(Editor’s Note: When I sent the member spotlight questions to Vixyy, I should have known I’d get an unconventional reply! I’ve published these responses just as I received them; warnings for adult language in the poem.)
Good morning everyone,
I have been asked by the Furry Writers’ Guild if I could put something together concerning my writing and authorship. I am delighted by this request; though I am wont to speak about myself. This, I suppose, has a lot to do with my upbringing which held such a thing as bragging; and no one likes a braggart. Neither did my father like tattoos but that’s neither here nor there, is it? All the same, and fighting back the bad taste in my mouth for doing so, I will attempt to answer some questions about the writer who is Vixyy Fox.
Now that sounded strange to my mind. You should know that I don’t actually think of myself in those terms. When I write I simply exist. Consider it this way; when you look through your eyes you do not perceive your body but only the things around your body and perhaps the parts of your body you might have in the peripheral of what you are viewing. For instance, as I type this I can see my hands. In a more personal revelation; the real life me hardly even glances in the mirror when passing one by. It only reflects an aging person getting on in life and that’s not who I am.
As strange as this explanation feels; when I talk about Vixyy I also understand that we are different people and yet we are the same person. No… I do not have a split personality disorder. Something of this nature is too simple an explanation. Vixyy is my totem (animal spirit guide / guardian angel) and we live together.
In this endeavor I have been given some questions to answer. I will do this but more in an order that seems to have a natural flow to it. This is one of the secrets of writing; everything should flow in a natural progression. You do not start at the end and work your way back only to jump to the middle, then to the beginning and then to the end again like a perverted form of Hop Scotch.
Five writing facts about Vixyy Fox.
- I do not touch type.
- I would be lost without my spell checker.
- I do not pre-plan anything.
- The stories flow from my fingers.
- I am male writing as a female.
*sighs… (upon viewing the questions posed) The reply for each of these could be a one word answer or pages long in length. I suppose the only way to truly tackle it is head on.
What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
I had to look ‘pantser’ up just to be sure of its meaning. I am a Fox after all and Foxes do pant; which was the wrong meaning of course. I love Google and use it constantly for finding such things. I am not a font of knowledge but I do research heavily when I’m on to something. Along these lines I would like to suggest a book to all writers. It’s called ‘Maybe You Should Write A Book’. Ignore the title as it it’s silly but to the point. Also ignore the first half of the tome as it was written by a publisher and summed up as ‘moneymoneymoneymoney’. The second half is absolutely wonderful because he had all these really BIG named authors write a piece on ‘how they write’. You will find that each and every one of them pursues their art form in a different way.
I would be considered a ‘pantster’ – meaning you write by the seat of your pants. This is an aviation expression by the way, something I am very familiar with having worked in the industry for forty years. Flying by the seat of your pants can be considered good or bad depending upon who is using the expression and the results it incurs. ‘Instruments be damned’ you’re flying (writing) strictly on visual and gut instinct with any preconceived outline/flight plan thrown out the window.
I plan nothing. This is not an ego ‘thing’. I have tried outlining (at least in my mind) and it just does not work for me. This is one of the reasons I so love the Thursday Prompt. The prompt gives me a direction in which to fly and off I go. What I will tell you now I do not expect everyone to believe, nor do I expect you to attempt emulation. You will not be able to do this unless it is inside of you already. Sometimes I go so far into the story I connect with something and find I know things of a time and era that I have no business knowing.
First an explanation, and then an example. (Just so you know; the word ‘I’ bothers me.)
When I write I go into the story and watch it like a movie and then simply record what I see. I have always been a chronic daydreamer (something that got me into a lot of trouble in school) and I see my writing as an extension of this. The few times I went into a story with a preconceived notion of how things would go, the characters just chuckled and did as they wished leaving me to stay behind or tag along.
My characters come to life within the words.
They are real to me and become dear friends. I have cried real tears when some have died during the course of a story. I have also laughed with them over some small thing, been concerned when things were not going well and, indeed, felt more than a bit naughty watching their sexual play.
This, I feel, is reflective of life and the fact that the words are living. The thought rather gives new light to the idea written in the Bible that God spoke things into existence, doesn’t it?
The first short story I wrote using The Dread Pirate Tabor, I did so as a present to a dear friend who was going through a period of depression. The story was based upon the Thursday Prompt and I had fun with it. It did cheer him up as it was based upon his character in Fur Affinity. The second time I used Tabor, some months later, something clicked and I found myself sitting upon the deck of his brig ‘The Queen’ and we actually spoke. It’s even there nicely written down. After that the tale was off and away all on its own. It’s not so well read but only perhaps because when people read the disclaimer in the forward of the novel, they become afraid that it was something written touting a gay lifestyle. (Tabor and his crew were all gay Rabbits and I believe in honesty.) To this notion I would say, it’s actually just the opposite. The book is about love, relationships, friendships, loyalty, and adventure. Tabor taught me much about so many things. Here now are the individual thoughts of the many friends I had in that story as their small armada was racing after King Gaspar’s ship of the line. Look to the words and see the whole character just through their personalities which are all so very different. Revisiting this I found tears.
