Friday, August 31, 2007
Just kidding. I'm at The Attic now, but they're about to close up shop, so I'm going to go back home and finish my 830 words, but I'm going to make a quick stop at a grocery store for some beef jerky, because I'm quite sure I can't finish these last 830 words without beef jerky. If nothing else, that much is clear to me.
Only 2110 words to go, and that’s barely more than a normal day, that’s so tangible and manageable and reachable and able, that’s the theme, I’m able to meet that! I can’t wait to put this into a drawer, to forget about it, but not for good, don’t worry, but to put it away and let it breathe, and let myself breathe, and then to come back to it and to form this raw clay into a story, and I’ll need to expand, and I’ll need to refine, and I’ll need to take the raw clay and still form it in many places, but that’s so fitting since it’s really a story all about creation, all about taking clay and feeling its warm and sticky heft in your hands, between your fingers, but I don’t think this clay is meant to be baked and hardened, but yet to remain pliable, which of course means that a good rain could destroy its shape, but that’s the chance you take, and it’s not natural to create stone boys, but flesh boys who can move and perhaps melt with a good rain, and now I’m really just blabbering but the blabbering counts for words, and what’s the point of reaching a word count if I’m not really adding story, but I think I might push through a mental block if I can say that I finished 50,000 words, the rough draft of a novel, and I’ll be okay to admit that it’s really a rough, rough draft, but if someone says, “what do you write?” and I can say, “Oh, mostly short stories, and I’ve got some published in small literary magazines, but I just finished the rough, rough draft of my first novel,” and you see even to be able to say something like that changes the feel of the word “writer” when it rolls off my tongue and I use it to describe myself, and if I’ve written the rough, rough draft of a novel that’s serious business, and that’s commitment, and that’s dedication, and that’s purpose, and that’s passion, and that’s something that doesn’t allow yourself to go back to constant questioning and second guessing, and that’s something that doesn’t allow yourself to spend years and years on one story about a single stupid tomato or anything else, and it’s something that frees you up to send stories out and not pin all your hopes on this one or the next one, because you are going to keep creating, and you’ll have stories upon stories, and when you have so many children it doesn’t matter if you swallow one or lose one at the zoo, because there are always more to replace it, and you can always just get knocked up again, and then when I apply to grad school I will have a novel excerpt that I can send, maybe with some completed shorter stories, and I can say I wrote a novel in a month, and I want to be able to say I’ve just finished my first novel, so the long and short of it is, get those words however I can, because this rough, rough draft is only for me, and the mental effect that it will have is also only for me, and isn’t this all about pushing through, and growing as a writer, and growing as a person, and changing somehow, and if I hadn’t changed at all in this month then what was it for, and the way my fingers are freely going now is certainly change for me, but so is the way my fingers can just type what’s happening in my head, and right now that’s not story, no, but it’s also not being censored; I’m just typing what’s there, and this is the practice I need to type what’s there when it is story, and not think first how to put it into words and then send those words to my fingertips, but instead just to feel the feeling in my chest and the weight at the back of my head, like I am now, and just to trust my fingers to write it without needing my brain to translate.
Anyway, Henry (who, don’t forget, is still really Abandoned Child) is slowly calcified inside the stomach of the whale. He feels first a briny crust between his toes and in the corners of his mouth. It gets harder each morning to rub the sleep out of his eyes, and his skin, which strangely didn’t prune and wrinkle inside the wet stomach of the whale, starts to feel rough and hard, sort of like the pits of the women fruit. The sounds of the whale when it communicates to other whales is sort of a lullaby that Abandoned Child can not only hear but feel down into the vibrations in his stomach, and so it’s not a totally frightening thing to be turning into stone. It somehow feels familiar and comforting.
I tried to work on my shrawl a bit every day. I've got about 15 inches done. You can barely see the first row with the eyelash crocheted in. The only problem is that the pattern said I could make the whole thing with 500 yds. of worsted and 500 yds. of mohair, plus assorted shorter quantities of novelty yarn. Maybe somebody could, but it turns out I can't. I used up the first 250 yd. skein of the worsted at about 14 1/2 inches; I have to crochet to about 60 inches for it to cover my wingspan. I don't think I've done something wrong. When I hold it up my stitches, and the holes between them, look like the picture in the book. Maybe there's a typo and should read 1500 yds. of worsted, etc. It's not a real problem; I think it will be lovely and I'm definitely not frogging it to start over and try again. It's a shrawl, people, not a sock.
Remember last week when I was all panicky about not having enough Vegan sari yarn to finish my purse so I frantically ordered more? And remember when I posted saying it had come but was so not the same color? Here is the proof: the picture on the left is the new yarn, the picture on the right is the old stuff. Not even close. It never occurred to me to ask them if they had green, red & yellow yarn. Ah, well, live and learn. I will have enough yarn to complete the purse with the original skeins, even if I have to make the handle a bit shorter than the pattern specifies, and now I'll have 400 g. of it to make something else. Or for someone else to make something of. Ann?
Jenny, your last ditch push to 50k is heroic. I know you're going to make it. Remember, by any means necessary.
Adam, you whip-wielding fool, you're amazing. Even when you downshift into gladiator mode. ;-)
Bob, the words that you have written this month have been so much richer in sensory detail than most of your previous writings, I am so glad to discover that somewhere in you are these awesome details clamoring to get out into the fresh air. What you read to us last night was just so beautiful and vivid I felt like I was right there. Thanks.
Line of the day: She knew she would wear her favorite pencil legged jeans; she was slim, even skinny, so she could get away with tight tapered jeans that made other plumper women envious. She kind of enjoyed being the target of that envy. But what top to wear. It was fall so she supposed she could wear a sweater, but she was reluctant to give in to autumn just yet. It was too chilly at night to wear a tank top and at forty, oh all right, forty two, she was getting a little old to wear them anyway. Wait a minute, she could wear a tank top, one with spaghetti straps and put her new boat neck sweater over it. She had gotten the sweater at the thrift shop down the road and she loved it. It was heavy cotton knit, almost hand knit looking, in dark rose and teal, colors Fay loved. It had three quarter length sleeves, which were perfect for the warm evenings and cooler nights of this time of year. Now, which shoes?
