Tag Archives: reincarnation

NANWRIMO Failure — Part Two

So, as I may have mentioned before, there is NO WAY I’m going to have 50,000 words by Saturday.  I don’t even have 5,000 yet.  I WILL finish This Lizard King Club after the holidays, though.  Anyway, since I shared the first chapter, Janis,  I wanted to share Jim’s first appearance in the book, too.  As with Janis, the Jim chapter is a first draft.  There will be lots of revision work ahead.

Jim

Serge, in his previous life.
Serge, in his previous life.

Serge Levenson slammed his bedroom door and kicked his sneaker across the room after his mom told him he would be grounded if he didn’t clean his room, even though it was his birthday. “Why would anyone have to clean the room on the 13th birthday? What is wrong with that bitch?”  He started picking up clothes off of the floor and throwing them in his laundry basket.  He sniffed his favorite gray sweatshirt, thinking that maybe he could wear it one more time before washing it, but it smelled like smoke.  Serge had recently tried cigarettes and marijuana.  So far, his parents hadn’t noticed.  They were both usually too busy to notice him, or at least that is how it seemed to him.  After he had thrown all of the clothes in the basket, Serge started throwing his shoes and anything else on the floor, including half empty Vitamin Water bottles in the closet.  After he forced the closet door to close, he ripped the poster of Alice Cooper from the  wall next to the closet.  “Screw you, Alice!” Serge suddenly hated Alice Cooper, and he wasn’t sure why.  He ripped the poster to shreds and threw it on the floor.  Next, he ripped the Motley Crue and Ozzy posters down, shredding them and throwing them.  “There! Now, it’s clean, you stupid bitch!” He was so mad at his mom for making him do this.  Why does she need to worry about his room?  Serge tried not to yell too loud even though he was super pissed off.  He knew his parents would not let him hire his friend Michael’s band for his Bar Mitzvah if he pissed them off. He was too loud though, because his mom came into his room.

“What is going on here?”  She yelled, while looking around at the damage he had done to his room.

“I am the lizard King I can do anything!” Sergio screamed at his mom. He could see that his dad was watching from behind his mom with a look of horror.

Serge’s mom said, “What did you just say?”

Serge repeated, “I am the lizard King! I can do anything!”

Serge’s mom turned around to look at his father, who whispered,  “They were right.”

Serge’s father was referring to the psychics at the psychic fair they went to back when he was five. There were always festivals and fairs in San Francisco, where Serge had lived his whole life. The psychics had warned his parents that he was the reincarnated Jim Morrison. Rena and Drew Levenson had not wanted to believe that he was Jim because of the invasion of privacy that would come with this role.  There would be so much stress, not to mention the self-destructive tendencies that travel with the soul between life times.  Everyone in the world waited for the next incarnation of the 27 Club.  They were looked upon as spiritual leaders and philosophers.

Now, as they looked around Serge’s room at the ripped up posters of rock stars, and listened to him mutter, “They’ve ruined music. They are ruining the world,” they believed it. Rena remembered the time Serge had stolen his father’s Doors records when he was 11. He took them down from the shelf they were on and threw them to the floor, and he scratched them all with a butter knife. Serge insisted, “These are mine; these are mine! They’ve taken my poetry and sold it!” They had written it off to a tantrum then, but now, now it seemed real. Plus, Serge was at the age where the past life traits become evident — puberty.  After all, he was “becoming a man” as he would become a Bar Mitzvah soon.  Rena felt sick.

Drew grabbed Rena’s shoulders and pulled her from Serge’s room.  He closed the door and walked Rena to the living room.  She walked to the picture window and stared at the Golden Gate Bridge, which could barely be seen with all of the clouds.  Minka, the cat jumped down from the windowsill and rubbed against Rena’s legs. Rena turned around to look at Drew right as he was handing her a glass of wine.  She was raising her hand to her temple, which had begun to throb, and she knocked the glass out of Drew’s hand. The wine fell to the hard wood floor, leaving broken glass and Pinot Noir everywhere.

