Monday, November 9, 2015

Knots and Stitches

Feeding my bagel addiction this morning has resulted in several seeds wedged into this keyboard, although so far it's only affecting the ancillary keys: direction arrows, alt, etc. Yesterday, I left this device at home to prevent just this kind of food sloppiness. As smart as that might have been for the keys, it meant that any little story threads would need to be tied tightly and kept in memory until I returned home.

Then...freeway closures, traffic, and an unexpected dinner break. By the time I returned home, I was doing well to keep my eyes open while taking care of the dogs and watching the single show that James wanted to watch while doing a delayed batch of laundry. It had been a gorgeous day, cool and bright, and it had lured us to remain out and keep wandering around the Texas Renaissance Festival even after we were both too tired to do more than glance at the sights and avoid other festival goers.

Which means that this morning, I'm supposed to be untangling any story threads and working them into the pieces they seemed to be yesterday. What I seem to have is a series of knots: we forget how to dance with trees, posing keeps the strangeness intentional, he knows he can't move while people wander by, we all try out the throne, careless of it's signage that contributes to a tangle that neither helps my frozen NaNo brain nor seems to do more than mark the ends of their threads.

Is there a time limit on holding an idea in your head, beyond which, tug as you will, the rest of the story won't be drawn?

I tend to write according to the seasons: stories that occur to me in the spring are stale by the summer, those begun in the fall won't speak as clearly after the holidays. These little snarls of story seem to have been conceived in an aseasonal period. Halloween was rained out and Christmas seems to have been suppressed by the weather and my own delay in packing up the Halloween decorations. Some seasonal cheer is sparked by the trees and Santas in the mall--it's been a long time since I visited Santa and I had to grin when the not-yet-visited Deerbrook Santa waved and called out a greeting. Silly, but another in-between moment. Brief Christmas followed by summer heat in the parking lot.

Perhaps that's where these stories are lurking, behind the season, under the couch, on the benches just off the path, to the side of the crowds and drifting down the green ditches. Water around here seldom seems blue or clear, it carries as much sediment as it can and hangs still in the chill or in the heat.

I think the throne and the dancing trees, the odd weather and the green water are all part of the same story. And the boy sitting on the bench? Perhaps he's watching, waiting for the story that he's endlessly reading, waiting for the people around him to find their places on the page and flow through the river of words. He's danced with the winds and seen the trees fall, twisted too harshly in the dance. Can he keep this stillness, wait as he's been commanded to do?

Perhaps it's still an in-between time. As the clouds gather and the weather promises to be unsettled throughout the week, cold fronts are forcing themselves to the coast, bringing our wet, green winter closer, I have a few days of sun and shadow to tug at the knots and see whether or not they pull loose.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Crows & Dogs

It's a week into National Novel Writing Month and I've worked up a generous deficit of words, picking at different story threads until the entire structure has unraveled at my feet. I've had at least two opportunities to describe the project I'm working on and, both times, I demured rather than launch into details.

After the second time it happened, I started to consider whether the challenge was the plot--woman's dog is stolen by fairies and transformed into a bee; woman dithers and then starts searching for dog, encounters Cupid, is convinced to accept his help that ends up coming with a cost; woman finds dog and has to decide whose version of the tale she's in is most just and what she has to do to rescue the dog and save Faerie from an abrupt change in state--or whether the challenge was that this story just isn't something that I ever really want to share.

There are plenty of stories that I intend to send out into the world and some that I have already have (that are still looking for a home), but maybe this isn't one of them.

For me, that's a challenge. Is it justifiable effort if it's just a story I want to tell myself? WHY would I want to tell myself a story?

My provisional answer is that there are stories that I want to tell that are lurking around this main story and that, for some reason, working on that plot and that story allows me to tell other stories that I'd rather tell but wouldn't have encountered if I didn't make an effort on the larger one. I shift that unwieldy narrative and allow the story scavengers in my head to pick through the shiny and yummy things around it and other stories are dragged from the muck.

Will I ever finish the main story? Possibly not. It's not really an appropriate story for NaNo, anyway. There's an existing draft of the required 50,000 words; however, I think that reworking that, adding new words, and shifting them around into new chapters will keep the rest of the year full of drafts that I actually want to complete. So, I can't describe my draft, but I can say that it's serving it's purpose.