WIPpet Wednesday!!! January 8, 2014

Whew! it’s been a long time since I’ve been around for this. Through struggling with depression and three trips last month, and advent at church and reading for a one week intensive course of which I’m currently taking, it’s no wonder I didn’t get ANY writing or editing done! But now I’m back!

I mentioned the class I’m taking. It’s really an intensive course. Try smashing one whole semester into a week and then having the topic we’re studying be very emotional. We’re talking about war and moral injury. I bring this up all for a reason, so bear with me. Moral injury is the type of injury an individual receives when their moral codes are forced to be broken. This is often seen in the military with soldiers who are forced to kill (adults, women or children), forced to participate in prisoner abuse, forced to participate in a war they don’t think is just, and those who feel betrayed by their government. It’s a conflict of conscience.

My end of the “year” project for this class, my final basically, has to do with moral injury, but we’re allowed to be very creative with it. Since I worked alongside the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and because I have an affinity for police officers and writing them, I have decided to write a short novella. This means that my WIPpet Wednesday’s will consist of this novella that I’m working on. I have until the beginning of March to come up and write the first draft of this piece. It’s going to be outside my norm, and it’s going to be focused on a male officer experiencing moral injury and the recovery process necessary to feel as though one is human again.

Since I’m smack dab in the middle of this insane course right now, I’m just going to write for 8 minutes to see what I come up with for the beginning of this story. I do already have an idea in my head, so we’ll see how it goes. If you would like to join in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s open to everyone and the rules and very simple. Write a post with your current WIP (work in progress) that in someway correlates to the date. It can be 8 sentences, 1 word, 14 paragraphs. And feel free to get very creative with the math. Once you’ve made the blog post, head on over here and link it up with everyone’s. Then go out and read as many posts as you can. Don’t forget to comment, because we’re all comment whores!!

Thanks to MyRandomMuse for hosting this event each week!

Now…for the start of this Moral Injury Novella

The gun didn’t feel right in his hands. They weight felt off, and the handle wasn’t quite warm enough. He slid his fingers back and forth along the barrel, feeling the oil from the cleaning he had just done. He should do it again. Biting his lip, Shayne Laurence started the whole process over.

Carefully, he took apart each piece, cleaning them to perfection. Then slowly he put the weapon back together again. The room was dimly lit, and by the end of the second cleaning, he had to squint in order to see. The alcohol flooded his brain, making him fuzzy and his world so narrowed that he could see every piece of it. It looked like a 9 mil.

Reaching over blinding, Shayne picked up his warm long neck and glugged the rest of it back. He didn’t sigh and he didn’t release a breath as the alcohol flooded down his system and into his stomach. Instead he felt his body churn and protest the liquor as it flowed through. Once again, Shayne lifted the handgun and held it carefully, the oil making the rough skin of his palm softer than it had been before.

He moved his hand up and down, once more testing the weight. It still wasn’t right. It wasn’t his service weapon. Shayne shook his head and leaned back in his chair. Reaching over to the side, he pulled up another longneck from the case he’d bought and hadn’t bothered to put in the fridge. It’d all be gone and drunk before it would have had a chance to get cold anyway.

A sound upstairs made him stop. Shayne shot his head up and looked toward the stairs to his basement as he listened intently for the sound again. Nothing happened. The refrigerator made a buzzing sound and the wind outside howled through the windows. The light flickered as if it was going out, but when Shayne reached over and tapped the metal head to the desk lamp, the light became fixed and brighter.

He listened for the creak and groan of wood that would tell him someone was walking through the living room of his house. He listened for the shuffle of footstep that would tell him if the person was male or female. He listened for the stumble and the fall as they tripped over the chest he’d left in the middle of the hallway in the pitch black house in order to stump the intruder before they reached him.

Shayne let out a breath when after thirty minutes of listening there was nothing there. It was the first time he truly remembered feeling in danger since that evening. Shaking his head, Shayne went back to his weapon and started rubbing the soft cloth over the metal, removing any excess oil that might still be there.

