Doing NaNoWriMo this year again. This will be my 4th novella. I like to write without knowing where it'll go or what will transpire. I am always amazed at the coherence of the final manuscript, though I haven't edited any or sent any out or even shown any of them to anyone else. They just pile up on my hard drive, whole books that I am quite proud of. Each one, a teacher.
The last time I wrote a novella in the month of November, and it was erotic fiction, and I'd be embarrassed to show it to anyone, was in 2008. I like to set a 2000 word a day goal. That 2000 words usually takes about an hour of straight writing. It is hard work, no denying. But wonderful when you find you have a whole manuscript, a story at the end of the month.
Usually I just write. While I have a general theme in mind, and a genre, I don't pre-plan the story, or map it out beforehand. That wouldn't work for me. Each day's writing is, rather, a discovery of the story that is unfolding. The characters form themselves and create their situations. It's a great way to let writing pour through you.
It begins officially tomorrow, on Nov 1st. I've managed it working temp jobs as a single mother - often I wrote through lunch at work because my kids were so demanding at night - so really it's simply a commitment to write. I can't write on my desktop because the 'inner' editor would kick in. I need something small and intimate. The first two novellas were written on a small old laptop, the third on a now defunct netbook, but don't have any of those anymore. So this year it'll be on the iPhone via a wireless keyboard. Cute huh? ::smiles::
Today I wrote about 300 words, and discovered what the story this year is to be about. While I don't think it's a good idea to show something new and nascent and in the process of forming, below is what I wrote. It's going to be a surreal novella this year!
At last she sat still, still like a bullet in a gun ready to fire. She floated high over the tree tops. But only for a moment - as long as it took to blink.
Shadows were watching, in each stalk of grass. Fields of watchers. The grass was rising, murmuring, rebelling. Then the grass flew. Tufts of green following her over the hill tops.
No, that didn't happen. She was on the ground. The blades photographed her image in the photosynthesis of each plant cell and thus followed her hologram through the sky.
Each blade screamed in green bleeding joy, blowing in the wind, rootless, free.
Then it came to an end. The grass fell on her head. When her mother came to get her, she was covered in grass. Her mother screeched the way some mothers do, and shook her daughter and brushed the grass off roughly with her hand, but some of it still stuck. She smelt like a freshly mowed lawn. Scuffs of green razor cuts covered her clothes and skin like a painter had daubed her with virescent green. She was a holy plant child of the holy green earth.
How do you imagine a consciousness so wholly natural that there is scant distinction between the landscape and the mind? The outside was in her. The sky that is blue with its dark clouds. The soaring dipping diving birds. A fossil alive. A woman from pre-history who was the future. A surreal madwoman.
The dreamscape is real. She was untameable. Wild in her abandon to the forces. She danced with trees and sang with brooks. I'm not saying it was bucolic, or a pastorally nostalgic vision. Not utopia. Rather, a reality.
This is a story of the greening fires, the ones you see in people's eyes when they are elsewhere.
Let's say it is surreal, so it's going to be a crazy write where logic is twisted, braided, looped and denied. Abandon yourselves, dear reader, to the mad sensibilities of a storyteller's dreams.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass, 28" x 22", 71cm x 56cm, oil on canvas, 2011.
When the river runs in bands, water ribbons her arm. Or she dances on rocks across. Those who support uphold everything in the underpainting. What is there to say of wheat fields or grass curling flames? Under the midnight sun strange dreams dance with intent.
A painting depicting contact dance - which is... out of the dance studio, for sure, and into the dreamtime! And a solar eclipse, which reminds me of the black light, the midnight sun of the mystics.
Finally I have finished this painting! It's a strange little painting, but I quite like it now.
Here is a slideshow of the studies and previous versions of the painting:
Or a direct link:
|Midnight Sun: Wind Over Grass|
For a few days there, I was writing on my iPhone with a wireless keyboard in WriteRoom, a few images, and posted on G+, but I like to collect things here, at Rubies in Crystal (where things are much easier to find later on).
