out of the ashes

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reading and Writing

Okay, I finished Chapter 28 a few days ago, and I moved on to 29. Jonathon is going to hook Marvin's computer up to the big guys...Los Alamos. Robert is spying. I'm stuck after having written a few pages. It's tough writing two plots.
I read as I write, too. Picked up McCarthy's The Road...I'd gotten mixed comments about it. I raced through it. Yeah, I can see why it won a Pulitzer. Fabulous book. A few nights ago I picked up Young's The Shack, determined to wade through it after hearing so many bad reviews. They were right. :(

Writing:
Sit down, put your fingers on the keys, get yourself into the scene, and just write. No great mystery.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday evening

Well, I finished twenty-seven late last night, sent it out to my editors. I got some very positive remarks, too!

Here's a piece of it, preceded by a tiny bit of backstory.

John Sampson has gone to Delilah's loft in the city to wait for him; get even for having been blindsided a week earlier. The door is unlocked. He enters, looks at the fabulous art and the industrial decor. Hates it.
Delilah has brought Amy up after the concert in the park to show her the real side of him. The confident side. The artistic side. They arrive, enter, and Amy is knocked out by what she sees.

Amy regarded him momentarily. As he spoke his hand seemed to tighten over hers for a fraction of a second. He was looking down, either at the sleek beauty of the famous artist's creation, or else at the arguably more beautiful form of her wrist and lower forearm, the ends of her fingers peeking out from beneath his. An anonymity of sorts existed at that moment for him. He was explaining art, but he was also explaining a passion inside him that ran to a greater depth. Her proximity, and the feel of her skin beneath his hand.
Sampson sat silently, caught in his boat on the sea in a dead calm. He thought nothing, only listened, expecting something to come of the silence behind him. The sound of clothing being undone quickly or a first moan. But, no. Delilah was far too stupid to move decisively he knew.

"And this one?" she asked. "It's much different. How it bends and spirals upward like long shafts of golden wheat on a windy day. Is it a Brancusi, too?"

"No, no. But it's just as lovely as the Brancusi, I think...perhaps not as lovely as the way you described its soul, though." He spoke calmly, directly, without embarrassment, now, having crossed a bridge into a kingdom where every leper is a knight; every woman of servitude a lady.

"A local artist did it. A woman. Angela Motieri. She hasn't done her best yet, in my opinion, but this piece, 'Ode', is excellent. I picked it up...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Moving

It's Saturday morning. I'm sitting at the keyboard and scrolling down the working document. Chapter twenty-three...Chapter twenty-four. Reading for flow. I've already made one tiny revision. Added that comma, then took it back out. I might have to put it back in.
Concentrating on the work at hand--finishing Chapter twenty-seven today--is a battle I engage in almost every time I take a seat, fire up iTunes, check the mail, then open my working draft. I want to do anything but create new scenes, lay down new words. Move.
Anyway, Gershwin is playing this morning. An American in Paris right now. I have always written with music in the background. I have this personal theory that "what we eat, we are." An American in Paris is exploding with energy, and I believe some of that wonderful fire will find its way through my subconscious, out through my fingertips--onto the page. For some strange reason I always envision Broadway in New York instead of Paris, where Gerswin traveled to meet Ravel in the mid-twenties. Ravel was...
I MUST get back to Twenty-seven and finish it. It's just discipline. Inspiration has nothing, or very little, to do with writing. A couple more pages and...it's precision. I must keep moving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chapter Seventeen

