Day 21: Well, Tell It To Stop Doing That
- 40,018 words (if poetry, lines) long
The all-nighter write-in at Bighorn Mountain Lodge in Estes Park ended very well. The morning dawned sunny with a dramatically pink snow cloud looming behind a nearby peak. By 9:15 or so that snow cloud had reached us. It dumped its contents on us for about two hours, during some of which time it nevertheless persisted in being sunny. As the snow cleared up and I was about to drive away, I realized that the couple of elk I'd scene towards the bottom of the hill was now a huge herd of elk grazing their way right up to the parking lot. Huge, like thirty elk or more, of all ages.
They're very big, elk. But since you can't get that close, you don't always realize how big they are. Not until they pose for your camera right by a picnic table do you get a sense of scale.
About the writing--look, I really don't like what I wrote today. After meandering from idea to idea yesterday, I have Jet wandering around town trying to figure out what she's supposed to be doing, in about the same way I'm wandering around with words trying to figure out what I'm supposed to be writing. She'd like to examine the
MacGuffins mysterious gems more closely, so she wants a microscope to look at them with, so I had her meet a guy in a pub, a guy who'se in pharmaceutical chemistry. And because random convenient guy is too convenient, I decided he was Lia's no good brother. What followed was a bog-stupid drunken seduction scene that will not survive to the second draft, thank you.
This is from the bit where he drives her from the bar to his lab, which she finagled by giving him to understand that she was totally hot for chemists in situ. Like I said: bog-stupid. And, hey! note the angst. Gah.
I'm nervous the whole way there; he's too drunk to drive, he's speeding, and he runs a few red lights. Usually I wouldn't worry. Death just means waking up, after all. But waking up prematurely isn't useful to the assignment, and who knows how I'd get the stones back if I dropped them here. I try to calm myself with the thought that the dream led me to him and I'm only doing what I'm told.
But I can't get rid of the doubts. Doubts are like stray animals; once you begin to feed them, that's it--you've got a new pet. It's remarkably the same on every world I've been assigned to. There are planets with methane atmospheres where the young of the dominant sentient species are told, "Don't give that crixxith your leftover stwthyl or you'll never get rid of it." And so with doubts. I began entertaining them back at the hotel, asking myself: did the dream really send me to Lia for a purpose beyond recovering the gems? Or am I just too attached to her? (You are, my thoughts think in Chender's voice. You are too attached. They die, you know. They die and they're gone as if they never were. Don't fall in love with fictions. It is indeed a remarkable imitation of Chender's voice. I can almost hear it. With my fictional ears.) The doubts cause me now to be unsure I'd recognize the dream's cues even if a ten-foot sacred clown materialized in front of Jack's car at the next red light and beckoned me to get out, go that way, do this.
The dream wants something. And I am here. That's all the certainty I can manage.