Daily total: 1581 words
Running total: 52,891 words
See you tomorrow at 7-ish. Don will be home after 8 to make ice cream drinks! Yum.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
See you later.
Since I want to nap, I went with it:
And floating. That idea sounded so perfectly lovely, to be held aloft by billowing surf like clouds, to be covered in a saline warmth like down blankets. Abandoned Child, so tired, plucked the girl fruit from her home in the heart of the tree, and she came willingly, and he put the fruit in his pocket where it instantly shriveled and dried into a wrinkled and leathery version of itself, and with this piece of leathery fruit in his pocket, Abandoned Child crawled to the beach and laid with his head in the warm sand and let the sun bake his linen tunic and his browned skin underneath, and Abandoned Child closed his eyes and went to sleep, and when the tide came in it carried Abandoned Child out with it, where billowing surf like clouds held aloft the sleeping child, where salty water warmed him like down blankets, where kelp surrounded his slumbering head and waved by his breathing gills, where a whale swallowed the slumbering Abandoned Child, and where he was able, without pain or worry, to become the feast, where he was soon to meet his destiny.
Alright, but I have to go back to the actual novelling instead of the blogging before Adam and the midget incarnate have my head!
Bob, how's your progress coming?
As the women fruit started to disappear, the men fruit and girl fruit changed their behavior. There were no more games of monkey in the middle, no more (even before the women were all gone) clandestine meetings behind drooping leaves or maternal stroking of cornsilk hair. The men fruit failed to thrive; they stopped foraging at the ground, pecking at seeds and grazing on small pieces of grass. Gradually, day by day, the men fruit wilted and browned until their green tendrils let them go and they fell, shriveled, to the earth. The girl fruit, then, would spend their days running as far as their tethers would take them, from this shriveled man to the next, putting their fruity ears to the sunken chests, running their fleshy hands over the wasted men-fruit faces. And then there was the burying – the digging of small holes in the ground with their tiny hands, the dirt staining their skin brown, the gathering of the women-fruit stones and puckered and withered men-fruit bodies, the heaping mounds of buried sorrow strewn across the ground.
Way to go, Jenny! Yes, it all counts. Rants count, stream-of-consciousness counts, even actual story writing counts. You're coming down to the wire and I know you're gonna make it. I was trying to figure out how to make punctuation marks count when I was getting close to the goal and was so sick of the story, so you won't hear me complaining about whatever you do to make it.
Okay, success story -- I made one file that combines all the files in my NaNoWriMo folder, and though some of the files have repeat material, Adam tells me it can still count. And so my total word count: 38,405. I can totally do 12k between today and tomorrow, so I can still pull myself out of this yet. Of course, that will still leave the even more difficult NaNoReMo, because to sift through and revise this stuff will be a challenge, but hey, that's part of the process, right?
Okay, and my line of the day goes along with my new tactic to just keep the fingers going.
***** Alright, so destruction. Don’t stop typing. I know you’re stuck, but this is what you have to learn to do – to push through the stuck. You’re not really stuck; you’re just resting. There are two grown ladies at the next table smearing their hands with blue paint and rubbing them together, and now they’re making handprints on paper. But they’re grown ladies. Yes, grown ladies. I mean, come on now, and the smell of the paint is strangely salty and chloriny, and it’s giving me a headache. They’re grown women acting like children. Maybe they’re teachers or something, planning a lesson, but why are they doing it in a coffee shop instead of at school or one of their houses? Unrelated, I know, but moments like this, if they don’t end up in this story, can worm there way into another. Grown women finger painting in a coffee shop, that seems like it’s worth something. And at least my fingers are going. As soon as adam stops grown women are joined by a third, and of course they’re all going to paint. Maybe adam and I should play duck duck goose.
Okay, back on track, so destruction.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Line of the day:
And now that the fabric had grown and blossomed and produced this fruit, suddenly the hunger that had stayed at bay for days returned full-force to Abandoned Child. He was starving, ravenous, and he knew there was no way he would make it back to the beekeeper’s hut, knew there was no way he would even make it across the field to a honey blossom or mutton plant before his hunger killed him. Abandoned Child did the only thing he could; he plucked the woman-shaped fruit from the tree and popped her head into his mouth. He bit down gingerly at first with his teeth, then harder. Suddenly his mouth was filled with a taste like warm milk, and he was relieved to find that this fruit was filled with juice inside like any other fruit, that he wasn’t crunching on flesh and bone skin. Henry eagerly then tore into the woman fruit with his teeth, and though the man fruit keened and the girl fruit waved its fleshy arms in frantic circles, Henry tasted first milk and then strawberries and then warm bread, and his hunger again was abated.
Line of the day: . “How did you like the pie?” she asked. “I have to say that was the best blueberry pie I have ever eaten,” he said. “I will tell Naomi how much you liked it.” She motioned to the stack of go boxes on the counter under the pass through. “I could box a piece up for you to take home for after supper if you would like.” She straightened as if to go and do as she proposed. Norman saw his opening and for the first time in his life slid gracefully into it. “Well, I was wondering if you might like to have supper with me tonight. I know it is late notice and will understand if you have plans, but I thought we could grab a bite and maybe a drink or two. Get to know each other a bit.” Fay looked him up and down as if he were a side of beef or a used car she was considering buying. She looked at her watch as if she had someplace to be right at that very minute. “Man, it is kind of late, almost two o’clock.” She crossed her arms and looked appraisingly back at him. “I do not have any plans tonight. I suppose I could be convinced to have supper with you.”
Jenny, you are a brave woman to let Adam and his whip-wielding midget try to help you reach the goal. Adam, be gentle, or if you can't, at least be a gentleman. I'll call somebody's cell before I leave work tomorrow to check if you're at the Attic before I drive over.