Rena bent down and grabbed the cat so she wouldn’t walk on the glass.  “I’m sorry!”

“I guess you would rather have a martini,” Drew replied, with a little laugh.

“This isn’t funny, Drew.  This is the end of our lives as we know it,” Rena said, as she cradled the fluffy, white Persian.

“We don’t know that any of this is even true yet.  Reen, he’s going though puberty.  He’s going to have mood swings and say odd things.” Drew bent down and started picking up shards of glass from the floor, piling them neatly into the larger piece of the wine glass.

Rena walked to the couch and sat down with Minka on her lap.  “But this isn’t the first time.  Remember when he was in first grade, after the fair? We were walking to the car and he pointed to that one guy’s Door’s shirt and asked why his picture was on a shirt.”

Drew threw the glass pieces in the kitchen garbage, and grabbed the paper towels off of the marble breakfast bar.  “He was a little kid.  Little kids pretend to be Superman and aliens, and all kinds of stuff. You’re taking this all too seriously.” He squatted and started wiping wine from the floor, blotting up the mess and then wiping the spot again with more towels.

“But this is really odd.  There are just too many instances for it to be coincidence.  And it’s always about Jim Morrison.” Rena walked around Drew to get to the kitchen.  She grabbed the Simple Green spray and walked over to the wine spot.

Drew stood up and took the bottle from her. “Look. Instead of arguing, let’s take him back to Nancy. If you don’t want to go back to her, I can ask around at the office.  We just did a campaign for a psychiatry practice.  Someone is bound to know a good therapist.”

“Doing a PR campaign doesn’t make someone an expert on therapists.” Rena rolled her eyes.  It always irritated her when Drew took charge because he was her teacher when they had first met.

“Fine. Then you pick someone.  Let’s just have him talk to SOMEONE. OK?”

“OK.” Rena walked to their bedroom at the end of the hallway off of the living room and kitchen area.  She closed the door behind her, leaving Drew to finish with the floor.

NanoWriMo Failure

Whitney in her previous life
Whitney in her previous life

Way back in 2010, I tried National Novel Writing Month for the first time, and it was great.  I wrote 2/3 of what would become Misfit Academy.  This year, when a colleague decided to do NanoWriMo , I decided to try again, thinking I would finish The Lizard King Club. I didn’t count on the research I would need to do on certain prominent members of the 27 club.  Well, seeing as how it’s November 17, and I only have 4,200 of the 50,000 words written, I don’t think I will “win” this year, unless of course I develop severe insomnia or get fired.

The good news is that I have written one chapter for each main character in The Lizard King Club, a novel about reincarnating 27 club members.  So, without further adieu, I will share “Janis” with you.  I hope you enjoy it and want to read more.

Janis

“Jason, get me some panties from her drawer,” Whitney’s mom yelled to her step-dad from the bathroom while Whitney sat on the toilet crying with her bloody underwear around her ankles.

“What are you crying for, Whit? You’re becoming a woman!”  Delia rolled her eyes and chuckled.

Jason paused the football game on the TV.  Whitney could feel the floor move as her step-dad got up from his chair in the living room and walked past the bathroom door to the other side of their mobile home to Whitney’s room.

Delia reached up and rubbed the tears from Whitney’s face with her hand.  Whitney turned her face toward the wall and pushed her mom’s hand away.  Her mom always reeked of cigarettes, as their whole trailer did.  Both Delia and Jason were heavy smokers, and Whitney hated that.  Once she moved out, she would live in a real house and she would never be around people who smoked ever again.  She was going to be a librarian and have a nice house with a garden. She wasn’t going to marry some dirt bag loser like Jason.  He didn’t even have a job most of the time.  She had it all planned out.

“Don’t be sassy with me girl! I’m tryin’ to help you! You’re not too old to get a whoopin’!” Whitney’s mom yelled at her and stepped back from her to open the window in the bathroom.

