You are hereMonthly archive / November 2008
I'm at forty pages. I'm really going to have to work if I want to win this thing.
SLIDE THREE: A quote. "And so I leave this world, where the heart must either break or turn to lead." Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort. Died 1794.
This is a quote from a famous french writer, Nicolas-Sebastien Chamfort. It's from his suicide note. I didn't know who he was, so I looked him up. He shot himself in the face, but the pistol malfunctioned and he shot off his nose and part of his jaw, but didn't die, so he repeatedly stabbed himself in the neck with a paper cutter. He couldn't hit an artery, so he stabbed himself in the chest. His butler found him unconscious in a pool of blood. Nicolas didn't die until over a year later. Anyway, the sentiment is so beautiful and true, even if I want to go a little easier. The first time my heart hurt a little was when I was six.
SLIDE FOUR: A photo of Peter, age six.
Actually, it was my sixth birthday. I was having my first and last birthday party. My mom bought me a Masters of the Universe cake. My dad hung up banners that said "Happy Birthday Pete!" I invited every kid in my class and the invitations said "two o' clock sharp". At two o'clock I put on one of those hats, you know, the pointy ones you wear at little kid's parties? Anyway, I was wearing one of those and I was sitting on the sofa by the living room window staring anxiously at the driveway. I pressed my hands against the glass and my breath fogged up the window. Two and three and four o' clock roll by with no guests and I continued to sit there with my hands on the glass, staring at the driveway. I wrote on the window with my finger, "Peter was here". I could hear my parents whispering about me in the kitchen. My mother was crying and I could tell that the felt bad for me, but also embarrassed that they would have the kind of child that this would happen to. My heart hurt. It was the first time I felt invisible. Of course, invisible people aren't really invisible. Just unnoticed. They live in the margins, the cracks and crannies, like a living ghost.
(He looks at Debbie.)
Like my friend here. Hi.
Are you okay?
I think you're beautiful. Do you know that?
SLIDE FIVE: Neil Armstrong on the moon.
Anyway, I tried to drown out my parents by pretending I was in zero gravity. I closed my eyes and I was there.
(DEBBIE puts on some music and PETER walks on the moon.)
On the moon, you're weightless. Or nearly so, anyway, because there's nothing to weigh you down. You just drift like cigarette smoke over the landscape. It's quiet. All you can hear is the sound of your own breath inside of your space suit. And you know you're at the safest place on earth. The moon. Recently I made the realization that everything in my life is traceable to that one moment. Because on some level, by and large, I'm still that worthless boy with his hands pressed against the window. Staring at the driveway. Waiting for someone come to my birthday party.
So what? Kids are jerks.
Would you please just be on my side?
I am on your side. But kids are jerks. Just awful. You know, when I was in first grade there was this kid, Charlie. I called him Charcoal, but I don't know why. Anyway, I liked him a lot so every day at recess I'd ask him if he would hold my hand, right? And every day he said no. Every day. Now, I had really bad excema when I was a kid, I still do sometimes, and I had it on my hands. Anyway, I remember one day Charcoal actually said yes. So I grabbed his hand and, the look on his face... He looked at me like he'd just smelled a turd. He said, whats the matter with you? And I said, like, what? And he said, what's the matter with your hand? And I said, I have excema, that's all. When he heard that he really flipped. he pushed me down into the dirt. Into the god damned dirt and left me there. Don't ever touch me again! Oh, I cried and cried! Anyway, in high school, years and years later, Charlie told me he'd thought I'd said I had eggs on 'em. Like I had dried up eggs on my hand or something? Point is, kids are jerks. Let it go.
I'm so sorry. That was way over-the-top, with the melodrama and the self-pitying.
A modern day take on the mythology of old, the play follows the grandson of Death as he navigates his was through the murky waters of adolesence and being a psychopomp, a severer of the thread that links the mortal body to the soul.
Who else is in a muddy, sludging along kind of place?
Again, I say, ugh.
At this point in the game, many people are sore from all the time they spend at the computer. Can you imagine the people who are doing Nanowrimo ? They must be really sore...
Do yourselves a favor and download this free and awesome program called Workrave. I have used it for over a year and my wrists and shoulders are not near anywhere as sore as they used to be. Sometimes it's super frustrating when it comes on but I remember that it's for the sake of my body and it's all good.You can set how often you want your breaks to be and how long. I often lie down on the floor and stretch during my 10 mns breaks or sometimes I sweep the house or get a bite to eat.
I don't want you people to be in pain or hurt yourselves over this rhino thing.
As a healer in training it is my commitment that we all come out on the other side of this with healthy brains and bodies.
“When you write a story, you're telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” Stephen King
“I have often been asked how my plays come about. I cannot say. Nor can I ever sum up my plays, except to say that this is what happened. That is what they said. That is what they did.” Harold Pinter
“Tension is wonderful for making people laugh.” John Cleese
“I write plays because dialogue is the most respectable way of contradicting myself.” Tom Stoppard
“Fundamentally, all writing is about the same thing; it's about dying, about the brief flicker of time we have here, and the frustration that it creates.” Mordecai Richler
“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” Alfred Hitchcock
“The writer who cares more about words than about story – characters, action, setting, atmosphere – is unlikely to create a vivid and continuous dream; he gets in his own way too much; in his poetic drunkenness, he can't tell the cart – and its cargo – from the horse.” John Gardner
“The ideas aren't that important. Really they aren't. Everyone's got an idea for a book, a movie, a story, a TV series.” Neil Gaiman
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein
“Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.” William Shakespeare
“There are no rules in writing. There are useful principles. Throw them away when they're not useful. But always know what you're throwing away.” Will Shetterly
“Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'. Otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” C. S. Lewis
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The exit is usually where the entrance was.” Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
“The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.” Samuel Johnson
“You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.” William Gibson
“Writing is a lot easier if you have something to say.” Sholem Asch
“When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.”
Go on, all of you who are completely and utterly stuck - follow Raymond Chandler's advice - who knows what will happen!
PS I have posted this because I am too lazy to actual write something original. And because I really, really like these quotes. And because I have a play and a novel to write...(and a thesis to edit, and workshops to give, and an album launch to manage, and a coupla short stories, some marking, two kids, three kittens whose mom disappeared, oh yeah and a day job, and even, miraculously, a husband...)
I am completely stuck.
My play is written to be performed in an apartment. Peter and debbie, the quiet outcasts at their office who have an intense friendship, have invited all of their coworkers (the audience) over to Pete's house for an Oscar party. The truth though is that they have a suicide pact and are using this as an opportunity to air grievences, come clean, tell their stories etc. They do this in the form of a power point presentation.It sounds depressing, and it is, but it's also very sweet and funny. It's another one of my meloncholy comedies, to be sure.
My problem is that there is only a loose plot and, structurally, the characters are speaking to the audience the entire time without scene breaks. Essentially, they are giving a presentation. It really could go in any direction you could imagine.
That said, I'm stuck. I have no ide how to move forward. Does anybody know any good writing exercises. I know that some have been posted, but a lot of them deal with more traditionally structured plays.
Naplwrimo runs on love, sweat and your generous help.
Thank you to our donors!
Machelle Allman, Holly Arsenault, Will Bond, Karen Chandler, Michael Lee, Leslie Liautaud, Jeff Mackey, Maggie McAleese, Marian McNamee, Marla Porter, and all our anonymous donors.