Tag Archives: gouda

Lingua Caca


Today was a day of great pain and sorrow for me, because today I made a pass at cleaning up the language in my novel.

I really feel two ways about this. On the one hand the language, most of the time, feels natural and right and perfectly at home in the book where it was. On the other hand, I’m willing to accept that, perhaps, foul language is a crutch that I maybe lean on a little too much.

Want numbers? Here are numbers:

  • The novel as a whole is ~97,000 words in its current iteration. (It probably still needs trimming, but we’ll see what my first round of readers thinks.)
  • 37 were Fargos. (7 of those in my notes to myself. I’m a bit of a self-abuser in my own editing.)
  • 53 of those were Sharknados. (only 3 in my self-abuse notes. Also, and I’m rather proud of this, 7 of them came in one sentence. It was a good sentence.)
  • 1 Ash. Not a word I use a lot.
  • 48 Haberdasheries. This one makes me laugh a little, because its usage irks me in popular shows. If you watch Once Upon A Time critically, as I like to do (who am I kidding, it’s also a lot of fun), you might notice that they lean on the phrase “what the hell” or “who the hell” or “how the hell”. I can usually count 3 or 4 iterations per episode. Well, 90% of my offenses came in the same flavor. That old adage about the man in the mirror being a big, fat jerk comes to mind.
  • 7 Clams. Again, not one I overuse. 2 of them were directed at myself. This is within acceptable parameters.

So, after a few surgical strikes with the delete key, what did I accomplish?

  • There are no f-bombs left. It hurt me, but in every instance I was able to find a way to say what I was trying to say, only, y’know, with less fargoery.
  • There are 2 sharknados left. The ones still standing are really fargoing funny, and no matter how I tried, I couldn’t find a phrasing any sharper than a well placed s-word.
  • The ash is gone. I didn’t feel strongly enough about it to fight my ego-writer for it. No great loss, there.
  • The clams stayed. I figure if a person can handle a couple of sharknados, they can clam sure handle a few clammits.
  • The haberdasheries… well, I’m addressing those tomorrow. I can probably cut most of them, but again, for emphasis, a little haberdashery is hard to beat.

So how do I feel about all of this? I’m conflicted. The Fargos and Sharknados were easy enough to trim out. Those are the biggies, that people really seem to take issue with. Higher on the hierarchy, if you will. In a novel of almost 100,000 words, I think a couple of profanities are well within reason.

Aren’t they?

My wife argues (probably rightly so) that my novel may lose some of its appeal for younger audiences with the profanity intact. To be more precise, with the profanity in place, the book could get labelled in such a way that might make it hard to sell parents on letting their children read it. (As a teacher, I can assure you that a stray f-word or worse does not bother the average whateverteen-year-old in the least.) And I guess that’s a consideration worth … considering. Then again, the language is as natural to me as breathing, and I think that removing it from my characters’ mouths (and rarely from the prose) is a little like the aliens taking the nose off the Sphinx. (What, you don’t think aliens built the Sphinx? LOOK AT THE FACTS.) Maybe it looks better that way, but still, it feels … off, somehow. Certainly it feels like adjusting my style for an external factor, regardless of how relevant that one factor may be. One character in particular was exceptionally foul-mouthed in the first draft. Like, it was an integral part of what made him unlikable (I thought). The character works without having a sailor’s vocabulary, but knowing what he was, he feels like, I dunno, maybe 80% of what he could be? 85%?

Then again, maybe my wife is right, and the language is a barrier to more readers than I think.

It’s weird; usually I can bring an issue here to my dumping ground, marinate on it for the forty-five minutes or so it takes me to pinch off a blarg post, and come away with some clarity and feeling a little lighter. But on this one I feel even more conflicted than when I started.

What to do? Leave the salty language intact and ask my beta readers how they feel about it? Or proceed with the edited-for-TV version and ask, at the finish, whether foul language would read better?

Is the language a part of my authorial voice? Or is it a crutch getting in the way of my voice?

