I usually write something vaguely romantic and full of longing for birthdays—especially for Asher’s—but this year, I’m so caught up in my own…I’m not even sure if “fears” is the right word…that I wrote this instead.
Not a fan of the title (see above), but I don’t have anything better.
I’m not a shallow girl,
I’m no imitation
I’ve been to hell and back.
You’d best believe.
I don’t trust
the Guardians of the Gates—
one wrong tone
and it’s too late.
They think they can help,
but they don’t know
the power they wield.
They see smiles and
I see flashes
of razor-bladed kindness
and the end of hope.
They don’t know
that their words
are a paintbrush.
Choose rightly and
I am depicted as my true self:
tested and annealed;
repeatedly thrown into the fire
and not perished.
Choose wrongly and
I’m a cute little girl,
constructed of maple cream
and pastel swirls.
A two-dimensional princess
who has never been hurt,
or wondered if death
would be preferable to life.
A pillow of sweet fluff,
oblivious to pain.
turn your gazes aside.
If you cannot reveal to him
the me that I am,
I’d rather keep to myself
It is better to be alone
than to be coupled
Someday, I'll manage to get enough material together to publish A Wren in the Willow.
But that day is not this.
I keep breaking my heart
over and over again
for a man that will never love me.
Not just this man,
but those who have come before him;
those that the Goddess has brought into my life
for no real reason other than to see me hurt.
To light my heart on fire with love,
and then to laugh
as it all goes crumbling away in a moment.
The gods love taking down the ambitious.
Nothing makes them happier
than seeing a grown woman cry over loneliness.
“If I could just have…” she says.
“You can have solitude,” They say.
“You can have tears and sighs and
the wonder of why We did this to you.”
When I woke up
on that morning three years ago,
I was delighted to be in love.
But at the same time,
I knew I was headed for another world
of unbelievable pain.
Seven months free
and back to the hole from which I crawled.
If I could draw my sword and sever all ties,
I’d be much happier.
No more cycles of love and pain,
no more beloveds out of reach,
no more stupid ideas.
And moving on.
I crave your pardon in advance if I’ve already told this story. I think I’ve shared it in bits and pieces over the years (and mentioned a little on my bibliography page), but do not believe I’ve ever posted the entire story at once.
When I was in high school, I dated a guy named Kyle1 through the end of his senior year and the start of his time in community college. Kyle was taking a media issues and television production class with Professor Parker2, whom he got to chatting with one day and confessed his love for the work of director Sam Raimi. It turned out that the professor knew Dr. Octavius at Michigan State, who’d had Sam in class many years ago, so Professor Parker put Kyle and the doctor in touch. To Kyle’s great joy, Dr. Octavius still talked to Sam from time to time and promised to get Kyle an interview with him the next time he came back to Michigan3.
Not the real Professor Parker and Doctor Octavius. Sorry, y’all.
[Had to update the picture in 2021 and now he looks even more like a professor! Nice.]
I want to say, “I don’t know why I said this”, but I do know. I said it, but I also thought there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that it was going to happen.
I had the audacity to say, “Maybe you should ask Sam if I can be in one of his future movies.”
And Kyle had the temerity to do it.
I need to step back from the story a minute, because I believe it’s important to tell you: I have absolutely no reason to believe Kyle was lying to me. Not then, not ever.7
First, because he was deeply in love with me. If I had loved him in return, we would’ve been married several years ago, and his children would also be mine.
Second, I made him tell me the number he was calling, and my friends and I have both verified that it belongs/belonged to Renaissance Pictures (Sam’s production company). It wasn’t some audio spoof that Kyle set up somehow—not only is he not that clever, but the calls I mentioned happened at random times over several years, making it difficult to maintain a phone number and recording for that long. (Plus, this went down in 2001—before the era of Skype, Google Voice and a zillion other such apps.)4
Not that that explanation makes it sound any less crazy when I say “they agreed”.
When Kyle called the first time, he spoke to someone who claimed he was Grant Curtis (pictured with co-producer Laura Ziskin), Sam’s assistant.5, 6 Despite having no demo reel, no resume, no headshot, no audition video or screentest, “Grant” claimed they could use me in the third movie as the Green Goblin‘s long-lost daughter. (I don’t know how they’d stretch the following story out so far, but I wasn’t thinking in terms of that at the time.)
