The heart moves
with time-piece precision,
until a tiny spanner
with effortless simplicity.
Bianca: Behind every engineer is an awesome woman who is probably smarter than him anyway. Just sayin’
Stacey: Except if that engineer is a woman. And then it might just be her mother behind her!
It’s actually Day 14 and I am trying to remember what the hell happened yesterday, other than Dave came home and the quietly and hardly cultivated routines all fell apart. Thus its 6am and I’m playing catch up before I go and dissolve into the novel.
Ahhh, yes. I remember. There was an outstanding spat between Tabitha and the Sculptor to engineer. And it was the toast the Ramsey give Tabitha that sets it off. Her rally against ‘the woman behind the scenes’. Like a few days ago, I was able to draw on information from, of all things, an Engineering documentary from 10 years ago and insert some feminist righteous anger about Emily Roebling who was the wife and daughter-in-law of the original designers. She is merely a footnote in the story of the Brooklyn Bridge even though she oversaw the construction of the bridge for 14 years (until completion), taught herself calculus and advance engineering design, project managed it from the day to day onsite issues to consulting with politicians, other engineers and the workers.
While I try and find my feet again, take in a little of Tabitha’s righteous anger as the scene is set up for these two to tear each other to pieces in the not too distant future.
NB: After getting all excited that I could roll out my second dare today, it’s been put back to another dinner party conversation.
* * *
“It’s a good thing, Christian’s not here,” the sculptor leaned in and whispered in her ear as the food arrived, placed at strategic locations along the shorter table.
“And how is that,” sneered Tabitha.
“Your opinion wasn’t asked for.”
“My opinion wasn’t, what?”
She glared back at him. “Just saying, what?”
“It’s not the time and place for it.”
“And where would be the time and place for it?”
All those times she’d sat back and said nothing. Hell, she would not sit back and say nothing. Or worse, apologise to this bohemian fossil.
“My art,” Tabitha spat. “You are telling me I should sit here and allow terrible things be said about me and wait to write them down, deal with them when I get to the page, because… because then no one is upset by a little passionate debate.” Tabitha took a moment to catch her breath. “The very act of that, of waiting for the right time to bring it up, perpetuates all this shit.”
“So you said.” She took the lid off the turine and filled her bowl, thinking soup would be kinder on her stomach folded in on itself like a flattened origami figurine. She replaced the lid and turned to the sculptor who was helping himself to the warm bread rolls. “Perhaps you can do us all a favour and just say nothing unless you have something to add to the conversation.”
“It’s the typical response isn’t it, to batter down any dissenting opinion.”
“When your dissenting opinion is relevant and adds to the debate, I welcome your views. But you know what, I live day-in and day-out the dissenting opinion and I can tell you it does nothing to add to my life, or that of my best friend, or my daughter. Patriarchy is –”
“I was under the impression we were talking original thought. The patriarchy –”
Tabitha pushed her bowl away and the clear vegetable soup slopped onto the starched tablecloth. She pushed her chair out and stood.
“I’m feeling unwell,” she announced and walked out the door without a backward glance, her stomach erupting with hunger as the smells of dinner followed her down the hallway.
Last year I had spent most of the year writing and had just completed the final edits on Elyora/River of Bones and didn’t feel NaNo was the thing for me. I also spent the first ten days travelling and I just wanted to enjoy the time away. In 2011, NaNo was the straw that broke the camel’s back (so to speak). When I had to concede I just couldn’t write and I pulled the pin less than half way through it was like pulling the pin on a hand grenade and I imploded. It was the start of the second serious bout of depression I suffered through in 2011.
Ironically, what I wrote in the year I didn’t ‘win’ provided the only published work from a NaNo adventure to date. A section of the opening story in Seeker Lover Keeper became the vignette ‘Intersected’ published in the first issue of Vine Leaves Literary Journal.
So this year, I’d been toying for a bit as to what November would hold for me. Would I? Wouldn’t I? It was seeing that Rus Vanwestervelt was planning on doing it, that pushed me over the line. I needed a writing buddy. Someone I could confide the dark corners of the story to. Someone I know who will be an awesome inspiration. And that’s Rus and more.
The plan is to write a novella length adaptation of my steampunk romance ‘Between Minutes’. From my NaNo pages:
A passionate love affair.
An impossible house.
The opportunity of a life time.
The six-week creative programme offered at “Dalhousie” is like no other in the world. Tabitha’s offer of a place in the programme is the opportunity she and her secret lover, Christian, have dreamed of. A chance to escape into a Bohemia of naked passion for music, words and each other, where the pressures and frustrations of their suburban lives have no place.
But Bohemia has its limitations. The claustrophobia of the house and it’s Victorian workings, fuelled by Christian’s obsession with the future, Tabitha’s entrenchment in the past and the competing motivations of the other residents, threaten to unhinge their sanity and commitment to each other.
When Tabitha is called to honour the undefined debt in her contract, the cost of the residency will be more than a minute of their mundane existence on the outside.
Born between the promise of mad machines and crumpled sheets, “Between Minutes” is a dark, erotic meta-steampunk novella of cognitive dissonance.
It’s not a perfect little (*cough*) blurb but it is a start. I haven’t yet decided if I will go toward the romance, happily ever after bent, or the darker horror version. The original short story walks the path between the two.
With less than half an hour until kick off I am happy to say I have:
- an extensive playlist of early 80’s music (it all started with a single Kids in the Kitchen song!)
- a tidy writing space
- the relevant bits of the original story (and it’s plethora of earlier drafts) printed off
- ‘What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew’ bought and loaded onto my Sony
And the best bit of all, this close to things starting… the characters have begun to talk. I always imagined it beginning with Tabitha talking with her closest friend Mish and that’s where I’ll be beginning tonight.
Throughout November I will be snapping a photo a day, noting the tshirt d’jour (sadly I don’t have 30 different ones but it will be close!) and hopefully putting up a snippet of work.
The plan is to write every day, in the morning. I know it is possible.
Do I want the 50,000 words? Well yeah, that would be nice but more important to me is a completed novella. I am aiming for 30,000. It may end up at 40,000. It may go all the way to 50,000. Anything is possible. If I finish with words to spare I will jump back in to my birthpunk novella.
Now… time to go boil the kettle, do a dozen start jumps and wake myself up, ready to put the opening pages down before bed tonight.