Wednesday, November 1, 2017

So, I'm actually doing it this year. National Novel Writing Month. 50,00 words in November, 1667+ words per day. I've joined the online hive mind at, and am inspired by the daily Pep Talks. 

I'm also beyond excited at the reviving of our local writing group filled with amazing, talented writers! 

We are better together when pursuing our collective, creative dreams!

I'm hoping to write 50K words for the same novel, which has a working title of: "Music to Watch a Girl By", taken from the Andy Williams Song and its first line. But in my book (pardon the pun) ANY 50K words will do! For me it's about getting into the habit of writing, getting into the "flow". Feel free to join me!

The girl I picture in the first scene looks similar to the girl below. (I SO wish a brain could take a snapshot, and shoot it to the cloud where download it for you, but, alas, not yet...)

I am posting a sample to prove that I'm doing what I say I'm doing. 

The Word: Skittish

They called her many things, her wild red curls like a strawberry dust devil trying to keep up with her endless bounding, her sudden stops, and her turn-on-a-dime twirling. She was indeed fiddle-footed, fluttery, skittish, even high-strung. But she was also free-wheeling, wild and fearless. She was at once brave and terrified, joyful and broken. She would have owned  it all had she cared enough to think it through. But she didn’t. She let the others: the watchers, the observers, the gossips and yes, the artists, do that for her.

Often she wore dresses, unlike the identically jean-clad peers who either ignored her, or pointed in giggle/whisper cruelty. She was unaware of either reaction, loving the way her circle skirts fluttered around her calves, even though sometimes her long, thin legs got so entangled in the fabric, that she stumbled and tripped. It was rare her freckles didn’t frame some scrape or bruise, but earthy, autumn-kissed beauty held its ground: ginger, and stubborn.

She laughed for no reason, and sang too, making up songs with breathy tones and poetic lyrics. Sometimes she’d fold in her Cervidaen limbs and snuggle up to a tree with a rhyming dictionary, or it could just as easily be a book on Quantum Physics, or Pippi Longstocking. No one could really put a finger on her, on who she really was. And that was her preference, although an afternoon of hugging wasn’t out of the question…but then neither was an afternoon of feeling jumpy every time a human was spotted.

She cried over fallen birds’ nests, tricked out trucks whose roaring engines burned her ears, and she cried for the pleasure of tears running down her cheeks and leaving her eyes watery and washed clean .

There was no question hers was an Irish temperament, but there were many questions about why she was angry, or at what, as often there was no explanation at the ready. She’d never had to ask herself, like many of us had, “Girl, where’s your fire?” It was her element. But then so were earth, wind and water.

I’d choose her for my own if she was an unbroken colt, a Barbary stag, a Setter, or an errant teen. I’d pick her first for any team, although I doubt she’d join one. I’d vote for her, polish her cowboy boots, kiss her hand and yes, even lay my coat across a mud puddle for her. I know she’d never need any of those things, and in fact, prefers a good stomp through a mud puddle. But whatever it is she wants? I’ll give her. You would too, if you really knew her. I’m not worried though. You probably never will…

The Word: Bunting

He leaned against the pavilion railing, oblivious of the carefully placed, and fragile, striped paper bunting now wrinkling and tearing under the heat and sweat of his less-than-toned buttocks. He was shadowy, though he wore a light-colored suit and a straw fedora. He stood in a section where the sun could only dapple his calves as it moved like quick-silver through the leafy maples, oaks, and towering pines. He was less than noticeable, which was fine with him. He was there to notice other things.

The band played through its repertoire of rousing marches, country dance tunes, and patriotic anthems, and then started through them a second time as people wandered through the booths, bought lemonades and sandwiches and sat in rickety folding chairs to listen as they ate. The man watched them, and he also scanned the vendors, the carnies who were watching the giggling, crying, squealing urchins vying for a spot on the merry-go-round. He watched children tossing dimes trying to win leftover glassware as though it were the richest of treasures, and men throwing darts at under-filled balloons trying to win their girl a stuffed animal, the bigger the better when status was involved.

He watched the teenage boys throwing footballs and wrestling, and clowning for the attention of nearby girls pretending to ignore them while they adored them. He watched men seriously competing at horseshoes, the throwing arm thrown behind them as they stepped forward with slightly bended knees, swung, then released. He heard the clinks and the absence of clinks as the scores rose, and leads changed hands. He watched the foot races, and the apple-bobbing. He saw snow cones melt down chubby fists, and now and then, an impatient mother spanking a dangling son.

He participated in nothing but making small talk with the men who passed the time in the shade with him because, though he didn’t want to be noticed, he didn’t want to stand out either. He knew them all, of course, but then again, he didn’t really. He’d lived among them all his days, and yet never really connected in any significant way. He was a watcher, mostly. He might someday put pen to paper with all the information gleaned from these encounters. Maybe a novel…maybe an exposé. He hadn’t decided, though he knew whose wives were wanton, and whose husbands were cuckold. He knew what child belonged to what father even if the father wasn’t honestly aware.

He knew the ticks and tells of the card-players, the gamblers who gathered in the dark shadows that were his preference. He knew when to push, and when to cash out and walk away. He rarely took the punches, and rarely gave them, when a cheater was accused. He was never the cheater, even if it came easy to him. The win didn’t interest him as much as the watching.

But right now, in this lemony summer sunlit scene, he only watched the red-haired girl swirling her skirts through the weeping willows, her eyes squinted against the summer sky. He watched her bare feet, nimble as a deer, move from rock to rock across the stream, and dance with intricate grace through the newly mown grass. He could see her green toes, scratched and bruised from whatever grassy trail she’d travelled. He saw her red-hair shining in the July sun like a cloud afire. He saw her mouthing the words to the song the band was playing. He saw her smiling, and detached from every other human around her, though she did stop to pet a dog or two.

He watched her disappear between the vendor booths and did not wonder where she was off to. He knew, from watching her for weeks.

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