Posted in 2014, Reflections

The final leg of the year

Christmas time.  A time for reflection. And not long after that until we hit the New Year.  And what a year it has been for me.

Been a lot of ups and downs but, that’s what every year has right?  So, without further ado, let’s have a recap of my year.
January

New Year 2014 brought a sense of expectancy and fresh new things as I began my third year at my work place. 
Australia Day at work with the kids was a highlight.  And spending time with Christian friends was and had been throughout the year, a huge highlight.

Shut Up by Simple Plan was my anthem this month.  For reasons that I will not go into.

February

This month I became extremely reflective of my work life, I wasn’t feeling happy, but I focused on God more.

Mum and Dad went to the UK.  Mum’s been working on the family tree on hers and dad’s sides.  They also went because dad had some conference or something he was doing.

I spent more time with Mum, we even went dress shopping.

March

One of my friends got married this month and had a beautiful outdoor wedding, and then a simple reception with family and friends.

Lent this year I gave up Simple Plan.  That was difficult, but as you know how much I love the band it held a lot of significance for me.  [I didn’t last the whole of Lent, but it was a good effort].

I hurt my back at work and had to take a lot of time off work.  Think that’s where all my sick leave went…definitely taught me a lot of patience and to lean more into God.

I also set out to start managing my money better.  That’s still a work in progress.

April

Easter as always an important date on my Calendar.  Marked it with services at Riverview.

Also, ANZAC Day was a highlight.  Went to my first Dawn Service.  Moving, beautiful and cold.  Definitely something I will continue doing if I am able.

May

Mother’s Day was the only thing of note this month, and planning for Hillsong Conference.

June

This month went by in a blur.  I think the main focus was my excitement for Hillsong.

The end of this month was my first year anniversary of being out of home.  An accomplishment.  I took to living out of home like a duck to water.  Though I do go home at least once a week for dinner with the parents.

July

Straight up, Hillsong Conference was the highlight of the month.

Saw The Lion King musical while we were in Sydney as well.

August
Marked my three year anniversary at work. 
September/October
I can’t really remember what happened these two months that wasn’t upsetting…I left my job but at the same time gained perspective in my life and my faith in God grew.

November 
Ten years of being a Simple Plan fan on the first of this month.  I wrote a big tribute about that.  Time flies, hey?
December
The best month this year as it included Christmas and I met someone special 😀 
Bring on 2015!

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Posted in fiction, first person pov, my writing

The Uprising – Chapter Two – Woods

The Astor, Maximum Security Penitentiary. Grimmest place in Valoren City. Built in the sixties to house every kind of criminal imaginable. The whole place is maximum security. Under lockdown every night and the prisoners are kept in tiny cells that you couldn’t even swing a cat in.

The rules are stringent. There’s no room for leniency in this prison. The law is tough on those who are incarcerated. They lose all their rights when they step inside this place.

To be honest it gets me down.

This whole gig does.

But, it’s all I know.

“Commander?” Melissa.

Let me tell you about Melissa Briar. Honour roll student at Valoren City College. Graduated with a GPA of 4.0. Big chip on her shoulder. Blonde. Not in that way, see Honour roll student point above. Pouty lips, bedroom eyes. Though I’d never try getting her into bed. Her father would shoot anyone who tried that on. Takes shit from no one. Great at getting my shit together. Nothing like her father.

Doesn’t like me.

I nodded to her as she met me at the check-in point. She looked sharp as usual, her blouse looking crisp and ironed. Yes, I noticed that, not a crime is it? I iron my shirts. Being neat is important.

“What’s the plan?”

She lifted an eyebrow before scanning the clipboard that she was holding. “You get to speak with Prisoner seventy-seven before his last rites are read to him.”

Clenching my jaw, I said, “I was meant to be the one to make the decision regarding his sentencing.”

