Posts Tagged With: Kwedregiol

Old Computer Files

HillTopCows

My computer has started making strange noises.  For the record, it’s still running fine.  It just wheezes a little when it’s closed.  I know… but it runs so well that I often forget it’s almost 5 years old now.  Practically geriatric.  I panicked a little.  My entire life is on that machine and I felt like I needed to back everything up NOW, ASAP, TODAY.

I have this little flash drive that I’ve been keeping my life on since, oh, 2004?  I go in and clean it up whenever it’s needed, so there was plenty of space.  Everything fit except the pictures.  I am now (mostly) safe, and so is my novel.  The funny thing was the old stuff that was on there.  Like a Chrome copy of my first blog – A Gal and her Blog (instead of a boy and his dog) – which was an old site I made in FrontPage, learned some HTML for, and hosted on Tripod.  Yes, I am that old on the internet.  And have not lost any of my relish for terrible puns.  I also found my constitution for the micronation of Kwedregiol, very old photos of me in front of the plastic cows at the (now defunct) Hilltop Steak House in Massachusetts, and much kitten goodness for our original duo.  They look so young!

I’ve only read through bits of it.  I was a bit sad to find that the blog is pretty terrible.  But I remember being SO PROUD of that constitution.  It took me ages to work on the preamble and I read a ton of other constitutions (if you’re interested and you have time, definitely look up the 1940s Japanese constitution).  I should dig out the Kwedregiol one, make edits, and post it.  I don’t know why it wasn’t evident to everyone that I should be a History Major before I did it, in retrospect.  I mean, I wrote a constitution for the fun of it…

The writing is not going well, but it is going.  So I guess I can’t complain.

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NaNoWriMo: The Week 2 Blues

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The latest pep talk for Nanowrimo is not what I needed right now. And I need a pep talk. I’m feeling the week 2 blues set in. I was so excited to see that they had one up on the website, and I’m sure it helped someone move forward amidst some writers block. The thing about Nano, though, is that I don’t usually get writers block. I get writers block when I am worried that everything I’m writing is crap and won’t fit the tone of the rest of the novel. I get writers block when I don’t know how to write a scene and I desperately need it to work. In short, I only get blocked when there are stakes.

There are no stakes in Nanowrimo. There aren’t. However much you’d like to believe that you’re the next Hemmingway, I will have you know that your current novel is not up to those standards (that’s what editing is for). You should also know that’s a GREAT thing. It means your next line of prose doesn’t have to be genius. You also never have to show your novel to anyone, ever. All the “her troubles melted into the fondue pot of life”s and “their eyes met across the crowded room and stuff”s, all those horrible clichés, and the twelve adjectives you used to describe each thing; all of those are between you and the blank piece of paper. The blank piece of paper isn’t talking. There are no stakes

For me this time, there is only the realization that I hate these people a little bit. I don’t know why I decided to spend a month with them. He’s too nice. And why does he cry when she leaves? She’s going to help her country. He shouldn’t cry, he should be angry that she won’t listen to reason. Only he isn’t angry. He’s this warm, supportive, wishy-washy guy. And then there’s her, and she is such a reluctant revolutionary. She’s supposed to like excitement. The baby is supposed to be more than a glorified purse that she carries around and has to make sure she doesn’t leave at restaurants. The leader of the resistance is supposed to be the one that’s reluctant, but he seems ever gleeful to send everyone to their death.   At least Dad seems to be the asshole he’s supposed to be.

I know. It’s week two and we all feel this way. Every year I’m ready for it and make fun of the week 2 slump. But I’m always surprised by how genuinely I hate my novel. This isn’t “ha, ha. I’m over the thrill of week one.” This is honest loathing. I’ll get over it. I’ll feel proud of myself by the end of week 3. But how to charge forward through week 2?

I don’t know any way to do it except to put my butt in the chair and do some uninspired driveling. So that’s what I’m doing.

But I sure could use a good pep-talk right about now. Perhaps I’ll read Neil Gaiman’s (again) for the 1000th time. Or perhaps I’ll take my inspiration from Shannon Hale, who said that if engineers can land a probe on a comet, surely I can do something so simple as meet my word count goal…

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To Nanowrimo or not to Nanowrimo? That is the question.

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Nanowrimo starts tomorrow (that’s National Novel Writing Month), and I am still deciding whether or not to participate. I know, right? Nothing like waiting until the last minute.

Except that this isn’t really the last minute. I have a novel, I have an outline, I have a cover. It’s great, just like all novels are great before they’re full of the bad prose and plot holes of a zero draft. I am ready for Nano. There is no one more ready than I am.

So why would I not participate?

I’m at a terrible stopping place in draft five of the novel I’m currently editing. A terrible place. Sure, I’m not in the middle of a chapter or anything, but the queen is about to maybe get killed and I’m about to leave her in suspense for a whole month. It seems cruel. I was supposed to be farther along than this. MUCH farther along. I was supposed to be finished with draft 5 by November 1st. The queen was supposed to know who was trying to kill her.  The main character was supposed to make up with her family.  I was supposed to put it in a drawer, and then dabble with changes, and then have a readable manuscript by January 1st.