Whitney could not believe that her mom actually worked with small children all day.  She was a “teacher” in the 3 year-old room at Little Miss Muffet’s day care.  Whitney was pretty sure that her mom only took the job because it was right outside their trailer park.  She could walk there and smoke the whole way.  Delia usually left the rusted out Mercury Mariner for Jason, hoping he would use it to go on job interviews.  He was an electrician, but never wanted to work after he was layed off when they stopped building so many houses in South Florida.

Jason knocked on the door, and Whitney could smell the beer and cigarettes through the crack by the door knob, since the door was right next to the toilet.  “OK.  They’re on the knob.  Can I finish watching the game now?”  He didn’t wait for an answer.  He stomped back to the living room and pressed play on the remote. The trailer seemed to bounce with every step.

Whitney was starting to sweat, partly from the stress of starting her period in church, and partly because in the South Florida sun, their small metal home was difficult to keep cool in the summer.  It was still hot even though it was 8:00 at night.

Delia opened the door enough to grab the underwear from the knob.  She handed them to Whitney along with an Always pad.  “Let me know if you need help,” She said and then opened the door again and walked out quickly.

Whitney put up her middle finger to the door.  She hated how her mom treated her like a baby, and also how she always threatened to beat her.  When she had kids some day, if she had kids, she would never hit them, and she wouldn’t treat them like they were stupid either.  It had been so humiliating to have her mom in the bathroom with her.  She texted her from the toilet when she saw the blood because she was upset, and she needed a pad and new underwear.  Whitney had not expected the woman to come into the bathroom with her.  Gross! That is like child abuse or something.

Whitney got dressed and washed her hands.  She splashed some cold water on her face and on the back of her neck.  She felt sick, probably because the cramps were starting now.  Whitney had heard about menstrual cramps from the girls at school, but this was her first time actually feeling them.  Now, she understood why her friend Stephanie smoked pot.  Supposedly that worked for cramps.

After Whitney dried her hands, leaving her face and neck to air dry, she opened the small, mirrored medicine cabinet above the sink.  She was looking for Advil, Motrin, or Tylenol.  That is what the girls at school always took in the bathroom for cramps.  Since you need a special note to take pills at school, and you have to visit the nurse’s office, most girls just took pills in the bathroom, cupping their hands and using the water out of the sinks. No one wanted to raise their hands and ask the teacher if they could go to the office and take medicine for cramps. That was super humiliating.

“Shit!” Whitney said, realizing there was no Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, or even Aleve.  “Are these people never in pain?”  Her mom and step-dad spent all of their money on cigarettes and Budweiser.  They couldn’t be troubled to buy some Advil.  There was Robitussin, Nyquil, Sudafed, and something called Hydrocodone that had her grandmother’s name on the bottle, which had been behind the Nyquil.  She didn’t want to go to sleep, so she pushed the Nyquil aside, even though there was Tylenol in it.  Whitney knew that Sudafed and Robitussin wouldn’t do diddly for cramps.  She only took them when she had a cold or needed to study for a big test. So, she picked up the Hydrocodone bottle and read the label.  “Take 1 or 2 tablets every 4 to 6 hours for pain,” it said. Well, Whitney’s cramps were pretty bad, and the girls in school usually took 2 pills, so she put 2 Hyrdrodones in her mouth, turned on the water, and cupped her hands under the faucet.  The pills had a bitter taste to them, which made Whitney swallow them dry.  They felt like they were stuck in her throat.  She swallowed the water in her hand, and then bent down and drank directly from the faucet.  After until she felt like she would puke, the pills finally went down.

Delia knocked on the door, and Whitney jumped.  “You OK in there, baby?” Delia asked.  “I hear a lot of water running.”

Whitney turned off the water, and yelled at the door, “I’m fine!  Just washing my face.” She rolled her eyes. Didn’t this woman have anything better to do other than listen for water running? It’s not like they even had a water bill here.  That was included in their rent.  Whitney knew this because Jason had told her to use all the water she wants since it’s free, but he bitched about lights being left on and keeping the fridge door open for more than like 10 seconds.