Daily total: 1231 words (my second lowest day, after my zero day Monday)
Running total: 51,305 words
I'm keeping my fingers crossed, Bob & Jenny, for your eleventh hour push to completion. Remember what Adam said, "By any means necessary." (can you say "cut & paste"?)
Today's word count: 1768
Overall: 50,150 (Yeah!)
Chris Baty was right: this is far from a work of genius, but it is surprisingly uncrappy.
Thanks for the kudos. It's weird, now that I've crossed the 50k line I've stopped feeling like I have to write, I'm writing because I want to write. I will never figure me out.
You guys, I'm so proud of all of us. And I can't wait to read what everyone wrote. This is exciting!
Interesting idea, Adam, to count the blogging. That means that anything we posted counts twice, right? (Pay attention, Bob & Jenny. This could be your salvation--post a lot the next 3 days, great whacks of your work, just slap it on here and count it! I'd be willing to read it and I'm sure our lurkers would too. We do have lurkers, you know.)
The demise of the pharmaceutical behemoth was not the only change wrought by the Arcturan's arrival. The drug cartels went the way of the dodo and the passenger pigeon. Farmers in Central and South America, all points in Asia and the Middle East, went back to growing food for themselves and their communities. Markets thrived. Economies flourished.
Congratulations, Barbara, on reaching the magic number (and with days to go) Yeah-ha!
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Instead, I have brought a question: How many words do you suppose our Blog consists of? I mean, over the past month, how many words have we collectively written on this thing? I would be very interested to find out, but at the very least, we have to wait a few days...
Congratulations, Barbara! I'm not too far behind you, only 1618 words, but the lesson here is that the tortoise beats the hare. You may not have had days of 5000, 4000, 3000 or so, (or many days like that) but you wrote every day and I did not. Granted, my largest stumble came over the last 4 or 5 days, but still. You got there first. Fortunately for me, everyone who gets there wins, but you still got there first despite my lead.
Jenny and Bob, I will say again that you must not give up. Brew up the coffee, throw caution to the wind and go. Copy and paste, stay up for days, whatever it takes. Go and look at the Novelling Affidavit that we all signed. Take out the Radiant Badge of the Triumphant Wordsmith, whatever will get you motivated.
Jenny, you did it once before. The highest day's total belongs to you. Lock yourself away or whatever it is that you need to do. By any means necessary, remember?
Bob, mostly the same deal. I know that you've been lagging since the beginning, but that does not mean that you can't still get there.
I know that both of you can do it. By any means necessary...
You guys all keep going. I'm dying to read what you've written this month. I hope everyone is planning to print out the month's product and bring it Saturday night to the wrap-up party. I want to see the piles of paper! Jenny and Bob, even if, and I mean IF, you don't make 50k, you have each still written wayyyy more this month than in any prior month. Choke that chicken, whack that rat, and keep on chugging or slogging or whatever keeps you moving!
And, Adam? I have absolutely no idea how this will end. At least you have one. I'm not even sure I have a plot!
Line of the day: He had stopped in a few days after the break in to see Fay but he was too late and too embarrassed to ask the high school girl who was his waitress when Fay worked. A week had passed and he could not think of any other way to bump into Fay so he could maybe ask her on a date. A date! He had not been on a date in years. He gave up trying to find Miss Right when he hit thirty eight years old and since then had settled for a series of Miss Right For Now’s, each of whom had something he wanted in a wife, but none of them came close to having it all. Or maybe all his years as a cop had made him a cynic and he would never find the right woman to spend the dwindling rest of his life with. He shook his head (there is a lot of head shaking in this book. Do people really shake their heads as much as I am making them? Or is it just me with my bad attitude lately?) and found a seat at the counter so he could watch Fay work without looking like a stalker. She was busy talking to some geeky looking guy carrying a briefcase at the cash register behind him. They sounded pretty friendly, he wondered if they were dating. There, that sounded like an inside joke laugh. Yeah, they were probably dating, even though the guy totally did not look like Fay’s type, that pals-y laugh made it sound like it. He was sitting there brooding about maybe missing his chance to ask her out when she suddenly appeared right in front of him. “Well, if it is not Officer Norman Bates, the super sleuth.” She slapped a menu down in front of him, the metal corners of the plastic holder sounding like caps when they hit the formica counter. “Rustled up any good clues lately?” He picked up the menu and did not look at her. “Nope, and call me Norm.” (But nobody would ever call Norman Norm; he just looked too much like a Norman. He had always been Norman in everyone’s eyes and he would always be Norman until the day he died, no matter how hard he tried to get people to call him Norm. Nope, he was a lifelong Norman and he was stuck with it.) He frowned at the plastic covered paper in his hand as if it had offended him. Stupid, he thought, stupid line. How dopey can he get to just say ‘nope’ when she gave him the perfect opening? He could see, if he peeked up under his lowered brows, that she was standing in front of him, order pad and pencil ready to take his lunch order.
Daily total: 1887 words
Running total: 50,074 words YEEHAW!
Anyway, I've been avoiding the end. At this point, it is inevitable and I don't want to write it. Every time I do manage to get words on paper (which hasn't been often since Thursday) I manage to run in a circle to avoid progressing toward the catastrophic ending.
Last night I was talking to a friend and he told me to just grab my nuts and go. He wasn't talking about writing, but I think that's what I'll do.
Jenny, Bob. You're not out of the game yet, keep going and use every spare moment you can. Even 5 minutes could yield 100 words or so. You have four more days. Even if you think it's impossible, it's not. That's 96 hours minus whatever you have to work. Call in sick. I know that both of you can either get there or come so ridiculously close that you'll kick yourself.
Barbara, I officially concede the "Word Count Total Position One" to you. Watch out, though, I may still beat you to 50k.
Bob, that paragraph is pure poetry. I don't care where or when you use it, I love it. So sensuous, so evocative, so, so pretty!