Captain Tabor Rabbit
The Queen growls forth
Inta the trough ‘n out again
Wind strong at our hind.
Pitty the poor bugger when we catch’im,
And poor be we all who live to tell the tale.
The Lady Robert Taverness Rabbit
The ship sways gently
Like a good wife’s buttocks;
Inviting to the touch
Durable over the long run
With a slap waiting to happen
Just to keep things dicey.
And I lay in my hammock
Thinking about casks of dill pickles.
Captain Merdue De Hiss Cat (speaking to a picture of her Ilene)
Eye watch thee sky and pray my love;
Quietly in my own mind.
Many of my crew ‘av died,
Lovers all, they are missed
Yet again wee ready to ke’el.
Eye clean m’eye pistols
Sharpen m’eye claws
N’ keep an eye on the sea.
Eye we’el return to ewe soon…
Captain Henry Babacomb Dog – House of Labrador
I have not slept in two days.
My ship talks with me through this weariness.
She is not afraid,
Nor am I;
Though I am apprehensive that I have used up my luck.
Scatter Brained Bob steadfastly attends me;
As if he was my brother.
Perhaps I misjudged him.
My station is the quarterdeck
In charge of the swivels.
My men and I practice constantly
Though the Captain will give me
No more powder.
I worry for my father.
I worry for my Uncle.
I worry for my men.
But I say nothing, as therein lies the path to dishonor.
Governor Louis Gulo
My shoulder hurts like fire to flesh
And what little sleep I get is fitful.
I hate hammocks and would
Sleep on the floor if it were steady;
Two days more and perhaps I will find my rest
In the muzzle of a cannon.
Oompahalahala Duroc (translated from his native Polynesian)
I request Mother Ugga and Father Bugga,
(Mother Sky and Father Ocean,)
Owners of life and death,
Watch over my friends and my enemies
One and the same;
As life and death are one and the same.
I shall sharpen my spear
I shall begin another doll
I shall eat many pickles.
Rosa Cat (thoughts in Cat – not said aloud)
Sipping tea with Gabriel as the sun rises
Thinking of spurting in Tabor’s wardrobe
And how I wanted him in me…
Wondering that I am not dead
Many times over.
I miss my mother and her ways;
Though I could never live with her again.
This is both poetic and tragic;
Yet very much Cat.
The tea is good.
I half wake to the feel of my ship
And the soft warmth snuggled next to me.
Duty calls me forth…
Punk’n Cat drags me back again…
Her voice whispers in my ear;
‘Thee Capitan say rest and Eye say wee make love;
Wheech dew ewe want?’
With a thump we roll out of
Our hammock to the deck below.
King Ludwig D’Gulo
The sound of the ship’s wake keeps me company
As I sit in the stern windows watching aft.
The Cat’s ship races close, graceful in its thinness.
The Rabbit’s stout ship, further back, carries every stitch of sail.
I would find joy in this
But for the death we race towards.
How is it I deserve such loyalty?
Or could it be Gaspar deserves such hatred?
Live or die;
Life is a mystery.
Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
This would be ‘Mr. Grumble’ which I just finished last week. Goodness knows I have been working on this one for over two years, posting the pieces up on FA for those following his exploits. He is an aged spy and the story began as a tongue in cheek reflection of all the old spy movies and TV shows that were so popular during the 60’s and 70’s. My son-in-law actually drew his icon and darned if Grumble doesn’t look a lot like an aged Sean Connery. The beginning date was September of 2013 and came about through… well… it just did. I have no idea where he came from except that I sat down and just began writing. Many of the ensuing chapters were fashioned for the Thursday Prompt.
What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
I like writing just about anything you could imagine. I am adverse to sexual violence and porn, though I do love good eros. There is a huge difference there. Neither do I like murder and wanton violence. This is a personal preference. Long ago I stopped watching the CSI shows (Except for Jethro) because I came to the understanding that we were now routinely watching graphic murder as entertainment. That’s just wrong.
There are so many ways to obtain the same desired effect plot wise without resorting to rubbing the reader’s/viewer’s nose in gore.
Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
My goodness; why not just ask me which part of my body I love the most? I love all of my characters, though more properly they are not ‘my’ characters as during the writing process they became living breathing beings.