Sharknado.


4 Questions & an update


Two Blargs in one day?  Shenanigans.

Actually I wrote 90% of the one about my feet last night so I can’t really claim it as today’s work.

SO: today’s blarg.

It’s Day 2 of Spring Break (the weekend doesn’t count – that was a day off anyway!) and it’s been pretty productive so far.  I had feared that it would be difficult to maintain momentum with my daily routine getting bashed up (write for thirty minutes or so on my lunch break, finish it up and blarg in an hour or so at home), but it’s been okay.  I got my Project writing done last night thanks to a bit of time granted to me by my dear wife, and today’s words came out courtesy of the sprout’s solid 2-hour nap.  And I’ll get some more blarging in besides.

And!

A favorite passage from today’s writing!  I fell off the ball with these, partially because it’s hard fargoing work carving out time for all the writing I’m trying to fit in, and partially because a lot of what I’ve been pushing out lately hasn’t been particularly … what’s the word… artful?  It’s good but it needs polish.  Not done cooking.

This bit, I think, is fairly sound.

Accidentally Inspired was, when I wrote it as a stageplay, a bit autobiographical, and now expanding it as a novel, yeah, it’s still autobiographical.  I think this bit was me pulling right from the heart today.

     “Sooner or later, you dig deep enough, you’ll hit the Bottom.” The capital B was evident – again, the gods’ phones have no difficulty translating intricacies of inflection and emphasis. It just sounds like static or wind noise on human phones. “And when you hit the Bottom, one of two things will happen. One: he’ll figure out that he doesn’t really want to be in that hole — not really — and then you can start to climb out again. Or two: the Bottom will cave in, and you will find yourself somewhere else entirely.”
“What do we do if that happens?”
Exasperation crackled through the ethereal wireless connection. “You figure it out, Thalia. Gods, are you a grown woman or not?”

 

WordPress has me at almost 40 followers now.  Pretty cool.  Part of that is community, and thanks to the content of what I’m posting here, many of the people seeing my brain-droppings (RIP George Carlin) are a part of a pretty significant writer’s community.  Collaboration is always a good thing, so I thought I’d acknowledge that some of those writing blogs out there have helped me and inspired me and given me some ideas along the way when I’ve been stuck.  So thanks.

In poking around on the WordPress reader, I came across this little tidbit posted by one of the first members to check out my blog and give me a follow, Jodie Llewelyn.  It made me think for a minute, and what I think about I usually end up writing about, so here you are.  Four little questions to tickle a writer’s brain.

1. Why did you start writing?
2. What do you love the most about writing?
3. What goals are you working towards, right now?
4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

Here, then, is how I answer.

1. Why did you start writing?
I wrote my first creative stuff, real genuine doing-this-for-my-own-dark-and-slimy-writer’s-heart after playing a video game, of all things. It had such a great (to me, at the time) story that I felt compelled to write a similar story without the video game construct. God, it was awful.  (The game, if you’re curious and go way back, was Final Fantasy 2.  I wish I could say it was the much better and much more widely acclaimed Final Fantasy 3, but that one wasn’t out yet.  I’m sure it played a role, too.)

So my little story (I think ultimately it came out to be 100 pages of chicken scratch, or maybe about twenty thousand words or so were I to really do anything serious with it, like type it out, which I never did, because what do you want from me, I was a teenager, and a dumb one at that) was crap, but it showed me that anybody — but anybody — even dumb ol’ me, could write a story.  It wouldn’t necessarily be good, but it could be done.  By that rationale, I mean, they’ll let anybody drive.  But I noticed, after I wrote it, that there were bits of it that I didn’t like.  That didn’t work.  So I edited it, by hand, in that crappy little spiral notebook, and continued to do nothing with it.  I just retooled it a little here and a little there, until I got tired of it and forgot about it.  I think of it fondly now, not because it was good or because I may return to it (not ever going to happen in this world or the next), but because it’s a pinpoint of cosmic get-your-head-on-straight guidance.  A beacon in the dark of doubt and misgivings that swallow up, I think, many a writer, not least of all me.  If a dumbANTZ (I really have to get some better gouda for the a- word) fourteen year old can punch out a twenty-thousand word little fantasy story, how can my thirty-something-year-old self, with his nearly infinitely grander life experience, measurelessly improved vocabulary, and unfathomably deeper ability to overstate and belabor a point FAIL at writing a complete novel?  It’d be an insult to that pimply-faced fourteen year old.  And I won’t do that to you, Past Me.  You had it rough, back then.

