|The U.N. (M.Pax worked in the black bldg)|
In the spring of 1986, I moved to New York City with dreams of ‘making it there’, a couple of suitcases and $500 in my pocket. Fresh out of college, I envisioned writing the great American novel.
My friend Nikki, who I met at freshman orientation, was kind enough to let me stay with her the first six months. When I saved enough money, I moved to Staten Island to share a house with a bunch of roommates. Taking a boat to work was fun, at first. The novelty wore off pretty quick though.
My first job was in Midtown near the UN. I saw mob shootings, Keith Richards, shared a cab with a Chippendales dancer, lived through bomb threats [there were a lot of embassies in our building], experienced the NYC club scene and stood behind Kurt Vonnegut in the lobby news stand one morning. He lived nearby. I read every one of his books, so it was a thrill to stare at his back for a few minutes.
I wrote when I could. Longhand back then. PC’s were barely a glint in anybody’s eye and no one had one. Typewriters were still the norm for home use. I didn’t have one of those either. My dilemma that fall was buy a new pair of sneakers [there were holes in them and I had to put baggies on my feet to keep my stockings from getting torn and my feet from getting wet] or eat for two weeks. I ended up with a boyfriend instead. He made sure I kept eating, so I could get those shoes. His name was Dave. He turned out to be a jerk, but I remain grateful he didn’t let me starve.
|Nikki, M.Pax & friends at Phoebe's in the Village|
She said, “You wrote about being alone a lot.”
Yes. I was in my early 20’s and had a flare for the melodramatic. I still do, but it’s mellowed some. All these years, we remained in touch, as I left NYC for DC then left the east coast for the west coast. Every once in awhile she would ask me how “Alone” was going. It was one of several started novels I never finished. Life kept butting in. I wrote in stops and starts.
A few years ago, I picked up writing again in earnest. I finished a novel and two rough draft sequels, a second novel and now I’m working on a third and fourth. It was inevitable Nikki would ask me about “Alone”, because she loves to tease me about it. So when she did two years ago I answered that I was rewriting “Alone” in space. I did. That story became Semper Audacia. It bears little resemblance to the great American novel begun in NYC, but echoes the feel of the piece in many ways, the most obvious, Leda’s loneliness. There were more splashes of inspiration for the piece. Most of my stories are a conglomeration of several sources of inspiration. For some reason, I’m never satisfied with just one. How about you?
So there we have it, my little space opera did have a connection to a Nikki, a Dave and the 1980’s.
Details: 99 cents. Space Opera. Novelette. 13,200 words
Description: Alone. Leda is the last living member of the brigade, the sole defender of her world. War took everyone she knew, leaving her in the company of memories and ghosts. Or is it madness?
The siren blares. The enemy is coming. Or is it? The approaching vessel isn't a friendly design, but it answers with the correct code. Leda must figure out whether the arrival is reinforcements or the final assault. In an aging flyer, she ventures out to meet her world's fate, the last stand.
About M. Pax: Inspiring the words I write, I spend my summers as a star guide at Pine Mountain Observatory in stunning Central Oregon where I live with the husband unit and two loving cats. I write speculative fiction mostly and have a slight obsession with giant, man-eating reptiles and Jane Austen. I know, they don’t really go together, but it’d be interesting to insert Godzilla in the middle of Pride & Prejudice.