Knowing the Territory
2770 words long
It's Going To Be Another Novel. Dammit.
- 2,770 words (if poetry, lines) long
As I may or may not have mentioned, I attend a writing class, hosted by Melanie Tem, every second and fourth Wednesday down in Denver. Melanie gives us homework assignments--and if there are enough people new to the group, she explains that the assignments are to inspire, not to burden. "No, you don't have to do it." Doing it is mainly why I've written so many new drafts since I began attending in May of 2004.
The most recent homework assignment was this: Write a 10 page (2500 word) piece. Of whatever. In other words, "Oh, just write a brand new short story."
This would be why, with two short story rewrites pending, another 30K-word freelance deadline looming, and several critiques owing, I did none of those things today but instead wrote some brand new fiction.
It started out with Tarot cards, because that's what I do when I have no idea what to write. I favor the Vertigo Tarot, and I drew the Three of Swords, the High Priestess (a.k.a. Mad Hettie), and the Page of Swords. I spent a good 300 words just describing what was on the cards, but after that things sorta took off. All of my manuscripts acquire shorthand references, like "Ragnarok comes to Boulder" ("Snowflakes") or "the mermaid novel" (Drowning Boy) or "the one where people turn into plants" ("Putting Down Roots"). I think this new piece is going to get referred to as "The one with the prostitute who teleports her pimp into Alpha Centauri."
Yeah. I like it.
Its current working title, "Knowing the Territory," comes from my interpretation of Rachel Pollack's interpretation of the Vertigo Tarot's Page of Swords. And I would definitely argue that someone who is oddly gifted with the ability to, at times, apprehend the entire universe as a singularity--well, she knows the territory very well indeed.
But. Gods damn it. The Muse pulled another bait-and-switch on me. When the main character hands in her catastrophic resignation letter, that isn't the end of a short story. That's the end of chapter one. Of a brand new novel. (Everyone sing it with me now: "Like I didn't already have enough to do!")
Well. With this out of my system for the moment, tomorrow I'm going to be good and dutiful. I will plod through my checklist: Contact interview subjects for freelance projects and log 1500 words thereto. Do one of the critiques I owe. Begin reading through critiques of "Roots." But sometime in the near future there will be a rewrite of Chapter One of Territory and a plotting out of what comes next. Because this wants writing. When the Muse gets in touch, She means it.