2. What do you love the most about writing?
The raw, maker-and-breaker-of-universes feeling. And the release of psychic tension. I said psychic when I meant to say intellectual, but I’m sticking to it, because I am the maker-and-breaker-of-universes and surely the maker-and-breaker-of-universes says what he means and means what he says.

But honestly, I’m not an Alpha guy.  I don’t know if Alpha guys (or gals) even have the inclination to be writers.  I could be wrong.  But there it is.  I’m not afraid of people – far from it.  I just prefer to let other folks take the lead most of the time.

But.

Give me some fake people?  Let me tell a story, let me decide the conflicts, the combats, the pitfalls and the possibilities?  Ooh, brother, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So yeah, then there’s the intellectual tension.  In the last month, I’ve found that I feel clearer of mind, quicker of tongue, and in general a little happier.  Given the fact that my running is in the ditch and I have no other physiological cause to chalk all this up to, I can only imagine that the writing is playing the primary role.  I think the main project is great for focusing my mind and keeping me lasered in on what I’m trying to do, and my blarg is doing a bloody brilliant job of siphoning off the ancillary thoughts, clearing out the clogged mental pipes and generally just burning out the gunk that the average day’s crap pumps into my brainholes.

3. What goals are you working towards, right now?
Finishing — really finishing — like, for serious, really and truly nail-in-the-coffin finishing — my first novel. Also, developing some ideas for future novels so that I won’t have what happened last time I finished a creative project — I stood around for a while, thinking “what now”, couldn’t think of anything, and quit — happen again. The construction of that sentence is correct, and again, maker-and-breaker-I-do-what-I-want.

I’m not sure I ever felt better in my life about myself as a human than after I finished, really finished, the stage play of Accidentally Inspired and saw it to a full production.  Except maybe for the birth of my son.  Yeah, usually sappiness has no place here but I’m a relatively new dad and about to be one again, what can you do.  (Obligatory – my wedding day was pretty great, too, but heck, anybody can get married.)  It slipped away from me then because I lacked direction and didn’t know what to do next, once that was finished.  A mistake I don’t plan to run into again.  Between the blarg (where I vent what’s in my brain on the regular, and which is quickly becoming a repository of little novel seedlings vis-a-vis my growing collection of flash fictions) and the spin-off ideas that creep in there when I overhear snippets of conversation or just, I don’t know, where do ideas come from?  They come, and I write them down now (something that, again, I have neglected for far too long), and I’m saving them until they’re ready.  I’m not actively thinking about them, but even when I’m working on AI, I can feel them back there, bubbling away in the dark.

4. What advice do you have for other writers who may be struggling with a lack of inspiration, right now?

This is one I really feel entirely unqualified to answer, because I’m just bouncing back onto the horse myself after getting thrown off it, what, seven or eight years ago?  (God, kill me.)  But in my short experience at capital-W Writing, here’s what’s working so far:

Write off topic or read. Writing about something unrelated to your focal project has, for me, a way of unstopping the pipes and burning out the gunk. Reading — whether it’s good lit or bad — fills my head with all kinds of ideas — new storylines, phrases, voices, characters, conflict structures, paces, artful misspellings, the list goes on — that, after a while, I can’t wait to bring back and experiment with over in my shallow end of the pool.

