In which I complain yet again about the whole thing. Have I mentioned how this kind of challenge just doesn’t work for me? Oh, I have. Have I mentioned how I just don’t have the time to … Oh, I have.
Let me try it a different way then. I’ve got that day job. Yes, I’ve mentioned that before. I know. Here’s the deal though. It can be stressful and draining and leave me feeling like an empty shell by the end of the day. And when NaNo rears its demanding head, I have nothing left to offer it. Day after cotton-picking day for an entire month. Friday was good. Saturday was a bust. Sunday was good. Monday was pretty good. And today? I DON’T WANT TO WRITE!!!!!!! But I’ve written anyway. Another 800 or 900 words on Northville. What has that got me? I’m at about 4,000 words. Still treading water at about 50% of the NaNo pace.
That’s the bad. Here’s the good. NaNo has pushed me to write those words in the last five days. 800 words per day actually is pretty good for me these days. Without NaNo, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have had the discipline to write as much as I have since November 1. But I’m tired. Just so tired. So, I’m done for the day. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow about this whole thing. I know where the next few parts of Northville are headed and I remain excited about it. I still don’t know exactly how or when it will happen. But it will need to wind up soon.
I’ve also started thinking about the re-write of Terror in a Small Town — my half completed novel about a string of terrorist attacks in the United States that will undergo enough change that it will basically be a new story. I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to rattle off thousands of words pretty easily when I switch to that. But I can’t yet. I must practice the completion principle and finish Northville before I turn my attention to the shiny new toy in the show room.
Just for the heck of it, here’s a piece of what I wrote today…
When we were little, Sophie and I would sit on the floor in our parents’ bedroom with her lipsticks and eyeliners and perfumes scattered around us. Being the oldest, I knew everything there was to know about this as I applied bright red lipstick and blue eyeliner to Sophie’s face and then enveloped her in a cloud of Charlie. Sophie was the perfect model, keeping her otherwise restless body perfectly still for me to apply the rouge and whatever else was handy. By the time I was done, she was perfect.
Until Mom walked in and playfully gasped with her hand to her mouth. “What have you done with my little girl?” She would turn around and look under the bed. “Where did Sophie go?”
Sophie would pop up and, through the gap made by her missing front teeth, lisp gleefully, “I’m right here, Mommy.”
“You? You aren’t Sophie.” Mom would bend down and inspect the girl before her. “Why you look far too old and mature to my little girl.” Turning to me, she would threaten me, “Lily, how many times have I told you to keep track of your sister. Now, what has happened with her? And where did she come from?”
The giggles that followed oftentimes led to hiccups and sore stomachs that were more than worth it.
Once we got back from Gloversville, the afternoon passed much the same way. We were little girls again, filling the afternoon with giggles and laughter. Even a tear or two when I mentioned our younger experiments with Mom’s make-up and Sophie let on that she didn’t remember them.
I must have curled her hair, styled it, washed it and then dried it again at least four or five times trying to figure out just the right look. We finally settled on curling her long blond hair into ringlets that draped down her shoulders. The make-up was just as challenging, but we finally settled on her “look.”
When it came time to get dressed, I pulled out a lacy bra I bought at Panache when Sophie wasn’t looking. She looked at it in all its frilly red glory and shook her head. “No thanks.”
“I insist,” I replied, shaking it in front of her.
“No. I’m not wearing that thing.”
“Sophie. You’re going to a dance with a boy and I want you to feel different. I want you to feel beautiful and special and maybe even a little sexy.”
“Pffffft. That isn’t gonna happen. Besides why does it matter if I’m wearing that? Nobody else is going to see it and nobody else will see me the same way.”
I turned her wheelchair around to face the mirror. “Look in the mirror, Sophie. You are beautiful. You just don’t realize it.”
She looked in the mirror for a moment, studying herself, before turning away from her image. “It’s a bunch of make-up and a hairdo. None of which will cover up the reality.”
“It’s not just the make-up. It’s you,” I pleaded.
While we were staring at the mirror, there was a knock on the door. We both looked at the clock on the wall. It read 5:45. Pete wasn’t supposed to be there until 6:00. “He can’t be here yet,” we whispered quietly.
I went out to the front door and peeked through the peephole. It was Pete, only he was standing with his back to the door looking out to the street. “It’s him,” I whispered to Sophie who had followed me to the door. “Go back to the bathroom and finish getting dressed. Put the damn bra on, you’ll feel better.”
Pete turned at the sound of the door opening. The first thing I noticed was the massive black eye. Then I noticed the scratches across his cheek. The goose egg growing out of his forehead. The torn Yankees shirt he was wearing. That he held one arm to his side and that his breath rattled. “What the hell …”
“I fought back,” he whispered before collapsing to the ground.