Melissa’s eyes actually softened as she said, “The General thought it best you didn’t.” It was unsettling to say the least that her father would think that. I wasn’t one to let people see my weaknesses. But, considering Lachlan was now on death row…

Squaring my shoulders and nodding to her, I made my way to the interrogation chamber.

Lachlan was already there. I paused at the door, looking through the one-way window. He didn’t look worried, in fact he was gazing up at the ceiling, one leg casually crossed across the other.

Pushing open the door, I strode into the room, expecting him to look my way. But, his gaze didn’t shift.

“G’day, Tav,” he said, his eyes flickering toward the mirror on the wall. It was the one-way window; we both knew that. Melissa would be on the other side, monitoring our conversation.

I sat on the edge of the desk, without speaking. I wanted him to look at me. Stupid, really. But, it wasn’t as if I wanted us to be in this position. If I could guess his motivation…if he’d tell me what it was he actually did. Because, you can bet whatever he was charged with wasn’t the full story…

“I want out of the City.”

I blinked. “Come again?”

Lachlan slewed his eyes in my direction. “I wasn’t planning on getting arrested, Tav. Was just trying to earn a buck or two so I could get out of here.” He sighed, leaning forward to tug at his shoelaces. “You shouldn’t have to be witness to this.”

“I’m the T-One now,” I said, brow furrowing.

Lachlan slapped his hand against his thigh and said, “Screw that. They’re going to inject me with poison. You shouldn’t have to see that.” I shifted to avoid his laser-glare.

“I’ve seen plenty of executions.” As if that helped any. Lachlan was…

“We’ve known each other a long time, mate,” he said. “Remember that big eucalyptus I tried to climb back when we were kids?”

I nodded; that was indicative of how crazy we were back then. Running around, getting into trouble as kids did. Not a care in the world. But, we were innocent back then. We let the adults do the worrying. That was us now, though. Adults…in control of our lives. Hah.

“You broke both your arms, you idiot.”

“You broke your leg.”

“Yes. Well. That was then, Mr Douglas. This is where we are right now.” I had to get this back on a more formal footing. “I want to know what the Hell you thought you were doing.”

One of those deafening silences filled the space then. It was unnerving. I had to break it.

“Lachlan…”

His eyes were dark when they met mine. “This society’s gone to the dogs, Daniel. They might as well just shoot everybody. I mean, have you ever wondered what’s missing?”

“What’s missing?”

“Yes,” Lachlan said with a brittle smile. “Look. How do we celebrate things?”

I blinked. “Uh…we hold a gathering and give a few speeches, and toasts…”

“Right. Is it joyous?”

“Celebrations are happy occasions. Yes.”

Lachlan shook his head. “That’s not what I’m asking, Tav. Is there joy? I don’t mean everyone smiling and clapping politely. I mean…people going crazy. Jumping, laughing, dancing…”

My stomach clenched, because I knew what he was getting at; didn’t want to admit it, but I knew. “Mr Douglas, you are walking a fine line…” I tried to keep my tone hard. He wasn’t even fazed, that glare still evident.

“Music, Daniel. Is there any music?”

I stood at the challenge in his voice. “Lachlan Douglas, it is bad enough you’re going to be executed, I do not need to hear this.”

He leaned back on the chair, tilting his chin up, lips drawn as white lines etched themselves on either side of his nose. “You know it’s the right question, Tav.”

My hands shook; clenching them didn’t help. “Music is forbidden in the City, Lachlan.”

His lips twitched upwards, as he said, “Guess you can figure out what I was doing then, you wanker.”

Slamming my hand down on the desk, I made myself jump; Lachlan jerked on the chair, pupils dilating.

“Do you think this is a joke, Lachlan? They’re going to kill you. I can’t…” My words ran out. I couldn’t stand here and watch him act as if everything was fine and that he wasn’t going to die in less than a day or so. Sure, he was brave. Bravest person I knew, considering. But, even he had to be scared.