Jenny, I love your lines. The way you put words together in different ways makes things that shouldn't make sense, well, make sense. "It was the swallowing..." See? An odd grouping of words like that should make people say "huh?" instead we all say "ah, I see" and we do see, a depth of meaning that boggles my pea-sized brain. Because you have so skillfully crafted those ill-assorted words that we do see--what you make us see--your own little self-crafted universe that sort of looks like ours, in bits, but is mostly its own unique place. Ahhhh.
Now I really am going to write today. I mean it. And right now.
Daily total: 0 words
Running total: 48,187 words
Monday, August 27, 2007
Bob, you're not allowed to ask questions like how do I do it when you've got a paragraph like that. Your prose is very evocative, and I love that paragraph.
Adam? Have you gone underground?
...it was the swallowing that really mattered. (How do you do this, Jenny? You make it look so easy.)
There are images that will move me to tears. Images of unnamed places, or of mundane situations. A rolling field full of hay bales like giant wheels of shredded wheat will shake me up, especially if it is in black and white. Cypress trees silouetted against a sky of horse-tail clouds will leave me weak and breathless with yearning. I am volatile that way. The slightest nudge will put me over the edge. A full-on embrace will leave me delirious for days.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Ooh, I had so much fun today! I got to talk to both my kids this morning and I always like that. Then I spent the rest of the day, between laundry loads and noveling, either crocheting or knitting. I decided yesterday that I wanted a new shawl or some sort of wrap to take to The Clearing in two weeks. I bought a book called Crochet Squared by Marsha A. Polk that is filled with shawl & poncho and shrug & shawl hybrids made with big hooks and multiple strands of yarn she calls Ponshawls and Shrawls. They're right up my alley with their bright colors, interesting yarns, and simple patterns. I picked one out, dug through my stash, got my biggest hook, and started the dreaded foundation chain. I know I said I like bright colors but I chose black and gray so my shrawl goes with everything. It's hard to see in the picture but the main part is black Red Heart Soft Yarn worsted and charcoal Red Heart Symphony mohair. I crocheted two inches then picked up Lion Brand Incredible ribbon yarn in Accent On Black which is black and silver variegated, and crocheted with all three for another two inches. Then I dropped the ribbon and will crochet for ten inches with just the worsted and mohair. In the section after that I plan to pick up Bernat Boa yarn in Raven which looks like muppet eyelashes (excellent description, Abby!) for a couple inches, then another ten inches of the worsted and mohair. After that, I'll keep going and end with the reverse order so each side matches. Once you have the rectangle finished and all ends woven in, you fold it in half and sew a bit of the ends to make armholes, so it's a shawl that's a bit like a shrug. I can't wait to finish it and see how it turns out.
In between laundry loads and shrawl crocheting, I managed to finish the third quarter of my Vegan sari purse. One more piece to go, then I sew it together, knit the handle, line it, and it's done. Yippee! They don't look the same size when they're side by side, but when I stack them up they match, so I'm good. Plus I figure the variations in the yarn will make up for any, um, flexible measuring during construction.
My arms ache.
Even though I'm not nearly as far as you, I, too, was writing down ideas today so I don't lose them. My line for the day, if the direction of the story doesn't change, won't come until close to the end, but it's what's driving me to get there.
In the end, they saw the whole story – beginning to end – and they understood. They understood, for instance, that they had been connected from the beginning, or even from before the beginning. They understood that Henry didn’t need to be Henry and Miriam didn’t need to be Miriam. They understood that perhaps Miriam was you or me, and perhaps Henry was love or peace, or even hate or war. They understood that it was the swallowing that really mattered, and that maybe they didn’t need to create whole universes. Maybe something much smaller, indeed, was enough.
Line of the day: Officer Bates begins coming into Better Than Mom’s and in a few weeks works up the courage to ask Fay out. At first she is not so thrilled with him, she finds him dorky and dull, but on their third date he takes her to a country bar and they spend the night dancing. With a few drinks in him Officer Norman Bates is a dancing fool, enthusiastic and tireless. Fay has never dated or been married to a man who loved to dance before and falls for him hard. They decide to take the swing dancing lessons offered by the Stinson Park & Rec. Department, love it, and segue right into full on ballroom lessons. The image of six foot four inch, gangly Officer Bates and five foot six inch and slender to the point of being skinny Fay out there on the dance floor gives me a mental picture of two marionettes being manipulated by a spastic puppeteer. But after a few lessons both of them tap into a well of gracefulness that transforms their awkwardness into fluidity. Eventually they invest in costumes and enter the amateur division of a regional ballroom dancing contest. They come in second, and resolve to practice more, take more lessons and kick some dancing butt next time.
Okay, you three, what are you doing this weekend? I know Jenny is working, I saw her for a minute this morning. Adam, what happened to you at the Packer game? Did you fall in a hole? And, Bob, you at least have posted so I know you're still alive. I want to read what the rest of you are writing; I can't be the only one still at it. Please say I'm not the only one left putting myself through this writing hell.
Daily total: 1925 words (of synopsis)
Running total: 48,187 words
Saturday, August 25, 2007
During that first week, every time Fay walked down the length of the café she could not help looking at the lone man in the last booth. He sat with his back to the end wall of the building and had pads of paper, pens, and pencils spread all over the top of the table. When she approached his booth to offer him a coffee warm up he could either hunch over the paper in front of him or, if he saw her coming nearer, he would flip the page so that all that was visible was a blank page. The next time she leaned into the pass through to slide an order into the carousel she motioned Brady closer. “Who is the geek in the back booth that is always writing?” she asked. “Oh, that is Steve. Stevie the scribbler some of the regulars call him.” “What is he writing?” “I do not know, and you should not ask him.” “Why not?” “Because it is nosy and what he is writing is none of your beeswax, that is why.” “Humph.”
He's a writer. What a surprise.
Bob, Eva can have hair only when she's having sex if you want her to. Remember, it's your story, you can make them do whatever you want. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!
Jenny & Adam, where are you?
