Saturday, November 23, 2013

Coud Atlas

I know I must have written some post on this topic before, but it could also just be something I've talked to friends about...  I couldn't find it, either way.  maybe I will later.

The first time I saw the preview for Cloud Atlas I got worried.  It looked weird and time travely and I thought it was a bit like my Nano story that I thought I could maybe do last year.  which I have not done.  I don't have anything done on it further than one post with a few lines in it, which you can see here.

I quit Nano this year.  And it's been great.  I pulled the garden up too roughly and now I have only small seedlings of ideas left that need some time to grow.

And it allowed me yesterday to sit down on the floor in the living room, work on sewing some cloth diapers, and finally watch Cloud Atlas.

When I first looked it up, following that first preview I read the Wiki description of what turned out (of coruse) to actually be a book.  Six stories, each protagonist being observed by the protagonist in the next story to follow.  I loved the idea.  I had to read it.

It actually ended up sitting on a shelf for a long time before I was ready to read it.  I was finishing it about halfway through the movie's theater run and it was getting badish reviews.  And people I knew hadn't understood it. One friend mentioned that each story you get to see for a minute or four, and then it jumps to the next.  I couldn't understand that, how very confusing!  why not follow the path of the original story?

I don't know, it's at 66% on the Rotten Tomatoes.  is that good or bad?  the reviews on the page seem to be in favor...

So when I watched it last night, of course I went into it with the knowledge I had from having read the book.  I could identify the characters and their basic story quickly and easily as it jumped from one to another, though I could completely understand why someone else would not.  It took me a little while to realize that this pattern of storytelling is the only way to do it.  You cannot spend three hours telling one story after the other, causing the audience to go through the circle of intro, middle, climax, conclusion six times and expect them to pay attention.

But you have to go into it willing and able to keep track of six storylines at once.

I loved the movie.  I got all weepy at the end.  I never stopped being right there in it.  I loved the book, but the movie satisfied that visual craving I have...probably from watching so many movies.  It drew connections I had not seen, and makes me want to read it all over again.  And watch the movie three more times.

The movie is a great companion to the book.  The same way I feel about Fight Club and Pride and Prejudice.

And hell.  Tom Hanks.  Susan Sarandon and Halle Berry.  Fucking Hugo Weaving.

Edit 11/24 -

And I forgot this part.  When phrases, or excerpts or quotes strike me when I'm reading a book I write them down in my Books Read Notebook.  I also enter them on, and you can see them pop up at random over in the right toolbar.  My quote from Cloud Atlas was perfectly envisioned in the movie.  I was half hoping I'd see it, but also not expecting it too strongly.  not everyone can be moved by the one thing I was moved by.

But it was there, and it was beautiful.

"Dreamt I stood in a china shop so crowded from floor to far-off ceiling with shelves of porcelain antiques, etc. that moving a muscle would cause several to fall and smash to bits. Exactly what happened but instead of a crashing noise, an august chord rang out, half cello, half celeste, D major (?), held for four beats. My wrist knocked a Ming vase affair off its pedestal-E flat. Whole string section, glorious, transcendent, angels wept. Deliberately now, smashed a figurine of an ox for the next note, then a milkmaid, then Saturday's Child-orgy of shrapnel filled the air, divine harmonies my head.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Quit

I didn't write any words yesterday.  I have written 223 today.

Tomorrow my aunt is coming.  the day after that is invoice day.  I need to finish the laundry.  This morning?  The state of the kitchen?  Yeah, that really was my fault.

Am I making excuses?  Probably.

Thing is, this story is something that I've been confused about for a while.  I didn't know how the pieces fit together, I didn't know the characters or the plot.

So as of today, the 19th, I have 28,842 more words on the topic than I did in October.  I have an idea about the plot, I have fallen in love with some of the characters, I have bits and pieces to build from when I figure the rest of it out.  I think I have taken the point of Nano and use it to my advantage.  To just fucking get your words down already.

Well, at this point in its development, there are only just under 29,000 words to be had.

And I'm alright with that.

Of course, if I happen to have some flash of insight?  Yeah, I'll come back.  I can't deny the fact that I'd love to have another win.  But I'd also like to have some sanity.  And I'd like to finish this afghan for our bed sometime before the end of winter.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eleven Twelve Thirteen

I was 300 words short yesterday, and since I was no longer out ahead of the numbers due to my two 700 word days, that left me behind for the day.  Which means today I have to catch up. 

