupid?

Idiot.

But, because you have something that NEEDS to get done, that idea will have to wait.

It has to, because it came to you not when you had time, but when you were reading something, or perhaps doing something important, or getting ready to go to bed after working fo the entire day and the idea finally catches up to you…

And then doesn’t let go.

These ideas are funny like that

But, no matter what you’re doing, until you have done something about this idea–no matter what, exactly it is an idea about–you will be poked, prodded, sometimes bashed over the head, so that you are either mildly distracted from what you need to do, or else you are blinking and shaking your head from disorientation from this new abusive relationship you have with this part of your psyche, asking “pardon?” and hoping no one will notice you weren’t paying the least bit attention to this thing that NEEDS your attention

Of course, this idea you have also NEEDS your attention, doesn’t it?

Because you know that it’s an idea that needs to be explored, it may even be something that you will eventually actually NEED to get to, and you don’t want to lose this at-the-moment unwanted passion and unwilling enthusiasm, that what’s grabbing your attention will not be done nearly as well if you don’t get to it while you’re THIS interested.

And there is this fearful need to get it done, because there are a few things that run through your mind, and most of them are what-if’s

What if you just finish what you’re doing, and come back to it? Will that work?

What if I forget this amazing idea? (Note: his happens a lot right before you’re going to bed)

What if after I’m done this important thing, I’ve lost the enthusiasm? Then it won’t be nearly as good…

All these things will run through your mind at one point or another, and more, and it adds fuel to the fire of any anxiety you’ve already experienced thus far.

Not fun.

With me it’s usually story ideas, and I end up telling Lexy a lot of them (she does this in kind, though lately it’s been for her amazing short stories), and one term for these ideas you might have heard about is that you’ve gotten a ‘Plot Bunny’

It’s rather clever since the ideas are usually little fuzzy things bouncing around in your mind, sometimes breeding with other bunnies in the vast landscape of your imagination, and creating new, sometimes more developed plot bunnies.

This is usually what I imagine a plot bunny would be like:

Plot Bunny writer Kitteh

Cue yeah? And writer cat is good for me too, since a great deal of what happens is that I get so focused on one idea, and sometimes get distracted, or focus on a different plot bunny and ignore the others I’ve already started working on. It’s a bit like a cat who’s really interested in the game you’ve been playing, but then between one swipe and the next the claws are out and they’re entirely disinterested in that bit of string that’s held their attention so long.

But these ideas, these plot bunnies that kick and shout and generally screw with your mind until they die or you give up, it’s like something went horribly wrong.

Possibly in a way that can be salvaged, but it’s like adding a buzz saw and ninja stars to a plot bunny.

No, wait. It’s like the plot bunnies have gone rabid.

They’re going crazy in your mind, frothing at the mouth, and you can’t not pay attention to that, can you?

It seems like it could be cute or scary or something from Monty Python, like something that could be in your dreams or nightmares, and in any case something difficult to put aside.

I feel like I experience this quite a lot, so here’s some things that at least help. It’s not a lot, but it means that these plot bunnies can sometimes be saved, rather than end up being put down like Ol’ Yeller.

I write things down.

I have probably a dozen or so word documents with a few ideas for stories written down inside of them, little bits and things that seem brilliant and are flashing and shrieking in my ear as something brilliant (or heartbreaking, there are quite a few plot bunnies that are on a mission to have me bawling my eyes out), so I write them down. If I can spare some time to write out a few paragraphs (even if they aren’t coherent, or in a proper story-telling kind of format), I’ll do that and just write out the other scenes around it… Mind you, if you do this you must have patience, because you may or may not be the kind of person who wants to post something immediately, or get to an idea quickly, but more times than not it’s best to write out what needs writing rather than jumping to this amazing scene that’s only amazing because YOU (the author) know all the back story and linking things for it.