5 Oct 2011
Coins spread over the steel counter as she moved nickels and dimes with her fingers towards the cup of tea. Counting out $1.75, the woman wearing the white net over her hair slid the coins with the swoop of one hand into the other held below the counter. The tea was watery and too hot.
As the train's steel wheels spun along the electric track, she sipped, and thought how easy it is to slip away, become obscure, become a negative image of oneself, join anti-matter and disappear. She pulled her hat low over her eyes.
An old woman huddled in a seat, eyes closed, a form, a dark coat, some white hair, the veins rising on the skin on her hands like pale blue rivers, an absent person, someone no-one notices.
6 Oct 2011
The world is an ever-deepening place. I marvel at the richness of my life, my inner life. Everything is enfolded in everything else and grafts and buds unfurl constantly. Sometimes I find the bleak corners, the impenetrable sadnesses, and they're hard, but it doesn't last. The sun comes in through the lattice work of leaves and pulls me to another screen of my life where I see different scenes playing. Then other connections happen and other ways of approaching the moments that compose my life and I find new reflections. The enfolding continues, enriching more each day. Nothing passes, everything remains, adding to the whole art piece that my life is.
6 Oct 2011
Today, always today. It's never any other day but today. All the days might become this day, but this day is not all the other days. It's unique. Singular.
I should get to the news because it's a historical day. Every day is historical. Every day has its news, is noteworthy. We can look up the events of each day if we keep journals or blogs, and if we search news sites.
Mostly, the sun is shining and it is a cool, crisp Autumn day, a day before the leaves have crumpled on the trees and fallen, a day when the leaves are considering turning because temperatures were near frost last night. How can leaves turn? They die in bright reds and oranges, in yellow flames. They dance out of life, falling like crumpled browning jewels as the cold encroaches.
6 Oct 2011
It wasn't a very long journey, but it took a long time. The train lurched to the rhythm of its metal wheels, steadily, then screeching when braking into a station.
Her mint green and opaque grey cart's wheel got caught in the space between the car and the platform and there was a moment of panic as she struggled to free it. But it came loose just before the doors closed.
The shaved bald man sat facing her, black pants, grey jacket, staring, and she could see his dark pupils, black, impenetrable. The round younger man in the beige corduroy jacket with the brown mustache stared and yet she didn't feel seen. Neither had risen to help loosen her cart. Nor had the Chinese woman, who bleakly stared with disinterest, a glacial disinterest.
She held onto the green cart stuffed with a pimento of bananas, bread, tofu, vegetables, pastrami, butter and a large bag of dry dog food. She wedged her foot into it so it wouldn't slide down the car as the train accelerated.
She was exhausted, having shopped late in the evening after a long day. She closed her eyes against the three people who were staring dully at her. She closed her eyes, listening to the beating whir of the metal wheels striking the electrical charge, the screech of brakes as it reached stations and slowed and stopped and opened doors and whistled and closed doors and then the acceleration through the underground tunnels of the city.
7 Oct 2011
The way the cotton undershirt, nearly ice blue it was so white, where the seam is serged, how it creeps around the shoulder in a thin crescent moon, that lit up as he walked towards her in the dark. Frame by frame, slide the film so it blurs its motion with cross currents. Black grass waving under her sandaled feet. The air crisp yet carrying bruised plum muscles of warmth. A midnight roar of voices from a nearby party falling into the shadows of dark trees, rebounding, then rising in moth encircled streetlights. She smiled enigmatically, and slowly shifted sideways, then away.
8 Oct 2011
On the ceiling, lying against the baubbled white plaster, she noticed a spot of light. It was blueish white. Delicate shadows on the surface of the ceiling which had taken on the qualities of snow also had a blueish tinge. She imagined painting the white ceiling, filling it with the blues and the yellows, purples and dusty greys that revealed themselves before her eyes. White is never white, she thought.
The white is an afterthought, the highlight that casts its presence over the whole.
Our white thoughts are likely daubed attempts to paint our lives in pristine colours too.
As evening moved into the ceiling planes of taupe and grey spread, the distinct colours of earlier falling into the shadows, deepening them.
Posted by Brenda Clews at 10:50 AM