Nanowrimo Day Seven

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 11,669 words

Words written today – 1,865

Words written so far – 10,854 words
Words to goal – -824

“Sometimes I wish for falling
Wish for the release
Wish for falling through the air
To give me some relief
Because falling’s not the problem
When I’m falling I’m in peace
It’s only when I hit the ground
It causes all the grief”
― Florence Welch

Trinity River in the Fall,
Dallas, Texas

As I committed the other day I am doing Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month this November – writing a 50,000 word (small) novel in a month. Not necessary a good novel, or even a readable novel, but one of 50K words.

Well it happened. I skipped a day. There is no day six.

It was inevitable, I had been too busy, missed too much sleep. I came home from work, actually had planned on what to write but I made the mistake of pausing a bit – watched the first half of the Kansas Basketball game (college basketball is my sport – KU is my team, I did go to school there) and when I stretched out for a second at halftime, to rest my eyes… suddenly it was morning, time to go to work.

Missed a day, no big deal. Went from a bit ahead to a good piece behind. The important thing is to never skip two days in a row. So on day seven I was able to pound out some words. They came easily, I had time to put a firm vision in my head. When I’ve done that, I can write as fast as I can type. Didn’t finish the scene – which is a good thing – it gives me a good place to start tomorrow.

The weekend is coming soon, will have to catch up then, get out ahead a bit.

What I wrote today was more conversations between Craig and Odette.

Snippet of what I wrote:

“I’ll tell you what,” said Odette. “I’ll make a deal with you… I’ll give you something… a gift.”

“Really? What?”

“Don’t get excited bucko – it’s not anything big.”

“Not something expensive.”

“Not worth a nickel. But rare nonetheless.”

“Now you have made me curious.”

“OK, here’s the thing. First, you don’t know me so you don’t really know whether I can give you this gift. But, if you did know me, knew me well you’d know that it isn’t only possible, it’s a gift I can give easily. Understand?”

“Not at all,” replied Craig.

“Never mind. This is my gift. I give you permission. Permission to say anything to me, anything at all. You can ask me any question at all. Since I don’t know the question, I can’t promise I’ll answer it in any particular way. I can’t promise if I’ll answer at all – there are unanswerable questions. I can’t even promise I’ll tell the truth if I answer, though I do promise to try not to lie, if possible. What I do promise is not to judge you in any way. You can ask anything, and I mean anything, without me getting upset.”

“OK.”

“I’m not done. You can ask me to do anything. Anything at all. Again, since I don’t know what you will ask I can’t promise that I’ll do what you ask, only that I won’t judge you, I won’t get upset that you asked. For example, you could ask me to jump out of the moving car right now… and I wouldn’t do it. I’d just say ‘no,’ but I wouldn’t get all pissed about you asking me to kill myself. OK?”

“OK,” was all Craig could think to say.

“Now, here’s the hardest part. You’re afraid to tell me why you wanted the car. I give you permission to tell me, tell me, again, anything, and I won’t judge you. This is hard, because I don’t know what you are going to say, but I promise I won’t get mad or won’t judge you in any way.”

“Now that is impossible. I can say anything?”

“It’s not only possible, it’s not too hard. Notice, I’m not giving you any permission to do anything, that’s something that would be impossible. But permission to say anything? All that takes is a tough skin, and I have the toughest. After all, sticks and stones….”

“I’ve always thought that old saw to be a complete lie.”

Odette ignored him.

“This is a valuable gift. Think about it. There is a person in your life now that you can ask any question, ask any favor, or tell anything to without fear.”

“OK,” Craig said again, overwhelmed.

 

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Nanowrimo Day Five

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 8,335 words

Words written today – 1,880

Words written so far – 8,980 words
Words to goal – +645

 

“Horns sounded from the trapped vehicles on the motorway, a despairing chorus.”
― J.G. Ballard, Crash

1957 Thunderbird

As I committed the other day I am doing Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month this November – writing a 50,000 word (small) novel in a month. Not necessary a good novel, or even a readable novel, but one of 50K words.