“Don’t be sassy with me, girl! I thought you were trying to wash those panties.  Just throw them away. I’m goin’ to Walmart later.  I can get you more.” Delia walked away from the door, toward her and Jason’s room, closing the door behind her.

Whitney dried her hands again, and rolled her eyes.  Her mom bought everything from Walmart, which was also within walking distance. One time, a few months ago, when Jason had the car, Delia had walked home with a Walmart cart.  It was still parked in back of their trailer, full of garbage bags.  Jason used it to take their trash to the dumpster in the middle of the trailer park.

Whitney put her ruined panties in the bathroom garbage, and opened the door.  She walked quickly to her room, and closed the door.  She put her old toy box with the chalkboard lid, which now served as her closet, in front of the door.  None of the doors in the trailer had locks, except for the front door.  Jason walked in on her while she was changing once, and that really creeped Whitney out.  He didn’t even apologize. Jason had just stood there and said, “Don’t worry.  You ain’t got nothin’ I ain’t seen before.”  That’s when she started blocking the door.

Whitney turned on the clock radio in her room and flipped through the stations.  She wasn’t in the mood for rap.  She heard that in school all of the time.  Whitney also didn’t feel like listening to metal.  She kind of had a headache, and felt nauseous from the taste of those pills.  She stopped flipping through the stations when she heard Janis Joplin’s voice singing  “Cry Baby.”  Whitney had never heard the song, but recognized Janis’s rough voice because her grandma Jane used to listen to her records when Whitney visited her. They never saw Whitney’s favorite grandma anymore since Whitney’s mom and dad were divorced. Delia called grandma Jane “that old bitch who spat out your father.” Whitney started singing along with Janis, even though she had never heard the song. She felt at peace with the world, and she was still humming the tune when she curled up on her bed and fell asleep.

 

 

 

The Lizard King Club — My Next Novel

My husband and I were riding down Easton Way, on our way to the airport to pick up our son. The satellite radio was set on the Classic Vinyl station, and the Doors’ “Light my Fire” was playing. I started to think about Jim Morrison and how he thought the spirit of a Native American entered his body as his family drove past the accident that killed the man. If you haven’t seen the movie The Doors, or read any biographical material, that probably made no sense.  I offer you these lyrics as clarification.

While I was lost in this thought, my husband said, “Look! Look at the donorcycle guy!”  My husband and I often say that motorcycles (AKA donorcycles) are organ donation machines, and this guy was a great example. I looked over to my right, and I saw a motorcycle rider standing up on his seat and doing a wheelie, while going at least 80, if not faster. I stared at him as he passed us, and I watched him weave in and out of cars. I told my husband, “Stay back.  I don’t want to see it.”  I was wiping my sweaty palms on my pants because I thought for sure we were about to witness the cyclist’s horrible death.

As I stared at him, I could almost hear the motorcycle rider say, “I am the Lizard King. I can do anything,” which is a line from one of Jim Morrison’s poems. The combination of witnessing someone who is that unafraid to die, and hearing Jim’s voice made me start thinking about reincarnation.   As a wannabe Buddhist, I have read about how the Dalai Lama is found.  Each Dalai Lama is believed to be the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama. What if all leaders, whether they are artistic, spiritual, or both, were reincarnated?  As I thought about the people I would like to see reincarnated, I realized that most of them were members of the 27 Club, musicians who have died at 27.  So, I thought, what if some of the most famous members of the 27 Club came back, and it was completely normal and expected? How would we recognize them? Could they complete their missions this time around?

So, I have begun writing The Lizard King Club, my second YA novel. While it will still be realistic fiction, for the most part, it will contain more fantasy than anything I have previously written.  I will post excerpts on my blog as I write.  I hope you enjoy reading them, and I would love to hear from you as I write.

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The Lizard King Club by Lisa R. Petty is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.