Daily total: 1969 words
Running total: 46,262 words
Friday, August 24, 2007
As I told my coworkers about the strange little room we found on our third floor, a room with a metal floor, no doorknob on the inside, and a deadbolt on the outside, a wrinkled and age-spotted hand patted mine. I turned to find an older patron standing beside me. “You have a disappointment room, dear,” she said and turned as if to walk away. “Wait,” I said, “what is a disappointment room?” She turned sad eyes to mine. “When a woman gave birth to a child that was damaged in some way, retarded or crippled, but usually retarded, people said that she had had a disappointment. A disappointment room is where they kept the child so that society would not know of it.” My horrified gasp was all she needed to hear to go on. “Dear, you have to understand. In those days no one knew what caused deformity or retardation so people assumed that they were caused by a flaw in the parents, usually the mother. That a flaw in the mother’s behavior during pregnancy had been transmitted to the child was most often judged to be the cause. A retarded child could keep a man from getting a job or promotion or being elected to office; a woman would be ostracized from charities and ladies’ societies. It was common in those days to hide your disappointments.” We stood stunned as the woman walked away.
I don't know what, if anything, I will ever do with it, but isn't that the saddest thing you have ever heard of?
Jenny, I'll try and remind you what day it is from now on. I was tempted to buy you a watch but then I realized that time of day is different, so very different, from what day it is. As you get older you can expect to have trouble remembering things. ;-)
I was wondering the same thing about Eva, Bob. You told me last night she was bald as a cue ball, now all of a sudden she's got hair? I want to grow hair that fast, Bob. I'd like to have long hair every once in a while, and curly hair too. Get back to me on how to make that happen, please.
Evidently Adam was swallowed up by a band of rabid Cheeseheads and will need to be rescued. Tally ho!
Daily total: 1758 words
Running total: 44,293 words
Seven more writing days! Be thinking about the post-noveling party on Sept. 1. Do we want cake again? Burgers & hot dogs on the grill? Snacks? We'll have to spend some writing time next Thursday, or bar time perhaps, planning our gala bash.
So there I was knitting away on the second quarter of my Vegan purse, and I got closer and closer to the time to bind off, and still the first skein wasn't ending. I bound off and still have a little piece of the first skein left to start the third quarter. See the little ball perched between the purse parts? That's what's left of the first 200 g. skein. So I ordered 2 more skeins in a panic the other day that it turns out I won't need to finish the purse. Oops. It's a good thing that the yarn is lumpy and kind of freeform because between Wednesday and today 7 1/2 inches got a little longer--must be all the rain we've had.
Those who know me well know that I have an unfortunate ability to find the ugliest fish-shaped ceramic items that stores have to offer, and they're always on ridiculous sale, and I always buy them. Don and I were in Tuesday Morning on Tuesday afternoon and I found this "lovely" fish candy dish for only $5. I had to have it. It's a bit hard to see but the top of the fish is sort of cut off and there's a shallow depression that a couple of handfuls of M&Ms fit into nicely. I know it's ugly, but that's kind of the reason I like it. The young guy who checked me out said he was glad I was buying it because he was considering buying it himself because it was so ugly. I'm glad I'm not the only one who buys ugly marine-themed items out of pity. (Ann, remember the pitcher? And the teapot? And the... well, you get the idea.)
"Tell me about Arcturus," Stewart said. "What's it like?"
Eva shifted onto her side, arm bent under her hair. "It's like here," she said. "The good parts."
"We still have some good parts."
"We have cities."
"Yes, but not too big," she answered. "There's none of this go, go, go business that you have."
"We have a lot of that."
Eva laughed, covering her face. "That's why were here," she said. "To get you past all that."
Stewart brushed her hair aside and behind her ear. "On behalf of the planet; on behalf of all of us here, I thank you." A kiss. "I thank you."
Keep plugging away, Bob. And throw us a line every once in a while. I have confidence in you.
We missed you, Jenny. The cheese wasn't the same without you.
Line of the day: Fay wracked her brain for a way to phrase what she wanted to know most of all. “Um, do you plan to make a night of it?” Naomi looked at her as if she were nuts. “Well, I am not going to schedule another date for after ten o’clock. What are you thinking?” “Oh, no, no, I do not mean are you going to have another date.” “Well, what do you mean then?” Now it was Fay’s turn to nervously wring her hands. “I, well, I, uh, was just wondering if you and Brady were going to, well, you know.” Naomi drew herself up to her full height seeming to tower over the table and the now abashed Fay. “If you mean am I planning to sleep with Brady, my boss, on our first date, all I can say is you should be ashamed of yourself.”
Daily total: 1714 words
Running total: 42,535 words
One week from today is August 31st. It will be our last writing day for this seemingly endless challenge. Whew.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Unlike Barbara, I am clawing, but I feel like I'm clawing the sand out of the sides of the pit and just burying myself further. Ugh. Ugh ugh.
Here's the piece I was going to post. Still on the paper people, not making much progress:
Steadily the paper people were dying. This is to say that the paper people were not dead or even acutely ailing, but that their demise was ever present, impending if not imminent, always over – not this horizon or the next – but maybe the next or the next beyond that. The paper people were dying from a slow fire, which was actually not a fire at all but a gradual embrittlement of their bodies caused by acid decay. Every morning, the paper people woke with this knowledge: On this day, too, I am decaying.
I'll take my flogging due to me. Sorry! Adam, I hope you enjoyed the Packer game. See, you're not a jerk at all. At least you gave warning about not showing up.
Adam, you are so right--I'm nowhere near the end of this story, maybe I'm writing too detailed? I guess I'll have to shift into synopsis mode for the last week to get all my thoughts down before they fade away. I have general ideas about scenes or consequences that I don't want to lose; they might not all make it in the final draft (if there ever is a final draft), but some of them might be fun to play with.
Bob, you keep moving along; those characters aren't done with you yet. Jenny's right; we want more peeks into your world; a line here, a line there, we're easily satisfied.
That goes for you too, Jenny, just a hint--please?