 

 

 

 

So there you have it.  A few thoughts on writing from your resident Pav.  Maybe it’ll help you out, maybe not.  At any rate, it helped me, and that’s the point of all this, so consider me selfish, and turn the lights out when you leave.  I do my best thinking in the dark.


Modern Medicine is Magic (a running post in which you can see the inside of my foot and it looks like a horror movie)


So I’m a runner.

I caught this disease almost two years ago (no, it was earlier than that, but I date it from my first race which was on Cinco de Mayo, a “holiday” whose legitimacy it is not the goal of this blarg to explore) and have since embraced it, the way Rainman kinda leans into the skid and accepts that while he may never be a dashing, smooth-talking ladies man, hey, he can count the balls off some beans.

That is to say, running is not the best of hobbies to have.

Let me clarify that.  I call it a hobby because in a lot of ways it’s no longer about the exercise, it’s about the meditation, the focus it brings, and yeah, let’s be fair, it’s still in no small part about the exercise, but let’s push that aside for now, I’m going somewhere here.  Yes, hobby.  A hobby is something you enjoy doing, something that eats up a (often unhealthily [yes, unhealthily, shut up]) disproportionate amount of your time (money, thought, money, sense of a well-rounded life, money…), and as I’ve mentioned before, for a sport that professes to be about simplicity and an escape from big gyms and monthly fees and expensive equipment, you can drop a fargoing bundle on running gear. And it’s not the best of hobbies to have because it becomes difficult, when you have a (growing) family and a (beyond) full-time job and, let’s not forget, I also just took up capital-w Writing as another hobby (because I have time for that like I have hair on my head [spoiler alert: the key word is “shortage”]), to make time for Everything Which Must Be Accomplished Today.  Less so when you start out and it’s a twenty- to thirty-minute jaunt here and there, more so when you really lose your mind and begin running for nearly an hour at a time four or five times a week, and two hours on the weekend (because daddy needs his long run, no I don’t have a problem just GIVE ME THAT LONG RUN).

Anyway, there’s a problem with running and it’s this:

Dondraper it, let me try again.  There are some problems with running, and one of them is this:

Nope, still not there.

Running is a problem.

Here’s one reason.  We’re built to run, sure, great, fantastic.  The body and its legion of interconnected systems combine to make humans one of the kings of distance runners on our little blue slice of life.  However, most of us lazy Americans don’t give running a try until we’re old enough to know better.  Our lives of leisure and sedentary work and Law-and-Order marathons have caused those finely tuned systems to atrophy.  So we jump into running, and it hurts.  It fargoing HURTS.  Blisters, shin splints, sun burn, broken toenails, bloody nipples, ALL of these things can happen, sometimes within your first few steps out the door.  And a lot of people try it for a week and it hurts TOO DONDRAPER MUCH and they quit.  Hard to fault them.  Others think, “hey, this hurts, but it’s kind of awesome too,” and they keep at it.

Now, the body adapts fast.  It builds up resilience quickly.  And as any runner who makes it past, say , three months (I just made that figure up, but let’s go with it because this is my house) will tell you, once you get to the point where you can run a few miles, the rest is mental.  So if you didn’t drop out when it started hurting (which was immediately), you’re unlikely to drop out barring serious injury, and you’ll keep pushing up the mileage and the duration and you’ll find yourself smashing through your own boundaries and personal achievement and yay yay yay I’m awesome, running is awesome, the world is awesome, yay running.

Problem is, running is not like other sports.  You don’t take spikes to the knee making a tag at second, you don’t get a three-hundred pound linebacker smashing your brains into mush on every snap, you don’t take ice skates to the teeth when the puck does the thing with the hockey implements.  Okay, I don’t know a lot about hockey injuries, but I HAVE AN IMAGINATION AND ICE SKATES ARE DANGEROUS AND THOSE GUYS ARE BIG AND FAST.  Running injuries are subtle.  Like a fine wine (except that they crush your soul rather than bringing sweet, sweet music into it), running injuries develop over time.  Figure a conservative 1000 strides per mile times an average of 4 miles per run (my average in 2013)  times let’s just say I ran every other day last year and that’s a Holy Sharknado lot of steps you’ve taken, each one magnifying the entropy that your thirty-year old (indulge me) frame has slid into over the past YOUR WHOLE LIFE of not doing anything active outside of an occasional game of yard football.