Vixyy Fox would be first in line, though she is not exactly ‘the’ Vixyy Fox who is me. I have tried my best to figure the origins of the keeper of the Whackadoodle Inn and best I can come up with is certain traits belonging to my Grandmother Snapp. She has a keen wit, is sharp as a tack, and won’t hesitate to put you in your place if it’s required. Her time era is the same as Scanectity Skunk as they are a part of that same world; somewhere within the late 1800’s to very early 1900’s. His book was where she first appeared and not because I wanted to write about her; it was as it was supposed to be.
Mr. Grumble is a retired spy – but – his secret weapon and what makes him so dangerous is that he is also a writer and his creations come to life. (I wonder where that one came from?) His story characters also just happen to be of a spy nature but are all very different from each other. At times I could almost feel him sitting with me.
Sir Edwin Dunfrees, whose novel I have to really make an effort towards final edit and publish, was 105 years old at the telling of the story. I cried real tears when he passed away; which was inevitable at his advanced age. His was another of those stories that absolutely took on a life of its own and I learned so very much from it. It began as a fencing article (I taught fencing for some fifteen years) and ended up a historical novel about WWI.
Scanectity Skunk, a cantankerous old farmer with sage wisdom willing to give up everything to protect his family. His dealings with the Devil were very real to me and I wasn’t sure right up to the end who was really going to win.
The Dread Pirate Tabor, who became a fast friend. He was my teacher of things nautical and the ways of the sea.
Flight Lieutenant Archie Corn who taught me so much about the Battle of Britain and what it was like to be a pilot during that conflict.
So many and many and many I have written and now this bit of reflection has reminded me how much my writing means to me. Through it I have lived many lifetimes.
Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
My two favorite authors are Rod Serling of the famed ‘Twilight Zone’ series and James Claval, who wrote ‘Shogun’. If you read the biographies on both of these gentlemen you will be amazed.
I believe my ‘style’ is most reflective of Rod Serling’s. I like the smaller stories and even in my longer works you will find they are mostly made up of smaller stories all stitched together to create the larger piece.
‘Shogun’ on the other hand is a massive work of 1265 pages (or there abouts). I have read it six times. It is a master work of detail concerning life in Japan in the 1600’s and you will find something new every time you read it. It was based upon a real person.
What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
Hands down – ‘Shogun’ is the book I would say I truly loved. I tried to watch the mini-series on television but unfortunately they chose the wrong actor to play the lead part of Blackthorn. This character demanded a personage of Gregory Peck’s stature. That and as in all books versus movies; movies are time limited and so cannot fully explain things as can a book.
Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
With my wife of 35 years who is my best friend in the world.
Advice for other writers?
(I will laugh here.) I have loads of advice for other writers; most of which is worthless to anyone except me because, as writers, we are all different. Let’s see if I can add to the chaos of all the self help literature concerning our art form. I will give you five things.
- Dream… never stop dreaming… never stop.
- Everything in the entire world that ever happened originated from within someone’s imagination.
- Be persistent.
- Keep plugging away regardless of what those with no imagination might say to you. Do this and in the years to come you will have a fine portfolio and a good following.
- Associate and talk with other writers.
- You need other writers as fish need water. You don’t even have to talk about writing. It’s simply important that you know others like yourself. One of my all time favorite happenings was when Phil Geusz and Jim Lane came all the way down to South Florida just to have dinner with me. It was awesome.
- Never think you are too good to practice.
- Never think you are too good to practice.
- Edit – edit – edit – edit – edit – edit… and did I say edit?
- The only way to get better at writing is with practice: see number 4 above. I was reading a Tom Clancy novel one day and found it very annoying that my editor’s eye had kicked in and there were mistakes in the text.
- Learn to make editing a part of your writing process and you will never look at it as a chore. You are a painter of words and as such you use the edit to smooth and blend the colors your reader sees.
Where can readers find your work?
You can find me on Amazon, Weasel Press, and Rabbit Valley. I also still have a few stories posted in various places on the web; and you can always find me on Fur Affinity which is my home.
What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
My favorite thing about the furry fandom is the fact I can be who I am, not what I am. I very much enjoy the fact that in there, Vixyy (we are one and the same but different beings) is everyone’s favorite grandmother.
Just so you know; this works both ways. I seldom picture my fandom friends as anything other than their chosen icons. In this there is a straight forward meeting of the minds with none of the restrictions you will find in real life. That is very much to my liking.
Also – at the one con I managed to go to I actually danced with a person wearing a horse head.
How cool is that?!
Check out Vixyy Fox’s member bio here!