Line for the day (or rather yesterday): "Now, I have something I want to tell you.” She looked around the room as if checking for bugs. Fay was intrigued. “What?” Naomi twisted her hands as if she was opening a jar. “Well, you remember the other night after we cleaned up the café?” Fay nodded. “And you left but I stayed to help Brady finish up?” Fay nodded again. “Well, he, um, I, um…” “What? Do not keep beating around the bush. I am imagining all sorts of awful stuff. Is what you have to tell me awful?” “Oh, no. No, it is good. I think.” She paused. “Well? What is it? I am dying of curiosity here!” Naomi drew a deep breath and sat up straighter. “Brady asked me out to dinner tomorrow night and I accepted.” Fay whooped. “I knew it. I knew it. I knew you two were eyeing each other up. Oh, I wish I had made a betting book on this. I was sure the two of you would end up dating.” She jumped out of her chair to dance around the kitchen for a minute,
Daily total: 1916 words
Running total: 40,821 words (only 10,000 more to go!)
See you tonight, sans Packer-game-going Adam. Have fun with the Cheeseheads!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I agree, Barbara. This muddy feeling inside really has a big part in the weather. My head still feels like pudding between the ears, but I'm learning to work through it. Listening to a Cassandra Wilson CD has a very theraputic effect. Here's something that came up yesterday. It does't fit anywhere yet, just a word-picture:
The kid was probably fourteen or fifteen. It wasn't clear right off what he was trying to do, but Stewart saw soon enough that he was trying to find a comfortable position on the couch. The kid leaned back, pulled his feet up on the burgundy leather. At one point, he slid off, bumoing the coffee table as he did so.
Since you all like to see Simon turning into a human being, here's one of my favorite sections from today:
At the funeral, her whole family would not speak to me. David’s family said nice things to me, but it was all very contrived and forced. They had not seen me in years, but none of them said a word about that.
I offered my condolences to all family members.
After they lowered the casket, Carolyn lost it. She balled uncontrollably for nearly half an hour. After she had regained her composure, she came over to me. Without a word, she put her arms around my neck and hugged me tightly. I hugged her back.
I did not stay for the luncheon afterward.
I'm actually really sad for this whole thing.
Today had to be one of the toughest days of writing, but not because the words wouldn't come. I killed two of the five main characters. I created the most hellish nightmare yet. I made Simon more human and more demonic than he has ever been at separate times.
I'm not sure what else to say besides: keep chugging along.
Revised word count: 4439
I feel a little burned out. The climax is in the bag and I need to tie up some loose ends and then figure out how to end this thing. It's really a weird, sad feeling. It's a little like you know that you're leaving really soon and you won't see your friends for a long time.
Maybe I feel sad because everyone is dead but Simon... This should be called "regret of a mean god."
Today's word count: 3018
Overall word count: 43,097
Ever since I bought that sari silk yarn last spring I have been wanting to knit a purse from the pattern I found on the Frabjous Fibers website. In fact, that purse pattern is the reason I wanted to learn to knit. Every once in a while, I pull out the pattern and stroke the picture and squint at the directions dreaming of the day when I will have enough knitting practice to tackle it. Last Sunday, I did it again--pulled out the pattern and drooled over it. But this time I took the time to carefully read the instructions. Lo and behold, all of the stitches required were ones I have been perfecting by knitting fishies! *happy dance* So I pulled out the box of Himalayan yarn to select the perfect skeins to make it with. Surprising even myself, I chose the 2 skeins of Vegan (cotton & rayon) for its autumn colors, for my first stab at this purse pattern. (I figure I'll make a winter purse from the silk, next-ish.) Last night I finished the first piece of the purse. Look at how pretty it is! The only problem is that this quarter took way more than one-fourth of the 400 g. the pattern called for. I had to order more. Poor me! (Beware, Ann--choose the pattern wisely for your silk purse or you won't be able to finish it before you come home in Oct. and I share some of my eBay swag. I used Hermi's pattern and got a purse from the amount I sent you.)
I also spent some time crocheting up the SnC Stripes dishcloths Mom gave me. And of course I had to buy the Lime colorway, so I made even more. Imagine that there are 2 of each in this picture because I already shared with Mom.And I knitted some fishes too. Love the Pogo colorway. It reminds me of my favorite Stoplight Parrotfish.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I started writing today with a section that I thought would move slowly. It did. Then the story took a sharp left that I hadn't seen coming, and Simon started doing things I didn't expect him to do, and then Carrie died. (Carrie's the girl that was dying of AIDS.)
None of today, save maybe 200 or so words, was planned. I love it. I think I'm getting some steam back, but it's still hard to sit down.
Favorite line from today:
I wandered the streets for a while, feeling lost. I had to wait for Becky to go home, but I did not know what to do with myself. Any threat from the criminal side of my business was gone. The bosses did not like each other enough to come after me for revenge. Furthermore, the criminal charges and the civil suit against me should soon be dropped, returning my life to normal.
That should have been a comforting thought, but it was not. 'Normal' felt empty somehow. I could not place the feeling that was overwhelming me, but nothing felt like it should anymore.
I stopped by Carla's Coffee and got a Triple Red Eye. It tasted bitter, but I drank it anyway.
Simon has actually undergone a transformation. No redemption, but he has changed. I did not see that one coming.
Keep chugging, Jenny! That come-from-behind victory will be far more impressive than anything I've done this whole month.
Bob, you keep at it, too. You've got a marvelous story that you need to unleash. Do just that: take the leash off.
Barbara, I have a feeling your story is not even close to being done, regardless of how close you are to 40,000. But we aren't thinking of things like that, are we?
Today's word count: 1885
Overall word count: 40,079
Oh, yeah, and whoever posted that picture of me, Barbara, thanks for showing the world how stupid I look while typing.
I've at least written every day the past few days, but very slowly. It's been tortuous. I'm in trouble here, folks. But I'm trying not to think about that, because the more I think of how far behind I am, the more stuck I get. Thre's still hoe for me if there's hope for whatever his name is, the guy who pulls out more thatn I'll need to every year in the last week.
Adam, quit planning what's going to happen and just type. Simon will fill up the last 10 days for you. Remember--freedom from your editor. Shut up, Russell!