I experienced this with my Torchwood story, when I jumped ahead to a part of the story I already knew would be happening, and had at least a chapter finished… only I knew I had at least another scene to write (at the VERY least, and that would be skimping on important detail), so the few reviews I got complaining about me not updating quick enough (which is equally flattering and annoying, by the way), or people asking if I’ve abandoned the story (NO. Each chapter is at least 10k, and I write ALL of the next chapter, don’t you DARE give up on me you weak-willed readers! Have courage to click the ‘subscribe to story’ button!), can get really frustrating, and I know none of them believe me when I say that I wrote ahead. That I’m not done THIS chapter because I was busy working on the next.

The Love-Hate relationship to writing fanfiction…

Another thing I do is talk about it.

Lexy is a fantastic sounding board. I personally hate calling someone a ‘sounding board’, sounds quite a bit like I’m just using someone, but it’s true.

I can talk to her about stories and plot ideas I’ve had bouncing in my head, and being able to talk about my ideas aloud sometimes help me solidify one idea or another. Sometimes I can get away with just talking aloud, but hearing feedback and seeing Lexy’s expressions and opinions really helps.

Most computers have some sort of webcam as well, and I’ve tried filming myself talking about a story idea to even see my own expressions, because watching it helps me figure out where I’m unsure. You don’t realize how much you express when you’re talking until you’re watching it.

This also helps out when you’re working on a story/idea already, and helps you get new perspectives. Dwelling on a story long enough sometimes dulls the story for you, yourself, as the author. It’s like the 20th time you’ve seen a movie, as you’ve already looked over all the hidden meanings, you know all the back stories, there are no more surprises, no more twists, and you think way too ahead.

So yeah, talking. It works.

It also forces you from your writing cave

And the last thing…

Well, It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing, so it isn’t something I KNOW works. I know there’s a possibility it may work though.

You could make a forum and adopt out your plot Bunnies.

I have a lot of ideas rumbling about in my head, and before I start writing a story I’m usually feeling it out for months before I start seriously writing it, so some plot bunnies get neglected.

So why not give out prompts? You could do it with one word prompts, and their definitions, or you could write out a small summary for your plot bunny, you could post a paragraph that you’ve written down, you could give bits and pieces and scenarios from plot bunnies and see where others take them.

If you make a request for someone to link their project back to you, then you can even read it, and you know that one quote…

If you don’t, it goes something like

“If there’s a story you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, get to writing it”

Something like that. It’s what got me into regularly writing my own things.

But back to turning part of your imagination into a sort of foster home for Plot Bunnies (Rabid or otherwise, and remember that you can always pick them back up again later when you have the time and inclination)… well, you really don’t have to, but it’s something to consider.

What use are YOU getting out of them, hmm? What if you have an idea, a newborn Plot Bunny, but don’t have any plans on actually writing it? What if you just enjoy the idea hopping around your head? Well, you could foster it out and then you could READ the story someone else makes out of it.

You could hate it, you could love it… but it’s maybe gotten someone else to start writing, so that’s good 🙂

These tips work pretty well for other kinds of ideas, too, I’d imagine. An idea for a drawing you don’t have time for? Doodle it. Write down colours, just do a thumbnail drawing and come back to it. Have an idea for a poem? Keep sticky notes with you, or a note pad, and write it down as it comes. Edits are for later, and you might not have the rhythm for it later. Or what about a sculpture, or a carving, or something else that would be three-dimensional? Draw it out. A rough sketch to get the idea out, jot down the specifics, things not obvious in the drawing.

These ideas are rabid in your thoughts because they’re GOOD ideas. They may need refining, some other details figured out, but they’re distracting you because you can do something with this.

The Plot Bunnies and Business Bunnies and Doodle Rabbits and other furry creature ideas DON’T have to be a problem. Even if you’re in a rush, taking a half-hour break to jot down some notes can only help, since it means you won’t be (as) distracted when you go back to work.

How do YOU deal with your Rabid Plot Bunnies?