So, my feet hurt.  And they finally hurt badly enough and longly enough (yep) for me to go see a doctor.

X-rays, poking and prodding, lots of questions.

Turns out that while I have no structural deficiencies (no broken bones or heel spurs or stress fractures or duck-feet), I do have a mild form of plantar fasciitis.  The phrase the doctor used was “you have a high arch, but your foot is behaving as if your arch is flat.”  I asked him what the haberdashery that meant, and he responded with words that may have been answers, but I still have no idea what he actually said.  Basically, I think what he said is that because I have healthy feet and because I have good running form, I’m overworking the plantar fascia (the tendons along the underside of the foot) and then they recede and shrink up like your business in a cold pool when I go to sleep at night, then they get extra stretched out again when I run again, wash, rinse, repeat.  (Healthy feet + good form, then, equals injury.  THIS IS RUNNING.)

The treatment?  Stretch it and ice it.  Seriously, that’s it.  He gave me a cortisone shot (I’ll come back to that) and some pills to take if I have more pain (the pills may cause a slight evacuation of my stomach contents, so, you know, USE SPARINGLY) and a see-you-in-a-month.

Two things bear mentioning from my little visit with my healthcare professional.

First, x-rays.

wpid-imag0945.jpgThose are goldfinger alien appendages.  Seriously.  From the above angle they look like the long, taloned claws of the grim-reaper dunked in phosphorescent goo (and, by the way, look at the big bone [the tarsal?  Go science yourself] just below the “toe joints” [yeah, SCIENCE] and tell me those don’t look like demonic slitted eyes gazing into your soul.  SERIOUSLY WHAT ARE THOSE).  And then…

wpid-imag0946.jpg

If you’ve seen the first thirty seconds of Terminator 2, I need say no more.  If not, what are you doing here?  Go watch it.  Anyway, that’s a fargoing cyborg death-claw-foot, not a human extremity.

Second, the shot.  We’ve all had them.  Shot in the arm; if the doctor likes you he’ll tell you an amusing anecdote about fly fishing or his fourth-grader’s art project and you’ll be so bored you won’t even notice the needle sliding in, and then it’s over.  Dentist shots aren’t so quick or painless but at least you can’t see it happening so there’s that.

A cortisone shot is different.  First of all, the needle is longer than anything piercing your skin has any right to be.  My stomach did a backflip as soon as he uncorked the thing and I was literally unable to look away from it; all I could think was how it could possibly penetrate my flesh that much without causing searing, blinding pain.  The doc assures me that he’ll freeze the skin and I won’t feel anything except a little pulling.  Okay, sure, but I still can’t take my eyes off the thing.  He sprays a stream of this liquid at my heel and it feels like I’ve dunked the thing in a supercooled ice bath; the needle goes in and sure enough, I feel nothing.  But I see it.  The needle goes in and in and in, like a snake down a drain.  (Real or plumber’s, you decide!)  Then it stops, and he begins to depress the plunger.

Emptying the syringe takes him at least a minute.  Part of it’s because he’s deliberately going slow, which he explains is to allow the medicine to empty into the tissue without displacing things too rapidly, which would cause serious pain and discomfort.  The other part is that, its, uh, payload is dramatically big.  Again, all I have for reference are those doctor’s office inoculations, so maybe my scale is broken like the pollen count mechanism here in Georgia… but I won’t get sidetracked on that (tonight!).  3 ccs, he says.  Anyway, he’s sitting there pushing this clear fluid into the side of my heel and my eyes are just frozen to it like a five year old’s tongue to a light pole in winter, and I keep saying “uh huh, right, sure” to whatever he says in his reassuring voice.  It goes on too long, and my skin looks like one of those closeups of water that you see where the surface isn’t broken, it’s lifting up and sticking to the sides of the straw or string or whatever’s stuck in it, and I’m thinking of all that fluid oozing into my heel and oh my god, where is all that stuff going, it’s not my bloodstream because that’s not the point, and I feel myself getting dizzy.