Lachlan’s voice was softer when he spoke again, so I had to stop my internal monologue to hear what he said. “I’m pretty damn serious, something’s gotta give. We can’t keep going the way we are.”

“How do you mean?”

“I’ve been trying to make people aware of what’s really going on. The oppression. The keeping down of the man. Because, that’s what it’s really all about.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Not about music?”

Lachlan’s answering snort was enough of a response to that question, but he said, explaining, “Banning music was a way to control the citizens. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“And, you don’t agree with that.” Not a question.

“Neither do you, Commander.”

Pinching at the bridge of my nose, I didn’t respond to his statement. “Do you have anything you want to say, before…?”

“Before I kick the bucket?” Lachlan lifted his shoulders. “I wanted to get out into the woods.”

“What?”

“Out of the City, Tav. See the rest of the world. Guess I won’t get to do that now.”

I frowned. “No one’s allowed-”

“Outside the City walls. I know that.” His eyes seemed to glaze over, as if he were looking right through me.

Something inside of me bled for him. Lachlan wasn’t one for being cooped up like a chicken in a pen. And, I didn’t mean just being here in prison. I don’t think Valoren City was big enough for him. But, he was born here, as was every other citizen. Then we all worked here until we died. That was just the way things were. No one ever left the City.

However, if there was anyone likely to try it…

I leaned forward, murmuring low so Melissa wouldn’t hear, “Would you have tried to breach the walls?”

The look he gave me chilled me to the bone. His eyes darkened and his words were clipped as he answered.

“I was always planning on leaving here. Doesn’t matter to me how it happens.”

Which meant only one thing. He was resigned to his fate. And wasn’t that just a kick in the teeth. Here I was, unable to accept that my friend was about to die. And he didn’t even care.

“Lachlan…”

He sat up straight, bracing his hands on his knees. “You know what I wanna say?”

“What?” I said as I prepared to leave the room.

“Trust your instincts, Tav.”

Posted in 2014, Best of..., my thoughts

Best of…2014

Book of the year:  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen J. Fowler
Album of the year:  Greetings From California, The Madden Brothers
Song of the year:  Brother, (Greetings From California), The Madden Brothers
Worship Album of the year: No Other Name – Hillsong Worship
Worship song of the year: This I Believe – Hillsong Worship
Concert of the year: The Madden Brothers’ Greeting From California Tour, Crown Theatre, Perth, 7th November
Concert moment: The Madden Brothers’ performing Hotel California
Movie of the year: Guardians of the Galaxy/The Maze Runner/Interstellar
Movie Character of the year: Newt [The Maze Runner – Thomas Brodie-Sangster]
TV Show of the year: Hawaii Five-0 [even though it’s not really on Aussie TV anymore…]
TV Character of the year: Steve McGarrett [Alex O’Loughlin] and Captain Grover [Chi McBride]
Personal moments: Going to Hillsong Conference with Katie/Starting my original fiction
Milestones: Scored a new job.  Starts next year.
Memorable hashtags: #ripphilliphughes #408 #illridewithyou #sydneysiege 
Posted in Daniel McTavish, fiction

