Work-In-Progress: Memory (II)

Feeling discouraged about the novel-in-progress at the moment. It turned out a bit too much for self to chew. She should have known . . .

Stuck at 266 pages. All day.

In the meantime, she’s going back to some old short stories. Ones she’s forgotten about and stopped sending out, for years.

Here is the continuation of the story about the woman who stole her mother’s Chopard earrings:

I was going to do something, but I didn’t know what. I felt brave. I felt I would never fail, as long as I had the earrings with me.

I sewed them into a little pouch on the inside of the waistband of my jeans, and I wore just the one pair of jeans, day in and day out. They were soft and loose, ripped at the knees.

I didn’t have to pretend: I was what I was. I was crazy. I was living.

Stay tuned.

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction

Self cut three pages today.

She cuts and cuts, so of course she will never make her NaNoWriMo goals.

It frustrates her exceedingly.

Nevertheless, here’s a paragraph she’s more or less happy with:

  • They are not required to wear the monk’s habit, unlike the other novices. They are even allowed to go beyond the walls of the Colegio. As they issue forth, they shout, just as they pass beneath the arches of the main entrance, Vamos al siglo: We go to the world.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

#amwritinghistoricalfiction: Hope to Get to 266 pp. Today

Spent five hours writing this morning. Produced seven pages.

That is blisteringly slow.

Setting: 18th century Spain

Dorotea bites her lip and shakes her head. “Many have given their lives in the service of the faith. And you wish to be in their company. I know your ambition. It was ever large.”

Self sincerely  hopes that dialogue sounds 18th century enough.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Temporary 3: Annaghmakerrig

Self’s greatest sadness in coming here is knowing that she’ll have to leave eventually.

Which cottage is self in? Can you guess?

Annaghmakerrig is the only Irish place name she can pronounce correctly.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Libretto, MARIFE

Ten years ago, in VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts), self was working on a novella called Marife, loosely based on the events of the Oklahoma City bombing.

A composer named Drew Hemenger, who she met at VCCA, worked with her to turn it into a full-length opera.

The orchestral suite was performed by Hampshire Symphony two years ago. In her most woebegone moments, Drew would direct self to this or that opera (Porgy and Bess?) which took 20 years to be performed. And self would say, “Drew. I do not have 20 years.”

Dear blog readers, this is just to let you know that two people, if they are determined enough, even with no money, can create an opera. The problem has always been finding people who want to stage it. So self is doing this blog on the opera, for the first time. In case someone has any ideas to share?

Here’s how the libretto begins:

I.

MARIFE:

They were talking and talking and talking.

LAWYER:

About what?

MARIFE:

How do I know? What men talk about. Fishing, maybe.

LAWYER:

Fishing?

MARIFE:

Yes, fishing.


Self remembers when she first presented the libretto to Drew, he looked at the 80 pages and said, “That’s going to take three days to sing.”

So self chopped off all the lines to about half their length.

Is that how one writes a libretto? Self doesn’t know. She never wrote a libretto before.

“And just put in the word love, as many times as you can,” Drew said.

“I am not that kind of writer,” self declared.

“This is opera! Do it!”

Right after the Las Vegas shooting, self saw so many parallels with the Oklahoma City bombing. She asked Drew, “Didn’t it strike you as eerie? The ammonium nitrate? The Filipina?” Drew said: “I don’t know. I’ve been trying to stay away from all the Las Vegas shooting news.”

At  one point, Drew met someone who said we could have it staged in the CCP, the Cultural Center of the Philippines. He nearly flew over to Manila.

And self asked: Who was she? And then: Drew, this is one walk you’re going to have to take alone.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingfantasy in Cork

Since signing up for her first-ever NaNoWriMo, self has been cutting pages from her novel-in-progress.

Today, she began a new short story.

Isn’t NaNoWriMo about writing novels?

‘Tis. What can she say? When told to write a novel, she writes short stories. Later, she’ll take a Rohrschach Test to diagnose her disorder.

I was told only that morning, in Luxor: I would be needed to make a delivery of a woman. At the time I received the summons, I was making offerings in the Karnak Temple. Naturally. When I am not at my desk, I am at the Temple, thanking the Gods for my unusual longevity.

I was not told the purpose, but it has always been thus. Our Enigmatic Sphinx knows how to guard its secrets.

I made the retrieval in Guangdong Province. The woman was not conversant in Cantonese or Taishanese and my Mandarin was — well, let’s just say that Professor Ibn Tulun in the Great Mosque did not have the purest Beijing delivery, but he was my teacher and that was the best I could afford.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Praying for the J. K. Rowling Inspiration

Fingers crossed, self hopes to start her NaNoWriMo writing regimen today.

She has J. K. Rowling’s Casual Vacancy (found it yesterday, on the bookshelf in her room) on her lap. She opens to a random page, which happens to be p. 184:

“I’m going to set a deadline. Two weeks from today for everyone to declare.”

“Fair enough,” said Miles.

Very hard to see how she can adapt for an 18th century priest’s conversation with his superior in Madrid, but she’s willing to give it a go.

Stay tuned.

Michel Houellebecq: Sentence of the Day

You’ll notice from the above post heading that self has moved on from The Elephant Vanishes. She’s currently reading Submission, a Michel Houellebecq novel, translated from the French by Lorin Stein.

She’s read two books by Houellebecq, but that was years ago: Platform and The Elementary Particles. Submission features a more restrained Houellebecq (Platform on the other hand was — WOW!)

The protagonist of Submission is a middle-aged academic who knows a lot of things:

  • p. 25: “He laid out these ideas in a short article for the Journal of Nineteenth Century Studies, which, for the several days it took to write it, was much more engaging than the political campaign, but did nothing to keep me from thinking about Myriam.”

Self loves long sentences when done well.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwritingshortstory: Manchester Square

Setting, The Wallace Collection, London:

DSCN0773

Fragonard’s “The Swing” Originally, the lady was to have been pushed by a bishop. But this was evidently too much. So, instead, we have an elderly gent sitting on a stone balustrade, in the shadows behind.

  • She walked past the Flemish Masters in the East Drawing Room, strode past Titian’s Madonna and David Teniers the Younger’s the Deliverance of Saint Peter.

Later, self took her notes and added this sentence (while having lunch at Chez Nous, 22 Hanway Street):

  • She was more of a café person than her friend Maxine, who’d set the bar pretty high, whose idea of dinner was to go to the Ottolenghi in Islington, who had impressed her parents into gifting her a trip to London (she couldn’t be bothered to learn French, so London it was) by getting an A on a paper about the Thirty Years War (“1618 to 1648,” she told her mother, Cici, who blushed with maternal pride).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amwriting: Notes for a Story Collection

Working Title: Magellan’s Mirror

Opening Sentence, Story # 1:

Her cousin believed that the sinking of the Titanic was part of a Russian plot to eliminate John Jacob Astor and other American imperialists.

DSCN0250

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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