NaNoWriMo Best of the Daily (9)

Participant-2014-Square-Button     Terra opened her eyes instinctively, but saw only the byzantium pool still holding her body lithe and graceful.  She closed them again and remembered the lighted strings that had formed chords as their ends became absorbed into her body.  But they were not here now, at least she did not see them – with her eyes.  She focused on her thoughts and feelings, her history and experience.


Tune in for quick reads of the best (or least despicable) selections from the previous day’s word count, by virtue of my daily writing regimen for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

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NaNoWriMo Best of the Daily (8)

. . . they advanced on the raging crowds as they surrounded them, protecting the allies as they allowed the enemy to flank their defenses.  When the first line of attack was within sight, they used optical links to form a single connection with each, used this as leverage to quickly form a deeper bond, and sought the next line to repeat the tactic.  The rebellious Spindellite dwellers had long since let their knowledge of the kindred connection fade; Participant-2014-Square-Buttonthey had dismissed it into a category they could explain away as superstition.  They did not know how to defend themselves, nor did they understand there was even a need for protection from the eyes of the Lorgose, and each new wave continued the attacked.  When linked with the largest number each could manage, the Lorgose used the volumes they had snared to magnify the bond’s effects.  I cannot describe the scene in great detail, except to say that entire nations, clans, and squads (as their chosen hierarchies had defined) were hit by the consuming voltage at once, and fell to the ground as if a switch had been turned.


Tune in for quick reads of the best (or least despicable) selections from the previous day’s word count, by virtue of my daily writing regimen for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

A History in Woods

Griffy Woods - squirrel - P1100479
In 1928, when Nila was born, the woods had been there, surrounded by more forrest on all three sides. A dirt road drew it’s contour on the east, and a creek ran it’s southern side. When hayfields and corn started dividing the countryside, they’d stopped at the creek, and at the sudden rise in elevation on the north and west sides, and the woods had remained a remnant of what used to be. These and the paved country road where the dirt road had been, clearly defined the boundaries to the property when Nila and Jim eventually purchased it.

Nila and Jim married when she was twenty in the summer of 1948. They acquired the woods twenty years later in hopes they might one day build a house there, but the little town of Menden had grown up around the first and only house they would ever live in for their 62 years together. The woods had instead became something of a family member, almost mystical and later, perhaps a bit haunted.

Mushrooms grew in some places (if you knew where to look). A nice morel flanked dinner was your reward, and folks in those parts had a hankering for that.  In warmer months, the creek bed, it’s silky-soft mud lacing through your toes as it cradled your feet, was host to children and adults alike. The family spent time in the summers trimming and mowing the meadow that served as a huge welcome mat with the creek off to your left, the hill to your right, and a peaceful upsweeping trail on back behind.

The meadow had seen many tents, many campfires, and heard many ghost stories. Many a child had woke screaming in their beds, their mothers calling Nila exasperated and angry, after Nila had scared them the night before at a campfire. The creek wasn’t any good for fishing, but that didn’t stop some of the children from tying strings to the end of sticks and dropping pieces of kneaded bread balls into the water. They’d giggle and scream as baby smallies would nibble at the bait, then gulp it down and give their little makeshift rods a tug as they swam away.

Nights in the woods were unpredictable. If there wasn’t a group camping, if it had been still and untouched for a time, one of the family teens might park a car just outside the meadow. Still under the canopy of trees and out of sight to passersby, some tried to lay blankets out for their attempts at passion. The more experienced simply cracked the windows and used the back seat, too many creepy crawlies on the damp ground. This went on until Nila’s brother and his wife bought a spread of land next to the woods and built a home there. Nila threatened several grandkids in the late 80’s when reports of their scandalous activities made it to her ears.

In the winter, the hill north of the meadow was perfect for sleds. The deer that frequented the woods would keep a low profile when sounds of children whooping and laughing would begin wafting through the trees, magnified by the silence the snow cover promulgated by filtering out other sound.

In time, Nila decided to leave the woods wild, and thought of it as a nature preserve. The hill and trails became overgrown, and even the meadow became more and more neglected as the pair grew older and the younger members of the family moved away or had other priorities. A chain link fence, complete with “Private Property” and “No poaching” signs made the boundaries clear at that point. And if family wanted to go for a walk or sit by the creek, they had to retrieve the key to the padlocked gate from the hiding place in Nila and Jim’s pool house.

Jim died in 1992, and Nila held on to the woods. When she passed away ten years later it was January. The leafless trees draped over patches of snow and mud, and in its wintery silence, the creek’s trickling of tears and the black and white imagery adjoining it, the woods displayed its profound sorrow and loss.