Lunch almost comes up, but just like that, it’s over, the swordfish spike comes out of my heel, and he’s wiping it off with alcohol.  “All done,” he says, and I ask the question I’ve been afraid to ask because I’m somehow certain the answer will be no: “can I keep running?”

He laughs a little.  “Oh, sure.  I mean, don’t go running six miles on it tonight or anything, but you can return to your regular activities in a day or two.  Just keep stretching and icing.  Now the nurse will come in for your ultrasound.”

Thank crikey.  Wait, what?

The nurse comes in with this wand which makes no sound, not least of all ultra (okay, I apologize to the readers for the horribleness of that joke, but no, I’m not taking it back).  She slathers it with goop and rubs it all over my heel and the back part of the bottom of my foot for a good five minutes, explaining that this will distribute the cortisone all throughout the soft tissues of my foot.  Small talk about our kids (being a parent somehow makes small talk in odd situations so much easier than it ever was in the years BS (before sprout).  Then she’s done, she packs it all up, and sends me on my way, telling me to be careful the rest of the day and not take part in any strenuous physical activity because my foot is going to feel a little numb.

That clear fluid from the syringe, the cortisone, is made of fairy tears or unicorn pee or something.  I put my heels to the ground and feel nothing but a dull tingling in my ENTIRE left foot, like I’d sat on it funny for an hour and it has that pins-and-needles thing going on.  This feeling lasted for the entire rest of the day.  No pain, just that bizarre, stars-exploding-in-my-nerve-endings kind of feeling every time I take a step.

I wake up this morning and the sharp pain I’m used to feeling in my heel on my first steps of the day is just gone.  I rouse the sprout (okay, he was already roused and chasing his toy dinosaurs around his room) and take him downstairs – the stairs that usually intensify the pain in the heel, and again – nothing.

I won’t be running on it again today, but hopefully before school’s back in, I can take it for a spin and see how it’s doing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: modern medicine is magic.  I learned this firsthand when my son was born with half his insides on the outside, and I’ve learned it again since this doctor was able to pull the evil out of my heel like sucking up milk through a straw.


Why All Parents of Small Children Should Learn to Love the Mall


Taking a day off from work as a teacher is an odd proposition.

Sure, you get the day off, and you don’t have to go in to the office, as it were, but it’s impossible (perhaps I shouldn’t speak for the legion – for ME it’s impossible) not to think, throughout the day, “Oh, my 4th period class is starting right now.  I hope they’re getting their work done.  I bet STUDENTNAMEREDACTED is being a jerk to the sub.  I’ll make them all write a five-page essay when I get back.  Nah, no I won’t, that’s more for me to grade.”  Okay, I didn’t have to go in today, but I had extra work to make plans for today and I’ll have extra work to get caught up when I get back tomorrow and for the rest of the week.

This is why I don’t take days off.

That said, it’s nice not being at work.  Got to spend the day with my dear wife and the sprout and my sister-from-out-of-town, and it’s all pretty swell.  Took the sprout to the mall to let him run around before his nap because it’s a bit too cold to be running around outside today (shut up, it’s cold in the South today; I know, it’s colder up North, SHUT UP).  It’s been a while since I’ve done this with him, which is a shame.  There are only a few places that the boy is allowed to run around off-leash (meaning I can just sit and watch him play); one is the living room, which hardly counts, and the other is the mall before it opens.

