November 14, 2005

I'm a blogger, not a writer

Is NaNoWriMo NoMo? I am this close *holds finger and thumb really, really close together* to hanging it up.

I have been a naughty novelist. (Not that kind - get your head out of the gutter.) I have tried and tried to write something reasonably coherent and reasonably entertaining and/or enlightening. I suck.

Seriously, I've written about 16,000 words but they've felt forced and dumb. I think I can write, but this format is not working for me.

Add another item to the list of stuff I've bailed on. Actually, I haven't bailed yet. I am going to make my own goal of 25,000 words (half of the real goal). If I can keep going after that, cool, if not, that's cool, too. I don't think it's my year to write the great american novel. It is however, my year to write one decent short story, I think (you can read it, too, after the fold) Forget it. I took it down. Maybe I'll put it up again later.

[Update: the story is back up. It's a little long for a blog post but whatever. Read it if you want (to go to sleep that is! hahaha).]

Sacred Grounds

Aidan picked her up at six o’clock. Her giddiness started to get the better of her and the “Dork Effect” kicked in. Every time she got around someone she liked, she felt like a dork, acted like a dork and started nervously chatting about anything she could think of. He thought it was charming the way she was rambling, confessing very personal things along the way, and he watched her intently from the corner of his eye as she talked and giggled and fidgeted in the passenger seat, pulling on her seatbelt and trying to position her right foot under her left leg. His eyes were piercingly green and he squinted into the sun as they drove. When he looked over at her, she felt exposed and vulnerable and she wasn’t used to that. She worked hard to keep her guard up at all times. But he had a way of seeing through her.

“Where’d you want to go?”

“I don’t care. Wherever you want to go.”

“I know a place. Do you like coffee?”

“Um, not really... Maybe... I don’t know, I’ve never really tried it.”

“That about covers all the bases!” He laughed so loudly when he said it, she was startled. “You said ‘not really’, ‘maybe’, and ‘I don’t know’! Which is it?!” More laughing. Oh, man, she was bad with choices. She always covered all the bases. Non-committal was a comfortable place for her.
“I don’t know.” She tried to lighten up and laugh a little too, but it kind of stung to make someone laugh so hard at her indecision. “I’ve always wanted to try it, I just never have.”

They talked some more about random topics, and the conversation flowed smoothly all the way to the coffee shop. Parking the car, Aidan reached over, across her, and pulled the door-lock open as it was temperamental and always stuck – he was the only one who knew exactly what to do to unlock it.

They walked into the cozy coffee house which was dimly lit and full of overstuffed couches and chairs upholstered in dark, velvety hues. People were scattered around reading books, sipping black coffee or tea and looking entirely too hip for their own good. The sound of world music was being piped in and the volume was slightly too loud to talk without raising your voice a little. She loved the place instantly.

“What’ll you have?”

“I don’t know.” The words caused her to grimace inside. She was already becoming self-conscious of saying that. Looking up at the menu board, furrowing her brow slightly and biting her bottom lip, she paused. “What do you recommend?”

“The Midnight Espresso is good. Espresso, chocolate, steamed milk and whipped cream with sprinkles on top.”

“Mmmm, that sounds yummy. OK. Yeah.” She didn’t mind that he assumed she would like a frou-frou drink like that. Because she did like frou-frou drinks like that, she just didn’t want to admit it to anyone else.

“What size?”


“What size would you like?”

“Ummm. I don’t know. Medium, I guess. Please. Thank you.” Enough with the choices. I don’t want to make any more decisions. Ever. Please, god, can something just happen once in my life without me having to make a choice? She flashed a sheepish grin over the counter and Aidan ordered.

“I’ll have a coffee of the day.” No hesitation at all. She was completely in awe that he could order a coffee with such confidence. I want to be like that, she thought.

Please, let him decide where we are going to sit, she begged silently. And he did, directing her over to the corner chairs by placing his hand gently just below and between her shoulder blades. They sat down in two over-stuffed dark purple, velvety chairs facing each other next to a Victorian floor lamp. The whole area was surrounded by low lying tables covered in magazines and a fire place was roaring in the corner opposite where they sat. It’s like a dream I used to have, she thought. The color of the chair perfectly complemented her brown turtle neck sweater and contrasted beautifully with Aidan’s eyes. They both looked at each other with a mixture of apprehension and relief. They had the feeling you have when you arrive somewhere comfortable and familiar and they were ready to settle in for a nice long conversation. She was starting to perspire a little. Small talk was the most horrifying thing she could imagine, so she was elated when he asked her
“What was the first thing you thought of this morning?”

Wow, a real question. And it wasn’t about the weather! This calls for a celebration! She was totally caught off-guard but quickly sat up straight and smiled a big, radiant smile. Of course, she couldn’t tell him the truth. Geez, what a personal question! It made her wonder though: did he know I was thinking about him? Or was it just a fluke, that he would ask that particular question?