Another tough day – was at work for twelve hours and really too tired and shook up to do any writing.

I did it anyway.

Decided on a way to bring Craig, my anti-hero, and Odette, the girl, together.

Snippet of what I wrote:

He called Meridian’s car salesman and negotiated an offer. It was high, but Craig was able to get him down a bit, mostly in order not to raise suspicion. It never looked good to appear too eager.

“I told you that price would become an object.”

“Just want things to be fair, that price is still high enough. One more thing, I’m going to pay in cash.”

“Cash? That’s nuts. Nobody has that amount of cash hanging around.”

“My client does.”

“So does mine. Cash will be fine. What did you say your client did out in California?”

“I didn’t say.”

“Fair enough.”

And that was that. He put together the proper amount and drove it halfway, meeting the dealer at a designated crossroads in the middle of nowhere. The paperwork was signed on the hood of Craig’s rental.

“Well, that’s that,” said Meridian’s agent. “Are you sure you don’t want to put half down and the rest on delivery? That’s how we usually do it.”

“Nope, this is fine.”

“Guess you trust us.”

“Of course, I know where you work, I know where you live, I know where your wife works, I know where your kids go to school.”

A quick, strong shiver went up and down the agent. He had worked for Prime Meridian for a couple decades and knew the kind of man he was dealing with. He walked back to his SUV, opened the back, raised the floor, and put the case of cash in the back, carefully hiding in the space the spare tire used to be. He put everything back the way it was.

Nanowrimo Day Four

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 6,667 words

Words written today – 1,722
Words written so far – 7,100 words
Words to goal – +433

Oak Point Nature Preserve

From this picture you would think I was out in the country somewhere, cruising the Great Plains, rather than in the heart of the urban, tony suburb of Plano, Texas.

 

“I ain’t a Communist necessarily, but I have been in the red all my life.”
― Woody Guthrie

As I committed the other day I am doing Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month this November – writing a 50,000 word (small) novel in a month. Not necessary a good novel, or even a readable novel, but one of 50K words.

This was a tough writing day. Since I was off work, I wanted to really spend some time and maybe double my word count in case I needed a day off this week (which looks awfully busy). But shit happens and a good bit of it did. I managed to write a couple hundred words at lunch and didn’t think I’d be able to get a lot done at night, but I managed to sit down and hammer out my quota.

I’m not to happy with what I wrote, but it is what it is. I wrote the backstory of a new character – I originally intended him to be killed early, but now that I’ve spent so long on his backstory I might keep him around for a while – maybe make him an antagonist. He is a nasty piece of work with an odd name – Prime Meridian.

I started out with the story of how his grandfather, Isaac Meridian, established the start of the family fortune by foreclosing on the misery of the  people of the plains during the great depression and the dust bowl. Too much exposition – but this is Nanowrimo, so I keep typing.

Snippet of what I wrote:

Each little town had its own movie theater, city hall, and carefully tended town square. Every weekend there would be picture shows, dances, and even traveling entertainment – tiny circuses, barnstormers, or small concert orchestras – moving from town to town earning what they could – which was usually enough. People would travel from town to town enjoying the times, making friends.

Nobody ever thought the good times would end. Until they did.

It all happened with horrific speed. The rains stopped. Nobody had understood that the rainy time was the rare exception, not the rule. The land quickly reverted back to what it had always been – a wind-blasted near desert. The crops died and then the soil began to blow. Vast dust clouds began to form as millions of tons of topsoil were blown off barren fields and carried for hundreds of miles.