Good for you, Bob. Keep plugging away at it. You've made great writing strides these last few weeks. Ooh, Stewart and Eva entangled? Spicy.
No lines today. Nothing leapt out at me.
Daily total: 1886 words
Running total: 38,905 words
Days I missed posting:
Day 19: 1617
Day 20: 1684
I haven't gotten much writing done yet today, but I'm approaching the climax. Simon did something really surprising yesterday and I'm not sure what to do with it. He, of course, was content to complete his strange action and then watch me scratch my head without so much as a hint of explanation or a bit of help. Bastard.
I'm hoping I can get to 40,000 by the end of the day. Maybe not, but I'll try.
Writing was hard all weekend, and yes, I actually managed not to write at all on Friday. It made it even harder to write on Saturday. I think I'm feeling the curse of being ahead: I have days to spare, so I don't feel the pressure to write that I did in the beginning. Approaching the end, it's actually harder to sit down and do it. Let this be a lesson to all of you: it takes more discipline to stay ahead than to get ahead.
I'm really starting to worry about running out of story before 50,000 words. I have a few ideas on how to pad the word total, like re-writing scenes without deleting anything, or writing multiple endings, but we'll see, maybe I won't need to.
Jenny, I am right alongside Barbara in the awe department. You leave me staring like a slack-jawed yokel at your prose. Oh, and what you wrote doesn't even scratch the surface of porn. I'll give you some lessons later.
Barbara, I'm very excited that Brady is making a move on Naomi. I want to read the whole thing to see how that turns out.
Bob, keep slogging. Do you need to borrow my boots? I want to hear/see/read more of what you've written.
10 Days to go.
They were in bed, her bed, leg over leg, breathing the warm air of their own presence.
That's all for now.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I don't think you have to worry about the time thing; time is relative to the world on which it exists, so it would be different for every place in the universe, Miriam's universe especially. Think about it, those planets are whizzing around their tiny center sun; their days/years have to be counted in nanoseconds of Earth time.
For years, since the beginning of time, the sea had been licking with its salty tongue, lapping and fretting at pillowed lava and pools of molten sulfur. Time’s licking and caressing had brought forth, fitfully, the sharp outline of a fiery elbow here, the red hot dome of a skull there. Slowly the igneous body emerged, until he – the fire king – was whole. The fire king had a body that was alternately molten or combusting, liquid or burning, but his heart was solid rock, pyroclastic, broken fire.
I haven't yet worked the puzzle of "since the beginning of time" which, for a planet in Miriam's galaxy seemingly wouldn't be very long, but somehow I think this is an ambiguity that I may want to leave open.
Bob, I forgot to tell you that I LOVE the name Fine. I'm so jealous that I didn't think of it. And then to have Malcolm with a normal name (and a very nice one at that), just adds to the genius of Fine's name.
And Barbara, I agree that I love the image of skinny people in bed as toothpicks wrapped in a napkin. In fact, reading that is kind of what opened my mind up to the idea of paper sex. You know, kind of an if toothpicks can do it, then why not? moment. And I like what came from it, so thank you.
And Adam, I was laughing to myself last night. What with the paper porn in my story, who would have thought that what you and I are writing could be so similar, yet also so very different? Tell me, does Simon dabble in the paper market? I'm telling you -- it's hot!
Alright, I've got an hour and a half to write, so off I go!
one with both boobs and head in honor of 4 consecutive posts, and an evening's writing. See, Jenny? There's a shadow that accents your boobs nicely, making them look more protuberant. Look at the look of concentration on that face; she's really writing! (Sorry it's blurry. I think Cate took this one. I'll bring the camera again on Thursday and see if we can't do better of all of us.)
Oh, I love the paper people and their sex story. And they live on a tiny dust mote in Miriam's universe. *sigh* You are such a terrific, imaginative writer, Jenny, I am in awe. I want to figure out a way to encourage you, to make it easier for you to write, my brain is in shreds trying to figure it out.
For preservation, even an act of intimacy for the paper people had to be a dry and sterile affair. They had adapted thus: when a paper man and a paper woman came together in an act of love, he might run a paper hand along and under her paper breasts, attached like the flaps of envelopes to her paper chest. Her paper eyelids might flutter. She might run a paper hand along his paper sternum, and he might shudder. The sound of his paper skin against hers might sound like a heavy whisper, like a catch of breath in the throat to be released in a stutter and caught again. He might fold his paper arms around her paper waist, and they might bring their paper mouths together, careful not to breathe too moist. And then, locked together thus, their intimacy would be branded on their skin. Appearing down his spine, around the paper curve of his buttock, down her hip and up her inner thigh, around her navel and up again – written by invisible hands – would be the words of one of the great love stories. One couple might tell of forbidden love shared from a balcony, another of enchanted sleep ended by a lover’s kiss, and still another might have this passage burnt into their skin:
There was a time when September and June traipsed through meadows and rollicked through forests, when they were married by Titania under the moonlight and when September laid June down on a bed of clover.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Consider this: a tiny pinprick floating in Miriam’s galaxy. Now it is near the center, but slightly off to the upper right. It moves slowly, ambling through its orbit. It looks much like a speck of dust floating above your bed when the moonlight comes through the window and hits it just so, so that it seems illuminated almost from the inside. A speck of dust, when viewed like this, can seem a wondrous thing, can it not? And this dust-like speck in Miriam’s galaxy is no less wondrous. Indeed, it may be more so.
This speck, though tiny from the outside, seems quite unfathomably large from the inside. It is a planet, a mass of earth and water, a home. Underneath the sea, volcanoes simmer and stutter and erupt. Some of them have coughed enough magma up to the surface and waited long enough to turn it into dirt, to form an island. The inhabitants of this island are all made of paper. These paper people have a story, and as many stories, it begins thus: Once upon a time.
So, the nuclear weekend didn't go as planned. Even though I really was sick, though, I know I could have written more than I did. And then today I took a half day. I planned on using the extra time to write, but I slept again. So from now until midnight, I'll write until my fingers fall off.