Marvin lay on his back with his hands clasped behind his head on the pillow. The bedroom was dark except for the wisp of moonlight that brightened the window above his desk. In the dim surface of the mirror above the dresser beyond the footboard, next to the door, he seemed to see his dusty reflection; his face, shoulders, the outline of his shirt. The angle of sight was wrong, though. His eyes were deceiving him, and so he blinked hard. When he reopened them he was gone.
When he first lay down, not long after Maribeth had left, he had covered his feet with a crocheted comforter and concentrated his stare at the ceiling stretching overhead. Looking up, he imagined genes dancing energetically in a ballroom the size of the planet, all of them dressed the same in their spiral gowns and flung close together in a maddened waltz. He grabbed at one that carried an almost imperceptible, aged look about her, a slight variation in the color of her hair; eyes that had beheld the passing of time. She slipped away into the crowd the moment his hands came into contact with her, leaving him holding pieces of shadow that dripped from his wrinkled fingertips. Now, several hours later, the phonon ball had ended and Marvin forced his mind to reconstruct the images of the young woman his heart longed for. The throbbing at his temples eased and his body began to tingle.
Anselm hovered at the headboard, or sat. He had fixed his eyes on the mirror, studying the reflection of his subject laying at his feet. The angle was right. Other than the low, steady breathing of Marvin Fuster there was no sound of any sort. No footsteps above where the maids and servants might have been. No Robert. Anselm had dispatched two of the team to keep an eye on him immediately after breakfast, but he had done nothing particularly suspicious throughout the day, they'd said, guarding his thoughts well with the mundanity of running the household.
Suddenly the light in the window grew brighter, the walls and ceiling purled, and six angels blazed into the bedroom. Their eyes were on fire, and they gathered in a cluster at the foot of the bed. Marvin shuddered, feeling the room expand for an instant, but he didn't see anything. The air seemed thicker, though, in movement. He knew they were there.
"Who is it? Anselm?"
There was no answer.
They spoke in rushes, excited, jumbled, but still he heard nothing, felt only the air curling in on itself all around him.
Anselm whisked away, leaving the room to settle itself, followed by the other angels. They gathered at the front of the property and he motioned for only one of them to speak.
"Something terrible has happened," the spirit said.
"What?"
"He touched her. There was nothing we could do. Why would we have expected anything? He had been considerate, kind..."
"Stop! Go back. Start at the beginning and tell me exactly what happened."
"Yes, sir. Their gathering started on somewhat of a sour note. He left her alone after they had arrived, but..."
But John had made up for it. After the dinner and the speeches concluded he rose and pulled Amy's chair back for her, then he took her to The Churchill Bar near the Grand Ballroom. An old friend, another lawyer, had invited him to join his wife and himself for drinks after eating. He had agreed, knowing Amy would need the comforting presence of Maria Turnbull if the evening was to progress in the way he had hoped--no, knew it must.
Maria was twenty-six, beautiful in the way women can be who are searching for the eligible professional man. She knew her way around those places they congregated, and she made her presence known there, patiently surveying the men for the prospective winner. She was single-minded, fixed on what she wanted, and she got it in the person of Joseph Turnbull, attorney-at-law, ten years her senior, headed for the top in corporate law. The mercenary reasons for her descent on him aside, time and fate and passion dictated they should fall very much in love. And they did. Joseph knew what he had in Maria, and he was good to her. She had no interest in a career, no aspirations other than to keep a spotless home and never leave it with a hair out of place. But above all to to untie Joseph's shoes when he arrived home from the office and make love to him as though Venus herself had provided the instruction manual. Maria was well-read, an asset in the circle of friends they flew with. Though she had never attended a day of college, she was quick, outgoing, and knew how to converse with anyone on a wide range of topics. She was the perfect corporate wife, and that evening inside The Churchill Bar, Maria found a friend in someone she thought was exactly like herself. Amy. Beauty attracts beauty.
"Then you have no plan? Concerning marriage? You're just here with him?" Maria whispered. Her husband and John were adrift in business matters; not law or strict politics, just speculations revolving around the ripening harvest of fruit hanging from the forest of money trees sprouting up around the state. These matters bored Maria.
Amy laughed at the notion, openly. "You must be kidding!" She leaned over close to Maria's ear, spilling a tiny bit of champagne on the tablecloth. "Not with him, anyway. Yesterday I loathed him. he made me come with him tonight, you know."
"What?"
"Yes! Ordered me earlier in the week," Amy said.
Maria sat back, took a long drink, which Amy did also, and shot a glance at John. Then she set her glass back down and leaned forward close to Amy.
"Well, maybe it wasn't all that bad, huh? We got to meet. The Brown is the best. The champagne is even better than the best. He's handsome, too," she added. "What more could a woman ask for?"
Amy remained still for a moment, narrowing her eyes in thought, and then she jerked her head up, making her shining hair swirl across her cheeks.
"More champagne!" she blurted out. "You're absolutely right!"
"We thought she was not, sir, and considered ending the party--a fire, perhaps, or the bursting of pipes. but we decided to wait. And there was the matter of the other woman sitting across the room. A cement man was attempting to deflower her."
"A what?"
"Well, sir, while the other young woman..."
The clock ticked and the champagne continued to be delivered, along with gin and tonic, Joseph's other passion. He wasn't driving back to their home in Cherry Creek South, and so he pulled off his bow tie and dove in. Maria would end up pouring him into bed later, not bothering to unlace his shoes or undo his shirt and touch her lips to his stomach.
John drank little. Joseph drank a lot. And as for Amy, she quickly fell into a state of blissful relaxation and lifted her glass to match Maria's every swallow. Smiles turned to laughter and later to admissions spoken in whispers with delicate hands covering barely moving mouths. Of small intimacies and secret desires that neither woman would ever share with another, even in the sanctity of the confessional. Maria painted a wonderful portrait of a man like Joseph--someone like John Sampson--whose real affections might only be surpassed, in time, by his success.
"These creatures drink that chemical far in excess, sir. The young woman's mental faculties were badly impaired by the time she and her employer left the building. That was long after Timoteo and Gerard put out the lights in the chandelier, after those who remained had calmed down and stopped cursing."
To be continued...

So, here we are...

Hello
I'm Patrick. Glad you could make it.

I write. Herein find some things I've done; will be doing. Some of my interests will creep in--books I've read recently, and some far in the past. Things that inspire and move me. Words and ideas that captivate me and urge me to try doing as well.

I'll share my thoughts and invite you to share yours. Of course all the rules of civility apply here. Beyond that, post what you like; ask questions and share your interests, new finds in good literature and music, old favorites.

I'm working on the rewrite of my first novel, The Redemption of Marvin Fuster right now. Mid-summer I went back to it, determined to get it right. The first draft had its charming spots and (I think) incredible sections...the jail in Denver remodeled into a masterpiece of art. The Sistine Chapel created there by the inmates. But, it has to go in the second draft in favor of a more realistic plot. More character development; less sub-plots. Pared down prose.

Marvin is still irascible--on a quest to reverse his age and win a young woman's heart, the young beauty by the name of Amy. That's pretty much where the similarity to the first draft ends.

Writing is difficult. Period. It's balance and movement. and, as someone said, "scene in motion." You know, it takes a village, to steal a line from...who said that, lol?
I'll be talking to you, I hope. Soon.
Patrick