For any of you interested, on Monday I had a guest post from Francis James Franklin about being straight and writing LGBT and the whole slew of messiness that labeling means. There’s also a giveaway going on with two of his books and one from author Jaye McKenna, who will be interviewed next Monday. PLEASE oh PLEASE! go and sign up to win the books. =P why not? they’re free and they’re from awesome people!

LGBT Giveaway

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25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raewyn Hewitt
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 12:49:22

    It sounds like things have been really full on for you lately – I hope things settle down soon. The moral justice topic sounds really interesting and tough to process (such damage done) – and I love that you are using it as inspiration for a novella. In this short WIPpet you really convey that Shanye is in a dark place.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 13:04:19

      I think my schedule slows down somewhere around March. It’s absolutely insane. There is a lot of damage done, and the thing is this isn’t something being talked about. What’s being talked about is more PTSD and the things we can diagnose. So…I’m glad I’ll be able to write this piece. The prof’s said, if it’s good enough, they might help me to get it published so they can use it as well.

      Shayne really is in a dark place. And it’s about to get darker.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

  2. ReGi McClain
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 15:44:14

    Oh no. It sounds like, aside from intentionally drinking himself into alcohol poisoning, he’s developing OCD! Ah!

    Way the by, totally unasked for advice, but potentially of the “glad you told me cuz I’d have no idea to ask that ” variety: I took GABA this year (it’s a nutritional supplement) and it really, really helped with my S.A.D.

    I hope you feel better soon! Depression’s a monster.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 15:54:31

      If only mine were just S.A.D. It’s not; it’s more cycles and my own demons. It’s not so much OCD as it is about the ritual of cleaning and taking care of something that is a part of him. He doesn’t have his service weapon, so he keeps trying to find the same connection with this weapon as he has with his service weapon. If that makes any sense at all. It’ll be explained more as the story progresses.

      Reply

      • ReGi McClain
        Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:09:19

        It does make sense. :-)

        S.A.D. isn’t the only form of depression I get/have had. I’m getting a really bad case of play-nurse about now, so I’ll just shush, but… er… I probably… um… know somethings… that… maybe… Okay. Shutting up for real. ;-) :-P

      • Adrian
        Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:15:46

        Lol I’ve dealt with depression my entire life. Right now it’s just a matter of getting away from that last tether that’s holding on. It’s grasp is almost completely loosened. =P

        If you want to talk more and play some nurse, PM me on Facebook.

      • ReGi McClain
        Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:17:44

        You mean you’ll let me play! Woohoo! :-D We’re on our way out real soon here, but you’ve opened the can of worms and they’re coming to get you. Bwahahaha!

      • Adrian
        Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:20:11

        Lol

  3. Kate Frost
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:25:35

    That ritual of Shayne cleaning the gun definitely comes across – I think all the details in this opening extract really pull the reader into his world.

    Sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with depression but I’m glad you’re back and finding the time to write again.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 16:29:32

      I’m glad it does come across! yay!! and writing is a definite must. I have an easier semester this spring compared to last fall, lots more down time and free time. Which is nice. I’m so glad you get pulled into his world.

      Reply

  4. Xina Marie Uhl
    Jan 08, 2014 @ 21:32:13

    Hello! I’m a new-ish WIPpeteer. I enjoyed your excerpt – Shayne seems like a deliberate man. I wonder what’s awaiting him?

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 08, 2014 @ 21:34:41

      well WELCOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Shayne is very deliberate and very lost, which makes him even more deliberate, I think. =P he has a lot in store.

      Thanks for stopping by

      Reply

  5. booksbysmiles
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 00:20:57

    This definitely sounds like some PTSD going on, the way he’s attached to his weapon and booby-trapping his home and listening to the sounds of an enemy that he’s been trained to listen for. An emotional scene. It’s hard to come back to ‘real life’ and adjust to every day living. For eight minutes, this was awesome!

