Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Brief History and Explanation

(Well, as brief as we can make it...)

During the spring of 1907 2007, three mismatched misfits (university students who fancied themselves writers and reincarnates of a secret immortal ninja order) wandered into a graduate level writing workshop on a Wednesday at 6pm. They each selected one of a dozen coveted black rolling-chairs, sat, and stared blankly at each other from across the dull, dirty surface of a circa 1960 Formica conference table. Little did these ladies know – five years later – they would still be meeting every Wednesday, margaritas and cheese dip at hand, pushing each other to become better writers.
Needless to say, after that historic semester ended, relationships were forged. (And sacrifices were made...)
But it wasn’t as easy at that.
The misfits eventually graduated college, one by one. Lost to each other in the post workshop milieus, they tried to move on. One earned a book contract, one moved to Montana, and one wandered around the South, aimlessly, with no other purpose but to keep writing.
The absence of a formal writing course (if it could be called formal) gave way to lunch dates, emails, letters, and Internet chats. Lo and behold, the writing workshop didn’t cease. And even less interesting than that, communications between the three held a common theme: as writers how do we use each other to better our writing? (Note the aforementioned sacrifices...)
So, after a book release, a couple of moves in and out of Mississippi, and a lot of manuscript page origami, the three misfits found their way back to the same table together. In a mad twist of fate, they became members of the same critique group, once again work-shopping each others’ pages. Alas, these things never last. (Or do they?) After a lot of tough love, loads of ink-scribbled pages, and a few near suicidal moments ending in tears – the critique group dismantled in its initial incarnation. Three remained.
(Well, actually four remained. He recently moved. But the story works better this way. Sorry, G.)

The origin of the name "Ninja Peas"
Original t-shirt design "Unstealthiest Ninja" by DoOomcat
Sold by shirt.woot.com
Image modified by the Ninja Peas

So, three remained.
Thus was the birth of the Ninja Peas. (Cue ominous music...)
Three peas in a pod – three writers in a ferocious, unyielding partnership consumed with a desire to just keep writing. Each distinctly different in style and strength, yet, all three bound by perseverance and a love of storytelling (and bird sandwiches...but we’ll get to that part later).
Since that fateful spring day in 1907 2007 a lot has happened. One became a published author of two internationally distributed vampire books. (Ooooh... Aaaah...) One rewrote a YA adventure fantasy more than a half a dozen times while masquerading as a graphic designer (reincarnate secret immortal ninja powers come in handy). One discovered hard-boiled eggs explode in the microwave (again with the sacrifices...). But still each strives (with minimal hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth) to be the one who will produce the next published novel. All while up-keeping a weekly Blog – a Blog about being writers, readers, and members of a working critique group.

A writer’s path can be a lonely disheartening endeavor. The road is long and bramble-filled. The climb is steep(ish) and sometimes suffocating. But it is a path easier hacked through with trusted friends by your side. Peas are friends who have a common goal and who possess equal determination – a determination that puts their passion to write first. (Unless the zombie apocalypse arrives, in which case, Peas are the first to trip one another in an effort to save themselves. All is fair in Pea Love and zombie apocalypses...) But, mostly, Peas are the kinds of friends who challenge, inspire, and inform each other of when their bad grammar and clarity issues are showing – or when one of us has cheese dip on our chin...

That is what the Ninja Peas are – and this is a glimpse Inside the Pod.

J: Who are you people and why are you in my pod?

M: *snuggles J’s shoulder* It’s cozy in here, Sensei.

J: *pushes M* Get off me. You know I’m not a touchy-feely Pea. *yawns* I need coffee.

M: Where’s Tour Guide Barbie?

A: Wha? Oh hi! I was... busy...

M: *snickers* Right, because you actually have a … *makes air quotes* … Job.

A: No, no. *reveals bucket of hot pink paint from behind back*... busy painting my corner of the pod! *giggle*

J: Is that... OMG–It’s PINK!!!!!! *runs screaming to the far corner* Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew! Kill it! Restrain it! Medicate it! Stop it before it spreads! *uses M as a human shield* Make her stop...

M: It’s only one bucket. *pats J’s hand gingerly* We talked about this. Remember... letting everyone share in a piece of the pod.

A: Don’t worry! I’m done with the pink. Now I’m going to draw out my entire story, scene by scene, so everything matches up when I read it! *grabs pen* *hunches over pink section of floor* *begins drawing* *looks up* I’ll do yours next, M.

M: Um. Thanks? So... what’s the plan with this Pod Blog, gals?

J: *echoing voice* To fill the world with awesomeness beyond compare!

A: And bare our nerdiness to the entirety of its inhabitants! *wink*

M: So basically the plan is to randomly transmit awesomeness and nerdiness into the world? *pauses* *grins* Sweet.

J: Well, that and give a little insight into a working writers’ critique group.

A: And maybe take a page from our book (not literally -- that’s plagiarism) and remember not to take themselves too seriously.

J: Not every group is like ours but what we have works. Maybe others can find some inspiration from our nerdy awesomeness.

M: *chuckles* I think J has a soft spot for us, A. Underneath that dark outer shell lies a squishy sweet filling. *grins*

J: Don’t push your luck...

A: *giggle* Too late.