Archive for the ‘fiction’ Category

Write Like The Wind

November 5, 2012

Heads up everyone,  it’s Nanowrimo!  That’s short for National Novel Writing Month, for those of us who haven’t already taken the 50,000 word challenge. And for those of us who have, let’s everyone have another go this year.

The call for professional writers to commit to finishing a draft of their novel in thirty days started over ten years ago with a mere 140 people.  In 2011 over a quarter of a million people participated in the event.  But not everyone ends up a winner.

In order to win you must log into the NaNo website and make yourself a username and password.  Use NaNo’s super fun word counter to keep a running tally of your progress throughout the month. That’s 1,666 words every day to you, Mr.

Getting stuck?  Try out the community forums and talk with other members who are well on their way.  Ask them anything from character tips to plotting techniques or just get some extra support if you are falling behind.

Even NaNo knows that a draft is only the beginning.  Don’t just send that sucker out with a agent query until at least the start of 2013.  And if you spend December congratulating yourself for finishing a draft, you may have to wait just a little bit longer.


What is Real

August 1, 2012

Pam Houston, Lidia YuknavitchMarion Winik.  These writers all new to me.  But since I came back from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir writing workshop, I can not help but want to know them intimately.

All three of these books are punch you in the gut good.  Like someone making you tea and sitting you down to tell you a big truth.  And when you understand that something you knew to be true actually is you drink the whole cup of tea in one gulp and then ask for another.  And then another.

In these five paragraphs from Contents May Have Shifted, Pam Houston tells a story of woman who was led to her new husband by the ghost of the man’s son from a first marriage.  The two later have a son together who also can communicate with the dead.  When a widowed man comes to visit, the woman asks her son to check in on the man’s wife from the other side.

Because I remember that Pam Houston’s says her books are 82% true, I think of this book as a memoir.  I imagine that this episode, with the couple and the bereft husband, might very well be true.  Even though the book is categorized as FIC on the New York Public Library tag.

It’s no accident that the protagonist is named Pam, just like the author.  I’m pretty sure both Pams are telling us something about the difference between fact and fiction.  Or about how important it is to tell your story especially if there are parts that others might find beyond belief.

Line and the Light

July 30, 2012

It is the summer of 1988 and Joanne and Gerard Darkly’s son is doing what most kids do before they apply for college.  Fuck around.  Only Jake’s fucking around is gets worse as his parents become trapped in their own small lives and struggles.

So where things on the outside appear to be functional, they are actually reaching a boiling point. The accident is when things are forced to change.  The night that Phil and Jake have snuck out to cruise around for girls and whatever else they find to do outside their homes late at night.

The story is about when things seem ok and they are not but also when things that are not ok are actually ok compared when real trauma occurs.  So it’s about the difference between worrying about things and attending to things when they need to be attended to. Like pieces of garbage collected together to equal the thrown away feelings of our lives.

Yes there is a story.  It’s at summer of 1988.  The family is getting ready to sent their son away to school.  Only the son has other ideas.  He has been skipping class and not finishing his work and otherwise making it harder for him to to flee the coop.

The family is centered around a young boy.  When the boy is getting ready to leave for college some of the family unit kinds of falls apart.  Although it has been falling apart for years.

JoJo gets a new job

July 16, 2012

Jojo had just begun to get herself back on her feet again.  PIcked up a job from the classified, if you can believe that.  From the back of the weekend Oyster Bay Herald.  Circled that shit with a red colored pencil and then tore it out and slammed in on the fridge with a banana shaped magnet.  Come organize my old stuff, $20 / hr.

What a scam, Gerald had said, when he reached in the fridge for a snack. Like you see on those flyers taped over telephone posts nearby the stop signs.  YOU can have a chance to make $400 / week working from home!  Or, what of about those pyramid schemes where they want you to sell a bunch of plastic boxes to your neighbors. Who’s they, JoJo had asked? Whatever, Gerald said. It’s not like this person is going to be able to pay you for forty hours a week.

But the hourly rate was higher than when JoJo worked for The Creep.  So that morning, she pushed her pointer finger over the square plastic buttons in the order of the numbers on the ad. And the voice at the other end of the line drew her in close like a whisper from the start. Hello, said the voice. JoJo imagined the woman answering with feet in feathered slippers up on a lounge chair in the middle of a spacious and well decorated room.Hi. Um,  I’m calling to investigate, i mean I’m curious about an ad that I saw in the back of the Herald this weekend.

Curious, are you?  Well I was curious too, once. Now-a-days that curiosity’s all curled up and dormant like a bat asleep in the crevices of the cave over top the clear cool waters of a tropical lagoon.You mean a cenote, Jojo says, pleased with herself that she had visited such a cave many years back on a trip to the Yucatan and remembered the term. Well dear I don’t know what it’s called.  The memory goes too at a certain point.  You’ll see.

Why don’t you stop by tomorrow.  It’s been over two years since my husband died and I just can’t face sorting through his things.  Don’t know if it’s that because I don’t want to find out what I never found out if you know what I mean. JoJo did in fact know what she meant, crunching the trophy of her last evening out in her pocket of her housecoat, a note to reminder her of the moments that had come between the last drink of the evening and her long walk home.


The Accident

July 10, 2012

Jake goes careening through the tree-lined streets with the headlights off.  Phil is in the passenger seat blowing big rings of a smoke from the cigar rolled fatty in his right hand out his mouth, while letting his head relax down into the mound of the velour pillowed seat behind him, eyes closed, envisioning the sun, bikini babes, computers with minds of their own and his the smell of his grandmas mac and cheese, served steaming from an iron casket.  Put that shit out, Jake turns to Phil with a quick of his head to the right before throwing his eyes back to the road.

They are coming from the beach where the cops had come too, to kick the kids out of their night time haunt to remove them from their loitering cars, to give them slips of yellow paper summoning them to appear in a court house, before a judge, with their parents in two.  That fate had yet to befall Jake and Phil, so quick were they to pull out of the dead end where the Jetties lived and breathed.

They are racing fast down the curved streets that they know like the back of their hands.  Past the Stepler’s white columned mansion set back far from the road.  Around the corner by the Tublor’s place, their kids toys, laundry and mucked up cars laid out in the front of their house for days, weeks or months now without change.  Over the bridge of the duck pond that freezes over in winter enough for neighborhood kids to go skating, but with care.

They roll into Firefly Lane near the meadow rich with the little buggers. They duck down low in their seats and feel the cop car roll past them, searching, creeping with the crack of the gravel underneath the tires.  Letting their breath out quiet-like, as if it could be heard outside the car or communicate to others that they were hiding inside.

You’re an idiot, says Jake.  Phil’s too gone to notice.  The two of them now thirsty and bored.  Slurpy please, says Phil before they about face and head towards the 7-11 on Route 75E across from the train station next to the Christian Mission’s Children’s Hope Day School for Kids K-12.