    Reply

  6. kathils
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 06:04:51

    Wow. Massively intense scene. At least I felt it to be. And when he thinks he hears a noise and tenses, listening, and there are all the other ‘normal’ noises…*shivers* Mainly because I’ve been in that particular situation. Not with a gun and a case of warm long necks, though. I like my beer chilled. Even if I am on a bender. I can feel a sense of loss here, of being somehow incomplete and a bit confused.

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 09, 2014 @ 07:26:25

      There is a huge sense of loss, I’m amazed it got picked up in such a short scene. The loss is the moral injury that he’s dealing with throughout the piece. There are other losses too, but that one in particular is the root cause of this all.

      Reply

  7. Eden
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 09:11:33

    When I was a kid, a lot of my parents’ friends were former Vietnam vets (many war protestors who hadn’t been able to escape the draft but others who really believed in the cause they’d joined). I grew up with a grandfather who’d tried to dodge the draft for WWII and had been dragged from under his front porch… Yes, there is something called PTSD, but there is moral injury too. My grandfather, whose record shows he was in the Battle of the Bulge and helped in the freeing of Dachau never liked the things he experienced in the war, but he ended up being proud of the people he’d served with and the fact he’d been able to do his part.

    The men from Vietnam? There’s a lot of soul hurt there though. Many are/were proud of having been soldiers, but it felt different to m. It wasn’t the quiet peaceful pride my grandfather showed. It was more of a need to feel proud. Some of that was, certainly, the way these men were welcomed home, I’m sure, as less than heroes and more as criminals.

    Your class sounds fascinating. Shayne’s situations sounds… If I had to guess, it sounds like he shot someone he thought was an intruder (or was an intruder) and has had his service weapon taken from him for a time pending an inquiry, but he can’t past replaying those moments before the killing. And he’s feeling a desperate need to be “ready this time”. But he can’t “clean the blood from his weapon no matter how hard he tries”….

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 09, 2014 @ 09:26:17

      The class is fascinating. And yes there is something more than PTSD that injures soldiers. My dad was in Vietnam and my grandfather in WWII. I’ve had two cousins in Iraq recently. Moral injury is something close to my heart and something Shayne is struggling with.

      Reply

  8. Ruth Nestvold
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 15:33:18

    Sorry to hear about the stress and depression, Adrian. But that class sounds absolutely fascinating! And I can totally see that feeding into the novella you started. This excerpt is wonderfully atmospheric and scary in a very personal way.

    One little nit. I read this sentence several times: “Reaching over blinding, Shayne picked up his warm long neck and glugged the rest of it back.” I didn’t understand what the warm long neck was until I read the rest of the paragraph. I was thinking the neck referred to a rifle, since until that point there’s so much about the weapon he’s cleaning. Just so you know!

    Reply

    • Adrian
      Jan 09, 2014 @ 21:02:09

      The class is very interesting, but dealing with anything violent this week outside of class has been really hard. Which I guess is to be expected.

      I’m glad the excerpt is scary–it’s a scary topic to be talking about. I’m not sure if I’ll change the sentence, but I’ll think about it. I like the image the it conjures, when one conjures the right image, because he didn’t buy the cheap stuff but he didn’t bother to take care of it either. I’ll definitely put some thought into it when I start to rewrite this piece. I gotta write the whole thing first though. =P

      Reply

  9. Gloria Weber
    Jan 11, 2014 @ 09:40:53

    I think it is wonderful that you are tying your writing with your class. From the bit I read, I think you’re on to making an awesome final project.

    Reply

  10. Trackback: Crazy Maths for WIPpet Wednesday! January 15, 2014 | Adrian J Smith
  11. Elaine Jeremiah
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 09:03:45

    I know I’m late to this but wow, what a great piece! So tense and ominous. What’s Shayne up to and who/what is he scared of? I’ll now whizz on over and read your latest offering!

    Reply

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