Yesterday was a weird-hard day all around.  I had a panic attack over my work and even though I talked it through and we came to a compromise of work that will not make me crazy and may be acceptable to the client, I still didn't want to go back to it at all last night.  We watched two episodes of Walking Dead and I went to bed at 8:30 and left the husband to put Gator to bed.

This morning I was ready and willing to work earlier than normal, and pounded out quite a lot.  I will have to wake the husband up soon so I can get back to work, but there is no panic and I'm hoping I can get these files in that I've had for just about five days now.

I'm just shy of a thousand words for today.  That leaves me another 900 to go... which is frustrating.  I thought the piece I planned out today would amount to more words.  What else can I write?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Eleven Ten

Today I updated my Nano profile with an excerpt.  I like this piece.  it references the Coffee Companion piece that will be slid into the story once Nano is over and I can use words I've written before without so-called punishment.

Also, Kath.

I wake up from a strange dream trying to capture the essence of it. It hadn’t been frightening or even plain old hauntingly spooky. It had been so mundane. What had it been about? I roll out of my bunk and leave the room of sleeping boys as quietly as I can. When I step outside the border guards are whistling messages to one another. I pause to listen. All clear, all around. Something else non-regulation that I haven’t quite picked up yet.
There is a place one of the other boys showed me, Dordin. It’s a secure location, though it gives a good view of the outside world without having to climb up the wall barriers or any of the border buildings and get shooed away by the guards. It’s not a long walk from the bunk house. There is no one else in the streets and I don’t have to hurry. I’m hardly watching where my feet are taking me as I think over the dream I’m still waking from. I have feeling that I’d recognized something about it. It had been a familiar person, or place. Had I been dreaming about home again?
There is just a wire fence stretched along the edge of the black crater that extends outward to the north at the edge of town. Something to keep people from falling, the infected can’t climb up the steep incline. It’s no longer a new wound in the land, but very little has taken root in the recent past to transform the dirty hole into anything but an empty place where water pools sometimes during the rainy season. I remember the sound of rain on the roof of my home drifts through my mind, and then something clicks. No, not the sound of rain, the sound of the sprayers in the greenhouse room at Messenger station whatever. That’s the dream. I had been back there…and then what?
I hear a scuffle behind me, and glance back over my shoulder. Another form comes around the corner of this pathway to such a wonderful view, but he pauses when he sees me here against the fence.
“You stay,” I call out in a low voice. “I’ll go.”
“Yeah,” I answer and try to match that voice, hard and a little gravelly, but I come up with nothing.
He comes down the path toward me. It isn’t until he is standing at the fence beside me that I can recognize him. It’s Kath, the boy who had been with Aniste the day she found me. I think I’ve talked to him once since. He is quiet, but that does not mean he is shy. He is always watching and listening.
He reminds me of my father a little bit. Mom has always hassled dad about his vigilance. “You don’t always have to be on duty,” she has said to him over and over. The image of my father that lives in my head is him standing against a wall feet apart, arms crossed, his head swivling back and forth. I know that this memory comes from the night the parents of the village had gotten together at my small schoolhouse for the play we children had written. And still my father had seemed to be on guard, ready for any attack.
“Din’ realize you knew this hole,” he says. He puts his fingers in the wire and leans forward, looking left and right across the expanse of the crater as if he is expecting to find something new.
“Dordin showed me.”
“Can’t leave the bunks at night.” He says without turning to look at me. The scarred side of his face is away from me, likely so he can see me from his clear eye. But I don’t get the sense he is hiding it from me. When I speak next he tips his head toward and I catch a glimpse of the black shadow of his ragged nostril.
“I’m sorry, I just needed some fresh air.”
“Fresh air?” he asks, “This stink?”
I chuckle and look out toward the crater again. “I had a dream. I had to figure out what it means.”
“Was a dream. Meant nuthin’.”
“That depends on who you’re talking to,” I tell him. I hook my fingers into the fence too, but I lean backwards, stretching away from the crater and just hanging on. “For me and people in my family, dreams mean something. I had a dream about this place before—,”
He turns to look at me when I trail off, staring off past the fence, past the crater, to my memories, “’Afore what?”
“That coffee pot was alive,” I say to him.
The sneer on his face faces to a look of bewilderment as I chuckle. I’m not actually aware of him, the dream is replaying itself in my head. Something has unlocked the door to this specific dream and I shut down in order to relive it.
“Spencer?” Kath snaps the name causing me to jump, come out of it and stare at him in surprise. He does not look amused.
“You sound like my father when you snap like that,” I tell him.
“You trail off inna daydreams wif ‘im too?” he grates.
This makes me laugh even more, though I keep it silent. Nighttime is silent time. I’ve learned that well already. “That I do.”
“What’s your dad like?” he asks me after a moment.
“Observant,” I answer. “A little bit distant. He doesn’t really know how to deal with me, how to feel about me.” I pause a moment and then suddenly I spew the short version of my family history, which is heavier than you’d think it was. “He met my mother when they worked together. She was, what she callS, a specialized archeologist. He was in charge of security. His failure to protect her resulted in… well, me.”
“Though. I probably shouldn’t be complaining about my parent to someone who lost theirs in a terrible epidemic.”
“Din’ have none,” Kath shakes his head. “I was five when the sick hit, but I ‘us in an orphanage already.”
He nods his head once, “I’m sure they’s dead now, but I ain’t ever known 'em.”
“How long have you been with Aniste?”
“Three years,” he answers, the words clipped.
“Three?” I am surprised by this. “Where were you during the hot years?”
His face stiffens and he fixes his eyes once more on the crater beyond town. “You should get back inside,” he says to me finally.
“Okay,” I agree to it easily. He has given me more than I expected from him tonight, and I will not push against this barrier he has thrown up at me. “Goodnight Kath,” I say and turn away from the fence and the crater, heading back toward the bunk. I will lay in the dark cot and think about the strange dream that brought me out here. I’m still feeling bemused over what I think I’ve learned about the events played out for my unconscious mind.
“Spencer,” he calls out and I pause at the end of the alleyway and turn back. He is a black shadow on a black landscape. “What’s your world like?” He has to throw his voice low and carefully so I can hear it from so far away.
“It is full of sound,” I whisper-shout back to him. “Music in the wind and in the trees.”
“Fancy words, pretty boy.” I think that’s what he says.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November Nine

