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Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Playing Hoopla the other day and decided to turn it into a writing exercise — twice  picked out three cards (a who, a what and a where) and then spent 7 minutes writing a story based on the cards chosen.

I chose “cheerleader”, “funhouse”, and “Mardi Gras”

“This is a sick joke,” the cheerleader said. “Why did you bring me here?”

The fun house was silent. Outside the party raged on — New Orleans, Mardi Gras, it had all seemed like such a great idea, but it had gone sideways. The drinking; the drugs; the casual sex; the mysterious cloaked figure who stood behind her now. His hands were on her shoulders, placed there lightly, almost casually, but somehow menacing, reminding her that he was in control, that she could not go except by his leave.

He spoke, his voice like gravel; like sandpaper; like leaves in a graveyard, the farthest thing from the New Orleans jazz, which she’d discovered — but would never admit — that she couldn’t stand, but which she’d give anything to hear right now.

“You needed to see your true self,” he said. “Behold!”

With that, the lights came up and the cheerleader found herself standing before a row of mirrors, all designed to display grotesque, distorted images of whomever stood before them. She appeared disturbingly fat, obese, twisted, ugly.

So, I’m thinking about doing NaNoWriMo 2011 purely at the whim of the Hoopla deck. A drawing of 3 cards at midnight to start the story. Perhaps drawing a card a day after that? We shall see. Might be a fun experiment….

17. A photo of you drunk. 2/22/09 Chris Chateau and me @ Morseland.

I can’t be sure that I’m drunk in this photo, but certainly my expression would suggest that I was. Those who know me know that I just don’t get drunk that often, and when I am, the rest of you are way too drunk to be taking pictures. I think someone said “make mean faces!” and Chris won because he actually looks mean as opposed to looking like a complete goofball. But, of all the pictures I have of me, this is the one most likely to represent drunkenness. I guess.

Unless you count this.

So yeah. I wrote some wacko shit today. We’re talking cicadas crawling in the narrator’s mouth kinda wacko shit. Yeah, I said it. Also, originally, the lamppost in this excerpt did reply. But, I deleted that.

Word count: 32,048

The noise was faint, barely audible over the sound cars driving on Route 130 at my back. But I heard it again, and realized it came from the woods. And normally, I wouldn’t pay heed to a noise coming from a forest; forests make noises. Regardless of whether anyone’s around to hear them or not, trees fall, birds chirp, animals howl. Even the long, slow process of a plant growing is noisy, creaking, groaning, stretching towards the sun. But this noise was different, deliberate, a click, a whisper, a summons. I took two steps across the lot towards the woods, and suddenly felt the alcohol catch up with me, staggered, steadied myself on the trunk of my car, deep breaths. The noise came again. I gathered my wits, my strength, most importantly, my balance. Surveyed the empty space in front of me, the lot almost empty now, nothing between me and the woods but a lamp post and faded white lines painted on the pavement. I took another deep breath and left the safety and support of the car, the first two strides strong and sure, but once again my balance left me, my legs trying to go in two different directions, I somehow managed to lurch to the lamp post, leaned heavily against its concrete base.

“Well, I definitely shouldn’t be driving,” I said to the lamp with a comical shrug. “That would be bad.” Fortunately, the lamp didn’t respond, even in my drunken state, I knew that would be a sign of more bad things to come. I leaned against it, once again gathering the troops for another assault on the woods. The noise kept coming, slightly louder now, more insistent. It was a tapping, a siren, a steady breeze, white noise, black noise. Calling to me. Drawing me to it. And there I went.

I went more carefully, rightly figuring that slow but steady would win this race. I made it to the edge of the woods, the toes of my shoes just kissing the dirt where it met the pavement of the lot. The noise, loud now, drowning out the cars, a gunshot, a coyote, a promise, a nightmare. I took a tentative step between two trees, looking up, they towered above, blocking out the sky.

My eyes forward, struggling to make out more than shapes in inky blackness, I shouldered my way past tree trunks, through the undergrowth, there were no paths here, just trees, growing too close to each other, struggling to suck up enough resources from the soil, like a reservation, as if trees too had been forced from their land, uprooted, made to move, a trail of tears and leaves, crammed into smaller and smaller plots, truces broken, treaties ignored.

My mind racing, now the thoughts in my head generating enough volume of their own to drown out the noise that brought me there, I stopped, pausing against a tree, waiting, looking for some reason that I had come into the woods at all.

And slowly, my eyes adjusted, and what had seemed to be leaves gently moving in the wind — and there was no wind, the night was still, serene, except inside my head — were them, were they.