How could I miss this? No, scratch that, I have been too checked out to make a decent attempt at November’s NaNoWriMo to have paid attention to another opportunity to write together/separately with a host of like-minded story tellers, even if I do love it. For two years now, I have missed this and I will miss it no more!
I will go to Camp NaNoWriMo and I will write in July. And it is not daunting, you lot, ’cause each writer gets to choose her own word limit, and you can work on a preexisting project if you want.
And you can commiserate with me at my profile: http://www.campnanowrimo.org/campers/leems. Only I don’t know if I’m going to try something new or finish something old. I should probably finish something old, but which one: Intervening Variable or 800 Square Miles? And how many words should I shoot for? 800 Square Miles could probably use another 50,000 since the first 50,000 left the action smack in the middle of my idea.
And give! Camp NaNoWriMo is another opportunity to support the good work of the Office of Letters and Light, encouraging creativity in young and old.
I’ve talked about it, and I have constantly deflected questions and nagging from a friend who thinks it is good and I ‘need to get off my butt and edit it already.’ Penelope Sea and Ocean End is the first book I ever wrote. It’s not even 20,000 words – which is hilarious in light of my NaNoWriMo endeavors.
Well, I can finally say that I have edited it. Just finished. And I have tackled all the things about it that I didn’t like and that had kept me from editing for so long because I thought it was going to be difficult. Silly me.
I want to say ‘project done.’ It feels good. I get to cross something off a list now and go on to finish another unfinished manuscript.
I’ve also been given the order to shop it around to publishers, so I guess I’m going to try that. If I should fail, you can be assured that I’ll just end up posting the entirety right here, like I do with my comic submissions. Until that day, I’ll give you Chapter One.
PENELOPE SEA AND OCEAN END
Penelope Sea sat alone at the end of a lunch table in the cafeteria of her new elementary school. She hadn’t made any friends yet. She didn’t want to make new friends She wanted to be with her old friends, in her old school, in her old town. All the children here looked at her funny, and the food that the pink-haired lunch lady served didn’t taste right. Although she had only been enrolled in Dolphin Elementary for one week, Penelope decided she definitely did not like it here.
The only thing Penelope did like about having moved towns, moved houses, and moved schools was her very own personal house key. She wore it on a shiny silver chain around her neck. Penelope was only eight. She thought she was special because after school she got to stay at home while her parents worked.
From another night I didn’t know quite what to draw. My husband said this picture was weird, though I think it tells a story well enough. Think: sometime in a desert/apocalyptic future world where crazy big robot overlords patrol the cities there is a guy at a bar. And he has with him an artifact that has been unknown to the people of this world, and the robots too, for ages. Fire. Thus the robot’s intense interest in the match. Or, maybe, different apocalyptic future, this dude in the bar and his robot buddy are concocting a plan to storm the castle which includes setting something on fire. The dude just happens to be an amazing story teller and the robot is enraptured.
Another story that I had been sitting on is up on the Bean, only not completely sitting. I printed up some copies of “Peachtree” one year for Christmas and bound them and made cloth covers and gave them away. I didn’t manage to make one for my own shelves, though. I’ll have to fix that. So now ya’ll can read it too. “Peachtree” is a story about another town in Ocean End. Have you noticed a theme by now? After writing Penelope Sea and Ocean End, I got to thinking about the environment, and I got to reading more Carl Sandburg, and then I got to writing about the non Penelope Sea bits of Ocean End. I should probably write more. I might even just do that.
Here is a valentine’s gift for you. I write stories. I know I talked about it before, but I haven’t really shared any of them. And I am testing a new post-type thingy on the Bean. Here is Little River Love Story on The LeEMS Bean. Only terribly influenced by Carl Sandberg’s Rutabaga Stories, and sitting around in my computer for years. Hope you enjoy.
Whenever I’ve been sitting at my desk I keep reading the first page or two of a fiction I had started a few years ago. I really really like it – like in a, it’s impossible that I wrote this kind of way. I’m so distracted by that stack of paper (printed for editing and refreshing so I will finish it), that I’m going to put some of it up here. Here, a few paragraphs from the beginning of 800 square miles:
I was born George Allen Pasternack to middle class parents in what used to be a factory town in Ohio. That’s how people begin their life stories, right? I grew up at a normal pace, I went to school, I dated; I was poised to accept my nice clean Rockwellian future. You get, from the past tense, that nothing ended up the way I had originally envisioned it? What would be the beginning of my independent adult life and I’m concocting my autobiography to my mirror image. Reflections of myself are all the faces I’ve seen for a few months now. There are other people here, trying to live like they were used to, but we avoid each other. Looking at each other means we have to face up to the fact (no pun intended) that something is changing within us.
Our town is one of many that have been quarantined in order to halt the progression of whatever we have among people further away from the impact site. We don’t get doctors, other than the ones that already lived among us, and we don’t get information. Most people stay in their houses all day watching TV programs that have been played over and over again by the only TV station we have left. We’ve been relieved of the responsibilities of work for the most part. We take turns doing the few jobs that require an insider, like keeping the library open and manning the grocery store for the days when we aren’t getting shipments from hazmat suited government truck drivers. We keep the shades drawn and move about in shadows. Our aversion to the sight of each other and ourselves is a little extreme, I think, considering how little our appearances have changed, but the changes make us different, and its hard to be afraid of something alien to you when its you that is alien.
Compared to some other people in town, I have it pretty great. I live alone. I can look at myself or not, and there is no one else in the house to remind me if I don’t want to think about it. There is no one whose heart will break when I avoid them in the hallway on the way to the bathroom; no one to ruin my escapist moments and propel me into insanity. Sometimes I wonder why we are fed so well and sometimes provided with more TV shows on disc to keep us amused and distracted. It would be better to die in riots of hungry chaos then to spiral slowly through this darkness without knowing the only bits of information that I want to know most. What’s happening to me?
I had this sketch sitting around doing nothing for a very very long time, so I threw some shrubs over top it and have removed it from my working folder. This is Snow White and Rose Red. Gustaf Tenggren’s illustrated version used to be my favorite story book when I was little. Only I think Snow White is actually supposed to be platinum haired – I must be mixing up my fairy tales.
The Sketchbook Project 2013 is the most fabulous thing I have read about all year, maybe longer. A library in Brooklyn has a collection of artists sketchbooks. You can buy one of their specially made sketchbooks, fill it up, and they will keep it and tend it in true library tradition. It may even go on a gallery trip across the country. I finally have a terrible and driving reason to go to New York. I must see the sketchbooks. An article in the New York Times talks a little more about it.
So, did you hear? Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany | Books | guardian.co.uk. And I was only hoping that they’d been found earlier. They haven’t even been translated yet, but if they were, maybe I could’ve used one of them to create my fairy tale comic submission for gurukitty’s ‘Once upon a time anthology.‘ Ah well, I did something else. And if gurukitty doesn’t take it I will post it here for you guys to see. I liked the challenge.
Actually, my first graphics tablet. I’m really not used to digital painting or anything like that. I like pencils and pens. But I’m trying out new things. So here’s me playing around with a sketched out idea I had while writing Tattoo.