Walls of dust, moving mountains of dust, shot across the plains, devouring everything in sight. To be hit by this was like walking through a storm of razors. People caught in their own yards would be forced to grope for the doorstep. Cars were forced to a standstill, and no light in the world could penetrate that swirling murk. They lived with the dust, ate it, slept with it, and watched it strip everyone of possessions and the hope of possessions

Nanowrimo Day Three

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 5,000 words

Words written today – 1,808
Words written so far – 5,378 words
Words to goal – +378

“Come come! Come Out!
From bogs old frogs command the dark
and look…the stars”
― Kikaku, Japanese Haiku

 

Dallas, Texas

Today I checked the third page of my writing prompts for the 30 days of Nanowrimo and found a few sentences about when I used to go swimming with some friends at night in a resort swimming pool. These frogs would hop up to the pool and croak, with their throats expanding like big frogthroat ballons. I took this little memory and expanded it, making it more dramatic and important, and wrote it up for today’s words. I’ll worry later about figuring out how to hook this into the main story. That won’t be too easy.

Snippet of what I wrote:

But there came a time every night when the four young people would hear a telltale sound from the low bushes and tall grass that surrounded the pool and they would then silently slip into the water and gather in a group in the center. They would tread water, looking outward, touching each other, but barely. All four would feel their breath quicken as they waited and watched.

Only a few at first, dark, small and moving in a jerky, irregular path, but then a whole swarm of frogs would appear and eventually move to the edge of the pool. The entire concrete apron would be lined with frogs, all facing the water, all staring at the four young people treading water and looking back at them.

Then the frogs would start to croak. Every one of them would swell their throat out like a living bubble until it was larger than the rest of their bodies. Then they would use that stored air, under pressure, to let loose with that unique sound, that amphibian mating call, projected out over the water.

At first only a few frogs would croak but after a few minutes it would be a cacophony, a symphony of frog song, a staccato husky squawking that filled the otherwise quiet night.

Nanowrimo Day Two

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 3,334 words

Words written today – 1,885 words
Words written so far – 3,570 words
Words to goal – +236

“Living with a whore–even the best whore in the world–isn’t a bed of roses.”
― Henry Miller

Running of the bulls, New Orleans, Louisiana

As I committed the other day, I am doing Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month this November – writing a 50,000 word (small) novel in a month. Not necessary a good novel, or even a readable novel, but one of 50K words.

The second day of Nano, November 2, I was supposed to have a flex day off of work and I figured I’d get some serious writing done. But, as often happens, I had to go into work, teach a couple of classes, and get a reclaim shipment out – so I worked a little more than a full day – though I was able to slip out over lunch and hit the early voting.

I didn’t get my writing in until late in the day, but I did get it in. My inspiration for today was a bumper sticker I saw while I was stuck in traffic on my home from work a couple weeks ago. The sticker said, “I Love Crack Whores” – with a big red heart where the word “Love” is. It struck me as so strange that someone would put something like that on their truck, so I wrote it down in my little book of writing inspiration.

In keeping with the idea of Nanowrimo (putting words on the paper without worry – maybe trying some experimentation) I decided to make today’s work a long dialog between two characters, Odette and Bernard, stuck behind a truck like the one I saw. An extended riff in dialog form on the phrase, “I Love Crack Whores.” I was able to hit today’s word count without much trouble… it was sort of fun.

Here’s a snip of what I wrote.

“I knew a crack whore once. A very good friend of mine.”

“What? I didn’t know you lived in that sort of neighborhood. “

“I didn’t. Bad things happen everywhere. This was a long time ago.”

“Who? How?”

“A girl I knew since I was a little kid. She only lived a block away from me. But her family life was awful. Her dad was knifed in prison once. I never saw her mother sober and she had this creepy big brother that scared the shit out of everyone and his friends were worse. So she spent a lot of time at my house. To get away. “

“So how did she end up a crack whore?”

“Well, it was easier than you’d think. She wasn’t very good looking, this moon shaped face, and with eyes so far apart they almost looked like they were on stalks. Straight on, she looked like she didn’t have a nose but from the side it was like stair steps.”

“Jeez, poor girl.”

“Yeah, she never thought any boys would like her. So when she was old enough – or almost old enough, she started sleeping around. In high school. She would go with anybody that showed any interest at all and would do anything they wanted. The stories were wild.”

“So she was loose, that doesn’t make her a whore.”

