Day 13

It turns out I’m falling behind in my daily targeted word count of 1600 words. Today, only 321 words. But I’m not admitting defeat. See, my novella/novelette is at some kind of a standstill and needs shaping, editing and revising. I’m at 56 pages (15,112 words) with this project and I feel it is very much nearing completion. As happens all the time in my writing, I’ll be engaged with my daily reading and something will hit me in connection to my story. For example, in the middle of reading Zizek’s “Violence,” I was struck by his quote of a statement made by Deleuze (whose philosophical work I greatly admire): “If you’re trapped in the dream of the other, you’re fucked!” That quote impacted me instantly. It forced me to reflect upon an aspect of my story that I had inadvertently left dangling, and that I now know needs to be redressed. So that is what I spent the last hour doing – returning to this part, and shaping it. I came up with only 321 new words, but a few hundred words that are clearly necessary as I draw my novelette to a close.

Not Here (excerpt)

As they swim to shore, the Changer searches for the Not-Here, ahead of them where he ought to be. He is nowhere to be seen. For these few moments, he has forgotten himself. But when they reach land, the Changer will once again be concerned with what he smells like, seeking to return to the smell of his birth. He is not aware that the smell of sweet ginger snaps at birth was the smell projected by his mother and was thus not granted by nature. Nature grants nothing but the playground in which to perceive an array of sights, sounds, tastes and smells. Perhaps ginger snaps were placed on a plate by the hospital bed. Unable to withstand the smell of birth, which for her was the smell of pain, she immediately transferred the pleasant smell of ginger snaps to her newborn son. The more likely story is that he was born smelling like nothing, and his mother simply could not bear this smell of nothing. Therefore, the Changer will always smell like something, even when this something is nothing.
* * *
The Changer is still not certain. Sometimes he picks up a faint scent of his very own, even in the midst of the objects of his world. When he withdrew from this manmade lake, he smelled something like a cross between soggy cookies and a Christmas tree. But the Oral Writer, the Changer, and the Not-Here are not here anymore. Neither are the three geese. They are – each one of them – over there somewhere.

Day 4 and a Slumber Citizen Excerpt

Day 4 = 1,619
Total so far = 6, 478

I’ve added many pages to my novella/novelette in progress, Slumber Citizens. I’ve also written some poetry, handwritten dozens of pages of ideas, etc. This through stacks of papers to grade (still stacked to a degree) therefore grading, teaching, prepping, eating, (among many other essential things), and today feeling miserable as I don’t feel well (but who’s complaining.) No one’s making me do this crazy thing, of writing at least 1600/day. So far, I’ve maintained by goal, although I know it’s only day 4. However, it’s already feeling like routine, and it helped that I already made sure to write something every day, even if 1 line. Writing 5 or more pages a day feels like quite a feat, but I also love hand writing, so that it feels therapeutic. Here is an excerpt from Slumber Citizens that I came up with today:

Slumber Citizen 1 approaches her friend with a locket in her hand. “Take a look at this antique locket – it doesn’t have a chain, and the loop has been broken off, but it’s beautiful, isn’t it?” The locket is golden colored, oval shaped, with an array of vines flowering outward from the center. Behind the vines, a paper background is visible as if something has been placed inside. She clicks the locket open and inlaid on both sides of the locket are two tiny pictures, one of a baby and the other a little girl with crooked pigtails. “I can’t tell if this is the same child, can you?” Citizen 3 peers closely at the two little photos, which have been glued in. As with most babies, you can’t tell whether this is a boy or girl. The baby is neither smiling nor crying, its tongue slightly sticking out. It appears to have rosacea on its cheeks. The little girl on the opposite side doesn’t. Her ivory skin is completely smooth. That doesn’t tell me anything, Citizen 3 thinks to herself, because most babies outgrow these kinds of skin conditions. The little girl’s eyes are wide and she is neither smiling nor laughing, though it looks she’s attempting a grin. “It’s probably the same kid,” she answers, handing the locket back to her friend. Citizen 1 looks again, and it occurs to her that there is no way of telling for sure whether these two people on display in this locket are the same person. Maybe they are related, brother and sister, or sister and sister. She tends toward thinking they are the same person, as most people look completely different than the way they did as a baby. “I was a fat baby,” she says aloud. “You’d never guess looking at me now.” Citizen 3 considers this remark and thinks back to her own baby pictures. “I was just an average baby, like I am now.” They both giggle as Citizen 1 walks back toward the lockets, still holding the locket close to her face and staring at the photos. The tiny heads remind her of Borges’ head. Today she is her core self, even though it’s the weekend. And a shadow of Borges lingers in that inner, ruminative self. The young Borges looked quite different from the old one. For one thing, the young one’s hair was darker and fuller, and the eyes wider and darker. The eyes of the older Borges seem to have shrunk, but with a more steady gaze. Still, the young Borges and the old Borges contained the same core person, and the same body though appearing different at different times. They both carried all in one. Bumpy red cheeks on baby girl, smooth ivory skin on big girl. I was a fat baby. Look at me now. If these two people can be the same person, so can I. Borges knew. He knew. He was a slumber citizen.

Day 1 of the 50K Challenge!

Lend me 1 minute, and I can expand it into infinity. How many communing, intersecting thoughts can be laid on the page with any sort of sense or meaning in that 1 passing minute? And then multiply that times 60 to equal an hour of letters, words, symbols = language porn. I don’t want to waste 1 minute. March is the month of obsession with every passing minute, mourning each one I spend in slumber or banal activities – though even in slumber, thoughts don’t sleep…

*Orin and I both work full-time (and then some), though I think he has me beat with obligations (maybe!) Today will be a challenge as I have to teach 2 classes, grade 3 class sections of papers coming in this week, and then watch out for a possible evaluation by one of my deans! Okay, I’ll stop complaining and post how many words we both get written by the end of the day (whenever that is)!