Say what you will about how this proves I’m a hopeless zombie in a consumerist culture, but the mall is freaking AWESOME.  As long as you get there before it opens.  Before it opens, the mall is that rarest of things: a paradise for parent and kiddo alike.  Don’t believe me?  PICTURE IT:

You’re two feet tall.  You are learning to walk / run / speak, but your stick-in-the-mud parental units will hardly let you take five steps without scooping you up to save you from falling down the stairs or knocking over the dining room table or throwing pancake syrup all over the dog.  The yard is no better; you can run free but the units are always stalking you to make sure you don’t run into the road (where, let’s face it, all the real fun is) or fall in the sinkhole or fall on the driveway and crack your skull and let your brains leak out onto the concrete.  (Why do kids have a death wish?)  Then, you arrive at the Mall.  Huge, wide open hallways, most of them carpeted.  Enormous, wall-covering murals and windows presenting a delightful banquet of color for your tiny eyes to feast upon.  The walls echo as you shriek in delight, and your own voice fills the cavernous space with an aria of joy and wonderment as you stretch your tiny legs and careen off into the wide-open spaces feeling an exhilaration you’ve felt only in your tiny, lunatic toddler dreams.

Smell what I’m cooking?  Now, the adult side of the picture:

You’re indoors: there is no traffic to save the kid from.  There are very few people around: no potential kidnappers to guard against.  There’s a carpeted and cushioned playground: you can turn the kid loose without fear of him smashing a tooth out or breaking another goldfinger glass / plate / priceless Hummel figurine.  It’s large and spacious and full of ambient noise: nobody cares how much noise the kid makes, you might as well be in a baseball stadium.  And there are no toys.  I’ll repeat that.  THERE ARE NO FARGOING TOYS.  Toys which the kid strews in his wake like a deranged Santa’s Workshop Hansel and Gretel.  Toys with inexplicably sharp bits upturned for your hapless, tender underfoot.  Toys that overwhelm your home and your soul with their inexhaustible supply, a zerg rush of plastic and plush (whoa, I liked that).  NO TOYS.  *Beams of sunlight pierce through the overcast sky as a choir of angels begins to sing*

So I reiterate: the mall, for both parents and kiddos, is the haberdasheryfied sharknado.  BEFORE IT OPENS.  After the mall has opened, if you plan on taking your toddler there, just cut out the middle man and kill yourself.

Anyway, the sprout had a blast and holy god, he is getting fast.  Like, I can no longer keep up with him at a brisk walk fast.  Sailing through the air as he takes one leaping bound after another fast.  Faceplanting into a full scorpion-stinger fall when he loses his balance because he ran too fast fast.  It’s awesome to see, and it means that very soon, I’m going to be testing all the running I’ve been doing these past two years (I started, ostensibly, so that I’d be able to keep up with the sprout when he got bigger — well, he’s bigger now, by crackey).

So, all that excitement, and I still got a solid 1000 words in on The Project today.  Oh, and another thousand HERE.

Here are some of the best of them:

  • Part of him knew he should take action, defend himself or something, but all he could do was think about pandas and try to figure out how to stop his brain from vibrating.  The pain was exquisite, but more exquisite was the ringing sound in his ears and in fact his whole head, which as far as he could tell was a perfect b-flat.  Unlike a perfect b-flat, which sounds sort of warm and makes you feel mellow, this one was inexplicably painting his vision yellow.  Hands grabbed him roughly and conducted him to a chair where he fish-flopped a few times, casting his head back and forth, trying to remember whether he had one ceiling fan or, as his eyes seemed to be telling him, fifteen.

I just now realized that I rhymed “mellow” and “yellow” in there, and I am not at all sure if I approve of it.  Future me will have to decide if he wants to be a poet or just let it slide.  Okay, that one was deliberate and awful, and I apologize to the committee for the error of my ways.  FARGO.

Tomorrow is runday funday, so I will get to test out the heel again.  The word count has slowed to a trickle the past few days; hopefully I can finish the week strong.