Brian and I were to have lovely nights in front of our new fireplace, both bending over a copy of the manuscript while I read aloud, occasionally scribbling things in the margins. (Which is a joke if you know us. We’re more likely to get into horrible fights with me accusing him of being mean to my writing, and he not understanding why his gentle criticism was reinterpreted so horribly wrong. And then he threatens not to read my stuff anymore if I can’t behave myself. Sometimes there are tears.  And then I apologize and dupe him into participating in the same cycle again. But maybe slightly better, because I’m trying to behave myself. I really am.).

My eyes were bigger than my fingers, though. I couldn’t complete 20 pages a day and still be a human. It’s my own fault for giving myself more work than I could manage. That doesn’t make it any easier to put the thing in the drawer at this haphazard place.

I must finish this novel. This year.

But, new novel!!! It’s the prequel to the novel I’m currently writing. That means it’s sort of related, right? We could call it research? No? Anyone?

I’ll probably end up participating. Just knowing that there’s a party of writing going on somewhere on the internets is enough that I can’t stay away. No one can resist the traveling shovel of death, or the wombats, or the mass quantities of caffeine and sugar we’re all consuming. It’s an orgy of words and it’s wonderful. It’s a new novel in only a month; something to fall in and out of love with and then toss aside. The newness is what I crave. I haven’t written anything new in months.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll have time for both?

Yeah, I know.

But don’t rain on my parade, okay?

Categories: Life, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fairy Tale

This story is on my Clarion website, (go to http://clarionwriteathon.org/members/profile.php, and click “Show/Hide excerpts at the bottom) but I liked it so much that I had to share here as well. It’s a fairy tale from Kwedregiol, the place where my first novel happens.

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Once there was, and once there wasn’t. In the long-distant days of yore, when haystacks winnowed sieves, when pixies played stickball on the cliffs of the Elums, and when I softly rocked my baby grandmother to sleep in her creaking cradle, a man walked the earth. He was a tall man, sleek and muscular, his frame rose bigger than a market stall and glistened golden like a bonfire. The people of the mountains called him Michegua, for he had no name of his own.

Michegua was a wise man. Michegua was a forgiving man. Michegua was a generous man. He gave the people of the mountains many things. First, he gave them the rising sun so their crops would grow hearty and hale. Next, he gave them fire to cook their meat and to give them safety from animals in the darkness. Third, he gave them laws.

Can you recite them with me? The five laws of Michegua? They bind us all, and so we must know them. Here, begin: Do not kill for aught but sustenance. Do not lie and do not steal. Rest one day, of the week to reflect on your blessings. Honor your betters. Strive in all ways to treat others as you would be treated.

Because of the great gifts of Michegua, the people came away from the mountains. They settled in green valleys beneath blue skies. They tilled the fields until the earth turned golden, tassels of corn waving in the wind. They settled by the sea and let the ocean breezes whip their skin into ruddy health. They became the people of the earth.

Only a few of the people stayed in the craggy, gray mountains, because they revered the place where Michegua had come first. For them, Michegua gave a trail of bright blue gentians. The little flowers dappled the mountain sides. This was so the people of the mountains did not miss the sea, for they had deepest blue growing on the hills. This was so the people of the mountains did not miss the waving corn, for the blossoms would wave in the wind. This was so the people of the mountains would always remember that they were the faithful who loved Michegua and the old ways the most.

Michegua stayed among the people for many years, but it came to pass that he had to leave them. In this time when fleas were barbers, and mountain goats were town criers, the people had a custom. They would give a gift to each stranger who came among them. Michegua was not a stranger anymore, but he was also not the same as the people of the earth. He was too tall and too golden. What could they give this splendid man who had already given them so much?

The oldest spoke first. “We will give him our worship,” he said. “We will make a God of him, that we never forget what he has done for us, though all the ages of the world pass by and those who are here have perished.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

The youngest spoke next. “We will give him increase,” he said. “We will spread across this world and thrive, because we have followed his teachings well. And everywhere on earth there will be people who know his name.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

The wisest spoke last. “We will give him a bride,” he said. “He will choose a woman from every generation. He shall mark her, and she shall be his. This way, he will come back to us one day.”

The council nodded, and granted that gift.

When Michegua heard of these gifts he saw that they were as great as the things he had given them, and he was touched. He called all the people together, the people of the earth, the people of the sea, the people of the mountains, so he could bid them goodbye. They met at the base of the mountains, where the sea and the land and the cliffs came together as one, the place called Kwedregiol. Michegua seemed taller that day than he had been when he lived among them. His skin flickered golden like the flames in the campfire. He took a deep breath, and shining white wings unfurled from his back.

“So you shall know me,” he said, “and also know my bride, by the wings on our backs and the love in our hearts that we both feel for you. People of the earth, go forth in my name and thrive. Multiply yourselves upon this place tenfold.”

His words echoed from the cliff face, and the people watched as he beat his wings upon the air and rose into the heavens. The wind from the down stroke of his wings brushed them all like a kiss across their cheeks. That was his parting.

The people made a white city on the place called Kwedregiol, carving it out of the land and the rocks, and in it they put the woman with the mark of wings on her body. There she waited, the bride of Michegua, for him to come back some distant day.

And as his bride was waiting, three apples fell from the sky; one for our story’s heroes, one for the person who told their tale, and one for those who listened and promise to share.

Categories: Fairy Tales, Fiction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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