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly...

This is more of a nightmarish thing for me, honestly…

 

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Easter Disbelief

I don’t know how it is for other families, but mine never seemed to try to convince me about the Easter Bunny.

I believed in Santa Clause, yes, but the parents seemed to try with that one, and succeeded, but trying to convince me that the Easter bunny was real…

The baskets with chocolate happened, appearing in the living room in the morning, but I remember finding the stash of chocolate to go into those baskets before.

Easter was a belief that walked hand in hand with the Tooth Fairy.

I would, when I lost a tooth, go up to Mom or Dad and present them with the tooth so that they could make sure that the money would happen.

If it was from them giving it to a fairy, I didn’t much care, but I wanted the money so I could either put it in my piggy bank or so I could buy pixie sticks or something.

I’m fairly certain that when hiding the plastic eggs that they had filled with chocolate, it was more for the game or it.

It wasn’t like having a number of gifts labeled “From Santa”, no, it was more like a way to earn the chocolate that would be split between me and my sisters, and then rationed throughout the next month to last.

It was a chance for Mom and Dad to sit back and have us search in ‘turns’ for an egg, yet another holiday that meant we were barred from the living room, it was a holiday that was sort of like Halloween except that you got the day off school and you didn’t have to walk for candy.

It was magical, for sure, and it still is now even when it’s going on about whose ‘turn’ it is to be the Easter Bunny in the house.

That meant that you were the one who went to Bulk Barn for the loot.

Quite possibly it was the overused picture of the cartoonized bunny hiding eggs in a field that made belief impossible. Our eggs were hidden in our living room. I never found eggs outside.

But, my rambling about a holiday with a magical being in it that we weren’t forced/cajoled into believing in aside, I want to know if anyone else had this?

Did anyone else joke like you’re actually 20 years older than your 7 year old self about the Easter Bunny having come?

Do you (if you’re a parent) try your best to feed this belief that a rabbit deposits chocolate for you once a year?

Just me being curious.

Oh, and Happy Easter 😀

P.S. Lexy, I think we have bunny ears from an old Halloween costume somewhere...

Uh, 13 Doodle, We have a Code Brown in Balsam

My job this past summer was working as a Maintenance Worker at Grundy Lake.

I wasn’t the person who would direct you to your site.

I wasn’t the person who helped you change sites and sold you firewood.

I wasn’t the person who put on the nature shows, telling you about bears, and bugs, and what’s what about nature.

I didn’t guide you through any of the free trails Grundy has to offer, pointing out interesting things along the way.

I wasn’t the person who told you to quiet down from partying at midnight.

I wasn’t the person who told you you have to leave your site at 2, and do you realize it’s 2:30?

I wasn’t the person who you called to deal with your noisy neighbours, who also happened to be cutting branches from the forest for their fire.

I wasn’t any of these people, but I was the person who made sure you would want to come back.

I was the person who kept the main attraction clean.

Yes, I do mean that I made sure that branches weren’t overgrowing the roads and the sites.

Yes, I do mean that I mowed grass and trimmed the trails.

Yes, I do mean that I clipped back those prickly bushes from by the parking lots, and around your site.

But when I say that I keep the main attraction clean, I do not mean nature.

I mean the toilets.

You might say I deal with the real ‘business’ of maintaining the Park.

You may laugh, scoff at the idea that the toilets are the main attraction, but would you be so willing to go camping if the only option while camping with a little more than 100 other campers (in your AREA) was a couple of thunder boxes?

This is a hole, dug approx. 6 feet into the ground, with a box with a hole in it set on top. Bring your own toilet paper, and a flashlight if it's dark.

Grundy is known for it’s privacy ratings, but we can’t exactly make this private… every once in a while we have to go and fill in the hole, dig another one a little ways off, and put the box back on top. Putting another box, or some other kind of privacy thing around it wouldn’t work.