 


Thump Thump


Amidst all my musings on gouda last time, I forgot to mention the project.  It’s happily chugging along; a thousand-ish words yesterday, thirteen hundred-ish the day before, a solid fifteen hundred and change today.  The momentum is still boiling and I’m thanking goodness for that.  Strangely, it’s been a little bit tougher to get the writing done this week.  Not nearly so many demands on my time, but I seem to be hitting more roadblocks with the story.  But as I’ve detailed before, I’m getting better at throat-punching my roadblocks, which is exactly what I’ve done, which all contributes to the rather monumental discovery that I made today.  Having typed that, let me clarify that the discovery is only monumental on a personal sliding scale.  I’m not curing cancer over here or anything.  That said, hyperbole is exciting!  Fireworks!  Streamers!  Puppies!  Accomplishment!

So anyway, I was happily squeezing out my daily word count over a sandwich at lunch today when I saw my page numbers have rolled over into the thirties.  I use a nice small font and don’t waste a lot of space on the page, so it takes me a good chunk of words to fill a page, though I’ve not yet counted how many words I get on a page on average.  Actually, I guess I have, but I haven’t done the math yet, because fargo math.  I didn’t take creative writing in college because I’m the kind of person who does math for fun, DonDraper it.

That’s a lie.  Numbers are fascinating and complex and, if you think about them long enough, the sheer overwhelming enormity of their significance, could, I’ve heard, devour your soul without a whit of conscience.  (I checked my comma usage in the previous sentence and, rest easy, it is correct.)  (Also, I fully realize that my comma [ab]use is probably the least of your concerns.)  However, being one of those creative types, I prefer to admire their poetry quietly from afar, musing on their possibilities in the way that I imagine an ant knows and appreciates the sun is there without having the slightest understanding that its (the ant’s) entire existence is fueled, nay, POSSIBLE because of it (the sun); in other words, don’t bother me with the goldfinger details.  I will leave it to others to dive screaming into the swirling throbbing depths of the infinitude of numbers, armed with their brains of +4 maths.  People like my brother-in-law, who builds missiles.  That’s right, mother truckers, a real-life honest-to-god ROCKET SCIENTIST reads my drivel and gets his jollies (not all, but at least one or two) from my little pile of content.

Sidenote: rather than a table of contents, I want to write a book that has a “pile of contents”.  Then again, when you think about it, that’s all a book is, innit?

Er, that was a sidenote to a sidenote.  The point is, numbers.

Glorious numbers!  Fantastical numbers!  So-big-you’ll-slap-your-mama numbers!  The overall goal for August is ninety thousand words.  That’s a whole lot of words.  A dauntingly huge amount.  So huge, it’s best not thought of.  So I haven’t thought of it.  But here, at the end of two weeks’ work on the project, thirty pages (and change) deep, I thought that the time for thinking about it might be this time, so I thought about it.  I ran a word count on the entirety of my draft as it stands thus far, just to see where I stood.  The grand total as it stands right now is almost seventeen thousand.

Seventeen thousand words is a haberdashery of a lot of words.  Now, it’s a far, far cry short of the ninety thousand I need to have this thing taken seriously.  But it’s also a far cry from where I started.  It’s tangible, significant progress; progress that is heartening and a little overwhelming; progress that is chest-thumpingly awesome.

There is not only quantitative progress but creative progress as well; the story is organically sprouting tentacles that I don’t even remember coding into its DNA, and it’s now attracting lightning strikes and spawning new lifeforms.  New characters, new plots, new subplots, new complications, are occurring to me all the time, faster than I can write them into this thing.  This is the heady thrill of creative adrenaline, and it is surging.

So this is me, thumping my chest a little bit.  I have almost seventeen thousand words in the bag and a rocket scientist reading my blog.  Sharknado yeah.

Chuck’s writing challenge for the week is a 10-chapter story in just 1000 words.  I’m going to try for it this weekend as I take a break from the Project, but it feels tailor-made to hurt me.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, BUT I TEND TO RAMBLE.  Short choppy chapters are not my bag.  BUT I WILL TRY.


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