This is semi-biographical and was inspired by the “Landscape and Time” exercise in Brian Kitely’s book The 3 A.M. Epiphany. If I had written in response to this exercise for a class I would have failed, because as usual – I cheated. Alas, I am not writing for a grade. This piece still bugs me for some minor touch-ups in language and direction. I wanted to detail what kinds of trees grow there but, much like a person’s shirt color, I couldn’t recall all of that.  Funny.  I would appreciate any ideas you have for what works, what doesn’t, etc. Also, feel free to share where you would have written about and why.

[Photo above:By User:Vmenkov (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons]

Eight Seconds

The incessant engine humming, no – more of a roaring moan, will probably echo in my head for hours after I land.  That guy looks as nervous as I feel.  “We can do this, Joe!”  Yeah, that smile looks totally forced, but thumbs up buddy.

I can’t imagine this would be very comfortable without these packs on our backs.  Makes a good spot for resting my head while we wait to reach altitude over the jump zone.  Oh, wow.  Stomach isn’t having that right now.  Better sit up and think happy thoughts.  This helmet feels tighter all of a sudden.  Let’s do an equipment check again to get my mind right.  Yep … check, check.  This harness itches right here.  Heck, I’d wear a suit of armor if they guaranteed me nothing bad would happen.

Oh, Lord.  They’re moving around up there.  Okay.  Okay.  It’s happening.  Stand up.  Shuffle forward.  Here we go.  Please, God, I know the doc said six to eight months.  But I really think I want all of it I can get.  Let me make this jump okay, please?

“What? … Oh, yes.  Yes, have it right here.  Okay.  Yes, I count the seconds and then pull this.  Right.  This one for back up.  Got it.  Yep.  … Where? … Oh God … yep … okay.”

That wind is not at strong as it was last time.  I could practically fall out here.  My finger tips are probably going to be bruised as tight as I’m gripping this door.  Not looking down yet.  Not looking down.  I wish he’d just push me out.  Oh man, he’s saying it.  Here I go.

“YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”  Be a starfish and count you dumbass!  Shit.  I’m falling.  This is great!  I’m probably at ten seconds.  Okay.  11-one thousand … 12-one thousand … 13-one thousand … 14-one thousand … I can’t wait to tell everyone I’ve been doing this.  17-one thousand … 18-one thousand … 19-one thousand … I wonder how many people are out of the plane so far.   24-one thousand … 25-one thousand … feels so freeing, not like the first few jumps.  28-one thousand … 29-one thousand … 30-one thousand … all I could think about was whether my chute would open, how tight the harness felt, and how much my eyes were watering (even with the goggles on).  All that in just three seconds.

Wow … 35-one thousand …36-one thousand … it’s like google earth in person.  Zooming in people!  Zooming in!  40-one thousand … 41-one thousand … screw cancer … 42-one thousand … 43-one thousand … I’ll buy Katherine a huge diamond ring before I tell her so she doesn’t argue about saving the money for the medical bills … 46-one thousand … 47-one thousand … I’ll write that book I’ve been messing around about for all these years, and … 50-one thousand … I’ll tell my brother I’m sorry … 52-one thousand … and as it turns out she’ll be available again in 6 – 8 months, dude … 54-one thousand … ouch, that chuckle hurt with all this air flow slapping into me under this pack.  57-one thousand … almost … 58-one thousand … reaching …59-one thousand … here goes, brace for whiplash.

No.  What is this?  Some kind of test?  No, no, no!  Steps!  Follow the steps!  There’s time.  There’s time.  Look – you’re still above 1000.  Do the steps.  What the … I don’t think it’s supposed to look like that.  The line is too messed up.  Stop panicking; I can’t believe this is happening.  Not fixable … right … okay.  Next.

Reach to the right – there it is.  Got it.  Now find the left – got it.  Arching back, pulling … damn this thing is hard … pull that thing.  Okay there it went.  Main chute cut.  There it goes.  Damn.  Pull left!  Pull!  C’mon dammit.  This is NOT happening!  God please!  Is anyone coming to help me.  Do they see me?  Wait – where is everyone?  Flatten … stretch … fall slower.  What was I thinking?  What was this supposed to do for me when I had this idea?  Confidence.  I was supposed to get some strength to face the cancer.

SkydiveroverEslovSweden

By Degrer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


I’m gonna’ die.  No one can help me.  The reserve won’t open.  I’m almost at 1000 feet.  What was it they said then?  About 7 or 8 seconds.  Far cry from 6 – 8 months.  Maybe I should have told Katherine.  Will Doc Peters tell her now?  Oh no – will the insurance cover this?  Glad we have the supplemental and the savings.  She can always sell the other house too.   God, thanks for giving me Katherine before this.

Dave will figure it out.  Maybe he’ll read my papers and get the apology he’s been needing.  Katherine’s strong, she and the kids will be okay.  Oh, please Lord, don’t let this hurt.   Let it be quick when I hit.  Maybe even finish me before I hit?  Please don’t let it hurt.