The Real McTavish – Chapter 1 – Pull the Other One


Catherine

December 2014
“Alex called.”
I blink at Daniel who’s leaning against the back of the couch, grinning from ear-to-ear.  “Alex?”
“Yeah.  He says he will look at the script.” 
He’s not making any sense, until I realise who he’s talking about.  And then I continue staring at him.  He laughs low.
“Alex O’Loughlin is going to look at the role.” 
Putting my pen down, I look at him.  “Pull the other one.”
Daniel smiles, and says, “I booked a flight to Hawaii tomorrow evening.  You’re coming with me.” 
My brain just stops for a second, then I shake my head from side to side, trying to let that sink in.  Hawaii.  Tomorrow.  To see…I stop the thought right there, frowning at him.
“I can’t just go to Hawaii with you.”
Daniel lifts an eyebrow.  “No?  You’re not currently working.  You’re my writer.  And, you deserve a holiday.”
That last is truer than I let on.  After losing my job, I’m kind of at a loss.  The other stuff, not so true.  I’m not Daniel’s anything.  We’re just friends.  He wasmarried.  But, the strain of his past caught up with them both.  Anyway…
“Well, I’ll concede the last thing.”
He smirks at me.  “I knew you would.”  He tosses a brochure at me.  “We’ll have some time for sightseeing.  Oh, and Alex said he can get us a meet and greet with the cast of Five-0.”  This last he says with a cheeky grin and a wink, before turning to walk out of the room. 
I yell after him.  “You’re evil, Daniel!”
His face reappears for a second as he says, “You love me, Cath.”
I wave him away, returning to my journaling; his soft chuckle making my cheeks warm. 
                                                            * * *
Daniel McTavish.  What do I tell you about this man?  He’s loving, kind, compassionate.  Generous to a fault.  Sure, he has his moments.  Everyone does.  But, I like to see the good in everyone.  Maybe that’s a problem?  I don’t know.  Some people would like to remind me of the shocking things that he did in his past.  But, that’s the point.  It’s history.  He doesn’t do those things anymore. 
Which I tend to point out a lot.  Daniel just tells me not to bother.  The people who matter don’t care about his past and he thinks I shouldn’t worry over it.  But, I get defensive in spite of that. 
You shouldn’t judge a person who’s changed.  Yes.  He was an assassin.  Yes.  He killed people.  But, he gave that all away.  He helps save people now.  I mean, come on.  People can change. 
But, you know.  People will always go, ‘Cath, he killed innocent people.  How can you defend someone like him?  How do you know he won’t go and do it again?’  Seriously, it scares me the prejudices some people hold. 
I guess this is the reason he wants to make a film about his life.  To set the record straight. 
Speaking of which, I should be packing.  But, Daniel isn’t making it easy.  He’s in my walk-in-robe throwing clothes at me and trying to tell me why I should take them with me.
“Cath, this’ll be cool.  You won’t sweat in this.”  Like, thanks…but you’re the one who sweats a lot, Daniel. 
He looks around the door at me, eyebrow twitching.  “Shake a leg.”
I roll my eyes.  “Maybe I should just pack my whole ‘robe, Danny?  Save you the trouble.”
He laughs and disappears again. 
I get up and poke my head around the door.  Daniel is holding two dresses in his hands, frowning.  One is a long black, loose-fitting get up; the other a floral affair. 
“Not your taste, Danny?”
He looks back at me.  “I’ve never seen you wear these.”
I snort.  “Pack them then, and I’ll wear them when we meet Alex.”
He laughs, replacing them on the rack.  “Nah.  Not you.” 
I smile a little.  Should it worry me that he knows me so well?  I’m not the dress type.  Pair of jeans and a t-shirt is more my thing.  But, maybe I should take something a little formal. 
Daniel brushes passed me.  “Come on, let’s go get something to eat.”
Or maybe not.  

Posted in Daniel McTavish, my muses

McTavish

“My life was a series of routines and rituals.  I always had my coffee from a chipped beer glass with one sugar cube.  Always scalded the tip of my tongue.  Then I’d read the sports’ section of the Herald Sun from back to front.

I’d pass the paper on to old Mr Hunter who lived in the apartment opposite mine.  He knew what I was but he was always telling me how he’d been on covert ops in the Great War.  Never knew if he was telling the truth.  Guess he thought the same of me.

Then it was on to the gym on Providence Street and then the office.

The office wasn’t much.  Just an old weatherboard that sat facing backwards on a tiny block right in the heart of town.  And, that’s where I waited for whatever job came my way.

It’s hard to fathom how many jobs I carried out, but it all came to a head when I met Colleen.  Her father was my final job.

That ruined me.”

Posted in Daniel McTavish, fiction, the real McTavish

The Real McTavish – Master post

A new idea, featuring McTavish as he originally came to me.  An experiment that will feature Alex O’Louglin but will focus on McTavish.