I wrote 745 words yesterday.

What the hell was I even doing?  I finished cleaning the floor in my office.  And then later I started cleaning off all the junk from the floor that had collected on my Big Honkin' Desk.  I went shopping with The Gator later in the night to get her slippers and lunch for today.  I didn't work at all... I don't even think I put more than one repeat of the pattern on my afghan.

What the hell did I do yesterday!?

My parents are coming over today...  I tried to sleep in, knowing I would get worn out if I got up and worked.  But I couldn't keep sleeping so I'm here, in the basement with my coffee, pounding out words for work, but so far no words for Nano...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Invoice Day

Today is the day that I am nearly always in a mad rush to finish files and get them uploaded and complete my invoice and remember to send it to The Money Guy  (who is also, sexily, The Audio Fixin' Guy) before i go to bed.  add to that my special circumstance of this morning turning in ten files that needed to have their rates "confirmed"... which doesn't generally happen same day...

I wrote extra yesterday to make up for probably not really having time to write today.  I've done just about a thousand words.  I'm in a good place.  i'm still ahead for the day... but not by as much.

The incline of the graph was daunting today.  when i saw how little my towers are, and how tall they must become.  I've been writing snippets.  nothing real.  no confict.  just little conversations.  little stories that may or may not fit into the final.

But then tonight i'm making stir-fry and my mind is turning and turning through the stories i have written from before... the Apocalypse stories.  And i'm twisting and turning and crocheting my current thread into something and i suddenly realize hey, i just picked up this other color.  i've given myself a wide opening in which to draw the apocalypse stories through into Spencer's and make them make sense.  Give Spencer his task.

He keeps talking about the thing that has taken him, and he doesn't know what it is.  Qutie frankly, i don't know what it is either.

this is a problem.

But we're solving it together.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Guy Fawkes Day

I'm not British, but I've seen V for Vendetta far too many times to think of the fifth of November as anything else.  And not even the real thing, but the fabulous Hugo Weaving version of the day.

This is really the least prepared I've ever been for a Nano month.  I usually keep a page or two in one of my journals with ideas and stuff, and it's being filled throughout September and October in preparation. 

Now that I'm not sitting at a desk all day, using the journal to keep notes isn't really beneficial, so all of my to-do, to-remembers have gone on this wipe off board.

For November, it's had a makeover.   A Nano makeover.

The wipe off quality is nice.  Once I have inputted into the story something I've thought of, I can wipe it off.  Long-term stuff on the construction paper and the post-it notes, and I have an ever-evolving storyboard.  Which is something I've never had before and I'm finding is quite useful.