Giggling, she said, “I don’t know.” Crap, not that phrase again! Stop it. Just stop it. “Actually, the first thing I usually think about is what I will wear today.” She squirmed a little at how shallow that sounded. Quickly, she tried to make a joke, “No, no, no, I know! The first thing I thought about today was putting an end to world hunger and how I plan to cure the common cold!” Nice save. Make him laugh. God, I am such a dork, she thought.

“Midnight Espresso!” the barista barked.

Aidan jumped up to grab her coffee drink from the bar. She repositioned in her chair, again putting her right foot underneath her left leg. They sat for a while sipping coffee and remarking on the people in the coffee house. She tested his knowledge of music and literature by throwing out semi-obscure references, which he got and he did the same in return. Their conversation flowed as, if in unison, they thought the same thoughts at the same time.

“The man in the gabardine suit is a spy,” she said as she pointed with her head to no one in particular. A smile crossed her lips. Her eyes twinkled ever so slightly and her right eyebrow arched higher almost imperceptibly.

“Be careful, I think his bowtie is really a camera,” he said playfully and perfectly on cue. They both giggled with delight. Aidan was easy to talk to. He laughed sincerely and liberally making her feel extremely at ease. He had the kind of face that made strangers tell him secrets they never thought they’d share with anyone.

“I tried to kill myself in September,” the girl blurted out as her right foot started to fall asleep. Aidan was totally unfazed, as if he had coffee every day with girls who told him outrageous confessions like this. He stayed silent but his posture indicted that she should go on. At least, her unrefined social skills told her so. She took a sip and then a big gulp of her coffee.

“Yeah, so I just figured everyone would be better off without me. I’m totally over it now. I realize it was a silly, selfish thing to do. I wish I hadn’t done it, I’m kind of embarrassed about it now. When it happened, I was just so tired of everything, you know? I didn’t see a point to any of it. I’m much better now. I think I’ve worked through it all.

”I think it was just a romantic attempt to get some attention, but as soon as I did it, I realized that I didn’t really want attention. I just wanted life to be easy for a change. I am pretty sure that life is never going to be easy, but life is what I make it, so if I make it hard, it will seem hard. Now, I’ve figured out that I should expect life to be hard, so I don’t think I’ll ever feel that hopeless again. You know, now that I know.” She hadn't told anyone about this yet. Way to oversimplify, she thought. You’re always doing that. She took a sip of her coffee. And I wish you’d stop saying ‘you know’, you sound so inarticulate.

“But it’s only December now. You’re telling me that you tried to kill yourself three months ago, and now you are totally okay?” He looked at her incredulously, but with sensitivity and with no judgment whatsoever that she could detect.

“Mmmmm. More or less, yeah.” She felt so proud of herself. I’ve beat it. I’ve beat the demons that have haunted me my whole life. This is so great. My future looks so bright. I just hope he doesn’t think I’m an idiot or a mess. I mean, I am an idiot and a mess, but I hope he doesn’t think so. Oh my god, I am so delusional. I don’t even believe this bullshit.

“Well, I am dubious, “ he chuckled slightly. “But good for you for getting your life back,” Aidan said with a great deal of authority and with an air of confidence that belied his sudden and deep concern for a girl he hardly knew. The kind of concern that makes your heart ache.

“I’m glad you didn’t succeed.”

She eyed the dwindling and no longer hot coffee in her cup and swirled it around to mix in the chocolate that had settled on the bottom of the cup. Taking another sip, she glanced over her shoulder and out the window to her right and saw that the sun had set hours ago. A quick tuck of her hair behind her ears and a glance over at Aidan. It was the safest she’d ever felt.



At 14:54, Blogger Richard said...

Well, you are doing much better than me (I still have not penned any more words than the original few - although, I do have some incoherent, unconnected fragments floating around in my head).

I like your fragment. If you need praise, then you've got it! You write well! I honestly believe your characters.

Some of your stuff even strikes close to home (far too many women have told me that they had thought about / tried killing themselves).

Love this line: "Aidan was totally unfazed, as if he had coffee every day with girls who told him outrageous confessions like this.", because that is so me!

Take care and keep up the good work (don't feel you need to prove anything, after all, you should enjoy life for yourself, not for somebody else). I will be happy to read however many or few words you have written.

At 17:13, Blogger Rude Cactus said...

I think you just came up with the solution yourself - naughty novelling. Maybe that'll keep you typing!

At 05:54, Anonymous mooalex said...

Ah, you tease... I got here after you removed your "sample." :)

At 09:09, Blogger my imperfect offering said...

I too missed the sample. :( But really, I would imagine writing "under pressure" probably does have some negative impact on a person's creativity though. Not to mention you're trying to juggle this and mid-terms all at the same time. Don't consider yourself "bailed" but perhaps just put on hold. :)

At 12:32, Blogger Richard said...

Too bad you guys missed ms.q's teaser. I thought it was really good.

So if we mind our "peas and q's" will you please reconsider reposting to share it with others? (maybe even post a larger whirled helping for those of us who read the first little sample?)

At 12:45, Blogger Ms. Q said...

Oh, alright. I'll put it back up, but really, it's a silly little story.


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