I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

dangereux expérience

As she has before, my favorite Littlebird got me thinking. I've been waiting to find or make time in a large chunk to start writing. As everybody who has done this know, one should not wait for time or find time, one must make time. I had been successful with this before. I could make chunks of time available to write. Life has changed.

Now, there is time out there, but there aren't large chunks of it. Most of these blog posts, the ones written during the week, are often composed or thought out during work time. There are one and three minute gaps in work that I could use to scrape out fragments of thoughts, or read blogs while a plate prints out, a file downloads, or an application loads. Time that most of my coworkers would use to chat or joke, I would use elsewhere. Lately there has been more time at work, moments when work just peters out. That's time that is actually harder to use, as I spend more brain power trying to make or find work.

So there are moments, there is time, just not in a chunk. Instead of focusing on catching up on blogs, I'm going to see if I can use it to write fiction. I've already used it to scribble out messages from the Muse. But that doesn't happen every day.

So, today was an experiment. An experiment that yielded 600 words. Not much. As someone who can write a thousand word email without thinking about it, it's not much. But it is mostly coherent and linear (except near the end when there were more notes and "gee I want to write about this" kinds of things.

So here's some of that. First, some background. The character of Barry Mygnot is not a new thought. He was there for a bit, and it was about a month ago I realized, he's how Steve finds the girl (Rachel, still not good with that name). Also, Barry is a now a mortician (although he wasn't always) and works at a funeral home that bears his name (well, his grandfather's name who started the business). This is from Act 1, Second Chapter (even if it may not be Chapter 2 at the end). Ugly Draft Zero text follows.

"Steve had gone to high school with Barry, who was a few years ahead of him in class, and light years ahead of him with the girls. Having access to a large car with both a bench seat in front and lots of lying down room in back was an irresistible turn-on for some of the local girls.

"After high school Barry got the hell out of town, wrestled an associates degree in accounting to the ground, and went into collections for a bank in Cleveland. Forever trying to reach escape velocity from Cedarbank, he quickly found his calling was in finding people and money and moved ever farther away to work as a private investigator in Minneapolis.

"It was only the boat anchor of his father's death that brought Barry back into the gravity well of small town Ohio. And once he was back, he found he couldn't escape again. So he set up shop in his namesake's business, put on a black suit and set a polite smile on his face to answer for the umpteenth time that, no, that wasn't his name on the business, and Mygnot and Sons had been caring for the dearly dead, "planting them," Barry would say in an unguarded three-beer moment, for nearly a century.

"Barry was in back, his black suit coat (he bought them by the gross), sparkling white shit and narrow black tie were draped over a bush, handy incase drive through business may come in. He was repairing some of the wooden clapboard that had rotted through. Under his t-shirt and suspenders he had his cell phone (dead batteries, Steve tried to call) clipped to his pants, his constant worry-doll companion. Never knew when business might pick up, and the dead were always impatient to be dealt with.

"While his retail business was mostly paid through insurance, there were those who never had enough, or any at all. Some of those would try to run out. Then there would be slow payments from the business-to-business aspects. (cash/casket and carry business joke?) He collection days helped the family business collect from the dead beats."


mattw said...

I like to use those in between times at work for a little writing too. Mostly it's just something completely irreverant that won't be used later on, except maybe as a blog post, but sometimes it's more and it keeps the creative muscle from atrophing to much. (I'm sure my spelling is atrocious)

"...and the dead were always impatient to be dealt with." — That is a great line. What else do the dead have to do? Why are they so dang impatient?

Steve Buchheit said...

Matt, I'm trying to use it to focus a little. It's still an experiment to see if it work. And as you can see form this sample, there's plenty of typos and bad grammar. Those can always be fixed up in edits and rewrites. Most important part is getting the story out. I forgot who said it but a quote I remember is, "If it's bad, I can fix bad. I can't fix a blank page."

And the dead are very impatient. Or really the people around the newly dead person are impatient form what I've experienced. And I think that line squeaked in from a Jabari Zareb (my paranormal investigator) story.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I popped over from Todd's blog to say hi and enjoyed reading about your Memorial Day, especially the poem.

I'm one of those who waits for chunks, too. Maybe not the most effective, but I just can't see holing up with a spiral notebook in the bathroom for fifteen minutes of peace (advice I've received from several other writers) ANY kind of productive.

I hope you find gold mines of thought in those stolen moments.

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey L.A., thanks. Writing with the mood is excellent, but it sure makes for long times in between getting things out. Mostly this year my fiction writing has been only when the mood hits. Well, actually it's more like it can either bust out of me like the Alien busting out of that guy's stomach, or I can write it out. My healthcare doesn't cover more than one stomach bursting incident in a calendar year, so I need to write it down. :)

Last year I was invited to a retreat. After arriving late the first night, I woke up early the enxt day and pumped out around 5000 words by a little after dinner (with a few interruptions). So I know I can do that kind of writing, once I get butt in chair time. That what I need to force out, is more time in chair, with nothing to do but write fiction.

Since the beginning of the year, I've keyed out as much wordage as a good sized novel, but it's been blog entries, comments, reports and official emails (the majority), and other non-fiction (commercial writing). So I need to find other times to commit fiction. Work was helping, for a bit, but this past week was very busy, including the return to decent overtime. This is good for money (the bank accounts were dwindling), but bad to getting writing done.