The story would go that—ever paranoid—Norman Osborn had prepared for the event of his death by not trusting his son (Harry) with his fortune. (Nice father, right? But if you’ve seen the Raimi movies, you know this is normal.) Instead, ownership of his company and all his assets reverted to the sister Harry never knew he had, and it would be up to Harry to track her down if he wanted his inheritance. Nothing was ever decided on whether he’d know how to find her, only that she was living in Australia (which I later asked to be changed to Ireland).
I also recall submitting a list of names from which they could choose a forename and middle, and they settled on Ophelia Rhiannon. (I’d hoped they’d settle on Ophelia…it looks So Very Proper next to her brother’s name.)
He could’ve been my first movie daddy. Seriously.
But here’s where my memory gets fuzzy, since this was 2001 or so.
I know they stalled.
They eventually decided they were “going a different way” and they didn’t want me anymore.
Most people would give up, but you can’t give a novelist a storyseed and expect her to ignore it because of copyright.
At least not if you’re me!
A lot has been excised from this entry after this point because (1) it’s old and I’ve changed a lot, and (2) there’s stuff I don’t want to share with the next person to read this! (At least not yet. Maybe someday.)
The short version is that I wrote my debut novel based on this character (and it’s been criticized for being bad, but I was twenty-four, for the sake of all the gods at once!) and it held too close to the Ramiverse movies to be very good—not to mention the copyrighted characters that I never received permission to use! (I wrote to Marvel twice, but never heard back. They probably thought I was crazy.)
Now I’ve taken the novel in a whole different direction (Ophelia doesn’t even have the same pre-story job, for starters; and her prometido doesn’t exist—if she even gets married at all in this one), the copyrighted characters have had their names changed (Peter Parker/Spider-Man is now Taki mac Artair/Night Spider), Night Spider will probably get killed off pretty quickly for being young and stupid, and it will take place on a completely different Earth so certain actors who have seen their character die can be revived elsewhere. (Ahem.)
- Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies took place on Earth 96283
- Marc Webb’s are on Earth 120703
- The current movies (by Jon Watts) are Earth 199999
- Since it appears not to be taken, I’m claiming Earth 517 as my own
Oh and I solemnly swear I came up with the idea of using the symbiotes before I knew/remembered that there was going to be a separate Venom movie. (Which I liked quite a bit, by the way.) When the idea first swam to the surface, it was a leftover from the Earth 96283 days. And these aren’t Klyntar, they’re synthetic, which means no copyright violation and none of that horrendous brain-eating stuff. Huzzah!
I guess when I discontinued Ophelia, the listing left Amazon completely (unlike my discontinued paperbacks), so the current version of the cover isn’t there—making it the perfect thing to end the revised version of this entry with. (That and I can’t reuse it for Sevens.) So here we are:
1Name changed to one of his favorite characters (Modern Age version, according to Wiki) less to protect his identity and more because his real name is boring. Plus, I had a long-term crush on a guy whose name was actually Kyle, so it kind of all fits?
2I don’t know these professors’ real names, so I’m using Spider-Man characters.
3Sam grew up in Michigan, and one of his brother is an emergency room doctor in the Detroit area. The other is a frequent guest star in his movies.
4During the course of writing this, I realized that I’d never asked Kyle if he ever lied to me. So I finally did, and he said no. Which I believe, because—as I said before— I know he loved me.
5That doesn’t make too much sense now when you check his IMDb page and discover that he wasn’t credited as Sam’s assistant back then; but you could also argue that it was meant as “assistant producer” or some such, and you’d be partially correct.
6Kyle spoke a few times with another gentleman who said he was Grant’s assistant, but I can’t remember which times anymore, so I’m leaving him out.
7The numbers got mucked up because I started this in 2018 and didn’t want to rearrange them when I came back to work on this in 2020. Anyway, I found out in 2019 that he was lying and had possibly lied to me by the time I started this post. But probably not about this. (If anyone was lying it was someone on the other end to him.)
There's a new…(old…old and paying attention to?)…Dear One in my life, whom I shall refer to by his "altworld"(/roman a clef) name of "Asher". (I'm very shy about saying I like this gentleman. So shy, in fact, that only my best friend knows exactly who, and even then, I refer to him by a nickname most of the time!)
Anyway, I was thinking about Asher and how he's worked with a lot of big names (Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger, for two, when I first discovered he existed1), and I wondered how it is that he's had so many big titles compared to Jamie. (Happy birthday to my main man, by the way–MWAH! ♥) I'm guessing it's because Jamie is considered a character actor and Asher is what I'd call a "utility player"–he can be a "that guy" anywhere, and Jamie is usually cast as a villain, or a minion for the actual villain.