The first time I met Daniel McTavish was at my church about a year ago.  His story is amazing.  Unbelievable.  But, a true story.  And a testament to the fact that God can change the hearts of people in the most profound way.  

He was a hit man for the Irish Mafia, killed a lot of people on the orders of his Boss.  

He approached me about writing his story, after he’d joined the worship team and we’d gotten to know each other a little better.  I accepted, how could I not?  But, now he wants his story turned into a film.  Not for any monetary gain, but to spread the story so it can help others.  A good idea, I guess…and he says he knows who he wants to be in the film.  

I’m not sure who he could get, but he says he has the connections.  So, I trust him, though there is only one person I could see portraying him…
~~~~~

Chapter 1 – Pull the Other One
Posted in 2014, Daniel McTavish, fiction, first person pov, my writing

The Uprising – revamped version 1 – Ch 1


Spell

01.09.2014
The only thing on my mind right now:  How to spell Taskerone?  It used to be Tasker One.  They changed it in the early noughties to reflect the pronunciation.  I’m not sure what difference it made.  Didn’t make any difference to me as I waited to be conferred with the title.  But the thought kept me sane. 
To say I was nervous, would be some gross understatement.  Youngest T-One to ever be conferred.  The media were all over that.  Gut-wrenching to say the least.  Flashing lights and voices everywhere trying to gain my attention.  All I wanted to do was bolt and meet my best mate for a beer.  Though Elliott would be elsewhere, checking his armoury. 
My assistant, Melissa, was giving me the eye, indicating that I was not paying enough attention. 
“Commander McTavish?”
Blinking, I fought to find the owner of the voice.  Horn rimmed glasses shoving a furry microphone in my face.  That galvanised me.  Stay outta my canoe. People don’t get in my personal space.  It’s kind of a thing that is quick to set me off. 
“Yes?” Less annoyed, Tav… “I apologise, can you ask that again?”
“Prisoner seventy-seven, Commander.  What are your plans for him?”
The question was inoffensive.  I knew that.  Everyone knew that.  Lachlan Douglas was a threat to the order.  The General himself decreed it so.  I agreed.  I don’t agree…Lachlan is a childhood friend…
Forcing a smile, I said, “I will need to review his case before making a final decision.”  I caught Melissa’s eye again, and this time her gaze was somewhat approving.  One point for the new Commander. 
There was some general questions about the new structure of Council and bringing in a new curfew. It was all quite tedious and I made my escape when it was polite to do so. 
Melissa joined me out in the corridor, walking with me. 
“That went better than I thought it would, Commander.”
I reminded myself that she was the General’s daughter, counted to ten then looked sideways at her.  “It’s Daniel.”
She remained tight-lipped as she said, “The General will speak with you about Prisoner seventy-seven’s sentencing this afternoon, Commander.”
“You know you look pretty when you smile, Melissa.” I know.  Not the smartest thing to say.  She just glared at me. 
“Your friend also wanted to see you once the conferring ceremony was over.”
I sighed, thanking her with a nod and left, making my way to find Elliott.  
He was where he always was.  My room.  Bottles of beer littering the bed.  Along with his assorted firearms.  He was in the middle of cleaning his prized possession.  A sawn-off shot gun.  Ancient piece of junk.  But it still worked.  I’d seen him fire it on the range. 
“El?”
He looked up.  His eyes were blood-shot.  That was some cause for concern. 
“You right?”
Elliott set the gun down, squinting at me.  “Are you?”
Lifting my eyebrows I think was enough of an answer to last him a while.  Though I was far from all right.  Who knew what the General would say about Lachlan.  And who the Hell knew why I even gave a flying rats…
I took one of the unopened beers before parking my ass opposite him.  He continued to stare at me through his slitted eyelids before letting out a groan, which kind of sounded like somebody’s name.  But I wasn’t too sure.
“Come again, mate?”
“Pips.  Gotta pick him up.”
His brother; Pips Preston.  Or Phillip as I called him, just to annoy him. No one else called him that.  I’m guessing his parents used to.  But, they’re not in the picture anymore.
