November is National Novel Writing Month…across the country, hungry writers are pounding away at their keyboards, trying to write a total of 50,000 words by the end of this month. We do it every year… and some do it year-round without the contest. Those who participate earn a badge that can be displayed on their website with pride.
The badge and recognition aren’t the goal–this is a great way to boost productivity. Are you participating? It’s not too late to sign up.
This year, I’m stepping out of my normal genre and writing a psychological thriller. It’s told completely in first person, present tense – another change of pace for me. Keeping the momentum is fun but challenging.
Stay tuned…these numbers will update along the way. If you’re participating, please share yours here too by commenting. Have a great day!
Read the first words here:
Sept 4th, 2014
It escapes me how people believe wind chimes are soothing. I find them utterly and completely annoying. Here I sit with my feet propped on the railing of a woman’s porch, drinking that southern tradition—sweet tea—and all I can see, think, or hear is noise. On the right, hanging from an ornate metal hook hangs those bamboo things that sound like hollow sticks bumping each other in battle. A few feet closer hangs some contraption made of melted and smashed soft drink bottles, clanking voraciously to the point they should break but don’t. The worst vexation looms over my toes and casts a rainbow of color over the skin of my shins—a copper and tin Chinese house with tiny figures chest bumping in shrill tinks. Nope. Nothing soothing about it. I cannot hear myself think. “Need a refill?” Raisin Demaris leans over my shoulder with a pitcher of liquid the color of caramel soup. Her chestnut hair falls across the spaghetti strap of her dress, its softness is near the same color as the tea.
“I’m good.” I raise my full glass to prove the words.
She’s attractive in an old-fashioned way. I have stepped back into my mother’s era as I watch her walk barefoot across this old wooden porch. The entire scenario is surreal—which is why I chose this place. Nostalgia, I suppose. Her sundress in light yellow even appears somewhat antique. It’s 2015 for Christ’s sake. Why would anyone want to live in an old house like this, wearing old dresses, with noisy bungling crap hanging from the eaves? It gives me a headache.
Her dog lies in the grass below the porch. Earlier, his eyes never left me as I moved around but not once did he bark. He is wary of the stranger that his person easily trusts. Yet he follows her lead. He trusts because she trusts. Good dog.
I stand as she returns to plop down in the chair across from me. She has the most unusual name, which I find enchanting. “Well, thanks for your time Raisin.” I am curious if her siblings are also named after dried fruits. Is there an Apricot or a Prune in her family tree? “I appreciate the information and I’ll see you again soon.”
I hold out a hand and she gives me hers without hesitation. How trusting people are when you give them an honest, or in my case dishonest, smile and a strong handshake. My dad always said an honest smile and a good grip builds trust. He was right.
For a second I had considered finishing our conversation inside the house. Judging the way she watches me, it would be easy to invent some reason to move our short meeting indoors. I glance at the dog. What was his name? Brownie? Barnie? Something like that. The mutt raises his head and I could swear he grimaces as if reading my thoughts. I want to snicker but don’t. Would she allow him to follow us inside? Should I test the question? Too soon, I tell myself. I enjoy the process even if waiting is a challenge. I step down to leave.
Patience. Not one of my best virtues. Which is why I force the wait. One must always work hardest on the things they are weakest at executing. Execution is easy when you’re using your stronger talents, not so with weaknesses.
Raisin smiles and waves one last goodbye as I reach the street and walk toward my car. I wonder if she’ll smile with her 1950’s antique warmth when she sees my true talents. My insides float with giddiness as I anticipate our future time together. I return the wave.
“This should be fun.” The wind carries my comment to the clouds as the collection of wind chimes on her porch rise along in crescendo.