Also, magnetic.  I went through my magnetic poetry words and pulled out the ones that seemed to connect with my ideas for the story.  I've created two phrases with them, "Curl my monsters open" and slightly less awesome, "Spirits against evil."

I stand in the kitchen in front of my marker board for at least an hour, combined, during the day.  And yesterday when I was doing the dishes I came up with a huge, useful idea, and now I don't feel quite so lost within the story as I did before.

I've been writing the story in fragments, just as they come to me, bits and pieces.  I may not keep them in exactly the order I've written them--in fact, I can't.  I'll have ruined the big reveal within the first couple pages.  But I do want to keep it non-chronological.  Put Spencer's story together like a puzzle where you don't know what the picture on the box was from the beginning.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Tres November

I don't know what possessed me to start this so spur of the moment.  I am also in the middle of a queen sized afghan for our bed (I never fathomed how much work a queen size blanket is before) and plus I've had a frenzy of what I've been calling Spring Cleaning.  Boxes that have sat untouched since we moved in May are suddenly empty.  Closets and cabinets full of "I don't know where to put this yet, so we'll just put it right here," are now clean and organized.  I'm putting the basement rec room in some sort of liveable order, prepping for the long winter and knowing we will cope better if we have a larger space to roam.

And then I throw Nano in on top of that.

I might as well catch up quick with a photo of the day collection.  Cuz I mean, what's one more thing!?

oh.  one more thing... it'd be the perfect month to get pregnant again.  somehow I have to work that into my day.

I need to sit down and create a plan.  I think I need to read through all of the apocalypse stories.  I realize that Spencer's story is nothing, whereas Ecila and... well, let's just call it Aniste's story are a bit heavier and have more to say.  I have to figure out what i'm doing, whether i'm simply sticking Spencer into Aniste's world... and how will I do that.  I have begun with a first person narrative.  I don't think I want to do the two women in that way.  So how do I blend it all together?

Maybe I should've been thinking about this in the months leading up to it.

Or maybe I should've realized that my not thinking about it meant that I ACTUALLY SHOULD NOT DO IT.

Tres November.

It's too soon to give up.

It will be too soon to give up until November 30th.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Two

I once admitted my love for Fall Out Boy AA Style.  My name is sara, and I love Fall Out Boy.  I know I have a problem, and accepting that is the first step toward recovery... right?

nope.  I love FOB.  I always will.  Shall we say I was born this way?

I just purchased their entire newest album in MP3s and I listen to them while i'm proofing my work.  Full blast in my ears until I can't really hear the transcription once I turn off the music and go back.

This song, Alone Together...  I today first really listened to the lyrics, after the title caught my attention.  Only last night late I wrote the "alone together" phrase into my story in a piece about Spencer and Kath and the third of the quiet boys in the group.

I don't know where you're going
But do you got room for one more troubled soul?
I don't know where I'm going
But I don't think I'm coming home and I'll say
"I'll check in tomorrow if I don't wake up dead"
This is the road to ruin
And we started at the end

This lyric entirely embodies my story.  For serious.  Every single line down to the road to ruin, even down to the part that we started at the end.  I started my Nano story at the end, and the he/I of Spencer even notes that he wants to start at the end because that is the newest.

I love Fall Out Boy.  This new really funky album will be the soundtrack of Spencer's Story.

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's November.

It's fucking November.  I knew quite well that November was coming.  And I knew also, because my email has been blown up by them, what November means.  I hadn't made a decision one way or the other, but it seemed like a No.  I wasn't thinking about a story, I was thinking "Hey, you need to finish the Verse before you go off and start something new."

yep. that's what I was thinking.  but now I want to jump right into Spencer's story.  what comes after the Verse.  What connects to the Apocalypse stories (WHICH AREN'T EVEN DONE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!!! STOP THIS AT ONCE!)... did you hear something...?

So I signed up for Nano.  I didn't even sign up last year.  But an update to the site now means you can save your stories' synopses and excerpts for all the years you participated!!  I want to go back in there and fill them in.  I don't have my original synopses, but it'll be fun to rewrite them.

Of course I had to goof off yesterday on Halloween instead of working.  on this file which turns out is easier than pie.  but I still got two hours on top of the half hour left that were assigned for today.  hopefully I can get some writing done, and also the amount of work I need to make The Husband not stab me with his knives of "you're not making enough money" fury...