That’s another thing.  I’m crazy about names.  Proper names.  Weird names.  Hobby of mine.  Collecting names.  Should probably put that to better use, though.  Like remembering the names of all my subordinates at The Creed.  Melissa is the only one that comes to mind…
“Didn’t know he was due for release?”
Pips was a career criminal.  Surprising they were letting him go, considering he attempted to blow up Council Hall.  Insane, right?  He said it was to make a point.  Not sure I understood what his point was.  He was passionate about it, whatever it was. 
Elliott looked at me, eyebrows lifting.  “No?  Would’ve thought they’d tell you that.”
I shook my head, though I might’ve been told…probably not paying attention. 
He shrugged at me before returning to his shotgun running an oiled cloth over the barrel.  I sat, watching him in silence, and sipping from my beer. 
We spent a lot of time like this.  It was comfortable.  Talking wasn’t something I was known for.  And, Elliott always took his cues from me.  It didn’t serve any purpose, we just felt content in each other’s’ company.   Been that way since high school.  Yeah, we’ve known each other that long. 
It was odd.  No one approved of Elliott Preston. Especially not now.  He was a bounty hunter.  Law unto his own.  My best friend.  Beer buddy.  Not to make light of our relationship, we’re there for each other.  And, I guess this was another of those times.
“Want me to come with?” I said, causing Elliott to shoot a surprised look my way.
“Why?”
I lifted my shoulders, tilting my beer and watching as the golden liquid swirled in the bottom.  “Need to go down there anyway.” 
He set the gun down and leaned forward, bracing his hands on his thighs.  He said nothing though, just furrowed his brow at me.  I let my lips twist into a smile.  He huffed, his fringe flipping up a little. 
“Knock yourself out, buddy.” 

Finishing off my beer, I murmured that I’d do exactly that, before leaning my head back against the wall and closing my eyes.
Posted in Christmas, Daniel McTavish, my muses, my writing, thoughts on Christmas

What Does Christmas Mean to Me? – McTavish’s thoughts

Daniel McTavish – A/N This is McTavish as he originally came to me, long before he became the narrator of The Uprising.  This McTavish is a former assassin, come youth pastor and in essence is the REAL Daniel McTavish.  My number one muse.

“Christmas? Hmmm, I’ve never really talked about what this season means to me.  I didn’t celebrate as a kid. Well, I didn’t celebrate the real thing. Didn’t believe in it. We did presents and the tree and a lot of eating.  My parents were the devout ones.

I became a Christian later in life.  Though I was raised by good Catholic parents.  They’d be mortified by what I became in life, though.  At least when I was younger.

Not sure they’d be particularly enamoured by my current profession either.  They’re traditionalists.  Go to mass every Saturday evening… I pastor youth at a large contemporary church.  Not their thing really.  But, I’m digressing aren’t I?

Christmas means to me?  Community.  Love.  Joy.  A lot of things that I lost over the years and had to regain.  And, redemption.  Or at least the promise of redemption.  I mean, the coming of Jesus as a man into our midst?  That’s a big thing.  And the fact that He came to save someone like me?

Mind blowing.

I don’t deserve that.  But, that’s another thing, right?  Christmas is a time for joy not for reliving the terrible things I’ve done…

So, yeah.  That’s Christmas to me.”

Posted in imagination, my thoughts, my writing, Writing

Why Do I Write?

I fell into writing almost by accident.  It’s not something I gave conscious thought to when I was younger.  Reading a lot probably started me on the creative path, though.  Having stories read to me by my parents were probably also a stimulation for my own growing imagination. I know that I started telling myself stories when I was very young.  A lot of it was, come to think on it, a reaction to life’s situations. 
The very earliest stories I remember making up in my mind were of a German Shepherd dog called Daisy.  She was not an ordinary dog by any stretch.  Daisy was large, with prick-ears.  Her coat was short, thick, tan and black in colour.  However, her most distinctive feature was her tail.  It was broad and flattish like that of an otter; the most striking feature though were the four spikes on the end of it.  Like a Stegosaurus’ tail.  Interesting, you say?
