Day Sixteen #nanowrimo

day 16Words for the day: 8382 (target was reach 50K by the evening)
T-shirt: Fashion was less important that words today
Best music vibe: “Love Me Again” John Newman

I lay in bed half awake contemplating the possiblity of hitting 50K. It wasn’t something I had gone to bed thinking was doable but something in the haze of a 6am Saturday morning skim of consciousness, I thought it was.

I got up. I didn’t bother with a shower (I’m photographed again in my nighty!). I boiled the kettle, made tea and sat down. I checked my word count. I was just shy of 9K from the elusive ‘win’. Even as I typed, I wasn’t sure if I could make it. If I was setting myself up for disaster to even announce my intention publicly. Somewhere along the way I did.

Despite the eddy of arguments in my household and plans that shifted like quick sand, I left with a tissue drenched in ‘focus’ oil and headed to the Write In at Milton. It was my first chance to attend one and Mel did a great job of getting me sorted out with all my paraphenalia. Jon offered to put my catch up stickers on my card, until I told him I was waiting until I hit 50K. That was what I was there to do. And write I did.

If I had have been at home, you know, I would have wandered away and done washing, swept a floor, anything, because it was hard. It hurt. And when I realised that I was going to have to write the scene between Tabitha and the sculptor as my final scene for the day it felt like a cruel irony I would end up here.

It came with a silver lining. That scene in the sculptor’s lair is the only fully fleshed out scene in the entire short story. I copied and pasted it into my manuscript and reworked it to fit the new narrative. And then the end. Oh Christ! I found out exactly why she gave in and let him do what he did. While it’s no explicit about what happens in the end, you don’t need to be Einstein to work it out and perhaps that’s what makes it all the more horrible.

But I won’t leave that as my legacy at 50K.

This is the most I have ever written in two week (actually two weeks and two days). While I’m not writing this on the eve of the 16th day (I came home, sunk into a bath with a beer, tried to eat something and passed out in bed) I feel as though I can do a far better job of capturing it all with a brain that works.

I  know when writing is hard, it often means it is good, but hell…

Speaking of hell, let’s see what happens how Christian comes to sell his soul to the devil we will come to know better as The Sculptor (or John Hardgrave away everyone but Tabitha calls him!)

* * *

Christian knocked the scotch back and felt it curdle with the eggs in his stomach.

“That’s what I want to talk to you about.” He inclined his head to the book and the pages depicting breakfast that morning, sketched in. John would add colour later.

“I’d like to barter with you.” The words sounded ridiculous and he pulled at the place where his suspenders joined his breeches.

“Barter.” John took a slow savouring sip of the scotch.

“You want us all to sit for you. Tabitha refuses. She doesn’t want either of us to sit for you.”

“What do you have to barter, Christian?”

“I’ll sit for you,” Christian said rubbing his damp hands against the top of his trousers.

“And in return.”

“I want one of your sketch books. A blank one and a supply of pencils.” He knocked the rest of the scotch back and sat rotating the glass on the table top waiting for the reply.

“We are friends, are we not comrade. This seems a rather, formal request. I’d be happy to just give you one.”

Christian swallowed hard. “This is the only way it can be and Tabitha can’t know. She doesn’t want either of us in here.”

“Intriguing.” John poured more scotch for them both. “I generally ask that those who come here refrain from talking about what goes on in these four walls. I like to protect my subjects in that way.”

“And what goes on in these four walls?”

“Artistic surrender. On both our parts”

Christian felt a cold sweat break out over his body.

“Honesty. I demand honesty.” He sipped at his scotch. “What I produce is a multi-faceted experience. It is my story, your story and the story of us all reproduced in plaster and clay, in ink and watercolour. Art demands naked expression. It does not abide falseness.”

“I have nothing to hide,” Christian said and slammed the rest of the scotch back. “I’ve… been naked before. For. For Art.”

John poured more scotch and Christian saw the door open on the past, himself peering in: Aliyah passed out on a mattress, her long hair in a snarled halo around her head, hands and arms encrusted with oil paint; Grim plucking funk baselines in stained pair of Y-fronts on a battered couch, his chest gleaming with sweat and come down from the last hit.

“To show the good faith of our deal,” said John and the door shut. Christian was back in the messy studio a world away from that share house and his first and last taste of fame.

He placed the black sketch book on the table, several pencils alongside it and then topped up their glasses.

“For art,” toasted John.

“For art.”

Days 13 #nanowrimo

day 13Words for the day: 1344 (target was 2.5K)
T-shirt: Another bikini day
Best music vibe: Dire Straits

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?”

“Just saying.”

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.

“Your art.”

“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.”

“Just saying.”

“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.