Maybe that’s the best thing.  No weeks or months wasting away in front of everyone.  No long term pain deadened by the drugs.  Guess I’ll never know what smoking pot feels like now.  Focus – 1000 feet.  Close your eyes.

The smell of grandma’s house.  Mom’s lasagna.  The look Jesse gave me, smiling eyes and tongue hanging out with joy, whenever I’d play ball with her.  The waves crashing in rhythm on the beach.  Sun shining.  Our first kiss.  She knows me.  Katherine holding Jamal.  Lunch together in the tree-house, spying on Ayesha and Tim next door until they spotted us.  All of us giggling so hard it made tree-house shake.  Katherine’s face when I pulled up on Tom’s motorcycle.  Jamal scraping his knee the first time, I was his hero.  I love you guys.  That time whe


 

I needed to post content hurriedly this morning and didn’t have time to edit this.  I will touch up any grammar/spelling issues in the coming days.  This started as a response to a writing exercise called “Epiphany” in Brian Kiteley’s The 3 A.M. Epiphany.  I cheated a little and then went rogue.  I also got the idea for the ending from John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars where the main character talks about how her favorite book ends.  I recommend both books.

Birthdays

I don’t know why I dislike the idea of people celebrating my birthday.  Maybe I didn’t get the memo from my family that the big giant deal made on birthdays ends at 18 and it crushed me.  Maybe I actually like it a little, but a deep sense of guilt permeates me for liking that kind of attention?  Lord knows I like to be listened to and watched as if on stage sometimes.  What I mean is, I want people to view me as knowledgeable and charming, dependable and as someone to look up to.  But I’m a wall flower by nature (and occasionally by hormones).  So I want people to only pay attention to me when I’m seeking it, when I’m ready for it, when I know my lines.  Otherwise, I like to be able to melt into the cracks of everyday casual and relax as I disappear into usual.

So when people make a big deal about my birthday, Continue reading

cancer

You know how, on those National Geographic nature specials, the speedy stalking animal takes down one of the herd? And the narrator explains how the prey is one of the slower, sicker, or younger members of the group?  They claim that the hunter or pack pursues the prey in a way that eventually separates out one or more for their dinner.  But it doesn’t always line up, this explanation.  Sometimes the victim seems perfectly fine, not noticeably sluggish or weak – just unlucky.  That’s how I feel about cancer.

I recently heard somewhere that more and more women who have lived healthy, tobacco free lives, are getting lung cancer. Continue reading

Service

I roll out of colors,
the wind and the hush –
the setting familiar
so green and so lush.
The sunlight bears witness
to the grain in the wood.
I would come to you, Darling,
if only I could.

I would come to you,
tenderly placing my hand
in the small of your back –
that familiar, warm land.
And in whispers I’d write
one last love letter, Dear.
Do not linger in sadness,
that I am not here.

Give your tears, my Sweetheart,
as the wind blows consent
and the rifles all fire;
Count your grief fully spent.
Find a place in your memories
when joy was in flow;
pack your bag with those pictures
and pick up and go.

20120803 - Lowell's funeral - 06 - removing th...

Vernon Montel

He had so many visitors passes to retirement and assisted living homes he had to keep them organized in several index card boxes. He knew this obsession of his was strange and morbid, but something compelled him to go, each weekend or afternoon after he clocked out of his mundane job.  It had started as a tiny idea. After all, maybe this would form the body of work that would become THE BOOK that he always wanted to write before dying. The idea was a survey. He had always assumed that there was a large majority out there that wanted to write a book but never did before dying. But was this truth?

And then the troubling dilemma of how to find out. If he asked people in health, how would he keep track if they did or didn’t before they kicked the bucket? If he asked them in sickness, the problem still remained unless they died the next day. So he took to traveling.  He had already visited the places most useful to his purpose in his own county. One could easily spot him there, for while most people’s faces were troubled and streaked with tears or shadowed by sadness … His was the look of a tigress stalking her prey, hungry, mouth watering, eyes and nose already locked-on the wounded stragglers who graced every common area and room.

He didn’t find his Ninny Threadgoode and he was certainly no Evelyn Couch*.  His mission began as a curiosity, a nose-poking to see what was there.  He was kind and giving at first, because he was testing the waters.  But once he found his timing, his pace was set.  He took as much as he could get, and didn’t leave much in his wake.  And while most of his visits found his subjects dupable, one would-be target was not fooled by his facade of interest.

Vernon Montel was a veteran, a former construction contractor and mason.  He was not about to let this drab little putz walk away from his domain with nothing but meaningless numbers that would get lost in his nightstand drawer.

London 026 Parliament Visitor pass March 25 2013

London 026 Parliament Visitor pass March 25 2013 (Photo credit: David Holt London)