Bob, I'm glad that your story is taking shape. So, does a dead fish have something to do with your story, or was it a completely random coincidence that it opened the story up for you?
Adam, thank you for taking a day off and having a 0. Now you're less intimidating ;) And I'm so amazed that you're pretty much 10x your previous longest story. How are you planning on rewarding yourself for that?
Barbara, if I promise to post a piece of what I write tonight and then to keep on chugging along, will you post another picture of me? My solo one has the goofiest look on my face, and then just my boobs show up in another. There is the group picture, yes, but I don't feel that my face or my boobs are doing me justice in more personal shots. Though I must say, when you take my head out of the picture, my chest looks bigger. If I would have known that all those teenage years when I was praying for a healthier endowment and doing all those "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!" exercises, it might have been better to just aim for decapitation...
Line of the day: Brady took a deep breath and his fingers moved on her hand. “I have been, well, I have been thinking about maybe asking you if you would like to go out for a drink or some supper some evening. You know, after the supper rush is over.” He let out his breath like he had just run around the block. To buy time, Naomi said, “You mean you would eat someone else’s cooking? I thought you only ate at Better Than Mom’s. Heck, Brady, I thought you lived here.” She smiled when she spoke so he would know that she was teasing him.
Daily total: 1707 words
Running total: 35,269 words
Adam, I'm shocked that you had 0 day (I have come so close a couple of times but managed to force myself to the keys). And Jenny did Polo you on Thursday night; you must have missed it.
Bob, glad to hear things are going well.
Jenny, I know you're in there. Hello?
Here are the word counts that did not make it up here yet:
Day 16: 1773
Day 17: Took a day off. 0 words.
Day 18: 1677
Overall word count after the 18th: 34,893
So far today I've got about 650 done, but I need to go to work, so hopefully I'll be able to write some afterwards.
Writing has been hard. Though I know where the story is going, the scenes that I'm writing are not coming very smoothly or easily.
Jenny, I went back and found my longest story before this month: 3960 words. I did more than that in one day here. I have almost done ten times that.
Also, I have not yet gotten a "Polo." I'm waiting...
Way to go, Barbara, keep it up. Congratulations on 30,000!
Bob, keep hammering away and keep us posted. Anything happen with the Nuclear weekend?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I wrote today. Off and on. No big revelations, nothing earth shattering, just plain old words marching across the screen, jumping onto the pile of words that came before, making the pile a little higher. Well, there was that one incident when the computer froze up and lost about 500 words I had just written, but other than that the day was uneventful. My 5 PM 1000-word reward strawberry popsicle was very tasty.
Line of the day: “Hey, it is after nine o’clock,” Brady said. “Where did the day go?” Fay groaned. “My aching bones know where the day went. I do not know when I have worked so hard in one day. I am ready to go home, take the longest shower on record, and fall into bed.” She turned to look at Naomi. “Are you ready? Because I am fading fast.” Naomi looked at Brady who gave her the smallest flicker of a wink. “No, I am not ready just yet. You go on. I will help Brady clean up in here and get ready for tomorrow.” Fay shrugged and looked at the two of them. “Okay, if you all want to wear yourselves to a frazzle, go right ahead, I do not. I am out of here.” And she stood up, slung her purse over her shoulder, and left with a tired wave. In the silence that followed her leaving, the buzzing of one of the lights over their heads was very loud. Brady reached across the counter and put one of his hands on Naomi’s hand. “I am glad you stayed, Naomi.”
Daily total: 1,744 words
Running total: 33,562 words
How did everyone else do today?
The story is opening out amazingly. I finally have a clue about what Stewart does for a living - that is, besides stashing hot properties. It turns out that Stewart is (or was) a teacher. Eva gets him to tutor her children (Malcolm and Fine). Now Jenny, when you read Thursday, the image of the fish orbiting Miriam's galaxy stuck with me. That, along with some character inventories I'd been working on, is what opened the whole thing up. I'm certain of it. (No problems with the cheese here)
Barbara, I like the image of two skinny people in bed as toothpicks wrapped up in a napkin. For me, it is details like this which (that?) make your writing sing.
Adam, I agree with Barbara about the backstoryish sound of the thing you read Thursay. You don't have to change the POV (unless you want to) but it is possible to shift the narrative load in that direction. Of course, it may not be possible to see through to the actual mechanics until rewrite. Write on.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Line of the day: “You think Officer Bates is married?” she said over her shoulder. Naomi laughed. “Girl, do not tell me you think he is cute?” “He is not bad,” said Fay with a shrug, “he’s kind of scrawny, and I usually go for the beefier type, but he has a good job and I will bet he is not addicted to playing pool. He looks to me like a man who would treat a lady with some respect.” Naomi got the giggles. Fay frowned at her. “What are you laughing at?” “Just the picture of you and Officer Norman Bates, two scarecrows out on a date.” Her giggles turned to chuckles. “Or better still, you and him all tangled up between the sheets looking like a handful of toothpicks wrapped up in a napkin.”
Daily total: 1962 words
Running total: 31,818 words
I hope you feel better, Jenny. Anyone else have a bad reaction to the cheese last night?
Adam, what you read us last night sounded so much more human than the earlier pieces. Now I think Simon has a chance to flesh out into the character you imagined. I'm liking it more and more, although I have to agree, the AIDS girl's dialogue was very backstory-ish. Don't see how you can change that unless you start a new chapter with her POV.
Oh, Miriam and her universe! Jenny, what a brilliant original idea. How can you not want to plunge into writing to find out what happens? I'm on the edge of my seat and have only heard the tiny pieces you have read to us. More, please! I want to see in every room of that museum.
Last night at The Attic I got barely over 1000 words (and no popsicles in sight), but fired up the laptop when I got home and crept just over the goal count before I had to quit to hit the sack. Thanks for laughing at Officer Bates; he cracks me up.
Daily total: 1676 words.
Running total: 29,856 words (ooh, so close!)
More later after I write today's slice of genius *cough*,