Well, I know she manifested in my mind because I wanted an imaginary friend who could protect me from school bullies.  At around the same time I was reading Jack London’s Call of the Wild and so the main character from the book, ‘Buck’, evolved into Daisy’s brother and companion.  Added to this was the fact that they were talking dogs.  Talking animals were a big thing with me then, and for many years, especially after reading Wind and the Willows, Animals of Farthing Wood, the Brian Jacques Redwall series and others like it. 
Of course, the tales of Daisy and Buck evolved to include, amongst others, a talking Siamese cat called Ming, two unicorns, Moonbeam and Sunbeam, and a talking Malamute.  I even had an ongoing dialogue in my head that included the Phantom of the Opera.  Don’t ask me how that came about… my stories didn’t always make sense. 
Later on, when I started high school, my stories changed to include my high school crush.  And is, I will admit, the catalyst for the still ongoing story that goes through my head today about the Rebels’ of Scotland.  I’ll tell you about them another day – they have a whole history surrounding them.
My writing was always a release for me, in a sense.  I just wanted to get the stories out onto page.  I used to handwrite everything, still have a lot of my notebooks filled with my writing.  But, now I do the majority of my writing on my laptop.  I guess that then made it easier for sharing?  Though initially I only had one audience.  Myself. 
I write first and foremost for myself.  It’s an extension of my stories in my head.  But, when I started writing fan-fiction I started to think that maybe people would like to read the creative ideas I came up with.  And, so now my audience is the wider internet community.  Initially just the Simple Plan fandom and now I want to reach more people.  Though my number one audience is still little old moi. 
Writing for me is a very fluid process.  Sometimes I have no idea what I’m writing until it falls out of my head onto the page.  Stream of conscious writing is something that’s great when I get a brand new idea.  Usually happens at two in the morning, though.  Other times, I have an idea for a story and plan out the characters and the ending before doing anything else.  
But, mostly my stories start with the characters.  They’re not always fully formed when they appear in my mind; but, I know a little about them.  I usually learn more about them as I write, and they always surprise me, as the characters in Shadows Creed did.  This does effect the length of time it takes me to write my stories. 
My longest Simple Plan fan fiction, Adeline’s Choice, took me four years to complete; and the aforementioned Shadows Creed, took over three years.  But, it’s a process I enjoy, most of the time, except when I get writer’s block and then I have to either stop or take a break.  Or, I start something brand new.  As long as I enjoy it, that’s the most important thing.
That’s the thing about writing; for me, I enjoy creating different worlds and exploring the characters of people and how they respond to different situations.  Or using the same character and writing them into different situations, as I’ve done with my Simple Plan stories.  Pierre has manifested in many different ways in my stories and that excites me.  Though I’m enjoying creating my own original characters as well. 
So, I guess the main reason I write is for entertainment and enjoyment; though after I’ve written a story I can often see a message coming out from what I’ve written.  And, though that was never the initial intention of my writing, it’s always insightful.  And I believe all my stories have some theme or other, I just don’t usually set out to write that way. 
Now, though, I do want to write stories that are meaningful.  I don’t want to write something that doesn’t impact people.  Because, really…I write stories because I want them to impact myself, so why not others as well?  I read to open my mind to a world of imagination.  Which kind of reminds me of this one story I started writing, which I may share with you at a later date. 

So, why do I write? To entertain and to spread some joy in the form of creative, imaginative expression.  (Even if the story is sad….I don’t always write happy endings…but that’s life, right?)