Random Thoughts on NaNoWriMo, Day 04

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Blur

Word Count stands at 8251

And this novel of mine is so mixed-up, aimless and shameful that I should feel discouraged and want to give up. Add to that my admiration for Gene’s work in progress, and I should hang my keyboard from the nearest eucalyptus tree and start bugling a funereal melody in a minor key. Add to that . . .

More words today, because I refuse to feel discouraged. Matter of fact, I insist on having fun. Both sides of my upper back, just above the scapulae (always loved that word, “scapulae”) are sore from all the self-patting I’ve there subjected it to for four days running, and just for keeping up that word count.

Yesterday, I talked to myself, and to my characters, using my keyboard as a link to my mind, sorta like the way I use my tongue as a link to my voice. So the writing is putrid, not at all ready for public consumption. We Sicilians are born with a mentally disturbed food gene. When you come to our dinner table, and we serve you chicken cacciatore or pasta putanesca, you’d best pretend to like the feast. If not, if you slip and frown, or spit and howl, we won’t love you anymore. We take our food to be an exquisite extension of our affable personalities.

Same is true of the stories we write. Oh, when one of us (I?) sits as a member of a critique group, he or she remains silent and smiles when you trash our darling. But behind those grinning lips live more than thirty canine and blood-thirsty incisors. Eventually (Gene, I’m catching your LY bug!), we snap and bite.

All of which is to say that today you receive no more than a summary of yesterday’s scenes. Take this, then, as the menu Giuseppe’s waiter hands you. And for extra credit, you can write to me and say that my meal, as always, tasted delicious.

Tarlow, my novel’s protagonist, in 1958, doesn’t believe LunaMae’s story, not even for one noir nanosecond. (See, I told you the scene’s mixed-up. Nanoseconds in 1958?)

So, intrepid gumshoe that he is, and was on the day he exited Mrs. Tarlow’s womb (now there’s an idea! Mrs. Tarlow’s Womb!) he pursues the case by traveling from Atlantic City, New Jersey to Jasper, Indiana. In Weston, West Virginia, Carl Lanthrop, LunaMae’s dissolute brother who’s supposed to be dead, knocks on Tarlow’s cheap motel room door (the entire room is cheap, not just the door) and knocks Tarlow to the ground with a fist followed by a warning to quit the case.

Poor Tarlow, by way of instinct and habit, realizes that he has to ditch his 1956 black Ford in favor of a different vehicle. He enjoys a breakfast at a local diner, where he asks the counterman where he might buy a used car.

Enter Brian J. Brody, known as BJ to the locals, president of the Chamber of Commerce, whose borders surround both Weston and Coxtown. BJ sells Tarlow a rusted-out pickup truck in exchange for Tarlow’s Ford and . . .

That’s as much as I’m giving away today.

Delicious chicken cacciatore, AVT. But in your second draft — meaning next time I come to visit you — maybe you’ll have tossed the whole meal in the corrugated-metal, 1958 garbage can to join the maggots’ feast, and begun to cook your famous pasta puttanesca.

Or maybe not.