Yes, While the back-country sites have thunderboxes, their excuse is that they are for the people who want to go roughing it. That is for the people who want to canoe across the lake with their suff, and set up tents where they can find flat places. I think there are about 4 or 5 backcountry sites in Grundy… We don’ have to go there and clip it back, we leave that to the Rangers close to the area (Ontario Parks Rangers, a summer job for people who are turning 17 the year they sign up for it, free room and board and food, minimum wage.)

For everyone else, there are the outhouses.

We clean the outhouses.

We clean them every day.

We sweep them out, get rid of webs, wipe down the seats (with cleaning spray and a rag) to each and every set of outhouses.

There are 36 sets, I believe, in Grundy.

3 of those sets are set up as one side of one outhouse is mens, and the other is women’s.

The rest have two outhouses at each spot, which means that there are 66 individual outhouses that two Maintenance workers clean.

Every day.

 

This is what one Grundy Lake outhouse looks like. Right next to it, another would be set up, but for girls. Singles would be one of these buildings, with one gender for each door.

We also paint these when the paint starts getting cracked… I think I painted about 6 sets of outhouses this past summer. My coworkers complained about t, but I liked painting them. It used up time, and I like painting in general.

The inside looks like this... But this summer we painted the insides cream rather than green.

The toilets at Grundy actually flush as well, which was nice until I realized that it means that It can also get clogged.

Ladies flushing pads, and moms (and dads too) flush diapers… Why YES it’s the perfect size to go down that hole, now lets flush it… oh, right, that adds water and makes it expand! Oh gosh, it’s clogged!

What a surprise.

Really.

Anyway, while working, we drive around in the MNR trucks, and when we get radio calls (all students were 13 _your name_, and if you were calling someone, lets say their code name was 3-4, you would say “3-4 read 13 _your name_” and end with “13 clear”. Calls for you from this person would be “13_your name_ read 3-4” ), and one of the most common were for Code Browns.

Can you guess what it is?

Well, it’s when someone misses in a big way.

I figure that some of these people are holding themselves up while taking a dump, otherwise how did they get it all over the seat? On the floor? On the walls? (methinks this last one is some REALLY upset stomach)

I’m certain some kids think it’s funny to poop in awkward places, because I found a present behind one of the toilets once.

Yeah. my pictures look kind of unreal, and not really appropriate… also, for the majority, I haven’t had my camera, and even though I’ve been blogging for  while now, I still haven’t gotten to the point here I can see poop n the floor and splattered on the walls and think “Hey, I should get a picture of that.”

For the really bad ones we use a pressure washer (water tank in back of truck), but otherwise use a ‘bunny tail’.

This is a Bunny tail. No rabbits were harmed for the use of this.

Yeah. Bunny Tail is how I was introduced to it.

It’s gross, and there’s a lot of groaning about it, but we do it.

There are risks.

The nauseating smell, the campers who complain in he first place, the risk of a backwash of ‘shit-mist’ from the pressure-washer (hide behind door is the preferred method), along with the feeling of “Oh, nooooooo!” when the pressure washer runs out of gas and you have to leave the Scene of the Crime to get more….

But we do it.

Because we are the Maintenance workers.

We wear our coveralls with pride.

We clomp in our Steel-toed boots knowing that we’ve done a job-well-done.

While in our trucks, we still wave to campers, even knowing that there’s a certain percentage of assholes out there among you who we will have to deal with, them and their shit, and are happy when people wave back.

Yes, we wonder if the reason you smiled so widely is because you know we have to go clean up the smear you left behind, or if perhaps its because you’re happy that that Code Red (only on the female side, guess what it is) will soon be cleaned up, but we wave and smile anyway. (P.S. we are actually required to wave in the beginning, but after a week or so you get used to it and do it intentionally)

No, we are not Gate workers, we are not Naturalists, we are not Park Wardens.

We are Maintenance workers.

We clean up your shit.