Monday, August 24, 2009

On Work and Writing

Time drags slowly. Sitting in this office chair, listening to Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, MGMT, the Shins. Waiting for an email from CIS. Checking facebook for the hundredth time.

My calendar is quite organized, my emails all in their respective folders. My to-do lists are pinned up on these fabric boards, my pens all face the same direction. And still the clock is so slow.

This dreariness of waiting, the slow snooziness of time this afternoon reminds me of times in DH 150, waiting for Chem 1100 to get out. Those were long afternoons, inspiring many yawns, sighs, and random scrawlings of prose across my 'notes.'

My hands are going numb as the air conditioning floods our floor. It's a perfect, sunny, seventy-three degrees outside, but without a window, with only fluorescent lights casting their glow, I somehow feel like it's winter. I need a hat and a pea coat and some really cute boots.

Taking advantage of these empty hours, the words start to flow. Revisions, deletions, additions. Sometimes, I think I'm not cut out to write novels; it is such a challenge to keep the idea going for that long. Short stories work out easier. I have too many characters in my head, and when I start a new novel, I desperately try to shove them all together, with short lived results most of the time. So, for now, I'm sticking to shorter projects.

Setting is hard; if I don't plan out what the location of my characters is exactly in my head, I tend to get disoriented so easily. Most of the time, therefore, I steal a location from my life. Like my grandparents' old farm house: this is where Todd and Sarah run about now...

He stood, holding his arm, looking at her.

She took one step forward, and motioned with her arm. “Come on.”
At her gesture, he hesitantly walked after her. She pulled the door open another foot, allowing the boy to pass through into the snow ahead of her. She closed the door fully, without a slam.

The young man gasped as the winter wind attacked him. Hugging his arms around his chest, he watched her desperately. She set a quick pace back toward the house, glancing back just
enough to see him following behind in her peripheral vision.
Reaching the back porch, she stomped against the wooden planks, dislodging snow from her boots. Opening the outer screen door, the hinges squeaked painfully. She winced as the high pitched squeal radiated in her ears. When she glanced backwards at the youth, though, he seemed not to have noticed.

He followed her into the mud room, and stood dripping on the rug just inside the door. His thin clothing was soaking, sticking to his body; his hair sent droplets of melting snow down his face.
“Wait here,” she said, after she had relieved herself of her boots and coat. Abandoning the bleeding and shivering young man, she took to the stairs, ascending into rooms largely untouched.

Reaching the second floor, she caught her breath for a moment, leaning on one arm braced against the wall. Two plush orange chairs stared at her from across the room, book-stuffed shelves lining the walls behind. She turned to her left, grasping the cool metal of a doorknob, and pushed open the bedroom door.Topher’s room was perfectly tidy, contrary to how it had been while he was alive. She crossed to the dresser, attempting to blind herself to anything in the room beside her goal. Tugging open multiple drawers, she pulled out a pair of long underwear, jeans, a t-shirt, a plaid shirt with buttons down the front, thick socks. Gathering the clothes into a bundle against her chest, she closed the drawers carefully, perfectly, and left the room just the same as it had been before her intruding.

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