Day 20: Same Old Same Old, Only Elsewhere and Special-Like
- 38,328 words (if poetry, lines) long
I'm in Estes Park tonight, at the Bighorn Mountain Lodge, at the celebrated 24-Hour Write-In. I shall probably spend my sleeping hours curled up under the car blanket on one of these plastic tables, or maybe on that brick fireplace hearth that looks so well insulated. I've been here since noon and I will be here until noon tomorrow.
You'd think this would mean a huge increase in the novel's word count. Strangely enough, this is not the case. I've written just under 2000 words--not bad for a day's work, but nothing special. I've submitted an article to Demand Studios and I've done my Puzzle Pirates Weekend Blockade Schedule blog post (hooray for getting a large chunk of database entry and retrieval structure done!). And I've answered emails. And, I'll admit, I've also done a decent amount of playing.
It's a lot like a regular day at home, really, only in an exotic location surrounded by writers. Which is fine. A 24-hour write-in isn't just about the word count. It's about the camaraderie. It's about that huge box of Cup Noodle that one of the attendees brought from Costco. It's about walking down to Lake Estes when I need a break, or splurging a little on elk and red wine at a chop house about three hotels down. It's about moving the daily round into a new location, and not having to worry about the daily grind of the usual location.
The novel's poking along. I'm honestly surprised at yWriter telling me "Added today: 1976" because I feel like I only added a sentence or three here and there between the lines. I certainly didn't advance the plot. Mostly I just took yesterday's writing and tried to flesh it out so that it would feel more like a natural part of the book rather than like something I tossed at the wall without any sort of character-arc or plot-pacing in mind. I'm starting to get an idea of the shape of this portion of the book, which is a relief.
Nevertheless, I'm getting increasingly uneasy with Jet's whole "the dream provides" thing. It's starting to sound, at least to me, a lot like "the author will provide." Author fiat is not the best reason for stuff to happen. Granted, a lot of things happen because of a certain amount of in-book author fiat, that's the point of the plot, that's the big reveal that we're building up towards, but how well is that excuse going to hold up in the end?
Never mind. It's too soon for that kind of meta. Here's your daily excerpt. Enjoy.
The dream keeps us in motel money and an endless procession of instant just-add-water meals. I am not conscious of money changing hands, except sometimes when I find myself handing over the check-in desk an uncounted wad of paper marked by one or the other of the U.S. Mints. The night manager gives me a key. We never see him, or her, again. It is all according to the logic of dreams, which pushes me into the next scene without all that tedious mucking about with adminstrative details. But I wonder why it can't simply push me past these other tedious details, the ones where I have to play detective and figure things out. I wonder why a dream needs an actor at all. Can't the Commanders of Adjustments make their own adjustments? Why do they need to Command them at all?
Lia stays in the motel room, reading books that I bring her or watching the TV. She acts like one hunted. It would be understandable enough if we were still in Silberne, but I feel it's somewhat overblown in Painted Sands. The Swifts do have a few tentacles here, but they're stiff from disuse, atrophied. Nevertheless, Lia won't go out the door until check-out. I feel like all seven dwarves in a single person, with a distrustful Snow White back at the cottage. "While I'm gone, don't you even let housekeeping in," I say, making a joke of it. "Especially don't admit anyone claiming to sell combs or apples." That makes her laugh. She runs both her hands through her short hair, back and forth, making it stand up in a disordered array of copper spikes that wouldn't hold a toothpick, let alone a comb. "Never liked apples anyway," she says.
I don't hear her laugh very much these days. I hope these days don't last.