Which made me think about the fact that even if I were willing to share Asher's real name, most people would go "Who?"
So I decided to see where IMDb ranks my favorites (read: people who have altworld names, because I hope my favorites are all there) on their Starmeter as an exercise in checking their name recognition. (My Lady even gained #1 this year before Star Wars chopped her down with its giant lightsaber!)
A few things:
- These will be organized by IMDb’s rating, not mine, and I believe the meter spots are calculated by user clicks. (Although if they have a special title like “My Lady”, you know they rank pretty highly with me!)
- There will be pictures. (Of course!)
- I’m going to try to force my braincells into telling me where I first saw this person. It may be difficult.
- The ratings are current as of December 31, 2017. (I don’t know if they fluctuate daily or hourly…I’ve never paid that much attention.)
…aaand let’s do it backwards. The lesser known person first. Starting with the honorable mentions.
1Thought I first discovered. After reviewing his filmography a little more carefully, I realized that I saw him in a movie before the one I was marking as the starting point.
These people didn’t make the list because I like them for shallow reasons, like “he’s cute” or “I like his voice”. Heck, there are several Star Wars people on here just because I’d like to be friends with them! (Not that that’s shallow…I just didn’t want to put them on the main list.) Starting with someone who might not even be on IMDb…
Brad Little (*): remember my 2015 entry “Old Stories I Tell Myself“? Same gentleman.
Even though I’ve only seen him once, I felt like I should include him because he’s very good at what he does…and let’s face it: a Phantom-based sing-off with Gerry Butler would be out of this world!
First Glimpse: 2004 touring cast of Phantom of the Opera
Howie Dorough (*): is on IMDb (thanks to talk shows, a guest appearance on Sabrina the Teenage Witch and this summer’s Big Star, Little Star), but his rating is so low because he’s a recording artist and not an actor that I felt like I should remove it completely. Were we able to factor in his musical stardom, I’d hope he’d be in the top 500, if not the top 100.
First Glimpse: em…I have no. Fucking. clue what my first BSB song was. But 1997 is the year, for certain.
(I can’t resist younger, ponytail era Howie. That version inspired Eduardo in my debut novel, after all!)
April Billingsley (10281): this unexpected friendship started when she followed me on twitter and I thought, “I feel like I should know that name!”
IMDb to the rescue! April was playing a significant role in the Sunday evening drama I was watching and I didn’t even know her name! (I’m usually good at learning the names of the actors in the shows I like…I guess I hadn’t gotten that far with Resurrection yet?)
So I followed her back and added her on facebook, where I’ve watched her career from the sidelines ever since.
Special Nickname: AB
(What, just because I’m a novelist, I’m supposed to be creative? You’re talking to someone whose favorite “cheat” is to take the initials of the actor the character is standing in for and come up with a new name!)
First Glimpse: Resurrection (2014)
Charlie Shaughnessy (4111): did you know that “that guy from The Nanny” is actually a noble? (If you didn’t read my short story “His Last Love”, you might have missed it!) His ancestor (a second cousin) was a Canadian railway magnate was made a baron under George V, so Charlie’s full title is “Lord Charles George Patrick Shaughnessy, Fifth Baron Shaughnessy of the City of Montreal in the Dominion of Canada, and Ashford in the County of Limerick [Republic of Ireland]”. Whew…see why he goes by Charlie? xD
(Sidebar: I wouldn’t worry about Wiki saying there’s no heirs. Even if Salic primogeniture isn’t completely abolished among the nobles by the time Charlie and his brother pass on to the Manor in the Sky [heh], they have enough daughters between them that one of them will surely have a grandson!)
He’s charming and he has a great accent. I guess the only reason he’s not on the main list is I’m not crazy for him…?
First Glimpse: The Nanny, of course! (Even if I didn’t really watch it until I was an adult.)
Mark Consuelos (2853): he’s hot. Kelly is very lucky. The end.
First Glimpse: a lot later than it probably should’ve been! (Honestly, other than Oprah’s live Fridays, I think the only time I’ve seen him in anything is in My Super Ex-Girlfriend with Uma and…some other people who are apparently forgettable.)
Tommy Lee Jones (1359): remember “shallow reasons like ‘I like his voice’? Shallow reason number two, right here.
A fine southern drawl with deadpan southern charm? Count me in.
First Glimpse: Men in Black I
Next: the devil, a sea-faring hunk, and a bunch of ass-kickers!