“Well, no. But what she told me was that one night, she was really broke, needed to buy some new shoes or something really bad, and asked some boy, some rich boy, for a loan. No big deal for the kid, ‘chump change’ she said he told her, he gave her the cash. She thought it was a good thing, it made her happy, she bought the shoes. But then the next one, some other boy, gave her money up front. It seems the rich kid let it slip he had given her money, and everyone thought that was the business.”

“God, and she went along.”

“Yeah, I guess she did. I told her to stop it and she said she needed the cash, the boys seemed to think it was cool, nobody cared about her anyway. “

“What about the crack?”

“Well, she had the cash, she didn’t give a shit about anything. It was a spiral. The usual. Weed, then hash, pills, speed, and finally hitting the crack pipe. “

“How old was she then?”

“Junior year. Really sad.”

“Christ that sucks. Do you know what happened to her? Is she dead?”

“Oh no. Not at all. She ran away from home and that helped. Must have been really fucked up over there when becoming a homeless crack whore was an improvement. But I guess she hit rock bottom and came back up. Turns out she was a lesbian. Never knew it. Went to Law School, passed the bar. Now she’s a hotshot in Kansas City real estate. We’re friends on Facebook. She’s really into fitness. Got married a year ago, now that she can. Still awful ugly though.”

Nanowrimo Day One

Ultimate goal – 50,000 words.
Daily goal – 1,667 words
Goal total so far – 1,667 words
Words written so far – 1,685 words
Words to goal – +18

“He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.”
― Jean-Luc Godard

Writing in my Moleskine Journal outside the Mojo Lounge, Decatur Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

As I committed the other day, I am doing Nanowrimo – the National Novel Writing Month this November – writing a 50,000 word (small) novel in a month. Not necessary a good novel, or even a readable novel, but one of 50K words.

On October 31 – I came home from work and took a nap – getting up at midnight to write on the first hour of the first day. I have collected a series of prompts or inspirations – the first one was a snip from a Jean-Luc Godard film – the famous dance scene.

I hammered out 1,685 words, then tried to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, I was so enervated by the writing I had trouble falling into slumber and had a worn out, tired day at work. But at least I’m on track for the first day.

Snippet of what I wrote:

I was mesmerized. The music was complimented by the chatter of the other diners and the clinking of plates and silverware, but the three seemed to exist in a reality all of their own. They were dancing in the diner but also living outside of it, away from it, beyond it. They did not belong there. They were style, beauty, and grace, and a… cool was the only way to say it.

They were the epitome of cool in the least cool place in the world. And the diner wasn’t able to understand… to appreciate the miracle that was inside it. Like aliens from a distant planet… no, they weren’t the aliens, they were the real people. The diner was the alien planet and they were the only authentic humans that had ever graced its grimy linoleum floor. And the diner with its oblivious patrons kept on slinging its grease completely oblivious to the miracle moving about the space in front of the jukebox.

I warned you – if I’m going to write 50K words in a month – it isn’t going to be very good.

Everybody Tries To Look Cool

“He always accuses me of trying to look’cool’, I was like, ‘everybody tries to look cool, I just happen to be successful.”
― Daniel Clowes, Ghost World

Two dancers from the Repertory Dance Company II, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts – Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Two dancers from the Repertory Dance Company II, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts – Arts District, Dallas, Texas

Two dancers from the Repertory Dance Company II, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts – Arts District, Dallas, Texas

I am the least cool person in the world. I have always wanted to be cool, but have always failed miserably.

If you don’t know what cool is, watch the youtube video at the bottom of this post. It is from Bande à part – a film by Jean-Luc Godard. It is the coolest thing in the world.

The reason I re-stumbled across this scene is that I am collecting bits that I can use as inspiration for the Upcoming NanoWriMo. Hopefully, I can get a day’s worth of words out of this. I think I can steal this scene and move it to… let’s say a run-down diner on an abandoned highway in western Nebraska or some place like that. That sounds cool.